NCAA Football

Ohio State LB Joshua Perry Has Added a Lot of Muscle to His Body in 2 Years

If you saw a picture of Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry from 2012 and one from this summer, you probably wouldn't know that you were looking at the same person.

The Buckeyes linebacker has done a lot more in the past two years than just get a haircut. He is now 31 pounds heavier than he was at the beginning of 2012, and judging by the picture, he's put on a lot of muscle.

This is just another chapter added to the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. Last week, Michigan's Jabrill Peppers showed off how much muscle he has added in just four weeks. Some believed that Peppers' lack of flexing at the beginning may have made the final result look much better.

There's no denying that Perry's hard work has paid off. 

[Joshua Perry, h/t College Spun]

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Texas A&M Unveils Incredible New Locker Room for Football Team

Texas A&M is giving Kyle Field a $450 million makeover, so that means the Aggies football team is going to see a lot of cool new perks.

The team's locker room and football headquarters received a nice upgrade as well. From 100 flat-screen televisions to waterfalls to luxurious meeting rooms to a barbershop, there was a lot of money put into the football facility.

Judging by the pictures, the school got its money's worth: 

The players were big fans of the upgraded football facility:

It looks like Johnny Manziel picked a bad time to leave College Station.

[The Dallas Morning NewsAggieFBLifeCollege Spun]

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What 4-Star Rico McGraw's Flip from Georgia to Alabama Means for Dawgs, Tide

Alabama added its second 4-star defensive back commitment this week Thursday, while swiping a key prospect away from an SEC rival. Cornerback Rico McGraw decided to flip his pledge from Georgia to the Crimson Tide, he confirmed to Barton Simmons of 247Sports.

The 6'0", 190-pound Tennessee prospect initially committed to the Bulldogs in January. However, recent visits to Tuscaloosa and Knoxville suggested he may be open to joining another program within the conference.

His declaration Thursday ended speculation and provides Nick Saban with yet another blue-chip defender. Alabama landed former North Carolina commit Ronnie Harrison, a 4-star safety, on Tuesday.

McGraw made up his mind after substantial internal deliberations with family members.

"My mom and my parents have always thought Alabama was the best decision for me," he told 247Sports. "I finally decided to hear them out."

McGraw, a rising senior who intercepted three passes for state powerhouse Ensworth last season, adds to a 2015 class that continues to strengthen its stronghold atop 247Sports' composite class rankings. Alabama is well on its way to a fifth consecutive No. 1 recruiting class, stockpiling abundant talent in the secondary.

Harrison and McGraw join a group of defensive backs that already featured 5-star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick and No. 2 overall safety prospect Deionte Thompson. Alabama signed a pair of 5-star cornerbacks during the 2014 recruiting cycle (Marlon Humphrey and Tony Brown).

McGraw isn't the first cornerback to switch allegiances to Alabama from another SEC competitor. Montrell Custis flipped from Kentucky to the Tide in April.

Alabama's latest gain is Georgia's loss.

The Bulldogs netted a commitment from McGraw shortly after first-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt arrived from Florida State. Now the former Saban assistant must search elsewhere for a solution in the secondary.

Throw in the fact that 5-star athlete Terry Godwin could also jump ship and there's a definite need for defensive secondary talent.

Godwin, who could excel at wide receiver or cornerback in college, could also end up in Tuscaloosa.

"There's been a lot of guys talking to me about my commitment and my recruitment," Godwin said at The Opening. "They're saying 'Come to Auburn', or 'Come down to Alabama' or 'We need you at Tennessee.' A lot of stuff like that. It'll come down to Feb. 2 (signing day)."

Georgia holds just two 2015 commitments from prospects definitively destined to compete in the defensive backfield. Florida products Deontai Williams and Deandre Baker—both 3-star recruits—pledged earlier this summer.

Pruitt and head coach Mark Rich must attempt to make inroads with other secondary targets in the class. In-state prospects Rashad Roundtree and Micah Abernathy present 4-star options on home turf.

Florida cornerback Tarvarus McFadden remains a prized uncommitted player but Georgia appears to be chasing at least LSU and Florida State in that pursuit. Don't be surprised if the Bulldogs adopt Alabama's approach and attempt to reel in a player currently committed elsewhere.

Georgia's 2015 class now rates 14th nationally in 247Sports' composite team rankings. The Bulldogs are listed eighth among SEC squads.

 

Recruit information and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Quotes obtained firsthand by B/R national recruiting writer Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.

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Previewing 2014 Fall Camp QB Battles to Watch

Not every quarterback battle was decided by the end of spring practice. Then again, what fun would that be? What would fans and media alike have to talk about?

Preseason quarterback battles are still going on all over the country as fall camp gets underway. Ideally, coaches would like to have those battles figured out sooner rather than later. The quicker one player emerges from the pack, the quicker the offense will know who to look to and the quicker it can come together. 

To be sure, some quarterback battles will bleed over into the regular season. That's unavoidable. 

Which quarterback battles will gain the most attention this August, and why? The answers are in the following slides. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All stats courtesy of ESPN.com.

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Biggest Storylines Heading into Nebraska's Fall Camp

Nebraska begins fall camp this weekend. That means all of the questions that remained after spring practice will have a chance to be answered.

Bo Pelini will also be able to show off the changes he boasted about at Big Ten Media Days. With practice now open to the media, it will be easier than ever to see just how key storylines evolve before the first game of the season.

Here are five storylines to keep an eye on during the Huskers' fall camp.

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NCAA Football Preseason Rankings 2014: College Teams with Title or Bust Outlook

The Amway preseason college football rankings have been released and there are no real surprises at the top of the polls. 

The defending champion Florida State Seminoles are No. 1 and perennial national championship contenders, the Alabama Crimson Tide are No. 2. The Noles and Tide are just two of the teams that must have their seasons end with a title to call the campaign a success.

More than ever, these early rankings are to be seen, but not relied upon with too much confidence as it relates to college football's bottom line. 

Ultimately, the College Football Playoff Committee will decide which four teams vie for the national championship in January. Nevertheless, here's a look at the preseason Top 25:

 

Opening Amway Preseason Coaches' PollRankTeam 1 Florida State 2 Alabama 3 Oklahoma 4 Oregon 5 Auburn 6 Ohio State 7 UCLA 8 Michigan State 9 South Carolina 10 Baylor 11 Stanford 12 Georgia 13 LSU 14 Wisconsin 15 USC 16 Clemson 17 Notre Dame 18 Arizona State 19 Ole Miss 20 Texas A&M 21 Kansas State 22 Nebraska 23 North Carolina 24 Texas 25 Washington

USA Today

 

Run it Back

When a team has gone undefeated the previous season and returns the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, as well as several other offensive weapons and disruptive forces on the defensive side of the ball, anything short of a repeat national championship would be an epic failure.

That is, of course, the situation the Seminoles find themselves in heading into the 2014 season.

Jameis Winston is headed for his sophomore campaign and is expected to be even better than he was when he earned college football's top prize. 

Winston was already a leader for his team last season, but judging by this tweet from teammate Tyler Hunter, Winston is taking the next step in the leadership department:

The Noles' schedule features just two teams that are ranked in the top 25 in the preseason poll: Notre Dame and Clemson—and both of those games are at home. As Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports states, the Noles are properly set up to repeat:

The Seminoles own arguably the No. 1 roster in college football for 2014, one of the nation’s top coaches in Jimbo Fisher, and the defending Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Jameis Winston. With a favorable schedule and a loaded roster, Florida State is positioned to repeat as college football’s national champions.

In some respects, the new playoff format makes it easier for a team like the Noles. If they do experience one week of flounder and drop a game. It's unlikely the committee wouldn't consider them a top-four team in the nation.

Thus the Noles would still get an opportunity to defend their title in the postseason.

 

Same Ol' Bama Expectations

Every year Alabama is expected to vie for a national championship. It's one of the most automatic things in all of sports. Credit head coach Nick Saban for the team's success. 

The Crimson Tide has rarely disappointed. Because of how dominant Alabama has been, last season's berth in the Sugar Bowl was a bittersweet consolation prize..

The 45-31 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in the game made it simply bitter. When a team is as good as Bama, critics expect the wins and overreact to the losses.

The team has won three of the last five national championships and despite losing A.J. McCarron and others to the NFL, Bama will still boast one of the most stacked rosters in the nation.

According to 247 Sports, Alabama has had the No. 1 recruiting class ever since 2010. Even then the program was ranked No. 5. Bama is set up to seriously contend for a national championship for the next four years, and there's no sign of the expectations dropping.

The Tide have already received commitments from three 5-star prospects and are currently ranked No. 1 in the 2015 team recruiting rankings.

What's new?

 

High Pressure in the Northwest

With a legitimate Heisman candidate in Marcus Mariota and returning players like Arik Armstead and star defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon is again expected to do well.

Unfortunately for Duck Nation, the program has fallen short of the lofty expectations that have accompanied a proven offensive philosophy, and a solid stream of talent over the last five years.

The key game on the Ducks' schedule again this year will be against the No. 11 Stanford Cardinal.

The last two seasons Stanford has handed the Ducks their first loss of the season when the team seemed to be sailing toward a potential berth in the national championship game.

This year, Oregon's schedule is brutal. Before the team even faces the Cardinal, it will play two top-10 squads in Michigan State and UCLA, and No. 25 Washington. If the Ducks are still undefeated by the time they play Stanford it seems almost certain that they will be amongst the top-2 teams in every poll.

Getting over the Cardinal red hump in the road may be the last impediment toward reaching the playoff bracket. Stay tuned.

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