NCAA Football

5 Powerhouse Programs off to a Slow Start on 2015 Recruiting Trail

Although recruiting is a marathon and not a sprint, it's always great to get off to a good start. Jumping out of the gate with several quality commitments is never frowned upon.

However, several powerhouse programs appear to be off to slow starts. Usually among the nation's best recruiting schools, these programs are currently lacking their mojo.

A school in the Big Ten signed one of the nation's best classes in 2014, but it is not on the same type of pace this year. A powerhouse Big 12 program is on this list, while a pair of Pac-12 schools are also off to slow starts on the recruiting trail.

 

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Top Performers from Oakland Nike Football Training Camp

The Nike Football Training Camp events rolled into Oakland, California on Sunday. Many of the Bay Area's premier prospectsand even a few from out of stateparticipated in competitive drills at Chabot College.

Bleacher Report was in attendance to get a closer look at the action. Here's a look at several of the top playmakers who shined throughout the day.

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What You Need to Know About Top College Football Recruiting Camps This Summer

Just about every college football program has a few summer camps players can attend. College camps are great for recruits to receive instruction from college coaches, plus they can take a tour of a program's campus.

However, college football recruiting is an industry by itself. That means various recruiting sites and football companies put on their own camps recruits flock to. This summer, several recruiting camps figure to have the college football recruiting industry buzzing.

A pair of exceptional recruiting camps will take place at the same time and at the same location, while another great recruiting camp will be held in Baltimore. Underclassmen in the class of 2016 will also get a chance to shine this summer in Jacksonville.

 

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Georgia Football: Mark Richt's Biggest Challenges for the Bulldogs in 2014

Every coach will have challenges they will go through each season. But the great coaches know how to battle through them and come out on top.

Mark Richt has seen his share of challenges since taking the UGA job in 2001. And he’s still standing tall and has won a lot of games along the way.

This year will be no different, as he will have his share of challenges in order to win the SEC East.

But what are the biggest challenges that will determine the Bulldogs' 2014 season?

Here’s a look at five challenges that Richt will have to overcome in order to get back on top of the SEC.

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Tennessee's Butch Jones: 'We're Still Years Away from Being Where We Need to Be'

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — From the way he rushes restlessly around practice to the meticulous mapping out of every offseason day, it's obvious Tennessee football coach Butch Jones doesn't like to wait.

Unfortunately for him and the rest of the Vol Nation, long-dormant football programs aren't rebuilt overnight. 

The second-year top Volunteer has a plan with a purpose and the promise of prominence. But from behind the desk of his posh Anderson Training Center office, he told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview last week that the blueprint's fruition will require the one resource that runs narrower than a Rocky Top mountain stream:

Patience.

"I know we live in an instant-gratification society—I'm as impatient as anybody," Jones said. "But we're a work in progress. We're going to be the youngest team in the country playing a top-five schedule in the country, and that's why it's important to focus on the task at hand and the process.

"We're still years away from being where we need to be. We're at the infant stages of all this. You know, you don’t just fix a number of years in one or two years. You just don't do it. You're dealing with building a culture; you’re dealing with building an environment. It takes time. It's gonna get done. The only variable is time. That's why we have to be patient."

It isn't Jones' style to make excuses or point fingers at the Derek Dooley regime. But that doesn't change the fact that he inherited a near-impossible situation when he took over in December 2012.

Not only did Jones have to repair burned bridges with local high school players and coaches, he is still having to overcome huge roster deficiencies. 

Aside from UT's obvious talent gulf last year, the Vols now must face a dearth of experience over the next two seasons. They will rely on freshmen on the lines of scrimmage because of Dooley's recruiting misses, including an entire '12 class inexplicably devoid of a single offensive lineman.

Twenty-one players from the 2011-12 recruiting classes left the program prior to the completion of their eligibility.

Essentially, that means UT is down an entire recruiting class. 

While the positive side of that roster-flip means Jones was able to bring in 32 prospects in a talent-rich 2014 class ranked seventh nationally by 247Sports, the negative is there are few upperclassman on the roster.

Tennessee will have just 12 scholarship seniors in 2014. Thirty of the 59 healthy scholarship players who participated in spring drills were doing so for the first time as collegians.

Numbers like that aren't conducive to playing a schedule that consists of Utah State, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Alabama and Missouri.

"I thought as a coaching staff and support staff, we did a great job of preparing for this past year's recruiting class," Jones said. "The ability to bring in 30-plus players will be an infusion of talent, competition, depth, but we need to keep doing that.

"We had to be extremely careful this past year in trying to fix all our ills, all our deficiencies in one recruiting class. We're not going to be able to do that. It takes time to develop that. The only way you can address that is develop your current players and keep recruiting. We have needs across the board at every single position in this (2015) class still."

Jones won't use any of these facts as excuses for losing. He spoke of changing a defeatist culture by "earning the right to win," which is done through a daily commitment by every individual on the team.

The players have to work hard, and Jones is putting in long hours to further close the gap between the program's current state and where it needs to get to compete for championships.

It is a long process. But the path to getting there can only be found between the lines of the entries in his three-ring daily planner. 

Call a recruit here, host an unofficial visitor there. Review progress on player workouts. Take advantage of the coach-player film room time now mandated by the NCAA. Peek at some practice film. Call another recruit.

Details. Details. Details. 

Jones preaches it to his players, then he puts it into practice in his own daily routine.

It's the only way an impatient coach can fill the interim between what has to happen now and what he is convinced will happen in the future—winning, and lots of it.

"We're not going to cut any corners," Jones said. "Short-term fixes only pan out for one or two years. We're going to do this thing right. We're not just add-water, ready-made, stick-it-in-the-microwave.

"We’re going through a building process, but I see monumental strides taking place each and every day. This is a special place. There is only one Tennessee. I'm as excited and encouraged as I've ever been, and that ball of momentum is getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

 

Brad Shepard is the Tennessee Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, all quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Brad on Twitter here: 

@Brad_Shepard

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NC State's New Alternate Helmets Have Wolf Eyes

These are really cool. 

N.C. State has released a trailer themed "Pack in Black" revealing the Wolfpack's new alternate football helmets. 

Perhaps the best part about this fresh gear is the wolf's face on the back. Now that is how you make a helmet stand out. 

[NC State, h/t College Spun]

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Eric LeGrand Graduates from Rutgers, Gets Standing Ovation

Former Rutgers football star Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down in 2010, continues to inspire people to this day.

On Sunday, he fulfilled another personal goal by finishing his education at Rutgers University.

Once his name was announced, LeGrand received a well-deserved standing ovation for his degree in labor relations.

 

 [Twitter, h/t For The Win]

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Alabama Football: 4 Former Blue-Chippers Who Will Finally Shine in 2014

Perhaps unlike any other school in the country, Alabama reloads its roster every year thanks to a string of banner recruiting classes annually pulled in by Nick Saban and his staff.

After sending another eight draft choices to the NFL, once again, the Tide’s ability to develop the talent already on the roster will be tested.

As the 2014 season approaches, a handful of former stud recruits from the 2012 recruiting class are prepared to step into prominent positions after biding their time learning the system.

Which players are finally poised to blossom for the Tide this fall?

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Texas A&M Football Recruiting: 4 Former Blue-Chippers Who Will Shine in 2014

The cycle continues for the Texas A&M football program as players graduate and move on to the NFL, while new recruits are brought in to try to replace the departed talent. The Aggies have multiple top recruits who will break out and make a name for themselves during the 2014 season.

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have done a tremendous job of adding talent to the program since they arrived in December of 2011. The Aggie coaching staff has signed consecutive top10 recruiting classes.  

The Aggies are building the kind of depth needed to compete at an elite level in the SEC. In order to consistently compete on the field with LSU and Alabama, you need to be three deep at every position. 

In 2012, the Aggies' first season in the SEC, they had great starters but nothing behind them on the depth chart. In 2013 their depth improved, but it was a very young team. In 2014 they should have improved depth and better experience across the board. 

The Aggies are still going to be a young team, but the experienced gained during the 2013 season should pay off on the field in 2014. 

This is a look at some former blue-chip recruits who will become difference-makers in 2014.  

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Top Performers from 2014 Oakland Nike Sparq Recruiting Combine

The Nike Sparq Recruiting Combine set up shop in Oakland on Saturday at Laney College to evaluate some of the most promising young football prospects from around the country.

Participants ranged from local Bay Area athletes to those coming from states as far away as Hawaii and Minnesota.

Bleacher Report was in the thick of it all to get an early look at the rising stars of 2015 and 2016. The following athletes stood out on Saturday as the top performers in the combine. 

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Fastest 40-Yard Dash Times from 2014 Oakland Nike Sparq Recruiting Combine

Hundreds of high school hopefuls attended the Nike Sparq Recruiting Combine in Oakland on Saturday, participating in various football drills throughout the day. Whether from local Bay Area and other California high schools, or from states as far away as Hawaii and Missouri, the athletes set out to perform well enough to garner interest from college scouts.

As expected, the 40-yard dash generated the most excitement among the athletes, and some of these guys came out blazing. 

John McDonald of Lincoln High (Stockton, California) had the fasted 40-yard time on the day, at 4.54 seconds. 

The running back played for Western Ranch (Stockton) in 2013 before transferring. In 2014, he got hurt and missed the latter half of the season. He doesn't have any offers yet, but a strong showing in the combine (he also ranked No. 7 of the top 40 performers in Oakland) could change that this summer. 

Clovis High's Russell McClung had the next best time at 4.59. This is an improvement for McClung, as the wide receiver/cornerback previously posted a 4.72 at an earlier combine event, via Hudl. He also excelled in the cone drills, hinting at how agile and athletic he is on either side of the ball. He placed 11th overall of all performers on Friday. 

During the offseason, McClung plays baseball for the Cougars. 

Austin Johnson of Mountain View, California, had the third-best time of 4.60, and like McDonald and McClung, he was another top performer overall on the day (No. 9). He's started for the Bulls since his sophomore year after switching from wide receiver to running back. In addition to football, Johnson played basketball this past winter and is playing baseball this spring. 

All three of these guys were invited to Sunday's Nike Training Football Camp, and another top performance there could garner each of them some interest from college scouts. 

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5 Tennessee Volunteer Summer Enrollees Who Will Make Biggest Impacts in 2014

The Tennessee Volunteers' 14 mid-year enrollees injected much-needed talent into the team's offense, but a handful of the 18 newcomers who will soon arrive on campus will make the biggest impact on the team's overall record in 2014. 

 

New Faces on Defense

The Vols face a huge challenge on defense this season.

With the loss of the entire starting defensive line, including Daniel McCullers, Jacques Smith, Daniel Hood and Marlon Walls, the team will have to rely heavily on fresh faces for its front four to compete in the SEC.

The team also has pressing needs at linebacker. Returning senior and leading tackler A.J. Johnson could be in store for an all-conference season, but the departures of Dontavis Sapp and Brent Brewer—along with Curt Maggitt's part-time move to defensive end—mean both the strong-side and weak-side positions could be up for grabs. 

The cornerback and safety positions are also far from set in stone. Sophomore phenom cornerback Cameron Sutton and senior Brian Randolph likely locked up their starting positions with solid play during the 2013 season. But there still will be plenty of opportunity for the newcomers to show off their speed and instincts and make a name for themselves.

 

Freshmen Must Step Up

For the Vols to have any hope of making a bowl game and achieving their first winning season since 2009, the 18 summer enrollees will need to make the same impact their classmates did when they arrived in January.

Here are the five incoming players who will be the team's biggest playmakers this season. 

 

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Breaking Down Where Vic Beasley Landed on First 2015 NFL Draft Big Boards

Although speculation for the 2015 NFL draft seems ridiculously early at this point, it gives fans a good feel for prospects to watch during the upcoming college football season.

Vic Beasley will likely be Clemson’s top draft prospect in 2015, and he has landed on the early big boards.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has him rated as the No.1 outside linebacker and the most NFL-ready prospect at the position. WalterFootball.com put out a mock draft recently that has the Clemson defensive end going with the 23rd pick.

Both of these projections are pretty accurate, although Beasley definitely has the chance to go higher than No. 23 overall in next year’s draft.

 

What Makes Him a Top Prospect

Beasley is regarded one of the top players because of his unique speed off the edge and ability to rush the passer. In today’s game, guys who can stand up and rush off the edge are very valuable. The way he plays his position compares somewhat to Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr, who were both top ten picks in this year’s draft.

At 6’2” and 225 pounds, Beasley doesn’t have the best size for a defensive end, but coming off the edge in a 3-4 defensive system would be the perfect fit for him.

In 2013 Beasley totaled 23 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, which really put him in the discussion for the 2014 NFL draft. After speculation that he could drop to the second round, Beasley decided to return to school.

 

Where He Stands

Todd McShay put out his 2015 NFL mock draft (subscription required) and has Beasley off the board at No. 20. The interesting thing is that he has four defensive lineman ranked ahead of the Clemson product. One of them is Leonard Williams, whom he has going No. 1. The other three, though, are defensive ends: Dante Fowler Jr., Mario Edwards and Shilique Calhoun.

While it is respectable that Beasley is still considered a first-round pick by McShay, he has the opportunity to be selected before those other defensive ends.

The knock on Beasley would be his size and ability to stop the run, but with teams in need of a pass-rusher off the edge, he has the potential to go in the top 15 of next year’s draft.

The need for these types of players is evident from taking a look back at this year’s draft. Obviously Jadeveon Clowney is a freak of nature and was justifiably selected No. 1, but there were no other defensive ends selected until Dee Ford at pick No. 23. Beasley will be classified as an outside linebacker for the draft process, just like the aforementioned Mack and Barr.

Those two players were selected very high, so I expect Beasley to be no different if he has another good year.

There will be many other factors that determine where Beasley lands in the draft, such as his performances at the combine and pro days. Teams will want to see how he can play in coverage, and his 40-time will likely hold great value. At this point, though, Beasley should be considered a top-ten player for the 2015 NFL draft because of what he brings to the table with his speed off the edge.

 

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Jameis Winston Must Endure Quiet Summer to Save NFL Draft Stock

Jameis Winston has a lot of work to do this summer.

Like it or not, it's never too early to have a conversation about NFL draft stock. For the Florida State signal-caller, the last 10 months or so have been a tumultuous affair of the public perception variety, to say the least.

Winston's character has a major black eye at the moment. The latest issue, where he was caught on camera leaving a store with crab legs and being hit with 20 hours of community service and suspended from the baseball team, actually overshadows other past issues. 

The sophomore two-sport star can call the incident a "moment of youthful ignorance" all he wants, but it's the latest in a pattern of alleged behavior that will raise many an eyebrow at the pro level.

Bleacher Report's Ray Glier summed up the recent trend in an apt manner:

But while he did lead FSU to a national championship in 2013 and claimed the Heisman Trophy, Winston and other FSU players were questioned by police in November 2012 after 13 windows were broken at an apartment complex near Doak Campbell Stadium after an apparent BB gun battle. Earlier, in July of that same year, a Burger King employee called police to complain that Winston was stealing soda. He was not charged in either incident.

Glier's excellent column also touches on the dismissed rape charge, so observers get the idea—Winston is a young student athlete in need of guidance.

Now.

What Winston seems to inherently not understand about being a public figure is that he is held to a higher standard. The NFL is blind in the face of talent to a fault, but poke the bear too much and bad things can happen to a prospect's stock.

As an NFL scout and front-office executive told B/R's Mike Freeman, there has been some notable damage done that Winston must recover from quickly:

This from an NFL scout: 'When I heard about this, I was stunned. He was the top overall pick next year. Was. Not anymore. This latest thing shows a continuation of bad judgment. I don't trust him, and I can tell you very few teams in the NFL will trust him.'

This from a front-office executive: 'He's on his way to falling out of the first round.'

It's not too late for Winston to clean up his act. Perhaps being suspended from the baseball team was a necessary coming-of-age moment.

The NFL knows about Winston's immense talent, but there are flaws in his game. One AFC scout told ESPN's Jeffri Chadiha that "his lower-body mechanics are below average, and he doesn't really step into his throws. He's also not a great athlete when you're talking about speed and agility, so the read-option isn't a possibility with him."

Winston is not a lock to be the top quarterback by the time the 2015 draft rolls around. That's on a strictly football basis. Ask Teddy Bridgewater. Names such as Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley and Bryce Petty are first-round caliber and may overtake Winston.

Now add in the fact Winston has been unreliable to date. As it stands, he cannot be trusted by pro teams. Repeat mishaps suggests Winston isn't learning from his behavior, which will cause a dip on draft day. At the bare minimum, he should not be putting himself in any situation that can get allegations thrown his way.

Winston is lucky so much time remains before next year's draft, should he choose to enter. In that time span, a streak of silence off the field will do him wonders. Another pitfall will only make the crescendo of negativity around his name and pro stock further nosedive.

 

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Wisconsin Football: Why Corey Clement Will Have a Breakout Season in 2014

Melvin Gordon is the main attraction for the Wisconsin Badgers running game, but sophomore running back Corey Clement is poised to have a breakout season in 2014 for the Wisconsin football team.  A 4-star recruit out of high school, according to ESPN, Clement will achieve big things as a Badger.  

Despite being the third-string back behind James White, who was chosen in the fourth round of the NFL draft, and this year's Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon, Clement made a strong impression as a freshman and looks to build on that in his sophomore year.

Since 1993, the Badgers have featured 21 1,000-yard seasons out of their running backs, and the team has featured a 1,000-yard rusher every year since 2005.  With a strong offensive line returning, Clement should hear his name called many times. Last year, the team ran nearly 43 times per game, with that number potentially going up, as question marks abound at wide receiver and quarterback.

Last season, the team averaged the eighth most rushing yards with a staggering 283.8 yards per game.  While the duo of Gordon and White combined for more than 3,000 on their own, Clement, in limited work—he only had 67 carries—made the most of them, averaging 8.2 yards per carry.  Clement also picked up seven touchdowns along the way.

While many of his carries came toward the end of the game, Clement also provided yards in key situations.  In the Big Ten, he played in four games, scoring in three of them and breaking 100 yards, while scoring twice against Indiana on only 11 carries.  Furthermore, in the team's bowl game against South Carolina, Clement made the most of his one carry, scampering 32 yards, the longest carry of the day.

While not quite the same home run threat that Gordon is, Clement can provide a strong between-the-tackles punch to help fill the void left by White.  If Clement can continue on the high trajectory he set from his first day on campus, the Badgers running game won't skip a beat from their record-setting year last year.

Clement is likely to see 200 or so carries and projecting 1,000 or more yards is not out of the question.  While the team will be seeing some stacked eight-man boxes until they show they can throw the ball, Clement's numbers could be depressed a bit; however, with a relatively soft Big Ten schedule, 1,000 yards and 10 or more touchdowns out of this sophomore seems not only realistic, but likely.

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Mark Wahlberg Shows off Custom Oregon Nike Air Jordans

Plenty of celebrities have shown off Oregon gear recently, and Oscar-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg is the latest to do so.

Marky Mark tweeted out a picture of these custom Oregon Ducks Nike Air Jordan IVs. The Jumpman logo on the sneakers has been replaced by the team's mascot.

[Twitter, h/t Oregon Live]

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Top 5 Issues Ohio State Football Needs to Address Before the 2014 Season

Many teams and fanbases would kill for a 24-game winning streak and a BCS bowl appearance. Urban Meyer and company led the most efficient offense in school history last season, featuring a deadly rushing attack that carved up the Big Ten. The defense was disappointing at times but still managed to help the Buckeyes win 12 games for the second straight year. Unfortunately, winning 12 games wasn't the only thing on that team's to-do list.

It's no secret that Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes followed their historic 24-0 start with two very disappointing losses. Heading into the Big Ten championship game, Ohio State was primed for its first national championship game since 2007 but simply couldn't keep up with the Spartans of Michigan State, losing 34-24.

In the Orange bowl, the Buckeyes were again torched on defense and fell to Clemson in a thrilling shootout, 40-35. These last two games really magnified some of the areas of weakness at Ohio State and left plenty of room for improvement in 2014.

Obviously, with new faces on the defensive coaching staff, necessary changes will be made to the Buckeyes back seven. The schematic approach of new defensive coordinator Chris Ash will be much more aggressive, which should be music to Buckeye Nation's ears.

However, this isn't the same exact team from last year. The Buckeyes will also be asked to replace some key contributors from last year's team, including two first-round picks in this year's NFL draft.

 

 

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5 Top-Performing Quarterback Recruits from 2014 Oakland Elite 11 Regional

The Elite 11 quarterback camp set up shop in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, and over 50 of the nation's most promising quarterbacks turned out to put their skills on display. 

Some were hoping to impress enough to garner new college offers, while others are already comfortably weighing their options of elite programs. 

Bleacher Report was on hand to see which quarterbacks earned a coveted gold shirt and additionally an invite to the Elite 11 finals, as well as which other young athletes stood out in drills. 

Here's a look at the five quarterbacks who really rose to the occasion. 

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Natrez Patrick to Georgia: Bulldogs Land 4-Star LB Prospect

Natrez Patrick was recruited by many of the top programs in the nation before making the decision to play college football at Georgia. It's a major early addition to the 2015 class for the Bulldogs.

Gentry Estes of 247Sports passed along word of the edge-rusher's choice:

Patrick fits the mold of a modern-day pass-rusher. He's capable of playing either defensive end or outside linebacker with an impressive combination of size and athleticism. Listed at 6'3" and 220 pounds, he figures to bulk up even more during his collegiate career.

He was one of the most coveted pass-rushers in the 2015 class. The composite ratings from 247Sports list him as a 4-star prospect with an overall ranking of No. 69 in the nation. He was also ranked as the No. 7 weak-side defensive end available.

Normally, players of his caliber take more time before making a decision about where they want to play. It leaves room for more teams to become involved, especially if they perform at a high level during their senior season of high school.

But with several high-profile offers already on the table, Patrick opted to make his decision earlier in the process. He explained to Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution why he chose to make the announcement at this point:

I definitely wanted to do it before the season started. I didn't want to think about it during my senior season of high school football. Because my season comes first, so I just wanted to get it out of the way.

Right now, Patrick's athletic ability certainly outshines his technique. That's the case for many young players, of course, especially those with as much upside as him. The early part of his collegiate career will be focused on learning and developing more pass-rushing moves.

Jamie Uyeyama of Son of a Coach provided further information about what fans can expect from the newly signed recruit over time:

I definitely like his potential to be someone who contributes as an edge rusher once he spends some time in a proper strength program and puts on enough weight to hold up. I think his ceiling is close to what Dee Ford was for Auburn if he refines his pass rush technique and gets stronger.

A lot can change over the course of a year. That said, for now it seems like Patrick is the type of player who will play more of a rotational role early in his career—a situational pass-rushing option who can make his presence felt on third down.

After a season of game experience and working on his technique in practice, he should be ready for a bigger role starting with his sophomore season. He should be the complete package by the time he's an upperclassman, assuming his steady ascent continues.

With his college choice made, Patrick can focus on accelerating that process with a strong senior season.

 

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Miami Football: Adjustments Top Incoming Freshmen Must Make

Headlined by 5-star Chad Thomas and a pair of 4-stars in Brad Kaaya and Kiy Hester, the second wave of true freshmen are set to arrive on the University of Miami campus.

As the young Hurricanes come to Coral Gables, Florida, however, they must start making adjustments to their respective games.

College football is obviously an elevated level of competition, and the athletes who owned opponents in high school can soon become the dominated.

And now, the Miami coaching staff is responsible for assisting incoming players while they transition into their familiar, yet new roles on a different team.

Note: According to Peter Ariz of CanesInSight, the trio will be joined by Tyre Brady, Marques Gayot, Malik Rosier, Demetrius Jackson, Courtel Jenkins, Nick Linder, Michael Wyche and Mike Smith.

 

Chad Thomas, Defensive End

Thomas excels at attacking around the edge, which is where he did most of his damage, accounting for 191 tackles and 17 sacks at Booker T. Washington High School.

However, Thomas must become a better inside rusher because he is easily neutralized where technique is essential.

"As of his commitment, Thomas is an athletic edge rusher who lacks the ability to work the inside of the line," said Dieter Kurtenbach of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "That's a correctable issue, but Thomas is unlikely to be an every-down DE until his game becomes more versatile."

The best way to make this improvement is learning proper hand usage on the line of scrimmage to manipulate the blockers.

During his freshman year at Miami, Thomas will likely be a one-trick pony. Sure, he may be darn good at his edge rushing, but adding inside moves to his arsenal will expedite his progression to an elite end.

 

Brad Kaaya, Quarterback

Handpicked by offensive coordinator James Coley, the California quarterback boasts excellent mechanics and displays superb power to all areas of the field.

Where Kaaya gets caught, however, is overlooking a crucial part of the throwing motion.

"Too often, he leaves his front foot planted in an inappropriate direction when following through with the back foot upon release," wrote Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue. "This limits potential velocity on throws and also affects accuracy."

While it would take some serious work, Kaaya has a legitimate (long shot) chance to overtake Kevin Olsen as the starter. Granted, head coach Al Golden recently told ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson that Ryan Williams is on track to return from an ACL injury during the regular season, which complicates things.

Unless Kaaya would start the entire season, the best-case scenario for him is to be available behind Olsen but never actually used in a 2014 game.

Refining his entire motion as a redshirt freshman will be beneficial to both Kaaya and the 'Canes in the near future.

 

Kiy Hester, Safety

One of the more unanticipated commits, Hester is a top addition to a Miami roster that will need safeties to replace Deon Bush and Rayshawn Jenkins after 2015.

Hester's awareness and pursuit are ridiculous. He absolutely flies to the football and has a penchant for making nasty hits. Additionally, Hester spent time as a receiver in high school, so his ball skills are decent.

The biggest adjustment Hester faces is to recognize when to break for the ball or make a play on the wideout. He is so good at the former that the latter can develop into a less appealing option, though it's often more important.

As the last line of defense, the No. 1 responsibility for a safety is to not get beat deep. Hester has the speed to recover if he misplays a ball, but chasing an opponent from behind is not the view the Hurricanes want their safeties to see.

That happened all too often in 2013, and Hester needs to be one of the defensive backs to change it.

 

Note: All recruit information courtesy of 247Sports.

Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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