NCAA Football

ACC Football: Projecting Every Starting Quarterback for 2015 Season

The ACC featured one of the top quarterbacks in the country over the last two seasons in Jameis Winston, but 2015 is a season where the conference has quite a few question marks.

Obviously, there are a few situations where quarterbacks are locked into their starting jobs, such as Deshaun Watson at Clemson and Justin Thomas at Georgia Tech. That's not the case for every ACC school, though, as there will be some heated competitions for starting jobs across the conference.

To go along with the quarterback competitions, we're also likely to see some new faces under center for teams. A prime example of that will be the Duke Blue Devils, who turn from Anthony Boone to Thomas Sirk.

Overall, the ACC will feature not only strong quarterback play this coming year, but also young players who are looking to take that next big step in their careers. Let's check out the predictions for every starting quarterback in the ACC for the 2015 season.

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20 Best College Football Traditions

We're constantly looking for ways to make college football better, more modern and efficient. Yet when push comes to shove, it's the game's longstanding traditions that keep us coming back.

During this long nightmare that is the offseason, it's the customs and practices that get us through the doldrums. These traditions bring back memories of watching and attending games as a kid, when we first got interested in the sport and decided it was worthy of co-opting all of our Saturdays in the fall.

Even as college football is now played on nearly every day of the week—we're not complaining, by the way—and technological advances make the experience of watching from home nearly as real as being at the game, we still get chills for every old-school chant, (real) animal mascot and fan-fueled practice that has survived the test of time.

Click through for a trip down Memory Lane with the 20 best traditions in college football.

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High School Teams Loaded with Top 2016 College Football Recruits

While most fans know the top college powerhouses on the recruiting trail, there are also a handful of prep programs that have established themselves as factories that produce college talent.

Whether it’s a perennial power such as Serra High School in Gardena, California, or a relative newcomer such as IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, those programs are a few of the rare ones that have multiple 2016 prospects on the same team. 

IMG, in particular, has four prospects who rate among the top 40 of 247Sports' 2016 list of top recruits.

Which other high school teams are loaded with top 2016 college football recruits?

*Schools listed in alphabetical order.

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Oklahoma vs. Texas: Which Team Landed the Better ATH in 2015?

The Red River Rivalry is the setting for our recruiting breakdown. The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners have been battling for years on the field and the recruiting trail.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down who got the better 3-star athlete in 2015 between Oklahoma's Dalton Wood and Texas' Breckyn Hager.

Who got the better player?

Watch the video and let us know!

 

Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Coaches Whose Jobs Are on the Line in 2015

The hot seat was forgiving last season, although it did claim victims from a pair of college football blue-bloods (Brady Hoke at Michigan and Will Muschamp at Florida).

Still, look at some of the names who were coaching for their lives last year and succeeded. Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia. Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech. Even Dan Mullen at Mississippi State heard whispers about job security two years ago.

The names on this list are in positions similar to those of Hoke, Muschamp, Holgorsen and Johnson (and kinda, sorta Mullen) last season. They have failed to reach their program's expectations, so if they don't right the ship, they'll be given the slip.

Sound off below and let us know what you think.

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2016 College Football Recruits Who Could Change a Program Instantly

Expectations are never easy to meet or exceed for top-tier college football recruits. Plenty of prospects featured in the 2016 recruiting class are poised to arrive on campus with lofty ambitions that set a high standard for fans of their new team.

Not every player is equipped with the poise and skill set to match the hype, but some do carry an ability to elevate the respective college team of their choice. Here's a look at several athletes capable of carrying those squads to another level based on talent and potential landing spot.

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Ohio State Commit Shaun Wade Describes Becoming Kick Returner by Accident

Shaun Wade (Trinity Christian, Jacksonville) is a 4-star cornerback, as per 247Sports composite rankings, who is committed to Ohio State. Wade has a unique story about how he became his high school's kick returner.

Wade sits down with Bleacher Report to discuss his favorite play on his hype tape, as well as what makes him the best corner in the class of 2017.

What kind of impact can Shaun Wade have at Ohio State? 

Check out the video!

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How Michigan State Is Becoming the Big Ten's New NFL Talent Factory

When Trae Waynes ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at Monday's NFL Scouting Combine, he cemented his status as the top cornerback in this year's draft, ensuring a second consecutive year that Michigan State would have a cornerback selected in the draft's first round.

But that's not all Waynes solidified for his alma mater.

The Spartans' rise to national prominence has coincided with the construction of a steady pipeline being built between East Lansing and the NFL. Michigan State alums now litter professional football, including three starting quarterbacks last season and the NFL's second-leading rusher.

A potential top-10 pick, Waynes will be the next former Spartan to join the NFL ranks, but with five other Michigan State players invited to last weekend's combine, he won't be alone. MSU has produced pro prospects on a consistent basis dating back to the 1930s but never at the rate it has in recent years, with Mark Dantonio taking the Spartans program to a new level.

"When you get a Michigan State kid coming off that defense," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said as he evaluated Waynes on a conference call, "he’s got [to be] a tough kid that will tackle that’s been well-coached."

Since Dantonio arrived in East Lansing in 2007, the Spartans have had 17 players selected in the draft, including six players picked in 2012. In 2014, Darqueze Dennard became the first Michigan State player to be selected with a first-round pick since the Detroit Lions took Charles Rogers second overall in 2003, but you can count on a heavy presence of Spartans in the first round of the draft in the coming years.

Not only is Waynes a lock to land in the draft's first 32 picks this spring, but early 2016 projections have Michigan State with three likely first-round picks. Quarterback Connor Cook could very well be the first signal-caller taken in next year's draft, while defensive end Shilique Calhoun and offensive tackle Jack Conklin each currently possess first-round grades, according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

"He was on my radar because I thought maybe he would come out, he had such a high grade. But by going back, you’re looking at the elite of the elite. Jack Conklin has a chance of being a very high first-round pick," Kiper said on a conference call with reporters in January. “Certainly the first offensive tackle off the board.”

Kiper essentially said the same of both Cook and Calhoun, stating that either could have been a first-round pick in 2015 but will only increase their respective draft stocks by returning to Michigan State for an additional season. As for this upcoming draft, the Spartans could see as many as nine players picked in the NFL's annual selection show.

In addition to Waynes, running back Jeremy Langford, safety Kurtis Drummond, linebacker Taiwan Jones and wide receivers Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery were each invited to participate in last weekend's combine. Defensive end Marcus Rush, punter Mike Sadler and running back Nick Hill are also on the radar of NFL teams and will get the chance to work out in front of scouts at Michigan State's pro day on March 18.

Of the players invited to the combine outside of Waynes, Langford did the most to boost his stock, running a 4.42 40-yard dash—the fastest of any running back in attendance. Kiper previously described Langford as a "fifth- or sixth-round type of guy," but the 6'0", 208-pounder's big weekend could move him to as high as the third or fourth round.

Of course, getting drafted is one thing, but sustaining success at the professional level is another. The Spartans, however, have enjoyed a bit of each in recent years, even from some unlikely sources.

Take for example the case of Brian Hoyer, the starting quarterback in Dantonio's first two seasons in East Lansing who signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2009. After backing up Tom Brady for three seasons and unsuccessful stints with the Steelers and Patriots, Hoyer landed a starting role with the Cleveland Browns, leading the team to a combined 10-6 record in 2013 and 2014 before being benched for Johnny Manziel late last season.

Hoyer, who joined Drew Stanton and Kirk Cousins as MSU alums to start at quarterback in the NFL last season, told Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com he credits Dantonio's development for his success at the next level.

"Other than Drew, we all played for Coach Dantonio, who I think has done a great job of turning that program around and getting things going there," Hoyer said. "We felt like we really kind of laid the foundation for where they're at right now."

The same could be said for Pro Bowl running back and 2013 second-round pick Le'Veon Bell, who played for the Spartans from 2010-12 and rushed for 1,361 yards and eight touchdowns for the Steelers in 2014. Last season, Michigan State laid claim to 29 NFL players, according to SportingChart.com.

With big showings expected in each of the next two drafts, that number should only climb as Dantonio continues to establish his program as one of the best in the country at producing pros. The Spartans still have some catching up to do with the likes of Ohio State (54 NFL players in 2014), Wisconsin (43 pros) and Michigan (35 pros), but they are trending in the right direction.

And as Wayne showed on Monday, they aren't showing signs of slowing down anytime soon—literally.

 

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

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Felder Rant: Big Ten's Freshman Ineligibility Proposal Is an 'Empty Rule'

According to a recent story in The Diamondback, the Big Ten Conference is attempting to institute a rule in which freshmen will be required to sit out a year in both football and basketball. This would have huge ramifications in the college football world. 

Bleacher Report's Michael Felder gives his opinion on the "year of readiness" in the video above.

Do you think this is a good rule? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Wisconsin Releases Old Video of Chris Farley Showing Support for the Badgers

This is the only video the Wisconsin Badgers should show to prospects during the recruiting process.

If it doesn't get the job done, it just wasn't meant to be.

The Badgers recently released this old video of Chris Farley bringing back his legendary Matt Foley character in order to send a message to recruits. If a student is on the fence about committing to Wisconsin, this video should seal the deal.

Farley played the role of Foley—a motivational speaker—in a classic Saturday Night Live sketch:

[Wisconsin Badgers, Hulu; h/t College Spun]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Fact or Fiction: Will Nick Bosa Follow His Brother Joey to Ohio State?

The 2015 recruiting cycle has come to an end. Our attention turns to 2016 and a fresh crop of new recruits to examine. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Barrett Sallee, Adam Kramer and Michael Felder debate some fact and fiction in regards to CFB recruiting. 

Would Jacob Eason be the No. 1 recruit in the 2015 class?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

5-Star Saivion Smith Commits to LSU, Tells B/R 'It Just Felt Good in My Heart'

Saivion Smith knew his recruiting process would come to an end shortly after arriving in Baton Rogue for LSU's junior day last weekend. 

"It just felt good in my heart," Smith told Bleacher Report. "Right away, I knew it was the place for me." 

Les Miles and the Tigers landed a huge commitment when Smith—rated as the nation's top-rated corner and the No. 6 player overall in the 2016 class—announced his commitment Tuesday on ESPNU.

The No. 2 prospect from the Sunshine State selected LSU over Clemson, Florida, Florida State and Virginia Tech among others.

His time in Baton Rouge and his relationship with the coaching staff are what sold him on becoming a Tiger.

"Everything from top to bottom was great," Smith said. "I loved the coaching staff up there. We had a great talk with Coach Miles and Coach [Corey] Raymond. When I went out there and was talking to the players, they told me the same thing the coaches told me. The ins and outs of school kind of sold me on LSU."

Another thing working in LSU's favor is its recent history with sending elite defensive backs into the NFL. With pledges from Smith and Kevin Toliver II in the last two cycles, LSU has now swiped the top corner prospect from Florida in consecutive seasons.

For his part, Toliver—who already enrolled at LSU last month—relayed his sentiments about Baton Rouge becoming a home for standout defensive backs.

"He just told me they work every day," Smith said. "It really is 'DBU.' Everybody there really respects that mantra. He told me that before I stepped foot on campus, and I saw that he was telling me like it is [when I was there]."

After transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, last year, the 6'1", 175-pounder burst onto the scene by registering 67 tackles, five interceptions and three forced fumbles. He also blocked three punts and scored six non-offensive touchdowns. Performances like the one he had against Toliver's Trinity Christian Academy squad are what propelled him to 5-star status, as noted by Barton Simmons of 247Sports.

For now, Smith—who mentioned plans to still use his official visits in the fall—will turn his focus to helping the Tigers build their 2016 class.

He won't have to look far in terms of finding talented prospects to recruit in hopes of getting them to join him at LSU.

IMG has a bevy of top recruits on its roster this season, and Smith mentioned teammates such as 5-star defensive end Shavar Manuel and 4-star corner Khalil Ladler—who accompanied him on his visit to LSU last weekend—as potential targets he's looking to work on. 

"Everybody is just congratulating me right now, and I'm trying to get them to come join me in Baton Rouge and win a national championship," Smith said.

 

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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Alabama Football: Crimson Tide Winners and Losers from 2015 NFL Combine

Alabama’s NFL draft hopefuls have crossed another hurdle in their path to play at the highest level of football.

Eleven former Crimson Tide players went to Indianapolis this weekend to work out for NFL scouts and coaches at the NFL combine.

For a full list of results, you can head over to our Alabama combine tracker here.

But what do these results mean for some of these players? Who helped and who hurt themselves?

Let’s take a look at some winners and losers. All results and rankings come from NFL.com’s combine database.

 

Loser: Christion Jones

A bad year for Jones on the field only got worse on Saturday.

Jones’ 40-yard dash time of 4.63 seconds put him at No. 34 out of 39 receivers who ran the drill. He only beat players such as Division II Harding’s Donatella Luckett and Michigan’s Devin Funchess, who could end up playing tight end in the NFL.

Forty-yard dash times on their own shouldn’t be used to judge a prospect’s ability at the next level. But it’s troubling for the 5’10”, 182-pound Jones, who made his mark in college as a slot guy and a return man. Speed was supposed to be his asset, and he didn’t even put up an average score.

That led many to ask questions such as this, from Football Perspective’s Chase Stuart:

Indeed, this performance was near-unthinkable a year ago. Jones had 349 receiving yards in 2013 playing in a deep rotation and returned three punts and a kick back for a touchdown, including one of each in the season opener against Virginia Tech. He was a second-team AP All-SEC selection and tied for the first team on the coaches ballot.

After a disappointing season that saw a drop in receiving production and major struggles in the return game, this wasn’t the combine performance he needed.

 

Winner: DeAndrew White

Where one former Alabama receiver saw his draft stock fall in Indianapolis, another one did a lot to put some doubts to rest.

The big question for White coming into the weekend was how his speed would be affected by a major knee surgery he underwent during the 2012 season. Measuring in at 5’11”, 183 pounds, the former track star needed to show that his speed could still be an asset for him.

Consider those questions answered.

White ran a blazing 4.44, tied for No. 13 among the wide receivers alongside names such as Louisville's DeVonte Parker and Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong.

White likely won’t be a superstar in the NFL like his counterpart, Amari Cooper. But he has potential to carve out a long career as a reliable No. 2 or 3 wide receiver. His speed will make him more valuable for a team looking for a slot or return guy in the mid to late rounds.

 

Loser: Non-participants

Linebacker Trey DePriest and offensive guard Arie Kouandjio watched from the sidelines as their fellow former teammates ran the 40-yard dash, did the vertical jump and took part in the other measurables.

Kouandjio only went through offensive line drills and didn’t participate in media interviews, while DePriest didn’t do any on-field work at all after a postseason surgery for a torn meniscus, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Kouandjio did, though, get some good reviews from a former player he faced this season.

The pair are already projected mid- to late-round projections and could have helped themselves with big showings in front of scouts who may not have been paying them close attention in games loaded with other high-end talent.

Still, it’s not a death knell, either. They’ll get a chance to work out at Alabama’s pro day. An official date hasn’t been announced, but it is typically just before the start of spring practice, which begins on March 23 this year.

 

Winner: Alabama’s studs

Amari Cooper and Landon Collins solidified their status as future first-round picks with very strong showings at the combine.

Cooper turned in a 4.42 40-yard dash, a great time that backed up the speed he showed on the field.

And while West Virginia’s Kevin White—who is Cooper’s competition for first wide receiver off the board—slightly edged him with an official 4.36, a video of their runs synced up shows that Cooper may have actually run faster than White. Nothing like a good combine conspiracy.

Cooper also earned NFL.com’s “top performer” honors for his times in the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.

Collins, meanwhile, ran the fifth-best 40 time of any safety at 4.53. It’s especially impressive considering he weighed in at 228 pounds and is a strong safety. That speed will show teams that he has the speed to run sideline to sideline, in addition to playing close to the line.

And Alabama didn’t waste any time touting Collins’ outing to potential recruits.

 

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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Saivion Smith Commits to LSU: 'Set Up to Dominate at Cornerback'

Saivion Smith, the No. 1 cornerback in the 2016 class, per 247Sports composite rankings, has officially committed to the LSU Tigers, according to 247Sports' Shea Dixon. What will his impact be at the next level for the Tigers?

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down Smith's game and how he'll fit in Les Miles' defense. 

How will Smith fare at the next level? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas A&M Football: Aggies Most Likely to Be Invited to 2016 NFL Combine

The Texas A&M football team has developed into a pipeline to the NFL under Kevin Sumlin, with 14 of his Aggies playing in the league in 2014. Texas A&M will continue to produce NFL talent and will likely have a number of players invited to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine in 2016.

There is more than one way to get into the NFL.

Of the 14 players Sumlin has put into the NFL, only seven of them heard their names called during the NFL draft. The other seven made teams as undrafted free agents.

Just because you do not get invited to the combine does not mean you will not play in the NFL. Wes Welker was not invited to the NFL combine after his career at Texas Tech yet became one of the most prolific wide receivers of all time.

The Aggies have a few players who will be invited to the NFL combine and even more who will sign with NFL teams in training camp in 2016.

This is a look at the Aggies who will likely be invited to the 2016 NFL combine. Since it is impossible to predict who will leave school early, this list will only include players who will be seniors during the 2015 season.

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Cardale Jones Is the Unlikely Face of College Football's Offseason

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jameis Winston isn't around to create headlines anymore.

Johnny Manziel is no longer jet-setting around the country.

Jadeveon Clowney's time to ponder skipping his junior season has come and passed.

But despite college football's biggest stars of yesteryear having moved on to the professional ranks, the sport still has a face. It's just not one you'd expect to be looking for.

Since leading Ohio State to the first-ever College Football Playoff championship last month, Cardale Jones has managed to consistently stay in the news this offseason. But unlike Winston, Manziel and Clowney before him, he's doing so for all the right reasons.

Jones was the unlikely face of the Buckeyes' national championship team, a one-time third-string quarterback who led underdog Ohio State to postseason wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. Just as he starred on the field, Jones has been the center of attention off of it this offseason, after announcing his return to school three days after the Buckeyes' national title victory.

“My education is going to take me 10 times further than my athletic ability,” said Jones, a potential first-round pick who was previously best known for an ill-advised anti-education tweet. “At my point in my career, I feel like it’s best for me to go back to school. One of the most important things for me to do is graduate.”

The goodwill around Jones didn't stop there, with the 6'5", 250-pounder playing a game of NCAA Football with a patient in a hospital and reportedly besting him by a score of 91-35. Never shy to speak his mind, Jones would go on to clarify he was actually able to add another touchdown to his total by the end of the game.

The story of Jones' humorous hospital visit went viral, as did Monday's news that he was a surprise volunteer at a Columbus Meals On Wheels event. The Cleveland, Ohio, native's presence has been so strong this winter that Ohio state representative Bill Patmon of Cleveland presented Jones—and his nickname, "12 Gauge"—with an official commendation.

Upon winning the national championship, Jones' journey was a feel-good story, one of a formerly immature kid thrust into the spotlight and succeeding against all odds. Since then, the Big Ten Championship Game MVP has become much more than an intriguing narrative and is now the chief representative for college football's most talked-about program.

"For a young guy to want to follow in my footsteps, it's a humbling experience," Jones said during his ESPN Trailblazers conversation with Doug Williams. "It means a lot."

"When I got off the airplane, first thing they told me was I was the man," said Williams, the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl. "Then all of a sudden [Jones] walks through the door and all of a sudden The Man is here."

Jones' celebrity status is undeniable, his fun-loving personality equally as appealing as his cannon of an arm. But although Jones is currently enjoying life as the face of college football, he may not even be the face of his own team come fall.

Entrenched in an unprecedented quarterback battle that also includes the two players who used to sit ahead of him on the Buckeyes' depth chart, there's no guarantee Jones will be Ohio State's starter when the 2015 season begins. Two-time Big Ten MVP Braxton Miller and reigning national Freshman of the Year J.T. Barrett each have compelling cases to reclaim the Buckeyes' starting spot and are expected to be healthy by the start of fall camp.

Even with the news that Barrett could be capable of participating in seven-on-seven drills this spring, via 97.1 The Fan (h/t theozone.net's Tony Gerdeman), Jones will still be in the driver's seat of Ohio State's quarterback competition when spring practice kicks off in Columbus on March 10. The only quarterback of the three who will be at full strength, Jones will benefit from receiving most, if not all, of the Buckeyes' first-team reps this spring.

"I can get a lot better," Jones said. "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, I think it'll make me be the best quarterback I can possibly be."

After throwing for a combined 742 yards and five touchdowns while leading Ohio State to a national championship in the first three starts of his college career, that's a scary thought. Quarterback aside, the Buckeyes will return seven starters on offense from a season ago and could benefit from the continuity Jones would provide them with.

With the bulk of the offseason still ahead, Ohio State's quarterback situation won't be figured out any time soon. Until then, Jones is embracing his time in the spotlight, showing the type of leadership that could very well give him an edge in the quarterback battle.

"I want to go back to school and compete for the spot," Jones said. "I don't want anything given to me."

It won't be. But if the past three months have been any indication, Jones has just what it takes to remain the unlikely face of college football.

 

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

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Power Ranking the SEC's Freshman RBs for 2015

Over the last half-decade, several freshmen have stepped up to become forces at running back in the SEC.

Marcus Lattimore, Michael Dyer, Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon, Nick Chubb, Jalen Hurd and Alex Collins are just a few of the laundry list of fresh faces to explode on the SEC scene. 

With the class of 2015 signed, sealed and delivered, many more true freshmen will be in positions to make an impact from the moment they step foot on campus.

How do they rank based on size, speed, talent and opportunity? Our picks are in this slideshow.

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Ohio State HC Urban Meyer Stuck at Sea on 'Buckeye Cruise for Cancer'

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer can win a national championship with a third-string quarterback, but not even he can beat fog.

Meyer is among the 2,500 people aboard a ship for the annual Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, which raises money for the Urban & Shelley Meyer Fund for cancer research and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

The cruise was scheduled to go for five days, with Monday as the final day. However, dense fog in the Port of Tampa has unexpectedly prolonged it. 

According to The Columbus Dispatch's Tim May, Meyer and the rest of the passengers are just circling around in the Gulf of Mexico, currently stuck at sea because the fog is too heavy to go into port.

It may be a bit of an unfortunate situation, but the passengers appear to be holding up fine.

"We are good. No worries," Meyer said via text to The Columbus Dispatch on Tuesday morning. "We raised upward of $2 million for The James. However, we are ready to get home."

Former Buckeyes defensive back Dustin Fox is also aboard the ship and has been using social media to provide updates:

Hopefully the fog lets up soon, which would allow everyone to finally get home.

[The Columbus Dispatch, Dustin Fox]

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Saivion Smith to LSU: Tigers Land 5-Star CB Prospect

LSU laid down a major marker this recruiting season by adding one of the most sought-after defensive players in the 2016 class.

Shea Dixon of 247 Sports reported Saivion Smith has committed to the Tigers:

Smith is the best cornerback in the country and ranked No. 7 overall in 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also the second-best recruit in the state of Florida.

Smith's emergence on a national stage came rather quickly. Not too long ago, he wasn't on the radar of any major college football schools. Then a transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, set in motion a chain of events that saw his profile explode.

Bleacher Report's Sanjay Kirpalani wrote an in-depth profile of Smith back in January. Kirpalani recounted the one moment that more than anything else cemented Smith's standing as one of the nation's best corners:

His signature performance came against powerhouse and defending 3A Florida state champion Trinity Christian—a team with at least 10 players who have offers from Power Five schools, including 2015 5-star corner and LSU pledge Kevin Toliver II. Saivion was the most dominant performer on the field.

In a game televised nationally by ESPNU, Saivion recorded 13 tackles and scored two non-offensive touchdowns, per MaxPreps—one on a blocked punt and another by stripping 230-pound man-child Jeffery Holland and racing 46 yards for a scoop and score.

At 6'1" and 175 pounds, Smith has good size for a cornerback. There isn't really the risk that he'll be at a disadvantage by taller wide receivers. He's also willing to get physical when necessary without going over the line and incurring needless flags.

Smith was one of the players who attended the Under Armour Elite 50 Experience, which allowed him to get tutelage from one of the greatest cornerbacks in NFL history, per Josh Newberg of 247Sports:

He also had the opportunity to test himself some more against the top wide receivers in the nation. ESPN.com's Derek Tyson captured a Vine of Smith matched up with Dredrick Snelson:

Smith is one of those players who flies to the ball and is seemingly always in position to make a big play. Depending on how much he plays in his freshman and sophomore years, he could pick up quite a few interceptions early on in his career before opposing quarterbacks learn to adjust and stay away from his side of the field.

LSU has an exceptional track record of elite defensive backs under Les Miles. Smith will look to add to the legacy stars like Patrick Peterson, Eric Reid and Tyrann Mathieu have left behind at the university in recent years.

There's little not to like about Smith's game. He's even more than passable against the run, which isn't always a guarantee with top cornerbacks coming out of high school

With the continued rise of spread offenses and emphasis on the passing game, it's becoming more and more important for the top schools to be loaded with skill in the secondary.

There's no question that passing defense will be an area of strength over the next few years for the Tigers with Smith in the fold.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 College Football Predictions for 2015 Spring Practice

College football teams are gearing up for spring camp, which means we've almost reached the second major tentpole of the offseason (the first being national signing day).

It's hard to make predictions for spring workouts, since so much of what happens is internal and therefore not reported to the public. Now is when coaches do the most actual coaching, preparing underclassmen for their new roles on the two-deep depth chart.

Still, there are enough big developments out there to watch for—and from those, there are enough potential outcomes to make predictions.

What will be the biggest (foreseeable) storylines of the next two months? Sound off below and let us know what you think.

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