With new set of expectations, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson readies for Heisman follow-up

Cardinals QB will become the latest player to try and equal Archie Griffin with two trophies

CHARLOTTE — Dino Babers just had to find out, if only to get the word back to his defense.

The Syracuse coach walked up to Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson — the reigning Heisman Trophy winner — during Thursday’s opening day of the ACC Kickoff at the Westin Charlotte, and grabbed his arm.

Jackson looked him, puzzled, until Babers finally said: “I just wanted to touch you and tell my defense that you’re human and you can be touched.”

The last time Babers saw Jackson in action left that up for debate.

The sophomore would set a slew of Louisville, ACC and FBS records in totaling 3,543 yards and 30 TDs through the air and another 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns. But against Babers’ Orange on Sept. 9, Jackson had his national coming out party, throwing for 411 yards and a touchdown and running for 199 yards and four more scores — and there was The Hurdle.

Jackson leapt over defensive back Chauncey Scissum, at the goal line, a 9-yard TD that got an Air Jordan-esque treatment with an “Air Jackson”logo. Hence, Babers needing to make sure Jackson was, actually, mortal.

“He’s just a man,” Babers said amid a hard laugh as he pulled — and, if we’re being real, reversed — a line from Rocky IV reserved for villain Ivan Drago. “He’s not a machine.”

But in terms of the college football universe, Jackson is currently its epicenter. He’s not just man and he’s entirely machine, but he is something more than every other player who will take the field this fall. He’s a reigning Heisman winner, and with that designation comes expectations and — something that Jackson has shown he can clear — hurdles.

It’s been 42 years since Ohio State’s Archie Griffin claimed his back-to-back trophies, Sims, Detmer, White, Leinart, Tebow, Bradford, Ingram, Manziel and Winston all failing to equal him, and none in the past 40 years coming closer than third (Jason White in ’04; Tim Tebow in ’08).

Jackson, as expected, isn’t thinking of joining the fraternity within the fraternity with Griffin — in these summer months, because it wasn’t something he even considered last year.

“Well, you know, I don’t really worry about it. It’s done. I have it,” Jackson said. “I’m going to every game trying to win it. I’m not worried about the Heisman Trophy or anything like that. I wasn’t trying to win it last year. It happened. My teammates helped me out. My coaches helped me out. I’m just blessed and I’m humbled.”

Day 1 of the #ACCKickoff is underway from Charlotte — first up in the FOX Sports interview room: @UofLFootball QB Lamar Jackson #ACCpic.twitter.com/o7eDps6wvA

— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) July 13, 2017

If Jackson’s junior season has a theme, it would appear to be setting the stage for his transition to the NFL, whenever that comes.

“You know, there’s no doubt about that,” said Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino.

He will still be adhering to his philosophy to FTS — “Feed the Studs” as he puts — to continue to highlight Jackson’s unique skillset by featuring QB run plays, zone reads and option plays. But he’s also putting Jackson under center more to set up the running game, play-action passes and feature Jackson’s ability to throw the deep ball.

Only four returning Power-5 QBs had more completions of 60 yards than Jackson’s five.

“We’re going to give him his opportunities to make big plays and his opportunities to handle things that he did so well last year,” Petrino said. “We’re just trying to improve upon it and be a better overall offense.

If there were knocks against Jackson last year, they were his completion percentage and interceptions.

He hit on 56.2 percent of his passes, which ranked 86th in FBS, and in a 36-10 loss to Houston on Nov. 17 that spoiled the Cardinals’ hopes of making the College Football Playoff, Jackson hit at a 46.5 percent rate. In the Citrus Bowl defeat to LSU, he was at a season-los 37 percent.

Add in his nine picks — three of which came in the regular season-ending loss to Kentucky — and he ranked 25th in pass efficiency (148.8).

If accuracy is the focus for Jackson, Jaire Alexander, an All-American candidate at cornerback, says he’s definitely seen an improvement.

“Lamar is definitely more accurate,” Alexander said. “He puts a zip on the ball that I might not even want to pick off sometimes, you know.”

Unfair or not, Lamar Jackson is already playing from behind in the 2017 Heisman race. USC passer Sam Darnold is Las Vegas’ favorite — with 9-2 odds to Jackson’s 8-1 — and the possibility of equaling Griffin seems more far-fetched now than it did in 1980 when Oklahoma’s Billy Sims, the first player to try and follow Griffin’s lead, finished second in his follow-up campaign.

Florida State’s Jameis Winston was sixth in his bid in 2014 and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel came in fifth in ’13, and whatever awaits Jackson, he’s earned praise internally at Louisville.

He’s done that simply by staying the same Lamar Jackson.

“His humility speaks volumes because for him to win the Heisman and have a really good season like he did last year, to be able to interact with the teammates and other people like he didn’t win it, like if you never watched football you wouldn’t even know he won the Heisman,” Alexander said. “He’s real humble.”

And, as Baber can attest, he’s most definitely human.

Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney and Facebook. His books, ‘Tales from the Atlanta Braves Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Braves Stories Ever Told,’ and ‘The Heisman Trophy: The Story of an American Icon and Its Winners.’ are now available.

Robinson, White lead Heat past Clippers in Las Vegas Summer League

The Miami Heat got big production from Justin Robinson in a 91-84 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the Las Vegas Summer League.

The Heat (4-1) got big production from the diminutive Justin Robinson in a 91-84 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the Las Vegas Summer League on Thursday.

The 5-foot-8, undrafted guard from Monmouth scored 22 points and handed out six assists. Robinson hit a step back jumper to take an 80-78 lead with 3:38 remaining. The Clippers never lead again as a 10-1 stretch late in the fourth quarter put Los Angeles away.

Okaro White scored a game-high 23 points, including four 3-pointers, and added eight rebounds for the Heat as Gian Clavell chipped in 20.

The 2016 No. 25 overall pick Brice Johnson led the Clippers (3-1) with 13 while Jamil Wilson scored 11 off the bench and Kendall Marshall added 10.

Conor McGregor shows up to super fight press conference in flashy getup; Mayweather one ups him

These two never fail to put on a show when they are in the same room.

At day three of the Mayweather-McGregor press tour in Brooklyn, Conor McGregor channeled his inner “Broadway Joe” with a stunning coat.

#MayMacWorldTour: @TheNotoriousMMA has arrived in Brooklyn! pic.twitter.com/QFzjAoaT4K

— UFC (@ufc) July 14, 2017

White, knee-length, with a sea serpent on the back, collar popped and no shirt underneath, McGregor showed he has range after his “F-you” pinstripe suit in LA.

The look was also reminiscent of another NYC icon: Joe Namath.

Famous for calling a Jets upset over the Colts in Super Bowl III, “Broadway Joe” was known for his flamboyant style on and off the field. McGregor is no stranger to flashy clothes and definitely not afraid to let his prognostications fly including repeated claims he’ll “knock Mayweather out inside four rounds” come Aug. 26.

But not to be outdone by an outfit, Floyd Mayweather wrapped himself in his own “F-you.” to make his entrance. Draping an Irish flag over his shoulders, after a few poses with the green, white and orange flag wrapped tight, Mayweather took the stage before dispatching of the flag with a look of disdain. Then took to ignoring McGregor’s jawing as he bounced around the stage to the beat of the music in a moment fitting of this theater in the round/traveling circus.

Wrapped in , @FloydMayweather has arrived! #MayMacWorldTourpic.twitter.com/XFXjAYyp9Z

— UFC (@ufc) July 14, 2017

One more stop to go on the grand tour, will there be anymore stops to pull out?

Jimbo Fisher knows September looms large for Seminoles’ playoff hopes

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hopes his players will be ready for a demanding opening month.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hopes his players will be ready for a demanding opening month that could determine whether the Seminoles are playoff contenders.

Speaking at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s preseason media days Thursday, Fisher pointed to lessons learned from last year’s lopsided loss to Louisville and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in September. The Seminoles open the season this year against Alabama in Atlanta, then face ACC foes Miami and North Carolina State later in September.

“I think last year will hopefully make us understand that it’s not only a one-game deal at the beginning, that it’s going to be all the way through and that first half of the season,” Fisher said. “We’re going to have to be extremely prepared physically, mentally, psychologically and every way for it. And then I think last year hopefully will be that teaching tool because you learn from your experiences, good and bad.”

The annual showdown with Clemson isn’t until November. The Tigers and Seminoles have combined to win the last six league titles, and each have won a national title in the past four seasons.

FSU should get a boost from the return of safety Derwin James, who missed 11 games in 2016 due to a knee injury. James, considered one of the top defensive players in college football, is healthy and ready to get back on the field.

“It was a long experience that I went through last year,” James said. “I learned a lot just from being on the sidelines and watch from a coach’s standpoint. … When the coaches get on you it’s because of a reason and something they see. I didn’t get that at first, but now I understand that.”

The Atlantic Division took center stage, including Dabo Swinney’s reigning national champion Tigers and the Cardinals with Jackson. They joined coaches and players from Boston College, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Wake Forest in Charlotte on Thursday.

Commissioner John Swofford held his state-of-the-league forum, celebrating a big 2016 for the league but also noting: “We also know you don’t live too long on last year’s laurels.” Swofford also said that he doesn’t see divisional realignment coming anytime soon, nor have there been discussions about adding Notre Dame — a member in all other league sports — as a football member.

Swofford also declined to provide specific updates on work to launch the ACC’s TV channel in 2019.

The Coastal Division teams — Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Virginia Tech — will hold interview sessions Friday.

Coyotes change direction with Tocchet, Patterson hires

New coach, CEO tasked with with finding consistency on the ice, a permanent home and reigniting a fan base.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Rick Tocchet played three of his 18 NHL seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. Steve Patterson worked three years at Arizona State University, the final two as athletic director.

The Coyotes’ two new leaders are back in the Valley of the Sun — Tocchet as coach, Patterson as president and CEO — tasked with finding consistency on the ice, a permanent home and reigniting a fan base.

“I think we have the right people in place, from putting a winning team on the ice to finding a stadium that’s going to make everyone proud,” Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway said Thursday.

The Coyotes’ ongoing desert saga has included bankruptcy, four seasons of being run by the NHL, a new ownership group, a dispute with the city of Glendale that led to the dissolution of a long-term lease agreement and numerous roster re-imaginations. There also hasn’t been a lot of winning — aside from a run to the 2012 Western Conference Finals — which has led to waning fan support from a base that often only awakens for a winning team.

The current organizational shift started in recent seasons, as the Coyotes skewed toward young, talented players and hired John Chayka, a 28-year-old analytics whiz who became the youngest GM in NHL history last year.

A slow rebuild turned into a rapid overhaul the past month, sparked by Barroway becoming the franchise’s sole owner.

Free of input from multiple partners on every decision, Barroway quickly began reshaping the team with the aggressiveness that helped him become a successful hedge fund manager.

‘Failure is not an option. We are going to get a new stadium here. — @ArizonaCoyotes owner Andrew Barroway. pic.twitter.com/EP6k5suqu5

— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) July 13, 2017

Not long after Barroway took sole reins, Arizona traded away goalie Mike Smith, parted ways with popular coach Dave Tippett and told captain Shane Doan he would not be offered a contract after 21 seasons with the Coyotes.

Arizona also took steps to fill the holes created by the departures while shoring up weak spots on the roster, trading for Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, top-line center Derek Stepan and potential No. 1 goalie Antti Raanta.

Hiring Tocchet and Patterson was the final major piece.

Tocchet had a rare combination of skill and grit during his playing days, the type of player who could hit someone in the mouth and score a goal on the same shift.

He had a rough first go-round as a head coach, winning 53 combined games in two seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but became a viable head-coaching candidate again after winning the Stanley Cup twice as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tocchet will infuse the Coyotes with a dose of energy just by virtue of the players hearing a new voice — Tippett had been there eight seasons — but also by playing into the strengths of Arizona’s talented young players with a fast-paced brand of hockey.

New @ArizonaCoyotes coach Rick Tocchet: This is a hockey market. It really is. pic.twitter.com/zt4JRJReLc

— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) July 14, 2017

“This fan base wants, they want to see exciting hockey, they want to see some offense, some skill,” said Tocchet, who also won the Stanley Cup as a player with the Penguins in 1992. “That’s the way you have to play to be successful in the league today.”

Patterson made a name for himself as an arena guru during a 30-plus-year career that’s included stints in the NFL, NBA, AHL, minor league baseball and at two major universities.

Patterson helped Houston regain an NFL team and land a Super Bowl while also leading the design, financing and construction of the Texans’ massive stadium. He played key roles in arena redesigns for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets, and was a consultant in the renovation of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainier’s baseball stadium.

Patterson’s arena background made him a particularly inviting candidate to replace Anthony LeBlanc, who stepped down from his role after being bought out by Barroway.

The Coyotes signed a 15-year, $225 million deal with the city of Glendale in 2013 to remain at their current home, Gila River Arena, but the City Council voted to opt out of the deal in 2015.

New @ArizonaCoyotes CEO Steve Patterson: I know hockey’s going to be a long-term success here. pic.twitter.com/U4ndR4Slnq

— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) July 13, 2017

The Coyotes seemed to have their arena issues worked out after announcing a deal with Arizona State in 2016, but the school backed out earlier this year, leaving the franchise still in search of a permanent home.

“As I’ve said before: These deals are like vampire movies,” Patterson said. “It’s got to go in the grave a half-dozen times and hopefully come out a seventh time.”

Sooners without Stoops still preseason pick to win Big 12

Oklahoma is the preseason favorite to win another Big 12 title

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma is the preseason favorite to win another Big 12 title after coach Bob Stoops’ surprise retirement.

The Sooners, who last season won their record 10th Big 12 title under Stoops, got 19 of 32 first-place votes in the preseason media poll released Thursday in advance of the league’s media days next week.

Lincoln Riley became the youngest FBS head coach when the 33-year-old offensive coordinator was promoted after Stoops stepped down last month. The Sooners have senior quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy finalist who was named the Big 12 preseason offensive player of the year.

Oklahoma State got 12 first-place votes, while Kansas State was picked third with the remaining top ballot. Texas and TCU completed the top half of the poll, followed by West Virginia, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Kansas.

11

Twins’ 2017 first-round pick Rooker raking early in pro career

Prospect Brent Rooker’ surge in rookie ball and more in this week’s Young Twins Tracker

TheMinnesota Twinsare reshaping their franchise with an injection of youth and prospects.

Every Thursday for the rest of the season, FOX Sports North will take a closer look at some specific young players — as well as noting others who might be stepping up — measuring, highlighting and evaluating their progress.

This is the 11th edition of the 2017 Young Twins Tracker.

Lewin Diaz (age 20/Low-A)

Last week: 5 games, 17 AB, 5 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 1 BB, 1 K, .294 BA.

Season: 82 games, 317 AB, .281 BA, .317 OBP, .461 SLG, .777 OPS, 25 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 34 R, 49 RBI, 0 SB, 17 BB, 51 K.

Notable:Diaz had a pair of games with two hits and now has four two-hit games in July and six over his last 11 games (although he was 0 for 3 in his last two games).

Stephen Gonsalves (age 23/Double-A)

Last week: 1 game (1 start), 0-0, 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K

Season: 10 games (10 starts), 5-3, 2.95 ERA, 58 IP, 43 H, 7 HR, 12 BB, 65 K, .200 OBA, 0.95 WHIP

Notable: Gonsalves had his shortest start of the season since his first appearance back on May 20. However, in that previous game he threw 57 pitches; on July 6 he threw 96.

Young Twins Tracker Archive

Nick Gordon (age 21/Double-A)

Last week: 3 games, 13 AB, 1 H, 2 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 6 K, .077 BA.

Season: 79 games, 330 AB, .297 BA, .366 OBP, .455 SLG, .820 OPS, 22 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 51 R, 46 RBI, 9 SB, 35 BB, 83 K.

Notable:Gordon started at shortstop for Team USA in the Futures Game on July 9. Batting leadoff, he went 1 for 3 with a run.

Royce Lewis (age 18/Rookie)

Last week: 5 games, 20 AB, 8 H, 2 2B, HR, 8 R, 2 RBI, 4 SB, 3 BB, 3 K, .400 BA.

Season: 13 games, 53 AB, .340 BA, .426 OBP, .566 SLG, .992 OPS, 6 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 18 R, 8 RBI, 6 SB, 6 BB, 6 K.

Notable: The No. 1 overall pick from this year’s draft continues to rake. Lewis had three multiple-hit games this past week, giving him seven overall in 13 games this season. On July 10 he hit his first home run since knocking one out of the park in his first pro at-bat.

Fernando Romero (age 22/Double-A)

Last week: 2 games (2 starts), 0-1, 10 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 12 K

Season:17 games (16 starts), 7-6, 2.78 ERA, 90 2/3 IP, 79 H, 3 HR, 34 BB, 91 K, .231 OBA, 1.25 WHIP

Notable:Romero has allowed 2 or fewer earned runs in nine straight starts. Over his last five starts, dating back to June 14, he’s allowed three runs in 26 innings on 19 hits with seven walks and 28 strikeouts.

Brent Rooker (age 22/Rookie)

Last week: 7 games, 22 AB, 12 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 10 R, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 8 BB, 4 K, .526 BA.

Season: 17 games, 65 AB, .323 BA, .406 OBP, .646 SLG, 1.054 OPS, 3 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 15 R, 12 RBI, 2 SB, 10 BB, 16 K.

Notable: It’s only been a few weeks, but Rooker leads the Appalachian League in homers (helped out by the three he hit this past week), is third in slugging percentage and fourth in OPS.

Kohl Stewart (age 22/Double-A)

Last week: 1 game (1 starts), 1-0, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K

Season:9 games (9 starts), 2-4, 3.73 ERA, 41 IP, 37 H, 1 HR, 25 BB, 23 K, .242 OBA, 1.51 WHIP

Notable:Stewart had a season-high 87 pitches in his latest start, on July 9, and has allowed one run in each of his last three outings.

Others: Rochester C Mitch Garver (9th round, 2013) hit three home runs on July 9 vs. Syracuse and had four for the week. He has 12 HR on the season. Fort Myers CF Tanner English (11th round, 2014) batted .412 (7 for 17) with three home runs and four steals. Miracle RHP Sean Poppen (19th round, 2016) tossed eight shutout innings, allowing five hits. He’s made two appearances with Fort Myers since being promoted from Cedar Rapids and has 10 shutout innings (6 H, 1 BB, 6 K).

Statistics courtesy milb.com

Derwin James return to field buoys Florida States bounce-back hopes

Seminoles’ defensive star fielding preseason Heisman hype in comeback season.

CHARLOTTE Afterthe MRI results were in, Jimbo FisherofferedDerwin James, his sophomoresafety and one of the most physically giftedplayers he’d ever recruited, some advice: “Don’t waste this opportunity.”

The safety-linebacker hybrid equally capable of changing a game in the defensive backfield, rushing the quarterback or stopping the runsuffered a lateral meniscus tear in the knee in the second game of Florida State’s 2016 season after his knee buckled against Charleston Southern an injury that required surgery and prevented the former stud recruit from playing again in his sophomore season. Sitting in the room with Jimbo Fisher and the schools medical staff when he heard the news, as shown on Showtimes documentary of the teams season, James stared intently at the ground, quiet.

“The physical part was easy because my trainers, they kept me in shape. Even when I was hurt they kept me in shape,” James said. “The hardest part was just getting my mind back right.”

Florida State wore itspersonnel loss publicly. The injury alteredthe complexion of the defenses season. In the Seminoles three losses in 2016, the defense gave up 137 points to Louisville, North Carolina and Clemson. It was the second time this decade that a Seminoles defense finished outside the top-20 in scoring despite the presence of eventual draft picks DeMarcus Walker and Marquez White. By the time Clemson stormed into Tallahassee to all but cement their ACC title defense, the Seminoles were 5-3 and missing James’ innate ability toforce opposing coordinators to account for his presence on every snap.

Derwin James will eventually join his predecessors in the pro ranks, but for now hes readying himself to back up the (understandable) best player in the country hype. At ACC Media Days, he did not shy away from the lofty praise.

The natural follow-up question, and one that was asked often here in Charlotte on Thursday: Can he break the Heisman drought for defensive players?

More than capable, James said.

Fisher expanded upon the idea: “That dynamic is, I think,comingaround a little bit. I think we’re appreciating that we’re supposed to be rooting for the best player, you know what I mean, not always an offensive player. … We’ve got such a space game on offense that when you find those (defensive) guys that can play in space and still be physical, they shine.

“They even stand out more now than theyever did.”

Welcome to the reemergence of Derwin James.

If this line ofpreseason conversation appears to venture into hyperbole for a player who logged 11 tackles and oneinterception last season, keep in mind: This is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive back who registered 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks while starting on a top-10 defense nationally as a true freshman. The countrys fourth-ranked recruit coming out of Haines City Senior High in Auburndale, Fla., NFL evaluators are already drooling, projecting him as one of the first defensive players off the board should he choose to leave Florida State early. And that comes after a season-ending knee injury.

In this case, the hype may not supersede theexpectation.

Youre talking about a guy who had a tremendous freshman year, expectations. Tremendous athlete, can play three, four, five different positions,” Fisher said. “Great intelligence level. Thats the thing about him: Hes a tremendous competitor but hes also very intelligent. And I think thats one of the things we dont talk about with players; all your really great players usually have very high IQs, very intelligent guys that can process the game, process whats going on and learn different positions.

“To play the multitude of positions he plays, you cant do it and not be a smart guy.

James listened to Fisher’s advice. In his time away from the field, James treated his rehabilitation as a three-month study session, actingas a de facto coach on the sidelines. Thathelped him see the game through a different prism, see the action unfold from the outside looking in for the first time in his life.

Now, he says he’s back up to speed and the game has slowed down.

“Basically when the coach is getting on you it’s because of a reason,” James said of what he learned from the sidelines. “It’s because of something that you see, that they see, and like I say, I didn’t get that at first coming in, but now I understand why the coaches are on me so hard.”

James is a unique talent, and the Seminoles will need him to return to wreaking havoc on opposing offenses if they are going to reclaim the Atlantic Coast Conferences top spot.

With the ever-explosive Clemson Tigers, the defending national champs, and Louisville, boasting a high-octane offense led by reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, on the divisional slate, plus college footballs preeminent dynasty (Alabama) and in-state rivals Florida and Miami on the calendar, James & Co. will not be allowed to coast into the season.

The good news: He is not alone.

Fishers staff recruits like a top-five program year after year, so despite the loss of the defenses leader in Walker, the pipeline keeps the roster well-stocked.

The defense alone will feature former five-star recruits in Matthew Thomas, Josh Sweat, Tarvarus McFadden and an overload of former high-school stars. Its a veteran-laden unit with Thomas, Sweat and nose tackle Derrick Nnadi each returning after exceeding 10 tackles for loss in 2016. Throw in James with the likes of linebacker Brian Burns, building off his own breakout freshman season, and the group is poised to build off its five-game winning streak to end the season, one that included victories over No. 15 Florida and No. 6 Michigan. As quarterback Deondre Francois said, We just grew up as a team.

Thetalent level, depth and gradual progression from a host of young players forced into actionsets the stage for another possible College Football Playoff run for Fisher’s group and informsJames’ perspective on the preseason accolades, including that iconic award handed out at season’s end.

It dont win the championship. Just because you win the Heisman doesnt mean you win the championship, James said. I want to win the championship.

Rays’ Colby Rasmus stepping away from baseball

The Tampa Bay Rays have placed injured outfielder Colby Rasmus on the restricted list after the player’s decision to ‘step away from baseball.’

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays have placed injured outfielder Colby Rasmus on the restricted list after the player’s decision to ‘step away from baseball.’

The team did not provide specifics Thursday, instead saying in a brief statement that the club fully supports the player deciding to leave.

The statement concluded: “We are thankful for his contributions to our team, and we wish him and his family the best as they move forward. Respecting the privacy of Colby and his family, the Rays will have no further comment.”

Rasmus, who signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent last winter, had been on the 10-day disabled list since June 23 with left hip tendinitis.

He was limited by injuries to appearing in 37 games this season, but was batting .281 with nine homers and 23 RBIs in 121 at-bats.

Andrei Loktionov to attend LA Kings preseason camp on professional tryout

The former LA Kings draftee played in the KHL the past three seasons.

The LA Kings and center Andrei Loktionov are tentatively going to give it another go.

On Monday, the Kings announced an agreement with one-time LA draftee Loktionov on a professional tryout (PTO).

The LA Kings agree to a PTO with 27-year-old forward Andrei Loktionov. https://t.co/Tgel9pxW78

— #LAKings (@LAKings) July 13, 2017

Loktionov has spent the last three season playing in the KHL in Russia. The Russian-native was selected by LA with No. 123 overall pick in 2008 NHL Draft and was a part of the Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup winning team.

Last season, Loktionov bagged 27 points while playing withLokomotiv Yaroslavl. In his three seasons with the Kings, Loktionov registered just 14 points before being traded to the New Jersey Devils during the 2012-13 season.

As part of the PTO, Loktionov will attend Kings preseason training in September.