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Mack wins Lambert Award

By Bob DiCesare

UB linebacker Khalil Mack received some more hardware for the trophy case with today's annoucement that he's the winner of the Jack Lambert Award presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Columbus to the nation's premier linebacker.

The award comes two days after Mack was named the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and about a month after he became just the second player in UB history selected to participate in the Senior Bowl. Mack also is a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award, with announcement of that winner coming on or before Tuesday. The Butkus Award also goes to the nation's top linebacker.

Mack is the first MAC linebacker to capture the Lambert Trophy, created in honor of former Kent State standout Jack Lambert. The award has a storied history. Past winners are:

 

2012 Jarvis Jones Georgia
2011 Luke Kuechly Boston College
2010 Von Miller Texas A&M
2009 Ronaldo McClain Alabama
2008 James Laurinaitis Ohio State
2007 James Laurinaitis Ohio State
2006 Patrick Willis Ole Miss
2005 A.J. Hawk Ohio State
2004 Derrick Johnson Texas
2003 Jonathan Vilma Miami (FL)
2002 E.J. Henderson Maryland
2001 Rocky Calmus Oklahoma
2000 Dan Morgan Miami (FL)
1999 LaVar Arrington Penn State
1998  Dat Nuygen Texas A&M
1997 Andy Katzenmoyer Ohio State
1996 Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern
1995 Simeon Rice Illinois
1994 Derrick Brooks Florida State
(tie) Dana Howard Illinois
1993 Trev Alberts Nebraska
1992 Marvis Jones Florida State
1991 Eric Anderson Michigan

 

The Lambert Award will be presented to Mack during the Touchdown Club of Columbus awards dinner Feb. 8.

Mack set one NCAA career record and tied another during a standout senior season that has vaulted him into the upper tier in many NFL Draft projections. He set the record for career forced fumbles (14) when he produced three during UB's late-season victory over Miami (Ohio. He tied the career mark for tackles for loss (75) in the regular-season finale against Bowling Green and presumably will get a chance to take sole possession of the record in a postseason bowl game. UB expects to learn its bowl fate no later than Sunday night.

 

Kiper on Khalil Mack

By Bob DiCesare

Here's what ESPN's NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had to say about UB linebacker Khalil Mack on a conference call today: Bills beat writer Mark Gaughan listened in.

"I've liked Mack from the get-go and had a high grade on him from the start," Kiper said. "He's maintained that. He hasn't fallen back at all. On my big board he's at No. 7. He's got everything you want . . . I'd put Mack ahead of some ofher guys just because of his physicality, his talent, his production. He's got a chance to be a top 10 pick . . . Khalil Mack is solidly I think in the top 10 overall."

NFL scout have had a constant presence around UB dating to training camp. Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim attended Tuesday's game at Toledo and scouts from five other teams requested seats.

Mack tied his career high with 15 tackles against the Rockets and remains in close pursuit of the NCAA career records for forced fumbles and tackles for loss.

Baylor Well Aware of K-Mack

By Bob DiCesare

Here's what Baylor coach Art Briles had to say about UB LB Khalil Mack on today's Big 12 coaches teleconference. The Bears entertain Bulls at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Waco:

"He's definitely different. He's a guy that you certainly have to account for from an offensive standpoint. He's very dynamic. I've seen where he's been rated as the No. 2 linebacker in America this year so he sticks out. As soon as you put the film on -- we started watching yesterday -- it takes about one play to figure out who their guy is. I mean, he's it. He's good. He's earned his reputation and plays extremely well."

The Bears opened the season walloping FCS Wofford, 69-3, and have scored at least 41 points in five straight games. Quarterback Bryce Petty was 19 of 24 for 312 yards and two TDs in his first career start andjunior RB Lache Seastrunk went for 111 yards and two scores on 11 carries. Nine Baylor players had receptions and six of them averaged at last 10 yards per catch.

Meyer: Mack could start for Buckeyes

Rodney McKissic

Count Urban Meyer among the growing list of admirers of UB linebacker Khalil Mack.

Meyer said during the Big Ten conference call on Tuesday that Mack could start for the nation's No. 2 ranked team. Asked about jumping to a quick start in Saturday's game against the Bulls, Meyer quickly turned his attention to Mack, the Butkus Award candidate, who already holds school records for tackles for loss (56) and forced fumbles (11).

"They have a linebacker who could certainly start for Ohio State," Meyer said. "He will be a great NFL player. The more I watch him - I watched him during the summer but not with the same intensity as I've watched the last few days. Excellent player."

Mack Receives All-American Nod

By BOB DICESARE

UB linebacker Khalil Mack, widely projected as no worse than a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has been named a third-team All-American by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Mack is one of five Mid-American Conference players cited.

Kent State RB Dri Archer is first team on special teams, while Toledo WR Bernard Reedy and Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch are second team on special teams. The only other non-special teams player honored from the MAC was Kent State DL Roosevelt Nix, a member of the fourth-team defense.

Lyncn and Archer were identified as "all-purpose" players.

Ohio State, UB's opponent in this year's opener, put LBs Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby on the first team defense and QB Braxton Miller on the second team offense. Baylor, UB's Week Two opponent, has a first-teamer in OG Cyril Richardson and a third-teamer in RB Lache Seastrunk.

On the baseball front, Collegiate Baseball newspaper's Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team includes two Bulls, reliever Ben Hertz and 3B/DH Tyler Mautner. Mautner batted .295 with 23 doubles and 35 RBIs. Hartz had six wins and a 2.01 ERA (UB's lowest since 2000). 

Pack signs Rivers

UB wideout Marcus Rivers (Lackawanna) has signed a free-agent deal with the Green Bay Packers that reunites him with former Bulls RB James Starks (Niagara Falls). Rivers caught 60 passes for 615 yards and 2 TDs last season. He goes 6-3, 220.

-- Bob DiCesare

A mock draft Bills fans will love

Barkley ---During our NFL Draft chat last week, Bills fans were begging for the team to select a quarterback and tight end. WalterFootball.com offers a 2012 mock draft that has the Bills taking both, including USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

---Rivals.com's list of the top football/basketball programs during the BCS era.

---Here's a list of all the bowl games for the 2011-12 season.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Life as a Cowboy

Josh+Thomas

---It's only been a few days, but Josh Thomas has already learned how things are different when you're a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Thomas, pictured along with UB coach Jeff Quinn, is discovering what it means to become a part of America's Team. No longer can the unassuming Thomas walk around Dallas without being recognized.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Maynard leading Cal QB race

Maynard ---This may make UB fans cringe considering the team's quarterback woes of last season, but former Bulls QB Zach Maynard took every rep with the first team during a controlled scrimmage Saturday, and will likely enter training camp as Cal's starter. The play of Maynard has already caused one QB to leave the school.

Maynard, you may recall, transferred from UB shortly after Jeff Quinn was hired as Turner Gill's replacement. Maynard attended a junior college before enrolling at Cal where his half brother, Keenan Allen, set a Cal single-season record for true freshmen for receptions with 46.

Maynard earned the starting job at UB as a sophomore in 2009, completing 57.5 percent of his passes for 2,694 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Maynard also had 455 rushing yards before transferring to Cal, where he could give a coach Jeff Tedford's offense a dimension it hasn't had since he coached Akili Smith at Oregon in 1998-99.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

More on Josh Thomas

Josh running ---Here's some more stories about UB cornerback Josh Thomas, pictured left, who was drafted in the fifth round Saturday but his hometown Dallas Cowboys.

---Five things to know about Josh Thomas.

---A high track and field standout, Thomas once gave away his gold medal to a rival runner.

---His high school football coach says Thomas will work his tail off.

---Thomas was one of three players from the MAC selected, joining Temple's Muhammad Wilkerson, who was selected in the first round by the Jets, and Jaiquawn Jarrett, who was picked by the Eagles in the second round.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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