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July 26 6 p.m. sports: ECU's McGhin on watch list; Panthers optimistic at training camp

Garrett McGhin (ECU Athletics photo)
Garrett McGhin (ECU Athletics photo)
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McGhin Named To 2018 Wuerffel Trophy Watch List


FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. – ECU senior offensive lineman Garrett McGhin has been named to the 2018 Wuerffel Trophy Watch List according to an announcement by the organization Thursday.

A Preseason All-American Athletic Conference selection by Phil Steele's College Football Preview Magazine, McGhin anchored an offensive line that reached 400 or more total yards on seven occasions, which included five passing outings of 300-plus yards and one 100-yard rushing effort. A year ago, the Pirates ranked 12th nationally in passing offense (317.9 ypg) and 42nd in total offense (425.6 ypg).

McGhin has played in 36 career contests, owning a combined 22 starts at the guard and center positions. He has been an integral part of an ECU offense that has produced 18 400-yard outings – seven of 500-plus yards – dating back to the 2016 season opener.

In the classroom, McGhin earned his bachelor's degree in communication on May 4, 2018 and is currently working on a health communication certificate. He has also volunteered his time in the community working with programs such as Aces for Autism, Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina, James & Connie Maynard Children's Hospital/Vidant Medical Center, Pirate Armada, Pitt County Trash Pick-up, Ronald McDonald House and the Special Olympics. During the annual American Athletic Conference Media Day event, McGhin worked with the American Digital Network as a media correspondent.

The Wuerffel Trophy, known as "College Football's Premier Award for Community Service," is presented annually at the All Sports Association's Awards Banquet in Fort Walton Beach. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

Voting for the Wuerffel Trophy is performed by a national selection committee that includes college football television and print media, industry notables, former head coaches and prior Wuerffel Trophy recipients.

The formal announcement of the 2018 recipient will be made at the National Football Foundation's press conference in New York City on December 4. The presentation of the 2018 Wuerffel Trophy will occur on February 15, 2019.

McGhin is the third Pirate to be named to a preseason watch list this season, joining wide receiver Trevon Brown (Biletnikoff Award) and defensive tackle Alex Turner (AFCA Good Works Team).


Aging Panthers feeling sense of urgency to win Super Bowl

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Tight end Greg Olsen realizes there’s a sense of urgency to win a Super Bowl ring now for a returning core group of Carolina Panthers who are fast approaching the end of their NFL careers.

Julius Peppers is 38 years old. Mike Adams is 37. Thomas Davis is 35. Ryan Kalil is 33, and has already said this year will be his last. The roster includes 19 players that are 29 or older, including Cam Newton.

“Yeah, I mean, I want to get one for them — but I want to get one for myself, too,” joked the 33-year-old Olsen as the Panthers reported to Wofford College for the start of training camp on Wednesday.

Olsen knows how difficult that can be, particularly when competing in the toughest division in football. Three NFC South teams won at least 10 games last season and reached the playoffs.

Carolina won 11 games — and was a wild card team.

Olsen is among 21 holdovers from the NFC Championship team that went 17-1 three seasons ago before losing to the Denver Broncos 24-10 in the Super Bowl.

“Coming so close and realizing just how hard it is to get there and fall short adds to that urgency,” Olsen said. “A lot of us have been playing this game a long time. We know there is no guarantee in anything. So you have to take advantage when you can. ... There is no telling how many years go by until you get a shot at another one.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he feels that sense of urgency among some of his veterans, but is confident the players will “approach things the right way and build to where we want to be.”

While the core of the team remains mostly intact — the exceptions being Jonathan Stewart, Charles Johnson and Kurt Coleman, who were released — the Panthers will have the challenge of adapting to three new coordinators.

Eric Washington takes over the defense after Steve Wilks became the second Carolina defensive coordinator to leave for an NFL head coaching job in two years.

Norv Turner, who once coached Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin to a pair of Super Bowls in the early 1990s with the Dallas Cowboys, replaces offensive coordinator Mike Shula after the Panthers finished 19th on offense last year.

Chase Blackburn is the new special teams coordinator.

The defense and special teams won’t change much, but the offense is expected to look noticeably different under Turner, who will be in charge of getting the most out of Newton, one of the game’s most dangerous dual-threat QBs.

Newton combined for 45 touchdowns passing and rushing with 10 only interceptions in 2015 to earn league MVP honors. In the two years since his production has dropped off with 52 combined touchdowns with 30 interceptions.

Newton is learning a new scheme under Turner, but at least he’s healthy.

Last year he missed most of the offseason workouts and the early portion of training camp recovering from shoulder surgery as the Panthers eased him back in.

Wide receiver Devin Funchess said Newton is full of energy this summer and “ready to rock.”

Carolina is to build on four trips to the playoffs in the last five seasons.

Christian McCaffrey said the Panthers have their eyes set on winning a Super Bowl and nothing less — something the second-year running back believes is “absolutely” possible.

“We have the guys, we have the talent and we have the leadership,” McCaffrey said. “We have some unbelievable coaches as well. So we are excited.”


AP source: Hawks agree to deal with Vince Carter

ATLANTA (AP) - A person familiar with the deal says veteran Vince Carter has agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million contract with the Atlanta Hawks.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.

The 41-year-old Carter was given the veteran's minimum deal to provide veteran leadership on a rebuilding Atlanta squad entering its first season with coach Lloyd Pierce.

Carter averaged 5.4 points and only 17.7 minutes per game while starting only five games last season with Sacramento.

He will be entering his 21st season with his eighth team. He is an eight-time All-Star and has averaged 17.7 points for his career.

Carter was named Rookie of the Year with Toronto in 1999. Following eight seasons with the Raptors, he was traded to New Jersey in 2004 and also has played for Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis and the Kings.


Bote, Rizzo homer in 9th to lift Cubs over D-Backs 7-6

CHICAGO (AP) - David Bote hit a tying, two-run homer off Brad Boxberger with one out in the ninth inning, Anthony Rizzo followed two pitches later with a winning home run and the Chicago Cubs overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 on Thursday.

Bote was called up when Kris Bryant was put on the disabled list Thursday because of inflammation in his left shoulder. Bote drove a thigh-high 0-2 fastball about a half-dozen rows in the bleachers in left-center for his second home run this season, tying the score 6-6.

Rizzo took a strike, then sent a thigh-high changeup to the top of the bleachers in right-center. Boxberger (1-4) blew a save for the fifth time in 29 chances.

Nick Ahmed hit his first career grand slam in the fifth, an inning after Alex Avila's two-run homer, as the Diamondbacks built a 6-1 lead.

Chicago got two runs in the fifth on Anthony Rizzo's RBI single and run-scoring grounder by Albert Almora Jr., who reached when third baseman Daniel Descalso allowed his potential inning-ending, double-play grounder to bounce away for an error.

Kyle Schwarber scored from third base with two outs in the sixth when Javier Baez reached while striking out as Zach Godley bounced a breaking ball for a wild pitch.

Eddie Butler (1-1), the fifth Chicago reliever, retired Jon Jay on a flyout that stranded two runners in the ninth.

Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood allowed four runs, five hits and six walks in 4 2/3 innings. Chatwood leads the major leagues with 85 walks and has a 7.71 ERA in his last five starts.

Godley gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.


RHP Matt Andriese joined the Diamondbacks, a day after he was acquired from Tampa Bay. RHP Randall Delgado was designated for assignment. Manager Torey Lovullo said Andriese (3-4, 4.07 in 27 games with Tampa Bay) would be used in roles ranging from three outs to three innings.


Bote was recalled from Triple-A Iowa for the fifth time this season. He saved a run with the bases loaded in the second when he slid to his left to grab David Peralta's grounder.


Diamondbacks: 3B Jake Lamb left in the third because of a bruised left shoulder.

Cubs: INF Javier Baez was held out of the starting lineup for a second straight day because of a bruised left knee. He pinch hit in the sixth and remained in the game at shortstop.


Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (11-5, 3.05) faces RHP Luis Perdomo (1-5, 6.99) at San Diego on Friday to begin a three-game series.

Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (3-3, 3.73) takes the mound against Cardinals RHP Luke Weaver (11-6, 4.65) in the opener of a three-game set in St. Louis on Friday.

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