Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins heading to the NFL
CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson record-setting receiver DeAndre Hopkins is heading to the NFL and skipping his final season of college.
Hopkins said on Twitter on Thursday that while he enjoyed his time with the Tigers, he is ready for the next level. Clemson athletics spokesman Tim Bourret confirmed that Hopkins is making himself eligible for the NFL draft in April.
Hopkins had a been a solid performer his first two seasons but broke out in a big way this past fall with a school record 1,405 yards receiving on 82 catches. His 18 touchdowns were an Atlantic Coast Conference record.
He closed his college career in impressive fashion with 13 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns in a Chick-Fil-A Bowl victory over LSU. Hopkins made a sliding 26-yard catch on fourth and 16 to keep the Tigers game-winning drive alive in the 25-24 win.
Oklahoma State RB Randle enters NFL draft
STILLWATER, Okla. — All-Big 12 running back Joseph Randle plans to skip his senior season at Oklahoma State and enter the NFL draft.
Randle announced Thursday on Twitter that he “decided to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL.” Randle tweeted a thank you to fans for the best three years of his life and to the Cowboys’ coaches.
Randle led all Big 12 rushers last season with 1,417 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. He ran for 1,216 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2011, when Oklahoma State won the Big 12 championship and the Fiesta Bowl.
Backup Jeremy Smith responded to a tweet from ex-OSU star Thurman Thomas by sending out a message that he’s “ready to fill the role and do my Job the best I can!”
Danica Patrick not running in this year’s Indy 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Danica Patrick’s talking about challenges that lay ahead, Clint Bowyer’s not saying whether he and Jeff Gordon have patched their differences, and Brad Keselowski is eager to defend his Sprint Cup title.
That’s right, the start of another NASCAR season is just around the corner.
Patrick said Thursday that she does not plan to race in this year’s Indianapolis 500 because she wants to concentrate on her first full-time season on NASCAR’s highest level of competition.
Bowyer brushed aside questions about whether he and Gordon have made up in the months that have passed since a fight between the two drivers’ crews broke out after Gordon intentionally wrecked Bowyer the week before last season’s finale.
“Who cares? Really, who cares?” Bowyer said, addressing the media on the first day of testing of NASCAR’s new “Gen 6” cars at Daytona International Speedway. “Apparently, you guys do way more than we do. I can promise you that.”
Record-setting Taylor breaks wrist, out for season
GRINNELL, Iowa — Jack Taylor, who set the NCAA scoring record with 138 points in a game in November, is out for the season after breaking his wrist.
Grinnell College spokesman Ted Schultz says Taylor fractured the radius on his shooting arm during a 119-117 win over rival Cornell (Iowa) on Wednesday.
Taylor will likely have surgery within a week and be out two to three months, costing the sensational sophomore the rest of the season.
Taylor captured the attention of the basketball world when he dropped 138 points against Faith Baptist Bible College on Nov. 12, shattering the previous mark by 25 points. Taylor finishes his season averaging 36.3 points per game in leading the Pioneers to a 9-3 record.
Radwanska continues hot start, wins eighth in a row
SYDNEY — Top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska has advanced to the Sydney International final, running her 2013 winning streak to eight matches with a 6-3, 6-4 win over former French Open champion Li Na on Thursday.
Radwanska, who lost last year’s Wimbledon final to Serena Williams, won the Auckland WTA tournament last week and goes into next week’s Australian Open as the fourth-seeded player.
Radwanska will play Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in Friday’s final. Cibulkova beat second-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
In men’s matches, unseeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-3 and will play Julien Benneteau of France in the semifinals on Friday. Benneteau beat American qualifier Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2.
Bernard Tomic of Australia, who beat No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic at the Hopman Cup two weeks ago, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
Sloane Stephens into Hobart International semis
HOBART, Australia — Eighth-seeded Sloane Stephens advanced to the Hobart International semifinals Thursday with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 win over fellow American and qualifier Lauren Davis.
Defending champion Mona Barthel of Germany also reached the semifinals, beating Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-3. Barthel will play Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, who beat Monica Niculescu of Romania 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Stephens will play Elena Vesnina of Russia in Friday’s other semifinal. Vesnina played better in windy conditions Thursday to beat wild-card Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 6-3, 6-2.
“I had to be smart and in the wind you have to use it like a weapon,” Vesnina said.
The 22-year-old Barthel said she’s “improved a lot” as she begins her second season on the WTA Tour.
“I feel like I learned so much last year, playing all these tournaments and playing against the top players,” Barthel said. “My serve has got better and I feel like my groundstrokes are better … but maybe a little more confidence this year.”
The final is scheduled for Saturday at the Domain Tennis Centre.
From wire sources