NCAA Football

5 Reasons 5-Star DE Terry Beckner Jr. Will Sign with Missouri

Terry Beckner Jr. is a 5-star defensive end from East St. Louis who is a monster in the trenches. The 6'4", 293-pounder has heavy hands at the point of attack, plus he sheds with power.

Beckner is also a solid athlete who can shoot upfield with quickness at the snap. His size and strength will let him rush over guards as a defensive tackle on passing downs in college.

Beckner has a lot of schools after him, but 247Sports has Missouri as his leader. There's several reasons why the Tigers will indeed sign Beckner.

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BYU Football: Who Is Replacing Every Former Cougar Taken in 2014 NFL Draft?

In an unfortunate turn of events for BYU, only one former Cougar was selected in the 2014 NFL draft. On the other hand, four other players signed free-agent contracts on Saturday and will attempt to build a future as a pro.

Any time a player leaves a program for the professional ranks, whether they are drafted or not, it leaves a mark. When players with that caliber of talent move on to the next level, there are gaps that need to be filled.

So who will replace the former Cougars who made headlines over the weekend?

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UCLA Football: Who Is Replacing Every Former Bruin Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

The UCLA football team will have to replace five NFL draft picks from this year's draft. Plugging in players to the vacant spots will not be an easy proposition. 

Outside of Cassius Marsh's replacement, the general theme for the group will be one of inexperience. The talent level should be decent across the board; however, it will be a giant step up in actual playing time for the majority of the new starters. 

Let's take a look at the five new starters replacing NFL draft picks for the UCLA Bruins.

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UCLA Football: Who Is Replacing Every Former Bruin Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

The UCLA football team will have to replace five NFL draft picks from this year's draft. Plugging in players to the vacant spots will not be an easy proposition...

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Top Schools for Each Uncommitted 2015 5-Star Offensive Recruit

The 2015 college football recruiting class features several uncommitted 5-star offensive recruits. Elite programs from all over the country are fiercely recruiting these prospects, as they are the best in the nation at their positions.

A 5-star offensive tackle is still up for grabs, while a 5-star quarterback seems to be loving the attention he is receiving from schools. Plus, a 5-star running back has a pair of Big Ten rivals fighting over him.

All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings.Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

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2015 College Football Recruits with Insane Athleticism

Every college football program wants to sign players who have great athleticism. Quarterbacks need to be athletic enough to elude rushers and threaten defenses with their legs. Offensive linemen have to be good athletes to execute various types of blocks.

No matter what position a player lines up at, he needs to be a good athlete. However, several recruits in the 2015 class appear to have exceptional athleticism.

A 4-star prospect in Louisiana has no athletic limitations, while a 5-star cornerback in Texas can run like the wind in coverage. Plus, a 5-star defensive end has tested and timed well.

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Jameis Winston Continues to Hurt 2015 NFL Draft Stock with off-Field Actions

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston may be the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but he continues to hurt his 2015 NFL draft stock with his actions off the field.

A strong 2013 season in which Winston threw for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions while leading the Seminoles to a national championship was under enough scrutiny during when the QB was accused of allegedly raping a woman in December of 2012. Now, Winston finds himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons once again.

According to ESPN.com, Winston was issued a civil citation at the end of April for walking out of a supermarket without paying for crab legs and crawfish worth $32. As a result, Winston was suspended indefinitely from the baseball team. The closer was reinstated to the team a few days later.

Now, Winston is receiving even more attention for the latest comments from his father, Antonor Winston, who thinks that someone should be with his son at all times to keep him out of trouble.

"He's supposed to have somebody around him 24/7," Antonor Winston told Rachel Axon of USA Today. "He a Heisman Trophy winner so (he's) definitely not supposed to be by (himself)."

With so much negative attention surrounding Winston right now, he is hurting his draft stock significantly.

Bleacher Report's own Mike Freeman talked to a number of NFL personnel about Winston after the shoplifting incident, and they had some choice words on the FSU quarterback:

This from an NFL scout: "When I heard about this, I was stunned. He was the top overall pick next year. Was. Not anymore. This latest thing shows a continuation of bad judgment. I don't trust him, and I can tell you very few teams in the NFL will trust him."

This from a front-office executive: "He's on his way to falling out of the first round."

This from another scout: "We're talent whores. But we're not total whores. It's almost impossible, at this point, to trust Winston."

There isn't a position in professional sports that's under more scrutiny than the NFL quarterback, and franchises expect their starting QBs to represent their teams in a positive light. While Winston displayed the skills on the field to be an NFL-caliber quarterback, his actions off the field may keep a number of teams from drafting him if he decides to declare for the 2015 NFL draft.

While this has been a rough offseason for Winston, that doesn't mean that there's no way he can recover from it. If Winston can stay out of trouble for the next year and prove that he can be a leader both on and off the field, he could recover and still be a first-round pick.

This isn't the first time a college quarterback has had troubles during the offseason. Johnny Manziel went through much of the same scrutiny after winning the Heisman due to frequent pictures of him partying, hanging with celebrities and even an NCAA investigation involving signed sports memorabilia. The issue was eventually dropped, but led to Manziel being suspended for half of a game.

Once the season began, however, Manziel let his play do that talking. The pictures of Manziel partying with celebrities stopped and he did his best to avoid controversy, even though the media was constantly watching him. Still, it seemed to pay off for Manziel, as he was able to prove to NFL teams that he had matured and was still drafted in the first round this past weekend by the Cleveland Browns.

If Winston is able to follow a path similar to Manziel's and avoid getting in trouble or shedding a negative light on his image, he may be able to survive these latest incidents and be a first-round pick.

As of right now, Winston's draft stock has taken a pretty big hit.

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Texas A&M Official Wants Stadium Named 'Kyle Field: The House That Johnny Built'

Johnny Manziel has left College Station early and will now head to Cleveland as he hopes to leave his mark on the National Football League. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner's time at Texas A&M was so sensational that one Aggies official wants to rename Kyle Field—which was built in 1927—in honor of the quarterback.

Texas A&M regent Jim Schwertner talked about what he would like to see happen to the stadium while the Aggies gave an update on the $450 million renovations going on at Kyle Field:

Schwertner did go into a little bit more detail, via the San Antonio Express-News' Brent Zwerneman:

I hope the Aggie Nation will come together and decide that's something they want to do.

Think about this – the last time we had a Heisman Trophy winner was John Kimbrough. [Note: It was actually John David Crow who won the Heisman Trophy in 1957.]

It's going to be up to the students and former students to decide that. That would sure be a real testament about how great that young man was for this university. My vote would be yes, but there are a lot of other folks who will have a vote on what I just said.

That's an interesting idea although, as ESPN's Darren Rovell reported last month, Manziel already filed to trademark "The House That Johnny Built."

Manziel put Texas A&M back on the college football map during his two seasons on campus. If one Aggies official has it his way, Johnny Football's legacy will never be forgotten.

[Twitter, h/t Black Sports Online]

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Zach Gentry to Texas: Longhorns Land 4-Star QB Prospect

The Charlie Strong era at Texas is off to an encouraging start following news that the Longhorns have landed highly touted quarterback prospect Zach Gentry.

Gentry took to Twitter to announce his commitment on Monday: 

247Sports' official Longhorns account also had the news:

A 6'7", 230-pound quarterback out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Gentry is rated as the sixth-best pro-style quarterback in the class of 2015, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

The 4-star signal-caller had received a handful of other offers, including ones from Alabama, Baylor and Strong's former team, Louisville. 

Earlier this month, ESPN.com's Max Olson discussed what landing Gentry would mean for Texas' program as well as quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, who followed Strong to Austin from Louisville:

"Gentry would be a home run and a clear statement that Watson and the offensive staff won't be afraid to pursue elite passers outside the usually loaded Lone Star State." 

In addition to his incredible size, Gentry's arm strength separates him from other quarterback prospects in his class. He'll need to continue to improve his mechanics and his footwork to hit his target on a consistent basis when given the opportunity at the college level, but his potential is tremendous.

The Eldorado High School star is also an excellent decision-maker and is capable of using his legs to extend the play even though he excels from the pocket. Per his 247Sports profile, he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds.

Although Longhorns fans will have to wait more than a year to see Gentry in a Texas uniform, his commitment bodes extremely well for the program's future and serves as one of the early triumphs for Strong, who took over forMack Brown back in January. 

For coaches in high-profile positions, recruiting top-level prospects is the first step to success. And with one of the top quarterbacks in the country officially on board, Strong appears to be well on his way to turning the Longhorns around. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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Virginia Tech Football: Who Is Replacing Every Hokie Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

The Virginia Tech Hokies were a pretty popular team during the 2014 NFL draft, but now Frank Beamer and company are left contemplating who will fill the shoes of their departing stars. 

The Hokies had three players selected in the draft and six others sign afterward as undrafted free agents, and each leaves a gaping hole to fill.

Fans might have been excited to watch Kyle Fuller get taken by the Chicago Bears with the 14th overall pick, or for Logan Thomas to join the Arizona Cardinals and Antone Exum head for the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively, but the Hokies will sorely miss each of their abilities.

Read on to find out exactly which players are slated to replace each NFL-bound star.

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Philip Nelson to Be Formally Charged with First-Degree and Third-Degree Assault

Rutgers quarterback Philip Nelson, who was arrested early Sunday morning for an alleged assault in Mankato, Minnesota, will be formally charged on two counts.    

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett provided the news and details: 

The 20-year-old Mankato native, who transferred from the University of Minnesota to Rutgers in January, was booked into Blue Earth County Jail on suspicion of assaulting Isaac Kolstad, a former linebacker for Minnesota State-Mankato, according to multiple reports, via NJ.com's Dan Duggan

Details about the incident began to trickle forward, and according to KSTP Channel 5 News in Minnesota, Nelson went to court at 3:30 p.m. local time, where he was then charged. 

According to police, via Duggan, Nelson became extremely agitated late Saturday night when a bouncer kissed his girlfriend's hand. Later in the evening, around 2 a.m., Nelson and Kolstad got into an argument and had to be separated. Kolstad reportedly punched Nelson, and a third party, who remains unidentified, delivered a punch to Kolstad that appeared to knock him out. 

Steph Stassen, a graduate student who was on the scene, told police, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Curt Brown, it was a "sucker punch."

While Kolstad lay motionless and "clearly" defenseless, as one police officer put it, Nelson allegedly kicked him in the head. 

According to Duggan, a neurosurgeon has said he is unsure if Kolstad will survive. His father, Blaine Kolstad, gave the following update, via CaringBridge.org:

Isaac suffered a severe head injury early this morning. He is currently in Critical condition and fighting for his life. He is young and strong, but the battle he has in front of him is enormous. We do not yet know the full extent of his injuries. He is very sick. Please pray for Isaac and all of those involved.

Nelson played in 11 games for the Golden Gophers last season, compiling 1,306 passing yards, 364 rushing yards and 15 combined touchdowns. He is set to sit out this season with the Scarlet Knights due to NCAA's transfer rules, but with two counts of assault, there is a strong possibility his collegiate career will be over. 

For now, though, focus should turn toward Kolstad, who is hopefully able to recover from his critical injuries.  

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Penn State Football: Who Is Replacing Every Nittany Lion Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

The 2014 NFL draft is behind us, and the Penn State football program has lost some of its most notable players to the highest level of organized football.

Gone are the record-breaking performances of Allen Robinson along with the veteran leadership and on-field dominance of DaQuan Jones and William V. Campbell Award winner John Urschel.

There are plenty of players vying for their spots on the current roster, but filling the shoes of college's elite players won't be easy. 

Which current Nittany Lions have the best shot at stepping up and starring in voids created by the latest crop of NFL rookies?

 

All stats courtesy of CFBStats.com.

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Why ACC Football Is an Underappreciated NFL Factory

For the 100th year in a row, the SEC was the king of the NFL draft. 

The SEC had 49 players selected in this past weekend's draft, 11 of which went in the first round. Both numbers were the best among any conference in college football. Per Kevin McGuire over at College Football Talk, Alabama and LSU have been leading the way with the most players drafted over the past four years, with 30 and 29, respectively.

But not far behind Alabama and LSU is Florida State, which has had 25 players drafted over the past four years. That's thanks to head coach Jimbo Fisher returning the Seminoles to an elite level in college football. 

For that matter, the ACC, with Florida State's help, has been churning out a lot of NFL draftees over the past few years.

Before going any further, there's some fuzzy math that plays into NFL draft chest thumping that's worth noting. Thanks to conference realignment, conference sizes have increased, and in the Big 12's case, decreased. For example, Texas A&M had three first-round selections—Jake Matthews, Mike Evans and Johnny Manziel—who signed with the Aggies when they were still in the Big 12. 

Nevertheless, they'll count toward the SEC's total. Now, on to the ACC's numbers. 

The ACC finished second among all conferences in the '14 draft with 42 players selected. In fact, the ACC had more players selected through the first four rounds (28) of this year's draft than the SEC (26). 

Since 2005, the ACC has not finished worse than third in total number of draft picks among all conferences. In 2006, the ACC finished with the most draft selections (51), per Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star.

For the past two years, the ACC has finished with the second-highest number of first-round draft picks (11). 

Suffice to say, the ACC—or, at least, a portion of it—has become its own little NFL factory recently. Florida State, Miami, Clemson and North Carolina have been churning out talent worthy of getting drafted. Still, the conference hasn't quite garnered the recognition in the same way the SEC has. 

That comes with long-term sustainability. The SEC has had the most NFL draft picks for the past eight years. If you want to see the opposite perception, check out Adam Kramer's write-up on B/R about the Big Ten and its struggles producing high draft picks. 

The ACC has been lurking in the SEC's shadow for some time on draft night. As such, the conference has been a bit underrated when it comes being identified as an NFL draft factory. Still, the numbers suggest the ACC can produce NFL-caliber talent with just about any other conference in the country.

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. 

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Power Ranking College Football Conferences by Their NFL Representation

As Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee wrote Friday, the SEC replanted its flag atop the college football universe with its standout performance on Day 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft, helping the conference forget about Florida State's (and by proxy, the ACC's) victory over Auburn in the national title game.

The field caught up with the SEC after Day 1, however, and by the end of the draft, the ACC was within seven picks of having the most players selected. If you count the conferences as they'll stand in 2014—with Maryland leaving the ACC and Louisville joining—the gap was even closer at four.

Which got us thinking: How do the numbers stack up throughout the league? Rosters are technically in flux right now, so it is hard to get a perfectly accurate number, but based just on the active players listed at Pro-Football-Reference.com and the players selected this weekend, which conferences represent what portion of the current NFL?

Again, it is important to note that the numbers here have been adjusted for 2014 conference realignment. Some web outlets have posted the number of drafted players by conference and included the 2013 conferences, but this list does not.

Louisville's draftees counted for the ACC, Maryland's counted for the Big Ten, Tulane's counted for the AAC, et cetera.

Here's how it all shakes out.

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Nebraska Football: Who Is Replacing Every Former Huskers Taken in 2014 NFL Draft

The 2014 NFL draft has come and gone. For the Nebraska Cornhuskers, that means three players were selected in the seven-round event that began May 8.

With those three players gone, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini will be working to find replacements for each player. Fans got an early look at who will fill the open spots during spring practice and at the annual spring game.

Who will the replacements be? Here are the top candidates to replace each former Husker taken in the 2014 NFL draft.

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Alabama Football: Realistic Expectations for the Tide's 2014 Season

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson had an interesting view of practices last season from the University of Alabama weight room.

After sustaining a knee injury in the season opener, his second since committing to the Crimson Tide in 2012, he was often seen working out and going through rehab in front of the facility’s numerous big windows that overlook the practice fields, where he could see what the defensive linemen were doing.

It wasn’t ideal, of course, but it did help the former heavyweight wrestling champion from the state of Georgia keep up with what was going on, both in terms of scheme and execution.

This is what he saw: “We just weren't aggressive off the ball.”

And now? “This year we're just more aggressive and firing out,” Tomlinson said. “I think we're going to get to the quarterback a lot more this year.”

Even though Alabama is still waiting for a couple of potential contributors to arrive on campus, particularly defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and linebacker Rashaan Evans, it’s already apparent that the defensive front seven have the potential to be outstanding just like the playmakers on offense.

Consequently, even with the quarterback position unsettled and the question marks in the young, talented secondary, there’s little reason to believe that the Crimson Tide won’t be hunting for another national championship.

For the most part, the schedule is considered favorable. Florida visits Tuscaloosa on Sept. 20, and Ole Miss and Tennessee are expected to be better. However, the only back-to-back road games are separated by a bye. Alabama visits LSU on Nov. 8, which along with Auburn is considered THE game this year for fans, but last season the Crimson Tide seemed to peak against the first of those two opponents.

Avoiding any sort of recurrence was a priority this spring, including constant reminders of how the 2013 team finished. Nick Saban also preached going “back to basics,” which meant a significant effort to rediscover the things that led to the 2009 national championship, the only one of his four title teams that finished undefeated. 

“People are staying positive because any time you get negative, it's like one spoiled apple ruins the bunch,” junior wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “If you see one negative person a lot of people start to get negative, and that's not good for any time.”

While a perfect record may be a tall order, all indications are that Alabama will again go into the fall favored against every opponent. Oddsmakers have done so for 53 consecutive games, dating all the way back to the 2009 Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Florida, and already Alabama is considered a three-plus touchdown favorite against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome on Aug. 30.

However, since 2008 Alabama has always done one of two things: either lose a couple of games and finish in the bottom half of the top 10 in the national rankings, or win the national championship.

In terms of talent, there’s no doubt the Crimson Tide can contend, and numerous times the programs that have finished atop the recruiting rankings have gone on to play for the title within a couple of years.

According to 247Sports, Alabama has failed to have the nation’s best recruiting class only once since 2008. The closest program during the past couple of years has been Florida State, the reigning national champion.

Based on that alone, one has to consider the Crimson Tide and Seminoles as having the best preseason chances to be part of the inaugural four-team playoff this year. That’s why the different vibe during Alabama’s spring was so important.

“I think we're more together as a team,” senior safety Nick Perry said. “I think we have a better understanding of our goal unlike last year. I think you learn more from losses than you do from wins. Sometimes you need to lose to learn. We definitely learned our lesson last year.”

 

Christopher Walsh is the lead Alabama football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. 

Follow @CrimsonWalsh

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ACC Football Plans to Use Same 8-Game League Schedule Model as SEC

The ACC announced Monday that it would be keeping its eight-game conference schedule—the same schedule the SEC chose to keep a couple of weeks ago—instead of opting into the nine-game schedule preferred by the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12.

Per Dan Wolken of USA Today:

Also in the same vein as the SEC, the ACC announced that starting in 2017, its teams would be required to schedule at least one non-conference game against an opponent from a power conference.

Notre Dame, which is currently participating as a partial ACC member, would count as one of those games, but it has yet to be determined if the other FBS Independents—BYU, Army and Navy—would as well, per Wolken and Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com:

And even further in the same vein as the SEC, the ACC will keep its current divisions and maintain its permanent cross-division rivalries, per Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Werner also reports that the news is not yet official. The conference athletic directors have merely "recommended" that the schedule stay at eight games, and though they still need to vote on Thursday, that action is merely a formality:

Scheduling is a hot topic in college football right now—and with good reason. No one is exactly sure how the new College Football Playoff will work, what the selection committee will value, et cetera. 

Because of that nebulosity, a cynical mind might say the SEC and ACC are trying to gain an advantage by keeping their conference slates at eight games. Even with the mandate to play at least one power conference opponent, non-conference games are traditionally far easier than conference games. Playing more of them should help ensure better records throughout the league.

Tyler Duffy of The Big Lead helps break down why this matters:

There are arguments to be made for keeping the eight-game schedule—the preservation of cross-division rivalries comes to mind—but for the most part, less conference games means less quality opponents, and less quality opponents means less quality games on TV.

And who in their right mind wants that?

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

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