NCAA Football

Ohio State Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes begin the path to title defense Saturday at Ohio Stadium in the team's 2015 spring game. 

There, a three-way duel between Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett will take center stage, even if all three don't suit up. So will the future, with big names such as Devin Smith, Michael Bennett and Doran Grant taking their talents to the NFL.

Saturday offers the Buckeyes faithful a first chance to see the new direction of the team as Meyer plans for next season.

Let's take a look at how to catch the action and a few things to focus on as it unfolds.

 

2015 Ohio State Spring Game

When: Saturday, April 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Ohio Stadium

TV: Big Ten Network

Live Stream: btn2go.com

 

Preview

While it is an exciting time as Ohio State pieces together another potential College Football Playoff contender, it's important to note first Meyer's conservative strategy going into Saturday.

There, he plans to give some of the big names time on the field, but he also wants to give younger players a chance to experience live-game action in front of a massive crowd. James Grega, Jr. of The Lantern captured Meyer's thoughts on the matter:

We are going to let the 1-A’s of the 2,000 rep club — we are going to go the first two series of the game. It will not be to the ground tackle. It will be very structured and pass-type situations. I think the fans deserve to watch the Joey Bosas of the world go out and play. Then we will start taking those guys out of the game and continue on with the scrimmage.”

Still, there will be plenty to see in the way of competition.

Jones is the only major quarterback suiting up for the event. Miller is still too far out in his recovery, and Barrett has only put on limited work so far this preseason.

Meyer is happy about this, all things considered, as he noted Barrett is ahead of schedule and already has more work in than the staff predicted.

"We're exactly where we need to be at the end of spring practice," Meyer said, per ESPN.com's Austin Ward. "... We probably got [Barrett] more reps than I thought we'd get him. Our trainers did a good job, and we were going to be very cautious with him, but we practiced better this year than we have in the past."

In other words, Jones will need to look sharp Saturday. Folks know what Miller can do under center, and Barrett looked great last season before the late injury. There's a chance for Jones to craft serious chemistry with a new-look offense, but competition is on the way sooner rather than later. 

Speaking of the offense, the team will use Saturday in part to find a replacement for the aforementioned Smith.

Noah Brown is the first name who pops to mind a year removed from not playing much. A gap among the first-team wideouts has helped Brown to show off his skills, and he continues to be brought up as a player having a great spring.

Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch captures one such account:

Also mentioned is Curtis Samuel, who sounds ready to receive more than the 58 carries he tallied from a season ago, especially after he turned them into 383 yards and six scores on a 6.6 per-carry average. 

To be blunt, things are more boring concerning Joey Bosa's unit. One of the chief questions in need of an answer centers on who lines up across from the star defender a year after Steve Miller and Rashad Frazier held down the fort in the wake of Noah Spence's suspension. Of the names to watch is redshirt sophomore Tyquan Lewis.

Most interesting of all on the defensive side of things is the secondary. Eli Apple holds the top corner slot with Grant gone, but Gareon Conley seems fit for more playing time, even more so if he can put on a strong performance Saturday.

Like most spring games, Ohio State's spectacle Saturday won't showcase the starters a lot to keep them healthy. What the event will do, though, is help young players along and give the staff a better idea as to where it needs to focus moving forward. 

It's something worth observing, as the defending champions set out to improve.

 

Info courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com unless otherwise specified.

 

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Auburn Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Change is in the air surrounding the Auburn Tigers with the return of Will Muschamp, who will help coach Gus Malzahn orchestrate Saturday's spring game, otherwise known as the A-Day Game.

There, new starting quarterback Jeremy Johnson will lead the offense. Muschamp, the defensive coordinator, will look to improve on a unit last seen ranking 63rd with an average of 26.7 points allowed per game.

A leaky defense is the main reason the Tigers collapsed down the stretch last season, losing four of their last five, including the Outback Bowl to Wisconsin in overtime.

"Change" is the buzzword to keep in mind, though, so let's take a look at how to catch Saturday's event.

 

2015 Auburn Spring Game 

When: Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. ET

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium

TV: SEC Network

Live Stream: SEC Network

 

Preview

Start with Johnson, because it doesn't matter if Muschamp works miracles if the play under center isn't up to par. 

He set some lofty goals for himself this preseason, as captured by James Crepea of the Montgomery Advertiser:

Within, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee told Crepea he thinks Johnson can produce at a Cam Newton level if he puts in the work.

"You don't want a guy saying man I throw form 1,000 yards and rush for 10. He's capable. Jeremy – and I believe this about a lot of our guys – they can reach a lot of high goals if they want to. There's a lot of work that's going to go into that."

Folks know what to expect from a Malzahn-led offense at this point, but it will still be interesting to see if the unit comes out favoring the pass or rush more Saturday with Johnson under center. 

Also interesting is the battle at running back, where transfer Jovon Robinson will make his debut in live-game action with the Tigers.

The praise has run rampant for Robinson so far this preseason, as Tom Green of the Opelika-Auburn News captures:

Most captivating of all, though, is the Muschamp-led defense.

Some of the questions already have answers. Folks wanting to know who will play the "buck" position like potential 2015 NFL draft top-10 pick Dante Fowler Jr. did last year at Florida need look no further than Carl Lawson.

Many will recall Lawson recorded four sacks as a freshman in 2013 before missing last season with an injury. He's back and now a centerpiece of Muschamp's defense.

For his part, Lawson sounds ready to move from the past and assume a leadership role, per Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis:

Questions linger around Lawson, though.

Muschamp will use Saturday to help find complements to his top pass-rusher. Montravius Adams and others come to mind. The unit's ability to put constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks will make things much easier on a secondary in transition.

He'll also use the live action to test secondary members such as Josh Holsey, Tim Irvin and others one year after the unit allowed 230.1 passing yards per game. With top corner Jonathan Jones out of action due to a minor surgery, younger members of the secondary will receive a chance to step up in live-game action to gain experience.

Saturday is all about gaining experience, with many young pieces and returning players stepping into critical roles. Things have a new look near the top of the program, which will have a ripple effect on the field.

The first viewing occurs Saturday.

 

Info courtesy of AuburnTigers.com unless otherwise specified.

 

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Notre Dame Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Brian Kelly isn't pulling any punches for the 2015 Notre Dame spring game.

The 86th installment of the annual Blue-Gold Game is unlike many before it and those around it from other programs because the Fighting Irish don't feature much in the way of turnover this year.

Rather than filling voids left by departing starters, this Saturday focuses on as much competition as possible to produce the best possible starter, such as the battle under center between Everett Golson and Malik Zaire.

Let's take a look at how to catch the event.

 

2015 Notre Dame Spring Game 

When: Saturday, April 18 at 12:30 p.m. ET

Where: LaBar Practice Complex

TV: NBC Sports Network

Live Stream: NBCSports Live Extra

 

Preview

To further encourage competition at every spot, Kelly will allow both Golson and Zaire to take hits in Saturday's spring game.

Officials will blow plays dead quickly and coaches told defenders not to go for big hits, but the allowance of quarterback hits is an interesting gamble by Kelly to squeeze the most out of the sport's most important position.

“Both of those guys need to be who they are, and that’s who they are (taking contact),” Kelly said, per CSNChicago.com's JJ Stankevitz. “They’re guys that need to move in the pocket, they make plays with their feet and they both can run the football and we want to be able to run them both as well.”

Golson had his struggles last year with 12 fumbles, eight of them lost, but did throw for 29 touchdowns to 14 interceptions while completing 60 percent of his passes. Zaire is the better rusher, something he may put on display Saturday.

The rest of the offense isn't in question. Tarean Folston, last year's leading rusher with 889 yards and six scores, is back in the fold. Of the 11 different players who caught a pass last season, nine return.

William Fuller, who led the team with 76 grabs for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns leads the wideout corps. Corey Robinson and Chris Brown landed right behind him on the receiving list last year and will make a return, as will the versatile C.J. Prosise, who continues to line up in the backfield and split out wide.

The real focus point Saturday should come on the defensive side of things.

Last year the Fighting Irish's collapse down the stretch, in which they lost their final four games of the regular season, came in large part thanks to inexperience on defense.

Continuity isn't the issue this spring, it's applying experience to form a cohesive unit capable of holding up under the rigors of a full season.

One name to watch is senior Jarrett Grace, who figures to be in contention for a starting gig if he looks up to speed Saturday after taking a year and change off to recover from a leg injury. Kelly loves the dynamic he has at linebacker, as captured by Rachel Terlep of The Elkhart Truth:

Seniors Sheldon Day, Jarron Jones and Romeo Okwara lead a deep and talented defensive line, and one sure to fluster both quarterbacks Saturday.

Matthias Farley, last year's interceptions leader, remains in a dogfight for the No. 1 corner slot on the depth chart. Corner is perhaps the position with most turnover on defense this preseason after losing Cody Riggs.

Given the hodgepodge of names that saw the field last year, though, it shouldn't be a problem so long as someone steps up Saturday and beyond to fill the void.

Which is what Saturday is all about—competition to encourage the best to rise to the top as the Fighting Irish ease into another season. The event marks the beginning of a long march, but one from an advantageous position. 

 

Info courtesy of UND.com unless otherwise specified.

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LSU Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Things get offensive in Death Valley Saturday at LSU's 2015 spring game. 

After an 8-5 effort and .500 mark in SEC play a season ago, there's a different feel to the National L Club Spring Football Game in Baton Rouge as coach Les Miles searches for the answer under center.

The duel between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris is just one facet of the spectacle Saturday, but the one under the most scrutiny. At the least, Saturday will provide some signs about the future.

Here's how to catch the action.

 

2015 LSU Miss Spring Game 

When: Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. ET

Where: Tiger Stadium

TV: SEC Network

Live Stream: LSUsports.net/live (audio only)

 

Preview

LSU faithful are sure to remember last year's spring game. 

The Harris-Jennings duel took center stage, with the former by far winning the battle. Harris looked good with three touchdowns, whereas Jennings threw a pair of picks the defense took back for touchdowns.

Yet Jennings started 11 of the 12 games last season, completing 48.9 percent of his passes for 1,611 yards and 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

This year the result of the spring game may be more important, as Miles told the media what he wants to see from his signal-callers as they split Saturday's reps down the middle.

"Run the team, use the tools at hand. Run the offense for us. Let it work," Miles said, per ESPN.com's David Ching. "Take care of the ball and move it aggressively. Those kind of things."

It's hard to tell who will win the battle, but offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has been quick to sing Jennings' praises so far this preseason, as captured by Ross Dellenger of The Advocate:

Believe it or not, there will be plenty of other players on the field Saturday with jobs at stake.

The problems on offense don't just fall on quarterback, as the 76th-ranked attack (27.6 points per game) got little in the way of explosiveness on the outside last season.

Travin Dural turned 37 catches into 758 yards and seven scores, but others will need to step up this season to keep defenses honest. Former stud recruit Malachi Dupre is one of Saturday's biggest names to watch after he caught just 14 balls for 318 yards and five scores a season ago.

Also of note will be running back Leonard Fournette, whose 1,034 yards and 10 scores on a 5.5 per-carry average this season seem just the tip of the proverbial iceberg going into his sophomore campaign.

As usual, the defense isn't as much of a concern a year removed from ranking fifth in the nation at 17.5 points allowed per game.

The focal points on the defensive side of things are obvious, with new coordinator Kevin Steele at the helm and needing to improve on last year's 19 sacks and fill voids left by Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco.

What will be interesting to see is just how much Steele is willing to reveal to the nation to get his players accustomed to what may be some new-look fronts. He's been quiet so far this preseason about how his unit will deploy.

"I've got no reason or advantage—as long as the players know—it's really an advantage to us that opponents for next year in their spring, summer and early fall camp work, they've got no evidence of what we are," Steele said, per Jim Kleinpeter of NOLA.com. "Keep guessing."

Keep an eye on Steele's actions Saturday, as they may speak to a bigger plan in place for next season.

The goal for LSU is a rebound. With more experience under center this time around and new wrinkles on the defensive side of things, one might just be in order.

It begins Saturday.

 

Info courtesy of LSUSports.net unless otherwise specified.

 

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Alabama Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide look quite different as they head to their 2015 A-Day Game.

The last time the globe saw the Crimson Tide, Blake Sims was the starting quarterback and the team lost a slugfest against Ohio State in the title game.

This time, Alabama takes to Bryant-Denny Stadium with a new-look backfield, fresh faces on defense and a five-man battle for the starting gig under center with Sims gone.

Suffice it to say, Saturday is quite an important day on the calendar as Saban takes the Crimson Tide into a new chapter.

 

2015 Alabama Spring Game 

When: Saturday, April 18 at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium

TV: SEC Network

Live Stream: SEC Network

 

Preview

The biggest storyline folks will gravitate to right out of the gates is quarterback. 

Saban himself said it all with a few words, per Bleacher Report's Marc Torrence:

It's true, as Jake Coker, Alec Morris, Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell and Blake Barnett continue to fight for the starting job.

Also, it's important to remember just one year ago, when Sims put in a horrific performance in the spring game and seemed to lose the battle before going on to lead the team to the national title game.

Still, Saturday is a way for Alabama to narrow down the field. Coker and Cornwell seem to lead the field, but any assumptions the former has a huge lead need to go out the window. All indications are Coker does not have a major lead, if any. A recent note by Cecil Hurt of Tuscaloosa News said this in a blunt manner:

No matter who steps up, they will have to work with a new-look offense.

Gone is running back T.J. Yeldon. Derrick Henry is still around and figures to be the lead back, but it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff trusts anyone to split the load with him as Yeldon did a season ago.

For his part, Henry is ready to assume the mantle of every-down starter and sounds eager to showcase his budding skills.

"I'm not where I want to be as a player and as a running back," Henry said per ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg, "so every day I come here and approach the game as I would want to get better, be a complete back and be the player I want to be."

Also gone is Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper, who caught 124 passes and 16 scores last year. The next closest, DeAndrew White, had 40 and four, respectively. White is also gone, as is Christion Jones, so offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has his work cut out for him this weekend when it comes to sorting out the depth chart.

Robert Foster is one name to keep a close eye on, especially after Brad Everett of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette detailed how well the young wideout played in a recent scrimmage, garnering praise from Saban:

Personnel turnover isn't limited to the offensive side of the ball, though.

Perhaps second only in importance behind quarterback is the state of the secondary. Landon Collins is off to the NFL and the unit's lone returning starter, Cyrus Jones, has missed all the spring with an injury.

Young former standout recruits such as Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey are in contention for starting gigs, even more so after Eddie Jackson made the switch to safety to help shore up depth at the position.

In front of the secondary in the trenches is another focal point to consider. Even if A'Shawn Robinson doesn't suit up, it opens things up for a player like Da'Shawn Hand, who looked promising in spot duty last season and may be even better with a full year of experience.

Again, the spring game won't set a whole lot in stone when it comes to final decisions by Saban and his staff.

Saturday is still a critical step for the program, though, as it continues to put a wealth of quarterback contenders through their paces and figures out things at critical positions.

If all goes according to plan, Saban and Co. will have a better idea about their depth chart and fans will get a serious preview of the program's future fortunes. 

 

Info courtesy of RollTide.com unless otherwise specified.

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Ohio State Coaches Get Emotional While Presenting Championship Rings to Players

It's been about three months since the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Oregon Ducks for the College Football Playoff National Championship.

On Friday, the Buckeyes released a powerful video of Urban Meyer and his staff presenting championship rings to their players.

The coaches told stories and shared personal experiences with each player before handing him the ring.

[Ohio State Buckeyes]

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Steve Spurrier Works Out Shirtless with South Carolina News Reporter

Every year, South Carolina head coach/red-faced he-man Steve Spurrier allows a reporter from The State newspaper to join him in his dojo for a session of intense training and spiritual introspection.

Or, more simply put, the two men get really sweaty and take their shirts off on camera.

It's a time-honored tradition, and this year The State's Josh Kendall (h/t LostLettermen.com) took up the torch as Spurrier's lifting buddy/pain canvas.

Kendall posted video of him going through the workout with the nearly 70-year-old coach. At 41 years of age, Kendall writes that he still found himself lagging behind Spurrier, who lifted in a V-neck sweater vest.

"I consider myself in average shape for a 41-year-old man but only because the competition is not stout in a country where 70 percent of adults over the age of 20 are overweight and 35 percent are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Kendall writes. “I kept pace with Spurrier for a while but eventually he outlasted me in a series of low-weight, high-repetition lifts."

So what does Spurri-cising exactly entail, Kendall?

He does two sets of shoulder presses with barbells. Fifty with 15-pounders and 40 with 10-pounders. He does 200 shoulder shrugs with 30-pound barbells, two long sets of curls, 50 tricep extensions with a 25-pound barbell (I think it was 25 pounds; oxygen depletion may have affected my memory.) There are 100 toe raises with the 30-pound barbells; 22 minutes on the treadmill; 11 minutes on the stationary bike at a not-insignificant incline. At some point, I'm thinking it's never going to end, although I'm trying to keep a brave face.

As mandated by tradition, the two posed shirtless for the cameras after their workout, practically glowing with testosterone and post-lift pump.

Everybody wants to be Steve Spurrier, but don't nobody want to lift these not-so-heavy weights.


Dan is on Twitter, asking the good Lord to forgive Spurrier for these gains of which he's about to receive.

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Darian Owens to UCLA: Bruins Land 4-Star WR Prospect

After pulling in a topnotch recruiting class for 2015, UCLA football's 2016 class received a major boost Friday as it secured a commitment from wideout Darian Owens.

According to Justin Hopkins of 247Sports, the 4-star wide receiver chose the UCLA Bruins over a number of Pac-12 rivals, including the USC Trojans.

Per 247Sports, the Fresno, California, native is the No. 30 wide receiver and No. 136 overall player in his class. The 6-footer is coming off a fine high school season that saw him make 42 grabs for 882 yards and seven touchdowns.

Greg Biggins of Scout.com is among those who believe UCLA did well to nab the talented pass-catcher:

Keeping a player of Owens' caliber in state is undoubtedly a major accomplishment for the Bruins, as is the fact that they were able to outflank the Trojans.

UCLA has no shortage of competition on the West Coast in terms of recruiting, but Owens' commitment is the latest example of the school's increased clout and profile.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Melquise Stovall to USC: Trojans Land 4-Star RB Prospect

Getting a jump on the 2016 recruiting class, USC landed one of the top running backs when Melquise Stovall gave the Trojans his commitment.   

Stovall made the announcement on Twitter Friday:

The news isn't a surprise, as Stovall is from Lancaster, California, and he has been pursued by the two big Southern California schools (USC and UCLA). The Trojans always seemed to have a leg up and got their man. 

Stovall is a good man, as well. According to 247Sports' rankings, he's the No. 2 all-purpose running back and is the 180th-ranked player overall. 

As far as what Stovall can do on the field, even though he has a lot to prove in college, this move posted by D1Bound.com shows the Trojans have a great foundation piece to work with:

The Trojans are already off to a great recruiting start for next year, with 247Sports listing five other 4-star commitments. Head coach Steve Sarkisian has this program headed in the right direction after a 9-4 record in his first year and another strong recruiting class coming in 2016 to keep building around. 

Oregon has been the class of the Pac-12 with Marcus Mariota at quarterback, but with him going to the NFL, things are open up once again for the Trojans to reclaim the throne. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Melquise Stovall to USC: Trojans Land 4-Star RB Prospect

Getting a jump on the 2016 recruiting class, USC landed one of the top running backs when Melquise Stovall gave the Trojans his commitment...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

B/R 5th Down: College Football's 'Fast and Furious' Take, Latest Rivalry Antics

Editor's Note: The Fifth Down captures the top social college football stories of the week. Because the long, grueling offseason is underway, we'll focus on things that make us laugh, think or maybe cry, but mostly laugh. 

 

1) Utah's Coaching Staff Parodies The Fast and The Furious 

The 29th seventh installment of The Fast and The Furious movie franchise came out earlier this month and has been a monster hit at the box office, grossing more than $251 million.

Because Utah's coaching staff understands the mind of teenage recruits—and because it apparently has muscle cars just hanging out everywhere—it decided to do a parody for a recruiting video.

There are no appearances by Vin Diesel or The Rock, which is disappointing. Also, no one drove a car out of a plane, but we'll chalk that up to budgetary reasons. In the meantime, we're looking forward to the following sequels:

A Ute Good Men

American Ute-y

TrUte Grit

Cool Hand Ute

 

2) Michigan Fan(s?) Vandalizes Michigan State's Spartan Statue 

The last time Michigan did something this publicly humiliating to Michigan State, former Wolverines running back Mike Hart was calling the Spartans "little brother." Spartans coach Mark Dantonio didn't forget—because he never forgets, y'all—and has been stepping on Michigan's collective throat ever since. 

And yet, the rivalry lives on. Someone, perhaps several people, decided to give Michigan State's spartan statue a paint job of sorts. Well, the results can be seen below: 

Welp, now you've done it, Michigan. As if Dantonio weren't annoyed enough by you—remember, Dantonio doesn't get mad; he gets disappointed, and it hurts so much more that way—he's going to make you pay for it. 

It'll be the football equivalent of washing your mouth out with dish soap. And then when you're done, you're cleaning out the garage. 

 

3) Your College Football Burn of the Week...Rivalry Edition!

There are few things better in college football than a good rivalry trolling. But instead of painting Georgia's stadium with gold graffiti, Georgia Tech opted to take the high road when it came to its 30-24 overtime win over Georgia last season.

If you take a glance at the team's Orange Bowl rings below, you'll see "State Champs" written on the side. 

Georgia Tech can enjoy that one for a little bit longer. Nov. 28, 2015 will be here before you know it, Bulldogs fans. 

 

4) Speaking of Championship Rings, Ohio State Has 100 of Them

A few weeks ago, Ohio State players and coaches showed off some of their championship rings. Apparently, they weren't done. 

Another national championship ring arrived this week, and amazingly, it's even more incredible than the first one. Here's Buckeyes tight end Jeff Heuerman showing off his bling via Twitter: 

Given the run Ohio State is on, if the Buckeyes win another national championship in 2016, we'll be getting tweets of shiny rings for... [punches numbers in calculator] [carries the five] 30 more years.  

 

5) Virginia Tech Lineman Eats 8 Taco Bell Burritos and Lives to Tell About It 

Understand this first and foremost: Offensive linemen are God's gift to football. Not only is there something glorious about a big man pancaking another big man, but they're easily some of the smartest, most interesting players in front of a microphone. 

Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech's redshirt sophomore lineman, is no exception. Speaking to media this week, Teller informed reporters that he loves Taco Bell's Beefy Fritos Burritos and can attack* eight at a time.

(*Note: You do not eat Beefy Fritos Burritos, just like you don't eat pizza. You "attack" Beefy Fritos Burritos. You "attack" pizza. There is no other acceptable verb here.) 

According to Joe Lanza of The Key Play, "a single Beefy Fritos Burrito has 440 calories and 18 grams of fat. Teller-size your order (multiply by 8), and it's 3,520 calories and 144 grams of fat a pop." 

And, some say, Teller's arteries clogged three times that day.  

 

6) Jim Harbaugh Wants to Know That He Can Count on Your Vote

Last month, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh finished fourth in the university's student government election. It was an honorable race considering he did no campaigning whatsoever, but Harbaugh, the constant competitor, vowed to do better. 

Clearly, he wants everyone to know he, like Hilary Clinton, isn't done pursuing a term in office. Speaking to reporters this week, Harbaugh wanted the American people to know what their rights are. 

Oh, but it is accurate. As a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen, you have more rights than you probably realize. As your president elect, Harbaugh would like you to know you have:

1) The right to enjoy Judge Judy without shame.

2) The right to eat at Cracker Barrel and genuinely believe it's country cookin'. 

3) The right to just be yourself, and maybe you, too, will win a Grammy. 

4) The right to enthusiasm that, physically or biologically speaking, may not be measurable by science.

Harbaugh 2016. Believe it. 

 

7) You Love College Football; Now, You Can Eat College Football  

College football fanatics believe in many things, two of which fall hand-in-hand here. First, there are no such things as fall weddings*. Second, college football cakes are where it's at. 

(*Note: Seriously, though, get married whenever you want. Your significant other is far less likely to lose on a kick-six touchdown at the last second anyway. It's technically still possible, yes, but we're talking .000001 percent chance here.

Jon Solomon of CBS Sports was apparently at a wedding rehearsal this week in which the cake being served was a Clemson paw of the Rice Krispie Treat variety

It looks amazing, and I would attack—remember that verb?—that whole thing. However, serious question: What do South Carolina fans in attendance do? You're not going to be rude and not take a piece right? This isn't about you, after all. It's their day, and you're there to support them. But, by consuming the cake, you're allowing purple and orange food coloring into your body. Isn't that the same as wearing purple and orange? Is it worse?

Actually, why are you even friends with a Clemson fan? Isn't that against the rules or something?

There's a lot going on here beyond the cake itself that needs to be addressed. 

 

8) Texas and Texas A&M Players Battle on Twitter, and for Goodness' Sake, Just Play Again Already

Earlier this week, Chris Low of ESPN.com reported that Texas head coach Charlie Strong and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin wanted to resume the Longhorns-Aggies rivalry. The game has been defunct since A&M moved to the SEC in 2012. 

This, of course, is another "Gotcha!" moment because there is no chance these two schools will meet in the foreseeable future. Yet, each time, we fall for it like lemmings. 

Anyway, verbal jabs between the two sides haven't died, and that includes a little Twitter spat Texas A&M freshman defensive tackle Daylon Mack and Texas signee Cecil Cherry started.  

ESPN.com's Jake Trotter provides some context: "Strong, however, told Low that he hadn't forced the issue with his bosses yet. 'Let me win some games first,' said Strong, whose went 6-7 in his first season in Austin. 'Then I can push it. I don't know if I want to go walking into College Station right now.'"

That led Mack to post the money quote on Twitter:  

That apparently didn't sit well with Cherry, who essentially accused Mack of being too soft for Strong's coaching style. 

It would be a million times better if these two just played, but it's simply not happening. It should, but the folks in charge don't want it to happen anytime soon. 

And we all lose because of it. 

 

9) Finally, Iowa State Likes Doing Movie Spinoffs, Too

Utah isn't the only program that knows how to parody a movie. Iowa State is currently renovating/expanding Jack Trice Stadium to seat 61,000. As a promotion, the school posted a Field of Dreams spinoff earlier in the week featuring linebacker Levi Peters and coach Paul Rhoads.

As always, Rhoads' proudness level of the video: So Proud! 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. Follow him on Twitter  

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State Spring Game Is Cardale Jones' Best Chance to Earn the Starting QB Job

COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Cardale Jones takes the field at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, he'll do so to an ovation that only a quarterback who led Ohio State to three consecutive postseason wins and the first College Football Playoff championship could earn.

But while Saturday's spring game will be a celebration of sorts for the defending national champion Buckeyes, it will be all business for Jones.

Because although his starting spot in the exhibition is guaranteed, nothing after it is.

Just three days after leading Ohio State to a victory over Oregon in the national title game, the Cleveland native surprised the college football community when he announced he'd be returning to Columbus for his junior season. Despite starting just three games in his college career, the 6'5", 250-pounder played well enough and possessed all of the measurables that could have made him a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

True to his unpredictable nature, Jones had other plans.

“The NFL after three games was really out of the question for me," he said in a nationally televised announcement in Cleveland. "I want to go back to school and compete for the spot."

And while Jones was adamant Urban Meyer hadn't promised him that he'd reclaim the Buckeyes' starting quarterback job, it wasn't hard to see that he had a leg up on the competition. 

With Braxton Miller still recovering from a torn labrum that ended his 2014 season before it started and J.T. Barrett having fractured his ankle just two months prior, Jones was expected to be the undisputed No. 1 quarterback for all of Ohio State's spring practice. There, he'd be afforded the opportunity to build on his momentum from the Buckeyes' playoff run and potentially create an insurmountable lead over Miller and Barrett heading into fall camp.

"I can get a lot better," Jones said as he announced his return. "As each week and each game went on, I think I got a lot better and I progressed. With a full offseason taking reps as a [No.] 1 [quarterback], I think it'll make me be the best quarterback I can possibly be."

With one day of spring practice—Saturday's spring game—left, Meyer has deemed that Jones has "had a good spring." But he's far from established himself as Ohio State's starting quarterback for the fall, thanks to Barrett's ahead-of-schedule recovery.

Watching the Buckeyes practice this spring, you could hardly tell the reigning National Freshman and Big Ten Quarterback of the Year wasn't at full strength, as he traded first-team reps with Jones in seven-on-seven drills. Meyer has admitted that Barrett is much further along than they expected him to be, even sneaking him into some goal-line situations as spring practice winded down.

"Nothing surprises me with J.T.," Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. "He's a hard worker, does everything you could possibly do mentally and physically. He's come along pretty good and it's fun to have him out there."

Meyer has been adamant that he's been careful in protecting Barrett in practice, and as a result he won't participate in Saturday's spring game. And that's what makes this exhibition so important for Jones, as it will be his last opportunity to take center stage by himself.

A strong showing won't necessarily lock up the starting job for the Big Ten title game MVP, but it could help give Jones the edge he was looking to leave spring practice with when he announced his return to Ohio State in January. Barrett, like Jones, has been able to build chemistry with the Buckeyes receiving corps, which will be replacing Devin Smith, Evan Spencer and Jeff Heuerman in 2015, leaving little room for separation in the OSU quarterback derby.

As far as a timetable for the race, Meyer revealed on Thursday that he'd like to make a decision on who his starting quarterback will be for the upcoming season by the middle of the Buckeyes' fall camp. "Every one of them deserves that opportunity and right now two of them aren't getting it. I think by the middle of training camp you have to have a handle on this thing," Meyer said.

That would seem to imply that Jones already has an edge, but if Barrett were out of the picture, there wouldn't be any need for Meyer to extend the quarterback battle into fall camp. For all that Miller has done for the Buckeyes program in his time in Columbus, it would seem that just a few weeks in camp would hardly be enough time for him to reclaim his starting spot after nearly a year away from all football activity.

Barrett's strong spring, however, has put him in a position to truly make the most of Meyer's decision to keep the quarterback competition going into the summer. That's why it's important for Jones to solidify every edge that he can between now and then, starting with a strong showing in Saturday's spring game.

 

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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Trevon Diggs Tweets Top 12: Which Teams Have Best Shot to Land 4-Star ATH?

One of Maryland's top 2016 football players is now down to a dozen schools.

Trevon Diggs, the nation's No. 5 athlete, announced his top 12 on Twitter Friday afternoon. The schools to make the cut include five teams from the SEC, four from the ACC and three from the Big Ten.

The recruiting process is still young for Diggs, who has 17 reported offers, per 247Sports, but all 12 schools had something in common.

Honesty. Open honesty.

"They all caught my attention. They kept it real with me," Diggs said. "It wasn't tough. I just weighed out my pros and cons and wanted to see which schools would put me in the best position."

That's the first step in Diggs' process. The second step now is to continue building relationships with the coaches from each school. Diggs hasn't visited all 12 schools yet, but he said that's a part of his plan.

Each school has a legitimate shot at landing the 4-star athlete who caught 78 passes for 1,008 yards and 15 touchdowns. Look for Diggs to use the spring and the summer to engage each school and separate the potential finalists from the others.

So far, he's visited Maryland, Penn State and Alabama, and those are three schools that would make great fits. Maryland is the trending school, according to Diggs' 247Sports Crystal Ball, as he lives roughly a half-hour away from the College Park, Maryland, campus. He's also the younger brother of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who starred at Maryland and is expected to be drafted in two weeks.

Maryland has six commits, but only linebacker Keandre Jones is a 4-star prospect. Diggs is a highly ranked target who could aid Maryland in grabbing other commitments. With him being an in-state prospect, Diggs' pledge could help the Terrapins pick up 4-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the state's No. 2 player.

Penn State and Alabama both are potential landing spots as well. Diggs has made several unofficial visits to Penn State since September—as many as he's made to Maryland. Most recently, Diggs visited Alabama two weeks ago and took in the campus experience.

Penn State already has the top-ranked Maryland prospect committed in 4-star defensive end Shane Simmons. Penn State has five commitments so far, but the program's still looking for its first receiver or athlete pledge.

Alabama also has five commitments, and the overall prestige of the program—coupled with the fact that head coach Nick Saban's program is consistently in the running for a national championship—could be enough to sway Diggs.

Two other schools to keep an eye on are LSU and Auburn. Diggs picked up an offer from LSU minutes before announcing his top 12. As for Auburn, he was supposed to take a visit to the campus earlier this spring but had to postpone. A visit to Auburn could be on deck soon.

Trimming the list of 12 to a smaller number will be Diggs' next step, and he's expecting the process to be a lot more difficult than Friday's decision.

And what will determine a winning school?

"It's all about what they can do for me after football and what school is going to put me in the best position to go to the NFL," he said.

 

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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Tennessee's Biggest Selling Points Are Turning Vols into Recruiting Powerhouse

Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers have been doing quite a job on the recruiting trail, locking down a top-five class in 2015, according to 247Sports. But what will Jones do to keep the momentum going?

Bleacher Report's Michael Felder lists three reasons why Tennessee is so appealing to recruits in the video above.

Will Tennessee lock down another top-five class in 2016? Check out the video and let us know!

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The SEC's Most Intriguing 2015 Quarterback Battle

Alabama has the most quarterback contenders, Georgia isn't too far behind, LSU is intriguing from a beautiful disaster standpoint and Ole Miss' quarterback battle is about as wide-open as they come.

None of those quarterback battles hold a candle to Florida—the most intriguing quarterback battle in the SEC thanks to the wild variables that exist following spring practice.

Florida wrapped up spring practice on Saturday about where many expected them to be. Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier—a pro-style passer—has a slight edge over sophomore and returning starter Treon Harris, who's more of a dual-threat weapon.

Harris doesn't really fit the pro-style pedigree of first-year head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. Since he missed four practices in the middle of spring dealing with an unexpected death in his family, it shouldn't be that much of a shock to see Grier with a slight lead heading into summer workouts.

"That’ll be a really good competition moving forward," McElwain said following the spring game, according to Scott Carter of GatorZone.com.

What was impressive, though, was Harris' ability to move the offense late. During the third quarter of the spring game, he hit star wide receiver Demarcus Robinson on a beautiful back-shoulder pass deep down the right sideline for a 42-yard gain, and then cashed it in later in the drive on a five-yard touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone to C'yontai Lewis.

It may have seemed like only one drive, but it was a very important one for Harris.

It proved that he can make the tough throws within the parameters of McElwain's pro-style system, has accuracy downfield, as well as the touch on shorter passes.

That's important, because the staff already knows how dynamic he is on the ground. Harris rushed for 332 yards and three touchdowns a year ago and has much more escapability than Grier.

It may not seem that important in a pro-style system, but for this particular pro-style system—given the circumstances—it could be huge.

Florida's struggles along the offensive line are well-chronicled.

The Gators entered the offseason with only eight healthy offensive linemen on scholarship, lost senior guard Trip Thurman to a shoulder injury before spring practice (which could keep him out for quite some time), lost sophomore tackle Rod Johnson for good to congenital cervical stenosis and two of the remaining six healthy offensive linemen—David Sharpe (eye) and Antonio Riles (sports hernia)—underwent minor surgery following spring practice, according to Adam Silverstein of OnlyGators.com.

How dire is the situation on the offensive line for Florida? Robbie Andreu of The Gainesville Sun puts it into perspective:

Sure, 5-star stud Martez Ivey is one of the six on the way this summer. It's clear, though, that the offensive line is going to be a major issue for the 2015 Gators. Since that's the case, Harris' mobility is a huge luxury for the new staff.

McElwain, Nussmeier and the rest of the staff are almost forced to go back to the drawing board now that spring practice has wrapped up thanks to the issues up front. When they do, they'll likely focus on three or four things that the offensive line can do consistently in order to create some kind of identity for the offense as a whole. 

If that involves some zone read with a mobile quarterback, Harris could make a comeback and win the job.

Even if he doesn't and the 2015 Gator offense is more of a traditional pro style, Harris has to be part of the equation, even as a situational quarterback, in order to add a little bit of a wrinkle to the running game.

That's what makes this quarterback battle so interesting.

Grier is clearly the right fit for the new staff, but Harris might be the best fit for the new staff for this particular season given the issues up front. Watching how each of the quarterbacks handle their current positions on the depth chart, how the offensive line evolves and how the coaches evolve with it is going to be wildly fascinating not only during fall camp, but throughout the season.

Alabama's offense isn't going to change that much regardless of who wins the battle in Tuscaloosa, LSU's just has to get better no matter who wins between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris, Ole Miss is going to get production because of the system and Georgia's contenders all looked solid in the spring game.

Florida's offense, based on quarterback, scheme and situation, can go in a wide variety of different ways between now and the end of the season.

It should be fun to watch.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com, unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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How Michigan vs. Michigan State Has Become the Big Ten's Most Heated Rivalry

The question was coming. That was never in doubt.

The only suspense was how Mark Dantonio would respond.

The Michigan State head coach was making his appearance on the Big Ten coaches spring teleconference, as all coaches in the conference's East Division were required to do on Thursday.

While Dantonio was asked several expected questions about the progress of his team and the shifting perception of the Big Ten, it was a question unrelated to football that had the media—and Twitter—waiting with bated breath.

What did the notoriously fiery coach think of the recently vandalized Spartan statue on the MSU campus?

For any other coach, the question may have never even be asked, with a "kids will be kids" answer expected—if not guaranteed. But this was the Spartan statue defaced with rival Michigan's colors and block 'M' logo, and this was Dantonio, who has a history of not putting up with nonsense from the Wolverines.

However, he didn't take the bait.

"I guess there's always little things that get to you one way or the other," he said. "We all have our issues to deal with."

For Dantonio, this answer was unexpected and somewhat deflating, as it was just six months ago that he both voiced and showed displeasure with Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden for planting a spear in Spartan Stadium in the moments leading up to the kickoff between the two teams on Oct. 25.

The Spartans went on to win by a score of 35-11, opting to score a touchdown with 28 seconds remaining when they just as easily could have run out the clock.

As its head coach explained, Michigan State's late touchdown wasn't coincidental.

"It just felt like we needed to put a stake in them at that point," Dantonio said. "I can only be diplomatic for so long. The 'little brother' stuff, all the disrespect, it doesn't have to go in that direction. We try to handle ourselves with composure. That doesn't come from the coach. That comes from the program.

"Throwing the stake down here in our backyard and coming out here like they're all that, it got shoved up—it got shoved that last minute-and-a-half, and we were not gonna pull off of that."

Then-Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke issued an apology the following day but would go on to lose his job at the end of the year following his team's 5-7 season.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon resigned just a few days following the Wolverines' loss to Michigan State—their sixth defeat in seven years to their in-state rival—but despite Dantonio downplaying this week's vandalism, the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy has far from lost its luster lately.

In fact, the rivalry has only intensified recently, as most things do when Jim Harbaugh gets added to the mix.

Ever since he arrived as Michigan's new head coach at the end of 2014, most of the headlines about Harbaugh's addition to rivalries have pertained Ohio State.

While the dynamic between Harbaugh and Urban Meyer—two of the highest-profile football coaches of this generation—is certainly fascinating, it may not ultimately make as much noise as the Harbaugh-Dantonio battles to come.

Though Meyer typically handles disagreements with coaches diplomatically—at least publicly—Harbaugh, like Dantonio, isn't one to back down in any forum. In recent years, the former Stanford and San Francisco 49ers head coach has had public spats with Pete Carroll and Jim Schwartz, both of which instantly went viral:

Harbaugh, for his part, has steered clear of any controversy since joining the Big Ten, not even referring to Ohio State as just "Ohio" like Hoke used to. Dantonio, too, has yet to stoke any flames in the months since Harbaugh's hiring.

"It is as it is. It always has been, it always will be. It just didn't start today or a couple months ago. It's been an ongoing thing, so we approach it like that daily," he said when asked about the Michigan State-Michigan rivalry. "We didn't start this. This has been in existence for a long time."

Maybe so, but for the first time in its existence, the battle between the Spartans and Wolverines features the two most combustible coaches in the conference.

And although Thursday's teleconference may not have been worth the wait, make no mistake: The first meeting between Dantonio and Harbaugh on Oct. 17 will be.

 

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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Biggest Question Surrounding Miami's 2nd-Ranked 2016 Recruiting Class

The Miami Hurricanes are cleaning up on the recruiting trail, scooping up some of the best talent in the land. Sitting at No. 2 on 247Sports' team recruiting rankings, the question now remains: Can Al Golden keep these recruits in the boat?

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder joined Stephen Nelson as they discussed all things Miami recruiting and what other players Miami needs to land to really solidify this class.

Will Golden keep these recruits? Check out the video and let us know!

 *All 247Sports rankings as of 4/16/2014


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10 College Football Players Who Could Wind Up Coaching One Day

The life of a college football coach isn’t easy. Sure, the multimillion-dollar salaries pulled down by FBS head coaches like Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh look glamorous, but those coaches work hard and constantly for their money.

The climb to the top of the profession is the culmination of a grind that often begins with a lowly graduate assistant position and takes years to reach the ultimate goal.

And then there’s the matter of continuous work, recruiting and stress, but we digress. It’s a tough job that not everyone is suited for, but coaches and schools are always looking for the next generation of leaders.

The NCAA now runs the Future Football Coaches Academy for players interested in taking the next step. The school is looking for smart players with on-field talent who also have leadership skills.

These players might not find their way into the coaching profession after potential NFL careers but have potential to lead at a high level.

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Alabama Football: 2014 Backups Ready to Break out This Season

Alabama is no stranger to the "next man up" philosophy, landing as many 4- and 5-star athletes as it does every single year on the recruiting trail. 

Stephen Nelson is joined by Bleacher Report Lead Alabama Writer Marc Torrence to discuss backups from last season that will have big seasons in 2015. 

Which backups do you think will break out this year for Alabama? Check out the video, and let us know!

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Michigan Football: Breaking Down Where Wolverines WRs Stand, Post-Spring

Recently, the wide receiver position at Michigan has been a revolving door of guys who were supposed to become one thing but ended up as another.

That flow has gone both ways.

There have been under-the-radar talents who have bloomed, and there have been supposed stars who fizzled.

The same case will apply this season for the Wolverines, who are roughly two weeks removed from their first spring game under new coach Jim Harbaugh. As of now, Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson appear to be the top options—they were among the exhibition’s top performers and return as the team’s most experienced receivers.

So it makes sense to project good things for them this fall.

But others could end up gaining ground as well.

Now that offensive coordinator Tim Drevno and passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch are on board, wide-scale improvement could be around the bend for the Wolverines, who have a stable stacked with an array of guys who simply want to see the field.

During spring availability, Chesson said his teammates were “hungry” and eager to prove themselves as reliable wideouts.  

He wasn’t wrong about that. No exaggeration necessary, either. According to what coaches said during spring availability, competition is heated and guys are out for one thing, and one thing only: starting reps.

 

Tier I—the A-Team

At 6’2” and 216 pounds, Darboh is built for yards after contact. Typically, those types of receivers do well in the Big Ten, a league known for its physical style. Returning with a team-high 36 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns, the senior seems to be an obvious fit for No. 1. He also did well in the spring game, hauling in three catches for 63 yards.

Like Darboh, Chesson finished the spring scrimmage with a couple of nice catches and appears to be one of the Wolverines’ best receivers. In 2014, the junior had 14 catches for 154 yards. That’s not much, but it’s better than nothing at all.

While recently speaking with the media, Chesson expressed a great deal of optimism in regard to the upcoming season. Players are getting to know Drevno and Fisch, he said, and they’re intent on learning the new systems—the changes are mostly lingo—as quickly as possible so that they may see the field.

Why does that matter? Chesson spoke like a leader that day, not Joe Player. Production value is one thing, but having the ability to lead is another. Really, Chesson, a 6’3”, 207-pound senior, has both traits. He’ll be one of the quarterback’s favorite targets and could be a cornerstone of the locker room.

The words “speed” and “hands” come to mind when thinking of Freddy Canteen. The 6’1”, 185-pound sophomore brings versatility to the table. He’s not necessarily the best long-shot threat, but he could be a great slot receiver—his shifty shakes and reliable hands could shine at that position.

He didn’t do much during this past spring game, but he did in 2014—that’s when he was tabbed as “Freddy Footwork.”

Right now, he’s “Freddy Get to Work.” He has so much to prove in so little time. Experience is an issue at Michigan, but depth isn’t a concern. Canteen has demonstrated the ability to be a starter-caliber receiver, but Drevno and Fisch have more from which to choose. Lots more.

 

Tier II—on the Brink

Dennis Norfleet was supposed to evolve into an all-around threat. So far, he’s been a bit of a liability on the punt-return unit, and he’s not big enough to see a lot of time at running back. This year, the 5’7”, 168-pounder has been designated as a receiver, a position that will ultimately bring out the best in the senior.

That’s the plan, anyway.

Too fast to ignore, Norfleet gives Michigan a wild card on every down. Whether it’s a bubble screen or end-around, Norfleet has the means to do damage and assist the offense in scoring—something that it didn’t do much of in 2014.

Jaron Dukes has been on the radar for two years. Evidently, he’s ready to show that he wants to play during Saturdays in the fall, not just the one Saturday in early April. There isn’t much college film of Dukes to study. At this point, it’s more speculation than anything else.

It’d be difficult to use a 14-yard touchdown catch while being covered by Norfleet as the basis, but that’s all Dukes has right now. The fact that he stood out during the spring game puts him in the second tier. As part of Michigan’s celebrated 2013 class, the time is now for the 6’4”, 204-pound junior. He’ll either earn a role this season or get surpassed by the incoming talents.

Brian Cole is one such athlete. He’s not as big as Dukes, but at 6’2” and 200 pounds, he has enough size to fit nicely into a meaningful role. The early enrollee will probably have five to 10 extra pounds on his frame come fall, not to mention another summer of training. The former Saginaw Heritage star is considered one of the best athletes on the team, per players and coaches.

He may not emerge right away, but give Cole some time—he’s wowed during practice and isn't too far behind his “established” counterparts.

 

Tier III—the Potential Crew

Who knows what’ll happen with Drake Harris. Two years ago, he was the answer to Michigan’s prayers. He was the downfield threat who’d take the Wolverines to the next level. He was going to be Shane Morris’ (left)right-hand man.

However, injuries have sidelined progress since the day he arrived at Michigan. The 6’4”, 174-pound sophomore has to pack on the pounds. That’s a given. Rehabbing his hamstring is another priority—again, that’s a given. He’s been plagued by it for the past handful of months; if he doesn’t recover soon, he may not see the field at Michigan.

Maurice Ways looked decent during the spring game. Other than having a pass ripped from his hands by Brandon Watson, Ways appeared to be one of the stronger talents on offense, not just at receiver. But that was just one spring game. He needs to display something on game day.

The 6'4", 205-pound redshirt sophomore has the athleticism, hands (usually) and vertical to be a real threat this fall, but he faces the task of leapfrogging at least three others in order to get meaningful reps. 

At 6’2” and 199 pounds, Da’Mario Jones is another stout pass-catcher with potential. With just one 11-yard reception on his resume, Jones doesn’t have a track record from which to draw many conclusions. But he can play—that was clear when he was recruited.

Like Dukes, Jones was part of the Wolverines’ 2013 class and was once viewed as next in line.

Today, he’s behind a lot of people, and he could be behind a guy who’s yet to be tabbed as a receiver, Keith Washington, who arrives in May.

In all likelihood, Washington will find a home in the secondary. He runs a 4.3-second 40-yard dash and has quick hands—he’d do well as a corner. At 6’2”, he has the height. But at 170 pounds, he lacks the weight.

College conditioning programs can change that in a hurry.

And speaking of things changing in a hurry, don’t be shocked to see Washington flirt with reps at receiver. That’s why he’s included in this piece. If anything’s certain at Michigan, it’s that nothing is certain. Look at the way Norfleet has been shuttled around the lineup.

Washington is too good of an athlete to shelve for long. He may or may not play this season, and he may or may not see reps as a wideout. That bridge will be crossed later. For now, he’s being included in the potential bunch.

Grant Perry may be another candidate to monitor, especially if Alex Malzone wins the starting QB job—the true freshman started for the Maize Team during the spring game and won three state titles by hurling passes to Perry, a 6’0”, 185-pound incoming freshman.

Familiarity breeds success. Their high school connection could translate to something productive this fall. But Perry’s marked as a third-tier guy for a couple of reasons, with the main one being depth. Michigan has several waiting in the wings, so Perry may be asked to sit out this season and learn.

Doing that could bump him up a notch for 2016’s pre- and post-spring outlooks.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and references were obtained firsthand by the writer via press conference, press release or other media availability. Recruiting information comes via 247Sports, and player stats/bio are from MGoBlue. 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81. 

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