NCAA Football

LSU Spring Game 2014: Brandon Harris Shines, but Tigers' QB Battle Far from over

Baton Rouge, La. — On a dark, cloudy day in Tiger Stadium, LSU freshman signal-caller Brandon Harris shined. 

The 2014 LSU spring game was hyped up to be the battle of the quarterbacks. Sophomore Anthony Jennings and Harris both took the field for the first time in the public eye this spring. 

Jennings withered. He tossed two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns and was sacked four times.  

Harris dazzled. The freshman went 11-for-21 for 195 yards and three touchdowns. He scrambled for 77 yards and a touchdown as well. 

"He (Harris) has been doing great things all spring. I wouldn't expect anything different," said Jennings. "He's a great athlete and is really smart with the football."

In the first quarter, Jennings started with the white team, which was mostly made of first-team players, while Harris was with the purple. For the second quarter, they flipped. Once Harris was surrounded by better talent, he threw three touchdown passes—all to different receivers. 

Harris looked like the quarterback with college experience, not Jennings. He showed great pocket awareness, accuracy and playmaking ability. Jennings stared down his receivers and was off-rhythm. 

Though Harris may have won the spring game battle, but he has yet to win the war. LSU head coach Les Miles said he will not name a starter anytime soon. 

"I think both of those guys are good enough to be our starting quarterback," said Miles. "We're going to let this competition continue and see how this thing plays out."

LSU wide receiver Travin Dural caught two touchdown passes, one each from Jennings and Harris. Dural said both quarterbacks have had their good and bad days this spring. 

"Every quarterback has games where he throws an interception or two, so you can't really hold that against them," said Dural. "I'd say both of them had a decent spring and a pretty good spring game."

LSU offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Cam Cameron said though he was impressed with Harris, he still has much room to improve.

"He has some instinct. We knew that from his high school days." said Cameron. "He's very confident, but he has a long ways to go. And he knows that."

Cameron said he likes that the battle between Jennings and Harris is close. 

"I hope these guys don't separate themselves. We expect everybody that plays quarterback for us to perform at a championship level," said Cameron. 

The spring game marks the end of spring football for LSU. The Tigers will continue working out until strapping up the pads again in late summer. Despite the break, the Jennings vs. Harris chatter will not slow down amongst the college football world. 

Bleacher Report's SEC featured columnist Barrett Sallee believes Harris will ultimately be the starter: 

I feel 100 percent confident in my pre-spring prediction that Brandon Harris will be LSU's starting QB.

— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) April 5, 2014

Jennings said he looks forward to the summer with Harris. The sophomore stresses he should be defined by one average performance in a scrimmage. 

"You want somebody that is going to bring out the best in you, and that is what he (Harris) is going to do. We make each other better," said Jennings. "I don't think I took a step back today. Some things didn't go my way. From all 15 practices this spring, I think I improved drastically."

The quarterback battle will be a close one, and the LSU coaching staff is not looking to make a decision based off one scrimmage. But if Jennings performs in the offseason like he did today, he will be signaling in plays to Harris from the sideline next season.  

 

*All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Stats provided by LSU Sports Information. 

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Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald Advises Players to Vote Against Unionization

Starting a movement is one thing. Getting others on board is a completely different task altogether.

For Northwestern and the National Labor Relations Board's fight to change the landscape of college athletics, there has been plenty of pushback. One influential person strongly against the notion of a union for college athletes is Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern's head football coach.

Fitzgerald spoke about the decision on which his players have to decide by April 25, urging them to vote against the potential union, per Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com:

I believe it's in their best interests to vote no. With the research that I've done, I'm going to stick to the facts and I'm going to do everything in my power to educate our guys. Our university is going to do that. We'll give them all the resources they need to get the facts.

... Right now, we have great protocols in place, and we haven't been forced to do that by any third party. I know our guys trust me. I've been pretty clear with my support. 

The ninth-year coach is not allowed to promise players any sort of benefits they would receive if they choose to vote against unionizing. Fitzgerald made his stance pretty clear, but it seems he's not the only person in the program that opposes the union.

Ryan Baker of CBS Chicago reports that many players are siding with their coach rather than Kain Colter, a former quarterback for the Wildcats:

While Baker notes several players are on Fitzgerald's side, offensive lineman Brandon Vitabile, a member of the team's leadership council, also believes many of his teammates will side with their coach, per Rittenberg:

I think a lot of guys feel the same as I do. Coach Fitz has done everything in his power and been a voice for us and he has gotten changes. He goes to [American Football Coaches Association] meetings and does act in our interests. I've had conversations with him before all this happened.

Guys have to realize the ramifications of what may occur.

Colter is still fighting for the rights to a union in college athletics, and despite the resistance from Fitzgerald, he remains very fond of his former coach:

It is difficult to predict what will come of all of this. Colter is working hard to make his voice heard, but Fitzgerald and others certainly have a well-founded case.

Moving forward, Colter hopes that he can give college athletes the rights that they deserve, including a visit to Capitol Hill. The vote on April 25 will determine whether the Wildcats are allowed to unionize and could be a game-changer in college athletics.

With just 20 days remaining before the ultimate ruling is handed down, both men will stand up for their cause in a public battle. And while they each have a valid opinion, the outcome can only satisfy one of them.

Could this be a movement that transforms the game forever or one that falls flat on a national stage? We'll find out on April 25.

 

Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.

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Leonard Fournette Will Struggle Early in Season After Missing Spring Practices

Leonard Fournette has been considered one of the best running back prospects to come out of high school in years. However, fans around the country should temper expectations for the young player.

Everyone who has seen the incoming LSU freshman compete has been blown away with the running back's ability. He was the prize of the 2014 class, listed as the No. 1 player in the nation at any position by 247 Sports' composite rankings.

Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports quotes a high school football coach who makes an interesting comparison:

Fournette himself discussed his lofty goals heading into his first year. According to Jim Halley of USA Today, the running back said after committing, "My plan my freshman year is to win the Heisman and the BCS National Championship with my teammates."

Matt Brown of Sports on Earth (via the Shreveport Times) explained why people are so excited:

It’s dangerous to get sucked into high school highlight videos, because the disparity between the best and the worst players only gets narrower as a great player progresses from high school to college to pro football. Still, Fournette undeniably flashes a complete skill set, with the size of a great college back already (6-feet, 227 pounds) and the speed to match it, turning his highlights — like many prospect highlights, but his even more so — into a game of “how on earth could he possibly score a touchdown on this play?”

Of course, one thing that will slow down this type of production is a lack of playing time. Despite his talent, it will be hard to get onto the field after getting a late start compared to his teammates.

Unlike other freshman on the team and across the country, Fournette did not enroll into LSU early and will not join the squad until the summer. This puts him behind the rest of his teammates when it comes to learning plays and protection schemes.

The closest he was able to get was watching the spring game:

While running backs have a relatively easy transition compared to other positions, head coach Les Miles is not going to throw a player on the field who does not know what he is doing.

On the other hand, LSU has an experienced group of running backs that are more than capable of producing right away at the start of the 2014 season.

Although, Jeremy Hill is gone, Terrence Magee finished with 626 rushing yards and eight touchdowns a year ago. He has the size and speed to be a featured running back in this system and have plenty of success behind a quality offensive line.

The junior also had a strong spring that saw him be named one of the team's top performers, according to Matt Dunaway of LSUSports.net.

Kenny Hilliard also showcased plenty of ability at the spring game, totaling 59 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He also added a 42-yard reception on a swing pass. 

Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee and Michael Felder broke down predictions for what each player will do next season, explaining that Magee, Hilliard and Fournette will share carries to start the year:

There is little doubt that Fournette will eventually get acclimated with the system and should earn plenty of touches over the course of the year. However, fans should not expect too many carries in the first month of the season.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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Michigan Football: Wolverine Spring Game Grades

Michigan took the field for its final spring practice with fans eager to see a glimpse of Doug Nussmeier’s new offense and searching for signs that the shuffling of the defensive staff will help the Wolverines rebound from last season’s 7-6 record.

Brady Hoke announced earlier this week that the “game” would include a typical practice followed by a team scrimmage.

Pass Offense: Michigan began its scrimmage with a disappointing reminder of how the last game at Michigan Stadium ended: Devin Gardner threw an interception. Doug Nussmeier didn’t show much of the new offense, relying on base running plays with a few passes sprinkled in for good measure. Gardner took the majority of snaps and was inaccurate early.

Wide receiver Freddy Canteen had a long reception from Gardner (over 30 yards) and showed why he’s been earning rave reviews all spring.

The offense was very vanilla, with Hoke not wanting to risk injuries in the final practice or tip his hand to rivals.

Run Offense: The running attack didn’t gain many yards. Derrick Green, De’Veon Smith, Ross Douglas and Justice Hayes all carried the ball with equal success. Hayes did make some nice moves—enough to show that he’s still in competition with Smith and Green.

The offensive line is still a work in progress, although freshman Mason Cole competed well against defensive players with more experience.

The running attack struggled, but the poor blocking and mundane play-calling didn’t help.

Pass Defense: The defensive secondary looked good and is clearly further along compared to the offense. Defensive back Jourdan Lewis and safety Jarrod Wilson had some great pass breakups and delivered some nice hits.

Frank Clark looks like he’s ready for a monster senior season.

The early evaluation of the defense is that it looks improved. According to defensive end Frank Clark, the offense and defense have battled all spring long, but today the defense looked superior.

Run Defense: The defense smothered the running attack for most of the scrimmage.

Linebackers Ben Gedeon and Brennen Beyer looked good, roaming from sideline to sideline. Tackling wasn’t crisp, and the offense really didn’t challenge the defense too much.

Coaching: Hoke was successful in not revealing too much to friend or foe alike. After last season’s disappointing finish, fans are eager for any glimmer of hope that this season will be better.

Fans watching today at Michigan Stadium or on television will have to hope that the best is yet to come.

  

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.

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Tennessee Head Coach Butch Jones Gets Down After Practice

Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones doesn't have the best dance moves, but at least he tries.

After practice on Saturday, Jones decided to show off his dance moves with the team, and the rest of the Volunteers decided to get down as well.

[Youtube, h/t The Big Lead]

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Ole Miss Spring Game 2014: Recap, Highlights and Analysis

The Ole Miss Rebels enter the 2014 season looking to improve upon their 3-5 conference record from one year ago.

Last season, the team got off to a hot start, winning its first three games—the third to the tune of a 44-23 drubbing of the Texas Longhorns.

Unfortunately, that didn't last, as the Rebels dropped their next three games before rebounding to an impressive 27-24 victory over No. 6 LSU.

The Rebels closed out the season in style, defeating Georgia Tech 25-17 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

There's plenty to build on an much to look forward to for this team in the upcoming season.

Bo Wallace has another season of experience under his belt and will look to improve upon a solid showing from a year ago. He's shown glimpses in the past, and the team's success this season rests on his arm.

Mark Dodson figures to see a heavy workload this season in the Rebels' backfield. He's a versatile runner who doubles as a receiver out of the backfield and has the vision and speed to create yards after the catch.

The first step for this team to rise up the ranks of the SEC is to take the field in the annual Grove Bowl, pitting the Ole Miss offense against the defense.

In case you missed the game, don't fret. You can view it in its entirety on ESPN3.

With the game now in the books, let's take a look at how Saturday's action transpired.

The offense was hot right out of the gate for the Rebels. Running backs shined early and often against a defense looking for answers.

Dodson showed his prowess in the short passing game, catching a screen and taking it 45 yards downfield:

Shortly after, I'Tavius Mathers took a handoff up the gut and showed his incredible burst for a 96-yard run that began at his own 1-yard line:

Dodson was back at it in the red zone shortly after, scoring the first touchdown of the day on a pass from DeVante Kincade:

Wallace began to make his presence felt, completing a nice 68-yard catch-and-run to Evan Engram:

It wasn't all offense that stole the show early on. The team's cornerbacks looked in midseason form, as Mike Hilton and Senquez Golson combined for a pair of pass breakups:

The offense was back at it in short order, as Jordan Wilkins dashed into the end zone for a nine-yard score:

The unit kept it up with Wallace firing a 25-yard strike to Laquon Treadwell shortly after:

Toward the end of the day, the defense began to step up with a great goal-line stand:

Wallace's day came to an end after being sacked by Fadol Brown on the next series:

In the end, offense prevailed, as Ole Miss' Twitter account gives the final score:

So, what's next for this team?

There's lots of training and preparation yet to take place as we inch toward the regular season. There have been plenty of shifts in personnel over the offseason with many new faces in new places.

The team must use this time to jell and create a solid chemistry that will allow it to succeed in a very difficult conference.

The way the Rebels looked today, the sky could be the limit for this team, as it already looks to have built on last season's late momentum.

Ole Miss has a tough contest out of the gate this year, as it is set to play Boise State in its opener on Thursday, August 28.

Until then, this team will continue its preparations and enter that impending contest looking to start the season off strong once again.

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LSU Spring Game 2014: Recap, Highlights and Analysis

The 2014 LSU spring game was a resounding success as fans from around the state descended on Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge to get a first look at the future of the program while White defeated Purple, 42-14.

Gone are the days of Zach Mettenberger tearing up the Tigers secondary with weapons like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. In their place Saturday was a fresh quarterback duel largely dominated by the defensive side of the ball.

Said defense flustered the quarterbacks all day long, as linebackers Deion Jones and Kwon Alexander tallied interception returns for touchdowns. The signal-callers in action swapped sides multiple times, but the White squad emerging victorious was a forgone conclusion with so many potential starters on that side.

The nation also finally got a look at the school's new helmet decal, via LSU's Sports Information Director, Michael Bonnette:

Several important names were in attendance, such as major signees like Malachi Dupre, according to 247 Sports' Shea Dixon: 

Even New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan made an appearance, as captured by Sharief Ishaq of WDSU-TV:

Fans themselves came out in droves, via ESPN's Gracie Blackburn:

Despite the scope of the event, coach Les Miles said beforehand that it was not something that would cement any positional battles.

"Not really, to be honest with you,” he said, per Scott Rabalais of The New Orleans Advocate. “We’re going to watch the competition. It’s a key scrimmage. But there’s also a lot of time left before we get to playing time.”

Let's see if any of Miles' players changed his mind on Saturday.

In typical spring game fashion, things starting in a boring manner. The game utilized a make-it, take-it approach with different clock rules to boot:

After a couple of punts got things started, the major storyline came into focus—the battle for the No. 1 spot on the quarterback depth chart between freshman Brandon Harris and sophomore Anthony Jennings.

As Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee points out, Harris entered the spring game poised to steal the gig:

Jennings did little to help himself in the early going. Leading the White team—composed mostly of starters—he tossed an early interception that the Purple's Jones took to the house for a touchdown.

Defense predictably ruled the opening quarter, as LSU's strong stable of defensive backs and rushers flustered both signal-callers. The sides combined for less than 75 total yards of offense, and the numbers from the quarterbacks were simply ugly, via ESPN's David Ching:

Harris would respond later in the second quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end DeSean Smith. He quickly followed that up with an impressive 41-yard scramble before he found fullback Connor Neighbors for a five-yard touchdown pass.

Jennings' response? Another pick six, this time by Alexander to give the White a 21-7 lead with five minutes left in the second quarter.

Smelling blood in the water, Harris beautifully orchestrated one final drive in the second half and threw his third touchdown, with Travin Dural the recipient from 21 yards away. For those keeping count, Harris threw three scores in one quarter of action to stake his claim:

After the break, Jennings came out determined and hooked up with Dural for a 13-yard score on the first drive to make it 35-7 in favor of the White.

The good vibes ended quickly, as Harris took little time to hit Rob Bolden for a gain of 37 yards and John Diarse for another 33 before taking it in himself from four yards out on a designed keeper.

Harris was then pulled from the contest so Hayden Rettig could get some reps. After promptly fumbling the first snap, he smoothly recovered and hit Dural for a 47-yard gain:

By then it was clear—Dural is set to have a major impact for the Tigers next season.

Running back Kenny Hilliard rumbled into the end zone shortly after to make it 42-14, the final score as the running clock expired shortly thereafter.

Ross Dellenger of The Advocate revealed the official spring awards list:

Looking back, it's easy to get very excited about LSU's chances in the SEC next year. It'll clearly be a team that relies on its defense to win games, but the allure of Harris winning the starting gig and making big plays in tandem with Dural while backed by a stable of quality runners is hard to ignore.

On the flip side, an elite pass rush led by defensive end Danielle Hunter—who tallied half a dozen pressures overall and two sacks in the first half—looks to have what it takes to contend in the SEC in 2014.

 

Note: Statistics courtesy of LSU's Twitter account and The Advocate's Dellenger.

 

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LSU Unveils New Tiger Logo on Football Helmets for Spring Game

With the LSU Tigers set to play in their spring game on Saturday, the team officially displayed its new logo on its football helmets.

The Tigers are changing their logo from the one below.

[Twitter]

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Michigan Spring Game 2014: Recap, Highlights and Analysis

After a 2013 season that failed to meet rising expectations, Michigan's spring game in 2014 wasn't encouraging. The team's offense struggled to make headway throughout the afternoon while the defense reigned supreme.

Incumbent starting quarterback Devin Gardner, who is immersed in a fierce competition for the starting job this upcoming season with Shane Morris, couldn't have gotten off to a worse start. On the first play of scrimmage, Gardner tossed an interception to Jourdan Lewis, as shown by the Big Ten Network:

As pointed out by Kyle Bogenschutz of Michigan.Scout.com, it highlighted Gardner's interception-ridden 2013 campaign in which he tossed 11 passes that ended up in the hands of the enemy:

Gardner continued to struggle early, showing excellent velocity on his passes but failing to hit the mark more often than not. And he wasn't the only recognizable offensive player to run into trouble, per Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com:

These early difficulties highlighted something head coach Brady Hoke said before the spring game in a sideline interview with Lisa Byington of the Big Ten Network: "We need a lot of work. We have a lot of youth on our team [...] as many reps as we can get..."

Gardner did show off his abilities after the initial surge of poor throws, however, with a 30-yard bomb to Freddy Canteen that displayed beautiful touch. Unfortunately, big plays on offense were rare throughout the afternoon.

By the time Morris got his first chance to run the offense, Gardner's stat line looked like this, according to BTN's Matt Shepard: 2-of-7 passing for 53 yards with one interception and zero touchdowns.

Morris didn't fare much better, and Lewis victimized him with his second interception of the day, just as he did Gardner earlier in the scrimmage.

In addition to the passing woes, Larry Lage of The Associated Press noted Michigan's running backs didn't find any running lanes against the team's defensive front:

Baumgardner added:

The offensive line's struggles continued throughout the spring game, culminating with this big play by defensive lineman Willie Henry:

It's always easier for defenses to stand out early in the offseason, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that Michigan's defense showed up stronger than its offense on Saturday. However, given the real struggles this team had scoring the ball last year against top competition, it is a bit worrisome that the offense was so inept.

The fact that neither Gardner nor Morris was able to generate any positive buzz will likely be a deep well of contention for fans to draw from as summer approaches. The offensive line was atrocious from start to finish.

There are still many positions up for grabs, and nobody has any idea what the final depth chart will look like when the Wolverines take on Appalachian State on August 30. 

Thankfully, there is still plenty of time for Hoke and his capable staff to iron out the kinks. That said, given the incredible amount of youth and inexperience, fans should mentally prepare themselves for another frustrating season.

If the team overcomes the obvious offensive woes we saw on Saturday, however, then there's a chance for success—not only within the Big Ten, but nationally as well.

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OSU Mascot Brutus Attempts to Block Field Goal at Student Appreciation Practice

During Ohio State's Student Appreciation practice, Brutus decided to sacrifice his body to make a play.

As you can see in the photo above, Brutus laid out trying to block a field goal in what looked like an incredibly fun day of practice.

[Twitter, h/t BTN.com]

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LSU Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

The first half of the LSU spring game has featured plenty of scoring, some of which has come from the defense. The second half had a running clock, but that did not slow down the passing attack. The white team, which included mostly the first unit players, defeated the purple 42-14.

 

Second half analysis for the LSU Tigers

Pass Offense: Jennings and Harris were both were impressive. Jennings tossed a touchdown pass to Travin Dural for the white team and Harris walked into the end zone off a bootleg. Hayden Rettig looked sharp in his limited snaps. Dural made difficult catches throughout the half in tight spaces. Rob Bolden and John Diarse also caught a pass.

Run Offense: LSU was able to establish some success on the ground  in the fourth quarter, ending a Rettig-lead drive with a touchdown rush from Kenny Hilliard. The offensive line for both the purple and white squads showed much improvement in the second half. 

Pass Defense: LSU's pass defense was not as sharp as it was in the first half, yet still performed admirably. Jennings, Harris and Rettig fit the ball in tight windows. LSU fans should be pleased with the performance of the defensive backs even with a few sitting out due to injury. 

Run Defense: The purple squad defensive line wore down in the fourth quarter, which came to no surprise. They had been on the field for most of the game. The white squad, like it had all day, dominated the line of scrimmage defensively.  

Special Teams: LSU remained perfect on extra points. 

Coaching: Miles switched Jennings back to the white squad and Harris to the purple. They both performed well. Cameron called mostly passes in the third quarter and mainly kept it on the ground in the fourth. Chavis put an impressive Ronnie Fiest at linebacker with the white squad to start the second half. 

First half analysis for the LSU Tigers

Pass Offense: Quarterback Anthony Jennings played for the white team in the first quarter and the purple for the second. He threw a interception to linebacker Debo Jones, which was returned 67 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, Kwon Alexander jumped an out-route for an easy pick-six. Jennings struggled to get in a rhythm and completed only six passes.

LSU's Brandon Harris was first to take the field with the purple squad. He started off 1-for-7 for three yards, but when heated up when he switched over to the white. The freshman impressively finished 8-of-18 for 122 yards and three touchdowns, throwing the ball where only his receiver could catch it. His most impressive trait was was ability to step up in the pocket and let the play develop. 

Run Offense: The Tigers have struggled to get anything going on the ground. LSU has only produced 71 yards on 28 carries from running backs, with no rush of over 10 yards. The Tigers have only three scholarship players taking snaps at running back in Terrence Magee, Kenny Hilliard and Melvin Jones. The offensive line for both teams have been average. The best rush was a Harris scramble for 41 yards.

Pass Defense: The LSU pass defense was dominant in the first half. Jones and Alexander's interception returns were impressive, but the entire secondary for both units showed great physicality in man coverage. The LSU receivers struggled to get separation. Danielle Hunter was a menace on the pass rush, raking in two sacks. All of Harris' touchdown passes were on perfectly thrown passes. 

Run Defense: LSU's run defense has been stout. Defensive tackles Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas of the white team and Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore of the purple have done a superb job of holding the point of attack. 

Special Teams: LSU punted eight times in the first half due to the offensive struggles early. To avoid risking injury, plays were blown dead soon after the ball was caught by the returner. LSU had Ed Paris, Tre'Davious White, John Diarse and Dural all catch punts. Paris fumbled his only attempt, which eventually led to a Harris touchdown pass. The LSU kickers were perfect on extra points and no field goals were attempted.   

Coaching: Les Miles had the decision to switch to putting Harris with the white team, which ignited the offense. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron called mostly pass plays, but was able to keep the defense honest with the run. Defensive coordinator John Chavis kept his playbook simple, rarely calling blitzes. 

 

 

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Kevin Dillman to Nebraska: Cornhuskers Land 3-Star QB Prospect

The Nebraska Cornhuskers scored a major recruiting victory on Saturday by landing Swedish quarterback Kevin Dillman during his visit to Lincoln.

Dillman announced his commitment via Twitter:

Dillman told the media during his visit that his relationship with Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck and the overall quality of his visit were strong factors in his decision, according to Mike Schaefer of 247 Sports:

"Me and my family are on a visit and it's been a great visit," Dillman said. "I've had a relationship with coach (Tim) Beck for a long time. They did a great job of recruiting me."

A 3-star composite quarterback out of Denton, Texas (Guyer High School), Dillman was a coveted prospect who received offers from schools such as Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas and California. He totaled 13 offers and was the No. 238-ranked player in the country and No. 9 dual-threat quarterback. 

Standing at 6'4" and 220 pounds, Dillman's dual-threat skill set makes him an ideal fit in the Cornhuskers offense upon arrival. He was once a 5-star prospect at 247 Sports, but an Achilles injury his junior year seemingly impacted the rating as he missed time, according to Adam Boedker ofThe Dallas Morning News.

As ESPN's Max Olson illustrates, Dillman is quite the intriguing story:

Dillman came to America from Sweden as a foreign exchange student his freshman year, impressed coaches, went back and became a full United States citizen and is now the Cornhuskers' next big thing under center.

Speaking of Nebraska, the big signing is the seventh for the Cornhuskers in the 2015 class, which puts them at No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 11 overall—up four spots in 247 Sports' rankings.

Dillman will have to battle the likes of Tommy Armstrong and others at the position once he arrives on campus, not to mention help to fill the shoes of names of past greats such as Taylor Martinez in one of the nation's top conferences.

 

Note: All info courtesy of 247 Sports.

 

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Oklahoma State Football: 5 Players Who Have Stepped Up This Spring

With the Orange Blitz spring practice blowout happening this weekend, now is the time to assess which players have shown the most improvement during this early portion of Oklahoma State football.

Now, obviously lots of players are going to improve, that's the point of practice; however, I've tried to narrow it down to five players who have either stepped into a new leadership role or shown a surprising spike in development.

Let's get on to the five players who have made a big impact this spring.

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