NCAA Football

4-Star DT Greg Rogers Focused on Narrowing List of Suitors

EL SOBRANTE, California — While several schools are still hot on his trail, 4-star defensive tackle Greg Rogers can see the finish line nearing in his recruitment.

With nearly 25 offers to his credit, Rogers has identified a timeline for cutting his list and making a final decision.

“I will release my top 6 by the end of next week and I plan on committing in December,” Rogers told Bleacher Report. “The majority of the coaches I’ve dealt with have been good. I’m not speaking on my top list because I will release that with my family [soon]. The majority of my top schools, I have a good relationship with those coaching staffs. Everybody that will be on my top 6 list, I feel comfortable with those coaches the most.”

The nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle and the No. 95 player overall in the 2017 cycle showed why schools are fawning over his abilities with a sterling showing at the Nike Opening Regional camp in Oakland over the weekend.

Rogers was one of four talented defensive linemen who punched their ticket to The Opening in July.

“It feels really good to get open. I’m really hyped right now,” Rogers said. “I just wanted to show them what I can do and build on the film I’ve got up. I just came out here to dominate and handle my business and I feel like I did that. I’m glad that it was enough for me to get that invite.”

His day started with a strong performance in testing in the morning portion of the camp. Rogers was pleased with the fact that his numbers in most of the drills improved in comparison to last year.

“I put up some good numbers in testing. I ran a 4.4 shuttle. I did a 5.4 [in the 40-yard dash] and I threw a 38’ power ball. It should have been a 40, but I couldn’t get my form down. I jumped a 24’ vertical jump. All of my numbers increased except the 40 time, which was the same from last year,” Rogers said.

While Rogers isn’t releasing the schools that will be on his short list, he did shed light on a few programs that he was able to visit recently.

“I had a good time there [Notre Dame]. I got to meet with the coaches and meet some of the players as well. It was really fun. I also went to Arizona State and USC recently,” Rogers said.

Additionally, he has designs on making a few more visits in the coming weeks and months.

“I want to visit Oklahoma, Michigan and then see USC and UCLA again. Hopefully, I get an opportunity to go to Notre Dame again,” Rogers said.

Narrowing things down will also be a challenge considering the number of schools he said are pursuing him aggressively.

“Michigan is coming at me hard. Oklahoma is coming at me hard. USC, UCLA and Notre Dame are also coming pretty hard. A lot of schools, really,” Rogers said. “I’m just enjoying it and having fun with it right now. I’m enjoying the recruiting process how it’s supposed to be.”

Rogers, who reports a 3.2 GPA, also said that he’s now weighing in at 6’6”, 305 pounds. While he has a bright future on the gridiron, he’s also identified his action plan for a career after his playing days are over.

“I plan on majoring in either criminal justice or communications. Probably a law enforcement officer. I want to play in the NFL, but it’s good to have a backup plan. Those are two things I’m really interested in,” he said.

Rogers noted that the school he chooses will have to have a great academic reputation and a family atmosphere. However, there’s one particular element he’s looking for in terms of his fit on the field at his eventual landing spot.

“I want to fit into the scheme there. I feel like I want to play in a four-man front in college. I don’t want to play in a three-man front. Wherever I feel like I have the best opportunity, that’s the school I will pick.”

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

 

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Michigan's 2016 Defense Could Be One of College Football's Best Ever

Speaking to reporters following one of the final practices of Michigan's spring, Jourdan Lewis wasn't shy about sharing the expectations he has for the Wolverines defense in 2016.

"Be the No. 1. The undisputed No. 1," the All-American corner said. "Our secondary was the No. 1 secondary in the country [in 2015] and that's what I'm looking for: Our unit being the best, winning some of those awards and getting a national championship. That's where my mindset is and all of our mindset is."

Why stop there?

Between its returning talent, an innovative defensive coordinator and a ready-to-play recruiting class, Lewis' lofty goals for the Michigan defense certainly appear attainable. Last season, the Wolverines ranked fourth in the nation in total defense, sixth in scoring and, to Lewis' point, third in defending the pass.

With the standard improvement one could expect from six returning starters, it would hardly come as a surprise if new defensive coordinator Don Brown once again directed the nation's top-ranked defense, just as he did at Boston College a year ago.

But even that would undersell the talent that exists on this Michigan defense.

Better than Alabama, LSU, Clemson and Wisconsin? Perhaps. But even comparing this Wolverines defense to its contemporaries may not do it justice.

From a talent standpoint, this is a unit capable of competing with the likes of the Brian Bosworth-led Oklahoma Sooners, the 1992 Alabama Crimson Tide, Nebraska's blackshirts of 1995, Miami's All-Pro pipeline in the early-2000s and Nick Saban's recent NFL factory in Tuscaloosa for consideration of being one of the top defenses in college football history.

Don't believe me? Just take a look at Michigan's returning roster.

As Lewis alluded to, it starts at the back end, with the Detroit native who could make a case for being college football's top corner. In 2015, Lewis finished second in the Big Ten and third in the nation, with 22 passes broken up, before he passed on entering the NFL draft in order for one last go-round in Ann Arbor.

"If he had come out [in 2016] he'd have certainly been one of the top corners," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said of Lewis last month. "Next year's draft, if you look at the top five right now and you look at a corner, you'd have to put him in there."

Opposite Lewis, Jeremy Clark returns the most experience, but Channing Stribling appeared to pass the 6'4", 210-pound senior on the Michigan depth chart in the spring. "He's a starter," Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh said of Stribling during an interview with The Michigan Insider at the end of the spring. "It's in stone."

Clark's versatility—and size—may ultimately be better utilized at safety alongside experienced seniors Delano Hill and Dymonte Thomas, especially now that Jabrill Peppers finds himself featured in a more prominent role in Brown's defensive scheme.

That's right, after earning first-team All-Big Ten honors as a safety in his redshirt freshman season, Peppers is moving to outside linebacker, although he could still see snaps at safety depending on Michigan's coverage. But as a linebacker, the former 5-star prospect will be able to make a greater impact while playing a position where Brown has developed pro prospects and stat-sheet stuffers in previous stops at Connecticut and Boston College.

"He's playing at a high level there," Brown said of Peppers at the end of spring practice. "The last three guys are in the NFL that I've coached that have played that position. You expect a lot at that spot, so we're going to get what we expect."

While Peppers' new role will give him the freedom to play linebacker, safety and nickel corner—all from the same spot—the two more traditional linebackers on the Wolverines defense will account for most of the unit's inexperience. But expected starters Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray were each 4-star prospects coming out of high school and both have received praise from Harbaugh throughout the preseason.

And should either Gedeon or McCray prove ineffective, Harbaugh could turn to his nationally fifth-ranked 2016 recruiting class, which included 4-star inside linebacker and early-enrollee Devin Bush Jr.

One Wolverines freshman who's all but guaranteed to see the field this fall is the nation's top overall prospect, Rashan Gary. The 5-star talent's size, agility and overall natural ability should allow him to play anywhere on the Michigan defensive line that the Wolverines deem necessary as soon as he arrives on campus.

And while Gary will certainly be in Michigan's rotation—if not the starting lineup—sooner rather than later, the Wolverines line already appeared to be a strength of the defense before his commitment this past February. With the returns of Taco Charlton (5.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss in 2015), Ryan Glasgow (20 career starts), former 4-star prospect Bryan Mone and NFL draft prospect Chris Wormley, Michigan's front four should help open up lanes for Peppers and neutralize any possible deficiencies from the Wolverines' two other linebacker spots.

"We were up there [in 2015]," Wormley told reporters of the U-M defensive line, per Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com. "Without question, we could be the best defensive line in the country."

Should the Wolverines' highly touted secondary and defensive line live up to their self-imposed expectations, the potential is there for Brown to go back-to-back when it comes to possessing the nation's top defense. Add in the upside of its linebacking corps and the unit's overall talent—Gary and Peppers account for Michigan's two highest-ranked recruits in the 247Sports era—and the already-high ceiling of the Michigan defense only rises.

Where it could wind up from a historical perspective is still yet to be determined, especially in a sport where opposing offenses have evolved at a rapid pace, making statistics much more difficult to compare. A national title would likely be necessary, as well as a season's worth of dominating performances—something the Wolverines showed flashes of being capable of a year ago—in order for the U-M defense to maximize its potential.

But with nearly three months to go until the start of the season, the pieces already appear to be in place for the 2016 Wolverines defense to be one of college football's all-time greats.

 

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. Recruit rankings and info courtesy of 247Sports.

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SEC Extra Points: Does Alabama Need to Spice Up Its Uniforms?

If you needed confirmation on flashy new uniforms actually making a difference on the recruiting trail, look no further than the poll Pick Six Previews conducted with 100 uncommitted sophomores and juniors. 

According to the poll, Oregon, Baylor, TCU and Maryland—all of which have creative uniform combinations—received 79 first-place votes for the best uniforms in the game, with Oregon receiving a whopping 60 of them.

The worst uniforms in college football? Those belong to Alabama and Penn State—two schools with traditional uniforms that don't change week-to-week—with 11 votes each.

So should Alabama tweak its uniforms a bit to appease the younger crowd?

Of course not. 

All four of those teams with the "best uniforms" are "new kids on the block," who have made waves over the last 20 or so years on the college football landscape due in part to capitalizing on emerging fashion trends.

Alabama doesn't need to do that.

Ever.

The Crimson Tide have finished with the top recruiting class in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite index, every year since 2011. During that time, the Tide have three national championships, three SEC championships, two College Football Playoff berths and a Heisman Trophy winner. They've also sent 44 players to the NFL through the draft, an average of 7.3 per year.

Winning titles and getting a shot at playing a game you love for a living is just a tiny bit more important than looking good on Saturday afternoons.

This poll is interesting because it confirms the idea that flashy uniforms make some impact on prospects. But consider that as the front door. Inside the house, you won't find "the really big rings, and get a lot of nice things" like players at Alabama find inside the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility in Tuscaloosa.

 

No Sign of Treon Harris or Antonio Callaway

The indefinite suspension of Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway and quarterback Treon Harris is still ongoing.

Speaking to Mike Bianchi on 96.9 The Game in Orlando, Gator head coach Jim McElwain commented on the status of the duo.

For Harris, consider this confirmation that he's not going to make a significant impact if he returns to the program. Luke Del Rio established himself as the clear front-runner at quarterback heading out of spring after completing 10 of his 11 passes for two touchdowns in the spring game, and Austin Appleby—a graduate transfer from Purdue—has enough experience to provide a solid insurance policy for McElwain behind Del Rio.

They all need Callaway, though. 

He led the Gators with 678 receiving yards last year and was a force on special teams where he returned two punts for touchdowns. Whoever the winner of the quarterback battle is needs to have his No. 1 option around during "optional" summer workouts, so the Gators can put the finishing touches on the "McElwain 2.0" offense during fall camp.

There are talented wide receivers including veteran Ahmad Fulwood and junior college transfer Dre Massey who can help out. But when their superstar is around, it makes everybody's job easier.

 

On The Move

After just one year at Auburn, defensive back Tim Irvin has announced that he will transfer from the program.

A promising former 4-star prospect from Miami, the nephew of former Miami and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin had 18 tackles as a true freshman reserve and special teamer for the Tigers in 2015, and he hadn't kicked the door open for more meaningful playing time in Auburn's suddenly experienced secondary. 

His absence impacts the Tigers from a depth perspective more than anything else.

"Rudy" Ford is entrenched at Nickel, Tray Matthews is locked in at strong safety and as Bleacher Report's Justin Ferguson noted after spring practice, Nick Ruffin has a leg up on the competition at free safety. Barring injury, Irvin hadn't found a home, and Auburn has recruited well enough in the defensive backfield to suggest that he never would.

With that said, a speedy defensive back like Irvin who's physical and comfortable with the speed of SEC football would have been a nice asset for the staff to have on special teams.

 

Sumlin Getting It

Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated sat down with Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin to chat about a myriad of things including the proverbial hot seat, the departure of former 5-star quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen, player discipline and more.

One thing stood out to me, though. That was Sumlin's change in how he approaches strength and conditioning during the spring practice session.

Really, still through spring football incorporating a four-day-a-week lift program, even with spring football going on instead of cutting back on lifting during spring football. Reducing the amount of running during that time and concentrating on heavier lifts and strength and our nutrition, just to make sure that strength and mass is maximized throughout the spring instead of just that period that's before spring ball, after spring ball and the summer, and then trying to carry that through the fall, which is a little bit different.

This is an indication that the late season fade routes that Texas A&M teams have embarked on over the last two seasons have proven that, while endurance is important in tempo-based offenses, teams still have to have the ability to get down and dirty with the traditional teams in the conference in order to legitimately contend.

"Instead of just saying, Oh, that happened. There's been a concerted effort across the board in different areas to address those problems, and like I said, it's a work in progress, but I like where it is right now," Sumlin told Thamel.

Auburn did this with head coach Gus Malzahn in 2013.

Instead of a fancy tempo offense that spreads teams out sideline to sideline pre-snap like Baylor and Oregon, the Tigers essentially played two-back, power football with tempo that featured pulling guards and wide receivers absolutely mauling defensive backs on running plays outside.

It appears that Sumlin is intent on replicating that blueprint, which could keep him employed and launch Texas A&M back into the SEC West hunt for the first time since 2012.

 

Quick Outs

  • In your "weird news of the week" segment, a Tennessee man was arrested and charged with extortion after posing as Tennessee cornerback Cam Sutton on Snapchat, according to Mark Bergin of WBIR. It has nothing to do with Sutton, but if you needed more proof that Snapchat is dangerous, here it is.
  • Cooper Bateman is doing all that he can to win the Alabama starting quarterback job. According to Charlie Potter of BamaOnline.com, the redshirt junior who started the Ole Miss game last year will work in the TB12 conditioning program founded by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and also head to Thibodaux, Louisiana, in July as a counselor for the Manning Passing Academy. Whether he wins the job or not, he's certainly learning as much as he can from some of the best.
  • LSU's live Tiger mascot, Mike, received some terrible news this week. He has an extremely rare form of cancer and has anywhere from two months to two years to live, according to Rebekah Allen of The Advocate. In a heart-warming move, Tusk, Arkansas' mascot, sent Mike some flowers

Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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4-Star DT Jay Tufele Goes in-Depth on Recruiting, Love of Rugby

EL SOBRANTE, Calif. — There isn’t an ounce of hesitation for 4-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele when queried on a career path outside of football.

The 6’3”, 288-pounder from Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, is clearly a fan of physical contact.

“If I wasn’t playing football, I’d be playing rugby right now,” Tufele told Bleacher Report. “I’d be trying to go pro in rugby. I love that sport. I’ve been playing since I was in seventh grade.”

A handful of offensive lineman at The Opening Oakland Regional last weekend are probably wishing he would make that switch permanently. 

The nation’s No. 4 defensive tackle and the No. 59 player overall in the 2017 class was a menacing force all day long.

According to Tufele, his performance—which concluded with an invite to The Opening—validated any questions about his standing as one of the premier defensive linemen in the 2017 cycle. 

“It feels amazing [to get that invite],” he said. “It’s like a weight off my back, and it feels great to accomplish this. I showed them that I can really play. Everyone has been wondering about it, but I just came out and showed that I can be a dominant player. I just showed that I can match up with everyone else in terms of skill and athleticism.”

With more than 20 offers to his credit, up next on his agenda is to sort out the main players in his recruitment.

“I haven’t really gotten around that much. The last visit I took was when I went to California to see USC and UCLA. That was two or three months ago,” Tufele said.

However, he does have a few trips in mind he would like to make before the upcoming season.

“Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and I want to visit Washington in the summer,” Tufele said. “Ohio State and Michigan have been coming at me really hard. Utah is always there too. They are around everyday. There’s a few more schools.”

In particular, one head coach at one of those programs has wasted little time in making a positive impression on him—even though he admits he was slightly intimidated when initially speaking with him.

“I’d say [Buckeyes head coach] Urban Meyer. He’s a really good guy,” Tufele said. “I used to be scared in talking to him. But he’s been awesome to talk to. He’s a great guy.”

The big man from the Beehive State reports a 3.3 GPA. Although he doesn’t have a major sorted out yet, he’s currently interested in pursuing a career in the medical field.

While he does have a few visits and programs on his mind, he’s in no hurry to make a decision—which he said could come on national signing day for now. 

When it does come time to make the final call, a few factors will be critical in helping him arrive to that conclusion.

“I just want know if I can make an impact right away,” Tufele said. “The atmosphere of the school and how the players get along with the coaches will be important. I want it to feel like a family wherever I go.”

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Baylor Saga Serves as Disheartening Lesson for Other College Football Programs

This is not a column about who should be fired at Baylor. We'll get there. This is a column about pulling something of substance—something everlasting—from a toxic situation.

This is about trying to salvage something (anything) from a situation in which sexual assault has become terrifyingly common at a major university and ensuring that those following along take the necessary steps to avoid a similar fate.

Following a slew of sexual assault allegations against players inside the Baylor football program dating back to 2009, there are now questions about the way these situations were reported and if anyone inside the university had prior knowledge of them before they came to light.

ESPN's Outside the Lines has explored the issue at length, producing troubling findings with each installment of a still-developing story.

In its most recent revelation, perhaps the most damning revelation surfaced: "According to the police documents, at least some Baylor officials, including coaches, knew about many of the incidents, and most players did not miss playing time for disciplinary reasons. None of the incidents has been widely reported in the media."

Even with so much uncertainty still airborne, jobs yet to be lost, accountability to be delegated and conclusions to be made (or reestablished), the doomsday scenario in Waco, Texas, is something that all the college football programs should be keenly following. 

This is a chance to ensure that things never take this turn. It's a conversation that should be taking place in offices, boardrooms and film rooms. The details that are still to emerge will ultimately quantify the outrage for many. But for the programs hoping to avoid the same dreaded fate, there have already been many lessons learned.

If there were ever a time to completely deconstruct the inner workings of a program and a university—a moment to lift up the hood and dissect a program's foundation—this is that moment. 

Last September, in the wake of this disturbing trend, Baylor partnered with the law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP to investigate how the university has dealt with sexual assault claims in the past.

One football season and many months later, it would appear that an announcement to these findings is forthcoming. Following Tuesday's report from Chip Brown of Scout.com that Baylor president Ken Starr had been fired, Lori Fogleman, a Baylor spokeswoman, released the following statement:

The Baylor Board of Regents continues its work to review the findings of the Pepper Hamilton investigation and we anticipate further communication will come after the Board completes its deliberations.

We will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources. But when official news is available, the University will provide it. We expect an announcement by June 3.

The alleged assaults involve human beings and the way justice was, or wasn't, applied in instances of criminal acts.

But the backdrop for it all is a big, blossoming business. It's a budding football power that has won 32 games over the past three seasons—the most successful stretch in its history—and the architect, head coach Art Briles, who has helped produce such spectacular results along with a new stadium and newfound interest in a once-dormant brand.

How these two intersect will dictate the future of a program. The questions at the center of it all are both simple and deeply important: How could these alleged atrocities have been avoided? And did individuals within the program knowingly abandon procedure, morality and justice to protect the golden goose?

Not a single firing has been made official. The very notion of quantifying punishments, legal or otherwise, has yet to truly be broached, either. And yet, the damage is already so pronounced that this will serve as a giant billboard of what college programs must avoid.

Baylor is not alone in this regard. Tennessee is involved in a wide-ranging lawsuit claiming numerous allegations of sexual assault. There are also questions about the way these situations were dealt with and the order in which information was shared. The situation is fluid, just like it is in Waco. But the residual negativity is tangible.

It shouldn't take something of this horror to trigger a response from others. And yet, there is no better time for others to look at their body of work squarely in the mirror than right now, at the eye of the storm.

No sport operates with a copycat mentality more than football. Stealing plays and concepts is not only accepted, it's essential. What works and what doesn't often drives the way the game is played. Somewhat seamlessly so, it morphs into something completely unique without anyone realizing what was taking place.

When Auburn returned a missed field goal against Alabama to win the 2013 Iron Bowl in spectacular, gut-wrenching fashion, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer implemented the play at his weekly practice almost instantaneously.

He saw an entire season destroyed for someone else, and he wanted his team to benefit from someone else's football misfortune. It wasn't a leap of faith; it was a tactical adjustment.

If such a mentality can exist in playbooks and personnel, one can only hope that such moments of clarity can, and should, occur in other elements of the program...ones that carry far more importance than a game or even a season.

This has become the story of the offseason, trumping the boisterous satellite camp discussion with ease. What happens at Baylor matters more than anything since Penn State—more than Ole Miss and any other pressing punishment churning through the NCAA's random penalty generator.

This is the time a complete system check should take place. It begins with the coaching staff and the young men that are recruited to play at the program. This is the start of the cycle and the most integral part.

It's not just who is recruited, but what these players are taught when they're on campus. How to act. How to treat women. The price to be paid when these reasonable expectations aren't met, no matter the talent. 

It only takes one player or staff member—a deplorable action from one person—to impact the perception of that university as viewed by the general population. When these actions start to add up, tendencies are formed. Perception shifts further, fair or not.

Never before has stockpiling a program with quality human beings and values felt more important than it does right now.

From there, those tasked with ensuring the program runs as planned must do their part to prevent any notion of blatant misconduct. From the university president to the athletic director to those who rarely receive air time, there must be continuity from within.

It is not the responsibility of one person to do right. Just like it's not a burden one person must carry when things go wrong. The situation at Baylor is a product of many people and many bad decisions.

Whether it's taking a moral stand or protecting the bottom line—or hopefully a combination of the two—the transgressions of someone else can serve as the building blocks for many. With so much money being poured into these programs yearly, with sponsorships and enrollment and billions of dollars at stake, this is a reminder of how much there is to lose.

It is unknown just how Baylor will be impacted on this front, although the repercussions, no matter what is determined and announced in the coming weeks and months, will be substantial.

Briles' future at Baylor will be decided soon. So will Starr's. Other coaches and administrators will be held accountable for their actions. There is no changing that; this has already been decided. But there is hope that this will stand for something more for so many others.

One couldn't view this stance as turning a negative into a positive. Not when the negative is this dark and far-reaching. Not when lives and families are impacted in a way that we could never understand. Not when the positive should be decent, common practice.

But if others are tasked to reassess their purpose, that's something to build on. It's a time to determine whether winning is getting in the way of leading a safe and reasonable business. It's a time to ensure that the people inside and outside the program are protected.

Perhaps, then, this experience can serve as an invaluable teaching experience for others, albeit one at a tremendous cost.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Most Underrated and Overrated CFB Players in Each Power 5 Conference

It's a natural inclination to place value on things, and there are few places where this is as prevalent as in sports. But in the process of trying to assess who is good, who is not so good and who is the best, these evaluations can sometimes become skewed.

Before you know it, some athletes end up under- or overrated. College football is not immune to this process, especially during the long offseason in which past results get embellished and future expectations can't help but be raised.

What we end up with are players who, though no fault of their own, get far more (or less) attention than normal. In the end, many perform just as expected, though it's not surprising to see some fail to meet the hype while others drastically exceed it.

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Michigan Football: 5 Toughest QBs Wolverines Will Face in 2016

Although Michigan will likely field one of the nation's stingiest defenses in 2016, that feisty unit will encounter several tough quarterbacks during the regular season.

The Wolverines have a relatively favorable schedule, especially since some of their better opponents have to replace former starters. Plus, the nonconference slate is particularly weak.

Inside the Big Ten, however, Jim Harbaugh's team will face three of the nation's best signal-callers, partly thanks to crossover games. The other two are first-year starters within the Big Ten East.

Michigan's ability to neutralize—or at least contain—the following quarterbacks will have a big impact on their record in 2016. 

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College Football Summer Enrollees We're Excited to See Most in 2016

Some of the biggest stars of the college football offseason are the early enrollees who start turning heads in spring practices. But those players represent just a portion of the elite recruits coming onto campus for the 2016 campaign.

This summer, it will be time to get reacquainted with the blue-chip prospects going the traditional route of arriving on campus ahead of their first fall camps. 

Among those arriving this summer on campuses all across the country is the nation's No. 1 overall recruit, who is a lock to make a big impact for one of the game's most talked-about programs at the moment. Legacy recruits and can't-miss 5-stars will also take hold of the headlines as they transition to life in college over the next few months.

Here are 10 summer enrollees we're excited to see the most in the 2016 season. All of these star recruits have opportunities to play right away at their new homes and have the skill sets needed to become breakout stars this fall.

Of course, this is just a list of one writer's opinion, and fans everywhere will undoubtedly be excited to see their schools' top prospects make their debuts later this offseason. Tell us who you're most pumped about from the class of 2016 in the comments below.

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Dede Westbrook Arrested: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction on Oklahoma WR

University of Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook was arrested Monday on a complaint of criminal trespass. He's since been released from jail. 

Ryan Aber of the Oklahoman reported the arrest, which occurred at 11:30 a.m. Monday morning and was confirmed by a Milam County jail official. School spokesperson Mike Houck stated, "We're aware of it and are addressing internally."

No further details about the incident were immediately released.

Westbrook transferred to Oklahoma from Blinn Community College. He signed his letter of intent in December 2014 and joined the Sooners for the 2015 campaign.

He finished second on the team with 46 catches and 743 receiving yards, ranking behind only Sterling Shepard in both categories. He also tied for third in receiving touchdowns with four.

Shepard has since made the jump to the NFL, getting drafted in the second round by the New York Giants last month. It's left a void atop the receiving depth chart for Oklahoma, and Westbrook was a leading candidate to earn the extra targets before word of the arrest became public.

Jarvis Baxter and Michiah Quick could be in line for larger roles in the passing game once the preparations for the new season resume.

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College Football Coaches on the Hot Seat Entering 2016 Summer

College football coaching is a lucrative but stressful profession. According to a recent USA Today survey, 34 FBS head coaches made at least $3 million in 2015, led by Alabama’s Nick Saban at $6.93 million. The jobs are highly sought-after, but they’re hard to hang on to. Given the ever-increasing amounts of money flooding into the sport via television contracts and booster donations, winning is all that matters.

No program will put up with a coach who consistently puts together losing seasons, ratcheting up the pressure on struggling programs. This fall, a number of coaches face ever-increasing heat under their seats.

Here’s a look at eight head coaches who are on the hot seat as we prepare for the 2016 season. These coaches have seen decreasing results on the field or are dealing with off-field issues. Either way, they’ve got to be feeling the pressure this fall.

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Notre Dame Football: 5 Toughest QBs Fighting Irish Will Face in 2016

The 2016 season will feature a few matchups against tough quarterbacks, but the upcoming slate is actually quite favorable for Notre Dame.

Uncertainty highlights a majority of the Fighting Irish's upcoming opponents. Michigan State, North Carolina State, Stanford, Navy, Virginia Tech and USC are replacing their signal-callers, while Texas, Duke and Syracuse could also have new gunslingers.

Consequently, projected starters (when available) were used when considering each of those teams.

While injury or an unanticipated development in fall camp could occur, the backups at top programs wouldn't shift the order much, if at all.

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5-Star Michigan QB Commit Dylan McCaffrey Opens Up on Recruiting for Wolverines

EL SOBRANTE, California — One of the main attractions at the Oakland Nike Elite 11 Regional camp over the weekend was 5-star quarterback and current Michigan pledge Dylan McCaffrey.

He certainly didn’t disappoint in delivering a strong performance that resulted in earning an invitation to the Elite 11 Finals in Los Angeles next month. 

“I feel like I did pretty well. Of course, I think there are a lot of areas for improvement. One of the things I did pretty well was just taking the coaching I was getting,” McCaffrey told Bleacher Report. “When they told me something to work on, I did my best to change it and I think that helped me. I just want to improve every day from now and go out there and do my best against these other top guys.”

Of course, most fans will recognize the name given that the 6’5”, 200-pounder out of Valor Christian High School in Littleton, Colorado is the son of former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey and the younger brother of Stanford All-American running back Christian McCaffrey.

Despite the connections to the Stanford program, Dylan opted to commit to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff back in March.

According to McCaffrey, the combination of education plus his comfort level with Harbaugh and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch played a huge role in helping him select the Wolverines.

“The biggest factor was that Michigan is a great academic institution. It’s one of the top five public schools out there,” McCaffrey said. “Another big factor was Coach Harbaugh, Coach Fisch and that entire coaching staff. They are all going to put me in the best position to succeed.”

McCaffrey admits that Harbaugh’s history with developing quarterbacks and the job he did with the Wolverines last year going 10-3 caught his attention.

“It was impressive what he did this past year. He didn’t have his own recruiting class and he pushed Michigan up to Top 20 in the country,” McCaffrey said. “That’s pretty incredible. He just used the talent he had and made them a lot better team in one year.”

McCaffrey, who rates as the nation’s top pro-style passer and the No. 19 player overall in the 2017 class, said he never felt pressured to follow in their footsteps in attending Stanford or Duke—where his oldest brother Max just finished a four-year career playing receiver for the Blue Devils.

Instead, he leaned on them to help him navigate the process and help him find the best fit of the eight schools who had offered and were pursuing him.

“Their advice was mainly to just look at the school and mainly focus on the guys you are going to go to school with. Those are the guys you will be hanging out with,” McCaffrey explained. “Coaches are great to you during recruiting, but once you get there, it’s all business and they are your bosses. You really have to go somewhere where you will enjoy hanging out with your teammates.”

He may be joining his father and elder siblings in giving out similar advice to his youngest brother, Luke, who will enter his sophomore season at Valor Christian this fall as the team’s backup quarterback and as a starter at corner.

“[Luke is] going to go wherever fits him best. My brothers did that with me. They wanted me to go wherever was best for me, even if it wasn’t Duke or Stanford if that wasn’t the right fit,” Dylan said. “I think it will be the same thing with Luke. We will support him wherever he decides to go.”

For now, Dylan is turning his focus toward his future and helping recruit top talent to Ann Arbor. 

“There are a bunch of guys [I want to talk to]. I just want to put Michigan out there and spark everybody’s interest in Michigan,” McCaffrey said. “I want to let the top guys know we are going to be doing something special up there in the next couple of years.”

McCaffrey, who reports a 3.97 GPA, is also working on picking out his major in college.

While that is still to be determined, he does have one career in mind that he could see himself pursuing whenever his playing days conclude.

“Oh gosh, my dream career would be to become an architect. I like geometry and kind of the art side of things and I would like to get into being able to design some things myself,” McCaffrey said. “I would love to design and build houses. That’s a great part in everyone’s life that not a lot of people get to take time and appreciate. That’s a big part of everyone’s life.”

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Every SEC Team's Best 2016 Heisman Candidate

Derrick Henry got the SEC back on the board in a big way last year when he rushed for a conference-record 2,219 yards and became just the third running back this century to take home the Heisman Trophy.

Can the SEC make it two in a row?

Despite Henry, former Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott and others leaving, the conference is loaded with talented players who could make a run at college football's most prestigious individual award.

Who's the best candidate for each team? Our picks based on production, potential and voting trends are in this slideshow.

 

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Every Big Ten Team's Best 2016 Heisman Candidate

The start of the 2016 college football season is still more than three months away, but no matter the time of year, fans are always paying attention to the race for the sport's most prestigious award.

And when it comes to the preseason outlook for the Heisman Trophy heading into the 2016 campaign, the Big Ten finds itself with no shortage of seemingly viable candidates.

From dual-threat quarterbacks to two-way jack-of-all-trades to some of college football's most dynamic playmakers, the conference is littered with players who possess the potential to wind up in New York City on the second Saturday of this December.

In fact, each Big Ten team could lay claim to at least one Heisman-caliber candidate, should the right set of circumstances fall into place for both player and team.

Whether because of position or skill set, some players, however, are more carved out for potential Heisman Trophy runs. With that in mind, let's take a look at the player on each Big Ten team with the best chance to find himself in the Heisman race in the coming season.

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Tennessee Football: Former Top Recruits Who Will Finally Shine in 2016

During the first three years of Tennessee football head coach Butch Jones' tenure, freshmen have been forced into action early and often.

So, to discuss the topic of former top recruiting prospects who will finally excel in 2016, you have to understand the definition of "finally." In the midst of a decade-long program malaise, Volunteers fans were hard-wired to think that if a prospect couldn't come in and play immediately, he must not be that great.

After all, the on-field product was so mediocre (or worse) that each year's incoming crop of recruits needed to be spectacular to change the tenor on Rocky Top.

Back in 2013, Jones' first year, for instance, he told the Associated Press' Steve Megargee the following when the season opener rolled around and three true freshmen started.

"Some of it was that is just where we are at with the program," Jones said. "It is what it is. Then some guys have done a great job. Freshmen develop differently. I think this was a very talented incoming freshman class."

As Jones built the program, stockpiling players, the need of freshmen to come in and play immediately has dwindled. Even so, UT still has seen more than its share of first-year players getting on the field over the last three years.

Also, at the level Tennessee is currently recruiting, if some of these guys don't come in and immediately set the SEC on fire, folks are wondering if they weren't overrated.

That's why you'll see a lot of second-year players on this list. At somewhere like Alabama or Ohio State—more established programs—not seeing the field during the freshman campaign is a good thing and not out of the ordinary at all. Once the Vols get there, the program will have arrived.

Let's take a look at some of the players who were highly touted by analysts coming out of high school and who should make an impact in '16, even if it is a little later than a lot of people projected.

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Ohio State Football: Former Top Recruits Who Will Finally Shine in 2016

Few coaches and programs can recruit at the consistently high level that Urban Meyer has reached at Ohio State, and with five consecutive top-seven recruiting classes, there's blue chip talent at every level of the Buckeyes depth chart.

That buried talent was hidden during the 2015 campaign, when 15 starters returned from a national title-winning team to fuel a 12-1 season. But 12 former Buckeyes were taken in the NFL draft earlier this month, highlighting the enormous rebuilding job Meyer has on his hands in Columbus.

Ohio State needs 14 new starters in total before kicking its 2016 season off against Bowling Green. The Buckeyes will turn to these four former recruiting stars to fill some of those holes.

 

Dontre Wilson, H-Back

He was supposed to be the next coming of Percy Harvin, but entering his fourth and final season with the Buckeyes, Dontre Wilson hasn't been able to live up to the enormous hype that came with him to Columbus.

That hype started to build for the former 4-star standout in his first summer with the Buckeyes, when his teammates went into fall camp raving about his playmaking ability, according to Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com.  But with Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller in the backfield, Ohio State used him mainly as a decoy, and he still managed to register 460 total yards and three touchdowns.

But three years later, that's still his best season statistically after being hampered by injuries. 

After seeing limited time a season ago, Wilson should be fully healthy and ready to contribute in an offense that desperately needs playmakers. He still has elite speed and an elusiveness that's an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses to contain in the second level. 

If Wilson is healthy, he could register big numbers with J.T. Barrett at quarterback, who likes to distribute the ball in the passing game. 

 

Marcus Baugh, Tight End

Ohio State's tight ends have been woefully underutilized in the passing attack, averaging a meager 15.8 receptions for 204.2 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per season over the last 10 years. 

Marcus Baugh, the former 4-star tight end out of Riverside, California, is desperately trying to change that. 

Baugh ran into some legal trouble early in his collegiate career and seemed on the verge of leaving the Ohio State football program.  He stuck behind Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett—both of whom were selected in the third round of the last two drafts—and now it's his turn to step into the starting role.

And with co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner calling more of the shots, Baugh could be seeing a lot more footballs being thrown his way. 

"There are a lot more throws headed [Baugh's] way," Warinner said after a recent spring practice, according to Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch

 

Dante Booker, Linebacker

Ohio State has generated two of the most athletic linebackers in recent memory in Ryan Shazier and Darron Lee. Both were first-round selections in their respective drafts, running 4.4 40-yard dashes at the NFL combine.

Dante Booker, a former 4-star stud out of Akron, Ohio, is ready to step in as the athletic freak of the linebacker unit. The 6'3", 233-pound outside linebacker will fill the spot vacated by Joshua Perry, but he'll bring an elite speed to that side of the field. 

"Dante’s a good athlete, man," starting middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan said, according to Tony Gerdeman of The Ozone. "When he gets on the field, he does some stuff that you all haven’t even seen yet in practice. It’s amazing. One of the fastest guys on defense regardless of position. He just brings that pop."

The Buckeyes could use that kind of disruptive force in the middle defensively as they work to replace three starters in both the defensive line and the secondary. 

 

All recruiting information via 247Sports.

David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

For Alabama, Do Rewards of JUCO Transfers Outweigh Risks?

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The one-line announcement was released via email and got straight to the point.

"Charles Baldwin has been dismissed from the program for a violation of team rules," read the statement from University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban on May 12.

With that, the Crimson Tide had their first departure from the recruiting class of 2016, before most of the other signed prospects had even arrived on campus. He was the latest boom-or-bust guy who didn't pan out, as Alabama hasn't had the greatest luck of late with junior college transfers.

Baldwin was an offensive tackle from ASA College in Brooklyn, New York, the same junior college where Alabama found former offensive lineman Leon Brown. At 6'5", 297 pounds, Baldwin was said to be a weight-room junkie and was set to be the program's first scholarship player from Connecticut, having played at Windsor High School.

"Charles Baldwin was probably at least the best junior college offensive tackle type that we could find, which we thought we were a little short in tackle types, especially guys that had experience," Saban said on national signing day. "We recruit junior college guys because we think he's going to be good enough to play, because they need to play. So then we need for him to play. So he has a lot of athleticism to him as well and can play with power."

Baldwin lasted just four months in "the process," Saban's self-titled development program, and was dismissed exactly two days after the deadline for all spring-semester grades to be submitted.

He didn't make the expected splash during spring workouts and did not challenge to be the starting right tackle as hoped. On A-Day, when players were split into two sides to play a game-like exhibition to close spring practices, Baldwin was a reserve for the White Team, which had the second-team offense (and first-team defense). In other words, he never moved up from the bottom of the depth chart.

Overall, Alabama has added one or two junior college players every year under Saban, although some have done little more than provide depth.

The obvious exception to that was Jarran Reed, a defensive lineman who had been D.J. Pettway's teammate at East Mississippi Community College. A month ago, he was a second-round selection in the NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks.

In almost any other year, he probably would have been a first-round pick, but Reed and A'Shawn Robinson were in a draft oversaturated with quality defensive linemen.

"[They're] really, really good players," Saban said on Alabama's pro day. "They played on one of the best defenses in the country, and they were both bell cows and great leaders and affected other guys on the team in a positive way, and I think they have tremendous size, tremendous ability. I think whoever gets them, wherever they get picked, they are going to have a great career."

Last year, of course, Alabama took a controversial chance on former Georgia defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor, only to have it backfire with a public-relations black eye.

Specifically, Taylor had been kicked off the Bulldogs following two arrests, one being domestic violence-related. After Taylor spent a season at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi, Saban decided to give him a second chance, but with some "stipulations," including that another incident wouldn't be tolerated.

On March 28, 2015, Taylor was arrested and again faced domestic violence charges. The next day, he was kicked off the team.

The woman who filed the complaint would recant her statement, and Taylor eventually reached an agreement with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Although the Southeastern Conference reacted by passing a rule preventing incoming transfers of student-athletes who have been previously disciplined for "serious misconduct" at a different school, Taylor is back in football. He attended Southeastern Louisiana last fall and is on its roster for the 2016 season.

"While we are aware of past controversies, Jonathan has not been found guilty for the incidents he was accused of that led to his dismissal from his prior institutions," the school said in a release when he enrolled, per ESPN.com's Nicole Noren.

Taylor was Alabama's only junior college addition in 2015. The year before, it had four, including Reed and Pettway, who had been kicked out of school in 2013 and worked his way back. All four players earned their degrees, with offensive tackle Dominick Jackson and tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith being the others.

However, prior to Reed, the last ones to be drafted were 2011 additions Quinton Dial and Jesse Williams, both defensive linemen.

In 2008 and 2009, Alabama had success with nose guard Terrence Cody, who became a two-time All-American (although he is currently serving a nine-month prison sentence for starving one of his dogs to death) and offensive tackle James Carpenter, a surprising first-round draft pick in 2011.

Alabama also recently recruited quarterback Chad Kelly, now the starter at Ole Miss, when he was at East Mississippi after Clemson kicked him off the team.

"We thought he was a really, really good player and we'd have loved to have him in the program," Saban said. "We weren't sure we were ready to recruit a junior college quarterback right then at that time, but we certainly recruited him and wanted him in our program and thought he was an outstanding player."

Yet for every success story, there seems to be the opposite due to numerous players who didn't work out for whatever reason. Sadly, Aaron Douglas has to be mentioned among them. The offensive tackle died from a drug overdose while at a party in Florida after finishing his first semester at the Capstone in 2011. (Numerous school officials and players attended his funeral. The Crimson Tide wore black stickers of his No. 77 on helmets, and his locker was left open that season.)

That year, wide receiver Duron Carter was on the roster for a while, but despite his enormous potential he never played a down for the Crimson Tide. Brandon Lewis, a defensive end who moved to tight end and played in seven games in 2010, walked away from football with a year of eligibility remaining after earning his degree.

In 2012, Alabama was so short-handed at cornerback that it brought in two junior college players. Travell Dixon, from Eastern Arizona College, was the player everyone thought might make an immediate impact. But things didn't work out in Tuscaloosa, and he instead landed at Washington. The other player was Deion Belue, who became a two-year starter.

In a perfect world, Alabama would almost never recruit a junior college player simply because it wouldn't need to or wouldn't have the necessary opening on the roster. But that's also unrealistic.

Not all prospects work out, junior college transfer or not. Coupled with injuries and attrition, holes in the depth chart develop.

Sometimes a junior college player transfer can be a quick fix or at least a sort of safety net. Other times the player is considered so good that a program like Alabama is willing to offer a second chance despite his previous actions.

Maybe it shouldn't, or at least think twice about doing so.

That said, every JUCO prospect has a unique story, and the rewards can be worth the risk. Williams, for example, was Australian and needed time to get used to the game.

In addition to Baldwin, Jamar King—a 6'5", 285-pound defensive lineman who didn't have it together academically while at Denby High School in Detroit—was in the recruiting class of 2016. He's the cousin of Tuscaloosa-based boxer Deontay Wilder, used to have a full-time job and at age 26 is the kind of guy one almost can't help root for as he follows his dream.

Last season, King had nine sacks while playing for Mendocino College in Ukiah, California, and was named the California Community College Athletic Association's Region II Defensive Player of the Year.

Moreover, according to 247Sports, Dodge City Community College linebacker Gary Johnson has committed for the class of 2017, while Alabama is also after City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Elliot Baker.

Maybe one of them will be the kind of diamond in the rough that makes going after some junior college players worthwhile.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Every Power 5 College Football Team's Most Intriguing Freshman

Recruiting classes don't always produce superstar freshmen, but there's never a shortage of intriguing prospects for college football teams.

In 2016, that attention-grabbing group includes several of the nation's top running backs and receivers. Defensive standouts and quarterbacks appear less often, but it's harder—not impossible—to emerge as a freshman at certain positions.

We've identified one signee to watch on each power-conference program's roster. Prospects covered are not necessarily the best recruits or even the players who will receive the most snaps next season.

Instead, these are talents we're most interested in tracking for a variety of reasons, including potential to make an immediate impact, versatility and uncertainty.

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Josh Rosen Comments on UCLA's Reported Apparel Deal with Under Armour

Following Tuesday's announcement that UCLA and Under Armour agreed to a massive shoe and apparel deal, Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen spoke out.  

In an Instagram post, the sophomore signal-caller scoffed at college athletes being considered amateurs while schools rake in millions:

It was first reported by CNBC Now on Tuesday that the 15-year, $280 million agreement between UCLA and Under Armour was the largest in college sports history.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Josh Rosen Comments on UCLA's Reported Apparel Deal with Under Armour

Following Tuesday's announcement that UCLA and Under Armour agreed to a massive shoe and apparel deal, Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen spoke out...

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