NCAA Football

Remembering 10 Best Moments from BCS-Era SEC Media Days

Love it or hate it, it's nearly that time.

The unofficial kickoff to the college football season will take place next week when the SEC holds its annual Media Days at the Hyatt Regency Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama.

Over the years, the circus-like event has welcomed the crazy. From pimps to subpoenas to turkey insemination (yes, that was actually discussed), there's never a shortage of storylines coming from the Wynfrey during the mid-summer extravaganza.

What are the best Media Days moments from the last 16 years? Our picks are in this slideshow.

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Florida Football: 5 Players Who Must Shine in Fall Practices

Fall camp is right around the corner for the Florida Gators, and there are many players who need to take their game to another level in order to feel confident about the upcoming season. These next few practices are even more important than the spring considering the season is about a month away. It leaves very little room for error.

Either guys have improved and the season will be better than a year ago, or certain players will continue to struggle and Florida will enter another season was various question marks.

While quarterback is the most crucial position that needs an upgrade, there are a few other players who must impress throughout the fall.

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Wisconsin 2014 Quarterback Fall Practice Preview: Depth Chart and Analysis

With so many departures in the tight end and wide receiver ranks, one would think bringing a quarterback with 21 games of experience would give the newcomers some stability at that position.  Unfortunately for the Wisconsin football team, that is not the case as Joel Stave, who has started 19 games, has been woefully inconsistent and has forced a quarterback competition.

With six guys competing for snaps—Connor Senger, Thad Armstrong, DJ Gillins, Bart Houston, Stave and Tanner McEvoy—McEvoy and Stave walked out of spring ball as the two competitors for the starting job come August when the Badgers face off against LSU in Houston.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the projected depth chart at the quarterback position for the 2014 season.

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1 Trap Game for Every College Football Team in 2014

If every college football team had complete control over its schedule, you'd see a very distinct pattern of schools splitting up their road trips and ensuring quality opponents aren't lumped together in succession.

It would be kind of like how the SEC does it, where many of the top programs either have a bye week or a walkover nonconference opponent the week before a big game. But not every team has that kind of flexibility, especially when conference offices and television networks get their hands on the schedules and manipulate them in the interest of maximum drama and ratings.

As a result, many teams end up with at least one spot in their schedule that isn't ideal, and a lot of slates often feature a game or two that ends up becoming tougher than it should be. Those are commonly referred to as "trap" games.

Scheduled on a preferred date, at a specific time and without much schedule-driven conflict before or after, most of these games should be penciled in as Ws. But where's the fun in that?

After closely reading the 2014 schedules of each and every FBS team, we've found that one game they should be worried about more than any other. Scroll through to see who will be setting a trap for whom this fall.

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Meet Kirk Merritt, 2014 SPARQ National Champion

Kirk Merritt toed the line with 40 cone-bordered yards lying between him and a dream accomplishment. Surrounded by more than 100 of his premier peers, a star-studded coaching staff and national media, the Louisiana native delivered the most impressive sprint of his life.

By the time he slowed to a halt, the 5'11", 206-pound athlete was swarmed by fellow college prospects, as cameras broadcast the celebration on national television. Merritt capped off an incredible Tuesday with a SPARQ national championship at "The Opening," an elite invite-only camp held at Nike's world headquarters in Eugene, Oregon.

"It's a great feeling to get to this point and know all your hard work is paying off," he said.

The Destrehan High School standout emerged as the top athlete at a camp that includes future college and NFL stars. That accomplishment wasn't lost upon him in the immediate aftermath.

"This is the best of the best competing here," Merritt said. "To be able to perform like this and come out on top is an amazing feeling. It's incredible."

SPARQ testing takes several aspects of a player's skill set into account.

Prospects earn a final score based on their performance in four drills. Competitors take on a vertical leap, shuttle run, kneeling power ball toss and 40-yard dash.

The cumulative results of their efforts combine to create a total SPARQ rating.

Attendees at The Opening partook in each drill during a morning session. Those who registered a top-10 score advanced to the national finals later Tuesday, which were broadcast live on ESPNU.

Merritt entered the evening session as the top-ranked performer. A blistering 40-yard dash (4.43 seconds) helped set the tone early and earn him a spot in the finals.

"My 40-yard dash performance was huge,' he said. "My main focus while training for this was to improve that time. I ran a 4.60 at the New Orleans Nike camp and knew I'd need to improve on that, so I focused on getting faster for this competition and it paid off."

He nearly duplicated that success on his final burst of a busy day. Merritt capped of an impressive effort with a 4.46-second 40-yad dash, holding off a sensational group of contenders during the final stretch of action.

The uncommitted rising senior admitted he was looking over his shoulder at Virginia defensive end Josh Sweat. The 6'5", 240-pound defensive end challenged early and often dung SPARQ testing, including a 40-yard dash of just 4.46 seconds during morning tests.

Simply put, the athletic specimen validated every indication of stardom during his performance. Merritt would eventually earn top honors but knew it wouldn't be easy with a player like Sweat nipping at his heels.

"Josh is just a freak athlete," he said. "I knew I would be tough to beat him. He's the kind of athlete you never really see and I thought he was pretty amazing."

Sweat could've stolen the victory with a sub-4.5 in his final 40-yard dash but fell shy while dealing with a slight hip injury. Merritt reigned supreme among a national finalist group that also included Alabama cornerback commit Minkah Fitzpatrick and Oregon running back pledge Taj Griffin.

Rated third nationally among all-purpose backs, Merritt sees himself as a multi-dimensional offensive threat at the next level. His blend of versatility and sheer athleticism could combine to create a potent playmaker for with whichever program he chooses.

"I want to play receiver but that's not the only thing I'm trying to do on offense in college," Merritt said. "I'd like to do running back things and be able to help out the offense in different ways."

The 4-star prospect has quickly proven he's capable of contributing in a variety of facets and compares himself to former Florida star Percy Harvin. Several teams remain in the mix for his commitment.

Merritt mentioned Texas A&M, Auburn, Alabama, Oregon and LSU as programs that top his list of collegiate opportunities. Expect his recruitment to reach a frenzied stage following his rare performance among elite company Tuesday night.

 

Recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sprts unless otherwise noted.

All quotes obtained by B/R national recruiting columnist Tyler Donohue.

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Predicting Which CFB Coordinators Will Take Head Coaching Jobs After 2014 Season

This time of year, the carousel is still.

It sits in a forgotten corner of the college football world, sitting silent and gathering dust as the summer heat beats down on it.

This, of course, is a metaphorical carousel. In summer, it is quiet, but wait until October or November.

Once teams lose a few games and the heat cranks up on embattled coaches, it springs to life, fueled by rumors and innuendo.

By December, the college football coaching carousel will be in full swing, slinging participants off and grabbing new riders with every passing day.

We’ll be talking about which coaches will be moving where and who’ll replace the candidates who are moving on or moving out.

Sitting head coaches will be part of the carousel, but so will be the nation’s top coordinators. Their names will be bandied about with breathless abandon until the final major coaching job is filled.

It’s only July, but here’s a shot at predicting which college football coordinators will take head coaching jobs after the 2014 season or, for that matter, hang around for another year.

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Insider Buzz: 5-Star DE Keisean Lucier-South to Take Official to Notre Dame

The top athletes are out in Oregon at The Opening to prove they are the best of the best. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have some big-time targets who have shown serious interest in bringing their talents to South Bend. If the Fighting Irish could land these recruits, then it would be a huge win for Brian Kelly and his coaching staff. Do you think these monsters will head to South Bend? 

Watch Bleacher Report’s College Football Analyst Michael Felder break down the latest on these studs out at The Opening.

 

Ranking from 247Sports Composite

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Video: Watch Georgia 5-Star Terry Godwin Explode at the Opening

The top athletes are out in Oregon at The Opening to prove that they are the best of the best. The Georgia Bulldogs have a big-time commit out in Beaverton showing that he can be a huge asset at the next level. How well do you think this stud will do in Athens?

Watch Bleacher Report’s College Football Analyst Michael Felder discuss the latest on this Bulldog commit out at The Opening.

 

Rankings from 247Sports composite.

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Biggest Freaks from The Opening SPARQ Combine, Training Camp

The Opening SPARQ combine and training camp has come to an end in Oregon. These 2015 recruits make up the top athletes in the country. Five of these studs stood out from the rest as the biggest freaks of the combine and training camp. Who do you think is the No. 1 freak athlete of the 2015 class?

Watch Bleacher Report's college football analyst Michael Felder break down why these five monsters made the cut.

Rankings from 247Sports Composite.

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Hidden Gem Ohio State Commit Who Burst on the Scene at the Opening

The top athletes are out in Oregon at The Opening to prove that they are the best of the best. The Ohio State Buckeyes have a hidden gem commit out in Beaverton showing that he can be a huge asset at the next level. How well do you think this stud will do in Columbus?

Watch Bleacher Report’s College Football Analyst Michael Felder discuss the latest on this Buckeye commit out at The Opening.

 

Rankings from 247Sports Composite.

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The Opening 2014: Top 10 40-Yard Dash Times from the Sparq National Championship

The SPARQ National Championship, a scaled-down scouting combine for the best high school prospects in the country, took place during Nike's The Opening on Tuesday, and the speed of the 2015 class did not disappoint.

Only the 10 players with the highest total scores in the prelims advanced the nationally televised final round, but counting what happened in the afternoon session, seven players ran a sub-4.4 in the 40-yard dash…and one of those players was a linebacker!

The fastest runner on the day clocked in with a time of 4.30 seconds, which would have beaten Brandin Cooks for the second-fastest time at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine and been just behind Dri Archer.

Here's a quick look at the full top 10.

 

10. DE Josh Sweat (Uncommitted), 4.46 seconds*

You don't get compared to Jadeveon Clowney for nothing.

Josh Sweat made that plain and clear during his 40-yard dash on Tuesday, clocking in at 4.46 seconds—an obscene time for a lineman.

Sweat (6'5", 237 lbs) doesn't have the same thick build as Clowney (6'5", 266 lbs), but it does bear mentioning that Clowney's 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine—a score people rightfully went crazy over—was seven-tenths of a second slower (4.53) than that of Sweat.

Sweat is the No. 2 overall prospect and No. 1 defensive end in the country, and a performance such as this, which included a second place finish in SPARQ rating, will do nothing to threaten that standing.

In-state Virginia Tech is the slight favorite to land his services, per the 247Sports Crystal Ball, with Florida State, Ohio State and Tennessee all garnering at least 10 percent of the votes as well.

*Finished 2nd in SPARQ National Championship

 

9. WR Kirk Merritt (Uncommitted), 4.43 seconds*

Kirk Merritt finished ninth in the battle but first in the war, riding his solid 40-yard dash score and the rest of his dominant measurables to a first-place finish in the SPARQ national championship:

Winning this hardware will surely help the recruiting status of Merritt, a 4-star prospect and the No. 145 overall player in the nation. At 5'11", he projects as a hybrid between an all-purpose back and a receiver, and he showed on Tuesday that he has enough speed to play both.

Last year's SPARQ national champion, wide receiver Speedy Noil, finished the cycle as the No. 8 overall prospect. Like Merritt, he stood 5'11" and played his high school ball in Louisiana, but Noil spurned in-state LSU to play for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M.

Merritt's 247Sports Crystal Ball currently has him as a 50-50 split between…well…LSU and Texas A&M. Deja vu, perhaps?

*Finished 1st in SPARQ National Championship

 

8. WR Derrick Dillon (Florida), 4.41 seconds

Derrick Dillon is lauded for his versatility—according to 247Sports, he can play quarterback and cornerback along with wide receiver—and will bring rarified speed to whatever position holds his future.

Florida could use such a skill at a number of different spots.

At 5'11", 180 pounds, Dillon is roughly the same height as Duke QB Anthony Boone (6'0"), who thrived under new Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper in 2013. Still, he is participating as a wide receiver at The Opening and projects most realistically to that spot.

He is the No. 148 overall prospect in the country. 

 

7. LB Malik Jefferson (Uncommitted), 4.39 seconds*

Yes, you read that right.

Malik Jefferson is a linebacker. He is 6'2" and weighs 225 pounds. And he just posted a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash.

Which is ridiculous.

For context, the fastest linebacker at this year's NFL Scouting Combine was Tahj Jones, who clocked in at 4.48 seconds.

Jefferson's time would have shattered that, and it also would have placed fourth overall behind Trey Marshall, Tony Brown and Curtis Samuel—three lighter, shiftier, skill-position guys—among current college freshmen from The Opening in 2013.

Jefferson was already the No. 11 overall prospect and No. 1 outside linebacker in the country, and this score should only boost his ratings.

Texas A&M, Texas and Baylor are the three leaders to land him, per the 247Sports Crystal Ball, although Alabama is also in pursuit.

*Finished 6th in SPARQ National Championship

 

6. DB Stephen Johnson (UCLA), 4.37 seconds

Like the No. 1 player on this list, Stephen Johnson jam-packed his day with a stellar run in the afternoon and a commitment in the evening. 

Mike Farrell of Rivals announced that he would be the newest member of the UCLA Bruins. He posted a sizzling time of 4.37 seconds during his 40-yard dash, validating the belief that he is one of the fastest prospects in the 2016 class. Oregon, which was his second finalist before committing, must be kicking itself for letting him go.

Alas, Johnson will be playing in Westwood next season, and the Bruins will be happy to have him. He is only the No. 460 overall prospect in the country, but after showing well on Tuesday, there's a chance that might go up as the recruiting services update their rankings.

His speed and versatility are big assets.

 

5. WR George Campbell (Uncommitted), 4.36 seconds

George Campbell did not disappoint in his encore.

After participating in The Opening as a junior in 2013 and finishing with the fourth-lowest time in the 40-yard dash (4.36), he validated that speed—as if he really needed to—with a 4.36 Tuesday afternoon.

Here, take a look:

Campbell is the No. 25 overall prospect and No. 2 receiver in the country. He is 6'3" and knows how to put his speed to good use.

He committed to Michigan around this time last summer but pulled out of the agreement in December. Now, the Florida native is looking primarily at Clemson and his home-state Gators as potential schools.

Whoever lands him will have gotten a good one.

 

4. DB Mark Fields (South Carolina), 4.33 seconds

Mark Fields (not the Ford CEO) gave South Carolina fans something to get excited about with his showing on Tuesday, outrunning defenders in pursuit drills and clocking a 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds.

At 5'11", Fields has the size to defend taller receivers—if he has to—at the next level, but he will probably be a bigger asset against downfield burners. He proved he has the speed to stick with anyone.

subjective rankings actually had him a little higher than the composite did, ranking him No. 83 overall and No. 7 among cornerbacks.

He'll provide some much-needed secondary depth in Columbia.

 

3. WR C.J. Sanders (Notre Dame), 4.32 seconds*

Technically, C.J. Sanders is one of the less-heralded players at  The Opening—or at least he is for now. He is only a 3-star prospect and the No. 364 recruit in the country, there are questions about his height (5'9") and he is barely ranked among the top 50 wide receivers.

But that should start to change after the blazing 4.32 Sanders posted in the 40-yard dash Tuesday afternoon—a time that was nearly three-tenths of a second better than the 4.57 he used to qualify.

The result of Sanders' dash was a SPARQ score that pumped up from 121.98 to 139.26, which was enough to get him into the overall top 10.

He might not be a 3-star prospect for long.

*Finished 8th in SPARQ National Championship

 

2. RB Taj Griffin (Oregon), 4.31 seconds*

Sometimes, the rich get richer.

Or I guess, in this case, the fast get faster.

Oregon commit Taj Griffin looked great during his 40-yard dash on Tuesday, clocking in with a time of 4.31 seconds—a full-second improvement on his previous 4.41.

Griffin is 5'10", 175 pounds and current ranks as the No. 49 overall prospect and No. 1 all-purpose back in the country. The 247Sports subjective rankings already had him a little higher than the composite did, calling him the No. 28 player in the class.

There's a reason Mark Helfrich, Scott Frost and the rest of Oregon's staff reached all the way across the country into Georgia to land this kid. He could be a blur in the Ducks' unique, wide-open system.

*Finished 4th in SPARQ National Championship

 

1. RB Jordan Scarlett (Miami), 4.30 seconds

Jordan Scarlett had a big day on Tuesday, clocking in with the best 40-yard dash (4.30) of the event during the afternoon and announcing his decision to attend Miami during the evening.

Scarlett is the No. 97 overall prospect and No. 10 running back in the country, but even that is probably selling him short. At 5'10", 210 pounds, he has a unique blend of speed and power for a player.

Until recently, Scarlett was pledged to play at Florida Atlantic—of all places—where his former high school coach, Roger Harriott, will be the running backs coach next year. But he decommitted at the end of June before opening his recruitment and choosing the 'Canes.

With the addition of Scarlett, the four top rated players in Miami's 2015 class—a group that also includes Dexter Williams, Mark Walton and Jordan Cronkite—are capable of playing running back. Miami also landed a good ball-carrier in Joseph Yearby last cycle.

Whenever Duke Johnson leaves for the NFL, there will be no shortage of capable in-house replacements on the roster.

 

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information refers to the 247Sports composite rankings. All 40 times courtesy of StudentSports.com. 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

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Texas' 5-Star Target Malik Jefferson Loves Charlie Strong and New Staff

The top recruits in the country are out in Oregon for The Opening. The Texas Longhorns have some huge targets who are putting on a show in Beaverton. If the Longhorns can reel in these monster recruits, it will be huge for new head coach Charlie Strong.

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder and 247Sports' Ryan Bartow are out in Oregon with the latest on the Longhorns' targets. Do you think Texas will land these studs?

Watch the video and let us know.

Rankings from 247Sports Composite

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Sam Bruce Commits to Miami: What 4-Star WR Brings to 'Canes

Miami added another big commitment to its 2016 recruiting class Tuesday night, securing a pledge from speedy wide receiver Sam Bruce, who plays his high school ball at nearby St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Bruce announced his decision on the AutoNation Sports Report radio show on 560 WQAM, according to J.T. Wilcox of South Florida High School Sports—the co-host of the show where Bruce made his announcement.

"It made sense in a lot of areas," said Bruce. "Its close to home, so my family can come watch me play every game."

Bruce is a 4-star prospect on the 247Sports composite rankings, but he skews closer to a 5-star than he does to his technical designation. He checks in as the No. 48 overall player, No. 6 overall receiver in the country, and the No. 5 overall prospect in the state of Florida.

Standing at only 5'8" and weighing just 160 pounds, Bruce projects logically to the slot at the next level. He has neither the size nor the physical doggedness (a la NFL superstar Steve Smith) to line up on the outside consistently.

But in the slot, Bruce is a menace. He is a Tavon Austin-like burner with speed and agility to spare. Let him free in space, and you're flirting with disaster. He can find even the smallest pocket in the defense, and he can turn that pocket into six points from anywhere.

Oh, and he's also the nephew of former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce—a lock for the NFL Hall of Fame if there ever was one.

No wonder he makes defenders look so silly:

As recently as June 26, Bruce was considered a near-lock to sign with Florida State, which had 100 percent of the predictions on his 247Sports Crystal Ball. After an unofficial visit to Miami, however, the tide began to turn, and his recruitment become more of a coin flip.

Now he has officially declared his intentions to play for the 'Canes, which is great news for Al Golden's program. Miami's 2016 class also includes 4-star receiver Dionte Mullins from Guliver Prep, the No. 85 overall prospect on the 247Sports composite rankings. Together, he and Bruce should combine to form a dangerous pair.

Bruce also gives the Hurricanes a valuable recruiter in the South Florida area for the rest of this cycle. His teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas, 2015 running back Jordan Scarlett, committed to Miami during Nike's "The Opening" Tuesday evening, and Bruce thinks a Fort Lauderdale exodus to Coral Gables could mean big things.

Per Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post:

Bruce plays the same relative position as incoming freshman Braxton Berrios, who, despite being only a 3-star recruit on the composite rankings, is one of the most explosive players in the incoming class.

If Berrios does well in his first two years with the Hurricanes, it means Bruce will have a solid, experienced mentor at the college level. If Berrios doesn't do so well in his first two seasons, it means Bruce will serve as an insurance option and have a chance to play right away.

At the very least, this signing gives Miami a buffer at the slot receiver. Idealistically, it gives Miami so much more than that. Either way, the addition of Bruce pumped the 'Canes up to No. 1 in the country on the 247Sports team rankings for 2016. 

It's early, sure, but doesn't that have a nice ring to it?

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter @BLeighDAT

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Nebraska Football: 5 Freshmen Who Must Shine in Fall Practice

Nebraska football fans are anxiously awaiting the beginning of fall practice where they will start to see which freshmen may shine. While the established stars are known, fall practice is the first real opportunity for the freshmen on the roster to claim a spot on the field.

So which freshmen will shine? Who will be the new stars for Nebraska? Here are five candidates.

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10 2015 College Football Recruits Who Could Start This Season

Almost all recruits come into college thinking they're ready to start. However, only some do, and even fewer are really ready.

Within the 2015 class, several prospects appear physically prepared to start or contribute in a key role—if they were eligible this season. These recruits not only have the size or strength to help right now, but they're also smart enough to figure out the nuances of the college game.

A 5-star quarterback simply has "it," while a pair of 5-star defensive tackles are men among boys at the high school level. Also, a trio of defensive backs have what it takes to hold their own versus college receivers right now.

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Insider Buzz: USC or UCLA, Who Leads for Snoop Dogg's 4-Star Son?

The top recruits in the 2015 class have made their way out to Oregon for The Opening. These potential stars are battling against each other to prove they are elite players. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder and 247Sports' Ryan Bartow are out in Oregon at The Opening with the inside scoop on some of the top uncommitted recruits. Where do you think these big-time athletes will land?

Watch the video and let us know.

 

Rankings from 247Sports Composite

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Monster CB Isaiah Langley Officially Commits to USC Trojans

Isaiah Langley is the No. 7 CB in the 2015 class, according to 247Sports. This California native has chosen to keep his talents in-state and play football for the USC Trojans at the next level...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Monster CB Isaiah Langley Officially Commits to USC Trojans

Isaiah Langley is the No. 7 CB in the 2015 class, according to 247Sports. This California native has chosen to keep his talents in-state and play football for the USC Trojans at the next level. This is a huge commit for Steve Sarkisian and his coaching staff that will add even more talent to the secondary.

College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down exactly what Langley means for the Trojans. How well do you think he will do at the next level?

Check out the video and let us know.

 

Rankings from 247Sports Composite

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital

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Isaiah Langley to USC: Trojans Land 4-Star CB Prospect

After months of speculation, 4-star cornerback Isaiah Langley has committed to USC to play his college football for the Trojans as part of the 2015 class.

Justin Hopkins of 247 Sports broke the news about the Foothill High School (Pleasanton, California) player's decision:

Langley announced his decision to join the Trojans over several other notable programs in the PAC-12. He received offers from teams like California, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon and Oregon State, but ultimately decided his skill set fit with USC.

Hopkins noted early on in the process that Langley was a special prospect:

 

Though he won't be ready for this coming season as part of the 2015 haul, Langley might just be an early enrollee with USC. He referenced his decision to potentially graduate early from Foothill, via Trenise Ferreira of Bleacher Report.

"I’m looking to graduate early in January," he said. "So I have to take a couple college courses here [at Chabot College in Hayward, Calif.] and just get that knocked out early."

Ranked as the No. 7 cornerback and No. 86 overall prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings, Langley possesses great footwork and speed that could end up projecting him as a wide receiver in college. Blair Angulo of ESPN.com provides a look at the athlete's skill set:

At 5'11", 170 pounds, Langley has the frame of a corner. But with the rise of undersized receivers at both the college and NFL level, he might just wind up as another great receiver in the Trojans system.

Earlier in the recruiting process, Rivals Camp also passed along video of the potential corner jumping a route:

Langley clearly has the athleticism and hands to break out at either position with the Trojans. What the future holds will be interesting to watch as he vies for a starting role during his freshman campaign, but early indications are he'll be used on defense.

For a program on the rise in the PAC-12, Langley will make an instant impact with his skills at either position. If he does enroll early and get a chance to compete during the spring, he has a chance to get a leg up on every other high school player coming in.

Regardless of where he plays during his freshman season, expect Langley to make a splash in the USC recruiting class.

 

Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter:

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Stephen Johnson to UCLA: Bruins Land 3-Star ATH Prospect

Stephen Johnson is heading to UCLA after the Bruins coaching staff was able to win a pretty crowded battle for the athlete's signature.

Mike Farrell of Rivals provided word of Johnson's college choice:

Johnson is rated as a 3-star prospect with an overall ranking just inside the top 500 for the class of 2015, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. The outlet listed more than a dozen programs that offered him a scholarship, including several BCS schools.

Unsurprisingly, he wasn't a big fan of his rating:

Based purely on his raw tools, Johnson is an outstanding athlete with plenty of speed and a very quick first step. 247Sports' Pac-12 coverage page passed along some of his athletic testing numbers from January:

The reason he didn't receive more widespread acclaim is the fact he doesn't have a defined position. He shone as a quarterback in high school at San Leandro in California but projects more as a wide receiver or cornerback moving forward.  

He has the talent to make the transition to either of those positions, but it's going to take some time for him to complete the move. That, more than his dynamic skill set, is the reason his star rating is average and he didn't receive even more high-profile offers.

In turn, fans shouldn't expect a major impact from him right away. It wouldn't be a surprise if his biggest contributions early on come as part of the special teams units, where he can utilize that speed and agility to make plays while he becomes more comfortable at his new position.

It will be interesting to see if he continues to do at least some quarterback work as well. He doesn't have prototypical size (5'11", 180 pounds), which is why he's been listed as an athlete, but he did show enough skill to serve as an emergency option so the team doesn't have to burn a redshirt at some point in the future.

When you put it all together, Johnson is a very intriguing prospect because of the raw ability. Whether it all pans out over the next handful of years is very much a mystery, but getting him to commit now is a wise early addition.

All told, Johnson is far from a sure thing, but he sounds determined to outplay that 3-star label, and he certainly possesses the natural talent to make it happen.

 

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