NCAA

Redskins' 'One Man Gang' Alexander gets his due

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Redskins' 'One Man Gang' Alexander gets his due

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Lorenzo Alexander is a familiar name around the NFL, especially among those who follow special teams. He's been a relentless force on coverage units for years, and the Washington Redskins currently list him at the league leader in the unofficial stat of solo special teams tackles.

He's also a team captain and one of the locker room's unofficial spokesmen. Last year he won the Redskins' Good Guy Award for his genial cooperation with the media and was also Washington's nominee last year for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his off-the-field work.

This week, for a change, Alexander is getting noticed for making some big plays on defense.

He plucked a fumble out of the air deep in opposition territory and had 1 1/2 sacks and four quarterback hurries in the Redskins' 38-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. He had an impact even though he was on the field for just 27 defensive plays - about one-third of the total. He received a game ball from coach Mike Shanahan and, for the first time in his six-year career, was given a spot at the podium for his own news conference following the game.

``He's a guy that gives everything,'' Shanahan said. ``And we're going to have to play him some more, obviously.''

When two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo was lost for the season with a shoulder injury in Week 2, Shanahan said Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson would rotate at the outside spot with the expectation that one or the other would emerge as the new starter.

Four weeks later, the position is still very fluid. Jackson played exactly half of the 84 defensive snaps against the Vikings. Wilson was on the field for just two, fewer than both Alexander and recent midseason signing Mario Addison (11).

Alexander, whose been called the ``One Man Gang'' and the ``Swiss Army Knife,'' played both offensive line and defensive line earlier in his career and lost some 30 pounds this offseason to help his coverage skills as a backup inside linebacker.

Instead, with Orakpo gone, he's finding a niche on the edge.

``I think we might have struck gold with where we've got him playing right now, in that kind of rush-linebacker position,'' defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. ``It's almost like he's running down, busting through a wedge, when he's breaking through that line of scrimmage. To me it seems like a natural fit. As soon as we put in him there, it seems like he's flourished in that role, so I think we can expect big things from him in that spot.''

Alexander was typically humble about his big game, saying he was being opportunistic and ``in the right place at the right time,'' but he acknowledged the recognition was a nice change of pace from the often-ignored work he does on special teams.

``It's a cool feeling, a cool perspective,'' Alexander said. ``Obviously I know what special teams brings to the game - it's not appreciated on a grand scheme - but it is what it is, and I'm fine with getting this attention now that I've done a little bit on defense. Now it's about consistency.'' ---

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Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

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USA Today Sports

Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

A bombshell article published Friday morning by Pat Forde and Pete Thaamel of YAHOO Sports details potential NCAA violations involving more than 20 schools and 25 players.

Among some of the biggest names and programs in college basketball includes former Maryland Terrapin, Diamond Stone.

According to documents and bank records that are part of an FBI investigation, Stone received $14,303 while a freshman at Maryland, a clear violation of NCAA rules. 

Former NBA agent, Andy Miller and his former associate, Christian Dawkins of ASM Sports were dishing out the incentives. Included were cash advances, entertainment expenses and travel expenses for high school and college prospects.

Other player's included in the documents include Dennis Smith who played at North Carolina State, Isaiah Whitehead from Seton Hall, DeMatha star Markelle Fultz who played at Washington and Edrice Adebayo who went on to play at Kentucky. 

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season before declaring for the NFL draft. He was selected 40th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans and traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Stone did  end up signing with a different agency.

While this is still under investigation, large consequences for the NCAA can be expected.

The NCAA released this statement following the news. 

These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York's indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it's clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!