FOOTBALL

Wilhite takes over high school post for Huskers

LINCOLN — Nebraska football's new director of high school relations will be Kenny Wilhite, the former Husker defensive back who worked last season as NU's assistant director of player personnel.

Wilhite, who grabbed All-Big Eight honors in 1991 as a cornerback, was one of the few administrators held over in the coaching transition between Bo Pelini and Mike Riley. He replaces Chris Brasfield, who took an associate athletic director job within the department that focuses on recruitment and student-athlete experience across all sports.

Riley hired Brasfield last year to hold the director of high school relations job, which Riley said would be important in cultivating relationships with in-state prospects and their coaches. Brasfield also served as a liaison with NFL scouts who sought to research Husker players for the 2016 draft. Those roles will presumably now be turned over to Wilhite, who listed his new job title on his Twitter profile Wednesday. Wilhite spent six seasons coaching at Southeast Missouri State, among other coaching stops.

As for Brasfield, some of his new role appears related to duties previously handled by Jamie Williams, who no longer works in the athletic department. NU did not immediately send an official release on the job changes.

In other news:

Iowa State receiver D'Vario Montgomery and running back Joshua Thomas won't return to the team for next season. The Cyclones say Montgomery has been dismissed for violating team rules. Thomas intends to transfer to another school.

Former Indiana linebacker Mark Hagen has returned to his alma mater as defensive line coach. Hagen was on coach Kevin Wilson's staff in 2011 and 2012 before leaving for Texas A&M, where he worked for three seasons.

Browns linebacker Bryant indicted on drug charges

CLEVELAND — Browns linebacker Armonty Bryant has been indicted on two felony drug charges.

Bryant and former teammate De'Ante Saunders were arrested on Christmas after a traffic stop. Police say they found marijuana, prescription drugs and a loaded handgun in Saunders' car. The Browns released him from their practice squad.

The New York Giants announced Wednesday that linebacker Jon Beason has retired and that offensive linemen Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz have been released.

BASEBALL

Huskers not among top six in Big Ten preseason poll

LINCOLN — The Big Ten preseason coaches poll was released Wednesday, and Nebraska wasn't among the top six picks.

Michigan was tabbed as the 2016 favorite. Maryland was No. 2, followed by Indiana, Iowa, 2014 champ Illinois and Michigan State. The league reveals only the six highest vote getters.

The conference coaches have picked the Huskers to finish second before each of the last three seasons — which they ended up doing in 2013 and 2014. Last year NU finished eighth with a 9-14 league record, losing both of its league tournament games.

Nebraska had a fourth-place preseason projection from the coaches in 2012. The Huskers ended that season in fourth.

The top eight teams in the final regular season Big Ten standings will qualify for the conference tournament, which will be held at Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park from May 25-29.

NU's season begins Feb. 19 with a weekend series at College of Charleston.

— Jon Nyatawa

Martinez, Tigers finalize $18.5 million, 2-year deal

DETROIT — J.D. Martinez and the Detroit Tigers finalized their $18.5 million, two-year contract Wednesday, a deal that avoided salary arbitration.

Martinez will earn $6.75 million this year and $11.75 million in 2017. The 28-year-old outfielder can become a free agent after the 2017 World Series.

He batted .282 with 38 home runs and 102 RBIs last season. He hit 23 homers in 2014 after he was released by Houston during spring training and the Tigers signed him.

In other news:

AL MVP Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays have completed their agreement on a $28.65 million, two-year contract.

Toronto and Donaldson had been scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing next week. The 30-year-old third baseman had asked for a raise from $4.3 million to $11.8 million and Toronto had offered $11.35 million.

First baseman Brandon Belt and the San Francisco Giants have agreed to a $6.2 million, one-year contract. The deal was completed just before the scheduled start of their salary arbitration hearing Wednesday.

SOFTBALL

Mavs picked to finish fourth in Summit preseason poll

The UNO softball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Summit League.

North Dakota State heads the preseason coaches poll after going 45-11 and 16-2 in the league a year ago. The Bison received five first-place votes and 35 total points.

UNO, which finished sixth with a 22-28 and 6-10 record last year, received 20 points.

Summit League freshman of the year Megan May returns, as does All-Summit League performer Lizzie Noble. The Mavs return eight position starters.

The poll:

1, North Dakota State 35 (5). 2, IUPUI 29 (2). 3, South Dakota 27. 4, UNO 20. 5, South Dakota State 16. 6, Western Illinois 14. 7. IPFW 6.

SOCCER

Creighton women add 14 players for next season

Creighton women's coach Ross Paule focused on bringing in technically skilled and hardworking players, adding 14 for next season.

Joining the Bluejays will be Haylee Blach (Littleton, Colo.), Elizabeth Bolland (Plymouth, Wis.), Jaylin Bosak (Millard West), Ashleigh Cearlock (Springfield, Ill.), Kyleigh Crist (Parker, Colo.), McKenzie Graybill (Lakeville, Minn.), Kylin Grubb (Odessa, Mo.), Callie Hawkins (Gretna), Taryn Jakubowski (Rockford, Ill.), Kate Johnson (Ankeny, Iowa), Cassie Legband (Elkhorn South), Caeley Lordemann (Greeley, Colo.), Hannah Miller (Lenexa, Kan.) and Alyssa Swift (Providence, R.I.).

"We have a very large group of very talented players coming in the fall 2016," Paule said. "We have searched for young women who we believe will make a difference in our program to help us build toward and achieve our big goals.''

Blach is the younger sister of former Bluejay hurler Ty Blach. Legband led the Storm to the Class B state championship last year, defeating Hawkins' Gretna squad.

TENNIS

Creighton women earn win against UNO

The Creighton women's tennis team picked up a 5-2 win over UNO on Wednesday.

The Bluejays raised their record to 2-3. The Mavericks are 4-4. CU's Ashley Ishimura defeated Michello Lo 4-6, 7-5, 3-0 at No. 1 singles. The Mavs' Hylan Miller defeated Katherine Nelsen 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2 singles.

"Today was a battle against a very good UNO team, and the credit goes to our players for accepting the challenge and being confident even when we were down after the doubles point. Hopefully this win will carry over into more great play," coach Tom Lilly said.

Compiled from press services and local reports

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