Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson announced Monday that he will make himself eligible for the NFL draft, giving up his final college season for the chance to be one of the top players selected.
Johnson had long been expected to pass up his senior season with the Yellow Jackets, and he did little to change that perception during a brilliant junior year.
Johnson was chosen to the Associated Press All-American team and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver.
"It was the logical thing to do," said his father, Calvin Johnson Sr. "He would have been doing himself a disservice if he didn't go."
Alan Branch is skipping his senior season at Michigan to make himself eligible for the NFL draft, delivering a blow to the Wolverines a week after they lost the Rose Bowl. The 6-foot-6, 311-pound defensive tackle, a second-team All-American, is projected as a first-round pick in April's draft.
Miami Hurricanes outside linebacker Jon Beason has decided to skip his senior season and make himself eligible for the NFL draft.
Beason led the Hurricanes with 91 tackles this season. He's projected to be taken in the first three rounds of the April draft.
The Las Vegas All-American Classic, set for Jan. 15, was canceled because of problems with financing and sponsorship.
Ron Caragher was hired as the University of San Diego's football coach, three weeks after Jim Harbaugh left to take the Stanford job.
Caragher spent the last four seasons as the running backs coach under Rich Brooks at Kentucky. Caragher, 39, played at UCLA and later coached under Terry Donahue and Bob Toledo with the Bruins.
D.C. owners aim to reach out
Major League Soccer unveiled a new ownership group -- including former Duke men's basketball co-captains Brian Davis and Christian Laettner -- that is paying a league-record $33 million for the operating rights to D.C. United and hoping to reach out to a wide spectrum of fans.
The group, called D.C. United Holdings, is led by San Francisco businessmen Victor MacFarlane and Will Chang.
MacFarlane and Davis are the first black owners in MLS, Commissioner Don Garber said. Chang, one of the owners of baseball's San Francisco Giants, is the first Chinese-American MLS owner, according to Garber.
"Soccer is the No. 1 sport for people of color all around the world, but not here in the U.S. -- yet," MacFarlane said. "We want to be part of the change that is now on the horizon. We would love to help make soccer the sport that African-Americans and other children of color first look to for recreation and entertainment."
FIFA criticized players at the World Cup for the "deplorable habit" of faking injuries, disruptions that the governing body said marred last summer's tournament. In its official report on the 2006 World Cup, FIFA also praised German organizers for staging a trouble-free event, which Italy won by beating France on a penalty-kick shootout in the final.
Freddy Adu headed the list of 20 players selected for the U.S. roster in qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Adu played in the tournament in 2003 and 2005, when it was known as the FIFA World Youth Championship.
Nine are professionals, including six from MLS. The team will leave Saturday for Panama City, Panama, and play Haiti on Jan. 17, Guatemala on Jan. 19 and Panama on Jan. 21.
Jankovic surprises Hingis
Martina Hingis is out of the Sydney International after one round. Unseeded Jelena Jankovic upset fifth-seeded Hingis, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
"At least I'll be fresh and ready to go" for the Australian Open, Hingis said.
In men's play, Marcos Baghdatis had a straight-set victory over qualifier Ernests Gulbis. James Blake beat fellow American Kevin Kim, 6-3, 6-4, in a first-round match at the Sydney International.
Coyotes trade for Adams
The Phoenix Coyotes acquired center Kevyn Adams from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
Adams served as an alternate captain and skated in all 25 postseason games for last season's Stanley Cup champions.
Prudential Financial Inc. and the New Jersey Devils announced the company will pay $105.3 million over 20 years to call the Devils' new arena the Prudential Center.... The Boston Bruins recalled goalie Hannu Toivonen and defenseman Jonathan Sigalet from Providence and sent goalie Philippe Sauve to the AHL team.... Colorado Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles will miss up to a month because of a broken left foot.
Prize money up in L.A. golf
Prize money for the Nissan Open has been raised $100,000 to a record $5.2 million for the PGA Tour event, which will be played Feb. 15-18 at Riviera Country Club. The winner's share is $936,000. Defending champion Rory Sabbatini earned $918,000 in 2006.
-- Thomas Bonk
Point Ashley, the winner of last year's Del Mar Debutante, sold for $1.8 million at auction to highlight the first day of Keeneland's January sale at Lexington, Ky. The bay filly, by former horse of the year Point Given and Golden Thatch, was foaled May 14, 2004.
Giniel de Villiers won the third stage of the Dakar Rally at Er Rachidia, Morocco, while Carlos Sainz took the overall lead.
Guard Monique Currie was selected by the Chicago Sky with the No. 1 pick in the WNBA dispersal draft, which distributed 11 former Charlotte Sting players. The Sting folded last week. Tangela Smith, the Sting's leading scorer last season at 13.1 points a game, was selected No. 2 by the Minnesota Lynx. Janel McCarville, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 college draft, was taken third by the New York Liberty. The Sparks selected Ayana Walker, a 6-3 forward, with the 12th pick.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France is scheduled to be a guest speaker Feb. 22 at USC. France will discuss the role of sponsorship in the sport. The fee is $75 a person, which includes a reception and parking. Registration and more information are available at www.marshall.usc.edu/france.