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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Georgia Tech stars added to watch lists as Yellow Jackets open practice; ACC Preseason Player of Year Watkins suspended for offseason drug arrest

Georgia Tech A-Back Orwin Smith is one of Top 50 playmakers in the country and was named as such this week when he was placed on the Paul Hornung Watch List.

Georgia Tech A-Back Orwin Smith is one of Top 50 playmakers in the country and was named as such this week when he was placed on the Paul Hornung Watch List.

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech senior Orwin Smith, who has produced more than 3,000 career all-purpose yards, was named this week to the preseason watch list for the Paul Hornung Award.

The Hornung Award, now in its third season, is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend Paul Hornung.

A fourth-year senior A-back from Phenix City, Ala., Smith has rushed for 1,157 career yards, ranks among Tech’s all-time prolific kick returners with 1,357 yards and has more than 500 yards receiving. With 3,041 yards, Smith has an opportunity this season to become just the fifth player in Yellow Jacket history to accumulate more than 4,000 career all-purpose yards.

Smith was earlier named to the preseason watch lists for the Doak Walker Award. Four other Yellow Jackets — Jeremiah Attaochu (Lombardi Award), Izaan Cross (Ted Hendricks Award), Jay Finch (Rimington Trophy) and Omoregie Uzzi (Outland Trophy) — are on preseason watch lists for national awards.


YELLOW JACKETS GET UNDER WAY IN ATLANTA:

ATLANTA --- Georgia Tech opened preseason practice Friday with 27 newcomers, including 17 scholarship freshmen, going through drills with coach Paul Johnson for the first time.

Johnson said the newcomers’ “heads were spinning a little bit” as they tried to keep pace in Friday’s workout, which lasted two hours.

Johnson added that senior quarterback Tevin Washington is the heavy favorite to open the season as the starter. Johnson also said “it would take something out of the ordinary” for Washington to lose his job.

Georgia Tech will have its fan day and media day today.

The Yellow Jackets open their season on Sept. 3 at Virginia Tech in a key Atlantic Coast Conference game.


CLEMSON STAR WATKINS MUST SIT FOR TWO GAMES:

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson All-America receiver and the ACC’s Preseason Player of the Year, Sammy Watkins, will miss the Tigers’ first two games as punishment for an offseason drug arrest.

The school announced the suspension Friday night. Clemson will be without their star wideout for the opener against Auburn in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 1 and the team’s first game at Death Valley against Ball State a week later.

Watkins was pulled over during a traffic stop and found to have marijuana and two pills he didn’t have a prescription for. He was charged with two counts of possession, both misdemeanor charges. The 19-year-old Watkins was eligible for a pretrial intervention program as a first time offender.


PATERNO FAMILY RIPS NCAA, VOWS APPEAL:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Joe Paterno’s family says it plans to appeal the sanctions imposed by the NCAA against Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

Family lawyer Wick Sollers in a letter sent Friday to the NCAA said they would like to appeal the “enormous damage” to Penn State, the community, athletes and the late Hall of Fame coach. Paterno died in January.

The landmark NCAA penalties handed down last month included a four-bowl ban, scholarship cuts and 111 vacated wins, meaning Paterno no longer has the most coaching victories in major college football.

The family says the NCAA acted hastily and without regard for due process.

“Furthermore, the NCAA and Penn State’s Board (of Trustees) Chair and President entirely ignored the fact that the Freeh Report, on which these extraordinary penalties are based, is deeply flawed because it is incomplete, rife with unsupported opinions and unquestionably one-sided,” Sollers wrote the NCAA.