NCAA Football

Updated Recruiting Big Board for Oregon Ducks

The Oregon Ducks landed a solid 2014 recruiting class and are looking to build on that success in 2015. The Ducks love electric players on their offense, so which playmakers are they most excited for in this class?

Watch 247 Sports'Justin Hopkins break down Oregon's recruiting big board and which targets they are most likely to land.


Highlights courtesy XOS Digital. All recruit rankings from 247 Sports.

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Updated Recruiting Big Board for Oregon Ducks

The Oregon Ducks landed a solid 2014 recruiting class and are looking to build on that success in 2015...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Updated Recruiting Big Board for Michigan Wolverines

Michigan is trying to put together a stellar recruiting class in 2015, and there are five names that are currently at the top of their list.

Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe checked in with Nick Baumgardner of to discuss the names at the top of the Wolverines' big board and which recruit will most likely end up at Michigan.

Watch the video and learn the latest on Michigan recruiting.

Highlights courtesy of

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Every SEC Football Team's Ace 2015 Recruiter

Every head coach in college football has at least one assistant coach on his staff who is his "ace recruiter." 

Ace recruiters are assistant coaches who are usually assigned to recruit the elite and most important prospects during a recruiting cycle. It can be a fluid position, as things can change year to year, depending on the recruiting plan.

As things are unfolding for the 2015 class, ace recruiters on SEC coaching staffs are starting to emerge. An offensive line coach has helped his team reach the No. 1 recruiting ranking in the nation, while a running backs coach is still maintaining his lofty status as his program's ace recruiter.

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Alabama Football: 5 Statistics That Will Look Drastically Different in 2014

If there’s been one constant with the University of Alabama football program under the direction of Nick Saban it’s that none of the teams have been alike.

Granted, they’ve all played in the same schemes, and some of the changes have been minimal, but each team has had its own identity.

A good example is with the three national championship seasons. The 2009 squad rode Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and dynamic backup Trent Richardson. The 2011 defense might have been the best anyone’s ever seen in college football. The same could be said of the 2012 offensive line.

Alabama in 2014 will be no different in that respect, with the coaches trying to mold everything around the talent on the roster—and there’s a whole lot of it this year.

Here are five Crimson Tide statistical categories that could see sharp changes from 2013:

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Updated Recruiting Big Board for USC Trojans

The USC Trojans landed a huge 2014 recruiting class. Will first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian repeat that success with with his 2015 class? The Trojans traditionally target Los Angeles-area recruits, but which high-profile wide receiver recruit sits near the top of USC's must-get targets?

Watch'sLindsey Thiry break down USC's recruiting big board and which targets they are most likely to land. 


Highlights courtesy XOS Digital. All recruit rankings from 247 Sports

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Updated Recruiting Big Board for USC Trojans

The USC Trojans landed a huge 2014 recruiting class. Will first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian repeat that success with with his 2015 class? The Trojans traditionally target ...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Ohio State's Braxton Miller Hype Article Is Heisman Marketing at It's Finest

Ohio State is subtle, but not that subtle. 

The Buckeyes released an article on their official website Wednesday promoting quarterback Braxton Miller as basically the most clutch player in college football. 

In all, Ohio State credits Miller, a senior, with six game-winning touchdown drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. That number encompasses Miller's entire collegiate career and is one more than Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds. 

"A survey conducted in the past week by Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors revealed an impressive statistical note about Ohio State University senior quarterback Braxton Miller," the first line of the article reads. 

If there was ever a preseason Heisman push that wasn't really an official preseason Heisman push, this is it. It's an innocent "Oh, hey, look at this." A not-so-coincidental "Huh, whaddya know about that?"

"Ohio State's protocol is to let our outstanding performer's play on the field drive the discussion, initially, regarding major national awards and honors," Sports Information Director Jerry Emig told B/R in an email.

Ohio State probably isn't the first program to publish something of this nature nor will it be the last. When it's crunch time, though, Ohio State wants you to know that Miller is the best in the country at getting the job done. 

It's a perfect time to blast out that little piece of information. It's June, and beyond the Ed O'Bannon trial, there's little else going on. 

It's the right angle, too. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games, right? So much is made of the so-called "Heisman moment" when everything is on the line. As Ohio State points out, Miller has two game-winning drives against Wisconsin, a Big Ten title contender, one against Northwestern, when the Wildcats were nationally ranked and undefeated, and one against Michigan. 

It's still an obvious promotional tool, but it's done a little differently than most offseason Heisman or award pushes. Miller already should be a preseason Heisman candidate, but this is the first major unofficial nudge of the summer. 

There's no doubt Miller is a gifted athlete who is crucial to his team's success, but improving as a passer is one way he can increase his Heisman chances (the other is stay healthy). It could also improve his NFL draft stock, as Mike Huguenin of notes

Miller (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) is a great fit for Meyer's run-heavy version of the spread and is a true dual-threat quarterback. But NFL scouts will be looking for improvement from Miller as a passer this fall; the more he improves as a passer, the earlier he will hear his name called in the 2015 NFL Draft.

B/R colleague Adam Kramer says the last thing anyone wants to hear is a player's name in the summer, since surely nothing good can come of it. He's right—for the most part. This is the exception. 

And the Buckeyes accomplished their goal: We're talking about Miller. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. 

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Mike Leach and Washington State Staff Reel in Giant Fish

Judging by the pictures, Mike Leach and the Washington State coaching staff recently had a successful fishing trip on the Salmon River.

It may have started out as a way for the coaches to bond with each other away from the football field, but it ended up as a memorable experience, thanks to one big catch.

Check out just how long their catch was:

According to Football Scoop's Scott Roussel, the coaching staff says that the fish was a sturgeon.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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Why Texas Tech QB Davis Webb Will Be Biggest Surprise of 2014

There's a precedent for this.

Johnny Manziel was in his second year out of high school when Kliff Kingsbury, then the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, named him the starting quarterback over Jameill Showers (the favorite to start) and helped guide him to the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

"He has the feel of a kid that has always expected this moment," Kingsbury said after naming Manziel the starter, according to Suzanne Halliburton of the Austin American-Statesman.

If he only knew the half of it.

Now Kingsbury is entering his second year as the head coach at his alma mater, Texas Tech, where he's spent the summer hyping up another two-years-removed-from-high-school QB. Like Manziel, he was a looked-over 3-star prospect on the 247Sports Composite, and like Manziel, he is not much to look at physically (at least not yet).

But just like Manziel, Davis Webb can play.

That became obvious during Webb's true freshman season, when he, unlike Manziel, was called on to make a few starts. Walk-on freshman Baker Mayfield beat Webb for the job out of camp, but by the end of the season, after Webb threw for 403 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the Holiday Bowl win over Arizona State, the job was so obviously Webb's that Mayfield transferred to Oklahoma.

Now the job belongs to Webb indubitably. The team and the offense are his, and the 6'4", 215-pound sophomore from Prosper, Texas, is good enough to...well, to prosper. Not just at an All-Big 12 level, but as one of the very best statistical quarterbacks in America.

Webb could be the shocker of the season.

Kingsbury doesn't mince words. He never has, and he never will.

That was his style as a player—Kingsbury, by the way, won the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation's top QB in 2002—and that's been his style as a coach. Confident and outspoken. Eccentric and hip and cool.

Despite this, the comments Kingsbury made about Webb in late May seemed out there. Way out there. Even by his own "way out there" standards. Here's what the second-year coach had to say about his second-year quarterback, per Bruce Feldman of

He has a chance to be very special. He has one of the quickest releases and strongest arms I’ve been around. Very smart, intellectual thinker. Processes things very quickly. Sees the field. Great at checking to the right place. He probably had the best spring I’ve ever been around as far as protecting the football and making plays in our scrimmages. In our live scrimmages, [he had] 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions, which was a huge step from where he was last year.

I think he’s one of those top-5 pick talents with his arm strength and his mind and his size, and how athletic he is for being 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds.

It is normal, as a first reaction, to rebuff Kingsbury's praise as hyperbole and coachspeak. Of course he'd call his quarterback a top-five type of talent. What is he supposed to say—that he isn't?

But look a little closer, and you realize that he might not be so crazy. Webb is not a household name—his namesake, Katherine, is better associated with college quarterback play than he is—but perhaps he ought to be. His true freshman season was that historically good.

Webb finished No. 12 in the country in's Total QBR metric last season. The three players immediately behind him were Braxton Miller, Teddy Bridgewater and Connor Shaw. Tajh Boyd, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr could all be found a little further down the list.

Only six returning players finished ahead of him:

Not a bad list to be on.

Because he ranks so high, based on his own performance, you might think calling Webb the surprise of 2014 is a misnomer. How could someone who's already placed himself on that list be a "surprise"?

The answer to that question is simple: Because he still don't get no respect. When the most recent batch of Heisman odds were released in February, per Tom Fornelli of, seven of the eight QBs listed above were included.

Care to guess which one was not?


The Total QBR data at ESPN stretches back to 2004. During that time, no true freshman has ever posted a higher score than Webb's 82.6 in 2013. That's a decade's worth of data that Webb stands on the forefront of—and still nobody seems to notice him!

Well, not nobody. People understand that Webb is poised to be good. He just hasn't penetrated the national discourse.

He did, however, earn this endorsement from Brandon Chatmon of, who called Webb the most indispensable player at TTU:

The Red Raiders' hopes for success are sitting on Webb's shoulders. ...

He looked even better during the spring with his spot as "the man" in the Red Raiders' offense, capping his spring with a four-touchdown performance in the spring game. Heading into his sophomore season, Webb is accurate, takes care of the football and continues to improve, making him one of the Big 12's most valuable players.

If he's out of the equation, Tech's hopes for success take a major hit. Not only because Kingsbury's squad is set to have a true freshman Patrick Mahomes, as its No. 2 quarterback, but because Webb's stellar play would be difficult to mimic for any signal-caller.

Kingsbury's offense, which was welded from his time spent learning under Mike Leach (as a player) and Kevin Sumlin (as a coordinator), is among the most dangerous in the country.

Even after losing tight end Jace Amaro, Webb still has explosive players such as Jakeem Grant and Bradley Marquez to rely on. According to Chatmon, receivers are the team's strongest position.

Webb has a little bit of Manziel in him, too. He wants every play to be the game-changer. Or at least that's how he was when he first arrived.

"He was trying to hit a home run with every throw," Kingsbury told B/R's Ben Kercheval. "He didn't let the game come to him."

To which Webb, himself, conceded, "I have a big head."

Sound like anyone you know?

But now Webb is being lauded for his decision-making, for the way he takes care of the football. He's still got that Manziel mentality, but he's better at reigning it in. And although he'll never be the wizard on his feet that Manziel was, Manziel will never be 6'4" (and slowly filling out).

All of which points to a huge season for Webb—statistically and otherwise. Putting up very good numbers would surprise no one, but Webb is poised to do much more. He's poised to put up Derek-Carr-in-2013 numbers, the type that merit Heisman consideration.

If Texas Tech can cobble together a defense and win nine or 10 football games, that's exactly what Webb will receive.

Don't say you haven't been warned.


Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

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Why SEC Should Be Afraid of Sophomore Tennessee WR Marquez North

Freshman wide receiver Marquez North burst onto the national scene in 2014 with some monster, highlight-reel receptions. What does North have in store for his sophomore season? 

Tennessee's quarterback situation is up in the air, but expect North to put up huge numbers in 2014 regardless of who is under center for the Vols. 

Watch Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee predict how North will fare in 2014. 


Highlights courtesy XOS Digital

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SEC vs. ACC: Which Power Conference Will Claim Stud DE Jalen Dalton?

Jalen Dalton, a 4-star defensive end, is one of the top recruits in the 2015 class and has yet to decide where he will play college football.

The 6'5", 235-pound playmaker has a unique combination of size and athleticism that will make him a serious threat at the next level.

Bleacher Report's CFB Analyst Michael Felder broke down what school would provide the best fit for Dalton to excel at the next level.

Will it be in the ACC or SEC?

Watch the above video to find out.


Highlights courtesy of XOs Digital. Rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Blake Barnett Opens Up to Former Texas QB Chris Simms on Decommitment from ND

4-star dual-threat QB Blake Barnett recently decommitted from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and opened up his recruitment. Barnett will now go on a few more visits as a part of his renewed recruiting process. 

Former Texas QB and current Bleacher Report NFL Analyst Chris Simms went through a similar situation after committing to Tennessee early in his own recruiting process. Barnett and Simms met up to talk about their experiences and what Barnett is looking forward to in his football career. 


Highlights courtesy XOS Digital. Recruit rankings from 247Sports Composite

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