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Football

Northern Iowa football players Aaron Bailey, Ray Buchanan Jr. and Tyvis Smith have all accepted invitations to play in the 2017 College Gridiron Showcase, taking place Jan. 7-11 Pennington Field in Bedford, Texas.

The 2017 College Gridiron Showcase & Symposium will last 5 days, with the players selected by a panel of football experts. The players will receive professional coaching, mentoring, life coaching and seminars that will benefit them as they move forward in their professional lives in or out of football.

Smith, Bailey and Buchanan Jr. are three of 11 athletes representing the Missouri Valley Football Conference at the showcase, with Illinois State being the only other school from the Valley with three players representing them at the all-star game.

The three Panthers will participate in practices and a controlled scrimmage in front of scouts and executives in the NFL and CFL. The players will also attend meetings, practice, perform individual drills, team drills and have personal interviews with scouts.

The week will culminate with the all-star game on Jan. 11.

It didn’t take long for Dalvin Cook to announce his future plans.

The Florida State running back said he will enter the NFL draft. Cook’s announcement on Saturday, which he made via video on Instagram, came less than 24 hours after the 10th-ranked Seminoles defeated No. 6 Michigan in the Orange Bowl.

“These last three years were the best of my life,” said Cook, who is expected to be a first-round selection. “It’s an unbelievable feeling right now. I can’t describe it. It is only up from here.”

The Miami native wrapped up his collegiate career with an impressive Orange Bowl performance. He was named the MVP after rushing for 145 yards along with three receptions for 62 yards in FSU’s 33-32 win.

“He’s always part of this family. He’ll never not be part of this family and we want the best for him,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said after the game. “Whoever drafts him will be the luckiest team in the world. Somebody is going to be happy.”

Cook leaves Florida State as its all-time leading rusher with 4,464 yards. He is also the first running back in Atlantic Coast Conference history to rush for 4,000 yards in three seasons.

Basketball

The four Tobacco Road schools hit quite a speedbump Saturday.

For the first time in nearly three years, North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State and Wake Forest all lost on the same day.

It might have been just the second time that’s happened in the storied history of this college hoops hotbed.

No. 5 Duke, No. 9 North Carolina and Wake Forest all lost at about the same time early Saturday afternoon, with Virginia Tech beating the Blue Devils 89-75, Georgia Tech knocking off the Tar Heels 75-63 and Clemson rallying past the Demon Deacons 73-68.

N.C. State then capped off the state’s 0-for-4 day by losing 81-63 at Miami.

“It was not a good day for us, to say the least,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said, referring to his team.

He just as easily could have been talking about his instate rivals.

The last time everything came together in such a decidedly imperfect storm was Jan. 11, 2014. On that day, North Carolina lost by 12 at Syracuse, Wake Forest fell by 15 points at Pittsburgh. Duke lost at Clemson and N.C. State lost to Virginia.

Another instance of the four schools losing on the same day couldn’t be found. Two of the schools have incomplete sets of records from the era before the Atlantic Coast Conference’s formation in 1953: Wake Forest’s media guide doesn’t list complete dates of games played before the 1950-51 season, and N.C. State’s doesn’t before 1946-47.

The next time they all play on the same day is Jan. 21 and it’s guaranteed that won’t all lose again then — because Wake Forest visits N.C. State.

Hockey

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed equipment manager Jorge Alves to a professional tryout contract to be the backup goaltender for their Saturday game against Tampa Bay.

Eddie Lack, the regular backup to Cam Ward, is ill and unavailable.

Alves, 37, has been one of Carolina’s full-time equipment managers since the 2012-13 season and practices with the team on a regular basis. He played on North Carolina State University’s club hockey team for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons and had several short stints in the ECHL and Southern Professional Hockey League.

Youth baseball

The Junior Wahawk baseball program is holding a try-out for interested players at the 10U age level on Sunday, Jan. 8, from Noon to 2 p.m. at the West High Hitting Facility.

Any player that is 10 or younger prior to May 1 can participate. Athletes need to bring own glove and bat.

For more information contact either Chris Dean at (319) 239-4461 or Jim Nelson at (319) 239-1909.

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Sports Writer

Sports reporter for The Courier

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