NCAA Football

Winners and Losers of June on the 2015 College Football Recruiting Trail

July is just about here, which means a reflection of the month of June in recruiting would be a wise thing to do. The sixth month of the year featured several twists and turns, as it kept everyone on his toes.

While July figures to be another exciting month on the recruiting trail, several programs were affected by June's developments.

An SEC program lost out on a prized 4-star receiver, while a Big 12 school scored a commitment from a 4-star running back. Also, a Big Ten team used June to come alive on the recruiting trail.

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Future Georgia Bulldogs Players to Watch in 'The Opening'

With the 2014 season around the corner, there has been plenty of talk about the incoming freshmen that are looking to make an impact.

However, college fans should also take notice of the rising high school seniors because they will be playing on Saturdays for their favorite team before they know it.

The Bulldogs have their share of 2015 commitments and a few of them have been selected to take part in the “The Opening” which is a four-day camp being held at the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. This event will include training, coaching and a 7-on-7 competition.

Some of the notable current and former NFL players to make an appearance at The Opening are Aaron Rodgers, Jerry Rice, Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman.

Here’s a look at the future Bulldogs to watch in the The Opening.

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1 Commitment Every Big Ten Team Wishes It Could Get This Summer

The Big Ten figures to be represented well in the final 2015 recruiting rankings, with each team in the conference having a wish list of commitments it would love get this summer. 

However, this list will focus on which commitment each Big Ten program wishes it could get if it only could pick one. Some schools' wishes are far-fetched, while several have a legit chance to see their wish come true.

Michigan would love to lock up a 5-star pass-rusher, while rival Ohio State also has a 5-star defensive end on its mind. Plus, Penn State figures a 4-star cornerback could be one of the final pieces to an excellent class.

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Power Ranking Alabama's Positional Units for 2014

Since Nick Saban arrived at Alabama in 2007, the Crimson Tide have annually fielded one of the nation’s top rosters—and 2014 will be no different.

Despite sending another eight players to the NFL draft, several position units will enter fall camp with top-tier talent from top to bottom on both sides of the ball.

While question marks such as quarterback and cornerback headline the concerns entering fall camp, several position groups such as wide receiver, running back and linebacker should rank among the best in the SEC and nationally.

How do the Tide’s positional units stack up heading into fall camp?

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Former Auburn TE Philip Lutzenkirchen Passes Away at Age 23

Former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, a contributor on the Tigers' 2010 national championship team whose football career was cut short due to injury, died as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident Sunday morning.

He was 23.

The staff at 247Sports first reported Lutzenkirchen's passing. B.N. Talley of the Georgia State Patrol told Ryan Black of the Ledger-Enquirer that Lutzenkirchen was a passenger in a vehicle that traveled through a stop sign at an intersection and into a churchyard, at which point the vehicle flipped and sent all four passengers from the car.

"It happened at the intersection of Upper Big Springs Road and Lower Big Springs Road," Talley said. "The vehicle was a 2006 Chevy Tahoe and the driver missed a stop sign at the intersection of those two roads, which is more or less a 'T-intersection.' They traveled through the intersection off into a churchyard. They were out out of control for about 450 feet."

Details are still emerging in the situation and police are still investigating the reason for the crash. Police said Lutzenkirchen was not wearing his seatbelt during the accident. Joseph Davis, who was driving at the time, was also killed. The identities of the two other passengers were not revealed, nor were any details given on their injuries.

Auburn released a statement on Lutzenkirchen's passing, via Twitter:

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn also released a statement, courtesy of Alex Byington of Opelika-Auburn News:

Malzahn's wife, Kristi, previously sent out her condolences, via Twitter:

Lutzenkirchen played at Auburn from 2009 to 2012. Highly touted out of Lassiter High in Georgia, he made an impact upon his arrival on campus and was instantly one of the more popular players within the locker room.

In his four years, some as a starter other times as a backup, Lutzenkirchen made 59 receptions for 628 yards and 14 touchdowns. He holds the school's all-time record for touchdowns for a tight end. 

During the Tigers' national championship campaign, he was one of Cam Newton's favorite red-zone targets; five of his 15 receptions in 2010 went for scores. His most famous catch of that campaign was a game-winner in the fourth quarter against Alabama, which culminated a comeback from 24 points down.

He last played for Auburn in 2012, a hip injury cutting what was amounting to a strong senior season short. He then shortly caught on with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent before the hip injury stopped his professional career before it got off the ground.

Justin Hokanson of 247Sports provided an anecdote that highlighted why Lutzenkirchen was so popular with players and coaches:

Since his release in St. Louis, Lutzenkirchen had been as an assistant coach at St. James High School in Montgomery, Alabama. He maintained a close relationship with the Auburn program, former teammates and staff members who were there during his career.  

Lutzenkirchen is survived by his parents, Mike and Mary.


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Penn State Football: Strengths, Weaknesses and Secret Weapons

The Nittany Lions won't have everything they need to chase a Big Ten divisional crown in 2014, but not all hope should be lost. This team has several bright spots and players to build on this year and beyond.

There are also a few spots the team will need to cover up in order to succeed.

Head coach James Franklin will have his hands full, but with a little luck, a stellar 2014 campaign is not out of the question with this Penn State squad.


Any team in the conference would be pleased with the depth Penn State has at tight end, running back and along its defensive line. 

Jesse James, Kyle Carter and Adam Breneman accounted for 58 catches, more than the tight ends for Ohio State and Michigan State combined. They'll be joined this season by Brent Wilkerson who redshirted last season.

Franklin will have to get creative when it comes to using his tight ends as effectively as possible, but that's a good problem to have.

Along with the tight ends, Franklin has a stable of running backs to lean on in Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton, Akeel Lynch and his incoming freshmen who will be battling for reps. Zwinak has just less than 2,000 yards since the start of the 2012 season, and Belton seems primed for a breakout season.

Those two groups will help Penn State's greatest single offensive asset: sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg. "Hack" has a full season under his belt and should be expected to improve on a stellar freshman season that saw him throw for nearly 3,000 yards.

Already being talked about as a future first-round draft pick, more will be on the young signal-caller's shoulders this year, but he should be up to it.

Defensively, the heart will be up front, particularly with the ends. Veterans C.J. Olaniyan and Deion Barnes will be backed up by high school All-American Garrett Sickels and a group of players capable of starting in 2015.



The single biggest weakness facing Penn State is its depth. Along the offensive line, underclassmen will be forced into action earlier than they should. At wide receiver and linebacker, you can count the tested veterans on one hand, and the secondary is a work in progress.

It will be interesting to see if redshirt freshman Andrew Nelson can live up to the hype when he's thrown into action as the Week 1 starter at right tackle. Penn State fans surely hope so because the depth chart behind him isn't full of promise. 

Geno Lewis is the only receiver on the team with more than six career catches, and in his one season he had the luxury of playing opposite of Allen Robinson. 

Mike Hull will lead an inexperienced linebacker unit, but he has a history of injuries, as does running mate Ben Kline. Youngsters Brandon Bell, Nyeem Wartman and Troy Reeder will battle for snaps, but there's not much in the cupboard behind them.


Secret Weapons 

Though experience at wide receiver is scarce, talent is far from it. 

De'Andre Thompkins enrolled in January and quickly established himself as the fastest player on the team. He'll see the field early and often in 2014 whether it's on special teams or as a playmaker on the offense.

Saeed Blacknall and Chris Godwin are true wide receivers with crisp route-running ability and great hands. Blacknall is a big target at 6'3" while Godwin may wind up as the best of a good bunch.

Troy Apke made a name for himself in Western Pennsylvania during track season, showing off speed that not many knew he had. If not for the class he's entering school with, it would be hard to keep him off the field. He could turn some heads in a slot role this summer and see snaps of his own.

The wild card of this group in 2014 will be Mike Gesicki. He'll eventually grow into a tight end, but with that position loaded with talent, the coaches will start Gesicki out as a receiver to get him on the field as soon as possible. A freakish athlete with high school trophies as a basketball and volleyball player, the 6'5" Gesicki will be a mismatch for defensive backs and linebackers at the next level. 

Once things get sorted out, Christian Hackenberg is going to have some weapons at his disposal this year.

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USC Football: How 3-Star WR De'Quan Hampton Could Fit in with the Trojans

USC earned its ninth commitment of the 2015 recruiting class last Sunday afternoon, as junior college wide receiver De’Quan Hampton committed to Steve Sarkisian and his Trojans.

He's a 3-star prospect according to, having greyshirted out of high school and spent 2013 in the junior college ranks.

The 6'4", 220-pound receiver touts a lanky, athletic frame that the Trojans would love to have going forward with Sarkisian's new offense. Darreus Rogers is the tallest scholarship receiver currently on the roster, and he's 6'2".

That height will surely give him an advantage over the other wide receivers who comprise USC's aerial arsenal, as will his experience at the JUCO level.

Outside of quarterbacks Ricky Town and David Sills (whose decommitment from Troy is expected in the coming months), Hampton is the first offensive skill player committed for 2015. Outside of tight ends and running backs, wide receivers haven't been a huge priority for the Trojans thus far in the recruiting cycle.

That's because Rogers, Nelson Agholor, Steven Mitchell, George Farmer and Victor Blackwell are currently on the roster, and the likes of Rahshead Johnson, Ajene Harris, John "JuJu" Smith and Adoree' Jackson are joining the ranks in the fall.

So how would Hampton fit at USC, given the soon-to-be-crowded wide receiver corps?

A native of Compton, California, Hampton spent the past season playing at Long Beach City College. That decision has helped him develop more immediately out of high school.

"I realized [my ability] when I came out of high school and greyshirted in college," Hampton told's Lindsey Thiry upon announcing his commitment to the Trojans. "I was going against the first defense everyday, then got to the point where I was scoring touchdowns everyday against them."

Hampton will enter USC with experience, which could give him a boost near the top of the depth chart next spring.

Beyond that, Hampton's size is something "Sark" definitely can't wait to implement in USC's offense, and the head coach could do so at a different position.

According to's Mike Farrell:

A move to tight end wouldn't be a bad look for Hampton or the Trojans, given the anemic tight end corps. USC touts all of three scholarship tight ends, and senior Randall Telfer will be gone at the end of the season. That'll leave just junior Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and incoming freshman Bryce Dixon, as things stand now. 

The Trojans are also in the hunt for 4-star tight end Tyler Petite, and they could land him as well. Whether they do or not, having the option to move Hampton to that position has got to be comforting to Sark, who runs an offense that often features tight ends.

Should Hampton stay with his commitment, he brings the experience and size that Sark will need going forward in his efforts to keep USC competitive throughout this new era of Trojan football.


All recruiting information provided by

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USC Football: How 3-Star WR De'Quan Hampton Could Fit in with the Trojans

USC earned its ninth commitment of the 2015 recruiting class on Sunday afternoon, as junior college wide receiver De’ Quan Hampton committed to Steve Sarkisian and his Trojans...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Minnesota's Logan Hutton Catches Two Footballs While Doing Backflip

Minnesota Golden Gophers senior wide receiver Logan Hutton looks like he's pretty athletic.

The team's official Twitter account posted this impressive trick by Hutton. Not only does he do a backflip, but he also catches two footballs at the same time.

That's right. Not one, but two footballs. You can see the catch in slow motion below.

[YouTube, h/t Yahoo Sports]

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Power Ranking Penn State's Positional Units for 2014

Like any team, the 2014 Nittany Lions have some bright spots and some...not so bright spots on the roster. Christian Hackenberg and Jesse James are names people will know this fall. As long as the offensive line allows it, of course.

Here's a look at each position on the Nittany Lions' roster from weakest to strongest.

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Texas Football: Longhorns Must Have Patience with Charlie Strong

Nearly six months have gone by since former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong was named the 29th head football coach for the Texas Longhorns. If the Longhorns faithful want Texas to return to the top of the college football ranks, they will have to give Strong time to do it the right way.

Only six months into the job, Strong has put together an entirely new staff, worked to build relationships with the team he inherited, kept the 2014 recruiting class intact and tried to make up ground in recruiting the 2015 class.

Add in his 12-city Comin' on Strong Tour, media obligations and speaking engagements with boosters and state high school coaches and Strong has been a very busy man.

Being the head football coach at a school like Texas requires a lot of obligations that ultimately take time away from the football field. This has been the case for Strong, and some fans may not be pleased with the results the Longhorns showed in the spring game and the lack of results seen in the 2015 recruiting class. has Texas listed at No. 30 in its most recent 2015 recruiting team rankings—behind conference opponents TCU and West Virginia, and behind in-state rival Texas A&M, which is ranked No. 3 nationally.

The Texas and Texas A&M rivalry is still alive even though the Longhorns and Aggies no longer play each other on the football field, and it's no surprise that Texas fans are upset that the Aggies are stomping the Longhorns in the 2015 recruiting class.

One could argue the tables have turned since Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC.

In just three years, the Aggies have averaged a No. 10 signing-class ranking, and the Longhorns' average places them at No. 15. If one were to factor in the unofficial 2015 class rankings, Texas A&M's average would be sitting around No. 9 and Texas' at No. 19.

Texas A&M gained a lot of momentum when it joined the SEC.

An upset over Alabama in year one and its second Heisman Trophy winner in school history allowed the momentum grew tremendously. In an anonymous survey of four Texas high school coaches, the general consensus was Texas A&M is the leading school in the state right now, according to William Wilkerson and Longhorn Digest.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin deserves a lot of credit for turning around the Aggies' football program. But the Aggies' gain is not a product of something Strong has done wrong. What fans need to realize is the woes Strong is facing are not something he caused for himself, they're a sign of how bad things got under the previous regime.

A lot of attention follows the head coach of Texas.

As you can see from the images below, Strong has many more eyes on him in press settings at Texas compared to his time spent at Louisville. And it's no secret Strong currently lacks the shaking hands and kissing babies aspect of the job that Mack Brown did so well.

In a recent story,'s Travis Haney wrote a scathing review of Strong's speaking abilities at a coaching clinic at Angelo State. Haney used quotes from unnamed coaches including one that stood out above the rest: "It made me miss Mack."

The irony of that quote is that a part of the reason Texas football has fallen behind Texas A&M is Brown's inability to keep up with the changing times of college football.

But the tables could very easily turn if Strong can put a winning product on the field—which is not something he has struggled with throughout his coaching history.

Strong did more with less during his time coaching at Louisville than what Brown did over the last four years. One could argue he is one of the best defensive minds in college football and a stellar talent developer.

As for 2015, Strong is trying to make up for lost time in a six-month period while Sumlin and other rival coaches have, roughly, had an 18-month head start recruiting the 2015 class.

Does that excuse the fact that Texas only has 10 verbal commits for the 2015 class? Not exactly, but it in no way means fans should give up on Strong and company.

Texas fans need to take a step back and realize that the change of regime is not something that will provide successful results overnight. It's a process that will take time and patience.

A word of advice: Wait and see what type of product Strong can put on the field before labeling him as unsuccessful.


Recruiting rankings courtesy of

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.

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The Opening 2014: Full Invitation List Revealed

The rosters and teams for "The Opening 2014," the biggest summer showcase of high school football talent in the country, were released Friday afternoon, and man, is this year's lineup loaded.

Of the 33 consensus 5-star players in the 2015 class, 31 are attending. The two absentees, defensive linemen Trent Thompson and CeCe Jefferson, check in as the respective No. 1 and No. 4 overall players in the country, but that only has a slight diminishing effect.

The event itself, which will take place this year from July 6-10, includes physical testing and the SPARQ National Championship along with a series of non-contact seven-on-seven football games designed to showcase the best players' abilities.

Only 161 players from the 2015 class (and one from the 2016 class) will be heading to Beaverton, Oregon—lest we forget this is a Nike event—in a couple of weeks to show scouts what they've got.

Here's a look at who will be playing:

Note: All rankings courtesy of the 247Sports Composite.


The Quarterbacks

The quarterbacks will not be assigned to a seven-on-seven team until July 7. For now, although we do know which players will be doing the passing, we do not know whom they will be passing to.

Here are the 18 QBs attending the event:

It's important to note these are not technically the only quarterbacks in attendance. Players such as Torrance Gibson, for example, have been placed on Team #AlphaPro and labeled as athletes even though they are likely to play quarterback in college.

On that note…on to the teams:


Team #AlphaPro

Full Roster:

Star Offensive Player: ATH Torrance Gibson

Star Defensive Player: DL Josh Sweat

Team #AlphaPro is middle-of-the-road in terms of average composite grade, but with Gibson and Sweat, it features two of the highest-profile prospects in the country. Scouts will line up to see those two play.

There is also a celebrity element to the #AlphaPro roster: wide receiver Cordell Broadus, son of rap mogul Snoop Dogg, and defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, son of Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, have both been included in the same group.


Team #Apocalypse

Full Roster:

Star Offensive Player: RB Damien Harris

Star Defensive Player: LB Malik Jefferson

Unless it ends up with a number of the best quarterbacks, defense will have to carry Team #Apocalypse to the title. Its three highest rated players—linebacker Malik Jefferson and defensive tackles Rasheem Green and Daron Payne—all line up on that side of the ball.

All three are also uncommitted.

On offense, former Michigan pledge Damien Harris is the biggest name to watch, but also keep an eye on unranked athlete Tyler Phillips, who got The Opening invite after scoring the highest SPARQ rating on the 2014 Nike Tour. (For laymen, that means he's a freaky athlete.)


Team #FlyRush

Full Roster:

Star Offensive Player: WR Terry Godwin

Star Defensive Player: DB Kendall Sheffield

Offensive lineman Chuma Edoga, a USC commit, is the highest-ranked offensive player on Team #FlyRush, but blocking isn't as sexy as scoring touchdowns, so let's instead highlight Georgia commit Terry Godwin, one of the quickest athletes in the class.

On defense, Kendall Sheffield will be tasked with locking up some of the best wide receivers in the 2015 class. He doesn't have the length of the new-age type of cornerback but checks in at a solid 5'11" and is superb with his feet and coverage technique.


Team #LandSharks

Full Roster:

Star Offensive Player: WR Tyron Johnson

Star Defensive Player: DB Kevin Toliver

Even more so than Team #Apocalypse, Team #LandSharks should be a defensive force. Seven of its eight highest-ranked players play on the defensive side of the ball. (Paging Josh Rosen, anyone?)

The stars of each respective side are LSU commit Kevin Toliver, one of the scariest cornerback prospects to come along in quite some time, and fellow Louisiana native Tyron Johnson, a pretty scary wide receiver in his own right.

There's a good chance they end up in Baton Rouge together.


Team #MachSpeed

Full Roster:

Star Offensive Player: WR Preston Williams

Star Defensive Player: S Derwin James

As was the case with Team #FlyRush, the highest-ranked offensive player on Team #MachSpeed is an offensive lineman, Clemson pledge Mitch Hyatt. Hyatt is the second-best offensive lineman in the 2015 class, and he's joined on this roster by the cycle's top pure receiver, Tennessee commit Preston Williams.

A stacked defense is led by a loaded secondary, which includes future Florida State safety Derwin James and future Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick—the latter of whom the Tide went all the way up to New Jersey to secure a commitment from.

Nick Saban: Putting the "commitment" in the word commitment.


Team #VaporCarbon

Full Roster:

Star Offensive Player: WR Christian Kirk

Star Defensive Player: DL Rashan Gary

Christian Kirk, Deon Cain, Juwan Johnson and Kirk Merritt combine to give Team #VaporCarbon a deep and balanced receiving corps that includes four top-150 overall players. Between that and the presence of Martez Ivey, the cycle's top offensive lineman, at tackle, quarterbacks will be lobbying to join this roster.

The defense ain't too shabby, either. Lineman Rashan Gary and defensive back Iman Marshall give #VaporCarbon a pair of top-10 overall prospects, and linebacker John Houston Jr. gives it at least one top-30 overall player at each level of the defense.


For a full schedule of events at "The Opening," click here.

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Power Ranking Wisconsin Football's Positional Units for 2014

Last season, the Wisconsin football team went 9-4, losing all the close calls and losing its first game by more than a touchdown for the first time in years. In Gary Andersen's second season, graduations have stripped the cupboard that he started with.

James White and Ryan Groy are gone, but the Badgers still boast an excellent backfield and offensive line, which shouldn't surprise anyone who has followed Wisconsin football in the past.

In what feels like Year 1 for Andersen as his recruits slowly start to trickle into snaps, let's take a look at how each of the positional groups for the Badgers looks in a post-Chris Borland and Jared Abbrederis world.

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Impersonation of Nick Saban Reacting to USA's Loss to Germany Is Spot on

Alabama football head coach Nick Saban is known for being pretty intense during post-game press conferences after losses, and this guy complete nailed an impersonation of the four-time national champion.

The United States lost 1-0 to Germany in the 2014 World Cup, and this guy had a spot-on impersonation of Saban had he been Team USA's coach after the loss.

[Vimeo, h/t College Spun]

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Florida State Football: Is Fisher Off to Best Start of Any ACC Head Coach, Ever?

Jimbo Fisher had one of the longest job titles in college football—Florida State offensive coordinator/head-coach-in-waiting.

But strip away the "in waiting" and Fisher had never been a head coach, at least not until he officially took over from coaching legend Bobby Bowden in January 2010. Fisher was a salesman from the start, envisioning what the program could be as he assembled a coaching staff and recruited student-athletes.

Florida State was far from the Florida State of the 1990s dynasty days in January 2010. The program was middle-of-the-pack in the ACC after a 7-6 finish in 2009.

Four years later, it's been quite a turnaround: Fisher is 45-10. He's won a national title and a pair of ACC titles, to boot.

The impact of what he was able to accomplish was not lost on Fisher when he spoke at a February ceremony honoring the national champions.

"We didn't just develop a team, folks," Fisher said. "We developed a program. We plan on being here for a long time."

What Fisher achieved is also the best four-year start to a coaching career in the ACC.

Yes, Bowden had a higher winning percentage than Fisher. But Bowden had an established program that was on the rise and was able to dominate an ACC that, in 1992, was not nearly as deep as it is now, 20 years later. The FSU teams of the 1990s were impressive on offense and defense, but the league also lacked quality competition.

That makes Fisher's 45 wins in 55 games stand out more than Bowden's 43 wins in 49. Fisher had to rebuild the program, and he had to do it on the fly in his first stint as a head coach.

Bowden had been a head coach at Howard, West Virginia and for 16 seasons at FSU before the Seminoles joined the ACC before the 1992 season. Fisher had been an assistant coach for two decades but had never called all the shots in leading a program.

Fisher could tell he was on to something special going into the 2013 season. He delivered this confident quote in August at media day.

"I love where this program is," Fisher said. "I love where it’s going. I love what we’re about to accomplish. It’s not going to stop this year. This is going on for a long time."

It's interesting to reflect upon those words now. Fisher had a feeling how good not just the team would be in 2013, but how good the program would be once again.

Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, all quotes obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bob on Twitter.


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USC Football: What Trojans Need from Freshman Adoree' Jackson in 2014

One of the most versatile and touted recruits of 2014, Adoree' Jackson, made first-year USC coach Steve Sarkisian very happy. 

Sarkisian's biggest problem is figuring out how to use him, and without the benefit of spring practice, do so in roughly a month's time. Does Sarkisian put Jackson on defense at cornerback, which seems like a great fit given his athleticism, or on offense at wide receiver? Putting Jackson on punt and/or kickoff returns seems like a given. 

"I think he's going to get some of both, quite honestly," Sarkisian told Rahshaun Haylock of Fox Sports West in April. "I bet he does a couple things on each side of the ball on day one because we need to gather the information."

It certainly wouldn't be an unprecedented move. Just across Los Angeles, UCLA's Myles Jack made a name for himself last season by contributing as a two-way player at linebacker and running back. A few years before that, Owen Marecic played fullback and linebacker for Stanford, scoring a touchdown on both sides of the ball against Notre Dame in 2010. 

The list goes on and on. 

Eventually, for the sake of USC and Jackson, he'll need to settle on a position. Maybe that happens this year, maybe next. It's not that Jackson will never contribute in multiple spots again, but it's best if he grows in one position.

So which one would it be?

USC has talent at wide receiver. It begins with Nelson Agholor, who finished last year with 918 receiving yards and six touchdowns. George Farmer, Darreus Rogers and Victor Blackwell all have plenty of potential, but need to take bigger steps. 

Similarly, USC has talent at cornerback, but depth is an even bigger concern there, especially with the departure of Dion Bailey to the NFL. According to's Scott Kennedy, Jackson has all the tools to be a great corner: 

He's not simply explosive though; he's flexible and displays terrific balance. He's strong enough to press a receiver at the line of scrimmage and can turn and run with anyone. He shows of his balance with the ball in his hands as he breaks and spins out of tackles before out running defenders. 

With depth being what it is in the secondary, there could be a more pressing need for Jackson's services there. Ultimately, defensive back seems like a more natural fit for for Jackson. It's not as glamorous in an increasingly offensive-focused game, but, at 5'9" and 182 pounds, it might be where he's physically better suited in the long run. 

But, for the time being, it wouldn't be surprising for Jackson to see playing time in all three phases of the game—offense, defense and special teams—as the season gets under way. Frankly, USC needs that sort of versatility. The Trojans are still battling depth issues post-NCAA sanctions, so the opportunity is there for the 5-star prospect to make an immediate impact in multiple places. 

Jackson will settle into a spot before his career in L.A is over. For 2014, though, Sarkisian needs Jackson to be a utility player for the Trojans. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. All recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports

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USC Football: What Trojans Need from Freshman Adoree' Jackson in 2014

One of the most versatile and touted recruits of 2014, Adoree' Jackson , made first-year USC coach Steve Sarkisian very happy...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Notre Dame Football: 3 Things That Will Change with Everett Golson at QB

The return of Everett Golson is a little over two months away. And for Irish fans who have worn out their DVR and racked up YouTube stats watching highlight reels of the exiled quarterback, a chance to see Golson back behind center for the Irish will be here in no time. 

With the Irish back in South Bend training with strength coach Paul Longo and working the playbook with the Irish coaching staff, identifying how Notre Dame will use Golson requires a long look back to 2012. While the first-year player was learning the offense by the spoonful, he did enough things well to give us hints as to how Brian Kelly will expand the offense in 2014. 

After relying on Tommy Rees to get the Irish through 2013, Kelly and new offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock will have the perfect quarterback for their reintroduced spread attack. That means a chance for Kelly to turn Notre Dame's offense into the high-flying units he had at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati. 

Let's take a look at three key changes for the Irish offense with Golson at quarterback. 

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Why Ole Miss Secondary Could Be Surprise Unit of SEC Football in 2014

When you think of the potentially great secondaries in the SEC, Florida is likely the first unit that comes to mind, with LSU and Alabama not far behind thanks to their upside.

A team you probably won't find on that list is Ole Miss. That's a shame, because by season's end Ole Miss' secondary could be the surprise unit of the SEC.

Yes, the same Ole Miss secondary that finished eighth in the SEC in pass defense (215.5 YPG) and yards per attempt (7.0) last year.


Because for the most part, it's the same—and getting deeper.

AP All-American Cody Prewitt is back at free safety and will be joined by fellow returning starters Trae Elston and Tony Conner at "Rover" and the hybrid "Husky" spot, respectively. That trio can cover, can run and can hit—and, more importantly for head coach Hugh Freeze, provides the Rebels options.

Prewitt has already established himself as one of the top safeties in the game, but could drop down to linebacker in certain situations against certain teams.

"If we feel like we can get into an eight-man front against some of the offenses that we're running against, then he will be that guy," Freeze told B/R in March. "I do feel his future, if he continues to mature, is as an outside linebacker for the next level. But he's a pretty good safety, too. You'll see him roll down some, but he won't do it full time."

If that happens, it could be up to C.J. Hampton—a 4-star safety in the class of 2014—to take on a heavier workload in the back end of the secondary. He was listed as the 36th-most-important Rebel this year by Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger of Jacksonville, Mississippi, due to his work this spring, ability in coverage and big-play ability.

At corner, Senquez Golson has enjoyed quite a career in Oxford. The senior has six career interceptions and 93 tackles over the last three seasons and, despite a 5'9" frame, plays tough against bigger receivers and sticks to them like glue downfield.

He was arrested over the weekend for disorderly conduct, according to USA Today. While that's not ideal, the report states that the school will handle the matter internally. Unless something else coincided with the disorderly conduct, it's unlikely to cost Golson a big chunk of the seasons.

Mike Hilton and Derrick Jones give the Rebels two experienced options at the other cornerback spot and provide depth if they have to move pieces around on the fly.

That experience, coupled with a fierce pass rush, should pay huge dividends in 2014.

Robert Nkemdiche will move full time to defensive tackle this year, after playing both tackle and end (and a little running back) during his true freshman campaign. At 6'4", 277 pounds, he has the strength of an interior lineman but the speed and quickness of an end, which will force opposing offensive lines to focus on him. That means plenty of opportunities to create pressure for Woodrow Hamilton and, potentially, senior Lavon Hooks inside and C.J. Johnson outside.

Ole Miss' defensive line is deep, talented and versatile, which means they'll create pressure with four routinely and give the back end of the defense plenty of opportunities to capitalize on mistakes.

Don't sleep on the Rebels' secondary. It has the experience and the supporting cast to be one of the biggest surprises in the SEC in 2014.


Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of and all recruiting information is courtesy of

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Oregon Football: Incoming Freshmen Most Likely to Start This Season

True freshmen such as De'Anthony Thomas and Thomas Tyner have stormed onto the scene at Oregon in recent years, making instant impacts for the Ducks.  

Head coach Mark Helfrich was not shy about using first-year players in his debut season. Along with Tyner, true freshmen tight end Johnny Mundt, offensive lineman Cameron Hunt and kicker Matt Wogan started at some point last season.  

Most of the 2014 signing class arrived on campus earlier this week. A few will earn the opportunity to make similar splashes in their debut campaign.  


CB Arrion Springs 

Losing three starters from the secondary means a wide-open competition heading into preseason camp. Arrion Springs, a 4-star cornerback from San Antonio, should factor into that competition.

Springs is the latest high-profile addition from Oregon's recruiting pipeline into Texas and the most highly rated defensive prospect in the Ducks' 2014 class. He earned impressive marks across the board per 247Sports' analysis, particularly his instincts and speed. 

Those are two qualities that should play well in an Oregon secondary built to generate turnovers. Since 2010, the Ducks have ranked no worse than No. 23 nationally in interceptions, and they were the Football Bowl Subdivision leaders in 2012. 

The defensive backs' ability to exploit mistakes is an invaluable component of Oregon's overwhelming style, and Springs has the skill set to contribute immediately on that front. 

Springs will compete with veterans Troy Hill and Dior Mathis, as well as junior college transfer Dominique Harrison, for the starting cornerback spot opposite All-American Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Whether or not he wins the starting job, expect Springs to see ample playing time in nickel and dime formations against multiple-receiver sets—of which Oregon will see plenty in the uptempo Pac-12.  


WR Jalen Brown

Only Springs and ballyhooed running back Royce Freeman earned higher marks from 247Sports than wide receiver Jalen Brown, a 4-star prospect out of Phoenix. 

"Really physical receiver, can really go up and get the ball with high, strong hands" is how Helfrich described Brown to Andrew Greif of The Oregonian

Despite losing Josh Huff to the NFL and Bralon Addison to injury, Brown has an uphill climb to crack the top of the depth cart at receiver. The Ducks have veterans Dwayne Stanford and Keanon Lowe ready, and redshirt freshmen Darren Carrington and Devon Allen impressed in the spring. 

But Brown's early enrollment gave him an opportunity to work in other capacities, and vacancies on special teams could translate to an early starting role. Brown handled some kick return duties in the spring game, running back two kickoffs for 22 total yards.  

The Ducks also welcome an impressive trio of junior college transfers who could compete for starting spots, particularly if injury necessitates changes to the lineup. 

Defensive lineman Tui Talia's impressive spring game may be a springboard into the rotation, particularly if injuries become a problem for the unit, as they were late in 2013. 

Offensive guard Haniteli Lousi gives offensive line coach Steve Greatwood options on the interior, while Harrison is competing for a spot in the secondary at cornerback. 


Recruiting rankings and information culled from composite scores. Statistics compiled via Spring game stats via

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