NCAA Football

Ten 2015 College Football Games Perfect for Prime-Time TV

We're at the halfway point of the college football offseason. Don't worry: It only gets better from here. 

Still, with nearly four months before the first game, we're left thinking about what we miss most: night games. Perusing through next season's schedule, several games have the look of being prime-time matchups. 

Some games are no-brainers for prime time, like Oregon vs. Michigan State (scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 19). Others, like Thursday night games, are already prime-time events. To make things more interesting, here are 10 games that may end up being broadcast in prime time—or not but should. 

With official times yet to be established, here are the games we're most looking forward to in 2015—and hoping that they're played under the lights. 

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Power Ranking College Football's Best 2015 Pro-Style Quarterbacks

The dual-threat and spread-oriented quarterback has become so prevalent in college football that it's threatened to render obsolete the type of player who has dominated the position for decades.

But the pro-style quarterback isn't dead yet. In fact, in 2015 a strong crop of QBs focus on throwing the ball and prefer to leave the rushing to the running backs. And this group could help allay the fears of some NFL personnel that the college game is ruining the quarterback position.

"There a growing skepticism about how NFL-ready QBs from spread systems are especially in an era where franchises are looking to play young quarterbacks earlier than in years past," Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman wrote earlier this month.

The top two picks in the 2015 draft were quarterbacks, with No. 1 selection Jameis Winston coming from a pro-style offense and No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota bred from the spread.

It's too early to say for certain what direction teams will go in next year's draft (or beyond) when it comes to the quarterback position, but if they are interested in a traditional pocket passer, he might come from this list of the 12 best pro-style college QBs in 2015. They're ranked based on their past results, expected performance and how well they play their position.

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Which Recruits Should Alabama Target in the 2016 Class?

The Alabama Crimson Tide have long established themselves as a recruiting powerhouse. But even at the top, Nick Saban and his staff have to draw up game plans when it comes to locking down the very best talent in the land. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder broke down which recruits Alabama should target in the current class to keep that pristine recruiting reputation intact.

Who is on your wish list for Alabama recruiting? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star Chaz Ah You Is the Man of 1 Million Positions

Chaz Ah You's natural position at the college level could be safety. 247Sports has him listed as the No. 5 safety in the country in the class of 2017.

Then again, wide receiver could be the projected spot.

Or maybe running back. Perhaps cornerback? Quarterback? Outside linebacker?

Punter?

Ah You is the proverbial problem many coaches would love to have. Truly defining the word "athlete," he has played nearly every skill position at the high school level and has been a topic of discussion at every position—punter included.

"I don't have to be just a free safety in college," he said. "I don't feel I'm a one-position athlete."

There are times when athleticism just overflows in an athlete to where he excels at everything he does. The 4-star prospect has played nearly a dozen positions since first putting on a helmet at six years old.

In high school, he's played safety, wide receiver, quarterback, punt returner, kickoff returner and punter, and there's a chance he also will line up at cornerback and running back for his junior season.

"I've pretty much played almost every [position] all my life," Ah You said. "I've still got two years left, so I'm sure I'll play some other positions—that's if my coaches want me to."

What makes Ah You even more of an attractive prospect, particularly in college football recruiting, is that he's humble about his achievements, which include eight college football offers, five letters in three different sports and various all-region and all-valley honors playing for Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, Utah.

"I don't feel like one of those guys who is good at everything," he said. "I think I'm good at certain things, mediocre at others, but I just want to be the best at everything I do."

Emphasis on everything.

 

Working hard, having fun

Ah You began playing safety full-time as a freshman in high school after playing quarterback since the fifth grade.

And then there were the times in elementary school where he saw time on the line.

"I first played organized football at six," he said. "I was a defensive end. I thought I could make some money at defensive end. It turned out to be a little different."

He is the nephew of C.J. Ah You, who played defensive end at Oklahoma and went on to spend time in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and the St. Louis Rams, and Matt Ah You, who played outside linebacker at BYU. There was a time when, position-wise, he thought he'd follow one of his uncles' footsteps.

"It really didn't matter where I played," he said. "There were times when we were missing a center. I remember playing wide receiver once, and then my coach put me in at center."

One thing about Ah You: He doesn't shy away from hard work. Learning every position is a part of his plan to be the best athlete possible. Using the football tips in other sports allows him to never get complacent mentally. Ah You's mind is always on, and it's always sharp.

"My uncle C.J. always told me to have fun with everything and not cave in to any pressure," Ah You said. "He always said to just take everything as it comes. I want to make sure that coaches aren't recruiting me just for one position."

For now, his main priorities are to contribute for Westlake as best as he can and, ultimately, become the nation's top-ranked athlete. Currently, he's listed by 247Sports as the No. 2 player from the state of Utah, behind 4-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele.

"I'm not happy with where I'm at," he said, "but knowing it makes me want to work harder. I'm working to be the best."

 

Versatility is a plus

Playing so many positions has helped Ah You become a true student of the game, in addition to an ultra-versatile athlete.

"I think playing every position allows you to know the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of the ball," Ah You said. "On offense, I'm able to find where the defense's weak points are. On defense, I'm able to read offenses and make the right plays."

Being strong on both sides of the ball forces college coaches to not put Ah You in a box. He's projected to be a safety, but playing wide receiver isn't far-fetched. Neither is quarterback in the right system. And, if he bulks up, neither is outside linebacker.

Just for style points, neither is punter. Ah You can do it all.

And if it means anything, he's also solid in the classroom. He is an honor student with a 3.75 grade-point average.

"I just want [the programs] to get the best out of me," Ah You said. "I don't want to go to school and plateau out. I want to go somewhere that'll help me not only off the field but in the classroom as well."

Currently, Ah You has offers from Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Washington, Washington State, Hawaii and in-state schools BYU, Utah and Utah State. Washington State is his latest offer. He also is getting a lot of interest from UCLA, USC, Oklahoma and Oregon.

No summer visits have been set up, but Ah You said he's looking into making the trek to a few campuses for one-day summer camps, Among the schools potentially to get a visit are UCLA, USC and Oregon.

 

Life as a decathlete?

If Ah You has his way, he'll further show his versatility in college by balancing football with a track and field career. He's competed as a decathlete and wants to do the same in college.

The decathlon consists of the 100-meter dash, the 110-meter hurdles, 400 meters, 1,500 meters, long jump, high jump, shot put, discus, pole vault and javelin throw. That's 10 events; Ah You wouldn't mind adding more.

He recently participated in a track meet and agreed to throw the shot put for Westlake. It was an event he hadn't competed in since the eighth grade and hadn't practiced since March.

Ah You ended up throwing the shot 45'3" and setting a personal and Westlake school record.

"My coach asked me if I wanted to do it," Ah You said. "I said, 'Sure, why not?' It'd been a while for me, but I was pretty happy with what I did."

Ah You has shown an uncanny ability to adapt, regardless of where he is or which sport he's participating in. In addition to football and track, he's a good basketball player who said he's considering playing AAU summer ball if his schedule permits.

His combination of strength, speed, explosiveness, elusiveness and agility is incomparable to many athletes his age. At the Elite 11 Los Angeles regional, he threw the power ball 38 feet and recorded a vertical jump of 36.3 inches.

In the weight room, he has bench-pressed 230 pounds and squatted 405. He's run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, the 100 meters in 11.49 and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.19. He's also long-jumped 21'3".

And, at 16, he's still growing.

"I've still got some time," he said. "I just want to get better, and keep getting better."

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Summer Goals for Every Top 25 College Football Team

It's good to have goals. It's even better to achieve them.

Spring practice gave college football players and coaches an idea of what they have to work with for the upcoming season, but not everything could be figured out in just 15 practices conducted during the school year. The real work comes in the summer, when preseason training camps get underway and teams are molded into shape for 2015.

There are certain things that every team hopes to get done this summer, but each has its own specific aims.

Using Bleacher Report's post-spring practice rankings as a basis, we've listed some goals that each top-25 team is hoping to accomplish this summer.

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Which School Gives 4-Star WR Diondre Overton the Best Chance to Thrive?

Diondre Overton, a 4-star WR per 247Sports, has not yet decided on where he'll play his college football. But, with several offers on the table, the talented wideout has a tough decision ahead.

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down Overton's game and also offers the school at which he believes Overton would thrive.

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Meet Janarius Robinson, Accomplished Musician and 2016's No. 1 WDE

Football has been very good to Panama City, Florida, defensive end Janarius Robinson. He's the nation's top-ranked weak-side defensive end, a top-35 player nationally, a Florida State commit and a player with more than 20 offers to choose from.

For someone who turned 17 last week, Robinson's already working with a pretty solid resume. And that doesn't include his musical talents.

As a 4-star athlete, Robinson is expected to dominate on the football field. He's a Florida State commit who has kept the door of his recruiting process ajar by taking unofficial visits during the spring. He's also planning to take several more visits in the upcoming weeks.

What may be more intriguing is that the 6'5.5", 250-pound, Bay High School football star loves to show off the talents many don't know he possesses. When he isn't honing his football skills to prepare for college, he's perfecting his craft as an all-around drummer and keyboardist.

And truth be told, he's pretty good with musical instruments. Good enough to open for a major gospel artist.

Those who follow gospel music know Tamela Mann and her powerful voice in the industry. Last summer, Robinson played drums for the group Jay Wade & 1AChord to open Mann's concert at the Marina Civic Center in Panama City.

"I remember finding out two days before we were supposed to do it," Robinson said. "I found out at rehearsal. It was crazy. To open up for a big person in gospel industry like that, it's mind-blowing. I was pretty nervous first off, but after I got into it, I was fine."

Robinson said Mann's promotion contacts were in touch of the manager of his group, and the group was chosen as an opening act. With that, one of Robinson's dreams became reality: He was performing in front of thousands of fans.

Expect the feeling he had to become commonplace the minute he steps out the tunnel of Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturdays. And expect him to turn nervousness into production, much like he did at the concert.

 

Music's in His Bones

Before he was an intimidating football player, he was a toddler with an unmistakable interest in musical instruments. Robinson's mother, Cherine Duncan, said when he was two, he would sit in church on the drummer's lap and play the drums every Sunday.

"That's how he got his beginning," Duncan said. "We would notice he'd go to the drums every Sunday. When he was three, we bought him a pee-wee drum set. He still has that drum set today."

Robinson began playing for the church around eight years old. He admits to playing the drums by ear. As he got older, however, he began learning to play the keyboard and organ. He also is a vocalist.

Getting the chance to open the Mann show, at 16, is something Robinson will never forget. He said he briefly met Mann backstage and hopes to get a second shot to open for a major group soon.

"She's pretty amazing in the gospel industry as far as her music goes," he said. "I don't really know her as a person, but she's a nice lady."

Duncan added: "I was nervous for him, but he did an excellent job. When the favor of God is on your life, he'll allow things to come for a reason. He had the opportunity to play for her, and she sang 'Take Me To The King.' It was awesome to see that."

 

FSU: 'I Got a Certain Feel'

Learning music seemed to come natural for Robinson—as did playing football.

Robinson picked up his first offer in March 2014 from Tennessee. By the end of May 2014, he had double-digit offers.

Among the schools to offer: Florida State, which offered during an unofficial visit that April.

"When I first visited there, I got a certain feel," Robinson said of Florida State. "They just made me feel that's where I needed to be. I loved everything about it. The coaching staff, the campus, the players, everything was great."

Robinson made several trips to Tallahassee, Florida, that summer, and in September 2014, he gave coach Jimbo Fisher, defensive coordinator Charles Kelly and then-defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri his verbal commitment. He chose the Seminoles over offers from Tennessee, Clemson, South Carolina, Michigan and a few other programs.

Since his commitment, Robinson has put on 25 pounds and has emerged into one of the elite athletes of the 2016 class. He bench presses 350 pounds and power cleans 330. He also has run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.

Additionally, he's a U.S. Army All-American.

"He’s a beast out there," Duncan said. "He's a team player, and he's a beast. I'm so proud of him."

 

Unofficial Visits Galore

Robinson consistently reiterates the fact that he's still committed to Florida State, but he enjoys taking unofficial visits to other campuses. He said he wants "to leave no table unturned" when it comes to his process, particularly with him committing as a sophomore.

For him, the experience of seeing something different is valuable. In April, Robinson made two trips to Alabama and individual trips to Florida and Tennessee, in addition to Florida State.

"I went (to Alabama) the first time for their scrimmage. The second time, I wanted to come back and see how the game environment was," Robinson said. "It was pretty awesome.

"With Tennessee, I like the vibe around the city. I like the fans and the coaches there. Florida has great coaches there, too. I really like Coach Mac [Jim McElwain]. He's a cool dude. I think I have a good connection with him."

Robinson has a busy schedule planned in the next couple of weeks. He wants to visit Auburn on May 30, Alabama again on May 31, Louisville on June 12 and Notre Dame on June 19. Robinson added that he wants to visit South Carolina and Clemson before the end of the summer.

Robinson is Florida State's to lose, but he said he is looking for the best fit. He is strong and elusive enough to play defensive line, yet quick and versatile enough to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 formation.

Education is important to Robinson, as well. He's uncertain about a major but said he wouldn't mind learning more about the inner workings of music production and sound technology.

"The main thing, I want him to enjoy football, enjoy life and stay focused," Duncan said. "I just want him to keep God first and keep his academics up. He's my only child, and I pray for him every day. I want him to look back one day and see all the hard work he's put in paying off."

Robinson, like most other elite football athletes, has aspirations to play in the NFL one day. If that doesn't happen, a career as a world-traveling musician wouldn't be a stretch.

Either way, he just wants to excel.

"I'm having a lot of fun with everything right now," he said. "Whatever I do, wherever I go, I'm making sure I'm doing what's best for me."

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas A&M's Newfound Focus on Run Game Will Make Aggies SEC West Contenders

In November 2012, Texas A&M topped Alabama in Tuscaloosa and announced its SEC presence with authority.

Since then, though, the Aggies have been more sizzle than steak.

A nine-win season in 2013 followed by eight wins last year have relegated the Aggies to more of an afterthought in the most grueling division in college football rather than contender.

Based on his coaching moves this offseason, head coach Kevin Sumlin intends on changing that.

The high-profile move, of course, was Sumlin's bold move of luring defensive coordinator John Chavis from division-rival LSU shortly after LSU fell to Notre Dame in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

Another one, though, could be what vaults the Aggies into legitimate SEC West contention.

Former Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen moved to College Station this winter to become the new offensive line coach and running-game coordinator in Aggieland. The latter title is important, because the major problem with the Aggies offense last season was a remarkably unbalanced offense that favored the passing game.

Texas A&M ran just 421 running plays last year while throwing 514 times. With two relatively inexperienced quarterbacks—first sophomore Kenny Hill and then freshman Kyle Allen—that's probably not the best idea.

The addition of Christensen will spice up Texas A&M's running game, which was a goal for Sumlin this offseason.

"We feel pretty good coming out of spring football what we are doing schematically," he said on Tuesday's teleconference. "It's not a dramatic change from what we were doing, but we are doing some things—without giving away any secrets—where we can run the ball not only when we want to run it, but when we need to. That was a point of emphasis [this spring]."

Translation: When Sumlin says "when we need to," he means that more power is in his plans.

Utah finished third in the Pac-12 in rushing offense last year under Christensen, when it averaged 190.38 yards per game on the ground. What's more, the Utes led the Pac-12 with 43.46 rushing plays per game and ran the ball 59.9 percent of the time.

He's the perfect running-game coordinator to fix the Aggies' rushing woes.

Who exactly will be shouldering the load, though?

Tra Carson is the likely No. 1 running back in College Station, but he missed spring practice recovering from a broken foot. He led the team in rushing last year with 581 yards and five touchdowns on 124 carries.

When he's healthy, the 6'0", 235-pounder is a perfect option for Sumlin and Christensen to use as a workhorse in a more power-based spread attack. He clearly has the size to take the punishment, but is quicker than most people realize. As long as that still exists when he's fully recovered, he should be a star in 2015.

But a team can't win with just one running back, right?

James White saw spot duty as a freshman last year, when he gained 153 yards on 22 carries and scored three touchdowns. The 6'0", 218-pounder was one of the stars of the spring as Carson sat out. Jeff Tarpley of 247Sports compared him to a "bull in a china shop," which should play well in the new-look Aggies running scheme.

Senior Brandon Williams will bounce around between running back and safety. While he's not known for his power, his effectiveness on the edge and as a receiver out of the backfield will only increase after Carson and White have worn down the defense. 

Up front, the change will impact the typically stout Aggies offensive line.

Germain Ifedi will likely stick at right tackle after playing some on the left side this spring, while Avery Gennesey—a junior college transfer from two recruiting cycles ago who redshirted last year—will likely lock down a left tackle spot that's a pipeline to the NFL.

Sumlin is pleased with the progress of the way that unit has adapted to the new scheme.

"We were able to develop a starting five and a backup three or four guys," Sumlin said. "That is going to be critical. As we've learned over the last couple of years, this is not just a talent league, but a depth and talent league."

Sumlin isn't abandoning its roots of having an exotic offense, whether quarterback Kyle Allen keeps his job or incoming freshman Kyler Murray takes it. A new running game will, however, be a nice supplement to the high-octane offense that already exists.

That's going to drive opposing defensive coordinators nuts and will help vault Texas A&M into contention in the West.

But wait, what about the defense?

It's not like Chavis has to be a miracle-worker.

There are plenty of talented players on Texas A&M's roster like defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, safety Armani Watts and linebacker Otaro Alaka. With the talent on board and a massive upgrade in defensive coordinator from Mark Snyder to Chavis, the Aggies will be dangerous simply if Chavis produces an adequate defense.

A more balanced offense will give that defense even more wiggle room than it already has, which should be enough to keep A&M in the discussion in November.

 

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 Summer Events to Help College Football Fans Through the Offseason

College football's hot, long offseason summer months are here. Spring practices are in the books, and it's the time of year when no news is good news. 

You're wandering aimlessly through a metaphorical desert—or, maybe a real desert, for all we know; people have strange summer plans—with no earthly idea about which way you're headed. We get it, and if we could, we'd give you a hug. But we can't, so here's a list of things to keep you occupied in the meantime. 

From conference media days to summer camps and everything in between, here are 10 events to keep you going until college football preseason camps start in August. 

The more you can concentrate on other things, the faster the next few months will go. 

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Keith Ford to Transfer from Oklahoma: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Keith Ford, who started the 2014 season as Oklahoma's starting running back, has decided to transfer to another school this spring.    

Continue for updates.  

Ford Granted Transfer from Oklahoma Wednesday, May 13

Ford released the following statement, via Guerin Emig of Tulsa World:

Ford was suspended indefinitely in March for what head coach Bob Stoops deemed to be "academic and team rules violations," per Brandon Chatmon of ESPN.com. It concluded a rough year for the junior running back, who missed five games due to a leg injury and saw freshman Samaje Perine seize the starting gig after rushing for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns. 

Though he returned after his five-game absence and did receive playing time, it was limited, and Ford finished the year with just 71 carries for 392 yards and five touchdowns. It was a disappointing campaign for the player, and Ford likely would have been stuck in a deep pool of running backs behind Perine on the depth chart had he remained with the Sooners. 

Ford will likely find plenty of suitors given his talent and the fact that he started the season as Oklahoma's incumbent running back. In that regard, his transfer may come as a bit of a surprise to Oklahoma fans, but it isn't hard to see the logic in the decision. 

 

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Now Fully Healthy, Cyrus Jones Will Be a Key Leader on Alabama's 2015 Defense

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As Nick Saban tinkered with different lineups and player combinations during spring practice, it seemed like no two days were the same.

But there was one constant.

Off to the side, there was Cyrus Jones, pedaling away on an exercise bike, chatting with fellow senior Denzel Devall while strength coach Scott Cochran barked on.

Jones spent the spring on the sidelines recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn hip labrum. While there were no indications of any sort of complications or setbacks in the recovery, Saban delivered some welcome news on Tuesday.

Jones, along with Devall, has been “fully cleared medically,” Saban told reporters on a conference call.

“We didn’t feel like we needed to push them into the spring and maybe cause issues and problems for them in the future,” he said. “So we think both those players will be ready to go through the summer conditioning program.”

Especially in Jones’ case, the news clears the way for him to fully assume his role as one of the senior leaders on the Crimson Tide defense, both on and off the field. After a surprise breakout year last season, he’ll be saddled with more responsibility in 2015, and there’s every indication he will thrive on it.

Last year, Jones went from a risky position change to a steady hand in the span of a few games. He started all 14 games last season at cornerback, eventually earning second-team All-SEC honors.

Jones’ transition is even more impressive considering his size. He stands just 5’10” but consistently matched up with massive SEC receivers such as Mississippi State’s De’Runnya Wilson.

“Right when I made the transition my sophomore year, I was trying to feel my way around, like I was playing unconfident, still not sure what I was supposed to be doing as far as the defense goes. It definitely hindered me as far as being able to just go out there and play fast and with confidence,” Jones said during the spring.

“If you don’t have confidence playing corner, you just can’t do it. It’s impossible. Now I know what I can do, and I know my abilities, and I know the defense. Now it’s just up to me to just go out there and play and prove everyone wrong who has something bad to say about it.”

And off the field, he’s been a model of what Saban looks for in his players. He even won the Media Good Guy award for giving thoughtful answers in interviews.

Jones was involved in a domestic violence arrest two weeks ago, but police ended up dropping the charges after they found he “attempted to deescalate the situation,” which included calling the police himself.

But during the spring, Jones wasn’t able to be as involved on the field. Now he can.

His presence will be important for a lot of reasons.

Jones is Alabama’s unquestioned No. 1 corner, but behind him will be a lot of inexperience.

Eddie Jackson’s move to safety means sophomore Tony Brown will likely be the one playing next to Jones, at least at the beginning of the season. Behind Brown, Marlon Humphrey, Anthony Averett and Bradley Sylve make up a group that has talent but lacks either experience or consistent play.

Jones’ presence in that group should help the players come along as well as give them a rock to lean on while they take their lumps. Brown did some of that last year but will have a much bigger role this year.

Alabama’s secondary took a lot of heat last year for being a weakness on the team, giving up plenty of big plays at inopportune times.

Now that he’s fully healthy and full speed ahead, Jones will be one of the key forces in making sure that’s not the case next season.

“I’m a guy who is super, super competitive. I take a lot of pride in my play,” he said. “I know criticism is something you have to let go in one ear and out the other, but it’s hard when you’re constantly hearing the same things, whether it’s personally or with your group—my group being the secondary.

“It’s definitely something the secondary takes personally. We have a point to prove. … And I know when I come back, I’m going to be ready to prove all the doubters wrong. It’s definitely personal to me.”

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and reporting were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Julian Rochester Tweets Top 10: Which Schools Hold Edge in Race for 5-Star?

One of the most prized recruits from the state of Georgia in the 2016 cycle is 5-star defensive tackle Julian Rochester.

The nation's No. 3 defensive tackle and the No. 11 player overall in the 2016 class tweeted out his top 10 on Tuesday.

A few newcomers in Louisville, LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Oregon and USC joined three schools—Auburn, Clemson and Georgia—who have consistently been among his group of favorites.

But which schools hold the edge for the massive 6'5" 315-pounder? 

While Auburn and Clemson are still in the hunt for Rochester, the gap between them and Georgia may be widening, as noted by Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover.

Rochester has been a fixture in Athens recently, having visited the Bulldogs campus three times since February.

He named the Bulldogs his leader at the Atlanta Nike Opening Regional camp in late March, and he told Bleacher Report that his comfort with coach Mark Richt and his staff is part of what has the Bulldogs in a strong position with him.

"I like Coach Rocker, Coach Pruitt and Coach Richt," Rochester said. "All of them—Coach Sherrer, too. They just treat me like family, and they have since I was a youngster. It's been cool to go through this process and have them build that relationship with me."

Earlier this month, he told Kipp Adams of Dawgs247 that he enjoyed his most recent trip to Athens for Georgia's spring game in April.

It was really fun, because I got to see all of the top players across Georgia. We all hung out and had a great time at the game. I actually spent the night and spent three days at Georgia. I was able to experience college life and see what Georgia has to offer, from the facilities, to the dorm rooms, to the food, to the atmosphere—everything.

He also told Adams that a decision could come down later this month, which would seem to benefit Georgia's chances of landing the U.S. Army All-American.

Auburn, whom Rochester listed as his No. 2 school, is fighting to get the No. 2 prospect in the state of Georgia on campus for its Big Cat Weekend at the end of the month, as noted by Niebuhr.

However, it may be a case of too little, too late for the Tigers with Rochester.

Given his recent visits and the bond he has with other top Georgia targets, all signs are pointing toward Rochester landing on the Bulldogs' commit list sooner than later.

 

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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Updated Odds on Where Everett Golson Will Play in 2015

Everett Golson is on the move, having transferred from Notre Dame last week. With a long list of potential suitors, where will the talented signal-caller play next season?

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson was joined by Adam Kramer as he handicaps the schools interested in Golson.

Where will Golson play next season? Check out the video and let us know! 

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Tennessee Football: Why Darrin Kirkland Is Crucial to Vols Defense

One by one, the candidates to replace departed A.J. Johnson as Tennessee's starting middle linebacker took their turns this spring. One by one, they failed to impress the coaching staff with any consistency.

But one hopeful didn't get a shot. Instead, Darrin Kirkland Jr. split his time between the training room and the sideline, rehabbing a torn pectoral muscle suffered during workouts after he arrived in Knoxville in January.

The 6'2", 235-pound middle linebacker's audition for the starting gig never got off the ground this spring. But he's expected to be healthy in time for fall drills, and the Indianapolis product may be exactly what the Vols need to man the middle of their defense.

Shoring up the center triangle of the front seven is crucial to a UT defense expected to have enough star power to carry the team. There are few questions about edge-rushers or the secondary, but defensive tackles and middle linebacker were huge voids entering the spring.

The emergence of Shy Tuttle and Kendal Vickers on the D-line interior helped ease some of those worries, and former 5-star stud Kahlil McKenzie arrives this summer to solidify it even further.

But what about the man in the middle?

One thing's for certain after this spring: The job is Kirkland's for the taking.

Redshirt freshman Dillon Bates hoped to seize it, but he was never fully healthy from surgery to repair a torn labrum a season ago. When he gets back to 100 percent, he'll be a force with which to contend.

Fellow redshirt freshman Gavin Bryant wasn't ready, either.

Though junior Kenny Bynum overtook an overmatched Jakob Johnson as the starter in time for the TaxSlayer Bowl following the 2014 season, he's far from dynamic. He knows the defense and how to get everybody lined up, but he's not an explosive athlete by any stretch.

Bynum is a fourth-year Vol who is great to have around for depth purposes, but is he a starting SEC middle linebacker? That's where he currently stands on the depth chart, and he needs contenders to step up and battle him for the job.

UT defensive coordinator John Jancek told GoVols247's Wes Rucker back in late April that the position group had a rough spring session. And that was toward the end of spring, too, so it didn't get a lot better.

Those guys have struggled at times. They've been very inconsistent, those guys at the Mike linebacker position. There's a lot of food on their plate. I mean, you know how it is at the middle linebacker position: You're the quarterback of the defense, you're setting the fronts, you're giving the blitz directionals, you're checking things, you're making backfield calls. It's not something that just happens for guys overnight.

In Kirkland's case, it just may.

The former U.S. Army All-American stood out in the high school all-star game, and he certainly looks the part of a big, bruising second-level run-stuffer with the ability to sprint to the edges and cover the field with his speed.

Perhaps the most overlooked part of his toolbox is his football acumen.

Kirkland displayed intelligence on the field and in the classroom throughout his high school days, but the brains go farther than that, according to Vols coach Butch Jones.

Sure, there will be a learning curve that most everybody experiences, and, yes, a torn pectoral muscle undoubtedly set back Kirkland's strength-and-conditioning progress in the weight room, but he already was a physically imposing figure.

With extra time to study the playbook and a photographic memory, Kirkland may thrive at the characteristics Jancek discussed that were lacking this spring.

Kirkland hit the ground running in January, and there was nothing but time to recuperate and study this spring, too.

The Vols coveted Kirkland from the beginning of the recruiting process, and they were prime candidates to land him until Michigan offered with Brady Hoke at the helm. Kirkland committed to the Wolverines and seemed destined to land there.

When Hoke and his staff were fired, however, Kirkland reopened his recruitment and pledged to UT shortly thereafter.

Though new Big Blue coach Jim Harbaugh desperately tried to get him to reconsider the Wolverines once he took over in Ann Arbor, Kirkland was set on the Vols.

No matter how they got him, the Vols are content he's in Knoxville. They parted ways with longtime middle linebacker commit Cecil Cherry (who signed with Texas) and rolled with Kirkland as their "Mike" of the future.

Now, he has to get healthy enough to battle for that job in the present. UT needs him—or another talented athlete such as Bates or Bryant—to step up.

If none of them do, UT may be forced to move star outside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin to the interior. Jones did after all make it a point to say, following the Orange and White Game, that JRM knows all three linebacker positions.

Ideally, however, Reeves-Maybin would stay in his playmaking position on the weak side, and a young middle linebacker will emerge.

Linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen already has hammered into Kirkland's brain what kind of mentality it takes to play the position. He's being groomed.

Stepping in and taking over such a demanding position is heaping way too much pressure on Kirkland right away, but if he can do it, it'll mean huge things. In essence, it would indicate that a big, physical, talented athlete did enough to get the nod to start in the center of the unit.

When A.J. Johnson was dismissed following an ongoing sexual assault investigation, the Vols struggled without him in the middle against Missouri and Vanderbilt. Jakob Johnson registered just six total tackles in those games, and Bynum wound up with only two in his bowl start.

The Vols must get more production than that.

Playing middle linebacker in the SEC is physically demanding, and while size and intelligence are important, speed is, too. That's why A.J. Johnson became such a next-level player in 2014 when he spent the offseason working on his lateral quickness.

Kirkland has all three of those skills in one complete package.

He won't be handed the Vols job, but he may just be talented enough to seize it. If he proves he has that ability, UT's defense will be a whole lot more athletic and dynamic because of it.

 

Observations obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting information obtained from 247Sports. All stats were gathered from UTSports.com unless otherwise noted.

Brad Shepard covers SEC football and is the Tennessee lead writer for Bleacher Report. Follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Who Has the Best Defensive Line in College Football?

College football is ripe with talent on both sides of the ball, with standout quarterbacks, explosive wide receivers and shutdown defenders. With that said, a strong defensive line can wreak havoc on any offense.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer discuss which defensive line group they feel is the best in college football.

Who has the best defensive line in the game today? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Les Miles Might Play 2 QBs in 2015, and That's a Recipe for Disaster

The quarterback battle raging at LSU between sophomore Brandon Harris and junior incumbent Anthony Jennings is arguably the most important battle in college football. Head coach Les Miles boasts a wildly talented team that seems to be "a quarterback away" every season since Matt Flynn led the Tigers to the 2007 national title.

Jennings completed just 48.9 percent of his passes last year, and when Harris got his lone start—on the road at Auburn—he completed just three of 14 passes before being pulled.

Head coach Les Miles, however, is pleased with the progress of his two signal-callers through spring practice.

"There's a real closeness," he said during Tuesday's teleconference. "One guy hasn't separated himself from the other, and both guys are playing much better."

It's May, not August, so an unsettled quarterback position isn't exactly the most alarming development in the world.

What is alarming, though, is Miles' admission that both could play if no leader surfaces before toe meets leather in the season opener against McNeese State.

"I could also see a time where we have a necessity to play them both," Miles said. "I would like to see those guys going into fall camp and one separate from the other and be a clear-cut decision. With that being said, if that does not happen, you can't make it happen and we'll end up playing whichever is best for our team.

"If we have a guy who's going to compete with whoever the starter could be and step in maybe in the second series and say, 'OK, we're ready to do this,' I think there's an advantage to that as well."

Miles is wrong, at least in this situation.

Jennings and Harris are too closely related in terms of what they bring to the table to make a two-quarterback system work. They're both dual-threat quarterbacks who can make things happen on the ground and through the air, but they have proven to be inconsistent through the air on a game-by-game basis. 

If neither wins the job, what message would it send to both of them if LSU plays musical quarterbacks early in the season?

The same message Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron sent early last season: They have no confidence in either quarterback.

That's the last thing the eventual No. 1 needs this season, which is a critical juncture for Miles and Cameron. Cameron is in the final year of a three-year contract, while Miles could land on the hot seat in 2016 if the Tigers don't return to SEC West contention in 2015.

LSU hasn't finished out of the top six in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings over the last three seasons, and with that kind of talent on board, November contention should be an annual event. LSU is still a quarterback away, and if musical quarterbacks doesn't work this year, it's clear that there's a coaching problem.

The easy solution would be to let Cameron walk, and as I wrote earlier this year, he is coaching for his job in 2015. If he is let go, that brings Miles one step closer to shouldering all the blame in 2016.

A decision needs to be made during fall camp, and barring a meltdown or injury, that decision needs to stick.

Miles has used two quarterbacks at times during his LSU career.

When LSU won the national title in 2007, Flynn combined with Ryan Perrilloux to lead the Tigers to the promised land. In 2010 and 2011, Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson made the collective stress level of the LSU fanbase rise, but did lead the Tigers to the 2011 SEC title. In 2013, Jennings was the running quarterback who came in during drives in place of Zach Mettenberger.

The common thread among all of those situations is the difference in style between the pro-style passer and the dual-threat quarterback.

LSU doesn't have that in 2015.

A two-quarterback system in Baton Rouge in 2015? Nope.

That would do more harm than good.

 

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Auburn Commit and Legacy Stephen Davis Jr. Focused on 'Playmaker' Status

Auburn commit Stephen Davis Jr. is one of those athletes who, when asked if he wants to play safety or linebacker in college, has a simple answer.

Reason being, Davis wants to play safety. And linebacker. And wide receiver. And any other position a college coach will let him. For Davis, the nation's 17th-ranked athlete in the class of 2016 and the No. 5 player from the state of South Carolina, according to 247Sports, taking a play off during his senior year won't be a part of his plan.

"If there are 100 plays this year, I'm going to be on the field for all 100 plays," Davis said. "I have to be in the best shape I can, because I'm not coming off the field, honestly."

Lofty expectations indeed, but consider the source and what he's done on the field. Defensively, the Irmo, South Carolina, standout had 66 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery as a safety for Dutch Fork High School. He also saw time sparingly on offense, but in his eight rushing attempts, he scored three times and averaged a whopping 19.5 yards per carry, according to MaxPreps.com.

A 3-star athlete and the son of the former NFL running back with the same name, Davis considers himself the consummate playmaker. If he's not on the field, he's unable to make plays. To him, it's simple mathematics.

While it may not be as simple for most to comprehend, you can bet that Davis will lobby to the Dutch Fork coaching staff to see as much game time as possible. You can also bet that he'll see extended playing time as a senior.

Davis' play last Saturday is proof that he can be a major contributor. He worked out with the safeties during The Opening Charlotte regional and put a performance together worthy of wowing The Opening coaching staff and earning an invitation to the event finals this summer in Oregon.

"I just wanted to show that I can be a playmaker," he said. "Right now, I'm just playing safety, but I feel like I can play a lot of places in college."

At 6'4" and 215 pounds, Davis has the size, speed and skill set to effectively play outside linebacker, wide receiver or flex tight end at the next level. Davis added that playing defensive end or running back wouldn't be far-fetched, either.

"People say I look like a linebacker, so I may try linebacker in college," he said. "I'm going to play linebacker for my high school."

Playing multiple positions is the easy part for Davis. The hard part will be trying to match his father, who had an illustrious high school and college athletic career. The elder Davis rushed for more than 2,800 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career at Auburn from 1993-95 and then went on to become a three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, a two-time NFC rushing leader and a catalyst who competed in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Davis said he's often compared to the elder Davis, but the support he gets from his father is valued.

"He tells me what I should and should not do," the younger Davis said. "He keeps it simple and honest with me. That's what I love about him. He keeps it real.

"It can be hard sometimes, but it can also be fun. I know that people expect so much out of me because of who he is. For me being 16, they expect me to do a lot of stuff that some college people can't do. But I expect it out of myself. I know I can go out and compete and be that playmaker."

Davis has one more season at Dutch Fork, and then he'll prepare for college life, where he said he'll study law enforcement. The question, however, is, where?

Davis has been committed to Auburn—his father's alma mater—since Aug. 4, 2014, and he's still high on head coach Gus Malzahn, defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson and the rest of the coaching staff. On Saturday, however, Davis said he's only "70 percent" with his commitment and is looking at potential visits to Florida State, Clemson and UCLA.

"It's not just about the trips," Davis said. "I want to know how they are as a school and as a program. I'm not going to always play football. I want to see what I can major in and what the campuses are like and if the environments there are good around the schools."

While he weighs his options, Davis reiterated that he's still committed to Auburn and forever will be a fan regardless of what happens in the future. He knows the program well because of his father, and being a legacy is something he always thinks about.

A memorable return trip to Big Cat Weekend later this month could help bump that "70 percent" to a more comfortable number for Auburn fans. Davis said he's looking to make the trip to Auburn May 30.

"Auburn is family; it's like home for me," he said."It's a great environment. When you go down there, there's always something new. I just love it."

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Offseason Question Marks for Top College Football Playoff Contenders

Spring football has finally wrapped up across the nation, and as college football players dig into their final exams and prepare for “voluntary” offseason workouts, the time has come to sit back and reflect, at least for a moment.

This week’s dominant college football story has been Everett Golson’s eventual destination following his transfer from Notre Dame, which has spiced up a slow period. Now is the time when players think about what lies ahead and coaches analyze what they have on their rosters.

It’s an excellent opportunity to look at the offseason questions that face the top College Football Playoff contenders. So we’re going to do just that.

Here’s an examination of the biggest question marks facing the top 12 teams in our most recent preseason top 25.

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Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly's Offensive Blueprint with Malik Zaire at QB

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A blueprint executed to perfection in 2012 is back on the table for Notre Dame football in 2015.

Everett Golson is gone, and Malik Zaire is left to run the show. While it’s tough to make the argument Notre Dame is better without Golson—the 85-man roster is weaker, after all, with the loss of a quarterback with 23 starts, 5,850 passing yards and 55 total touchdowns—life, in a way, is easier for Irish head coach Brian Kelly.

Instead of tailoring an offense to two different quarterbacks, Kelly, associate head coach Mike Denbrock and offensive coordinator Mike Sanford can go all-in with Zaire, crafting the playbook and play-call sheet to fit the style of the dual-threat redshirt sophomore.

And Kelly doesn’t have to look far for the blueprint.

Through five seasons in South Bend, five different quarterbacks have started for Kelly. How did Kelly fit the offenses around them?

The Irish trended toward a 50-50 split between running and throwing the last two seasons. But in 2012, with a first-year starter in Golson at the helm, Notre Dame ran roughly 57 percent of the time, the 34th-highest rush rate in the country, per TeamRankings.com.

Now correlation obviously doesn’t equal causation, but Kelly and the Irish were on to something with an inexperienced quarterback, a veteran defense and a rushing attack that featured heavy doses of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood with a side order of George Atkinson III.

Golson, a redshirt freshman at the time, only needed to complete 187 passes in a 12-1 season that ended with the trip to the national title game. He only tossed 12 touchdowns, but he only coughed up six interceptions. In his 12 games (11 starts), Golson attempted 318 passes.

By comparison, Golson’s 319th pass (of an eventual 427) during the 2014 season came in the third quarter against Arizona State, Notre Dame’s ninth game of the season and a loss during which Golson chucked four interceptions.

In the months since Zaire started and helped Notre Dame to a 31-28 win over LSU in the Music City Bowl, Irish fans have increasingly wondered—and some begged and clamored—if Notre Dame should run more in 2015. With Zaire unquestionably atop the quarterback depth chart now, the answer assuredly crystallizes for Kelly and company. The pieces around Zaire on offense seem ready for their part, as well.

“It was pretty clear that we’ve got a very good offensive line,” Kelly said after Notre Dame’s spring game in April. “They’re going to be able to control the line of scrimmage in most instances, and we’ll continue to go to our strength, which we believe is up front.”

Ronnie Stanley, Quenton Nelson, Alex Bars, Nick Martin, Steve Elmer and Mike McGlinchey will be tasked with protecting Zaire and plowing ahead for running backs Tarean Folston, Greg Bryant and C.J. Prosise, who certainly seem capable—in some combination—of at least replicating the production from Riddick, Wood and Atkinson in 2012.

The blueprint isn’t as straightforward as it might seem four months away from a season opener. Zaire will still have to make important throws, and the defense must play well enough to allow a persistent offensive focus on the ground game.

But a quarterback is gone, and an offensive identity could be forming.

 

All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Football: Predicting the Bulldogs' 2015 Win-Loss Record

It’s mid-May, and that means the college football preview magazines will be hitting the shelves in the near future. And odds are many of those magazines will have the Georgia Bulldogs high in the polls and have them in first place in the SEC East.

That would not be a surprise, because the Bulldogs won 10 games last year, and they have the majority of their starters from last season coming back in 2015.

But they are also replacing some starters at very important positions, and if they don’t grow up in a hurry, it could be a long and disappointing season for the boys from Athens.

So what will be the win-loss record for the Bulldogs this upcoming season? Let’s take a look.

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