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College football

Manziel, Clowney head list of early entrants to NFL draft

A record 98 underclassmen, including Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, have made themselves eligible for the NFL draft in May.

The league released the list of early entrants Sunday and said the number has increased for six straight seasons. The deadline for underclassmen to apply was Wednesday.

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Last year, 73 underclassmen entered the draft. The year before the number was 65 and in 2011 it was 56.

Four players who recently graduated and still have eligibility left are joining the draft class but aren’t included in the number. Most notable among those is Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. USC defensive back Dion Bailey, Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford and Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard are also juniors who have informed the league they have graduated.

Among the early entrants expected to be selected near the top of the draft are 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Manziel, Clowney and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

The three-day draft starts May 8 in New York.

For the second straight season, Louisiana State had the most players of any school to leave early. The Tigers had seven early entrants this season, including wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., after 11 LSU players left early last year.

Alabama and USC each had five leave early, along with California. Cal, which went 1-11 last year, has six players listed among the early entrants, but one is defensive end Chris McCain, who was dismissed from the team in September.

National champion Florida State lost four players early, including All-America defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who caught the winning touchdown in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn.

Notre Dame, Florida and South Carolina also had four early entrants.

Two Washington Huskies — running back Bishop Sankey and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins — are early entrants.


Eto’o has hat trick as Chelsea beats Manchester United

Samuel Eto’o scored all of Chelsea’s goals in a 3-1 victory over Manchester United that further underlined the struggles of the defending English Premier League champions under first-season manager David Moyes.

Manchester United has seven league losses, is 14 points behind leader Arsenal and six points from the fourth UEFA Champions League spot.

“We won’t throw the towel in until we can’t get there,” said Moyes, who succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson. “The job is to try and finish first.”

After 22 matches, Chelsea has 49 points — two behind Arsenal and one behind Manchester City.


VanLaanen of Bellingham is ecstatic with Olympic berth

Bellingham native Angeli VanLaanen, who took a three-year hiatus from the ski halfpipe while she battled Lyme disease, is “on top of the world right now” because she is headed to the Olympics next month in Sochi, Russia.

“It means the world to me to be a part of this inaugural team going to Sochi for the first Olympics that we’re included in,” the 28-year-old said. “So many people have put so much into making this sport get to this level where we’re included. So, it’s an honor.”

VanLaanen was diagnosed with Lyme disease in November 2009. She joins Californians Maddie Bowman and Brita Sigourney on the women’s team.

Pinturault wins men’s slalom

Alexis Pinturault of France soared from seventh place after the first run to win a World Cup slalom in Wengen, Switzerland.

Pinturault was almost a half-second faster than everyone else in the afternoon to finish 0.34 ahead of Felix Neureuther of Germany.

Jumper Takanashi dominates

Sara Takanashi, a 17-year-old from Japan, won her eighth women’s ski-jump World Cup event of the season to bolster her position as the favorite for the Olympics.

The second round of jumps in Zao, Japan, was canceled because of high winds.


White secures halfpipe berth

Shaun White has a chance to threepeat.

The two-time Olympic halfpipe champion from Carlsbad, Calif., locked up a spot on the U.S. team for the Olympics in his signature event by winning the final qualifier in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

White will be joined on the men’s halfpipe team by Taylor Gold, Danny Davis and 2010 Olympian Greg Bretz.

Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter, Kaitlyn Farrington and Arielle Gold form the women’s halfpipe team.

White qualified for Sochi in slopestyle on Thursday. The event is making its Olympic debut this year.


• Push athletes on the U.S. Olympic women’s bobsled team will include former track standouts Lauryn Williams, part of the gold-medal 400-meter relay team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, and Lolo Jones, a two-time world champion in hurdles. If they compete in Sochi, they will be the ninth and 10th Americans to take part in the summer and winter versions of the Olympics.

Seattle Times news services

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