NCAA Football

Miami Football: Who Is Replacing Every Former Hurricane Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

Three former Miami Hurricanes were selected in the 2014 NFL draft, and Al Golden's team must replace these players next season.

Though the 'Canes lost nine starters in all, only a trio—Brandon Linder, Pat O'Donnell and Seantrel Henderson—heard their names called at Radio City Music Hall.

To the surprise of many, the Jacksonville Jaguars took offensive lineman Linder late in the third round.

On the final day, the Chicago Bears were in desperate need of a punter and decided O'Donnell was the best available specialist in the sixth round. Soon after, in the seventh, the Buffalo Bills snagged Henderson.

It may have been a disappointing draft for Miami, but that also means the Hurricanes kept any elite talent. Nevertheless, the current roster must take over for Linder, O'Donnell and Henderson.

 

Right Guard

Over the last two seasons, Linder started 22 of the Hurricanes' last 25 games at right guard, and he received playing time there all four years. 

Stepping in for Linder is Danny Isidora, a redshirt sophomore who was a member of the 2012 recruiting class along with starter left tackle Ereck Flowers.

Last season, Isidora impressed coaches during spring practice but suffered a broken foot in early August. The injury caused him to miss the first 10 games, and the Cypress Bay High School product made his collegiate debut during Miami's win over Virginia and played limited snaps against Pittsburgh.

But after Linder's graduation, Isidora will take the majority of snaps at right guard and feels physically prepared. He told Christopher Stock of 247Sports (subscription required), "My foot feels great, I don’t have any pain."

On the post-spring depth chart, sophomore Alex Gall and freshman Trevor Darling were listed as Isidora's backups.

 

Right Tackle

The roller-coaster ride that was Henderson has moved on to the NFL, and Taylor Gadbois is the heavy favorite to hold down the right side.

A redshirt sophomore like Isidora, Gadbois appeared in four games last season, seeing action against Florida Atlantic, Savannah State, South Florida and Virginia.

However, even after the minimal playing time, one member of the Miami coaching staff noticed he already looks like a solid starter.

Per David Lake of 247Sports (subscription required), offensive coordinator James Coley had this to say:

He is standing out [this spring]. He has solidified himself. We are saying that this is a real dude. He can be the guy. We are still in competition for that position, but he is doing the little things and putting in the extra work you need when you are trying to play fast.

And the lineman is looking forward to his chance. "I am just ready to take advantage of my opportunity this year," Gadbois said, per Lake. "When Seantrel left, I had an idea that it would be my time. I have been waiting for this opportunity and I am ready."

Kc McDermott was expected to challenge Gadbois, but the depth chart lists the true freshman as a reserve at left tackle. Redshirt freshman Sunny Odogwu is the second-stringer behind Gadbois.

 

Punter

Being a specialist is not a glamorous job. The punter stands 15 yards behind the long snapper, takes a couple steps and simply swings his leg through a ball. Of course, a proper leg swing is much more difficult than many appreciate.

O'Donnell averaged 47.1 yards per attempt, shattering a program record previously held by current Atlanta Falcons punter and ex-'Cane Matt Bosher.

Consequently, O'Donnell's successor is chasing a near-unreachable bar. According to InsideTheU (subscription required), Miami head coach Al Golden wants his punters to forget about that mark.

"You can forget about trying to replace [Pat]," Golden said. "Just get someone that can do a great job and put the ball where you want it, but don't worry about trying to be Pat. He was faster than half the d— running backs at the combine."

During spring practice, returning kicker Matt Goudis and senior Ricky Carroll battled to succeed O'Donnell, but another player will join the competition. Justin Vogel is transferring from Florida and will be arriving sometime this summer. As noted by Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post, Vogel is immediately eligible because he is a walk-on.

Right now, Goudis and Carroll are listed as co-starters, but Goudis is the early popular choice to assume the punting responsibilities.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

7 Recruits Who Could Join 4-Star RB Dexter Williams at Miami

Dexter Williams is a talented 4-star running back who committed to Miami in April. At 6'0" and 192 pounds, the Florida native can do it all. 

Williams has a great combination of speed and power, and he has the quickness to slash through holes from behind the line of scrimmage. His strength allows him to gain yards after contact, plus Williams can skate to the end zone.

Williams is the best player in Miami's class, and he is certainly a player who will attract other talented recruits to join him in Coral Gables.

 

All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings.Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Begin Slideshow

Georgia Football: Breaking Down Where Todd Gurley Landed in the 2015 Big Boards

The 2014 NFL draft has come to an end, and the Georgia Bulldogs only had two players selected, which should come to nobody’s surprise. Quarterback Aaron Murray was taken in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs, while tight end Arthur Lynch was chosen eight picks prior by the Miami Dolphins.

Next year should be a different story for the Bulldogs because there will be some talented players that will be draft eligible. But the leader of the pack has to be one of the best running backs in the country, Todd Gurley.

After battling an ankle injury, Gurley should be ready to have a big year and help lead the Bulldogs to a third SEC title game in four years. But even he doesn’t have a great year, many experts believe he’s the best running back prospect in next year’s draft class.

Walter Football is one of the more popular mock draft sites and they have Gurley being drafted 10th overall by the Miami Dolphins.  John Norris of Rotoworld also has Gurley being drafted by the Dolphins in the first round, but it will be 13th overall instead of 10th. Norris said that Gurley will be the first running back to be taken next year, and the running back class will be very deep.

@JoshNorris I cover Todd Gurley, he's a special back. He will be a top 10 pick, no doubt. Power/speed combo rare.

— Robbie Rosenhaus (@robbierosenhaus) May 11, 2014

So here’s why Todd Gurley is being considered as a first-round pick. Gurley has a true combination of speed and power. He’s not the fastest running back in college football, and he won’t be the fastest running back when he gets to the NFL, but he has enough speed to score from anywhere on the field.

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson told Chase Goodbread of NFL.com back in December that Gurley has all the tools to be a great back in the NFL. Johnson went on to say Gurley’s big, physical and can catch the ball out of the backfield.

But the NFL is changing when it comes to viewing running backs. In fact, the first running back that was taken in this year’s draft was Bishop Sankey in the second round.

But next year’s class should be deeper than it has in the last couple of years, and Gurley will be leading the way. If Gurley is taken in the first round, that means he will most likely be the featured back for the team and will have to carry the load for the next five to seven years.

That’s asking a lot for a modern-day pro running back, but Gurley should have no issues adjusting to that because despite the depth and the talent at the running back position in Athens, Gurley is still and will always be the No. 1 back.

And even if Gurley decides to stay for his senior season, he will probably be the No. 1 running back prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft. CBS Sports agrees with that sentiment as it has Gurley as the No. 1 running back prospect for the draft that’s two years away.

So make no mistake about it, Gurley will be drafted and will be drafted very high. The only question is, will he leave Athens after the 2014 season, or will he stay for one more year?

No matter what he does, he has a very good chance of wearing a yellow jacket in Canton, Ohio when his football career is all said and done.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Most Underrated Recruiters in College Football Today

Today, head coaches such as Alabama's Nick Saban, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and Ohio State's Urban Meyer are the best recruiters in college football. Penn State head coach James Franklin has even shown this spring he will be a dominant recruiter in Happy Valley.

While those coaches deserve the praise they constantly receive as recruiters, others have gotten overlooked. A coach in the ACC doesn't frequently sign elite prospects, but he is a tireless recruiter who gets solid football players to join his program.

A pair of Pac-12 coaches in the same state are underrated recruiters, plus the Big 12 has a coach or two on this list.

 

Begin Slideshow

Michigan Football: Who Is Replacing Every Ex-Wolverine Taken in 2014 NFL Draft?

Taylor Lewan was the first former Michigan player taken in the 2014 NFL Draft—no big surprise there. The former All-American Wolverines left tackle is 6’7” and 309 pounds of mean meant for Sunday consumption.

Needless to say, he’ll probably have a fine career with the Tennessee Titans, who used the No. 11 overall pick to snag one of the Maize and Blue’s greatest blind-siders.

There wasn’t really a question about Michael Schofield's draft ability—it was more of a question of when he'd be taken. A projected late-rounder, the 6’7,” 301-pound right tackle was expected to go in the fifth, sixth or possibly even seventh.

But he didn’t; he was selected in the third, No. 95 overall, by the Denver Broncos, who are looking to add depth and skill to their shifting offensive line.

Perhaps the “perfect” pick in regards to skill set and style, Jeremy Gallon was taken off the board in the seventh round by the New England Patriots, who are led by former Wolverines quarterback Tom Brady.

The Pats have had great success with undersized underdogs. And at 5’8” and 185 pounds, Gallon is a small target who can provide large, and familiar, rewards for The Hoodie and Tom Terrific.

A speedster with glue-trap hands, he’ll be difficult to replace as Team 135 moves toward fall.

So will Lewan and Schofield, who were also part of Team 134’s senior backbone in 2013.

 

Plug in for Lewan?

Left tackle is a big deal, especially in Ann Arbor. It takes a true football player—in every sense of the word—to handle the position for Brady Hoke, who’ll undoubtedly reference Lewan’s play for years to come.

And why not? Lewan set the current bar. Now it’s up to players such as Erik Magnuson, a 6'6," 295-pound sophomore, and Mason Cole, a 6'5," 284-pound frosh, to step in and give Lewan-esque protection to their quarterback and running back.

Magnuson is nursing a right shoulder injury and missed spring ball. Joey Burzynski, a senior, along with David Dawson, who redshirted in 2013, could be options too. For the entire roster, visit TheWolverine.com.

As of now, Michigan's O-line is questionable. The level of talent isn't, but the level of consistency, and lack of it, most certainly remains heavy in discussion. Hoke and Darrell Funk have recruited 4- and 5-star guys for three years. It's about time for one of them to take center stage (or left tackle) and produce. 

Note: The LT/RT candidates are essentially interchangeable at the moment. A clearer picture of who's going where will be apparent this summer. 

 

So Long, Schofield

Now with a year behind him, Logan Tuley-Tillman could be among favorites to win the right tackle spot. He’s a natural left tackle, but at 6’7” and 290 pounds, he’s too big to ignore.

Plus he was one of the best O-line recruits of 2013, so he has that working for him.

At 6'6" and 319 pounds, Ben Braden is another who's "too big to ignore." This guy doesn't miss many meals, and the Wolverines need a big-bodied people-mover in the trenches. Braden's of that caliber. In 2013, he got his feet wet while lugging reps in the middle of the line. 

He should benefit from that experience in 2014 and emerge as a true contender for Schofield's old job. 

 

Going to Miss Gallon

Excitement-wise, Gallon is almost irreplaceable. He wasn't Denard Robinson, but he gave Team 134 that special feeling of "what's going to happen next?" each time he touched the ball this past season.

With a record 369 yards against Indiana, the ex-slot man caught his way into the record books and into the hearts of fans. 

If there was ever a player who left it all on the field, it was Gallon, who wasn't supposed to get drafted, per CBS

Freddy Canteen, a 6'1," 170-pound frosh, seems like the logical successor; and after a dynamic spring game, he's earned that distinction. Freddy Footwork, as he'll soon be dubbed if he hasn't been already, arrived in Ann Arbor as a modestly rated 3-star recruit, per 247Sports.

It seems as if the scouts may have missed on that one. But that's OK. Michigan's coaching staff, particularly Hoke and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, probably doesn't mind having a "so-so" prospect.

Oh, those star rankings. What do they know anyway?! 

Canteen's the guy until someone beats him. And as of right now, there doesn't appear to be many ready for that challenge. However, once healthy, expect Drake Harris, a 6'4" 190-pound frosh, to make things interesting. 

 

UDFA

Well, the headline says "drafted," but here's a quick mention of other former Wolverines who are getting pro looks. For more info, check out Josh Henschke's post on Maize 'n Brew, which tracks the UDFA crowd. 

Thomas Gordon (S): Signed contract with New York Giants

Jibreel Black (DL): Mini-camp invite, Pittsburgh Steelers, per the Detroit Free Press' Mark Snyder

Cam Gordon (LB): Unspecified invite, New England Patriots

Fitz Toussaint (RB): Tryout, Baltimore Ravens, per MLive.com's Nick Baumgardner (via Henschke)

Quinton Washington (DT): Tryout, Oakland Raiders

Willie Henry and Ondre Pipkins are in line to take over for Washington. Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith are ready to pick up Toussaint's role. Linebacker is deep for Michigan, so no real concern there. Black's departure impacts the D-line, but it doesn't cripple it. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Fan Shows off Custom Golden Dome Groomsman Cake

With wedding season now underway, brides and grooms are getting pretty creative with their cakes, and this is one of the more interesting ones.

A Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan decided to have his groom's cake in the shape of a golden football helmet to show off his college football allegiance.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football: Who Is Replacing Every Former Tider Taken in 2014 NFL Draft?

With eight former Alabama stars finding new homes in the NFL over the weekend, the 2014 NFL draft once again served as a showcase for Nick Saban’s program and its ability to develop talent.

Its become an annual challenge for Saban and his staff to reload the roster quickly in an effort to replace NFL-bound stars every season.

On offense, replacing star quarterback AJ McCarron and left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio take precedent. On the other side of the ball, sizable voids to fill include those left by linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Which players will be stepping into the positions vacated by former Tide stars taken in the draft?

Begin Slideshow

Texas A&M Football: Who Is Replacing Every Aggie Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

The 2014 NFL Draft is complete and three members of the Texas A&M football team heard their name called. With three Aggies drafted in the first round there are going to be significant holes to fill on the 2014 team. 

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have recruited well since arriving in Aggieland in 2012. The have brought in consecutive classes ranked in the top 10 in the nation by 247sports.com. 

In 2014 Aggie fans will start to see some of the fruit of that labor as the team will be as deep as any time in recent memory. The talent, especially on the defensive line, will be as good as any Aggie team in 20 years. 

The Aggies will need to replace the three players who left in the draft, but Sumlin has been accounting for those losses in his recruiting. The Aggies have the talent on campus to step in for the departed players without missing a beat on the field. 

Johnny Manziel was a special player and you cannot replace what he brought with just one person. For this reason there will be more than one player who will be used to replace Manziel's production on the field. 

This is a look at the players who will replace Manziel, Mike Evans and Jake Matthews. 

Begin Slideshow

Texas Football Hitting Rock Bottom with No Longhorns Chosen in 2014 NFL Draft?

Texas hasn't been a championship-caliber program for the last four years, but at least NFL talent has come through Austin. 

Not in 2014. 

As tweeted by Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and noted by other media outlets, zero Texas players were taken in this past weekend's NFL draft. The last time that happened? 1937.

That 76-year streak was the draft's longest, according to Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News

Meanwhile, Baylor, which won its first Big 12 championship in football this past season, led the conference with five players drafted. (Granted, all players were drafted in the final day, but were drafted nonetheless.) 

Does first-year Texas head coach Charlie Strong have a lot of work ahead? Of course. He basically said as much when he told fans last month that there would be no championship for the Longhorns in 2014-15. 

Even at a place like Texas, rebounds don't always happen overnight. Couple that with other schools undoubtedly using Texas' draft "absence" against it in recruiting, and Strong's job of elevating the program back to an elite level just got a bit harder.

Put simply, the Longhorns don't have a lot of momentum at the moment. 

Strong can get it back, of course. He had three Louisville players—safety Calvin Pryor, defensive end Marcus Smith and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater—taken in the first round of the draft. That's something Strong can point to. 

However, there's a distinct difference between getting recruited in college and getting drafted in the NFL. In college, the recruiting "star system" may be an inexact science, but there's some correlation between it and fielding a championship-caliber team. The same can't be said for the NFL.

Pro organizations want guys who grade out the highest. Period. What recruiting ranking, statistics or accolades a player had in college hardly matters. 

Former Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack was drafted fifth overall on Thursday by the Oakland Raiders (and probably could have gone higher). Mack was a 2-star recruit out of high school with no major offers. He wore No. 46 in college because it reflected his rating on EA Sports' NCAA Football video game franchise. 

Former Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles, another player generally overlooked by bigger programs, was taken two spots ahead of Mack by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bortles probably has the most work to do of any of the big-name quarterbacks who were drafted. But, because he's 6'5" and 230 pounds with a great skill set, he was the first quarterback off the board. 

Also consider SMU and former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who was selected in the sixth round of the draft by the St. Louis Rams. Gilbert, who threw waves of interceptions with the Longhorns and was literally booed out of Austin, turned things around with the Mustangs. 

Yes, Gilbert was a former 5-star recruit, but how many fans would say Gilbert played like a 5-star recruit for most of his college career? He was drafted late because of his potential. 

Or, consider former Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, whose whole college career could be summarized with the phrase "We’ve got to get the ball in his hands more." But Goodwin has world-class speed and was drafted in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Buffalo Bills. 

The examples could go on and on. In theory, Texas could recruit entire classes of 4- and 5-star players and compete for championships—and none could get drafted. That's quite unlikely to happen, of course, but recruiting and drafting are viewed through two different lenses.

Longhorns defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, an All-American and Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, was a force for the Horns in 2013. He went to the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. Jeffcoat was a 5-star member of the 2010 class, which was second nationally. 

This may feel like rock bottom for Texas fans. And, yes, it's not a flattering look. However, the number of players drafted during any given year doesn't dictate, by itself, how successful a program is. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Jameis Winston's Scouting Report and Outlook for 2015 NFL Draft

This year's NFL draft is finally history. After all the mock drafts and media frenzy, the picks are finally locked into place. For teams that didn't find their preferred quarterback in 2014, they may have to look no further than 12 months down the road when Florida State's Jameis Winston is likely to take his chances at professional stardom.

Winston led the NCAA in passing yards per attempt (10.6) and passing efficiency rating (184.8) in 2013, according to Sports-reference.com. He went undefeated in his first year as a starter, won the BCS National Championship, the Heisman trophy, and he has even found time to play baseball for Florida State now that the season is over. He's also highly regarded for his leadership skills and intangibles, as this video demonstrates.

Despite his weekly heroics, Winston may not even be the top quarterback in the 2015 NFL draft. That honor could belong to Oregon's Marcus Mariota. According to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, one NFL scout would have taken Mariota over Johnny Manziel had he entered this year's draft. Via Thamel:

"I'd take him over [Johnny] Manziel. He's more accurate. He's bigger and I think he's faster, not as elusive, but more durable. A lot of upside there," said the NFL scout.

Mariota has an extra year of starting experience under his belt and his numbers are impressive, but they still fell short of Winston's in 2013.

One area where Mariota does outpace Winston is running the football. Mariota racked up 775 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. Winston managed just 215 yards and four touchdowns on a 2.5 yards per carry average. Mariota may be a more effective runner, but Winston still has the mobility to move around in the pocket and buy time for his throws.

Unlike Mariota, Winston benefits from running a hybrid offense that contains elements of both spread and traditional offensive systems. Mariota will have to convince scouts that his numbers aren't the result of the unique, high-octane spread offense he runs at Oregon.

Winston's numbers aren't purely the result of a high volume passing attack that leaves quarterbacks ill-prepared for NFL schemes. In this way, Winston is unlikely to suffer the same fate as prolific college passers who played in gimmick offenses like Colt Brennan or Vince Young.

In fact, EJ Manuel, Winston's predecessor at Florida State, once stated the Buffalo Bills' offense is less complex than Florida State's. From a May 2013 interview with Sirius XM Radio, via ESPN.com's news services:

"I've done great. The learning curve for me is a lot shorter simply because of what I had at Florida State. [The Seminoles' offense is] more complex and a little bit harder to catch on and learn. This offense is very simple. I've done a great job with it."

This bodes well for Winston, who is working in a similar system under head coach Jimbo Fisher. In fact, Manuel did much more running than Winston in spread-option packages, which means Winston has likely spent more time working on pass plays that translate better to the NFL.

Of course, Winston may not even enter the 2015 NFL draft, according to Coach Fisher. Via Tim Linafelt of FloridaState.247sports.com:

“Everybody says he’s going to stay one year and leave,” Fisher said. “Which I don’t think that’s true. I think it will be two." 

It would be interesting to see how Winston might justify coming back for a junior season barring an injury that keeps him sidelined for an extended period of time as a sophomore.

Winston is a likely top-10 draft pick should he continue his dominating performances and enter the draft after his sophomore season. He has the size, skills and intangibles to compete at a high-level in the NFL. His 2014 season should give him ample opportunity to prove to NFL scouts that he is capable of performing in a traditional NFL offense.

Another quarterback Winston may have to outperform ahead of the 2015 NFL draft is UCLA's Brett Hundley. The Bruins' signal-caller has performed well in Westwood and will have three years of starting experience under his belt should he declare for 2015 as well.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Why Justin Worley Will Be the Tennessee Vols' Starting QB in 2014

Justin Worley's big-game experience, senior leadership and calm demeanor under pressure will give him command of the Vols offense and the first snaps under center when Utah State comes to Knoxville on Aug. 30, 2014.

After claiming the starting quarterback position in 2013, Worley was on track for a serviceable season, throwing for 1,239 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions before a thumb injury against Alabama sidelined him for the rest of the year.

But the stats don't show that Worley managed to do something no Tennessee quarterback has done since 2009: beat a ranked team. 

 

First Tennessee Win Over a Ranked Team Since 2009

By leading the Vols to a last-second 23-21 win over No. 11 South Carolina on Oct. 19, 2013, Worley proved that he can step up when the pressure is right in his face—literally. 

His 40-yard bomb late in the fourth quarter, thrown moments before getting flattened by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, was caught by Marquez North in dramatic fashion and led to Michael Palardy's game-winning field goal.

Just one week earlier, Worley almost led the Vols to an upset victory over No. 6 Georgia before losing, 34-31, in overtime. In both games, he turned in nearly error-free performances, throwing for a combined two touchdowns, 394 yards and no interceptions. 

Despite his achievements in big games, Worley's fellow signal-callers aren't going to let him run away with the starting position without a fight. 

 

Riley Ferguson 

Redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson may be the most talented quarterback on the Vols' roster, and both fans and media have speculated that he has the strongest arm out of the bunch.

In fact, head coach Butch Jones told Patrick Brown of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in August 2013 that Ferguson "stepped up" and "made some big throws" shortly after arriving on campus. Even Worley admitted he was impressed by his young teammate's arm strength. 

Since then, Ferguson has continued to prove himself to coaches, teammates and onlookers in practice, but he appeared rattled and uncertain during the Orange and White game in April 2014, throwing an interception and fumbling after a blindside sack. 

Despite his talent, his lack of in-game experience will keep the starting position out of his reach for another season. 

 

Joshua Dobbs

After an impressive performance on the road against Alabama to replace an injured Worley, sophomore Joshua Dobbs showed that he wasn't quite ready for the spotlight by struggling to move the chains and throwing too many interceptions against Auburn and Vanderbilt. 

However, his play against Kentucky to close out the Vols' season, which included 199 yards passing, two touchdown passes and a 40-yard touchdown run, is good reason to be optimistic about his future on Rocky Top.

Dobbs also appeared poised and greatly improved in the 2014 spring game, throwing multiple crisp passes to his wide receivers and breaking several tackles on his way to the end zone on a busted play.

With Ferguson receiving a redshirt last season, Dobbs is a prime candidate to sit out in 2014 while he continues to develop and mature.  

 

Nathan Peterman

Nathan Peterman, the Vols' redshirt sophomore quarterback out of Fruit Cove, Fla., likely fell to the bottom of the pecking order after turning in a disastrous performance against the Florida Gators in 2013.

Peterman also suffered a serious thumb injury in the game that denied him the chance of redemption later in the season. 

Although his debut in The Swamp was far from ideal, Peterman is the second-most experienced quarterback on Tennessee's roster.

Bouncing back from adversity and climbing the depth chart in 2014 isn't out of the question for the former 4-star recruit, per Rivals, but it won't be enough to unseat Worley. 

 

It's Worley's Job to Lose

Of all the quarterbacks on the roster, Worley doesn't have the strongest arm, the quickest release or the fastest feet.

But with new offensive weapons surrounding him in 2014, Worley is poised to become the efficient, calm quarterback and the leader Tennessee needs to compete in the SEC and get back to its first bowl game since 2010. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Longhorns Go Undrafted in NFL Draft for 1st Time Since 1937

For the first time since 1937, the Texas Longhorns failed to have a single player selected in the NFL draft, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Who said Mack Brown couldn't develop talent?

Wide receiver Mike Davis, defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive tackle Chris Whaley and cornerback Carrington Byndom were among the Longhorns with draft aspirations, but they've instead joined the ranks of the undrafted free agents.

Jeffcoat said that he does have some opportunities available to him, per Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman:

Prior to his resignation in December of 2013, one of Brown's biggest knocks was his inability to make the most out of his impressive recruiting classes. He could get the players to come to Austin, but once there, their potential was spoiled.

Take a look at how the 2010 class ended up:

Baylor head coach Art Briles alluded to the fact that five players from his program will be playing on Sundays:

The fact that Texas failed to get a single player drafted is another sign of how far the Longhorns have fallen down the totem pole. This isn't some plucky school from a non-AQ conference which is happy to get a guy taken in the second or third round. Texas has the richest football program in the country. To have zero players drafted is unacceptable.

This is also a likely factor in the Longhorns' decision to bring former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong to Austin:

Louisville had four players taken in the draft, including three in the first round. One of Strong's most impressive accomplishments with the Cardinals was the way in which he got the most out of his players.

The 2014 NFL draft will likely serve as a nadir for Texas football, or at least as much as an NFL draft can be a low point for the school.

Now Strong can come in and work with a clean slate to a certain extent. Given his track record at Louisville, hopefully this is the last time Texas is absent during the draft.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arizona Wildcats Football: Why Ka'Deem Carey Was Undrafted in First Three Rounds

There seems to be a running theme in the reasons given for former Arizona Wildcats running back Ka'Deem Carey going unselected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft:

"Character issues."

"Character red flags."

"Questions surrounding his character."

And then this one from Heisman voter Lisa Horne, who is a Fox Sports writer from Southern California, after the season was complete in February:

Seriously?

Carey's actions involving his girlfriend and University of Arizona police more than a year ago are regrettable. He paid his price without charges filed in either case. He was suspended for Arizona's opener in 2013, eliminating his chance to lead the nation in rushing for the second year in a row.

Heisman voters like Horne held Carey's off-the-field issues before last season against him. He was not invited to New York City for the ceremony because of that.

Was Carey a bad seed to his son, teammates and coaches throughout the school year? No. Quite the opposite. He never pouted about his suspension. He never put himself above his teammates. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez was complimentary in his comments about how Carey handled the adversity.

“I’m proud of him,” Rodriguez said late last season when Carey averaged more than 150 rushing yards per game. “He’s earned that. He had some issues in the offseason which he has worked very, very hard the last six or seven months to rectify. He worked hard to earn the trust back of everybody. Ka’Deem’s a good guy.” 

Carey's Facebook wall has plenty of photos of him doting his son, Kaison. He has smoothed things over with his girlfriend, who was pictured with Carey and their son at Disneyland four months ago.

These people who do not know Carey personally, including Horne, cannot look Carey's mother, Tisha Atkins Carey, in the eye and say her son has character issues.

Ms. Carey posted a photo on her Facebook wall hugging her son during the first night of the NFL draft Thursday night. "Enjoyment on day one, love my boo boop," is what she wrote.

Character issues?

Former LSU running back Jeremy Hill was taken in the second round by Cincinnati, the 55th pick overall, despite this background: Arrested on sexual assault charges while in high school. Arrested again in April 2013 after being caught on video punching a man outside a bar near campus. For the latter, he was given a six-month suspended jail sentence and two years probation. Hill is on probation until July 2015.

The ignorance involving questions about Carey's character is unfortunate, especially including the views of a Heisman voter such as Horne.

Hill's selection in the second round is peculiar in more ways than one.

The knock on Carey is his time in the 40-yard dash (4.66 seconds) but that was the same time Hill posted at the NFL scouting combine. Hill and the other seven running backs who were picked in the first three rounds are known for their pass-catching ability.

Hill had only 18 catches for 181 yards, however, in LSU's pro-style offense last season. Carey had 26 receptions for 173 yards in one less game because of his suspension. Washington's Bishop Sankey, a second-round pick (54th overall) by Tennessee, had two more catches than Carey for 304 yards overall.

Carey had four receiving touchdowns in his three-year Arizona career. Sankey had only one in his three-year career with the Huskies.

The NFL has become infatuated with big-play performers on offense. We are living in the ESPN "Top 10 Plays" highlight era. The days of hard-nosed, physical running backs blasting through the line for an important 30-yard gain are over. John Riggins, Franco Harris and Earl Campbell do not have a place in today's NFL. If their style was still approved by NFL scouts, Carey is a first-round pick without question. 

The art of smashmouth running for paydirt in the red zone has given way to a quarterback scramble or five receivers zig-zagging to find an open area in the end zone for the quarterback to loft in the air for a jump-ball situation. The NFL of today would often rather have a quarterback (not always a running back) bolt through the line for a 10-yard gain and a first down. See Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin.

See running backs becoming less important of a commodity.

Arizona's spread offense is similar with a dual-threat quarterback and a bevy of receivers but Carey thrived in Rodriguez's balanced offense.

This much is certain: Carey's scouting combine performance in which he was timed at 4.7 seconds in the 40 and showed questionable hand-eye coordination in pass-catching drills are affecting his draft status. Two days in Indianapolis have meant the difference between Carey going in the second round to potentially landing in the fourth round or lower.

If character was a factor, Carey would shut himself off from the media and outside world because of his snub in the first three rounds. Instead, the affable Carey held a party at a Tucson establishment Friday night with family and friends. The Tucson media was welcome to attend.

Carey told the Arizona Daily Star's Daniel Berk, "It was a long night, but a great night" with family and friends.

Character?

Seriously?

 

Check out Javier Morales' blog at AllSportsTucson.com and follow him on Twitter @JavierJMorales

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arizona Wildcats Football: Why Ka'Deem Carey Was Undrafted in First Three Rounds

There seems to be a running theme in the reasons given for former Arizona Wildcats running back Ka 'Deem Carey going unselected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft: "Character issues...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

2014 NFL Draft Reflects Lowest Point of Miami Hurricanes Football

Between insufficient player development, continual collective underperformance and the overall negative impact on recruiting, the 2014 NFL draft reflects the Miami Hurricanes' struggles from 2007-2010.

Over the four-year stretch, the respective Miami combined to win just 28 games compared to suffering 23 losses.

But when a respective prospect is announced at Radio City Music Hall this weekend, he moves one step closer to reaching his goal of becoming a professional football player at the highest level.

Like many programs across the nation, Miami is projected to have a couple former athletes of their own experience this emotional time, receiving a phone call from an NFL franchise.

However, after years of dominating the draft, "The U" is looking at less than a handful of draftees in 2014.

My, how the mighty have fallen.

"This year it's anybody’s guess," Susan Miller Degnan of The Miami Herald said, "with a strong possibility of no one getting drafted until the fourth through seventh rounds are televised beginning at noon Saturday—the final day of the three-day draft."

Seantrel Henderson figured to be the first former Hurricane off the board, but Brandon Linder was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third.

Beyond the pair of offensive linemen, Stephen Morris and Pat O'Donnell are likely the only other Miami players who could be selected. Allen Hurns and potential basketball-convert Erik Swoope might be picked, but don't bet the house on it.

The mighty have fallen how far?

Scouts say Henderson has all-pro talent, but he is criticized for a mediocre work ethic, lacklustre drive and poor character.

Linder, on the other hand, is not an elite prospect, but he has other attractable qualities, as NFL Network's Mike Mayock discussed via Miller Degnan:

"I think those two offensive linemen are heading in different directions," draft analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said last Thursday, before the revelation about Henderson. Mayock said Henderson was "heading in the wrong direction, whereas their guard, Linder—the more coaches get involved, the more they like Linder. He's not as physically gifted as some players in this draft, but he's smart and he's tough. He could climb. I think he's going in the fourth or fifth round, and this is a pretty good guard draft."

Ultimately, however, the highest profile ex-'Cane was a third-round pick projected to be tabbed later than that.

Before a disappointing senior campaign, Morris was one of the top quarterbacks on the boards of many analysts. Now, he may slide undetected through the entire weekend.

O'Donnell is affected by the lack of demand at punter, but he transferred from Cincinnati and wasn't even recruited by Miami. Hurns is a purely average receiver with no special qualities, and Swoope's proverbial draft stock is based solely on potential.

Note: Rankings and projections based on latest releases of Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.

Recent Miami seasons have been classified under the common theme "youth." And when looking at the 2010 recruiting class—of which Henderson, Linder, Morris and Hurns were members—it's evident from where that mantra stemmed.

Other notable players from the class include Jimmy Gaines, Asante Cleveland, Maurice Hagens, Tyrone Cornelius, Kacy Rodgers and Eduardo Clements, none of whom are expected to be drafted. Clive Walford, who will be a senior in 2014, will likely be chosen in the draft next year.

Sure, Storm Johnson was originally a member of the group, and the UCF running back should be taken before Henderson and the others, but the former top recruit is not the 'Canes to claim. Maybe tight end Chase Ford, a JUCO signee in 2010, can be added because he has been a contributor for the Minnesota Vikings, but that's stretching it.

Then, throw in Latwan Anderson, Tavadis Glenn, David Perry, Keion Payne, Travis Williams, Kevin Nelson, Jeremy Davis, Darion Hall, Devont'a Davis, Jermaine Barton, Andrew Tallman and Delmar Taylor. If you're contemplating, "who are these guys?!"—you're not wrong.

It wasn't the recruiting rankings—or stars—that mattered in the 2010 class. According to 247Sports, former head coach Randy Shannon grabbed one 5-star, five 4-stars and 21 3-stars.

There was very little production from the class, and that's the problem. Four years later, the only draftable players are Henderson, Linder and maybe Morris as a project.

According to Miller Degnan, the players who are hoping to be selected this May have only one thing on their mind: capitalize on being picked.

"Wherever I get drafted, I’ll be happy," Linder said. "It's all about the opportunity I'm given."

"Of course I want to get drafted," Cleveland said, "but I'm preparing for the worst and not trying to get my hopes up too high. Just know that wherever I go I'm going to give them all I've got."

From Denzel Perryman to Duke Johnson to Stacy Coley, the potential professional futures of current players in the program is promising. But in 2014, the overwhelming impact from the Hurricanes in the NFL draft is, quite simply, the lack of one.

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Draft-Day Fall Proof Stephon Tuitt Should Have Stayed at Notre Dame

The NFL Network's cameras caught the tears rolling down Stephon Tuitt's face. And while Tuitt's emotions were overwhelming joy after being selected 46th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the slide into the middle of the second round was proof positive that the former Notre Dame defensive end should've stayed for his senior season in South Bend. 

Sure, it's easy for the guy behind the keyboard to tell the kid who just became an instant millionaire that he's making a mistake. But Tuitt's slide cost him millions of dollars in earnings over the next four years.

How much money did falling into the middle of the second round cost Tuitt? That's tough to measure. The last 48 hours have been a nice reminder that most draft experts are simply throwing darts.

Assuming Tuitt was a first-round pick next year is no given. But for the sake of the exercise, let's project a strong senior season moves Tuitt into the top 15. (After all, look what it did for Zack Martin, Tyler Eifert and Michael Floyd.)

The money difference is huge. Even with the NFL's rookie slotting system, Tuitt's slide cost him a ton of cash. According to OverTheCap.com, the projected rookie contract for the Steelers' second-round pick is a signing bonus of approximately $1.8 million and a four-year contract worth just over $4.8 million. 

To be sure, that's life changing money. But it's not even half of the money that the Steelers will pay first-rounder Ryan Shazier, who will get over $10 million. 

The stay-or-go decision wasn't one that Tuitt made alone. In a year where a record 98 underclassmen declared for the draft, only 15 of them were taken in the first round. Fellow junior Troy Niklas decided to test the NFL waters as well and was selected just a few picks after Tuitt by the Arizona Cardinals.

That both would turn down an opportunity to earn their degree, or work their way into being a first-round pick, was disconcerting for Brian Kelly, via Eric Henson of the South Bend Tribune:

I just have to do a better job of educating our own players on the NFL and what it means to be a first-round draft pick versus a second or a third. When an agent says, ‘Let’s play for your second contract,’ how ridiculous that is.

My point is in the recruiting process, we do not want to go out there and say, ‘Come to Notre Dame for these reasons: Hey, come to Notre Dame, we’ll get you an apartment off campus; come to Notre Dame and we’ll help you go pro early.’

I just wanted to be clear that these are our distinctions, and you’re shopping down a different aisle. We’re not better than anybody else, but this is what you’re going to get if you shop down this aisle.

Even Alabama coach Nick Saban—no stranger to early NFL departures— has talked about the challenge of having his players make the right decision before deciding to declare early for the draft. A bad decision could cost you millions. 

Saban said on his radio show, via AL.com's Andrew Gibble:

If you stay three years and you're going to be a first-round draft pick, that guy should probably go because it's a significant amount of money and a business decision," Saban told AL.com. "All these other guys that are second-day ... 53 percent of the guys that get second-round grades don't even get drafted. It's all about what kind of career you have.

Even the second-round pick or third-round pick, your average signing bonus is $700,000. If you can go from being a third-round pick to a guy that's the 25th pick, you make $7 million. That's 10 times more.

That Tuitt wrestled with the decision is not news. It was far from an easy choice for Tuitt, who long held firm that he planned on spending four years in South Bend, earning a degree that his mother made a priority. He nearly announced his return for his senior season in October, telling student-run newspaper The Observer that (via NBC Sports) before backing away from the statement. 

Entering the 2013 season, it was natural to wonder if Tuitt would stay or go. A preseason All-American, Tuitt was coming off one of the more impressive seasons in Notre Dame history, with his 12 sacks second in school history. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had him No. 11 on his big board.

Look at the defenders who Tuitt nearly topped for the sack title in 2012, all while playing as a 3-4 defensive end. Jarvis Jones was Pittsburgh's first-round pick last year. Bjoern Werner, another first-rounder. Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 pick this season. Anthony Barr, came off the board ninth to Minnesota. 

But Tuitt's 2013 didn't go according to plan. Plagued by an offseason hernia surgery that made it difficult for Tuitt to keep his weight down, a defensive end that played just below 300 pounds in 2012 was playing at closer to 330, robbing him of the explosiveness that helped him wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

Tuitt's sack total dropped to 7.5, a modest number considering the expectations. And while he showed moments of dominance, he produced an awful lot of head-scratching tape, looking lethargic and out of shape as he was forced to play a ton of snaps for a defensive line that was plagued by injuries.

Tuitt tried to remedy his disappointing season by whipping himself into top shape for the NFL Scouting Combine. And while he came in at a chiseled 304 pounds, a medical checkup revealed a minor fracture in his foot, a piece of bad luck that forced him out of competition at the combine, a place where a physically dominant performance would've put him back on the map. 

In the end, it's all water under the bridge. Tuitt's story isn't a tragedy. He's vowed to return for his degree and will step into an aging defense that's been among the best at identifying and developing talent. When asked about his slide down the draft board, Tuitt wasn't sure what the main culprit was. 

"I don’t know," Tuitt told Steelers.com. "All I know is I believe that everything happens for a reason. It was meant for me to come to the Steelers."

Today is a celebration for Stephon Tuitt. An NFL dream realized. But it's also a reminder that a year from now he could've been a first-round pick and celebrating an even bigger rookie contract. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages