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University of Akron men's basketball head coach Keith Dambrot announced on Wednesday that Noah Robotham has signed a national letter of intent to play for the Zips in the 2014-15 season.

Robotham, a 5-11 point guard from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, joins the Zips as the No. 6 player in the Class of 2014 from the state of Nevada, according to the ESPN Top 100.

"Noah is a proven winner with an outstanding basketball IQ and tremendous skill at the point guard position," Dambrot said. "He comes from a program with a winning tradition and has a great family, including a brother that plays basketball in Canada."
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The University of Akron has been named the 2013-14 Mid-American Conference Reese Trophy winner as the league's top men's athletics program, the conference office announced Tuesday.

The 2013-14 Reese Trophy is the first in program history for the Zips, who joined the MAC in 1992. Akron's third-place finish last year was its previous best finish.

"To win this award for the first time -- and to clinch it before the spring season concludes -- is a tremendous statement about the efforts of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and supporters at The University of Akron," Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill said. "We identified winning our first Reese Trophy as a major goal in IMPACT 2020, the strategic vision for Zips Athletics that was released in December, and we thank everyone who contributed to this success."

Competing in seven MAC-sponsored men's sports, the Zips needed performances from just five to lock up the award, as baseball and outdoor track and field are still competing. UA entered the spring championship season with a 10.3 average, 1.47 points higher than second-place Western Michigan. Akron's final score, as well as those of the remaining 11 conference programs, will be announced at a later date.

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Miami University men’s basketball forward Bill Edwards (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown/Penn State) will not return to the RedHawk program for the 2014-15 season. Edwards is scheduled to graduate this weekend during Miami University’s commencement ceremonies.

“We thank Bill for his contributions to the Miami men’s basketball program during his time here,” said head coach John Cooper. “He has a great basketball IQ and understanding of the game. Bill has chosen to pursue a sixth-year waiver and play out a final year at another institution. We, along with our compliance staff, will do everything we can to assist him in that process.”

Hampered by injuries, Edwards played in 24 games over three seasons for the RedHawks.

MAC Players Selected in the 2014 NFL Draft

1st Round: (UB) LB Khalil Mack, 5th overall (Oakland Raiders), NIU DB Jimmie Ward, 30th overall (San Francisco 49ers).

3rd Round: KSU WR/KR Dri Archer, 97th overall (Pittsburgh Steelers).

5th Round: BSU DE Jonathan Newsome, 166th overall (Indianapolis Colts).

6th Round: BSU QB Keith Wenning, 194th overall (Baltimore Ravens).

7th Round: Ohio DB Travis Carrie, 219 overall (Oakland Raiders). UMass TE Rob Blanchflower 230th overall (Pittsburgh Steelers), NIU DL Ken Bishop, 251st overall (Dallas)

NFL Free Agent Signings

Akron: OT Jarrod Pughsley.

Buffalo: DB Derek Brim (Buffalo), WR Alex Neutz (Cincinnati), RB Brandon Oliver (Indianapolis).

Ball State: WR Willie Snead (Cleveland).

Bowling Green: TE Alex Bayer (St. Louis).

Central Michigan: RB Zurlon Tipton (Indianapolis).

Eastern Michigan: OT Andu Pulu (Seattle), S Mycal Swain (Tampa Bay).

Kent State: DT Roosevelt Nix  (Atlanta), CB Darius Polk (Indianapolis).

Massachusetts: OL Anthony Dima (Cleveland).

Miami: Austin Brown (Houston), CB Dayonne Nunley (San Diego).

Northern Illinois: QB Jordan Lynch (Chicago), LB Joe Windsor (Dallas).

Ohio: WR Donte Foster (Minnesota).

Toledo: WR Bernard Ready (Atlanta), C Zac Kerin (Minnesota), RB David Fluellen (Philadelphia), QB Terrence Owens (Pittsburgh).  

Ohio defensive back Travis Carrie was selected by the Oakland Raiders, 219th overall, while UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 230th overall. Ken Bishop of Northern Illinois was also part of Saturday’s seventh round selections. 
Carrie earned 2013 All-Mid-American Conference honors as both a punt returner (First Team) and as a cornerback (Third Team).  In 2013, Carrie tied for the team lead with four interceptions and owned a league-best 12.7 punt return average.

The second-year captain concluded his Bobcat career in style as he picked off a pair of passes, returning them both for touchdowns in the Bobcats' final home game of the year. He became the first Bobcat since Dion Byrum to return two interceptions for touchdowns.  During his six seasons in Athens, Carrie helped the Bobcats to five straight bowls, two bowl victories and a pair of MAC East Division championships.  

Despite missing half the season due to injury, Blanchflower still maintained a veteran leadership role with the team during the course of the season as captain. 

A member of the Mackey Award Watch List and one of UMass' highly rated NFL draft prospects, Blanchflower ranked second on the team in receiving yards (313), catches (27) and touchdowns (3). He broke Hall of Famer Milt Morin's UMass record for receiving yards by a tight end in the game against Akron and finished his career ranked 15th all-time at UMass with 1,164 yards. He also ranks 8th all-time in career receptions with 109.    

Newsome headed to Colts while Wenning goes to Ravens
Two Ball State football players -- Jonathan Newsome and Keith Wenning -- were selected Saturday in the 2014 National Football League Draft.

 Newsome, a defensive end for the Cardinals, was selected with the 26th pick of the fifth round by the Indianapolis Colts.  Wenning, a quarterback at Ball State, was chosen by the Baltimore Ravens with the 18th pick of the sixth round.  These two student-athletes mark the first Cardinals selected in the NFL Draft since Nate Davis and Robert Brewster were selected in the 2009 Draft.   Ball State and Northern Illinois were the only two Mid-American Conference schools to have at least two players drafted in 2014.

“We take great pride in developing our players on and off the field,” Ball State fourth-year head coach Pete Lembo said.  “Jonathan and Keith are examples of student-athletes that bought in, worked hard and ultimately, benefitted greatly from their time in our football program.  We are grateful for their contributions and look forward to following them as football alumni.”
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Second Huskie to be drafted
Northern Illinois University defensive tackle Ken Bishop (Lauderhill, Fla./Piper HS/Ellsworth CC) became the second Huskie to be chosen in the 2014 National Football League Draft when he was selected in the seventh round by the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.  Overall Bishop was the 251st player chosen, joining NIU teammate Jimmie Ward, the first round selection of the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, as Huskies in this year’s draft.

NIU had multiple players chosen in the NFL Draft for the seventh time ever and for the first time since 2007.  The Huskies had two defensive players selected in the same year for the first time since 1987, when noseguard Doug Bartlett was a fourth-round choice of the Los Angeles Rams and linebacker Clarence Vaughn was chosen by the Washington Redskins in the eighth round.  

NIU head coach Rod Carey was happy to see Bishop, a junior college transfer who started at noseguard for the Huskies in each of the last two years, drafted.

“I’m really happy for Ken,” Carey said.  “He was a very productive player for us over the last two years and now he has the opportunity to go down and make the Dallas Cowboys team.  He’s explosive, has great foot speed and plays hard.  When you get those three things together, you have a really productive inside player.”
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Steelers select KSU standout in third round

Kent State's Dri Archer was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the NFL Draft Friday night.  Archer, the 97th pick overall,  caught the attention of pro football fans everywhere in February with a 40-yard dash time of 4.26 seconds at the NFL Combine, the second fastest recording in the history of the event.

Rated the No. 4 running back on Mel Kiper's (ESPN) positional rankings, Archer was also recognized as one of the top kick returners in the draft.  He also gives the Steelers a potential punt returner and slot receiver.

Eleven Kent State alums were on NFL rosters in 2013 and Archer become fifth Golden Flash to be drafted in the first three rounds since 1997.  Last season, the New York Jets drafted offensive lineman Brian Winters in the third round.

Archer also impressed NFL scouts at the combine by putting up the 225-pound bench press 20 times and recording a 38-inch vertical jump.

In 2012, Archer set Kent State's single-season record for touchdowns with 23 (16 rushing, 4 receiving, 3 kick returns).  His 9.0 yards per carry and 36.9 yards per kick return both led the nation.

Hampered by an injury for a portion of the 2013 season, Archer still managed to average 7.8 yards per carry and lead the Golden Flashes with 11 touchdowns.  He also developed his skills as wide receiver, making 25 catches for 327 yards. 

PictureJimmie Ward (NIU Athletics)
 Huskie All-American is Second-Highest Draft Choice in School History
Northern Illinois University safety Jimmie Ward became the second Huskie player ever to be selected in the first round of the National Football League Draft when he was chosen with the 30th pick in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night. 

Ward is the Huskies’ second highest draft choice all-time, behind only Larry English, who was chosen by the San Diego Chargers with the No. 16 overall pick in 2008. 

“It’s big-time,” said an excited NIU Head Coach Rod Carey of Ward’s selection.  “What a thrill for Jimmie.  What an accomplishment, to become just the second first-rounder ever out of NIU.  I am so happy for him and his family, you can’t even imagine.  I am thrilled for NIU as well and what this says about our program.