NCAA Football

Why Malachi Dupre Is More Critical for LSU's 2014 Success Than Leonard Fournette

If Leonard Fournette doesn't have a big head after hearing his coach and teammates rave about him at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, he's the most humble man in the world.

Praise was everywhere.

Head coach Les Miles compared the true freshman from New Orleans to legendary NBA star Michael Jordan.

"He expects himself to be something very special," Miles said. "I think if you look at Michael Jordan, he could not have been coached to be Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan accepted the role of expecting him to be better than any. I think he has a quiet confidence there that will benefit him, and I think we will always have an opportunity to play at that spot, the running backs that are fresh."

As if that wasn't enough pressure on Fournette's shoulder's, Terrence Magee—a guy who plays the same position as Fournette and is at risk of losing playing time to the No. 1 overall player in the 2014 recruiting class—went even bigger in terms of football skills, saying that he has the chance to be the best ever at LSU.

No pressure, kid.

While Fournette was the talk of the town—or hotel—when LSU made the rounds, one freshman who wasn't talked about as much as Fournette or quarterback Brandon Harris could have the biggest impact on the 2014 Tigers.

Wide receiver Malachi Dupre.

The 6'3", 188-pound former 5-star prospect from New Orleans was one of several true freshmen that Miles expects to have a big impact on the 2014 Tigers.

"We're a team that will expect some of these freshmen to come in and play," he said. "Leonard Fournette and Malachi Dupre, C.J. (Clifton) Garrett and Brandon Harris, to name four freshmen that we would expect to have great impact on our season."

Dupre is going to have the biggest.

It's no secret that LSU is thin at wide receiver after Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. left for the NFL, but the amount of inexperience outside is staggering. Travin Dural—the Tigers' leading returning receiver—had only seven catches last year for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

That's it. 

With Magee and senior Kenny Hilliard in the backfield with Fournette, running back is the most stable skill position in the LSU offense, despite the loss of Jeremy Hill. Teams will undoubtedly stack the box and force either Harris or sophomore Anthony Jennings—both of whom are unproven quarterbacks—to beat them through the air. 

It's up to Dupre to help them out. 

He doesn't have to do it all himself. Dural has potential, John Diarse and Avery Peterson have potential, and there are other options coming in with the freshman class, including Trey Quinn.

Dupre is the one with the most upside and needs to at least present a downfield threat outside to keep opposing defenses honest. If he can, that will open the door just a little bit more for those running backs and take a little pressure off the quarterback.

If Fournette doesn't live up to the hype, Magee and Hilliard can pick up the slack. They're proven backs who can certainly serve, at the very least, as capable insurance policies. If Harris doesn't shine, Jennings can take the snaps.

Wide receiver is the least stable of all of the skill positions on LSU's offense, which makes Dupre the most important freshman on the roster.

He's got the talent and the size to be a superstar, and if he proves it right off the bat, it will help ease the transition for whoever wins the quarterback job and keep defenses honest against Fournette and the rest of the running backs.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

 

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Florida State Football: ACC Kickoff Gives Us a Look at New, More Mature Winston

Even before the approximately 100 media members had time to ask the first of many questions at ACC Kickoff, Jameis Winston had one himself.

"How does it feel to have an ACC team come in here with a national championship?" the Florida State quarterback said, according to 247Sports' Tim Linafelt. "Can we get the ACC a round of applause? Finally, we took it away from the SEC. It's a blessing."

The Hueytown, Alabama, native, who grew up just a short drive from Alabama and Auburn, delivered quite the punch to the SEC's gut on Jan. 6, leading a final-minute rally as Florida State defeated Auburn 34-31 to win the national title. FSU's win halted the SEC's streak of seven straight national titles.

And it was also quite the punchline as Winston was just getting warmed up on Sunday afternoon. The media is there to do a job, ask questions—often tough ones. But Winston handled all of them with ease. He said all the right things and gave us a look at a new, more mature person.

His 2013 season will go down as one of the best of any freshman in college football history. He threw for a school-record 40 touchdown passes, capturing a Heisman Trophy at 19 and winning a national title on the day he turned 20.

But off the field, Winston has frequently found his way into the headlines.

In November 2013, he was investigated for sexual assault but not arrested or charged by State Attorney Willie Meggs. And in April, Winston was cited—but not arrested—for stealing $32 in seafood from a Publix supermarket near FSU's campus. The two-sport star was suspended for three baseball games in May while he served 20 hours of community service.

Winston wasn't asked directly about the sexual assault investigation, The Palm Beach Post's Matt Porter wrote. But Porter said Winston did address the citation:

I don't go into detail, but I did fix it and I've learned from my mistakes. Like I always say, the leadership I've gained from my past mistakes has gotten better. I learned what it really takes to be a leader and everybody's going to be watching you. You have to do the right thing.

Only time will tell how much Winston has learned from his mistakes. But it appears he's disappointed in himself—and that should make him a better person. And, as the Tallahassee Democrat's Corey Clark points out, FSU sports information officials were there if needed to put a halt to any questions or assist Winston. But "there were never any tense moments," Clark wrote.

He was also asked about one of college football's hot topics, the payment of student-athletes. In the wake of an effort by Northwestern football players to unionize, Winston said (via 247Sports) that he didn't feel a need to be paid while playing college athletics.

We're blessed to get a free education. That's the most important thing. My job as a Florida State Seminole is to be a good student first and then an athlete second. That scholarship that we get every year, that's enough money for me.

Winston spent time talking about football and FSU's outlook for 2014. He told The Post that he has been focusing on his throwing mechanics, specifically "working on my hips." And while FSU loses five starters on each side of the ball, Winston told reporters that "the most important thing is we got our offensive line back."

After winning the Heisman as a freshman, Winston's numbers from 2013 will be compared to his 2014 stats as well as those of other stars in college football this season. Winston is aiming to become the first back-to-back Heisman winner since Ohio State running back Archie Griffin in 1974 and '75.

In response to a question about a Heisman repeat, Winston said: "I want to be a two-time national championship quarterback."

 

Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bob on Twitter.

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Why Jacob Coker and Alabama's QB Battle Should Not Be Top Priority for Saban

The Alabama Crimson Tide have a few positions to fill coming into the 2014 season.

Star QB AJ McCarron has taken his talents to the NFL, leaving Nick Saban looking for the next stud in Tuscaloosa. The secondary is also searching for weapons, with some young talent ready to have an impact immediately. Who do you think will start for the Crimson Tide?

Watch as Bleacher Report's Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee discuss the most competitive position battles at Alabama going into the 2014 season.

 

Highlights Courtesy of XOS Digital. Rankings from 247Sports Composite.

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Michigan Football: Previewing 6 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall Camp

Brady Hoke enters his fourth season with a roster finally stocked with his own recruits. Looking to erase last season’s 7-6 finish, Hoke can eagerly expect a defense that is deep, talented and about to get better with the addition of top recruit Jabrill Peppers.

The offense is another story: Graduation has taken a heavy toll, and key players need to be replaced as Doug Nussmeier looks to install his new system.

Here are the top position battles as Michigan looks to rebound and compete for the Big Ten title.

 

All season statistics from MGoBlue.com, the official University of Michigan athletic department web site.

Phil Callihan is a featured writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained via press conferences or in person.

Follow @PSCallihan

 

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Auburn Football: Previewing 5 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall Camp

The last few days of July can only mean one thing: We are only a few weeks away from the return of college football.

In Auburn, the countdown is on for the start of fall camp and the final stretch of the offseason. The defending SEC champions sorted some things out during a productive spring slate of practices, but there is still some sorting out to do before opening day against Arkansas.

Head coach Gus Malzahn did not release an official post-spring depth chart like he did last season, so there is still some mystery surrounding the replacements for several departed stars from Auburn's 2013 championship campaign.

Before the release of my pre-fall camp depth chart later this week, here is a look at what I consider to be the five biggest position battles that are still raging on the Plains.

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LSU Football: Previewing 5 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall

LSU head coach Les Miles is going through a major media swing. Miles went to SEC media days last week and is going through the ESPN "car wash" Monday. He is a joy to watch whenever he is behind a microphone, as his affable personality captivates the college football world.

But that means little on the football field.

Miles' real work begins in fall practice. The season opener against Wisconsin is just over a month away, and he still has difficult decisions to make at key positions. 

Here are some of the key battles for starting roles that will determined over the next few weeks. 

 

Rankings and stats provided by 247Sports.com and LSU Sports Information. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. 

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USC Football: Previewing 7 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall Practice

As USC heads into its final practice camp before the start of the 2014 college football season, it does so still looking to answer several questions regarding the identity of many of its starting positional players.

Though depth issues remain as an ugly reminder of their recently completed punishment due to the NCAA-mandated sanctions, the Trojans will still be able to sport a solid two-deep for their new head coach, Steve Sarkisian, to choose from when appointing those who will start for the men of Troy this year.

Indeed, it is those battles in this fall camp that will determine who gets the starting nod, and that is the subject of this slideshow.

With many starting positions still up in the air, it is imperative that those players who hope to start put  their best foot forward in these final 15 practice sessions.

But who will those players be?

That remains to be seen, but here are seven positional battles you should keep your eye on…

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USC Football: Previewing 7 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall Practice

As USC heads into its final practice camp before the start of the 2014 college football season, it does so still looking to answer several questions regarding the identity of many of its starting positional players...

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Notre Dame Football: Predicting the Depth Chart Heading into Fall Camp

Uncertainty still abounds at many positions for the Notre Dame football team with fall camp rapidly approaching.

Let’s take a look at our projected depth chart, predicting how things stand right now before camp begins. The focus here will be on identifying the starters and listing the key backups, not necessarily guessing at which specific side a defensive end profiles, for example.

One overriding theme from this exercise is just how unproven yet talented the Irish are in many spots. The development from the summer and into the fall will determine how quickly the Irish adjust to their relative inexperience.

For players still recovering from injuries, we’ll decide their place on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, it may not be reasonable to expect an injured player to be ready for first-team reps during fall camp.

Also, it’s worth noting these are our predictions as we head into fall camp. Even if we expect, say, a freshman to shine in August, that won’t be reflected in the ordering.

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Alabama Creates More Mystery Around QB Jacob Coker at SEC Media Days

If you expected clarity at SEC media days in Hoover, Alabama, on the biggest question mark in the SEC, you were probably disappointed.

The veil of mystery in front of Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker wasn't raised as head coach Nick Saban, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Christion Jones and safety Landon Collins made the rounds at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.

In fact, the representatives created more mystery in the way they answered Coker questions.

What do we know about Coker?

He's big—6'5", 230 pounds—has a big arm and theoretically pushed eventual Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston for the starting quarterback job at Florida State last year, which is more likely to be a motivational tool for Winston than a compliment to Coker.

The biggest thing we learned from media days is that—breaking news—he's not former quarterback AJ McCarron.

"He has a different release, his timing, his release, he has a lot of small things that are different about him," Jones said. "That doesn't mean he has to change, it just means we have to adjust.

"In my opinion, there are no similarities [between former starter AJ McCarron and Coker]," Jones added. "He's his own player. He drops back different. He looks different. His arm release is different. They really aren't comparable. It's totally different."

Cooper echoed the sentiments.

"He's big, he's tall, he has a strong arm, he's smart and he takes command in the huddle when we are in seven-on-seven, which are all qualities you want to have in a quarterback," Cooper said. "I'm waiting on camp to come to see how he progresses in camp."

A new NCAA rule allowed Saban and the rest of the Alabama staff to work with players during summer conditioning for up to 10 hours per week. You'd think that would be enough time for Saban to be able to provide a little bit of insight into who Coker is as a player.

When asked to explain some of Coker's strengths and weaknesses, Saban answered in depth—about senior quarterback Blake Sims.

Look, I don't want to minimize the other quarterbacks in our program who have been there and worked hard trying to develop and compete for the job. I'll just say that Blake Sims is a senior who did a great job in the spring. He didn't have a great spring game, but we didn't really do the things that he could do. This is an open competition, and Jacob is going to get every opportunity to win the job. He has handled everything extremely well. He's a hard worker who engages well with the players.

The goal for Alabama's contingent at media days was simple—keep the mystery around Coker up as long as possible, and if possible, create more.

Mission accomplished.

These aren't necessarily uncharted waters for Alabama.

A quarterback battle was looming on the horizon even during the 2012 season, when it wasn't set in stone that McCarron would come back for 2013. But the combination of no proven backup and a graduate transfer with very little game experience and none in meaningful situations has sent the quarterback position to the other end of the pendulum this offseason.

McCarron stabilized it. Now it's littered with uncertainty.

Quite the swing for the most high-profile position on the most high-profile program in college football.

You couple the quarterback uncertainty with the arrival of new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, and it can't be a comforting feeling for Alabama fans. The former USC coach let a quarterback battle wage two weeks into the season in 2013. Not coincidentally, he was looking for work a few weeks later after being dismissed by the Trojans.

The silver lining for Coker, Sims and Alabama is that, whoever wins the job, he doesn't have to win football games. All he has to do is be a caretaker. The deep and talented running back corps coupled with the wealth of receiving weapons will allow the Tide to stay old-school, pound the rock and take advantage of play-action.

If Jones is right and Coker is smart, that will be enough for Alabama to be successful. If he's not, that Florida defense will be looming late in September and may give Alabama a tougher game than envisioned.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.


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Ohio State Football: Predicting the Depth Chart Heading into Fall Camp

The Ohio State football team is gearing up for another run at a national title, and that journey starts in two weeks when the team officially reports for fall camp.

Urban Meyer has a talented roster that's loaded with players he recruited, but the Buckeyes are still working to fill the void left by playmakers such as Ryan Shazier, Bradley Roby and Carlos Hyde.

Ohio State lost 10 starters and a number of key backups from last year's team. With fall camp nearing, here's what the Buckeyes' depth chart should look like heading into the 2014 season.

 

Starters listed in bold.

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Florida Football: Previewing 5 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall Camp

The Florida Gators will soon have another batch of practices, and with the season nearly a month away from kickoff, players continue to battle for playing time. Whether it’s a backup role or a position that just hasn’t been settled yet, everybody can take advantage of fall camp to earn themselves more opportunities to see the field this upcoming season.

Florida has a lot of position battles that need to be determined. This has to do with injured players coming back, new enrollees just now getting on campus and, well, players just not living up to their expectations.

The pressure is on everybody to make an impact if they want to be a part of what should be a turnaround season.

Here are the biggest fall camp position battles for the Florida Gators.

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Ohio State Football: 5 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall Camp

Ohio State is only a few weeks away from opening fall camp, but questions remain when it comes to who will be starting for the Buckeyes come Aug. 30. Urban Meyer and his staff are still in the process of figuring out who will replace their leading rusher as well as a number of key pieces on the defensive side of the ball from a season ago.

Factor in that Ohio State will be breaking in four new starters on what was one of the best offensive lines in the country for the past two years, and we could be in store for one of the most competitive camps in recent memory in Columbus. That's the way that Meyer likes it, as he's attempted to instill a culture of competition since taking over the Buckeyes program two years ago.

There will be battles across the board at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in the coming weeks, but five in particular seem to stand out. With that in mind, let's examine the five biggest position battles heading into Ohio State's 2014 fall camp.

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Big 12 Media Days 2014: Full Schedule, Live Stream, TV Info and Particpants

Mack Brown is gone, and for the fifth time in as many years, there is a new Big 12 champion.

That is the state of affairs with the two-day spectacle known as Big 12 media days. While it can't match the magnitude of the four-day session put on by the SEC, the conference has plenty of intrigue surrounding it going into the 2014 season. It should go without saying that it is two days fans will want to set aside to see what the 10 teams and their representatives have to say.

For some, it's a simple task of rebuilding. Others have more lofty goals, with the conference crown seemingly up for grabs each year.

Let's take a look at how to watch the conferences, those who will participate and more.

 

What: 2014 Big 12 Media Days

When: July 21-22, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: Omni Dallas Hotel, Dallas Texas

TV: Fox Sports

Live Stream:Big12sports.com

 

Participants

 

Storylines to Watch

Baylor's Defense of the Crown 

After an 11-2 record and eight wins in the conference before a loss in the Fiesta Bowl against UCF, Baylor coach Art Briles has a lot to answer for come Monday.

Of course, keep in mind it could be a lot worse. He could have entered without Heisman contender Bryce Petty, who threw for 4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns to three interceptions a year ago.

But there is certainly plenty to talk about, starting with Petty. Can he, despite all of his staggering numbers last year, be even better? There were hiccups last season after left tackle Spencer Drango went down with an injury, and there are new pieces in place at a few different spots.

Briles himself has already stated a goal for his senior signal-caller, as captured by Matt Musil of KHOU-TV:

Outside of the usual questions concerning a title defense, Briles will have to deal with an intensified rivalry with Texas after Longhorns linebacker Steve Edmond called the program "trash" this spring.

Perhaps the biggest spotlight will fall on the fact Baylor will play in a new home this season. The new McLane Stadium comes equipped with a statue of Robert Griffin III, and it can be presumed the features of the stadium will be heavily detailed, as most have nothing more than a press release to work with so far.

All things considered, it is a good time to be on top of the Big 12. For now.

 

Texas

A new era has begun for one of the most prestigious football schools in the nation.

Charlie Strong is the head man at Texas now, and the boots he has to fill make for quite the steep climb.

Known as a bit standoffish with the media, Strong has already held some interesting interviews, to say the least. This can be noted by his reaction to expectation questions after landing the gig, as noted by Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman:

We have everything available, and I don't know why we can't be successful. There's no reason for us not to be. Now, I can't tell you how soon it’s going to be. Don't hold me to that. Don't say, 'Ooh, coach said next year we'll be in the national...' We will not be in the national championship game.

Speaking of the gig itself, Strong's candidacy will be a major topic, especially with allegations that those around the school were willing to whip out in the neighborhood of $100 million to lure Alabama's Nick Saban to town.

Suffice it to say, Strong is not in an enviable position. Expectations are rampant, although the job in front of him with a roster fresh off an 8-5 season is certainly an issue. That's not to say he can't eek out a winning season in his debut, but matching expectations that won't be tempered in reality could turn out to be an exercise in futility.

Most notable among Strong's football-related tasks is the situation under center. David Ash is the presumed starter, but he's been on a media hiatus all offseason while recovering from an injury—and the senior signal-caller is not among the four players Strong will bring to the media day itself.

Strong has a talented defense in place and perhaps the best stable of backs in the nation thanks to runners like Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron.

But he also has plenty of questions that need answers, both about his job and on the field. As the new kid on the block at the most notable program, no spotlight will shine brighter than the one leveled at Strong.

 

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Biggest Snubs and Surprises from College Football's Preseason Awards Watch Lists

There are plenty of signs that college football is just around the corner.

Conference media days have started up, with coaches and returning stars raving about how great offseason workouts have gone and how confident they are in what will happen this fall. And before you know it, teams will begin training camp in preparation for season openers at the end of August.

And let's not forget the watch lists...so many, many watch lists.

Between July 7 and July 18, the National College Football Awards Association released preliminary rosters of potential candidates for 15 different national awards.

These awards range from as position-specific as honoring the top punter (Ray Guy Award) or the best center (Rimington Trophy) to naming the top overall defensive player (Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy) or the national player of the year (Maxwell and Water Camp Awards).

These lists will be pared down several times as the 2014 season progresses, with some names getting added if a player comes out of the woodwork (read: Jameis Winston last year and Johnny Manziel in 2012). For now, though, they collectively list 863 names, with many players showing up on two or more registers. Some of those whose names appear are a bit surprising, as is the fact that others were absent.

Here's the biggest surprises and snubs from 2014 college football preseason watch lists.

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Questions We'd Love to Ask at 2014 Big Ten Media Days

If ever there was a list of events that could be described as a "media circus," certainly the various football conference media days have to rank near the top. Chicago will again be the center of the Big Ten football world, and over the two days (July 28-29) we're sure to be treated to another cacophony of quasi-football bedlam.

But mixed in with all the hoopla and frivolity, unlike some other conferences that seem to spend a little too much time in the sun, the Big Ten still manages to keep things pretty centered on football. With that in mind, we've put together some questions we'd love to have answered at the 2014 Big Ten Media Days.

Sure, there will be a lot of light-hearted moments, and laughter is a great way to get through the dog days of a football-less summer. But for many Big Ten fans, there are some burning questions that deserve attention prior to kickoff.

With a list of Media Days attendees in hand, it's time to make the rounds with our list of questions we're just dying to ask this year at the Big Ten's Media Days.

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Georgia Football Recruiting: 'Dawg Night' Success Sets Foundation for 2016 Class

The Georgia Bulldogs certainly won't be accused of a slow start with their 2016 recruiting class.  Following the annual "Dawg Night" event, two of the nation's best rising juniors committed to head coach Mark Richt on Saturday.

The first big-name commitment came from a very big prospect—literally.  Ben Cleveland stands 6'7" and weighs in at 322 pounds. According to 247Sports, Cleveland is regarded as one of the nation's 25 best players in his class.

Shortly after Cleveland's announcement, more big news spread as quarterback Jacob Eason, the nation's 14th-best prospect in the class of 2016 (per 247Sports), also took to Twitter to announce his intentions.

As it turns out, the timing of the two commitments was not coincidental.  Eason's father told Jake Rowe of 247Sports that his son's commitment to the Bulldogs was very much in conjunction with Cleveland (subscription required):

He's developed this relationship with Ben Cleveland. They were talking and they wanted to make some big things happen at Georgia so they decided to commit together and start that class. That's kind of the way it went down. We were having dinner up in the press box. Ben's family and our family and the coaches and their families were up there. After dinner Ben and Jacob got up and announced their commitment to the 'G.' The coaches were hooting and hollering. We went down on the field afterward. It was great. There were kids running around and it was a total family atmosphere. It was just awesome. Coach (Mark) Richt said he has never seen anything like it - how this happened. It was really neat.

And just like that, Georgia is now poised to bring in one of the best classes in the nation in 2016.  To be fair, Richt and his staff consistently bring deep pools of talent to Athens, but with Cleveland and Eason as foundations, this class could be truly special. After all, no other school in the country already has two 5-star commitments.

Sure, national signing day for these players is more than 18 months away, but the momentum this duo has created for the 2016 signing class is undeniable.  

In Cleveland, the Bulldogs have found a strong, sturdy offensive tackle who (at just 15 years old) bench presses 425 pounds, according to Dave Krider of MaxPreps.  Undoubtedly, the Toccoa, Georgia, native will begin working to bring in other top in-state talent.  Expect him to be in the ear of other elite players like Isaac Nauta (a 5-star tight end) and Julian Rochester (a 4-star defensive tackle) at recruiting events over the next 18 months.

Eason, on the other hand, should be instrumental in attracting some of the nation's most prolific offensive playmakers.  After all, he's already being hailed as the next Matthew Stafford at Georgia thanks to his cannon of an arm and lofty recruiting ranking.

Georgia's job is to now maintain this momentum.  Closing out a strong 2015 class is still a priority, but keeping the fire stoked for 2016 is the best way to capitalize on an already hot start. 

To keep things warm, the Bulldogs will rely heavily on Cleveland and Eason, whose work as Dawgs is already beginning.  While the two need to continue improving individually and mastering their own positions, they also need to put themselves in position to maintain high visibility at national events.  

Two weeks ago, The Opening showcased the nation's best talent, and according to Rusty Mansell of 247Sports, Terry Godwin (a Georgia commit) used the week as an opportunity to do some recruiting of his own.  If Cleveland and Eason can remain in the forefront of recruiting conversations, they'll be well-equipped to do some recruiting of their own.

Over the weekend, Ben Cleveland and Jacob Eason became two of the most celebrated Georgia commits in recent history.  Now, they are two of the Dawgs' most valuable recruiters.

 

 

Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats, ratings and rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

 

 

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Georgia Football: Predicting the Depth Chart Heading into Fall Camp

Preseason practice is just around the corner for the Georgia Bulldogs, and when they hit the practice field, they will be focused on one thing and that’s beating the Clemson Tigers on August 31.

But before that happens, several questions have to be answered. Who is going to be the backup quarterback going into the season opener? How will the offensive line look after losing three starters? And who in the world is going to start in the secondary?

All these questions and more will make the Bulldogs' preseason practice very interesting, but then again, these question are always there before the start of every season.

Here’s a look at the projected depth chart heading into fall camp.

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Tennessee Football: Previewing 5 Biggest Position Battles Heading into Fall Camp

With more than 30 newcomers and few incumbents with firm grasps on their jobs from a season ago, the Tennessee Volunteers' fall practice is going to be one big free-for-all.

Position battles will ensue all over the field. While that is certainly healthy for competition, head coach Butch Jones no doubt wishes he had several more dependable stars.

No more than eight or nine Vols are sure bets to be starters. Everybody else must bring the intensity daily and elevate his play, or somebody talented and inexperienced will surge ahead.

A year ago, the urgency wasn't quite as pronounced for UT's players because there wasn't enough talent on the roster to generate real competition. Senior linebacker A.J. Johnson said at SEC media days last week, according to UTSports.com, that isn't the case anymore:

Some of the guys who came in early in the spring are already on beat, working, being vocal, just as though they've been here for 3 or 4 years. And the guys who just got here this summer, they've got their head down working each day. Some guys came in already knowing the whole defense and are ready to play. You can tell the way they are working, how much they put into their work. It's going to help us a lot. We've got older guys and we've got younger guys, so we've got competition. If you've got competition, everybody is going to go harder and play better.

Even though fans are going to be buzzing about freshmen such as Jalen Hurd and Josh Malone, they are at positions where they'll play a lot regardless of whether they start. There are much more important battles with unclear conclusions.

So, let's take a look at the top five position battles to watch in Knoxville this fall, ranked in order of importance by how much finding the right player will directly impact the team's success.

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ACC Media Days 2014: Top Highlights, Comments and Twitter Reaction from Day 1

For the first time since 2005, a conference other than the SEC won the BCS National Championship, as Florida State defeated Auburn a year ago, 34-31. Without question, that added to the buzz and excitement at this year's ACC Media Days.     

Of course, one of the stars of that game and last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, was the main attraction on Sunday. Winston, as you might imagine, attracted quite the throng of reporters.

Matt Fortuna of ESPN passed along the following picture on Instagram with the caption, "Just a bit of a turnout for this Jameis Winston fella (and PJ Williams) #FSU #Noles."

It didn't take Winston long to address the Seminoles' triumph in the championship contest, either, per Aaron Brenner of the Charleston Post and Courier:

As one might expect, some of his comments in that regard didn't go over as well with everyone, including Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press:

No cheering in the press box!

While Winston took his moment to reflect on the past achievements of the 2013 Florida State football team, he quickly turned to addressing the future:

He also addressed some interesting topics, like the hot topic of college athletes being paid, per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports:

And he spoke about his baseball career, per Dan Wolken of USA Today:

He also touched on how baseball has potentially affected his throwing motion while playing quarterback and discussed making changes in that regard, which pleased Chris B. Brown of Grantland:

Finally, he told reporters he'll never shy away from being in the limelight:

Winston heads into the 2014 college football season as the face of the sport, so it's no surprise that he would also be the face of the ACC Media Days.

The real question will be whether he can replicate or better his 2013 campaign, when he threw for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, completed 66.9 percent of his passes and ran for 219 yards and another four scores. 

It will be hard to top a season in which he won the Heisman and a national championship, of course. But if anybody is capable of doing so, it's Florida State's dynamic quarterback.

 

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