NCAA Football

Insider Buzz: Can 'USC Brand' Still Lure Top Talent from Rest of Country?

USC is returning one of the most intimidating teams in all of college football this season, but the Trojans also added one of the top recruiting classes in the country in 2015 as well. 

Adam Lefkoe is joined by Los Angeles Times USC Insider Lindsey Thiry to discuss the buzz around the USC program.

What kind of season will the Trojans have in 2015? Check out the video and let us know!

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Insider Buzz: Can 'USC Brand' Still Lure Top Talent from Rest of Country?

USC is returning one of the most intimidating teams in all of college football this season, but the Trojans also added one of the top recruiting classes in the country in 2015 as well...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

College Football's Most Important Offers of the Week

LSU has quietly assembled a top-five recruiting class.

Last week, Les Miles and his staff turned their attention to the defensive line after offering a pair of 3-stars in defensive tackle Ross Blacklock and defensive endCaleb Roddy

Their efforts proved fruitful as the 6’5”, 241-pound Roddy committed on the same day he received the offer.

“It’s where I’ve always wanted to go,” Roddy told Geaux247’s Sonny Shipp. “I knew that as soon as they offered me that I was going to commit. It’s best for me and my family.”

The news was pleasing to new Tigers defensive line coach and ace recruiter Ed Orgeron.

“Coach [Orgeron] and coach Miles said they loved the way I played and how fired up I get,” Roddy told Shipp. “They said they know I am going to fight for the Tigers.”

Roddy chose the Tigers over offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M, among others.

Meanwhile, the 6’3”, 326-pound Blacklock earned his offer after performing well in front of the staff at LSU’s camp last week.

The Tigers join Texas A&M as the second SEC West school to offer the Lone Star State standout.

With defensive line being a priority for the Tigers in this cycle, Miles and his staff are casting a wide net in hopes of meeting their needs by signing day.


USC Offers 2017 OL

USC is poised to make a run at another top-five class in the 2016 cycle, but Steve Sarkisian and his staff are already scouting prospects who are entering their junior years this fall. 

Last week, the Trojans offered 4-star offensive lineman Henry Bainivalu.

The 6’4”, 270-pound tackle prospect rates as the No. 2 prospect from the state of Washington in the 2017 cycle.

Bainvalu holds early offers from schools such as Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon and Washington, among others.


ND After Brother of 2015 Signee

Brian Kelly scored a major coup when he landed 4-star receiver Equanimeous St. Brown in the 2015 class. 

Kelly has already offered one of his younger brothers, 2017 5-star receiver Osiris St. Brown

Last week, he pulled off the trifecta when he offered 2018 receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.

The youngest St. Brown holds early offers from Boise State, Utah and Washington State.


FSU Offers Pair of 2019 Prospects

As we’ve seen in recent times, the recruiting calendar has seen kids get offers at an accelerated pace.

Last week, Florida State—the school that currently occupies the nation’s top-rated 2016 class—offered a pair of prospects who will be eighth-graders this fall.

Jimbo Fisher and the ‘Noles tendered a pair of 2019 prospects from the state of Georgia in defensive tackle Tru Thompson and linebacker Owen Pappoe.

The ‘Noles offer represents the first for Thompson, while Pappoe is nearing double digits, as schools such as Auburn, Georgia, Miami and Tennessee have already offered the 6’1”, 194-pounder.


Best of the Rest







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

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Sorry Jim Harbaugh, Nick Saban Isn't Giving Up His Recruiting Crown Anytime Soon

Is there a new sheriff in town? 

First-year Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is trying to take the office.

In his first offseason as the head coach of the Wolverines, Harbaugh has taken the recruiting world by storm, embarking on a trek across fertile recruiting grounds via satellite camps in an effort to raise the awareness of the new-look Michigan program.

That noise you hear is Alabama head coach Nick Saban yawning at Harbaugh's advances.

Sure, there has been some highly, or exaggerated, dust-ups, like Saban going off at SEC spring meetings last month on the different rules across conferences on events like satellite camps.

"We need to have the same rules in the big five in all leagues," Saban said. "If we're going to compete for the championship and everybody is going to play in the playoff system, then we need to get our rules in alignment so that we are all on a level playing field.

"These things need to be global; otherwise we are going to become a farm system for all of the other leagues."

Does that sound like Saban is whining? USA Today's Dan Wolken thinks so, and the Indianapolis Star's Gregg Doyel has gone so far as to say that Saban is possibly scared of Harbaugh.

"I think Alabama football coach Nick Saban is all about Nick Saban," Doyel wrote. "I think he's possibly scared of Michigan's Jim Harbaugh."


Saban—and all SEC coaches who voted unanimously against satellite camps—aren't scared, they're mad that other coaches are out recruiting when they can't. That's very reasonable.

In fact, all Saban has done in the face of Harbaugh's roving satellite camps/recruiting tour is reel in six commitments in the month of June, including 4-star offensive tackle Charles Baldwin, 4-star linebacker Jaquan Yulee and 4-star dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts.

The run of commitments have launched Alabama seven spots up the class of 2016 team rankings to the fifth spot, one spot ahead of another school in Michigan—Michigan State. The Wolverines chime in at No. 16.

What's more, as Drew Champlin of notes, Saban even picked up three class of 2017 commitments this month in 4-star wide receiver D.D. Bowie, 4-star guard Netori Johnson and 4-star tackle Alex Leatherwood.

Harbaugh's commitments from the SEC footprint in the class of 2016?

He has pledges from 3-star cornerback Antwaine Richardson and 3-star defensive tackle Rashad Weaver from Florida, as well as 3-star fullback Kingston Davis and 3-star linebacker Dytarious Johnson from Prattville, Alabama.

Is that impressive? Sure.

Dipping down into the sunshine state for a couple of prospects, as well as raiding Saban's backyard for two more is nice, but as Matt Scalici of notes, it's not like Harbaugh is landing southern superstars.

That tweet was sent before Weaver committed to the Wolverines over the weekend.

Michigan was relevant on the recruiting trail under Brady Hoke too, and look what it got for it—three straight mediocre seasons and two straight sub-.500 records in the Big Ten.

Is Harbaugh's trek through the south making an impact? It's opening up the eyes of players and getting the maize and blue out there, which will help.

Will it help Harbaugh unseat Saban as the king of college football recruiting? Not a chance.

Saban has reeled in five straight top-ranked recruiting classes in the 247Sports Composite, and a sixth (and perhaps seventh) don't look too far-fetched. 

Maybe first, Harbaugh should worry about being the best recruiter in his own state.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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2015 SEC Football Media Days Schedule Officially Released

Before South Carolina hits the field for its Thursday night opener on Sept. 3, the SEC season will unofficially kick off next month with the annual offseason circus known as SEC media days.

On Monday morning, the conference released the lineup for the four-day event, which will take place in Hoover, Alabama, July 13-16.

This will be the first year media days will open with an address from Greg Sankey, who took over for former commissioner Mike Slive on June 1.

Auburn's Gus Malzahn and selected players will join Sankey in the opening session on Monday, followed by Florida's Jim McElwain and Vanderbilt's Derek Mason in the afternoon.

Here is the full media days schedule of times for Sankey and the SEC's 14 football programs:

A list of players attending media days will be released in early July, one week before the start of the event.

The SEC also released its logo for media days Monday morning:

Among the things to watch for in this year's media days—the event will have live coverage for fans on the SEC Network—will be the head coaches' takes on the growing satellite camp debate and new rules that were approved at SEC spring meetings last month.

The conference will also announce the media's All-SEC selections and predictions for the upcoming season during the four-day extravaganza.

Of course, fans shouldn't miss the times when LSU's Les Miles and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier take the podium for questions. Both head coaches are known to steal the show as the most entertaining parts of "Talkin' season," as Spurrier called it last year.

Other highlights from 2014 media days included Mississippi State's Dan Mullen talking European soccer, Alabama wide receiver Christion Jones stopping his press conference to dance and an Australian man who flew to Hoover just to meet Nick Saban.

Basically, you never know what to expect from SEC media days, and this year should be no different.


Justin Ferguson is an on-call college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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B/R 5th Down: Old School Urban Meyer Photo, FSU Offered 300-Pound 14-Year-Old

Editor's Note: The 5th Down captures the top social college football stories of the week. Because the long, grueling offseason is underway, we'll focus on things that make us laugh, think or maybe cry, but mostly laugh. 


1) Old School Urban Meyer Had a Killer Mustache

Here's a photo of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer circa 1987 when he was an assistant coach for the Buckeyes. It's probably the best photo you'll see today. Or this week. 

Let's all recognize that Meyer used to have a strong mustache game. (Sup, ladies?) Because 5th Down is a fan of facial hair—looking right at you, Paul Rhoads—we're putting in a formal request that Meyer re-grow his 'stache. Similar to a playoff beard, Meyer can't shave it until the Buckeyes lose a game.

That could be a while. 


2) What Are They Feeding Eighth-Graders These Days?

Over the weekend, eighth-grader Tru Thompson received a scholarship offer from Florida State. The days of being surprised by someone receiving an offer at such a young age are over., after all, has set up profiles for middle schoolers. 

But here's the thing about Thompson, a defensive tackle prospect: He's already 6'0" and weighs in at about 300 pounds. Just re-read that sentence again. Now, one more time. 

I don't know what schools are putting in their french bread pizzas, but it's doing something. Thompson's still a kid, but at that size, that's a big man. What's more, Thompson drew raves for his strength and athleticism, according to Michael Langston of

Tru Thompson from Griffin (Ga) stands 6-foot tall and weighs in at 300-pounds. But considering he wears size 18 shoes you can bet that he'll grow a few inches, and probably add a few more pounds, by the time he enrolls in college in 2019.

Considering his youth, Thompson is still in the early learning stages of his position. However, his amazing athleticism and strength caught everyone's attention at the camp. Turning in a 40-time of 5.1 seconds on Thursday also impressed onlookers. 

Everybody hits their growth spurt at different times, but there's no way Thompson is done growing. That's almost unthinkable. 


3) Speaking of FSU, Here's Derwin James Jumping Over a Person

Florida State freshman safety Derwin James has been the talk of Tallahassee since enrolling early this year. Hyped from the beginning, James justified the chatter by recording a pick-six against leading quarterback Sean Maguire just a few snaps into the spring game.

Now, he's staying busy during the summer months of the offseason by jumping over people because that's totally normal and something anyone can just do

It doesn't matter so much that the person was crouching ever so slightly. James had, what, several inches of clearance there? Has anyone tested his DNA to make sure he's not, you know, a terminator or something?

The whole backflip-pass-catch thing is so last week. The box jump may as well be the Macarena. It's all about leaping over standing human beings now. Your move, Internet. 


4) Your Awesome College Football Troll of the Week

Former Ohio State offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley had some fun recently at Oregon's expense while in Eugene. Check out the photo below. It's top-notch as far as trolling goes. 

Ohio State, of course, beat Oregon in the College Football Playoff in January. What really sets this apart is that Bentley included the Oregon "O" in the "O-H-I-O" formation. It was a nice touch.  


5) Mark Dantonio Served as the Grand Marshal for a Sprint Cup Race

The Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway took place Sunday, and Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio served as the grand marshal for the event. As part of his duties, Dantonio got to shout: "Drivers, start your engines!" 

Look, we know Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh—with or without a shirt—has been all the talk lately. But only one coach had the silky smooth voice worthy of starting up dozens upon dozens of modified engines made of pure horsepower and muscle. 

That's not nothing. 


6) Here's Bret Bielema Calling the Hogs, Because that Never Gets Old

Arkansas' baseball team made it to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Since Hogs head coach Bret Bielema is pretty big into school spirit, he traveled up to Omaha to help cheer on the team. Along the way, he led a sizable group of Razorback fans in calling the hogs: 

Watching Bielema do this will never not be fun.   


7) LaQuan McGowan Throws out First Pitch at Rangers Game

Baylor tight end LaQuan McGowan, all 400 pounds of him, is a personal favorite here at 5th Down. Why? Because there's nothing we love more than watching large men achieve great things. 

McGowan, who has some folklore going for him ever since he caught a touchdown pass in the Cotton Bowl in January, recently threw out a first pitch for a Texas Rangers baseball game: 

Not bad. Pretty good form and all that. Really, though, the peak McGowan moment would have been if he had hit an inside-the-park home run. That would require him to actually, you know, play professional baseball—we understand the technicality there. Still, that's about as close to a LARGE MAN TOUCHDOWN equivalent in baseball as you're going to get. 


8) You Want More College Football Cakes? You Got More College Football Cakes

June is officially wedding season, which means you're going to see a lot of college football-inspired baked goods. Remember, these are couples who likely don't believe in fall weddings. 

The three cakes below all have some great craftsmanship, but the Toomer's Corner one is especially well done. You also can't go wrong with the Clemson cake, which has a ton of detail. 

Still waiting on the college football cake that replicates Western Kentucky's Big Red.

It would have to be red velvet, right? 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. He's growing a terrible mustache on Twitter @BenKercheval

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FSU Stat Projections: Is Jalen Ramsey Best Defensive Player in College Football?

Jalen Ramsey is one of the top defensive players in the country. He leads a fairly young Florida State defense into a 2015 season that promises to be a good one. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Adam Kramer gives his stat projections for the FSU DB next year. 

What kind of season will Jalen Ramsey have in 2015? Check out the video and let us know!

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Notre Dame Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — With Notre Dame football’s incoming freshmen arriving over the weekend, classes starting Monday and a slew of visitors lined up, the Irish coaching staff continued to dish out offers during the past week, extending another 11 across the country.

Each week we’ll be keeping tabs on the new scholarship offers sent out by the Notre Dame coaches, tracking the recruiting process as the Irish focus their attention toward the classes of 2016, 2017 and maybe even 2018.


Melquise Stovall

A commitment to USC didn’t stop Notre Dame from offering class-of-2016 running back and cornerback Melquise Stovall on Thursday.

The 5’8”, 180-pounder is the No. 3 all-purpose back and No. 156 overall prospect in the country. Stovall, who hails from Lancaster, California, pledged to the Trojans in mid-April. He rushed for 1,603 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2014 as a junior.

“I was talking to the running back coach [Tony Alford] before he left [for a job at Ohio State],” Stovall told Irish247’s Tom Loy in May. “We talked a lot. Now, I started talking to the wide receivers coach [Mike Denbrock].” … I do love the tradition of Notre Dame and the school itself. It’s great.”


Carlo Kemp

Notre Dame jumped into the mix with an offer for class-of-2016 strong-side defensive end Carlo Kemp on Tuesday.

The No. 17 strong-side end and No. 291 overall player, Kemp hails from Boulder, Colorado. The 6’3”, 255-pounder also has offers from Nebraska, Colorado, Colorado State and Wisconsin, among others, according to Loy.

“It means a lot to me,” Kemp told Loy. “It’s awesome to finally pick up an offer from a school that I’ve wanted for a very long time.”

“I’m talking with my mom right now to figure out a good date to visit Notre Dame,” Kemp told Loy. “I’ll get up there again later this summer.”


Dontavious Jackson

Class-of-2016 linebacker Dontavious Jackson’s fruitful week began with an offer from Notre Dame and ended with an offer from Alabama.

At 6’2”, 239 pounds, Jackson is the No. 4 inside linebacker and No. 122 prospect in the country. The Houston product boasts an extensive offer list that includes LSU, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, UCLA and others.

As a junior, Jackson piled up 165 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and six sacks.

“I’m thinking of taking an official visit,” Jackson told Loy. “It feels amazing, and I’m thankful.”


Jeffrey McCulloch

The Irish didn’t stop at just one Houston-area class-of-2016 linebacker, as they extended an offer to outside linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch on Friday.

The 6’2.5”, 230-pound McCulloch is the No. 9 outside linebacker and No. 103 overall recruit in his class. Notre Dame joined Florida State, Stanford, Florida, USC, Oregon, Alabama and others with the offer.


Koby Quansah

Class-of-2016 inside linebacker Koby Quansah received an Irish offer Wednesday.

Quansah is listed as 6’1”, 212 pounds and checks in as a 3-star linebacker—29th at his position and No. 407 in the country. The West Hartford, Connecticut, native also holds offers from Nebraska, Arizona State, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin, in addition to others.

“Man, this offers means so much,” Quansah told Loy. “It’s great. I was talking to [Irish assistant] coach [Mike] Elston and then I talked to [Irish defensive coordinator Brian] VanGorder. That’s when I found out about the offer, from Coach VanGorder. He told me he didn’t need to see me in person and that based on my tape and Coach Elston’s recommendation, he said that he wanted to offer me. It meant a lot that he liked me and I didn’t even have to visit just to get it.”

Quansah said while he hasn’t completely narrowed down his recruitment yet, Notre Dame is in his top group, along with Michigan and Duke.

“I was talking to my coach recently about visits to Michigan and Notre Dame,” Quansah said. “I’m gonna try to visit both on the same trip. If not, I’ll definitely see both on official visits.”


Donte Vaughn

Class-of-2016 cornerback Donte Vaughn took a midweek visit to Notre Dame and came away with an offer Wednesday.

At 6’3”, 192 pounds, the 4-star Vaughn is the No. 27 cornerback and No. 302 recruit in the country. The Memphis, Tennessee, product also claims offers from Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State and Tennessee.


Ty Chandler

Nashville, Tennessee, product Ty Chandler became the third class-of-2017 running back to haul in an Irish offer when Notre Dame touched base Monday.

The 5’11”, 180-pounder is the No. 7 running back and No. 66 overall prospect in his class. Chandler attends Montgomery Bell Academy, the same Nashville school that produced Irish redshirt freshman offensive lineman Alex Bars. LSU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, among others, have also offered Chandler.

The Irish have also offered 2017 running backs Najee Harris, an Alabama commit, and Maleik Gray.


Wyatt Davis

Notre Dame’s lone class-of-2017 commitment, Dillan Gibbons, is an offensive lineman, and the Irish have offered as many offensive linemen in the class as any other position.

They targeted another Wednesday by extending an offer to class-of-2017 tackle Wyatt Davis.

David is the No. 6 offensive tackle and No. 33 player in the country. Currently pegged as a 5-star recruit, Davis is listed at 6’5”, 290 pounds and has offers from Michigan, Miami, Florida, UCLA, USC and Oklahoma, among others.

“I was very excited,” Davis told Loy. “I’ve always wanted to check out Notre Dame and see what they were all about. I was really excited about this offer.”

“Coach Denbrock wants me to come out for a visit and check them out,” Davis said. “He wants me to stay in contact with [offensive line] coach [Harry] Hiestand.”


Tyrell Ajian

Class-of-2017 athlete Tyrell Ajian landed a Notre Dame offer Saturday.

Ajian is the No. 3 athlete and No. 43 overall player in the country. The Mansfield, Ohio, product has visited Ohio State multiple times this spring and is scheduled to be on campus at Notre Dame this weekend for the Irish Invasion camp.

“Everything excites me about the Irish,” Ajian told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. “Such a strong, physical team with a great tradition. I’ve always loved watching them.”


JaCoby Stevens

Class-of-2017 wide receiver and safety JaCoby Stevens received an offer from the Irish on Wednesday, per 247Sports’ Barton Simmons.

The 6’2", 200-pound Tennessee native is the No. 4 athlete and No. 44 prospect. Stevens’ other offers include Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, LSU and Tennessee, in addition to others.


Amon-Ra St. Brown

A familiar surname popped back onto the Notre Dame recruiting radar Friday when class-of-2018 wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown landed an offer from the Irish.

The Anaheim, California, native is the brother of Irish incoming freshman wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and class-of-2017 wide receiver Osiris St. Brown, who also holds an offer from Notre Dame. Amon-Ra St. Brown is just the second class-of-2018 prospect to receive an offer from the Irish. He joins fellow California wide receiver Jalen Hall, who heard from the Irish in mid-April.

“It’s amazing that Equanimeous, Osiris and I can all go to the same school,” Amon-Ra told Loy. “It’s great. We’ll see what happens next, but it’s great that Notre Dame made sure that we all had an offer. It’s incredible. I mean, I’m almost speechless and still in shock.”

Notre Dame is the fourth school to offer St. Brown, following the lead of Boise State, Washington State and Utah.

“My dad called coach Brian Kelly and coach let him know that I had an offer from Notre Dame,” St. Brown said. “I was amazed. It’s truly a blessing. This is by far the biggest offer I’ve gotten yet. I’m shocked and amazed.”


Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information courtesy of and all quotes obtained firsthand. Star ratings reflect 247Sports composite rankings. 

Mike Monaco is the lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

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10 College Football Players Who Could Be Headed for Sophomore Slumps

The concept of a sophomore slump is hardly a new one in college football, or college sports in general. A freshman emerges onto the scene as a talented player and is feted with accolades, attention and a higher profile. And it goes to their head. They ease up a bit, more film gets out on them and opponents adjust.

A slump happens. Maybe it isn’t their fault (a new coaching staff arrives, or the talent around them dips), but the concept remains the same, and their production falls off from the highs they reached as freshmen. Here is a group of players who could be facing sophomore slumps in 2015.

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Georgia Football: 5 Most Consistent Players on the Bulldogs

Consistency is the key to any aspect of life. Being consistent at work, school and even in the gym can really take a person places.

The same holds true in college football, because the most consistent teams will always be in the running for the national title. And in order for the Georgia Bulldogs to get where they want to go in 2015, they will need to be more consistent on offense, defense and special teams.

The talent on the Bulldogs roster is evident, and they will have a chance to win the SEC if things bounce their way. But they can’t be inconsistent like they were last season, which cost them three loses.

So here’s a look at the five most consistent players on the roster.

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Tennessee Football: 10 Best Players in Volunteers History

Coming up with an all-time-greats list for a program as tradition-rich as Tennessee football is not an easy task.

For generations, UT football has been among the nation's top programs. The Volunteers are 10th on the all-time wins list and sixth in bowl wins. There are legends up and down the list of all-time Vols greats, and a who's-who of the top college football and NFL players played their college careers on the Hill.

Evidence of Tennessee's prolific ability to churn out talented players can be seen in the culmination of a recent down cycle of the program. The 2015 NFL draft marked the first time in 51 years that no Vol was selected by a pro team.

Though it was sad to see such a long streak end, that's still a pretty remarkable run of success that spanned more than half a century.

The UT football program has stocked the NFL with stars for years. From the halcyon days of General Robert Neyland to the talent-stacked Tennessee teams of the 1990s, the Vols were among the nation's top teams.

Even after the forgettable final seasons of legendary coach Phillip Fulmer, the one year of Lane Kiffin and the failed hiring (and subsequent firing) of Derek Dooley, UT still ranks among college football's greats.

Stars such as Heath Shuler, Al Wilson, Jason Witten and Arian Foster were showcased on the UT teams of the 1990s and 2000s. Also, NFL greats like Peyton Manning, Beattie Feathers, Doug Atkins and Reggie White played their college days in Knoxville.

This list doesn't include Vols greats who weren't standout players. If so, Neyland would have made it, as would Fulmer. The list took into account playing careers mostly with at least some emphasis on their careers beyond. Also, any lasting legacy impact was taken into consideration.

So, picking an all-time UT top-10 list is tough. But where's the fun in not trying?

Let's take a look at Tennessee's top legends throughout such a rich history.

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Texas Football: Ranking the 5 Most Consistent Players on the Longhorns

In 2015, consistency will be a problem for the Longhorns, who lost a bunch of experienced talent at the end of last season. The guys who are left need to take a page out of Dylan Haines' book.

While also being the best players on the team, Malcom Brown, Jordan Hicks, John Harris and Quandre Diggs were models of consistent play last season, They showed up every day and did their jobs, dragging a flawed team to a bowl berth.

Now that they've moved on to the next level along with six other starters, the team's most talented players aren't necessarily their most consistent. Hassan Ridgeway can record one tackle just as easily as he can get two sacks, and Duke Thomas can pick off two passes in one game, then give up two touchdowns in the next.

This is just the state of the program as it reloads with young talent. 

Fortunately, there are some less talented guys who always seem to impact the game by playing smart, sound football. It's up to their more gifted teammates to follow the example these guys set.

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Ohio State Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

Ohio State kicked off the week by landing a key commitment from 4-star wide receiver Austin Mack, and Urban Meyer closed it by hosting some of his top targets for pivotal visits over the weekend.

The Buckeyes also looked to capitalize on their spring momentum by offering four new prospects for their 2016 and 2017 classes.

Here's a rundown of Ohio State's latest recruiting activity.


Santino Marchiol, Unranked Outside Linebacker (2017)

The first offer of the week went out to Santino Marchiol, an unranked outside linebacker from Englewood, Colorado.

Marchiol is one of the rising prospects in the '17 class. Just a few short months ago, he didn't have a single offer from a major collegiate program. But after impressive showings at scouting camps around the country, big-time colleges are starting to take notice. The Buckeyes were the latest to do so, becoming the 18th school to join an impressive offer list that includes Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska and Penn State.

“It motivates me to work even harder,” Marchiol said of his recent recruiting spike, according to Scout's Josh Harvey. “I want to prove all these coaches right.”

With 20 months until national signing day in 2017, Marchiol knows that he has plenty of time to make his decision. That's why he's planning on taking his time with the process.

“As of right now, they are all the same," Marchiol said of his top schools, via Harvey. "I feel blessed to have all these offers and feel blessed to have all these opportunities to go to different places. As of now I’m enjoying the process and not really narrowing it down.”


Matt Dotson, Unranked Tight End (2017)

Ohio State's top-ranked 2017 recruiting class will need a tight end when it's all said and done, and the Buckeyes may have identified their top target on Saturday when they offered Matt Dotson.

Dotson has just four offers after the Buckeyes joined Cincinnati, Illinois and Tennessee, but he's receiving legitimate attention from other programs such as LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. At 6'5" and 225 pounds, the Cincinnati native already boasts the size to start at the collegiate level, and he hasn't even stepped on the field for the first snap of his junior season of high school. 

Director of Matt Porter told Mike Dyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer that Dotson thrives in two key areas. 

"Great all-around tight end," Porter told Dyer. "Physical at point of attack for the run game. He can flex out and be a mismatch in the passing game."

Those are the traits that made Jeff Heuerman such a successful tight end in Meyer's scheme. The Buckeyes need their tight ends to be weapons in the passing game, obviously, but they also require them to block in their power run game. 

Dotson fits the bill there, and according to 247 Sports' Crystal Ball, Ohio State is the unanimous favorite to land his commitment. 


Jaylen Harris, Unranked Wide Receiver (2017)

Dotson wasn't the only elite 2017 pass-catcher who hauled in an Ohio State offer last Saturday.

The Buckeyes also offered Jaylen Harris, a standout prospect from Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Harris was one of the many prospects in Columbus last weekend, and he made a big impression on the staff. Ohio State joined an offer list that already includes Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia. But according to Bill Kurelic of 247 Sports, the Buckeyes' offer stands out. 

“It’s really big,” Harris said, via Kurelic. “They are up there on my list.” 


Other Offers from the Week

Cavin Ridley, 4-Star Wide Receiver (2016)


All recruiting rankings and information via 247Sports.

David Regimbal covers Ohio State football for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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Redshirt Freshmen You Need to Know for 2015 College Football Season

Returning starters are always the best luxury a team can have going into a new football season. 

But more often then not, it's the heroics of previously unsung heroes (see Johnny Manziel) who were redshirt freshmen going into the fall who take teams to new heights. 

So let's check out the five redshirt freshmen of 2015 whom you need to know, from highly touted Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers to Texas gunslinger Jerrod Heard. 


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OTL Investigates Perception of Top College Athletic Programs and Law Enforcement

ESPN's Outside the Lines conducted a study beginning in the fall of 2014, looking into men's college basketball and football players from 10 high-profile schools who were accused of crimes from 2009 to 2014.

Sunday marked the release of the study, per's Paula Lavigne, which concluded that athletes often avoid prosecution and prison because of their status. Of the 10 schools, Florida and Florida State ranked first and second, respectively, in total athletes who had run-ins with the law.

Eighty Gators players were suspects in over 100 crimes, while the Seminoles had 66 players involved in alleged crimes. Florida had 56 percent of its cases either not result in charges, result in dropped charges or not reach the prosecution phase. Florida State had 70 percent of cases fall by the wayside on such statuses.

Lavigne cited a number of factors that contribute to many accused student-athletes not seeing a day in court. The intimidation factor of prosecuting an athlete from a big-name program is one, which has to do with athletic department personnel becoming involved in cases, along with the resources available to the players to call on renowned attorneys.

With specific regard to the Seminoles, Outside the Lines discovered nine instances in its study where "Florida State coaches or athletic department officials tried to determine when and where city police would interview athletes or attempted other involvement."

A former department staff member highlighted Seminoles associate athletic director Monk Bonasorte as a go-to intermediary.

"He is kind of the fixer for football," said the past employee. "He knows where the skeletons are buried, but he also helps keep those football players, not out of trouble, but out of paying for the trouble they've gotten into."

Recent No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is mentioned in the Outside the Lines story regarding a sexual assault allegation against him. Winston ultimately didn't face prosecution after an investigation.

Benton County (Oregon) District Attorney John Haroldson, whose office deals with Oregon State athletes' cases, weighed in on how the media spotlight impacts similar cases.

"I think it would be naive to suggest that the high level of [publicity] doesn't have a chilling effect on people," said Haroldson. "You certainly see that happen in cases of sexual assault. ... They have to contend with, 'Do I want this to play out in the media?'"

Ex-Florida running back Chris Rainey was noted as being "named a suspect in five crimes in Gainesville" but "faced charges once."

Outside the Lines' investigation also revealed that Florida, along with other programs, has a campus police department with members assigned to specific university officials or the athletic department.

Although it's dangerous to conclude there is an imbalance of justice, the rates that crimes involving college-age males get thrown out before reaching court in Gainesville and Tallahassee are 28 and 50 percent, respectively. Those percentages are considerably lower than the rate for the athletes examined in the study.

The burden of proof certainly seems held to a different standard for men's college basketball and football players—at least at many of the powerhouse programs Outside the Lines reported on. In the study, Michigan State is noted as an outlier, since it offers free legal counsel to all of its students, eliminating the improved access to defense attorneys that athletes have at programs like Florida and Florida State.

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