NCF Nation: Alex Figueroa

 
Miami linebackers Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue were dismissed from the team Tuesday following their arrest on sexual battery charges.

Both players are accused of having sex with a "physically helpless" 17-year-old girl. According to the police report, both admitted to performing sexual acts on the victim without her consent.

Here are the statements issued from Miami officials:

School president Donna E. Shalala:

“The safety and welfare of our students is fundamental to our mission as a university. We have zero tolerance for sexual assault and gender-based violence. There is no confusion about our responsibility as a university: We will fully and compassionately support the victim of sexual assault. I have spoken to her myself and reassured her of our full support. We have suspended the men involved, and they have been barred from campus. Our athletic director has taken firm action ending their involvement in the football program. We have notified the individuals involved that the university is beginning an investigation immediately, which we expect to conclude quickly and fairly. We will also continue to cooperate with the police in their ongoing criminal investigation.”

Athletic director Blake James:

"Earlier today, I permanently dismissed JaWand Blue and Alexander Figueroa from the UM football team. The University has also suspended the students from school and barred them from all campus facilities while the University conducts an internal investigation and continues to cooperate with local law enforcement. Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus. We hold all of our students – especially student athletes – to the highest standards of moral conduct. The University is committed to maintaining a safe campus environment for all."

Ranking the ACC's impact freshmen

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
10:30
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Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe is a throwback, and he's never been eager to play his freshmen too early. In his career at the helm of the Demon Deacons, just 22 true freshmen have seen action. And yet, in 2013, Grobe has already played 11 more.

It's a sign of the times that true freshmen are making an instant impact, and that's been particularly true in the ACC. And while virtually every program has seen some results from its Class of 2013 already, these five classes have produced the most through four weeks.

[+] EnlargeJalen Ramsey
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesIn FSU's season opener, Jalen Ramsey became the Noles' first true freshman cornerback to start a game since Deion Sanders in 1986.
1. Pittsburgh: According to ESPN's rankings, Pitt had the 41st-ranked recruiting class last season, but few programs have gotten more production from their freshmen right off the bat than the Panthers. Pitt has played 12 true freshmen already this season, including two of the nation's best. Tailback James Conner ranks second in the ACC in rushing, and receiver Tyler Boyd has been electric, ranking fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards. Including receiver Scott Orndoff and kicker Chris Blewitt, freshmen have accounted for 70 percent of Pittsburgh's scoring this season.

2. Virginia Tech: The Hokies opened the season with two freshman defensive backs aiming to shut down the two-time defending champions. It was a major question mark, but Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller answered emphatically. Facyson has three interceptions and four passes defended so far, while Fuller has racked up 12 tackles, seven defended passes, six pass breakups and an interception. With the two freshmen starting all four games, Virginia Tech's passing defense ranks sixth in the nation.

3. NC State: Without starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell, the Wolfpack have had to find offense wherever they can, and two true freshmen have answered the call. Tailback Matt Dayes has racked up 143 yards on 37 carries so far, scoring three touchdowns. Meanwhile, receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling ranks in the top 15 in the ACC in receiving yards, yards per reception and yards per game.

4. Florida State: Jalen Ramsey became the first Florida State cornerback to earn a starting assignment as a true freshman since Deion Sanders in the opener, and he didn't disappoint, picking off Pitt QB Tom Savage for the Seminoles' first takeaway of the season. Ramsey ranks sixth on the team with 12 tackles, and he's recorded one of FSU's six sacks. Defensive end DeMarcus Walker earned a start, too, and Matthew Thomas has two tackles for loss. In all, 13 freshmen have seen the field for FSU.

5. Miami: The Hurricanes have yet to see significant contributions from a number of members of their 15th-ranked recruiting class, but the early results from Gus Edwards, Alex Figueroa and Stacy Coley have offered a glimpse of what's to come. Edwards has carried just 18 times, but he's scored on three of those runs, and his 7.3 yards-per-carry average ranks fourth in the ACC. Coley has just five catches, but one went for a touchdown, and Figueroa has eight tackles and a sack for a particularly tough Miami linebacking corps.
Few if any coaches will tell you point-blank this time of year which first-year players are likely to see the field and get a chance to contribute immediately, but there were a few hints across the ACC this spring. For some players, like Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the spotlight was unavoidable. For others, like Miami freshman linebacker Alex Figueroa, their success was more under the radar. Based on what we learned this spring, here are five first-year players worth watching this fall in the ACC in no particular order:

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesJameis Winston's intelligence might be as impressive as his physical tools, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said.
Clemson TE Jordan Leggett: He enrolled in January and wasted no time impressing the coaching staff. When Sam Cooper tore his ACL, the door opened for Leggett, who had seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in the spring game, and he played well in the last two scrimmages. He’s not listed as the starter yet, but he is good enough to earn the job by the opener against Georgia.

UNC RB Khris Francis: Another early enrollee, Francis opened some eyes with a stellar performance in the spring game. With the early departure of standout Giovani Bernard to the NFL, the Tar Heels are in need of a running back to step up. While A.J. Blue and Romar Morris are the leading candidates to do that, Francis showed some big-time potential this spring. He had a game-high 101 yards on 20 carries in the spring game.

Miami LB Alex Figueroa: Figueroa also enrolled in January, and Miami’s coaches have praised his progress -- evidenced by his spot at the top of the post-spring depth chart at outside linebacker. The son of two U.S. Marines, Figueroa has been lauded by those within the program for his tireless work ethic. According to hurricanesports.com, coach Al Golden said that Figueroa earned the No. 1 Sam linebacker spot in the spring because he outworked everyone during Miami's UTough program.

Florida State QB Jameis Winston: The hype has grown larger than the 6-foot-4, 218-pound two-sport phenom, but he hasn’t even officially been named the starter. Following the transfer of former quarterback Clint Trickett, though, and an outstanding performance in the spring game, many FSU fans have already anointed Winston the starter, even if coach Jimbo Fisher hasn’t. At the very least, Winston’s 12-for-15, 205-yard passing performance in the spring game made him the clear front-runner.

(tie) Virginia Tech cornerback Brandon Facyson and tackle Jonathan McLaughlin: They were both early enrollees and played well enough this spring to work their way into the two-deep. McLaughlin played his way to first-team left tackle, ahead of junior Mark Shuman, and Facyson spent time with the second-team defense behind starter Kyle Fuller.
Miami released its post-spring depth chart on Tuesday, and the Canes got a big boost in their kicking game.

Pat O'Donnell, a graduate punter from Cincinnati and the best punter in the Big East, is listed as the Canes' No. 1 punter and is also listed on the depth chart for field goals, kickoffs and placeholder. O'Donnell has signed a financial aid agreement with Miami, and is expected to enroll in either the summer or fall semester. O'Donnell averaged 41.8 yards per punt on 59 attempts with the Bearcats in 2012, while dropping 23 kicks inside the 20-yard line and booting 10 kicks of 50+ yards.

He was a first-team all-Big East selection in 2011 and second-team last season.

The only other new face on the depth chart was freshman Alex Figueroa, who is listed as the Canes' No. 1 outside linebacker, the only freshman listed as a starter following spring practice.

Several players were held out of spring practice because of injury, including linebacker Thurston Armbrister, running back Eduardo Clements, receiver Robert Lockhart Jr., center Shane McDermott and defensive lineman David Perry. Receiver Malcolm Lewis, who was held out for the majority of spring practice, made his debut during the Spring Game with a 75-yard touchdown -- his first action since a season-ending ankle injury Sept. 22, 2012, at Georgia Tech.

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