NCAA Football

Which SEC Team Has Best Odds to Land 5-Star DT Derrick Brown?

Late last month, 5-star defensive tackle Derrick Brown released his top eight schools in order, with Georgia and Auburn holding down the top spots in his recruitment.

According to Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover, the Bulldogs are still on top, but the 6’4”, 305-pounder is planning to visit Auburn over spring break.

The Bulldogs and the Tigers battled it out for the nation’s top defensive tackle in the 2015 class in Trent Thompson—who ended up staying home and signing with Mark Richt’s club. 

However, can the Tigers turn the tables and lure Brown away from the Peach State? 

Considering the momentum that the Tigers have with new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, it’s a possibility.

Brown told Niebuhr that while he hasn’t built a strong bond with Muschamp yet, he has been communicating frequently with Tigers defensive line coach Rodney Garner. 

“I just like talking to Coach Garner and being able to come down there, watch games and hang out,” Brown said. “It’s a great atmosphere down there. That’s what I like. It’s a small town and it’s a football town.”

Even though he’s still in the process of getting to know Muschamp, Brown admits that the former Florida head coach’s reputation is something that has his attention. 

“I’ve never talked to [Muschamp] on the phone, but my parents have,” Brown said. “My mom and dad like him. Will Muschamp is defense and that’s what I play.”

Even with those positives in Auburn’s favor, at this stage, it’s the Bulldogs that seem to have a commanding lead for the nation’s No. 5 player overall in the 2016 cycle.

Brown took an unofficial visit to Athens earlier this month, and according to Jake Rowe of Dawgs247, he was impressed with what the Bulldogs can offer him on the academic side.

Brown told Rowe:

The academic part where I got to meet with the three people from the business school. My mom liked it a lot. She liked how at the Terry Business school the people came over and spent time with us and got to talk to us about stuff other than football. My dad liked that part, too.

Rowe also noted that Brown, who plans to decide on national signing day, has plans to visit a handful of other schools in addition to Auburn during his spring break next month.

The Peach State's top prospect in the 2016 class mentioned Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee as other possible destinations during that period. 

While those schools are also in his top eight, they are all chasing the home-standing Bulldogs.

Given that Richt, along with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, have made Brown a top priority, it’s hard to see another team supplanting Georgia from the top of his list on signing day.

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Is There Cause for Concern for Michigan's Slow 2016 Recruiting Start?

Michigan fans clamoring for a program resurgence have plenty to be excited about with a new regime led by former star Wolverines quarterback Jim Harbaugh.

The 51-year-old head coach is coming off a four-year stretch with the San Francisco 49ers that featured three conference championship games and a Super Bowl appearance. He quickly became one of the most recognizable figures in the NFL by turning around a proud franchise that had lost its luster before his arrival.

Harbaugh's San Francisco revival occurred immediately after his program-changing tenure at Stanford, which included the emergence of Andrew Luck.

For a fanbase that saw Michigan finish 6-10 against Big Ten opponents during the past two seasons, Harbaugh became an ideal candidate to clean things up in Ann Arbor. Now on the job for nearly three full months, he's well underway with spring practice and close to securing a possible starting quarterback in Iowa transfer Jake Rudock.

Progress on the field is imperative at Michigan, but may be even more paramount on the recruiting trail as Harbaugh attempts to build a new culture at his alma mater.

Those efforts have come with mixed results. 

He salvaged what he could from a 2015 class that was decimated during the final year of Brady Hoke's reign. The recruiting losses that preceded his arrival were catastrophic, highlighted by 5-star prospects Damien Harris and George Campbell.

Harbaugh inherited six commitments from Hoke and added eight more players during the six-week span he had to work with before national signing day. The haul was headlined by former Texas quarterback commit Zach Gentry and former Iowa running back pledge Karan Higdon, but signing day also featured a slew of stinging misses (notably Mike Weber, Iman Marshall and Van Jefferson).

The class finished 38th overall in 247Sports' composite rankings, though Harbaugh could only be held accountable for a small portion of the 2015 cycle in the wake of a widely publicized program collapse last season.

We acknowledged in the aftermath of this past singing day that Harbaugh would ultimately be judged more harshly or favorably based on how he fared on the 2016 recruiting trail.

To this point, there isn't much to report. Harbaugh has been stonewalled so far.

That's right—you've landed as many 2016 prospect commitments as Michigan's new leader managed during his first 10 weeks with the Wolverines. Unless, of course, you happen to be Nick Saban or Urban Meyer (in which case, thanks for reading, coaches).

Michigan claims two 2016 pledges—each from the Hoke era—in a class that currently rates 40th nationally. Harbaugh has retained holdover commitments from 4-star Illinois offensive lineman Erik Swenson and 3-star Maryland linebacker Dele Harding

Despite a lack of resounding recruiting success, there's reason to believe Michigan may be on the verge of making strides. 

The Wolverines are in good standing with several premier high school juniors, including 4-star North Carolina running back Robert Washington. The coveted rusher named Michigan a finalist this week and is expected to announce a commitment in April:

Ahmir Mitchell, a 4-star New Jersey wide receiver and defensive back, confirmed with Bleacher Report he intends to spend time in Ann Arbor this weekend.

He is expected to be joined at Michigan by fellow 4-star Garden State standouts Ron Johnson (defensive end) and Brad Hawkins (wide receiver), per Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.

Mitchell echoed sentiments we've heard from recruits since Harbaugh's hiring.

"It's big-time," he said. "The opportunity to be coached by one of the best doesn't come around often."

Top-ranked California quarterback K.J. Costello also heaped praise on Harbaugh during a discussion with B/R's Damon Sayles. The promising passer is expected to decide between Michigan, USC and Stanford sometime soon.

"He's a coach I have a ton of respect for," Costello said. "I watched him in the NFL. He's an intense guy, and I like his style. I think he can turn the program around in two years."

Still, there's a difference between being starstruck and being convinced to commit.

Top-rated 2015 tight end Chris Clark called Harbaugh "the LeBron James of coaching" before choosing UCLA over Michigan on signing day.

Concerns ultimately stem from a lack of concrete results, though Harbaugh and his staff are clearly making strides with key targets.

When your head coach spent last season watching film on NFL opponents instead of potential high school prospects, it's going to set things back a bit for formulating a cohesive recruiting strategy. However, momentum could swing at any time.

Rival Ohio State suffered a near-four-month commitment drought while assembling its 2015 class and ultimately ended up among the top 10 nationally in terms of signed talent.

There's still a long way to go toward February 2016 and this process is far more like a marathon than a mad dash. Improved on-field results would undoubtedly help Harbaugh's case, but we expect him to begin gaining steam this spring as more prospects spend time on campus, perhaps setting the stage for a scintillating summer.

The total lack of a 2016 pledges credited to Harbaugh is glaring right now, but he will ultimately be judged on what this class looks like 11 months from now.

In the meantime, Michigan fans are best off keeping the faith that their lauded new leader is on the verge of finding his recruiting groove.

 

Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

25 College Football Players Set to Shock the College Football World in 2015

Spring is a time of renewal and opportunity in college football. With starting roles left open across the land due to graduation and NFL draft departures, this is a time for young players and reserves to make their impression on coaches and fight for a more prominent role.

As spring practice ramps up, that’s exactly what players will be thinking about: How can I make my mark, now that I have the chance? This fall, new stars will emerge on college football’s landscape. You might not know them, but you will soon. Here are 25 players who’ll shock college football fans this fall.

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Every SEC School's Best Football Recruiting Sales Pitch

It's an unwritten rule: Every college football coach has to have a little salesman in him.

When he's talking about the positives of a program, he has to overemphasize. When he's discussing the parts of a program that need improvement, he's got to speak highly about the expectations for what's to come.

Every good coach does it for his program, and when we're talking about the SEC, every school has something that makes it attractive. There's a reason why the conference is arguably the most popular in college football.

Here are the 14 SEC schools, listed in alphabetical order, and some of the popular recruiting pitches that win over many of the nation's recruits.

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Georgia Football: Biggest Storylines so Far This Offseason

Spring practice is in full swing for the Georgia Bulldogs, and they are hard at work to get ready for G-Day, as well as the 2015 regular season. The spring season is to not only get the players ready for the upcoming regular season, but it also helps fans figure out whether the team is ready to be a contender in the College Football Playoff.

That’s a storyline for the Bulldogs this upcoming season, but there are some bigger storylines this offseason that will determine if the Bulldogs have a chance to win the SEC, let alone get a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Here’s a look at the biggest storylines so far this offseason.

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Josh Shaw Continues to Emerge as a Top Defensive Back Prospect in 2015 NFL Draft

Josh Shaw is more well-known for what he didn’t do off the field than anything he has done on the field, but that shouldn’t stop NFL teams looking for secondary help from taking a close look at the USC cornerback.

Back in August, Shaw made national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Having suffered two high-ankle sprains from jumping off a balcony, Shaw initially told USC officials that he suffered the injuries while saving his nephew from drowning in a pool. His tale of heroism quickly turned to one of shame, however, when Shaw admitted that the story “was a complete fabrication,” per Jordan Moore of USCTrojans.com.

Suspended indefinitely for his lie, Shaw did not play in any of the first 10 games of his senior season.

Finally allowed to return to action against UCLA on Nov. 22, Shaw has been left to fight an uphill battle to restore his name.

So far, he has done a great job making his way over that mountain of embarrassment, and toward being one of the top defensive back prospects for the 2015 NFL draft.

 

Star of the All-Star Game Season

As a consequence of his suspension, Shaw’s senior season consisted of just three games, only two of which he started.

With limited chances to prove his skill set during the season, it was vital for Shaw to take advantage of the opportunities he received to participate in predraft all-star games.

The first of those opportunities came at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida, during the second week of January, just over three weeks after his collegiate career finale in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska.

There at the Shrine Game—which is widely viewed as the second-best predraft all-star game, and annually includes players at each position who go on to be drafted—Shaw was dominant.

Over the course of the week of practices, Shaw shut down the vast majority of opponents he faced. He displayed physicality at the line of scrimmage, effective body positioning, good feet and a desire to compete for the ball.

Shaw continued to excel in the game itself, including an interception on a perfect break in front of a pass intended for Michigan wide receiver Devin Gardner in the end zone.

Thanks to his excellent showing in St. Petersburg, Shaw was rewarded with an invitation to the Senior Bowl—the premier game on the predraft circuit—and another chance to show scouts he could play against NFL-caliber competition.

During that game and its practices, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, Shaw once again proved he belonged. He held his own in man-to-man coverage against highly talented wide receivers all week, and recorded another pass breakup—this time against Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates, a projected first- or second-round pick—in the game.

Shaw’s Senior Bowl was not perfect; he got flagged for a defensive pass interference penalty that cost his team 41 yards, and he was also beaten on two catches by Central Arkansas wide receiver Dezmin Lewis, one of the top small-school prospects in this year’s draft.

Overall, though, Shaw’s efforts in Mobile capped a two-week run for the USC graduate that proved—at least in regards to his on-field talent—that he is worthy of an early-round selection in the 2015.

FootballGameplan.com’s Emory Hunt, who attended practices and both the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, went as far as to say Shaw was the most impressive player he saw in action at those events (h/t Ryan Burns of FootballSickness.com):

 

Fitting the Physical Prototype

Largely by virtue of the success that Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary has had in the past few years, NFL teams are increasingly on the prowl for big cornerbacks—specifically, cornerbacks who measure in above 6’0” and 200 pounds.

Shaw meets the threshold. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he measured in at 6’0” and 201 pounds with 30¾” arms, according to NFL.com.

Of course, being big doesn’t mean much for a cornerback unless he combines that size with strength, speed and leaping ability.

Shaw checked all of those boxes in Indianapolis too.

In the bench press, Shaw put up 26 repetitions of 225 pounds, the most among all defensive backs at the event.

His 40-yard dash time of 4.44 seconds was tied for the best among defensive backs who weighed in at 200 pounds or more, and was tied for the fourth-fastest time among all defensive backs.

Shaw also tied for third among all defensive backs in the broad jump (10’10”), and 12th among all defensive backs in the vertical jump (37.5”).

NFL scouts have reason to question what they can’t see in his limited tape, and they certainly have reason to question his honesty and reliability. But the combine should have erased all doubts about his athleticism, and therefore increased the likelihood that Shaw will come off the board in the first two rounds.

 

What Can Shaw Be for an NFL Secondary?

Ultimately, evaluators have to go back to Shaw’s game tape—even though there is not much of it from his senior season—to most accurately determine the answer to that question.

For the most part, scouts should like what they see from Shaw on the field. While he was never what one would call a lockdown cornerback, he regularly showed the ability to stay stride-for-stride and compete with even the toughest competition he faced.

The following clip from the 2014 Holiday Bowl is a textbook example of Shaw’s ability to cover deep. In one-on-one man coverage, Shaw put his speed to work as he stayed right in the hip pocket of Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell—who ran a 4.42-second 40 at the combine and is an NFL prospect in his own right—up the right sideline to force an incompletion.

Shaw is at his best when utilized in press man coverage. He excels at using his size, strength and length to jam a receiver at the line of scrimmage and stop his opponent from getting a clean release. That, plus his speed to stay in close quarters with his man, gives him the potential to be a star in a press-heavy scheme at the next level.

Playing in off coverage tends to give Shaw more trouble.

Shaw has adequate change-of-direction quickness, and good recovery speed, but his technical game needs some work.

Specifically, Shaw needs to become more comfortable in his back-pedal. While he is typically able to turn and run with a wide receiver with little trouble, he leaves himself susceptible to giving up underneath receptions, as receivers are able to stop their routes and break back to the ball before Shaw can get his head turned around and break with his man.

Another area in which Shaw needs to improve is in tracking the ball in the air. When he is able to do so, he is able to make plays on the pigskin, as evidenced by his six career interceptions and 14 career pass deflections. At times, though, Shaw will give up big plays even when he is in position, and even though he has good size, because he loses sight of where the ball is coming in.

The good news for Shaw—at least in terms of his draft stock—is that his flaws are not matters of physical deficiencies. With quality coaching and more time on the field, Shaw has the potential to improve upon his weaknesses, given that his measurables are top-notch.

That said, Shaw will be a far more appealing prospect to teams who regularly use their cornerbacks in press man coverage.

For teams that prefer off-man coverage and zone coverage, Shaw would actually project best as a free safety.

Shaw is a consistent tackler and has the height and range that scouts covet in a safety. He started numerous games in both 2012 and 2013 for USC as a safety, including the following game from 2013 against Arizona (video courtesy of Draft Breakdown).

In a draft class that is lacking in top-end safety talent, the prospect of Shaw being able to play that position could certainly elevate his draft stock. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who ranked Shaw as the draft’s No. 106 overall prospect on his post-combine big board, considers Shaw to be among the top-five free safety prospects in this year’s draft.

Putting Shaw at safety would be a projection, and it would force him to improve upon his play recognition. But it's also easy to see why his tools could entice a team to draft him and move him there, as it is becoming increasingly common for collegiate cornerbacks to become NFL deep safeties because of their coverage skills.

With that being said, Shaw still projects to have higher value as a cornerback than he does as a safety. There are not many prospects in this year’s draft who can truly meet the NFL’s increasing demand for big cornerbacks, but Shaw is one of them. Additionally, moving Shaw to safety would take away his greatest strength, that being his ability to disrupt receivers' routes at the line.

 

Projecting Shaw’s Draft Stock: How Much Will His Lie Hurt Him?

No matter how successful Shaw is in the NFL, he might never be able to fully shake the stigma of his mistake this past August.

Much like former Notre Dame and current San Diego Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o in the aftermath of his girlfriend hoax scandal in 2013, Shaw will certainly be a frequent target of opponent trash talk and fan harassment as he begins his career in the NFL. Not that he hasn’t already, but as he steps into the limelight of playing professional football, Shaw will continue to be barraged with questions and jokes about the incident.

Shaw was investigated for domestic violence in connection with the August incident—as it turned out, Shaw’s fall from the balcony came in a moment of panic upon the arrival of police officers to his apartment—but ultimately, no charges were filed against Shaw, as reported by Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.

All in all, the incident at his apartment and subsequent story fabrication appears to be a singular set of lapses in judgment for a prospect whose background is otherwise clean.

At least one NFL scout, according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, believes there is no reason to have off-field concerns about Shaw.

"I know about the issues he had this year, but I did plenty of background work on Shaw and I had no problem giving him a passing character grade when I turned in my report,” the NFC North area scout told Zierlein.

There have been players in past drafts—and probably will be players in this year’s draft—who have done worse things than Shaw, yet have still been early-round draft picks.

In reality, the most negative effect that the incident is likely to have on his draft stock is that it kept him from playing the majority of his senior season, which lessened his window of opportunity to improve as a player and put his best foot forward on the field.

If a team’s brass believes that drafting Shaw can help the team win games—and most importantly, is confident that Shaw is now being completely honest and forthright in interviews—the events of last August are unlikely to preclude that team from selecting him.

There are enough questions about Shaw, both on and off the field, to likely keep him out of the draft’s first round. But it should come as no surprise if Shaw is drafted on Day 2, potentially as highly as the early second round.

The aforementioned Seahawks, who could be in the market to draft a cornerback after losing starter Byron Maxwell to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, would presumably be the ideal match for Shaw.

That said, it is no guarantee that Shaw will still be on the board for the Seahawks’ first pick, which is not until No. 63 overall. Other teams that could target Shaw could include the Jacksonville Jaguars (whose second-round pick is No. 36 overall), Minnesota Vikings (No. 45), San Francisco 49ers (No. 46), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 52), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 56), Carolina Panthers (No. 57), Baltimore Ravens (No. 58), Green Bay Packers (No. 62) and New England Patriots (No. 64).

 

All GIFs made via Gfycat using videos from Dailymotion.

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Josh Shaw Continues to Emerge as a Top Defensive Back Prospect in 2015 NFL Draft

Josh Shaw is more well-known for what he didn ’t do off the field than anything he has done on the field, but that shouldn ’t stop NFL teams looking for secondary help from taking a close look at the USC cornerback...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Texas Football: The Longhorns' Biggest Storylines So Far This Offseason

When you finish with a losing record at Texas, the expectation is that you launch a full-blown attack on the offseason. You establish yourself on the recruiting trail and do whatever possible to correct what caused the perceived failures.

By those standards, Charlie Strong has aced the pre-spring practice portion of his second offseason as head coach of the Longhorns.

Rather than letting blowout losses to TCU and Arkansas define the direction of his program, Strong has cranked out a top-10 recruiting class and established a new direction for his troubled offense. It also helps that he has a projected first-round draft pick providing some support for his leadership style.

We still have no clarity on the quarterback battle or how Strong plans on replacing his many departed starters, but the offseason has been almost a best-case scenario to this point.

 

Jefferson Keys Recruiting Resurgence

Malik Jefferson committed before the Longhorns' loss in the Texas Bowl, but his decision has still been the defining moment of this offseason.

After Jefferson pledged on December 19, the Longhorns reeled in 11 recruits plus his underrated high school teammate DeAndre McNeal. Of those 12 recruits, at least three will have major roles in 2015, namely projected starting cornerback Holton Hill.

The wild part is that the falling of the Jefferson domino almost led to something much bigger. Kyler Murray, Daylon Mack, DaMarkus Lodge and Soso Jamabo, a foursome of elite talent, all took hard looks at Texas late in the process before ultimately picking three different programs.

Some might consider missing on those three a failure, but it speaks to an encouraging truth—there's no quit in Charlie Strong. The Horns had no business getting even a whiff of these four so late in the game, and Texas' head coach came quite close to nabbing them.

Instead, he settled for six commitments within a week of signing day and the best class in the state.

Over a month later, it's become clear that the Jefferson signing was just the beginning. The Longhorns have already landed Shane Buechele, the state's No. 2 quarterback, for their 2016 class.

The recruiting resurgence is real, and it's completely changed the narrative of this offseason.

 

The Move to the Spread

The degree to which Texas commits to the spread remains unclear, but every word and deed to this point suggests it's happening. 

A lack of offensive identity tanked the Longhorns in 2015. By season's end, they ranked 93rd in yards per carry and 105th in yards per attempt in the country, per cfbstats.com. 

The blame falls on several parties, including quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and a porous offensive line, but the numbers indicated a need for a fundamental change in how Texas attacks the defense.

Its first response was hiring Jay Norvell as a wide receivers coach. Norvell served as co-offensive coordinator for Oklahoma's spread attack from 2011 through 2014 while also coaching up dynamic receiving talents like Ryan Broyles and Jalen Saunders.

Norvell and offensive line coach Joe Wickline each have extensive experience implementing spread attacks in the Big 12. Working together with regarded quarterback coach Shawn Watson, some serious strides should be made this offseason.

With the coaches in place to implement the system, the Horns then went out and grabbed players who could run it. Quarterback commit Kai Locksley obviously fits as an athletic and intelligent football player, while Ryan Newsome's future as an all-purpose terror seems set in stone.

Before too long, the Horns should field an offense capable of keeping pace in the explosive Big 12 Conference.

 

Malcom Brown Leads Group of NFL Prospects

"Humbling" would be a pretty light description for Texas' failure to get even one player drafted in 2014. Malcom Brown and a trio of his Longhorn teammates are set to put that experience in the rearview.

With a month and a half until draft day, Brown is almost a lock to go in the first round. After backing up his 2014 production with a solid combine, he remains high on B/R draft expert Matt Miller's board.

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah (transcript courtesy of 247Sports' Jeff Howe) sounds like he's seen enough: "One of my favorite players in this draft class, he's easy to figure out when you study him, he had a great day today. He can be dominant at the point of attack but also has that quickness to penetrate upfield and I thought he did a nice job through the bag drills today."

Brown is easily a top-three tackle in this class and should only get things started for the Horns. Linebacker Jordan Hicks also impressed at the combine, particularly in the vertical jump, three-cone drill and 60-yard shuttle.

Quandre Diggs, Malcolm Brown and Cedric Reed were the last Longhorn players to participate in the Underwear Olympics. Diggs probably secured a late-round pick with some decent measurables, though he still needs a solid pro day.

Reed was only able to compete in the bench press, but running back Malcolm Brown has become a surprise late-round candidate. He showed off some quickness that wasn't always evident on tape, and B/R's Ian Wharton sees a lot of Alfred Morris in his game.

At this point, Malcom Brown and Hicks have made themselves known. Diggs and Malcolm Brown will try to improve their stock at next week's pro day, where receiver John Harris gets a chance to enter the late-round discussion.

 

All recruiting stats and information courtesy of 247Sports.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Indiana's Two-Sport Bruiser Jordan Fuchs Is One of the Last of a Dying Breed

CHICAGO — It started three weeks ago, and Indiana tight end Jordan Fuchs didn't exactly show up to his first Hoosiers basketball practice in helmet, pads and cleats, but...

"I broke somebody's nose the second day," he said. "The team manager."

Broke the team manager's nose?

"Head butt," Fuchs said. "I'm adjusting."

Turned out, it was an accident. But Fuchs had to tone it down some.

Fuchs is a dying breed. He is an Indiana freshman football player who will play for the Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament this week. Football players used to play basketball in the offseason to stay in shape. At some point, that's what people thought basketball was for. So football players popped up on basketball rosters everywhere. Now it's a rarity.

For Fuchs, it has been a transition period from one sport to the other, and the adjustment has been part body, part mind.

The thing is, I've already gotten this wrong. Fuchs isn't a football player who is playing basketball. He is both. He was a basketball player first in high school, a New York city star, as the New York Daily News once put it. He took a football scholarship to Indiana figuring he'd get a chance to play hoops, too.

In an era of specialization, kids are pigeon-holed into one sport, one event, one motion. Over and over and over in an effort to make them the next Tiger Woods. It's not healthy. It leads to burnout and to repetitve-motion injuries. And some coaches, notably Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer (a former football player and minor-league baseball player himself) are now looking for that rare kid who played multiple sports in high school.

When Pete Carroll was still coaching at USC, he once said "I hate that kids don't play three sports in high school. ...I really, really don't favor kids having to specialize in one sport. I want to be the biggest proponent for two-sport athletes at the college level."

There are still examples of multi-sport athletes making it. Tony Gonzalez did football and basketball at Cal. It worked out pretty well for him.

And now Fuchs should be the example to all parents. Playing multiple sports teaches multiple skill sets. It's healthier than offseason camps and year-round travel teams.

"Yeah, people are always telling me I can't do both," Fuchs said during the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago recently. "It just makes me want to do it more. People don't do it in college probably because it's so hard. Some days I have football workouts and go straight from football weight-lifting and just walk across to basketball."

There is something right about Fuchs, and it's not just that he's multi-talented. Years ago, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders reached the top pro levels in football and baseball. But their stories were about freaks of talent. No one is suggesting that should be the norm at the major-league level.

But in school? High schoolers, and even younger, are becoming specialists because the goals have changed. Sports, even for kids, aren't about playing anymore nearly as much as they're about being a means to an end, a scholarship or career.

So Fuchs' story is about talent, but moreso it's about a kid doing something that looked fun, and not doing it as part of the professionalizing of our kids.

At some point, if he is good enough to be a pro, he'll have to give up one for the other. He has thought about that, and will give up basketball. But for now, he'll do both. And he was never groomed for the NFL. In fact, he didn't play football until his junior year in high school.

"I had zero thoughts of playing football," he said "And one day I was just watching college football on TV and was like, 'Hey, I'm going to play football.' "

From the first day, he loved it. It came naturally. He would get basketball scholarships offers from Florida and Iowa State, among others, and football offers, he said, from Connecticut, Rutgers, Indiana.

Fuchs figured that if he took a basketball scholarship, coaches wouldn't want him to play football. But if he took a football scholarship, coaches might let him play basketball, too. He was right: Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson approved.

"I knew football was my bread and butter," he said. "I knew I had to get a football scholarship to play both. You look at basketball and there are a lot of guys like me, my height and size (6-foot-6, 230). You look at football, not so much."

Fuchs hasn't been a star at the college level yet in either sport. He has only played football for a couple years so he's going to have to develop. But he did play all 12 games of the season. In basketball, he's defense and muscle and has only played a handful of minutes. He's only been on the team for a few weeks. 

But if the multi-sport athlete is a dying breed, he isn't dead yet. Basketball players seem to make good tight ends. Last month, football recruit Noah Togiai, backed out of an oral commitment to Utah and signed to play for Oregon State because, Togiai told the Oregonian newspaper, "I've always wanted to go to a school that would allow me to play football and basketball. They went out of their way and said I can."

That's only a good thing, except for basketball team managers. They might need to wear facemasks.

 

Greg Couch covers college football for Bleacher Report.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

On-the-Field Breakdown of LSU's Top Commits at the Opening Dallas

The LSU Tigers are looking to rebuild after a solid 2015 recruiting class. Bleacher Report's CFB analyst Michael Felder breaks down the standout LSU commits from the opening regional in Dallas.

How well do you think these studs will do at the next level?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 Underrated Players to Watch in 2015 College Football Spring Games

Forget about the stars in college football for a moment. Yeah, it's difficult, but following all the key players is too easy. 

Which players around the sport aren't standing out as much but deserve to? Sometimes, spring phenomenons show up from the most unlikely places. From team leaders who are overshadowed nationally to fast risers, underrated spring stars have the chance to make a name for themselves before the season gets underway. 

Which players are flying under the radar this spring but deserve more attention? Taking into account last year's numbers and projected role in 2015, we give 10 in the following slides. 

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NCAA Won't Accept Hardship Waivers for Transfers Seeking Immediate Eligibility

The NCAA's transfer rules became a little less cumbersome this week, as college sports' governing body ratified an amendment that allows for a sixth year of eligibility for transfer students. 

According to Nick Bromberg of Yahoo Sports, the rule allows schools to apply for a waiver granting the sixth year for a transfer student if the student-athlete has already exhausted their redshirt. Under this agreement, the NCAA eliminates the need for a player to submit a hardship waiver to become immediately eligible. Instead, the school can file a waiver to extend a player's eligibility for an extra season. 

The impetus is a middle-ground solution that helps avoid institutions taking advantage of so-called hardships to get a player immediately eligible. Essentially, student-athletes who transfer under hardship circumstances will be treated like other transfers—meaning they'll be forced to sit out a season and receive an extra year if their waiver is granted.

NCAA president Mark Emmert spoke on the potential rule change last year on ESPN's Mike and Mike program, per Graham Watson of Yahoo Sports:

The universities are saying, take that year, deal with whatever your family situation is. We know that when you transfer your probability of graduating goes down, so make sure you get your academics back up. But we don’t want to punish you so we’re going to extend another year of eligibility. We want to give you another year of scholarship, add another year to your scholarship total so that you end up being held harmless basically if you have to make that change.

The new rule will go into effect immediately, meaning players who are transferring for the 2015-16 season are subject to the change.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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Every Top 25 College Football Team's 2014-15 One Shining Moment

When the college football season ended in January, our final images were of Ohio State's players and coaches hoisting up the first playoff-fueled championship trophy amid a sea of confetti. It was a nice look, but nothing compared to how college basketball wraps up its year following the NCAA tournament championship game.

And nowhere near as tear-inducing.

Every year, as the players from the winning team partake in the age-old tradition of cutting down the nets, we're treated to a montage of highlights from the just-complete tourney with the tune "One Shining Moment" sung by Luther Vandross playing in the background. It's the perfect way to put a bow on the magnificent event, but make sure to have some tissues handy in case things get...dusty.

If college football was to put together one of these season wrap-up packages, what would be in there? We've picked out one shining moment for all 25 teams that are ranked in Bleacher Report's post-signing day top 25.

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Trae Waynes: Breaking Down Michigan State CB's Pro Day Workout

Trae Waynes took the field Wednesday at Michigan State's annual pro day, looking to further improve his stock after a huge performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Waynes stood on most of his physical testing from the combine, most notably his 4.31 40-yard dash, which ranked first among defensive backs in Indianapolis. However, he did perform positional drills and answer some lingering questions.

The chief concern on Waynes is whether he's agile enough to turn and run with NFL receivers. Despite his obvious long speed, he did not test well in short-area drills at the combine, posting a 7.06 in the three-cone drill and a 4.39 in the 20-yard shuttle.

However, Waynes supposedly cramped up during the combine, which according to his camp explains the subpar agility scores. Because of that, Josh Norris of Rotoworld and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report both made special mention of Waynes' pro day…

…and Waynes passed the test with flying colors.

According to Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit NewsWaynes said he ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.01 seconds, which marks a major improvement over the 4.39 he posted in Indianapolis.

For context, his 4.39 ranked No. 40 out of 42 defensive backs who ran the 20-yard shuttle at the combine. His 4.01 would have ranked No. 8. That pro day score remains unofficial, but even if it moves up a few hundredths of a second, Waynes proved what he needed to prove.

He proved the combine score was a fluke.

All 32 NFL teams sent representatives to East Lansing, but three head coaches with cornerback-needy rosters—Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings—stood out:

Zimmer took a special interest in the cornerback drills, hovering over Waynes and Tony Lippett, as seen here via The State News:

On top of that, Waynes said he scheduled workouts with the Vikings, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Carolina Panthers and the Tennessee Titans, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com:

Here is where those six teams draft in the first round:

  • 2 — Tennessee
  • 3 — Jacksonville
  • 11 — Minnesota
  • 20 — Philadelphia
  • 22 — Pittsburgh
  • 25 — Carolina

Those last four teams reinforce what we thought we know about Waynes' draft stock: that he's a mid-to-late first-round prospect with the potential to rise near the top 10. Tennessee and Jacksonville almost definitely won't take him in the top three, but either team could trade back into the first round or take him if he slips to Round 2.

Either way, Waynes' stock looks even stronger after Wednesday's workout, which makes him a safe bet to land in Round 1. According to Rothstein, Waynes said he and high school teammate Melvin Gordon, recipient of the 2014 Doak Walker Award as the best running back in college football, both plan on attending the draft in Chicago:

At this point, his not going would be a shock.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeigh35

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Penn State Football: Complete 2015 Spring Practice Primer

By any reasonable measure, James Franklin's first season at Penn State was a successful one. A 7-6 record and a win in the Pinstripe Bowl underscored the Nittany Lions' emergence from unprecedented sanctions brought on by the Jerry Sandusky scandal in 2012.

But while last season may have been about Penn State proving it's still on track following the departure of head coach Bill O'Brien after two seasons, the team will finally be back to focusing on football in 2015.

"It's amazing to think just Year 2 in general, how much different it is in every aspect," Franklin said as he previewed the Nittany Lions' spring practice on Tuesday. I was talking to [offensive lineman Angelo] Mangiro yesterday. This time last year, he was going onto the field with never being in the huddle the way we do the huddle, never going into a cadence, snapping a ball.

"From last year where they haven't even done that yet to now, going out on the field and having a foundation laid on offense, defense and special teams, expectations, how we do things, morning workouts, coach [Dwight] Galt's program. We got the majority of our team now that have been through these things. That experience counts and is important."

Penn State won't take the field for its first of 15 spring practices until Friday, but Franklin has already made it clear his expectations are higher now than they were a season ago. Any sustained success for the Nittany Lions, however, will start this spring as they attempt to build on the foundation laid down a year ago.

 

What to Watch for on Offense

Penn State's offense starts with star quarterback Christian Hackenberg, but as we learned a year ago, he can't do it alone. The 6'4", 234-pounder was sacked 44 times last season, the second-most of any quarterback in college football.

Considering that, it's no coincidence that his numbers dropped from his stellar freshman season totals in 2013.

Hackenberg completed just 55.8 percent of his passes last season, throwing 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The departure of wide receiver Allen Robinson didn't help matters either, but this spring will be all about making sure the Nittany Lions signal-caller stays upright.

"Our challenge, is to continue to develop the offensive line," Franklin said. "You really should not play defensive tackle or offensive line until your redshirt sophomore year. We have way too many redshirt freshmen in our two deep still, but I think we have a chance for great improvement."

Penn State will return four starters from last year's unit, including Mangiro at center, junior tackle Andrew Nelson, junior guard Brendan Mahon and senior guard Brian Gaia. But perhaps Franklin's toughest task will be replacing left tackle Donovan Smith, who opted to enter the NFL draft following the 2014 campaign.

Compared to last season, though, depth on the Nittany Lion's offensive line seems to be building, with Wendy Laurent and Derek Dowrey returning with starting experience under their belts. Franklin will also no longer have to lean so heavily on walk-ons either, as the removal of Penn State's scholarship reductions should benefit its offensive line the most.

"The fact that we're going to have a two deep of scholarship players is exciting. We had a bunch of guys that have had some experience," Franklin said. "There's nobody that is happier about this group returning and the strides they've made than Mr. and Mrs. Hackenberg.

"I'm excited about them. I know [offensive line coach] Herb [Hand] is excited about working with him. I know they're so much more confident mentally and physically."

If Hackenberg has enough time, he should be able to find a plethora of returning playmakers, including All-Big Ten wideout DaeSean Hamilton, wide receiver Eugene Lewis and tight ends Kyle Carter and Jesse James. The Nittany Lions' running back race will also be worth keeping an eye on, as Akeel Lynch appears to be the current front-runner to replace Bill Belton.

"Akeel, the way the season ended with him, I think he's done some nice things. Excited to see what [Nick] Scott, [Brandon] Johnson and [Mark] Allen are going to be able to do," Franklin said. "Scott and Allen redshirting, and Johnson is actually our biggest, strongest, fastest guy on our team. Going to see if it's going to translate."

 

What to Watch for on Defense

Perhaps the most interesting note that came from Franklin's press conference was the news that senior Jordan Lucas will be moving from cornerback to safety. As the second-year Penn State coach stated, the position change is as much about Lucas as it is the Nittany Lions' needs.

"Long-term, what we try to do is we try to do things that are not only best for Penn State and our football program specifically, but also in these guys' long-term potential," Franklin said. "I think Jordan is a guy who could play corner here and at the next level as well. I think he has a chance to maybe be special at safety.

"It's also back to the philosophy you have heard me talk about before. I think it's easier to play a freshman at corner and a freshman at wide receiver than it would be to play a freshman at safety, linebacker or defensive line. The closer you are to the ball, the harder it is to get on the field early. So we feel good about our young talent at corner."

That young talent at corner Franklin speaks of comes in the form of sophomores Christian Campbell and Grant Haley, as well as incoming freshmen Garrett Taylor and John Reid. Lucas' move to safety should also help counteract the departures of Adrian Amos and Ryan Keiser from last year's team.

Speaking of key losses, Franklin will also have to find a way to replace defensive end Deion Barnes and linebacker Mike Hull. In the case of Barnes, who declared early for the NFL draft, Franklin will rely on Carl Nassib, Evan Schwan and Garrett Sickels, while replacing Hull could ultimately be a harder job.

"I think that's clearly our challenge on defense, not just because of the football player Mike Hull was, but also his leadership and also the position he played, being the quarterback of the defense, making all those calls," Franklin said.

Asked to name a potential starter in Hull's spot, Franklin pointed to Nyeem Wartman and Gary Wooten.

"Wartman is an option. Big, strong, physical guy who moves very, very well. He's got experience now playing the position. You'd like to have a linebacker who is a guy who has played enough football. I think the fact that these guys actually watched Mike Hull for the last couple years is valuable, as well, just how the guy practiced and prepared. But he's an option for us," he said.

"Wooten is an option for us, played the position, done some things. We need the guys to be more verbal, more verbal on the field. But he's done some really nice things.

"There's a lot of options there."

 

James Franklin's Toughest Task

While the Nittany Lions may not have won as many games as they would have liked to last season, it's undeniable that positive momentum was created. Now that Penn State's sanctions have been lifted, the key will be for Franklin to maintain it.

"It's just everything in the program. It's learning Penn State. Just because we had a model at School X, doesn't mean that model is going to perfectly come and work in School Z," Franklin said when asked how far he felt he was into fully installing his program.

"The institutional knowledge, the knowledge of our players, the type of players, areas that we're recruiting, strengths and weaknesses, all those things, that takes time."

The former Vanderbilt head coach also mentioned that he's still learning about the Big Ten conference and getting used to new opponents and venues. He also didn't discount the importance of his program's return to a full 85 scholarships, as only having 65 for the past three seasons severely hampered its recruiting ability.

"Having the depth where you have a legitimate three deep at every position is really, really important. Not depending on a new arrival to campus in a prominent role, those types of things," Franklin said. "So I think we've made great strides."

The key this spring will be for Penn State to continue to make those strides as it prepares to keep pace in the ultra-competitive Big Ten East. Last season was a big step for Franklin toward doing just that, but even he knows there's still plenty of work to do.

"Like somebody tweeted out the other day that Joe [Paterno] was here 62 years and I was here 62 weeks," Franklin said. "I got a long way to go."

 

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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Potential QB Transfer Jake Rudock Gives Michigan Best Chance to Win in 2015

Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock, according to Clint Brewster of 247Sports, is expected to visit Michigan this weekend with the intent to transfer if offered. Bleacher Report college football analyst Michael Felder breaks down who gives the Wolverines the best chance to win during the 2015 season.

Who do you think should lead the Wolverines in 2015?

Watch the video, and let us know!

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Notre Dame Football About to Become the Everett Golson vs. Malik Zaire Show

The old axiom that unequivocally states that having two quarterbacks essentially means you have none never envisioned having Everett Golson and Malik Zaire on the same depth chart. 

And as Notre Dame opened spring practice early Wednesday morning, fans and media members took their first look at Golson and Zaire, rebooting a position battle that will be one of the most high-profile quarterback races in the country. 

It's hard to reach any conclusions after scouring YouTube for clips of drills performed in shorts and helmets. But you can't blame fans for getting a little crazy about one of the most important decisions atop coach Brian Kelly's spring objectives. 

On Tuesday, Kelly met with the media to answer questions about his team. It was no surprise that the first two questions he answered were about "the quarterback situation," and it was an even smaller surprise when Kelly remained non-committal about the position. 

"I really don't know," Kelly said when asked about the position battle. "I think it's going to take us some time to get a feel for how this competition is going to go."

What Notre Dame's head coach is doing makes sense—especially as the offense infuses ideas from former Boise State offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, brought to South Bend to shake things up and solve the turnover bug that has plagued the Irish offense since Kelly came to town. 

In 2012, the Irish rode an offense equipped with training wheels to the national title game. Going vanilla, a young Golson played facilitator, handing the ball to Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood while looking to All-American tight end Tyler Eifert in single coverage.

Last year, Kelly opened things up for Golson...and the Irish proceeded to turn the ball over 26 times, finishing 101st in the country. The same thing happened in 2011 when the Irish tried to run Kelly's idealized spread.

So even with an early-season highlight reel that had Golson among the country's finest playmakers, coughing up the football at the rate Golson did put his starting job in question moving into his final season of collegiate eligibility. 

Enter Sanford.

An outsider on a staff that's long involved coaches with years of connectivity to the Irish head coach, the 33-year-old assistant's job this spring is to bring uniformity to a quarterback position that's long looked like a grab bag.

"I want to see a consistency and attention to detail more than anything else. Eradicate any of the gray area as it relates to the fundamentals of the quarterback position," Kelly said Wednesday. "We're not going to open it up to interpretation. ... There's no misunderstanding about what's being taught, how it's being taught or what's expected." 

Those expectations have those who watch Notre Dame football already handicapping the race for the starting job against Texas. But those actually in charge in South Bend have done the opposite. 

When pressed for specifics, Kelly did his best to remove any assumptions—especially when it came to the future of Golson, who has a transfer and immediate eligibility available to him after he graduates this May. 

"The only thing that I've ever said to Everett is that you have to come in here and compete for the starting quarterback position," Kelly said. "He has bought in 100 percent to competing for the quarterback position here at Notre Dame. ... His actions, what he's communicated to me, verbally communicated to me, he's 100 percent committed to competing for the quarterback job here at Notre Dame." 

As we saw from Zaire in his gutty effort against LSU, a competitive nature flows through his veins. Now it's up to the young quarterback to treat this spring like the bowl game, taking his passion from the playing field back to practice. 

With 14 practices left in spring and only limited windows of viewing to peek inside the race, expect every statement to be parsed for meaning and every rep shared on social media to be evaluated. 

Today, Golson ran with the first team. Come Friday? Who knows.

Let the (spring practice) games begin. 

 

*Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.  

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Bold Predictions for 2015 Florida Gators Spring Practice

The Florida Gators have started spring practice under new head football coach Jim McElwain. Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee offers his bold predictions for the team this spring. 

What are your bold predictions for the Florida Gators this spring?

Watch the video and let us know!

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Is Michigan or Boise State the Better Option for Iowa Transfer QB Jake Rudock?

It looks like former Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock could still be a Big Ten quarterback in 2015. 

According to Clint Brewster of 247Sports, Rudock will have an important visit with Michigan this weekend and could receive a grant-in-aid offer from the Wolverines: 

Sources have told Wolverine247 that Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz will release transfer quarterback Jake Rudock to any school in the country including Michigan.

Rudock will visit Michigan this weekend and the source also indicated that if Michigan does offer Rudock a spot on the roster that he will accept. With the uncertainty at quarterback for Michigan in 2015, the Wolverines are expected to offer Rudock.

Rudock will be a graduate transfer and eligible to play right away. It's a big deal that Ferentz is letting Rudock go anywhere he wants, though the fact that Michigan and Iowa do not play next season is notable. Rudock's transfer to the Wolverines has been the subject of message-board rumors for a while but gained traction last week via Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports. Per Brewster, Rudock is also considering Boise State. 

Which school would be a be a better fit for Rudock? It depends on what he's looking for. One would think Rudock will transfer to the place where he'll have the best chance to start, but there are other factors as well.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Boise State coach Bryan Harsin are both "quarterback guys." Either way, Rudock will be playing in a style of offense that should be more aggressive than the one he played in at Iowa. 

That said, Michigan's offer would be a hard one to pass up. Since Rudock has one season of eligibility left, being coached by Harbaugh could pay major dividends for him down the road.  

Harbaugh is also a straight shooter. He'll tell a recruit exactly what he thinks of him from an evaluation standpoint. There's very little butt-kissing. If Harbaugh thinks a player can start or play in the NFL, he'll tell him. If he thinks Michigan isn't for him, he'll tell him. 

So if Michigan really does extend an offer to Rudock, that should tell you a lot about what Harbaugh thinks of him. It doesn't mean Rudock is guaranteed to start, but it would mean that he and Harbaugh are on the same wavelength. 

That, and the fact that Harbaugh needs bodies at quarterback. Houston transfer John O'Korn won't be eligible until 2016, and early enrollee Alex Malzone will still be learning the ropes.

If Rudock does transfer to Ann Arbor, Shane Morris could be his biggest competition. Morris is a talented kid, but it's clear he needs more development. How quickly he develops under Harbaugh will dictate his position on the depth chart. 

The good thing for Rudock is that he's not going to be the only one learning a new offense; everyone is going to be starting from scratch. In February, Harbaugh called the upcoming quarterback competition a "meritocracy," according to ESPN.com's Dan Murphy. 

"It's going to take a lot. All of that will be determined on the field," Harbaugh said, per Murphy. "This will be a lot of fun. We'll throw the balls out there, and the guys will compete."

Rudock has had his ups and downs, but when he's on he looked like one of the better pure passers in the Big Ten. Last season, he finished fourth with a 133.46 passer rating. He can manage an offense.

Considering that Michigan could barely move the chains last season, that would be a good start. 

There shouldn't be any doubt that Rudock can play at that level. It might just be a matter of pairing him with the right coach. Certainly, Rudock and Harbaugh could be a solid combination in Year 1 of the Wolverines' rebuilding project. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All stats courtesy of CFBStats.com

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What Alabama Football Players Are Up to on Spring Break

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Spring break can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time around a football program like Alabama’s.

The week off is nice, even though the Crimson Tide have had just one practice of their 15 allotted for spring so far. Even then, it can be some nice down time from classes and the other burdens of being a student-athlete before the grind of practice and end-of-semester coursework kicks in.

But, as we’ve seen recently, it can also mean unwanted negative attention, no matter who is at fault. Last year, for example, now-former running back Altee Tenpenny was arrested on possession charges when he was back home in Arkansas.

So after Alabama’s first practice of the spring last Friday, Nick Saban had a message for his team about the week off:

"Well my message to them was, you know, we need everybody to make good choices and decisions about what they do and what they don’t do so that they’re always making choices and decisions that are going to help them be who they want to be. When you know you’re not supposed to do something that you want to do and you know it’s the wrong thing to do, please don’t allow yourself to do that so you won’t have issues and problems and you won’t have to deal with negative consequences relative to your behavior. So that’s kind of the message that we give to our players and I’m hopeful that—and I’m really almost confident that we’ve got pretty good guys on our team, we haven’t had a lot of issues, and hopefully we won’t have any over the next nine-10 days.

Linebacker Reggie Ragland said defensive coordinator Kirby Smart told the linebackers to “be smart about what you're doing. If you're going down there, don't do nothing crazy, just be respectful to everyone."

Center Ryan Kelly said the best thing to do in most situations is to just walk away.

“Worst-case scenario, you just walk away, bite the bullet, I guess,” he said. “A lot of guys, we haven’t had a whole lot of problems around here, but things do happen. It’s always a nerve-racking thing for those guys, I guess.”

So far, so good for Alabama discipline-wise, now halfway through spring break. Let’s get a glimpse of what Crimson Tide players are doing with their break through social media. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but rather a snapshot into the lives of Alabama’s football team.

Several Alabama players have hit the beach. Freshman cornerback Marlon Humphrey shared a picture of him, Da’Shawn Hand, Reggie Ragland, Derrick Henry and Rashaan Evans enjoying the sun:

Other players shared that they were on their way or already there:

Kenyan Drake is in Powder Spring, Georgia, drinking Kool-Aid and watching some old games. He watched this year's Ole Miss game, where he suffered a brutal leg break. Drake, though, is already back practicing with the team and should be in line for a big year.

Drake and nose tackle Josh Frazier dropped in on their old high schools while they are back in their respective home towns:

Shaun Dion Hamilton is back in Montgomery:

Blake Barnett is heading back to California and experiencing the joys of air travel along the way:

While Henry and Evans are at the beach, they aren’t forgetting to stay in shape either:

Alabama players have chosen to spend their spring break in different ways, hitting the beach or going home. But they'll all be back together again on Monday, when spring practice cranks up into high gear, and they won't have an extended break like this until the summer.

 

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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