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Projecting 2015 Win-Loss Records for Every ACC Football Team

The ACC had 11 teams play in bowl games last season, sending two into New Year's Day games, including one into the first College Football Playoff. While the overall postseason results weren't spectacular—they collectively went 4-7—all in all the conference had a pretty good year.

What's in store for 2015? Based on what every team has coming back and the schedules each one has been handed for this fall, we can start making some predictions as to how the ACC will play out.

We've projected the overall and conference records for all 14 schools, mapping out the entire season and detailing how things will play out in the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions and potential playoff spots. Click through to see how each team should finish during the regular season; then give us your thoughts in the comments section. 

 

NOTE: Starters returning based on numbers provided by PhilSteele.com.

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High School Football Recruit Deandre Johnson Stabbed by Student at School

Miami Killian Senior High School sophomore defensive end Deandre Johnson was stabbed Tuesday morning by a female student but is expected to make a full recovery. 

Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reported on the scary incident, featuring comments from Killian head coach Cory Johnson, which offer an encouraging update on his player's status:

The school has asked us to just let people know he's in stable condition and in the process of recovering. It's a critical injury, but he's stable.

[...] Deandre missed most of the 2014 season for us with a fractured fibula, but he came back and played in the playoffs for us and played well. He was just hitting 100 percent and feeling good. In January he was finally ready to go, no holds barred.

He went out to Texas for the U.S. Army All-American combine and did really well. He's a bright kid, good kid, 3.3 GPA. The football team's prayers and faith are with Deandre. We'll be there for him throughout his recovery.

Peter Burke of Local10.com reports that Johnson, 15, was stabbed by a 17-year-old girl. She was charged with possession of a weapon on school property and attempted murder, the latter of which is a felony.

Citing Miami-Dade Schools Police, WSVN 7News reports that the stabbing occurred outside Killian Senior High's cafeteria in the courtyard.

Deandre Johnson's father, Andre Johnson, criticized the school's security in expressing his thoughts on the matter.

"I'm upset. I'm hurt. I'm disappointed in the [Miami]-Dade County public school system," said Andre Johnson, per Burke. "How did a young female, a woman get a knife inside the Miami-Dade public school system?"

Deandre Johnson has received a scholarship offer from Temple, per Navarro, and figures to garner more attention as a recruit in the class of 2017.

Listed at 6'2", 220 pounds on 247Sports, Johnson is also marked down with a 4.70-second 40-yard dash. The website lists Army, Duke and the local Miami Hurricanes as schools that have expressed interest in Johnson to date.

Most important at the moment is that Johnson's recovery goes well after he had surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital Tuesday to treat a pierced lung and artery, according to the Local 10 report.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Combine Star Byron Jones Continues to Attract NFL Attention at UConn Pro Day

A little more than one month after he made a name for himself at the NFL Scouting Combine with a record-breaking 12’3” broad jump, Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones continued his leap up draft boards Tuesday at UConn’s pro day, where he worked out in front of 29 NFL teams.

Jones did not participate in the jumps or shuttle drills on Tuesday; he had no reason to, as his marks in the broad jump, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle and three-cone drill each ranked him within the top three cornerbacks in each test at the combine, according to NFL.com’s combine tracker.

He did, however, complete his athletic profile by participating in the 40-yard dash and bench press at the pro day. His results continued to impress: His 40 time of 4.44 seconds (unofficial hand time) would have tied him for third among cornerbacks at the combine, while his 18 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press would have tied him for sixth.

Jones, who measured in at 6’1” and 199 pounds at the combine, might very well have the best combination of size and athleticism of any cornerback in this year’s draft.

In addition to sprinting and lifting, Jones also went through a 15-minute positional workout, a drill that was led by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker and Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

Jones caught the ball cleanly in his hands and looked smooth in his transitions, putting a strong exclamation point on a workout session that furthered his draft stock’s positive momentum.

“Overall, good day,” Jones said while meeting with the media after the workout. “I felt like I ran fast, I felt confident.”

In spite of that, Jones acknowledged that he had some issues picking up the new coverage techniques that Zimmer was teaching him on the spot.

“He was trying to change my backpedal and be more relaxed in the upper body; instead of getting down too low, stay up a little more,” Jones said of the coaching from Zimmer. “It’s stuff that I need to work on if I’m going to be on his team, and I have no problem working on those techniques.”

 

Rapidly Rising Draft Stock

Since the combine, there might not be any player whose stock for the 2015 NFL draft has risen more—at least in the eyes of the media and general public—than Jones.

Rewind back to the middle of February, and one would be hard-pressed to find any examples of draft analysts hyping up Jones as an early-round draft pick. Since his eye-opening showcase in Indianapolis, Jones’ hype train has quickly filled up with passengers, as a steadily increasing number of prognosticators have begun projecting Jones to be a first-round pick.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller is among those who has acknowledged that Jones’ workout numbers have led to a shift in his perception of the player.

As Miller noted, Jones suffered a shoulder injury midway through his senior season, which forced him to miss UConn’s final five games and also kept him out of the Senior Bowl. Had Jones stayed healthy, he likely would have garnered more attention prior to the combine.

Quite frankly, though, none of that matters now. Being overlooked by the media in the fall and early winter won’t change the fact that Jones is well on his way to being one of the first defensive backs off the board this April.

ESPN’s Louis Riddick and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah are among those who have noted repeatedly that Jones’ athleticism, and the skill set of a player who deserves to be an early-round pick, has been on tape all along.

Jones’ health might have been billed as a concern a couple months ago, but his performance in the bench press Tuesday proved that his shoulder injury is no longer an issue.

“I have full mobility, full strength,” Jones said of his shoulder Tuesday. “I wanted to come here and bench and show people that I am healthy…I was surprised with 18 [repetitions on the bench press], I was expecting about 14, maybe 15.”

Whether Jones’ draft stock is truly rising because of his measurables, or the majority of media draft analysts are simply late to come around to him, is unknown. Either way, it is clear that he now has the NFL’s attention.

On a date that was headlined by Jameis Winston and Florida State’s pro day, Zimmer was not the only NFL decision-maker to spend the morning in Storrs, Conn., instead. Also in attendance was the Philadelphia Eagles’ contingent of head coach Chip Kelly, vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz, defensive coordinator Bill Davis and senior advisor Tom Donahoe.

Jones, who said he has a number of private workouts and official visits scheduled but did not specify with which teams, acknowledged that he has gotten more attention from teams and media alike since the combine but is trying to filter out the talk of his rising draft stock.

“I’m just trying to focus on what I can control at this point, and that’s just preparing hard and doing well at pro day and killing these meetings,” Jones said.

 

Beyond the Numbers: Why Jones Will Be an Early-Round Pick

Given that traits and potential tend to trump production in draft evaluations, it’s probably true that Jones would be an early-round pick even if his play on the field had not been particularly impressive. That said, he had more than enough impressive play on the field to support the notion that he can be a great football player, and not just a workout warrior.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jones allowed the second-lowest passer rating among all cornerbacks in the Football Bowl Subdivision this past season. That number should be taken with a grain of salt, because he played only seven games and did not face much premier receiving talent in those contests, but it nonetheless supports the fact that Jones is a consistent cover corner who does not typically allow big plays.

Geremy Davis, who played wide receiver at Connecticut and is also a prospect for the 2015 draft, said Tuesday that going up against Jones—who was also his roommate—was a consistently tough matchup in practice.

“We always went against each other,” Davis said of practicing against Jones. “He’s going to give you his best every time. We would always keep score when we did one-on-ones, so that just shows his competitive nature. He hates losing, and so do I, so we always went back and forth.”

Over the course of his four-year career, Jones put his ball skills on display by recording eight interceptions and 18 additional pass breakups. As noted in the aforementioned tweet by Jeremiah, one of his most impressive plays on the ball came on a deep, high-pointing interception against Michigan in 2013.

Another reason teams could be intrigued by Jones, in comparison to many of the other defensive backs in this year’s draft class, is his versatility to play both cornerback and safety, as noted Tuesday by NEPatriotsDraft.com’s Mike Loyko.

While Jones said NFL teams are mainly evaluating him as a cornerback, he is willing to change positions if asked to do so.

“I don’t mind if they move me to safety, I’d actually enjoy that,” Jones said. “At the end of the day, you’re a defensive back, whether you’re a corner or a safety.”

It is evident in Jones’ game film that he is more comfortable in press coverage than off-man coverage at this point. Jones acknowledged Tuesday that he needs to improve in off-man coverage but also expressed that he expects to get better in that area with experience.

“Off-man coverage, for me, is something I need to work on, reading the three-step drop and the five-step drop,” Jones said. “As I work on the off-man, I’m going to be comfortable in that as well.”

Realistically, Jones is going to be known best for his leaping ability until he proves he can play football at the professional level. But Jones made it clear Tuesday that he wants to be known for what he can do on the gridiron.

“I’m a football player, not a track guy,” Jones said. “My main goal is not to be a world-record breaker or the fastest 40-yard sprinter, my main goal is to be a great NFL player.”

 

Natural Athleticism + Hard Work = Great Results

It’s evident, from what he has done this predraft season, that Jones is a special physical specimen. The vast majority of people, no matter how hard they might train, will never come close to jumping more than 12 feet from a standstill or running a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash.

“I always say there’s human beings, and then there’s Byron Jones,” defensive lineman and fellow 2015 draft prospect B.J. McBryde said. “He’s in a separate category. The dude is just unreal.”

Davis also testified that the athleticism Jones has shown in predraft workouts was always evident during their time together at UConn.

“He’s always been that explosive,” Davis said of Jones. “He just has freak flexibility, and we always joke and say he has three pairs of lungs—he never gets tired.”

Even so, achieving those marks might not have been possible for Jones if he didn’t properly train himself to maximize his physical capabilities.

Matt Balis, the strength-and-conditioning coordinator for UConn, said Jones’ combination of natural gifts and work ethic is what has enabled him to perform well in predraft testing.

“He’s one of those guys that just does it above and beyond, whatever it takes,” Balis said. “There’s guys out that are just as explosive that may never reach these levels that he has, because of his work ethic, his heart and who he is inside, that’s what taken him to the highest level.”

Those qualities, and Jones’ clean off-field record, are reasons beyond his demonstrated football skills and athleticism that he could appeal to NFL teams as a potential draft pick.

 

All quotes and measurables were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Pro day 40-yard-dash times are unofficial; the times listed here were as hand timed by the writer on site.

Dan Hope is an NFL/NFL Draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

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Underrated 2016 TCU Recruit Deserves to Be Among 'Top QBs in the Country'

Brennen Wooten is a 3-star pro-style quarterback who is committed to TCU, per 247Sports' composite rankings. Wooten is an underrated prospect who can make a big splash for the Horned Frogs. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down why Wooten is climbing up the ranks in quarterback camps. 

How good can Wooten be for TCU? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Should Alabama Commit Raekwon Davis Play OT or DT in College?

Raekwon Davis, a 3-star defensive tackle in the 2016 class, per 247Sports, committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide. The remaining question is whether Davis profiles as a defensive or offensive tackle in Nick Saban's system.

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down Davis' game and if he is better suited to play offensive or defensive tackle.

Where should Davis play at Alabama? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ahmir Mitchell Wears Urban Meyer's Ring, Dines with Jim Harbaugh During Visits

Ahmir Mitchell stood in a hallway of Ohio State's football facilities Friday, face-to-face with the current king of college football.

It seemed an ideal opportunity to snap a photo, but Urban Meyer raised the stakes.

“He put the ring on my finger, told me to hold it up like that and smile," Mitchell said. "When he first handed it to me, I almost dropped it. That’s how heavy it was.”

The ring, of course, was Meyer's reward for a 42-20 victory over Oregon in the inaugural College Football Playoff title game. For a moment, however, that Buckeye bling sat upon the finger of a high school junior from Southern New Jersey:

Mitchell, a 4-star wide receiver and longtime Meyer target, spent this past weekend with two of the country's most historic football programs: Ohio State and Michigan. His chance to wear one of the Buckeyes' freshly forged championship rings took place on the first day of that journey and would undoubtedly be difficult to top.

“It was pretty amazing to see and wear something of that stature," he said. "When I make a college decision, it motivates me to want to play for a team that I can help get something like that.”

Meyer, if you aren't aware, owns three such rings. A pair were procured through thrilling runs at Florida; the latest was earned at the end of an unpredictable and injury-filled 2014 campaign.

The veteran leader's background precedes any introduction for someone who follows the sport, and Meyer knows it.

“Not one time did he mention championships or anything of that nature," Mitchell said. "He didn’t really get into what they’ve done in previous years. I would call that stuff self-explanatory. The focus was more about what they’re working on for the future, which shows a lot about his character.”

The 6'2", 190-pound prospect arrived in Columbus on Friday as part of a New Jersey contingent headlined by top overall 2016 recruit Rashan Gary (defensive tackle). The group also included 4-star defensive end Ron Johnson, 4-star wide receiver Brad Hawkins and impressive 2017 defensive tackle Corey Bolds

Mitchell, Hawkins, Johnson and Gary are among the Buckeyes' biggest targets in this cycle. Ohio State already holds a commitment from New Jersey running back Kareem Walker, who is considered the top player at his position, and Meyer's latest recruiting class is currently listed fourth nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings.

The team picked up a pledge from 4-star offensive playmaker Demario McCall during the weekend.

“It’s outstanding to see Ohio State recruiting guys who can replace the talent they have now," Mitchell said. "It shows the dedication they have to bringing in players who can compete for more national championships in the future.”

Those recruiting efforts have resulted in top-10 classes every year since Meyer's arrival. This abundance of talent helped create the depth that shined during Ohio State's most recent title chase, especially at quarterback.

“The three quarterbacks he has competing now could all be Heisman candidates, so getting the ball to receivers isn’t going to be a problem," Mitchell said. "The two freshman quarterbacks they have coming in [Joe Burrow and Torrance Gibson] also sound promising, which is great from my aspect. You don’t have to worry about quarterback when you go to Ohio State.”

He actually had an opportunity to speak with star passers J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones during a practice:

Mitchell spent Friday evening at Eddie George's Grille 27, a restaurant owned by the Heisman Trophy-winning Ohio State running back. He sat alongside Gary and Bolds in the VIP area, sharing a table and conversation with reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Joey Bosa.

“It gave me a good look from the players’ view of how things are run there and how fun that national championship experience was for everyone," Mitchell said. "Bosa was very funny; he was joking around a lot and talking about some defensive line stuff with Rashan and Corey.”

Plenty of students and fans walked by to take pictures, according to Mitchell. It's another sign of the exuberance that currently surrounds Buckeyes football.

“The energy was special there because you can feel that championship atmosphere," Mitchell said. "It’s electric there during practice watching some of the best players in college football go against each other.”

The group made its way to Michigan on Saturday, where former Paramus (New Jersey) Catholic High School coach Chris Partridge now serves as recruiting director. Last season, he coached both Gary and Bolds, who picked up a Wolverines offer during his visit. 

Like Ohio State, Michigan attempted to sell the group on sticking together and developing strength in numbers at the next level.

“At the end of the day, both coaching staffs were definitely talking about trying to create that whole New Jersey pipeline," Mitchell said. "They talked about how exciting it would be to get all the best players from Jersey to Columbus or Michigan. It would be something special, and we all enjoyed the visits, but everyone has to make their own decision.”

The collection of Garden State standouts had a chance to develop relationships with new Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh. His high-profile presence provides a bit of a "wow" factor for recruits and fans alike in Ann Arbor, according to Mitchell.

“Coach Harbaugh seemed like a normal guy, who is honest with you and didn’t mind shaking hands or taking pictures with people who came up to him on campus," he said. "It's very exciting to see how everyone feels about him at Michigan.”

The Wolverines have yet to land a 2016 commitment since Harbaugh took over the program, but Mitchell believes it's just a matter of time. The former San Francisco 49ers coach made a strong impact throughout the stay.

“He’s a great recruiter," Mitchell said. "He’s very hands-on and doesn’t like other people doing things for him. He was with us the entire visit. It was a lot of fun checking out campus, talking and spending so much time with a coach who has such a high reputation.”

After a day of facility tours and talks with coaches, the group dined on a mix of burgers, chicken and pizza while watching March Madness tournament action in Harbaugh's office.

“It was really cool to just kick back and enjoy a night like that with a coach of Habaugh’s stature and the other Jersey guys," Mitchell said. 

They followed that up with breakfast Sunday morning, fueling up before a nine-hour journey home:

Mitchell, rated sixth nationally among "athletes" and 88th overall in composite rankings, is widely viewed as a receiver. Michigan and Ohio State are each targeting him at the position.

He caught 47 passes for 872 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014, per NJ.com, adding five rushing touchdown and a pair of kickoff return touchdowns.

Mitchell doesn't expect to make a decision before his senior season and is likely to take all five of his official visits. He told Bleacher Report that Ohio State and Michigan have solidified their respective spots on a top-six list that also features Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Ole Miss.

“It meant a lot to see the atmospheres with my peers and experience both campus visits together," Mitchell said. "Ohio State and Michigan both proved to me that I’m a priority for them and I can come in and make a difference."

 

All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue.

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Tyren Jones Dismissed by Alabama After Arrest: Latest Details, Mugshot, More

No offseason news is typically good news for major college football programs. Unfortunately for the Alabama Crimson Tide, they received more bad news Tuesday.  

Stephanie Taylor of The Tuscaloosa News reported that running back Tyren Jones was charged with marijuana possession. She also passed along his mugshot and the media release from the Tuscaloosa Police Department:

The team dismissed Jones following the arrest, according to Matt Zenitz of AL.com. 

"Tyren Jones was indefinitely suspended from the football program early in the semester," head coach Nick Saban said Tuesday, via Zenitz. "He was given an opportunity academically and from a team rules standpoint, but he failed to do any of the things necessary to comply with the rules of the Alabama football program. He was dismissed from the team when he refused to follow the parameters given to him for reinstatement."

Jones finished the 2014 season with 224 rushing yards and two touchdowns but was far behind workhorses T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry on the depth chart. With Yeldon having declared for the NFL draft, the opportunity was theoretically there for Jones to challenge for more carries this season, even with Henry still in place.

Saban indefinitely suspended Jones in mid-February for "conduct not to the standard of the Alabama football program," according to Michael Casagrande of AL.com. The head coach also held him away from the practice field for a week during the fall due to disciplinary reasons as well, Casagrande reported. 

This is the latest in a recent string of disappointing off-field news for the Alabama program. Defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor was dismissed from the team Sunday, one day after he was arrested on domestic violence charges, per ESPN.com. Safety Geno Smith, meanwhile, was arrested Saturday morning on charges of driving under the influence, per Zenitz. He was previously arrested and charged with DUI in August 2013.

It's safe to say Saban and the Crimson Tide are likely looking forward to when they can start worrying about football again.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Indiana's Religious Freedom Law Draws Response from Sports World

USC athletic director Pat Haden will not attend the College Football Playoff committee meeting this week in Indianapolis as a response to Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could allow private businesses to deny service to LGBT patrons, he announced Tuesday: 

Haden is the latest major sports figure to decry the law, which Gov. Mike Pence signed into effect last week. Pence stated Tuesday he would look to clarify the bill in order to ensure it does not create a discriminatory environment.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to discriminate against anyone,” Pence said, per Campbell Robertson and Richard Perez-Pena of The New York Times.

With Indianapolis playing host to this weekend's Final Four, the College Football Playoff meetings and NCAA headquarters, the response from college sports' governing body has been swift. NCAA President Mark Emmert told ESPN's Andy Katz he is "very concerned" about what the law could potentially mean for student-athletes and fans. 

"The law has a lot of uncertainty and obviously lacks clarity," Emmert said. "But anything that could potentially allow for discrimination and works in a way that is inconsistent with our values for inclusion is something that we're very, very concerned about."

There have been ongoing protests throughout the state since the law was signed and numerous calls for those inside and outside the sports world to boycott Indiana altogether. Amid the controversy, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said the LGBT community traveling to the state for the Final Four would not run into any problems as a result of the law.

"For those who plan to travel to our city for this weekend's upcoming Final Four, let me be clear: Indy welcomes all," Ballard said, per Mashable's Megan Specia. "Residents, visitors and our workforce have always been and continue to be protected by our city's human rights ordinance."

Criticism of the law has continued throughout the professional sports world as well. The NBA, the Indiana Pacers and the WNBA's Indiana Fever released a joint statement over the weekend ensuring equal rights to fans: “The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect. We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere.”

The NFL has not issued an official position at this time. 

"We do not have a comment at this time," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, per Mark Alesia of The Indianapolis Star. "We are in the process of studying the law and its implications."

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, however, has come out condemning the law, indicating it goes against what the franchise stands for:

Professional motorsports, the hub of which many believe is in Indiana, has also spoken out against the law. NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway each issued statements Tuesday.

"NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance," said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer, in a statement. "We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race."

Neither Major League Baseball nor the National Hockey League have a team in Indiana. Neither organization has issued a comment at this time. 

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star ATH Christian Wallace Is Prototypical Charlie Strong Recruit

Christian Wallace is a 4-star athlete, per 247Sports' composite rankings, who is currently uncommitted. Many of college football's top teams would love to add a versatile player like Wallace to their roster. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down what makes Wallace such a perfect fit for Texas. 

How good can Wallace be for the Longhorns? Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Is Ole Miss or Mississippi State the Better Fit for Athletic WR A.J. Brown?

A.J. Brown, a 4-star wide receiver in the 2016 recruiting class, has not committed to where he will play his college football. With several offers on the table from major programs, the talented wideout has a tough decision ahead of him.

Bleacher Report's Michael Felder breaks down Brown's game in the video above.

Where will Brown play his college ball? Check out the video and let us know!

 

Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football: The Case for and Against the Trojans to Make 2015-16 Playoff

The word vomit is going to taste pretty bad coming up. It usually does.

"Is USC football back?

The "B-word" is dreaded, but it was a question that was ready to go at a moment's notice once the Trojans beat Nebraska 45-42 in the Holiday Bowl. It's a question that's already been parsed through, and it will be picked apart and examined even more between now and early September. The offseason is long like that. 

In a way, finishing 9-4 was the perfect record to start the USC hype train. It shows there's room to grow in a program with a high ceiling. Yet, it's not bad enough that loaded words like "rebuild" have to be used; that implies the Trojans would have a ways to go. 

In reality, USC doesn't. Say what you will about former head coach Lane Kiffin, but he recruited extraordinarily well given that he was strapped with limited scholarships in the post-NCAA sanctions era. Second-year coach Steve Sarkisian has picked up where Kiffin left off, finishing with the second-best class nationally this year, according to 247Sports

Armed with a talented, but now deeper, roster, is USC truly playoff bound in 2015-16? Bovada's latest odds to win the national championship, courtesy of Odds Shark, are listed below. USC is currently at 12-1 odds. 

Here's why the Trojans are playoff bound...and why they aren't. 

 

Why USC Will Be Playoff Bound

Like everything else, it starts at quarterback. With Oregon's Marcus Mariota gone, Cody Kessler assumes the role of the top signal-caller in the Pac-12. 

Kessler's 2014 numbers were excellent and efficient, which is not an easy combination. He deserves a ton of credit for that. But because Mariota's stats were also excellent and efficient—not to mention better—Kessler was overshadowed. He couldn't crack a first-team All-Pac-12 list in an alternate universe. 

The spotlight has shifted from Eugene, Oregon, to Los Angeles, though. Not only are the expectations high for Kessler individually speaking, but his role as a team leader will unfold in front of a lot of eyeballs. USC has to fill in the gap in the running game left by the early departure of the NFL-bound Buck Allen. Nelson Agholor, Kessler's favorite receiving target by a country mile, also took off for the pros. 

That was an outstanding supporting cast around Kessler. Certainly, second-leading receiver JuJu Smith can emerge as a true No. 1 option for the Trojans, but this is not a year in which Kessler can settle into a game-manager role. 

(*Note: Bryce Dixon was held out of spring practice for a “student-conduct issue,” but his official status with the team has not been officially determined.) 

"As the quarterback, people are going to blame and praise you first, and coach [Clay] Helton and Sark are always telling me I don’t have to put it all on my shoulders,” Kessler recently told Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated. “But I want that. I’m so attached to this school, I love it so much, I want to help them do well. I think this year can be a turning point for us.”

The entire offensive line, which started three freshmen a year ago, according to ourlads.com, is back. With another spring in Sarkisian's offense, USC should look like a finely tuned machine come next fall. Even the best offensive teams in the Pac-12—Arizona State, Oregon and the like—could easily find themselves having to go toe-for-toe on the scoreboard with the Trojans. 

Along those lines, the Pac-12 has cemented itself as a deep conference. The South Division specifically has four teams—Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and USC—that have a legitimate shot of heading to the conference championship game. Of those four, though, the Trojans have the right combination of blue-chip talent and experience in the right places. 

Above all, as Schnell explains, there's an attitude within the program that '15 really is lining up to be a special year: 

Kessler and USC don’t have use for “one game at a time” or “enjoying the journey” clichés. Everyone is here to win a title, and Kessler came back specifically for that reason. There’s a bit of added motivation, too. Last week documents from former USC assistant coach Todd McNair’s case against the NCAA were released per court orders, and the results all but confirm what many suspected for years: It looks like the NCAA was on a witch hunt of sorts in the wake of the Bush scandal, determined to mete out an unprecedented punishment.  

When asking if USC is back, it might behoove us to consider that the Trojans want the NCAA to know above anyone else. 

 

Why USC Won't Be Playoff Bound

Notice that just about everything above focused on the offense. If USC falls short of expectations—which is to say, a playoff appearance—it'll be for two reasons. 

First, the defense loses three key players in its defensive front seven: defensive end, Leonard Williams and linebackers J.R. Tavai and Hayes Pullard. For context, that's three of the top six leading tacklers (Pullard and Williams were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively), and about 42 percent of the team's 33 sacks.

Williams specifically was named as one of the 10 safest picks in the upcoming draft by Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com. Those are some huge loses and USC is still trying to recover in the depth-challenged months of spring. 

"We're a little depleted on the defensive front right now," Sarkisian told Rahshaun Haylock of Fox Sports West. "They're getting taxed but it needs to be hard right now in spring practice. It needs to be tough on them. We need to be tough on them. Football is a tough sport and we need to develop that mentality so that as tough as any game comes, our guys are going to respond."

Cornerback Adoree' Jackson and defensive back/outside linebacker Su'a Cravens have All-Conference and All-American potential, but how well the defense plays up toward the line of scrimmage will be a storyline to watch. Guys like defensive end Greg Townsend Jr. will have to step up big time. 

There's also some doubt about Sarkisian's ability to take this program to a national-title level. The Trojans experienced about every imaginable defeat last season. There was the ultimate "What the hell?" loss at Boston College. There was Arizona State's Hail Mary. There was giving up the 11-play, two-minute drive against Utah that resulted in a go-ahead score with eight seconds left. Then, there was the 18-point blowout loss to UCLA. 

Now that's a clean sweep. 

Finishing games has to be priority for Sarkisian in 2015 and depth issues aren't the factor they were made out to be. Can the Trojans do a better job on that front this time around? It's definitely something for which they won't get the benefit of the doubt.

USC has to prove it can replace key players easily and do a better job in tight, late-game situations. Those aren't simple problems with simple remedies. 

 

Verdict

USC is definitely the sexy playoff pick for 2015. Think Oklahoma from last year. But, as we saw with the Sooners, it takes more than a good bowl-game showing for that hype to come to fruition. 

Will the Trojans compete for a Pac-12 title? Absolutely, barring injury. However, there are a couple of teams that will challenge USC for a playoff spot. The first is Oregon. Even with Mariota gone, former Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams should be an ideal fit for that offense. If he takes off—and no one is saying coming in over the summer and developing chemistry with existing players is easy—the Ducks will again be a tough team to beat. 

There's also USC's crosstown rival. UCLA returns almost everyone from last year's team but is breaking in a new quarterback. Josh Rosen, a 5-star early-enrollee, is already wowing in spring practices. It's just a matter of whether that will translate into game play right away. 

Additionally, three of USC's four or five toughest games—at Arizona State, at Notre Dame and at Oregon—will be on the road. 

Can USC get to double-digit wins in 2015? Yes, and with the way the offense plays, this could be a fun team to watch. Late-night Pac-12 games were a gem last season, and the Trojans could continue that tradition.

However, the concerns USC does have are enough to merit caution. The official prediction here is that Sarkisian's team improves on last year's record but falls just outside the playoff's top four. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com

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USC Football: The Case for and Against the Trojans to Make 2015-16 Playoff

The word vomit is going to taste pretty bad coming up. It usually does. " Is USC football back? " The "B-word" is dreaded, but it was a question that was ready to go at a moment's notice once the Trojans beat Nebraska 45-42 in the Holiday Bowl...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Insider Breakdown: Versatile 2016 DE Janarius Robinson Is Perfect Fit for FSU

Janarius Robinson is a 4-star weak-side defensive end, per 247Sports' composite rankings, who is committed to Florida State. Robinson will make a huge impact heading into Tallahassee.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down what makes Robinson such an impressive prospect for the Seminoles. 

What kind of impact can Robinson have on FSU's future? Check out the video and let us know!

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5-Star Ed Oliver Is the 'Most Ready and Polished DT of 2016'

Ed Oliver, a 5-star defensive tackle in the 2016 class, per 247Sports, is making heads turn on the recruiting trail. The 6'2", 285-pound athlete has several offers on the table from seemingly every top program in the country. 

Bleacher Report's Michael Felder breaks down Oliver's game and where he expects the big man to play at the college level. 

Check out the video, and let us know!

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Most Important College Football Spring Game QB Battles to Watch

Spring practice exists for a number of reasons, but none more so than to help figure out who will start when the college football season begins in September. And no position is more key to get settled than the quarterback, which is why the competitions for that spot tend to serve as the main event at spring games.

April is when most FBS teams wrap up spring ball with their final scrimmages, and there are plenty of quarterback battles to check out. Though many competitions won't officially end until training camp, how candidates perform in the spring game can serve as either a springboard to starting in the fall or the harbinger of a spot further down the depth chart.

It also can prompt some passers to look elsewhere for a starting opportunity, as the weeks immediately after spring games are when we could see some quarterbacks announce their intentions to transfer.

Which are the most important spring game QB battles to watch in the coming weeks? Check out our list, then give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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How Jim Harbaugh Has Impacted Urban Meyer's Recruiting Strategy

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With Michigan getting ready to wrap up spring practice and Ohio State in the midst of it, camp season is right around the corner for two of the Big Ten's tent-pole programs.

But while camps can give coaches the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the country's top prospects, Urban Meyer admittedly isn't as excited for them this year as he was in 2014.

That's because, as opposed to last year, when the Buckeyes left spring practice with just two players committed to their 2015 class, Ohio State already has eight verbal pledges for its 2016 class.

In a class that could possibly top out around 20 players, the Buckeyes could be just about halfway there, leaving less room for players to earn offers in-person at camp like Darron Lee did in 2013 and Nick Conner did a year ago.

"The calendar's been moved up. We've had a bunch of commitments already and I'm not a huge fan of that," Meyer said following Ohio State's sixth spring practice session on Tuesday. "I kind of liked it last year when we didn't have many and you get to know players better."

The fourth-year Buckeyes head coach was quick to point out that he likes Ohio State's 2016 class—which currently ranks fourth in the country—but would have rather seen it take more time to take shape. Recruiting, however, is very much a matter of keeping up with the Joneses, and there's a new family in town that has caused Meyer to speed up his pace.

That would be about three hours northwest of Columbus, where Jim Harbaugh has taken Michigan's recruiting strategy to whole new level since taking over the Wolverines program at the end of 2014. Michigan hasn't been shy about handing out scholarship offers in the past three months, extending 156 invites to play for the Wolverines in the 2016 class alone.

"People offer scholarships now like Pop-Tarts," Meyer said.

Meyer didn't mention the Wolverines specifically, and Michigan isn't the only school that has been liberal with its scholarship offers. But the increase in scholarship offers going out from Ann Arbor has been impossible to ignore, especially as it pertains to prospects with mutual interest from Ohio State.

With more than 10 months remaining until national signing day, the 156 scholarships for 2016 are the most offered by Michigan in the past 18 years. As recently as five years ago, the Wolverines were routinely handing out offers that only reached double-digit totals, and this year's cycle has already doubled the 62 scholarships Rich Rodriguez offered in 2010.

As for the effect Harbaugh's strategy has had on the Buckeyes, Ohio State has offered 143 scholarships in the 2016 class, a pace well ahead of what Meyer showed he preferred in his first four classes since arriving in Columbus.

It's not that the three-time national champion head coach hasn't offered large numbers too—in 2015, the Buckeyes offered 228 scholarships—but many of OSU's offers under Meyer haven't come until the start of the camp season.

"In a perfect world, you watch them go to camp, watch them three or four games their senior year and say, 'I'll take him. This is a perfect fit,'" Meyer said of his preferred recruiting pace. "This school's offered 40 kids in the state of Ohio and I'm like, ['Wow']...we prefer to go much slower than that."

Again, Meyer didn't specifically mention Michigan, but it's not a coincidence that there's been significant overlap in the offers extended by the Buckeyes and Wolverines in the 2016 class. No fewer than 55 prospects in the 2016 class hold offers from both Ohio State and Michigan, including Buckeye commits Kareem Walker and Terrell Hall, and Wolverines pledge Erik Swenson.

Any time two teams strive to recruit both nationally and within the same region as Ohio State and Michigan do, there's bound to be some similarities in their respective offer lists.

But the fact the that Meyer has felt the need to keep pace with Harbaugh's rapid rate is telling, especially as the new Wolverines coach has aimed to increase his program's presence in Ohio with the hiring of former St. Edward High School coach Rick Finotti as Michigan's director of operations.

"Sure," Meyer said when asked if took notice of Harbaugh's hiring of a prominent Ohio high school coach. "They hired a quality guy, a really good football coach. I don't blame them. Do we monitor it? We monitor everything."

That includes offers, which is why the increase in invitations from the Wolverines has resulted in an increase in offers from the Buckeyes. Of course, there's a difference between a ceremonial offer and one that's actually committable, which is why schools are able offer scholarships for close to 10 times as many spots that they have open.

That could also be why Michigan currently possesses just two commitments in its 2016 class, despite offering so many scholarships. It also doesn't help that, despite the positive P.R. Harbaugh has provided for his alma mater, the Wolverines still don't have the same type of momentum the Buckeyes are currently enjoying coming off of January's run to a national title in the College Football Playoff.

But despite possessing an edge over his archrival, Meyer isn't about to become complacent. That's why he's taken note of Harbaugh's most recent moves and attempted to make the proper adjustments—not that going head-to-head with Michigan is anything new for the Buckeyes.

"I think that gauntlet was thrown down in the 1800s," Meyer said.

And with the Wolverines having already offered scholarships to 30 players in the 2017 class, they won't be stopping anytime soon.

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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FSU Pro Day 2015: Recap, Reaction for Jameis Winston, Eddie Goldman and More

Florida State hosted its annual pro day Tuesday, and the event attracted much attention to benefit a team that won 29 consecutive games.

According to Lindsay Rhodes of NFL Network, at least five NFL head coaches—Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints, Todd Bowles of the New York Jets, Ken Whisenhunt of the Tennessee Titans and Lovie Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—made the trip to Tallahassee:

They made the trip with good reason, too. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller included 12 Florida State players in his seven-round mock draft, including eight in the top 81 picks. Here they are in order:

  • QB Jameis Winston (Round 1, Pick 1)
  • CB Ronald Darby (Round 1, Pick 15)
  • DT Eddie Goldman (Round 1, Pick 24)
  • CB P.J. Williams (Round 2, Pick 39)
  • OC Cameron Erving (Round 2, Pick 41)
  • DL Mario Edwards (Round 3, Pick 79)
  • WR Rashad Greene (Round 3, Pick 80)
  • OG Tre' Jackson (Round 3, Pick 81)
  • OG Josue Matias (Round 4, Pick 113)
  • TE Nick O'Leary (Round 5, Pick 160)
  • OL Bobby Hart (Round 6, Pick 213)
  • RB Karlos Williams (Round 7, Pick 256)

Quarterback Winston, the obvious main attraction, made the bold decision to throw 102 passes. For comparison, Johnny Manziel threw 65 passes at Texas A&M's pro day last season:

"Man, I'm a competitor," Winston told his tutor, George Whitfield, when they originally planned to throw 60 or 70 passes. "I want to give them everything."

The passes varied from easy, quick routes to deep routes and throws against simulated pressure. Winston looked sharp in all facets, demonstrating accuracy that Jason Staples of Nole Digest called uncanny:

Uncanny, indeed. Winston completed his first 35 passes before missing a difficult throw to Greene on the sideline.

In total, he threw 11 incompletions, five of which were drops:

Winston also showcased his mobility, throwing well on the run. He posted one of the slowest 40-yard dash times among quarterbacks at the NFL scouting combine. But, like Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, that doesn't make him immobile.

However, it should be noted that after starting strong, Winston ran out of gas and looked winded in the second half of his workout, according to Joel Klatt of Fox Sports. Kurt Warner of NFL Network criticized his footwork and mechanics, too.

Here are some high-quality videos of the workout, courtesy of Wayne McGahee III of Nole Digest. Decide how he looked for yourself:

Winston did not post a perfect workout. He will not go down with pre-draft legends, such as Sam Bradford. However, he showed initiative by throwing (when he really didn't need to) and likely helped his stock more than he hurt it. Tuesday was a good day for Winston.

It just wasn't a great one.

"There's nothing to disappoint you," Smith said afterward, according to Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times.

He sums things up perfectly.

Elsewhere, defensive tackle Goldman cemented his status as a first-round prospect. After not working out at the combine, he validated what scouts have seen on tape—he moves unlike a 6'4," 336-pound human being has any right to move.

Specifically, he ran a 5.12 in the 40-yard dash:

He looked quick in position drills, too:

Defensive end Edwards, who weighed 294 pounds last season, has continued to shed weight. He checked in at 278 pounds at the combine and trimmed that number to 272 pounds Tuesday.

He also left the facility with a rep for the New England Patriots:

(That is typically a good sign.)

Cornerback P.J. Williams might have made himself some money. He helped his stock during position drills, per Jared Shanker of ESPN.com, and improved his 40-yard dash from a 4.57 at the combine to an unofficial 4.49, per Rob Rang of CBSSports.com.

Here's a video of Williams and Darby—both might become first-round draft picks—running cornerback drills:

Darby impressed in position drills as much as P.J. Williams, according to Shanker, which means no clear-cut favorite emerged from the duo.

Scouts will continue the same argument they've conducted since August: Which Florida State cornerback is better?

Additional notes:

  • Greene and tight end Kevin Haplea played well in Winston's workout. Greene dropped one deep pass (a dime roughly 50 yards down the field) but otherwise looked like a solid Day 2 pick. He will work out with Winston in Tampa Bay and also plans to visit to the Philadelphia Eagles, per David Visser of Chop Chat
  • Goldman is a busy man: According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, he'll meet with or visit the the Cleveland Browns, the Indianapolis Colts, the San Francisco 49ers, the Detroit Lions, the New England Patriots (another good sign) and the Carolina Panthers in the next couple of weeks.
  • Converted center Erving, who entered last year at left tackle, continues to show a quick learning curve. He looked fluid in OL drills and snapping the ball to Winston, and he could well be the first center drafted. He played well enough down the stretch that, in my opinion, he should be.

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Jameis Winston: Breaking Down FSU QB's Pro-Day Workout

Jameis Winston still has a lot of work to do convincing NFL teams he can lead a franchise off the field. On it? The Florida State star never heard many questions about his ability. 

That may change after Tuesday's pro-day workout.      

Throwing before a packed house filled with scouts, executives and coaches, Winston was inconsistent amid an elaborate scripted program. He completed 91 of his 102 attempts—a number well above the norm—and flashed a combination of athleticism and on-field intelligence that could satisfy even his harshest critics.

"Man, I'm a competitor. I want to give them everything," Winston told his private quarterback coach, George Whitfield, per Jenna Laine of Fox Sports 1

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports commented on the uniqueness of Winston running the throwing program himself:

That said, the reviews ran much closer to tepid than the overwhelming praise he received at the scouting combine. Confident in the pocket but struggling while on the move, Winston showed excellent zip amid struggles with ball placement. The workout especially got going after some initial jitters, which former Pro Bowl quarterback Kurt Warner commented on, via the NFL's college football Twitter account:

The workout itself, curated by Whitfield, focused on getting Winston on the move. He was chased by brooms on a number of snaps and was forced to throw across his body, cavorting himself in a number of awkward positions. Meant to flash his improved conditioning and ability to fire the ball in on the run, Winston's routine arguably wound up doing more harm than good.

Former NFL executive Joe Banner outright called the workout "bad":

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman provided comments from a scout who was on site, who had a different opinion:

Conditioning-wise, Winston showed signs of exhaustion. He was sweating profusely at points—perhaps a product of his high attempts total and the nature of the workout—which former NFL quarterback Shaun King chalked up as irrelevant.

However, King was critical of Whitfield, citing the quarterback coach's shaky resume at making players better:

In two seasons at Florida State, Winston threw for 7,964 yards and 65 touchdowns against 28 interceptions. A no-doubt-about-it No. 1 pick had he been able to declare following his freshman season, Winston's bouts with inconsistency Tuesday continue a trend prevalent throughout his sophomore year. After posting a 40-touchdown, 10-interception campaign in 2013, Winston came back with 25 touchdowns against 18 picks this past season.

As Winston flashes inconsistency on the field, questions will only continue to crop up about his off-field behavior. His transgressions at Florida State range from deeply troubling to silly college antics, but they will nonetheless continue to dog him as he attempts to clinch the No. 1 draft spot.

Winston said he changed his ways, per College Football 24/7:

Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher, one of Winston's staunchest backers, called the constant discussion a "character assassination" in an interview with WDAE Radio in Tampa Bay (via IHeartRadio.com, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com):

Why is there a question? Because of the character assassination that he's lived through in the media, and the (misinformation) and half-truths that have been printed. What amazes me about this whole process is the unprofessionalism of a lot of major newspapers, and a lot of major outlets that did not report the whole truth of the situation and only slanted it for their own opinion.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who hold the No. 1 overall pick, will in all likelihood be deciding between Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota come April 30. Nearly every major outlet had Winston as a favorite coming into Tuesday's workout, a position bolstered by the organization's public praising of the polarizing prospect.

Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer told JoeBucsFan.com:

You know, we spent a lot of time with Jameis. We spent a lot of time with Marcus Mariota. There are other potential players that could be up there with the first pick. But yes, we as an organization are comfortable. We’re comfortable with Jameis.

If the Bucs are truly sold, it's unlikely anything minus an outright disaster could have changed their minds. Pro days only have as much meaning as you put into them. Their scripted nature makes it hard to provide a true assessment, and ultimately, film means far more than anything Winston did Tuesday. By the sounds of it, though, Tampa's brass was more than pleased with the workout, per ESPNU (via CBS Sports' Will Brinson):

Criticisms from outsiders aside, the only opinion of Winston that matters is Tampa Bay's. Thirty-one teams may feel he was a little underwhelming, but if the Buccaneers are ready to hitch their wagon to him, then none of those teams will even get an opportunity.

Assuming they're not putting up a smokescreen, there's little reason to think Winston will be available when the Tennessee Titans are on the clock at No. 2.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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Once 402 Lbs, Louisville Commit T.J. 'Big Snack' London on Quest to Lose 100 Lbs

When Columbus, Georgia, defensive tackle T.J. London, a 3-star prospect, verbally committed to Louisville on March 4, the primary topic of discussion wasn't his ability to disrupt run games or how much potential he had to be a defensive game-changer.

Everybody wanted to talk about the Carver High School lineman's size. A close second was his nickname, which referred to his size.

London's reported size at the time of commitment was 6'3" and 402 pounds. The defensive tackle, nicknamed "Big Snack," said the weight was legitimate when he visited Kentucky at the end of February for junior day, but he has now grown an inch and has slimmed to 385—and he has plans to get even thinner.

"I'm trying to get to anywhere from 295 to 310," London said. "A lot of coaches want me around 330, but if I can get down to at least 310, it'll help me in the future. I'll be a way better player."

Losing roughly 100 pounds is a lofty but achievable goal, particularly for someone who already has lost 17 pounds in roughly six weeks. Put the weight-loss goal on London's things-to-do list for the spring, along with improving overall quickness, gaining additional upper-body and lower-body strength and becoming even more of a dominant lineman.

Recruited by Louisville defensive line coach L.D. Scott, London said he's solid with Louisville and is looking forward to the tutelage from Scott and head coach Bobby Petrino. London added that he has been hearing a lot from Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina State. Kentucky and Tennessee have offered.

Choosing Louisville, however, was something London said made sense, after the program separated itself from others with how it potentially wanted to use him.

"A lot of schools want me to play nose guard," he said, "but that's one of the reasons why I like Louisville. They want to evaluate my game and see if I should play 3-tech or someplace else. I want to play wherever my game can get better overall. That's another reason why I want to lose the weight.

"Coach Scott has been there the whole time. He's kept it real with me. I keep up with him two or three times a week. He's just a down-to-earth guy. One of the things he told me is to follow my heart and do what's best for me."

London said he weighed between 360 and 370 during the season. He didn't realize that his weight shot up so quickly after the season. The weigh-in at Kentucky caught him off-guard, he said, and he was willing to do whatever to lose it.

London has been running and getting quality workout time in the gym to turn things around. He also said he's changed his diet. Big breakfasts are very rare, if not nonexistent, and lunches include fruits and low-calorie snacks.

"I'll eat oranges, strawberries, pineapples...fruits like that," London said. "Lunches used to be where I'd probably eat a full dinner. Now, I'm doing better. My coaches are helping me out a lot with my workouts. They've got me doing a lot on the field and in the weight room."

London said he will be at Louisville for the annual spring game on April 17. He originally chose the Cardinals over offers from Kentucky, Mississippi State and North Carolina State.

"I liked everything about them," London said. "The defense they run, we run it in high school. I like the defense and the coaches there. Plus, I've got a teammate going up there [2015 safety signee Khane Pass]. Everything seemed right for me."

247Sports has London as the nation's No. 42 defensive tackle. As an interior lineman pledge, London is a valuable get for Louisville. The Cardinals signed three defensive linemen in the 2015 class, but all three—4-star Devonte Fields and 3-stars Drew Bailey and Tim Bonner—were defensive ends.

Louisville's last defensive tackle signee was 2014 Tae Thibodeaux, who redshirted his freshman year. In fact, since 2012, Louisville has only signed three defensive tackles: Thibodeaux, 2012 signee DeAngelo Brown, who finished his redshirt junior year, and 2013 signee Kyle Shortridge, who completed his redshirt sophomore year.

Before he arrives on campus, London said has some big, yet attainable, goals to accomplish. It starts with decreasing his size and making sure he's getting better Regardless, he's excited about his future and looks forward to putting on a Cardinals uniform.

"I'm solid to Louisville," London said. "It's a 10 out of 10."

 

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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College Football Hot Seat Coaches Having a Good Spring

It's never too late to get off the coaching hot seat, right? Who says your fate has to be determined?

Spring practices are a time for optimism. It's a fresh slate and a chance to start over. For coaches on the hot seat, that opportunity to start from scratch couldn't come soon enough. 

In the following slides are five head coaches who are not only looking to turn things around in 2015, but who have a real chance at doing so. Maybe a coach is getting an important player back from injury or settling an important position battle. Some coaches on here are recruiting lights-out or seeing significant improvement with key players. 

These are the coaches on the hot seat who are having a great spring. 

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