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Monday’s roundup: Armstrong knows he’s still a leader

Associated Press

Lincoln, Neb. — Tommy Armstrong Jr. isn’t pouting over not being voted a team captain, even though he is going into his fourth year as Nebraska’s starting quarterback and was a captain in 2015.

“Captains are chosen, leaders are born,” Armstrong said Monday. “Day 1, I’ve always been a leader here.”

The situation is similar to what happened at Michigan State last year, when veteran quarterback Connor Cook wasn’t voted a captain. The difference is that Cook expressed disappointment and Armstrong did not.

“That title doesn’t mean anything to me,” Armstrong said, “just because at the end of the day I know I’m a leader.”

Receiver Jordan Westerkamp, center Dylan Utter, safety Nate Gerry and linebacker Josh Banderas were voted captains. Armstrong said he voted for Westerkamp, his roommate, rather than for himself, and that each of the four captains was deserving.

Coach Mike Riley acknowledged he was a bit taken aback when Armstrong wasn’t chosen, and he gave him a heads-up before he spoke to the team.

“I didn’t want him to be surprised, just a blunt announcement like that,” Riley said. “He is absolutely still a leader on the team and he’s really well respected,” Riley said.

But then, Tommie Frazier wasn’t a captain when he led the Cornhuskers to national championships in 1994 and ’95.

Extra points

No. 25 Florida will have its top receiver available for Saturday’s opener against Massachusetts.

Sophomore Antonio Callaway, suspended much of the spring semester because a fellow student said he sexually assaulted her, has been cleared to play against the Minutemen.

Coach Jim McElwain said Callaway was given the go-ahead Friday. A university hearing officer cleared Callaway of sexual assault on Aug. 12, saying Callaway was not responsible based on a preponderance of evidence. The woman, her attorney and witnesses boycotted the hearing, saying the hearing officer was biased because of his financial contributions to the Gators.

The Miami native had 35 receptions for 678 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman last season and returned two punts for touchdowns.

“We’re fired up to have Antonio in the lineup,” quarterback Luke Del Rio said. “He’s done a tremendous job in practice. He’s been consistent every day and worked really hard to get it shape. And when he came back, we embraced him with open arms and he’s done a great job getting back into the groove. It can be difficult for some people.

... Ohio State’s depth at wide receiver took a hit when university officials announced Torrance Gibson has been suspended from school for unspecified reasons. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said the suspension was not related to football, and “I disagree with it.” He didn’t comment further. The university said Gibson was suspended for the fall semester for violating the student conduct code.

Gibson is a redshirt freshman quarterback-turned-receiver. Coaches said he was to be in the mix at wide receiver with Noah Brown, Corey Smith, Parris Campbell, Austin Mack and others.

... Jesse Ertz won a three-way competition to be the starting quarterback for Kansas State against No. 8 Stanford on Friday night, resuming the role he had for two plays last season.

Ertz hurt his knee in the opener against South Dakota, then managed one more snap before his year was over.

... Nine months after being diagnosed with lymphoma, Pittsburgh running back James Conner is cancer-free and atop the depth chart as the team prepares to host Villanova on Saturday.

... Iowa State defensive end and captain Mitchell Meyers, cancer-free, officially regained his starting status Monday.

... Baylor coach Jim Grobe says he is waiting for officials to make their ruling for any discipline for sophomore receiver Ishmael Zamora (video showed him beating his dog with a belt).

... South Carolina coach Will Muschamp says backup cornerback Rico McWilliams has chosen to give up football.