NCAA Football

D.J. Johnson to Miami: Hurricanes Land 4-Star DE Prospect

Defensive end D.J. Johnson made Miami Hurricanes football fans happy Monday by committing to the program.

He posted a video on YouTube in which he showcased his day and the number of recruiting letters he received from the likes of teams such as the Oregon Ducks, Texas Longhorns and UCLA Bruins.

However, he ended it by putting on a Miami hat on and sharing a number of highlights from the school's past:

Johnson is regarded as one of the best pass-rushers in the 2017 class. The 4-star prospect is the eighth-ranked weak-side defensive end, 15th-ranked player in the state of California and 102nd-ranked player in the nation, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

The rise of quarterback play in football at all levels has made the demand for pass-rushers greater than ever.

Not only does Johnson fill the need as an edge-rusher, but he also excels in the role with the potential to get even better, per Greg Biggins of Scout.com:

He's very well put together and has an ideal frame to pack on even more muscle without losing any of his quickness. He's relentless in pursuit and plays with a non-stop motor. He's very strong and can toss opposing tackles aside and has the speed to run around them as well. He's not just tough, he plays with an edge to him and is one of those players you're never comfortable going up against.

Making Johnson even more appealing as a prospect is his size. The 6'5", 240-pounder has room to fill out and not lose any of the speed that makes him quick off the edge.

As of Monday, Johnson was the only defensive end in Miami's 2017 class, per 247Sports, so there is a need at the position moving forward. The Hurricanes were a disappointing 65th in the nation last year with 26 sacks, so they could use a difference-maker like Johnson to anchor the defensive line in 2017 and beyond.

Johnson plays with a relentless fire and always strives to outwork his opponent, never being content to get by on natural ability. Combine all the pieces together, and he looks like a future superstar who won't need a lot of time to develop in his new home.

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CeeDee Lamb Recommits to Oklahoma: Sooners Land 4-Star WR Prospect

The Oklahoma Sooners added a future playmaker to their aerial attack Monday, when wide receiver prospect CeeDee Lamb rejoined their 2017 recruiting class.

Lamb took to Twitter to announce the news:

The 4-star prospect is the No. 252 overall player, No. 34 wide receiver and No. 40 recruit from the state of Texas in the 2017 class, per 247Sports’ composite rankings.

The 6’2 ½”, 172-pound receiver had previously committed to Oklahoma but decommitted April 29 "to think things over," per Joey Helmer of 247Sports.

Helmer said Lamb chose Oklahoma over Texas A&M. Hudl shared some highlights that indicated why the Sooners and Aggies were interested in the receiver:

Gerry Hamilton of ESPN noted Lamb’s feet and physical style of play were two reasons why “college coaches loved” his game in the spring. Lamb also has the height to serve as a red-zone target at the next level, and his physicality will help him outmuscle defensive backs in jump-ball situations and on critical third downs.

Lamb brings more than just height and physicality to the table. Gabe Brooks of Scout.com wrote the prospect “possesses sudden athleticism” as well as “the speed to take the top off defenses” and create separation downfield against cornerbacks and pursuing safeties.

With his quickness and athleticism, Lamb should be able to turn short plays into game-changing touchdowns. Brooks also described Lamb as a “willing blocker,” which should quickly earn him respect from his teammates.

The Sooners are building a formidable group of wide receivers in their 2017 class. According to 247Sports, 4-star pass-catchers Charleston Rambo and Jalen Reagor are also going to Oklahoma next year to play alongside Lamb.

Oklahoma ranked 17th in the nation in yards per game through the air last season and often relied on the passing attack to rack up points in the offense-happy Big 12. Head coach Bob Stoops will have plenty of weapons to work with in the coming years after Lamb's recommitment.

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LSU Tigers 2016 College Football Betting Preview, Championship Odds

LSU disappointed last season, and by the end it nearly canned head coach Les Miles. However, heading into this season, oddsmakers at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark expect a rebound, listing the Tigers among the favorites to win not just the SEC, but also the national championship.

2015 LSU Record: 9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS

2016 regular-season wins over/under: 9.5

2016 odds to win SEC: +350

Odds to win national championship: +1400

 

Last Year in Review

LSU started 7-0 last season, but that was expected. Everybody down by the bayou knew the Tigers' season depended upon the outcome of their trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and maybe the trip to Oxford, Mississippi, as well. LSU lost to Alabama for the fifth time in a row, then, deflated, fell at home to Arkansas and lost to Ole Miss. Suddenly, Miles was in danger of losing his job.

However, they kept the coach around. The team responded, beating Texas A&M in the season finale before crushing Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl 56-27 and easily covering as seven-point favorites. But that's now four seasons in a row the Tigers have lost at least three games, and it's hard to contend for the national title losing that many.

 

This Year in Preview

There is hope, though. LSU returns 17 starters for this season, tied for the most in the SEC and tied for third-most in all of FBS. Eight starters return on offense, including running back Leonard Fournette (1,900 rushing yards, 22 touchdowns last year), quarterback Brandon Harris (9-4 in 13 career starts) and three along the offensive line. Meanwhile, nine starters are back on defense, so that unit expects to improve upon the 24 points per game it allowed last season.

 

LSU 2016 Schedule

The Tigers will play one of the top 10 schedules in the country this season. They open with a trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to play the Wisconsin Badgers at Lambeau Field. From there, they get four winnable SEC road games, the toughest coming against Auburn and Florida, host Ole Miss and Alabama at Death Valley and miss two of the top teams in the East in Tennessee and Georgia. LSU has a chance, once again, to be unbeaten heading into its late-season showdown with the Crimson Tide.

 

Betting on the Tigers

LSU should be in the mix for a spot in the College Football Playoff this season. But everybody knows it, so the Tigers won't be sneaking up on anyone; they're already favored by 10 points on the college football betting lines for their opener in Wisconsin. As with all good teams, LSU will be favored by a bunch when playing at home, except for the Alabama game, while friendlier spreads will be found on the road.

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Projecting College Football's 2016 All-Breakout Team

Everyone in college football is always looking for the next big thing. Teams want to see players surge up the depth chart and become stars. Fans want to see hype pay off for the athletes they've heard all about during the long offseason.

College football demands a constant cycling of stars thanks to the four-year window of eligibility and the chance for elite players to jump to the NFL early. And that's not as easy as simply plugging in February's highest-rated recruits into holes on the depth chart.

As the offseason moves closer to fall camp, here are the picks for 2016's all-breakout team in college football. These are the potential stars at every position, based on offseason performance, importance to their respective teams, past experience and recruiting rankings. This team contains a full offense and a full defense, as well as an extra wide receiver and inside linebacker. 

In picking this team, I tried to avoid picking players who were regular starters in 2015 or are true freshman heading into the 2016 campaign. The result is a team with players who have waited their turn to become stars for their respective teams and are ready to become some of the nation's best.

A lot of tough cuts were made, and plenty of excellent breakout candidates didn't land on this squad. Pick your own all-breakout teams in the comments below.

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Treon Harris to Transfer from Florida: Latest Comments and Reaction

After two disappointing seasons, quarterback Treon Harris will transfer from the University of Florida, the school confirmed Monday. 

Harris, who will have two years of eligibility remaining, threw for 1,676 yards and nine touchdowns against six interceptions last season. He lost the starting job to Will Grier and was reportedly planning a switch to wide receiver in 2016, per Mike Huguenin of Gridiron Now.

Grier, who was issued an NCAA suspension last October, has since transferred to West Virginia. Florida will likely choose between transfers Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby for its starting quarterback job this season. Freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask could also be in the mix.

Harris arrived in Gainesville as a touted dual-threat out of Booker T. Washington High School in Miami. He injected life into the offense as a freshman, throwing for nine touchdowns against four picks and adding a flair on the ground. While his consistency as a passer wasn't great, Harris' propensity for big plays created big expectations heading into 2015.

They never came to fruition. He lost out to Grier in a quarterback battle and only wound up taking over when Grier was issued his suspension. Florida made it to the SEC Championship Game almost entirely on the back of its defense, and Harris was suspended in March for an undisclosed reason.

If he chooses to transfer to another FBS school, Harris will have to sit out the 2016 season. He has not used his redshirt, so he will have two years of eligibility remaining regardless.

It's an inauspicious end to a career that looked promising just two years ago. When the Gators landed Grier and Harris, it seemed like they'd have a difficult time choosing between two potential superstars. Now, both are gone, leaving head coach Jim McElwain with even bigger offensive question marks in 2016.

Del Rio threw just 18 career passes at Oregon State before transferring. Appleby has thrown as many touchdowns as interceptions (19) in his career and couldn't keep his job at Purdue. It's not exactly an ideal situation if McElwain hopes to repeat as SEC East champs.

    

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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Ohio State Football: Biggest Storylines Heading into Fall Camp

The beginning of fall camp is less than two weeks away for head coach Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are gearing up for another Big Ten title and College Football Playoff run.

That quest officially starts on September 3, when the Buckeyes kick off their season against Bowling Green in Ohio Stadium. But the unofficial start of the season will begin on August 7, when fall camp commences in Columbus.

Here are the biggest storylines as the Buckeyes head into the 2016 campaign.

   

Integrating the 2016 Recruiting Class

One of the stiffest challenges every team faces is the integration of its new freshmen.

Ohio State should have an easier time than most due to the high level of skill in its 2016 class. The Buckeyes checked in at No. 4 in the '16 recruiting rankings with a group that was anchored by 5-star defensive end Nick Bosa—the younger brother of former Buckeyes and superstar defensive end Joey Bosa.

Meyer wants Nick Bosa, and many of his fellow freshmen, to make an immediate impact this fall.

"I hope 18 of them play," Meyer said of his 2016 recruiting class, according to Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com. "I'm going to make sure we're pushing [the freshmen] out there, let them go play."

A number of freshmen got a head start by enrolling early and taking part of winter conditioning and spring camp. That group is headlined by offensive guard Michael Jordan, who is battling for the starting right guard spot, and wide receiver Austin Mack, who's working his way into the perimeter rotation.

But if any of the other members of Ohio State's '16 class want to log significant minutes this fall, they'll need to adjust to the collegiate level quickly.

   

Continuing the 2017 Recruiting Momentum

While Meyer and the coaching staff work their new freshmen into the system, they'll be tightening their grasp on 2017's No. 1 recruiting ranking.

The Buckeyes are coming off an enormous weekend after securing commitments from 4-star defensive end Chase Young and 4-star defensive back Amir Riep.

The surge was a result of Ohio State's biggest recruiting event of the year—Friday Night Lights—a football camp that annually gets many of the Buckeyes' top targets on campus to experience Ohio Stadium firsthand.

With Young and Riep in the fold, Ohio State's 2017 class now has 16 members, 12 of whom rank inside 247Sports' top 150. The Buckeyes aren't done, of course, as 5-star targets such as cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, running back Cam Akers and wide receiver Trevon Grimes are still on the board.

All three of those prospects are favored to land with the Buckeyes, according to 247Sports' "crystal ball" predictions.

   

Life Without Bri'onte Dunn

Ohio State was already facing the tall task of replacing running back Ezekiel Elliott, the engine in last year's offense who ran for 1,821 yards and 23 touchdowns during the Buckeyes' 12-1 2015 campaign.

And last week, that process took a big hit when redshirt senior Bri'onte Dunn was kicked off the team.

Dunn was in a heated battle with redshirt freshman Mike Weber for the starting job, but regardless of how that competition shook out, Dunn was in line for significant action this fall. Running backs coach Tony Alford praised Dunn for the progress he had made this spring.

"He's playing really hard and I've been impressed with that," Alford said, according to Tim Shoemaker of Eleven Warriors. "He's really playing hard and trying to take some leadership in the room and own that. I've been very pleased with him as a senior in our unit room."

With Dunn out of the picture, the Buckeyes will likely rely on Weber in more of a workhorse role, but others such as H-backs Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson and true freshman Antonio Williams should factor in as well. 

   

The Depth Chart

After losing 16 starters from last year's team, Ohio State will look drastically different when it takes the field against Bowling Green in the season opener on September 3.

Building a new depth chart was a process that was supposed to start in spring camp, but Meyer had a hard time doing so with 11 key contributors working their way back from injury.

"You'd like to, but I don't think so," Meyer said of establishing a two-deep, according to Eric Seger of Eleven Warriors. "With 11 guys out, that's the thing that kicks you in the teeth. If everybody's ready to go, I think you could do that. But we're not."

Perimeter playmakers such as Samuel, Wilson, Noah Brown and Corey Smith were all limited or held out of spring camp, but all should be healthy and provide a huge boost to the wide receiver room. Key defenders such as Tyquan Lewis (defensive end) and Marshon Lattimore (defensive back) should benefit from summer rehab as well, but the coaching staff needs to keep its players healthy to find the right pecking order.

That's the main priority for the first few weeks of fall camp. Once that's established, the Buckeyes will officially begin to fine-tune their playbook and game plan. 

   

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.

David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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College Football's Most Expensive Ticket Prices for 2016 Season

Attending a college football game is often inexpensive, but marquee matchups typically include a hefty price tag.

In 2016, seven contests—not including conference championships or bowl games—have already reached the $200 mark on StubHub. Several others are certain to eclipse the mark.

Although the lowest price for each showdown will rise and fall depending on ticket availability, the following 10 are the most expensive outings this season.

The biggest lesson? Being an Alabama or Notre Dame fan isn't cheap.

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Tray Bishop to Auburn: Tigers Land 4-Star Athlete Prospect

Tray Bishop is the proverbial jack-of-all-trades, and he'll be taking his diverse skill set to Auburn after committing to the Tigers on Monday, per Chad Simmons of Scout.com. 

"My final decision was made last week, and it came down to the relationship with the coaches and the atmosphere at Auburn," Bishop said to Simmons. "The offense they run made it easier for me to make my decision because it is similar to ours."

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Bishop is the No. 3 athlete and the No. 148 player overall in the 2017 recruiting class. He's also the 18th-best player in Georgia.

The scholarship offers have been pouring in for Bishop, with seven SEC schools and a variety of other major programs taking the step, per 247Sports. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn attempted to go the extra mile, both figuratively and literally, driving Bishop around in his BMW, per Wesley Sinor of AL.com:

Bishop may be listed as an athlete, but he might already have a position in mind for when he eventually heads to Auburn.

"Right now, how they're talking, it's [to play] the quarterback position," he said of the Tigers coaching staff in February, per Drew Champlin of AL.com. "Most schools have offered me as an athlete, but with Auburn, I can see myself playing quarterback at their school for the simple fact that the offense they run is similar to the offense we run."

Not only has Malzahn showed an affinity for mobile quarterbacks, but he has also used them to great success at the school. He was Auburn's offensive coordinator when the team won the national championship with Cam Newton in the 2010 season, and he helped get the Tigers to a national title game with Nick Marshall at quarterback in the 2013 season.

While watching highlights of Bishop, one could easily see him moving seamlessly into the Auburn offense:

At most schools, Bishop probably wouldn't work as a quarterback. Malzahn did a great job of masking Marshall's failings as a passer, and he could easily do the same for Bishop. Accuracy will obviously be a key factor in his potential success, but Marshall was a 60.2 percent passer in his two years with the Tigers.

Positioning Bishop at quarterback in the depth chart would also make sense, given Sean White is heading into his sophomore season. White was the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the 2014 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He also threw for 1,167 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions as a freshman.

By the time White is preparing to leave Auburn, Bishop will have had time to work on some of his issues as a passer and ideally improved to an extent he can help the Tigers.

Having White will also be a nice luxury in that the staff will have time to determine whether Bishop's future lies at quarterback. Considering his combination of speed and athleticism, he could easily transition to wide receiver or a role in the secondary.

As long as Auburn can settle on one position for Bishop relatively early, thus ensuring he gets the coaching specialization he needs as soon as possible, he should become an impact player for the Tigers in a few years.

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Multiple Washington State Football Players Accused of Assault

Several Washington State football players are at the center of an assault investigation after one student suffered a fractured jaw and another was knocked unconscious at a party early Saturday morning.

Chad Sokol of the Spokesman-Review reported on the incident, which allegedly featured an undisclosed number of football players. None of the players involved have been identified.

Alex Rodriguez, a 21-year-old student at WSU, needed surgery to repair his jaw after the melee.

The student who was knocked unconscious, who did not publicly identify himself, said the players were being destructive and shooting fireworks among the crowd. He then asked them to leave, at which point he was allegedly attacked.

"All I remember is telling them to leave multiple times," the student told Sokol. "I came to on the ground with police and EMTs over me."

Video of the altercation, captured on Snapchat by an attendee of the party, has made its way online:

Washington State Associate Director of Athletics Bill Stevens said the school was aware of the incident. However, coaches did not comment, and Stevens called it "a team matter."

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B/R Recruiting Notebook: 4-Star DB Talks Busy Week; New LSU Commit Eyeing 5-Star

The weekend was productive for North Carolina State, TroyMississippi State and Virginia Tech. Collectively, the four schools landed 14 commitments between Friday and Sunday.

It's that time of year where we see commitments in bunches around the country. As we prepare for the month of August, more athletes are looking to solidify their college futures before the start of their senior seasons. Look for several big names to make verbal commitments in the near future.

Recruiting is hot, and here are a few updates from the 2017 class.

           

Busy week of traveling for 4-star JKP

Ohio State increased its lead in the 247Sports recruiting composite team rankings after landing 4-star defensive end Chase Young during its Friday Night Lights camp and 4-star cornerback Amir Riep the day after.

The Buckeyes have 16 commits and are hoping to add to the class with Detroit 4-star safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell. The Cass Technical High School standout was in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend for the Friday event and gave the trip high marks.

"It was great. I spent time with all the coaches and all my [Cass Tech] alumni brothers like Mike Weber, Damon Webb and Josh Alabi," Kelly-Powell said. "We watched some film, played games and watched the camp. The stands were filled with a bunch of fans wanting all the recruits to commit."

The Ohio State trip capped a busy week for Kelly-Powell, a top-20 safety and top-300 player overall in the 2017 class. He visited Kentucky last Sunday, Alabama on Monday, Auburn on Tuesday, Tennessee on Wednesday and Thursday and Missouri on Saturday.

In addition to Ohio State, the trip to Auburn, Kelly-Powell said, was one that impressed. The 6'0", 175-pound defensive back described the visit as "amazing."

"I'd never got a chance to really see the campus," Kelly-Powell said. "The campus is pretty cool. The Heisman statues on campus was real cool. The dorm rooms there are like apartments. I had a lot of fun, and I got to talk to the coaches and see the team in a relaxed environment."

Kelly-Powell has 42 reported offers and said he's still "taking everything day by day" with his process. He doesn't plan on making any major decisions soon and added he's using this time to start weeding out schools.

          

New LSU cornerback commit targeting 5-star

LSU won a big recruiting battle Sunday when Port Arthur, Texas, 4-star cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. gave the Tigers his verbal commitment. A Texas A&M legacy, Vincent chose LSU over offers from the Aggies, TCU, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn and others.

Vincent was in Baton Rouge over the weekend for an LSU picnic catered to some of the program's top targets. He made the trip as a silent LSU pledge and later made his commitment public Sunday evening by way of a Campus Insiders video.

Vincent said the "home feeling" received on the visits played a role in his decision. He also credited LSU's history of producing solid defensive backs. Lastly, Vincent said his decision was a "gut feeling."

"It was really tough but really fun knowing you can go wherever you want in the country," said Vincent, a 5'11", 170-pound cornerback who has 32 reported offers.

Combined with the commitment of 3-star offensive tackle Seth Stewart on Saturday, LSU now has 17 commitments in its 2017 class. Vincent said he hopes to bring in pledge No. 18 in a fellow Texan who would be a huge get for the LSU secondary.

"Jeffrey Okudah," Vincent said, referring to the 5-star defensive back with 34 reported offers. "I feel that we have the same mindset. He's a leader and is focused on the bigger picture, and that's winning and making the people around him better."

            

Time it takes for Jeudy to impress: 70 seconds

Pompano Beach, Florida, 4-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy gave the 32 schools that reportedly offered him scholarships yet another reason why his every move in recruiting is important.

Over the weekend, Jeudy posted a 70-second video on Twitter showcasing his speed, acceleration, pass-catching ability and, perhaps most importantly, his route running. Entering Monday morning, the video had more than 1,400 retweets and more than 1,900 likes.

Alabama is the school to watch for Jeudy. Per his 247Sports Crystal Ball, Alabama is a heavy favorite in the recruiting race, but in-state schools Florida, Miami and Florida State will be doing their parts to sell Jeudy before national signing day. On Friday, Jeudy dominated at Florida's Friday Night Lights camp, according to 247Sports' Luke Stampini.

At 6'1", 177 pounds, Jeudy is ranked the No. 6 receiver and No. 35 overall player in the 2017 class. He was a major contributor for Vapor Speed, the team that won the seven-on-seven championship at The Opening.

       

16 to choose from for 4-star offensive lineman Banks

It's game-on for 4-star offensive lineman Aaron Banks.

The El Cerrito, California, standout—who, at 6'7" and 344 pounds, can play tackle or guard at the next level—nearly trimmed his list of schools in half Sunday evening. Banks, who has 29 reported offers, announced a top 16 on Twitter.

Of the 16 schools, half of them represent the Pac-12: Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Washington. The SEC is represented by Arkansas, Florida and Vanderbilt, and the Big Ten is represented by Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Miami and Notre Dame also made Banks' cut.

Banks' 247Sports profile has USC, Michigan and Oregon as three schools "warm" on his list. Notre Dame is the latest school to offer.

          

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player rankings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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Big 12 2016 Betting Preview: Sooners Odds Favorites to Win Weaker Conference

Still playing without a conference championship game, the Oklahoma Sooners head into the 2016 season looking to build off their first College Football Playoff appearance in school history.

The Sooners will do so as strong -140 betting favorites (bet $140 to win $100) to win the Big 12 again at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark, while some of the conference’s top title contenders from the recent past are expected to take a step back.

Led by one of the Heisman Trophy odds favorites in quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma should be primed for another strong year, especially with teams like the TCU Horned Frogs and Baylor Bears losing key personnel from a year ago.

While he was not a Heisman finalist last season, Mayfield still finished fourth in the voting after throwing for 3,700 yards with 36 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his first year at the school. Mayfield started his college career as a freshman with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are tied as the +500 second choice to win the Big 12 on the college football futures and tied TCU for second place in the conference last season. The Cowboys started last year at 10-0 before losing their last three games by double digits to the Bears and Sooners in Big 12 play, then the Ole Miss Rebels in the Sugar Bowl to close out the campaign.

The Horned Frogs are also +500 and no longer have electric quarterback Trevone Boykin under center, leaving head coach Gary Patterson with a tough decision to make before their season opener. Either transfer Kenny Hill from the Texas A&M Aggies or sophomore Foster Sawyer is expected to take over for the departed Boykin.

The Texas Longhorns (+750) are a team to watch in head coach Charlie Strong’s third year at the helm. Strong has yet to post a winning record in his first two years in Austin, but the talent aggregated from his recent recruiting classes should be as good as any team in the conference.

Meanwhile, Baylor (+800) has gone through some major turmoil this offseason following the firing of head coach Art Briles due to player misconduct. The Bears would likely be among the favorites to win the Big 12 this year if not for the scandal that also saw school president Ken Starr and athletics director Ian McCaw lose their jobs.

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SEC Football: Bold Predictions for 2016 Fall Camp

College football fall camp is just around the corner, which means many of the position battles around the SEC will begin to come into focus before we know it.

Which position battles will be settled? Which will linger? What other storylines will emerge during fall camp?

Based on history, talent, scheme and trajectory, let's walk through some bold predictions for SEC fall camp.

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B/R Recruiting CFB 200: Top Athletes of 2017 Class

After thorough study using specific scoring criteria, Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analysts Damon SaylesSanjay Kirpalani and Tyler Donohue have graded the top 200 players in the 247Sports composite rankings and provided in-depth analysis on each young athlete. Bleacher Report will run a position-by-position breakdown series of the best college football recruits in the class of 2017. Here we present the Top Athletes.

 

The success of two-way standouts such as UCLA's Myles Jack and USC's Adoree' Jackson in recent years continues to cast a light on prospects who can provide options across the field. Position-versatile prospects are perennially among the most prized players of each recruiting cycle.

That remains the case in this push toward national signing day 2017, as coaches across college football haven't shied away from targeting athletes who've yet to land a specific positional label. Some may arrive on campus working with receivers before stepping into the spotlight at defensive back and vice versa.

An impressive collection of 2017 playmakers remain in the "athletes" mix, not quite relegated to a singular segment of recruiting rankings. Though that could change as things progress—three such top-200 prospects recently received a position tag—this stretch of summer presents an opportune time to analyze each talent.

Our review included an assessment of athletes based on criteria of the position we believe they project strongest among collegiate competition. Here's a glimpse at these promising players, including the latest developments in their respective recruiting process.

 

Player order and star ratings based on 247Sports' composite rankings through July 21. Unless otherwise noted, player stats are courtesy of 247Sports. Quotes and information acquired firsthand by the authors. 

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Tennessee Football: Biggest Storylines Heading into Fall Camp

The three players who represented the Tennessee football program at SEC media days a couple of weeks back handled the questions from the media contingent like old pros.

By now, quarterback Joshua Dobbs, outside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and cornerback Cameron Sutton are that. They're seasoned veterans, not only in front of the cameras, but also comfortable in the second skin of the orange and white uniforms.

Yes, they said, they know about the expectations and embrace them. No, they didn't want to respond to Florida's annual trash-talking games. Yes, they're more comfortable as leaders in this program because they know what to expect from each other and the coaching staff. No, they don't anticipate a letdown.

There were few surprises when the Vols spoke. Will there be any once they get on the field?

For the first time in nearly a decade, it'll be a stunner if UT isn't good. With so much talent, depth and experience—not to mention potentially dynamic players in important positions—the Vols should contend this year, at least for the SEC East title.

If they don't, they'll fall short of the buzz brewing on Rocky Top that is flowing like Jack Daniel's on a Neyland Stadium football Saturday.

With fall drills less than a week away now, expected to start on Aug. 1, there are several storylines UT fans need to pay close attention to once the players hit the field. Let's take a look at some of the important pressure points that need addressing in order for the Vols to meet their massive expectations.

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Kary Vincent to LSU: Tigers Land 4-Star CB Prospect

The LSU Tigers bolstered their future secondary Sunday, securing a commitment from highly touted cornerback recruit Kary Vincent Jr.

Vincent announced his decision in a video on Campus Insiders:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, the 4-star prospect is the No. 17 cornerback, No. 18 player from Texas and No. 122 prospect in the 2017 recruiting class.

Vincent was pursued heavily by in-state schools such as TCU, Texas A&M and Texas throughout his recruitment but also received interest from other high-profile programs across the nation such as Oregon, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida, per 247Sports.

The Port Arthur, Texas, native had no shortage of options, and he took a methodical approach when deciding, according to Andrew Nemec of the Oregonian:

I research and analyze things so when it comes down to it I'll be in a great position with who I visit. I won't waste any coaches' time, just like I wouldn't want them to waste mine. I'm very grateful for the offers I have. This summer, I plan on putting everything out and continuing my analysis of the schools I want to look into further.

After doing his homework on all the schools that courted him over the past year, Vincent came to the decision that LSU represents the best fit for him.

Vincent has the physical tools to be a star at the collegiate level. It starts with his bloodline, as his father was a wide receiver at Texas A&M.

Although the younger Vincent decided to become a force on the defensive side, he is still dangerous with the ball in his hands, as he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a high school junior in addition to intercepting three passes, per MaxPreps.

Vincent also has decent size for a defensive back at 5'11" and 170 pounds, which should allow him to avoid getting pushed around by big, physical receivers in the college game.

In addition, Vincent will enter the college ranks with the benefit of having played against a high level of competition in Texas.

There figures to be an adjustment period, especially since corners have to deal with some uptempo, prolific passing attacks in the SEC, but Vincent should be prepared to make the leap.

          

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Adarius Lemons to Florida: Gators Land 4-Star RB Prospect

The Florida Gators reportedly added some firepower to their future backfield on Sunday when running back recruit Adarius Lemons joined their 2017 class.     

Derek Tyson of ESPN and Blake Alderman of Rivals reported the news.

Lemons is a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and the No. 139 overall player, No. 8 running back and No. 27 recruit from the state of Florida in the 2017 class.

The 6’0 ½” and 195-pound back hails from Clearwater, Florida, and mentioned playing close to home as one reason he chose the Gators, per Tyson: “I want them to see me, and the transportation, with the condition my family is now, it would probably be hard for them to come out and watch me perform if I am far away.”

Lemons committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels in March, but he flipped to the SEC’s Florida a mere two days after he visited the program for its Friday Night Lights camp, per Tyson.

Lemons took to Twitter to discuss his decision:

Florida wasn’t the only blue-chip program interested in Lemons. Schools such as Ohio State, Michigan, Miami (Florida), Tennessee, LSU and Auburn were all on 247Sports' college list for the youngster, and Hudl.com shared some highlights that captured why so many top-notch teams were pursuing him:

Lemons’ speed will help him make a difference at the next level. Scout.com said observers “see a track guy playing football” when the running back is streaking downfield, and that acceleration will allow him to burst through openings up front and turn small gains into game-changing plays. He is also physical enough to run through arm tackles. 

As of Sunday, there are no other running backs in Florida’s 2017 class on 247Sports. That means Lemons could have the opportunity to use that speed to challenge for early playing time once he arrives on campus.

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Jonathan Sutherland to Penn State: Nittany Lions Land 4-Star Safety Prospect

Talented safety Jonathan Sutherland announced Sunday he's committing to the Penn State Nittany Lions. 

"I'm so excited to be committed to Penn State," Sutherland said, per Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. "It's an absolute honor to be part of this program."

Sutherland also tweeted about his decision:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Sutherland is the No. 23 safety and No. 266 player overall in the 2017 recruiting class.

PennLive.com's Greg Pickel wrote Penn State had been the heavy favorite to earn his commitment:

Penn State has been hosting the safety for camps since he was in eighth grade, and while the Lions have missed out on Sutherland's other training mates in Canada like corner Patrice Rene (who picked North Carolina) and Luiji Villian (an end verbally committed to Michigan), it is expected to land him after he visited campus for two days last weekend. It marked his first stop on campus in some time, and according to those close to Sutherland, the trip blew him away.

He's the second safety to commit to the school, joining 3-star recruit Brelin Faison-Walden, who ranks 31st at his position and 447th overall, per 247Sports. The Nittany Lions will further supplement the secondary with the arrival of 3-star D.J. Brown, who's the 115th-best cornerback in 2017.

Getting Sutherland on board is big for Penn State since head coach James Franklin hasn't enjoyed a ton of success on the recruiting trail. After ranking second in the Big Ten in 2015 and then fourth in 2016, the Nittany Lions are ninth in the conference for 2017, per 247Sports' composite team rankings.

Sutherland should become a reliable member of Penn State's secondary over the course of his college career, but he's unlikely to be an immediate hit.

He doesn't lack ideal size (6'0", 195 lbs) for his position, and he ran a 4.84-second 40-yard dash at The Opening Washington, D.C. in April, per StudentSportsEvents.com. Safeties don't often line up in man coverage against wideouts, but Sutherland's lack of speed could hinder his potential.

Sutherland is a good run defender, though, and Bleacher Report's Tyler Donahue shared a clip of Sutherland at The Opening showing off his agility in pass coverage:

The Alexandria, Virginia, native has a relatively high floor since he can contribute against both the run and pass. Even if he doesn't become an All-American-caliber safety, Sutherland should grow into a steady starter for Penn State.

     

Note: Recruit info is courtesy of 247Sports.

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Sam Foltz, Mike Sadler Die in Car Accident Following Football Camp

Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were killed in a car accident Sunday morning.

Kevin Cole of the Omaha World-Herald reported Foltz's death, with Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green confirming the accident occurred while he "was on his way home from a football camp at the University of Wisconsin."

Jon Johnston of Corn Nation reported that Sadler was killed in the same accident. SB Nation shared the police report, which noted LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was also involved in the crash:

Per Ross Dellenger of the Advocate, an LSU spokesman said Delahoussaye was hospitalized after the crash. He needed stitches and suffered burns to his legs.

Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio offered condolences to his former player's loved ones on Twitter:

"All of the University of Nebraska is heartbroken," Green said, according to Cole. "I don't know what else to say."

The Nebraska athletic department shared its thoughts on Twitter:

Kohl's Kicking Camps issued a release following the news of Foltz and Sadler's deaths:

Cornhuskers head football coach Mike Riley released a statement, via ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg: "Sam was universally loved and respected by everyone he touched and on whom he had a positive influence."

Foltz, 22, was entering his senior season with the Cornhuskers. He was named the Big Ten Punter of the Year in 2015 and was on the recently released preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the nation's top punter.

Sadler, 24, was a four-year starter at Michigan State from 2011-14 and a member of the 2013 team that won the school's first Rose Bowl since 1988. He had a key play in a 2013 win against Iowa, running a fake punt 25 yards for a first down on 4th-and-seven to set up a field goal that put the Spartans up 23-14.

According to Sadler's page on the Michigan State athletics website, he was a four-time Academic All-American and a semifinalist for the Guy Award in 2013.

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Iowa DL Faith Ekakitie Held at Gunpoint by Police While Playing 'Pokemon Go'

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie was stopped and searched by Iowa City Police on Wednesday, with four officers holding him at gunpoint.

Ekakitie wrote about the situation on Facebook, and his account of the events began getting attention over the weekend.

Ekakitie said he fit a suspect profile for a recent armed robbery but was simply playing Pokemon Go, had his headphones on and didn't realize cops were approaching him:

Today was the first time that I've ever truly feared for my life, and I have the media to thank for that.

Today I was surrounded and searched by approximately five Iowa City Police Officers. My pockets were checked, my backpack was opened up and searched carefully, and I was asked to lift up my shirt while they searched my waistband. Not once did they identify themselves to me as Iowa City Police officers, but with four gun barrels staring me in the face, I wouldn't dare question the authority of the men and woman in front of me. This is what happened from my point of view.

From the police officers['] point of view, all they knew was that a bank had just been robbed less than ten minutes ago. The suspect was a large black male, wearing all black, with something on top of his head and the suspect is armed. As they drive past an Iowa City park that was less than 3 minutes away from the bank that was just robbed, they notice a large black man, dressed in all black, with black goggles on his head. They quickly move to action and identify themselves as the Iowa City police and ask me to turn around and place my hands up. I do not comply, they ask again, and again no response from me. So they all draw their guns and begin to slowly approach the suspect. In this situation, what the media would fail to let people know is that the suspect had his headphones in the entire time the Police Officers approached him initially. The suspect had actually just pulled up to the park because he was playing a newly popular Game called Pokemon Go. The suspect didn't realize that there were four cops behind him because his music was blaring in his ears. The suspect had reached into his pockets, for something which was his phone, but for all the cops could have known, he was reaching for a gun. The suspect could very well become another statistic on this day.

I am not one to usually rant on Facebook or anywhere else, but with all of the crazy things that have been happening in our world these past couple of weeks it is hard to stay silent. I am thankful to be alive, and I do now realize that it very well could have been me, a friend of mine, my brother, your cousin, your nephew etc. Misunderstandings happen all the time and just like that things can go south very quickly. It is extremely sad that our society has brainwashed us all to the point where we can't feel safe being approached by the police officers in our respective communities. Not all police officers are out to get you, but at the same time, not all people who fit a criminal profile are criminals.

To close his post, Ekakitie thanked the Iowa City Police for being professional and handling the situation well after the initially aggressive approach.

He also implored others to pay more attention to their surroundings and "at least to attempt to unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our minds and our society."

As Marc Morehouse of the Gazette reported, police responded to the robbery at 1:53 p.m. local time Wednesday. According to the release Morehouse cited, the investigation into the case is ongoing.

Ekakitie is a senior-to-be who appeared in 12 games last season and tallied 13 total tackles and 0.5 sacks, per CFBStats.com.

Many athletes have recently spoken out about violence involving police officers.

NBA players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul opened the ESPY Awards with an introduction that called for a stop to gun violence.

The WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty and Indiana Fever wore black warm-up shirts to raise awareness of the issue. All three teams and the participating players were initially fined, but WNBA President Lisa Borders announced Saturday that the league had withdrawn the fines, per ESPN.com.

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Ranking the Best 5th-Year Seniors in College Football in 2016

College football scholarships provide the opportunity for four seasons of competition spread over five years, which allows players who aren't ready or needed as freshmen to get a chance to ease into the college game. Even with more and more freshmen getting thrown into the fire right away, there are still quite a few who wear a redshirt that first season.

That means if they stick around until the end, they become fifth-year seniors, the highest level of experience in college.

The top fifth-year seniors tend to be a mixture of late bloomers and those who put academics over athletics, forgoing any dreams of playing football professionally until their college days are complete. Some also had to sit out a year somewhere in the middle, either because of injury or a change in schools. These are the 12 best, ranked in order of their individual abilities and what they will mean to their respective teams in the 2016 season.

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