Football

College football notes: LSU corners All-America market

LSU's Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne became the first cornerback teammates to lock down spots on The AP All-America team.

Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist, and Claiborne were joined on the All-America team by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor and finalists Montee Ball of Wisconsin and Trent Richardson of Alabama.

Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck from Stanford was the second-team quarterback.

The team released Wednesday was selected by a panel of 16 AP poll voters.

The second-ranked Crimson Tide had the most first-teamers with four. Richardson was joined by tackle Barrett Jones, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Mark Barron. Tide linebacker Courtney Upshaw and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick also made the second team, leaving Alabama tied with No. 3 Oklahoma State for the most players selected overall.

The LSU duo was joined on the first team by Tigers punter Brad Wing. LSU guard Will Blackwell was a second-team selection and defensive end Sam Montgomery made the third team.

The top-ranked Tigers will play SEC West rival Alabama on Jan. 9 in New Orleans for the BCS title.

Since the AP began selecting both an offensive and defensive team in 1964, no team had put a pair of cornerbacks on the first team. Of course, few teams have had two cornerbacks as talented as Mathieu and Claiborne.

Mathieu, also known as Honey Badger, has been a mayhem-maker for LSU on defense and special teams. He forced five fumbles, intercepted two passes and scored four touchdowns — two on punt returns, two on fumble returns. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound sophomore also had 71 tackles and was versatile enough to be moved around the defense at times.

Claiborne is a prototypical shutdown corner. The 6-1 junior made six interceptions and averaged 29 yards per return, with a touchdown.

"We have one of the best defenses in the country," Mathieu said. "We've got a lot of NFL talent in our secondary, and our defense as a whole."

Western Kentucky running back Bobby Rainey was named to the third team.

Pitt coach bolts for ASU

Arizona State has hired Todd Graham as its next football coach.

Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love announced Wednesday that Graham will replace Dennis Erickson, who was dismissed following a 6-6 season in which the Sun Devils dropped their final four games.

Graham spent just one season in Pittsburgh, where he led the Panthers to a 6-6 mark and a tie for second place in the Big East.

The move caps a tumultuous season for the Panthers, who announced in September that they're leaving the Big East for the ACC by 2014 and will now be looking for their fourth head coach in the last 13 months.

Graham is 49-29 in a six-year head coaching career that includes stops at Tulsa and Rice.

Fresno St. hires DeRuyter

Fresno State has hired Texas A&M interim coach Tim DeRuyter to replace the fired Pat Hill as head coach.

DeRuyter will start his new job after coaching the Aggies at the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 31, against Northwestern.

DeRuyter had spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M before getting the interim job when Mike Sherman was fired earlier this month.

Navy to join Big East

Navy's athletic director has told CBSSports.com that the academy is preparing to join the Big East, but when it will happen is unclear.

Chet Gladchuk told the Web site "everyone in Navy's chain of command is comfortable" with the Big East, though the decision will ultimately be made by academy superintendent, Vice Admiral Michael Miller.

Gladchuk adds Navy must re-work future schedules and bowl and television contracts, and how long that takes will affect when it can join the conference. Navy is an independent in football and would be joining the Big East for football only.

Sanctions for S. Carolina

South Carolina told the NCAA it agrees that major violations took place in its football program and will eliminate six football scholarships over the next three years as part of several self-imposed penalties.

The school released its response Wednesday, three months after the NCAA accused the Gamecocks of receiving $55,000 in improper benefits for staying at a Columbia hotel at a reduced rate and for its involvement with a Delaware-based mentoring group whose president and treasurer are South Carolina graduates.

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