NCAA Football

Complete Previews for Top 15 College Football Spring Games This Weekend

This weekend marks the earnest beginning of spring football games. Relevant teams such as Baylor and Michigan have already completed theirs, but those were anomalies.

This weekend, we get our first loaded schedule.

Six FBS teams will run their spring games on Friday, with 26 following Saturday. Included among those teams are five conference champions, 25 bowl participants and 15 bowl winners from 2014.

To help sort through the madness, here's a preview of the 15 biggest spring games on the schedule. Apologies to those we left off; we'll be watching you too, rest assured.

This is, after all, our last gasp of football until August.

Might as well breathe all the air we can.

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Ranking the 5 Best NFL Prospects on Ole Miss

Head coach Hugh Freeze has been stockpiling talent at Ole Miss over the last few recruiting cycles, and now that talent is starting to really take over for the Rebels.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down the top five NFL prospects for the Rebels.

Who is the best prospect on Ole Miss' roster this season? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Morgantown Bans Patio Furniture Because WVU Students Keep Burning It All

We need to talk, West Virginia University.

You have some good things going for you, namely a football program that doesn't incite paralyzing depression and a beautiful college town full of fine locals who are probably very nice and say things like, "Supper's ready."

But you are hurting yourselves and the people of Morgantown, Mountaineers. It started with your smack-talking basketball team feeding its flailing, ineffectual limbs into the Kentucky log chipper, and now your penchant for postgame arson is infringing on the personal liberties of the citizenry.

According to WVPublic.org's Jesse Wright (h/t Laken Litman of For The Win), the city of Morgantown, West Virginia, is banning all patio furniture within city limits due to the unabated burning of said furniture by students after football and basketball games. 

Morgantown City Manager Jeff Mikorski said the ban is a stopgap in the veritable forest fire of less-than-controlled burns initiated by students over the past decade.

"Over the last 10 years, we've had over 3,000 street fires because of the quick ability to bring furniture from porches and put it into the streets and put them on on fire," Mikorski said. 

The law was passed April 7 and covers "upholstered furniture...in yards or unenclosed porches."

What this amounts to is a ban on a fixture of unleveled college patios everywhere—the outdoor moldy couch. You'll find one of these peeling, half-rotten mammoths moldering next to a beer pong table on the majority of campus live-outs, and most of them go neglected but unmolested for years.

Of course, there must certainly be a cross section of locals who also own these swampy things. What are they to do? College kids aren't the only people in the world who enjoy sinking into a mildewing loveseat and feeling the crinkle of last fall's leaves as they open another Keystone. What of their loss?

It's really quite simple, West Virginia. 

Get it together—for your hosts and for yourselves.

 

Dan is on Twitter. A rain-soaked porch-couch is a privilege, not a right.

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Georgia Football: Former Backups Ready to Emerge as Stars in 2015

The Georgia Bulldogs are ready to return to the top of the SEC and contest for a spot in the College Football Playoff. With key upperclassmen moving on, which backups are ready for more prominent roles in 2015?

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee breaks down the roster and pinpoints which players he believes will break out next season for the Bulldogs.

How will Georgia fare next season? Check out the video and let us know!  

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College Football Teams Whose Next QB Will Be Better Than Current Starter

We're still months away from the 2015 college football season, but some teams with uncertain quarterback situations probably wish they could skip ahead to 2016. Others might be in good shape this fall, but the future holds far more promise. 

No matter what a team's current quarterback scenario is, the possibility of what is coming down the pike are hard to ignore. Whether it's a player set to come in as part of the 2016 recruiting class or who on the roster is in line to be a backup or be redshirted this season, the next great thing at quarterback is among the most exciting concepts in college football.

And in some cases, a future quarterback is apt to be better than who is running the offense this season. This isn't necessarily a knock on the quarterback some teams plan on going with in 2015; it's more of an endorsement of their next great thing.

We've identified some teams that figure to have a much better quarterback in 2016 than this year, though this list is limited to schools that have a clear choice for next year that's different from this season's top candidates.

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Is LSU Head Coach Les Miles Really on the Hot Seat in 2015?

The LSU Tigers are a perennial contender in the SEC who are always in the hunt, but with their success come lofty expectations. Head coach Les Miles is constantly under scrutiny in Baton Rouge. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee discusses whether or not Miles is on the hot seat at LSU. 

Should Miles be worrying about his job? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football: How Much Faster Can Lane Kiffin's Offense Be in 2015?

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In a lot of ways, year two of Lane Kiffin is going to be more interesting than year one, where he caught lightning in a bottle with a lot of little things coming together for Alabama's record-setting year.

He installed a higher-tempo offense while Blake Sims turned into one of the SEC's best quarterbacks, Amari Cooper had a career year, and T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry came together to form a terrific tandem in the backfield.

Year two, though, brings yet another quarterback battle among an unproven group. Gone is Yeldon along with Alabama's top three receivers and number one tight end. It's also replacing three offensive linemen.

The learning curve will be even steeper.

So it was curious when tight end O.J. Howard mentioned a "different" offense during spring break.

"Kind of more shotgun, more high-tempo, so you have to learn the plays really fast and get off the ball really quick," he told reporters on Monday.

It's hard to imagine much more tempo for Alabama, a team traditionally known for running the ball and controlling the clock than scoring quickly. But Howard says it can be.

So how much faster can Alabama actually be in 2015?

For the first four of the last five years, Alabama more or less hovered around the same 65- to 67-plays-per-game mark under offensive coordinators Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier, according to TeamRankings.com.

But as college football got faster and faster, that meant the Crimson Tide fell further and further behind in national rankings.

Not that it hurt them all that much. Alabama won two more national titles in that span using a punishing ground game and a stifling defense to win instead of offense.

Last season, though, Kiffin came in and gave Alabama a noticeable shot in the arm on the offensive side of the ball in terms of tempo, and it led to the most prolific offense in Crimson Tide history:

Alabama's seven-plays-per-game jump is significant. Over a 14-game season, that's 98 more plays than it would have ran last year.

But on the national level, Alabama is still below the midline in terms of tempo. It’s far below the blistering 90.3 plays per game that Baylor ran last year.

So there is still plenty of room for improvement in the tempo department. How does Alabama do it?

It starts, like it always does, at quarterback.

Sims was suited to play at that tempo for a couple of reasons. He had an entire offseason to digest and immerse himself in Kiffin's new playbook. His experience gave him a rapport with his teammates to make calls on the fly. And his five years on campus meant Saban had a level of confidence in him already to trust him with all of that responsibility.

There isn't a quarterback like that on the roster right now.

Saban praised Jacob Coker after Friday's scrimmage and said he had been working in more shotgun than before. He has some mobility, too, so he'll be able to do a lot of things that Sims was able to do.

If not Coker, one of Alabama's other four options will have to prove he can step up and at least maintain what Sims was able to do.

Whomever the quarterback ends up being, he won't have a safety net like Amari Cooper to throw to. Cooper is gone along with DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, leaving a batch of talented but unproven receivers at Kiffin's disposal.

At running back, Alabama seems to be dropping guys like flies. But the top two options remain the same, with Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake assuming top-of-the-rotation duties.

But their usage and styles of play may result in a handful of more plays per game.

Henry is expected to be the No. 1 back, but behind him, Drake should be used in a myriad of ways, much like he was last season. Drake has actually taken some reps at wide receiver in practice, which you would expect means more passes coming his way.

It's a skill set that keeps a defense on its heels but also would seem more prone to explosive passing plays rather than the methodical clock-churning of Alabama running backs in the past.

So while it's a little strange to think of Alabama playing much faster, there definitely is room for improvement.

If a few things come together the right way again, Howard's prediction could become reality.

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and reporting were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Note: Players are referenced by fall 2015 eligibility.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Former Michigan Stars Say Jim Harbaugh Is Bringing Bo Schembechler Era Back

With an estimated attendance of 60,000—including 320 former players—the atmosphere in Ann Arbor for Jim Harbaugh's first spring game as Michigan's head coach was impossible to ignore last Saturday.

But it wasn't very difficult to explain.

"Everybody is definitely supporting Coach Harbaugh," former Wolverines linebacker and president of the Letterwinners M Club, Bob Stites, told Bleacher Report. "He’s one of us."

That's a sentiment that's not only been shared by former teammates of Harbaugh's like Stites, but generations of ex-Michigan players who are eager to see the Wolverines return to national prominence after an eight-year hiatus. Even the most optimistic of U-M alums know that only so much can be accomplished in one session of spring football, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone associated with the Wolverines who didn't notice the dawning of a new era in Ann Arbor on Saturday.

“Obviously we have to wait and see what happens on the field," said Chris Howard, the leading rusher on Michigan's 1997 national championship team. "But what you do see and what you do get a sense and feel for is that the team seems very energetic. They seem to have bought into what Harbaugh is selling them."

It's not just the current Michigan players who have done so.

 

The Harbaugh Effect

Michigan may still be in the early stages of its overhaul on the field, but off it, the program has done a complete 180 from where it stood just months ago.When Harbaugh accepted the head-coaching job at his alma mater at the end of 2014, it sent a shockwave not just through Schembechler Hall, but through all of Ann Arbor. Immediately, his arrival was met with a "khaki out" at a Michigan basketball game, an enthusiasm that hasn't died in the months since.

"It is amazing what an impact he’s made," Stites said. "I talked to some people who worked at the M Den [bookstore] and they were definitely selling more items for it. Even around town, real estate developers and real estate people are saying condos are selling a little bit faster and they think think there’s a ‘Harbaugh effect.’ It’s definitely taken over the area as far as the optimistic attitude of having a new coach here."

That attitude has extended to Michigan's strong alumni base, which was evident by the presence of former players in Ann Arbor over the weekend. Even if the product on the field hasn't changed just yet, the Wolverines' mindset has, after a near-decade-long deviation from their typical status as one of college football's elite programs.

"When you can create an atmosphere of competition and not an atmosphere of entitlement, only good things can happen," Howard said. "I see guys competing, I see guys loving to compete, I think everybody understands that nothing’s going to be given to them, they understand there’s no such thing as job security, and you have to fight for everything you say you want. And quite honestly, that’s the way it should be.”

Of course, attitude and optimism can only take you so far, and sooner rather than later, Michigan and Harbaugh are going to need to win football games. But that doesn't mean last Saturday's atmosphere or the current excitement surrounding the Wolverines is unwarranted, as there's certainly something sentimental to be found in the journey on which Harbaugh's currently embarking.

"He played on the same field, the same grass as they do now. He’s one of us. So that’s the exciting thing," said Jamie Morris, who played running back beside Harbaugh in the Michigan backfield. “He’s one of us."

 

"Bo-esque"

He may be just a little more than three months into the job, but Harbaugh's ties to the Michigan program have been long documented. The son of former Wolverines assistant Jack Harbaugh, Jim spent his formative years in Ann Arbor around legendary head coach Bo Schembechler before Jack's career took the family out West.

“He’s a coach’s kid. His dad and his brother [Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh], there’s pictures of them running around the stadium here," said Stites, who lives in Ann Arbor. "[Bo] was a father figure for Jim."

After starring at Palo Alto High School in California, Harbaugh would return to Ann Arbor to play quarterback for Schembechler from 1983-86. A three-year starter and eventual first-round pick in the 1987 NFL draft, Harbaugh left a legacy that spoke for itself, winning Big Ten Player of the Year honors while leading the Wolverines to a Big Ten championship in his senior season.

"You always hear the stories, you always hear the folklore about some of the former players," Howard said. "Jim’s heroics are no different.”

But even with all he was able to accomplish on the field, Harbaugh built a reputation for his leadership off of it. His upbringing as a "coach's kid" showed up in the huddle, where he was determined to prove that Michigan's best players were on offense—and not defense, as Schembechler claimed.

He also routinely challenged teammates, unafraid to be disliked but demanding to respected. Those who spent time with him in those huddles viewed him as an extension of Bo on the field and now find it unsurprising that he's roaming the same sidelines that his mentor once did.

"It’s surreal for me because I played beside this guy," Morris said. "I see him, but I see Bo’s teachings in him too."

That means a greater emphasis placed on the team as opposed to individuals and an atmosphere where competition is not just encouraged, but a requirement. After Saturday's spring game, the winning team feasted on steaks, while the losers were left with little more than pasta.

According to Stites, that was a page straight from the Schembechler playbook, which Harbaugh has carried with him throughout his climb up the coaching ranks from San Diego to Stanford to the San Francisco 49ers. Having remained close to the Michigan program, Stites says he's already seen other similarities between his former head coach and quarterback, including the abolition of preferred parking for football players.

"He’s cut things down, he’s actually trying to make it simpler: Just football, just school, just the basics. Trying to get rid of some things that maybe were distractions in the building and around it," Stites said. "He’s just getting back to the basics and treating them all the same just like Coach Schembechler did. We were all dogs and in the doghouse all the time, so he treated everyone the same.”

That was apparent in the spring game, where hitting was live—including on the quarterbacks. That sort of toughness may have been missing from Michigan as of late, but it wasn't unfamiliar to those who had been around Schembechler.

"The things he does, the things he says, is definitely Bo-esque," Stites said. "It’s good to see.”

 

"It's been brutal"

In order to understand why there's been so much excitement in Ann Arbor for Harbaugh's arrival, all one must do is ask about the last seven seasons.

Since losing to FCS school Appalachian State in the 2007 season opener, the Wolverines have been largely irrelevant, save for an 11-2 Sugar Bowl-winning season in 2011. After moving on from Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez was fired after three seasons, and Brady Hoke lasted just four before Harbaugh's hiring at the end of 2014.

Under Rodriguez and Hoke from 2008-2014, Michigan compiled a 46-42 record, a far cry from the standard that was previously set by college football's all-time winningest program.

“It’s been brutal. You’re watching a program that you love, that you bled and sweated for, it’s been brutal to kind of watch the program fall to where it is," Howard said. "It’s no fun going into the gym and seeing people with Ohio State shirts on and Michigan State shirts on and you just not being able to say anything.”

It's now been 10 years since the Wolverines' last Big Ten championship, a drought that would have been unheard of under Schembechler, who won 13 conference titles in his 21 seasons as Wolverines head coach. For a program whose goal is to compete for the Big Ten championship every season, Michigan hasn't done so since 2007, nor won one since 2004.

Meanwhile, rival Ohio State has risen to the top of college football under Urban Meyer, while Michigan State can make a legitimate claim to being the Wolverine State's premier program. Having previously saved his 1986 conference championship ring as a keepsake, Stites now wears his around town as both a motivational and teaching tool.

"People need to see it," Stites said. "They need to see that it’s possible, that people have been there and done that. These kids just need to see that. They need to see that those are the expectations that we have here. At Michigan we play for the Big Ten title and that’s what we need to win. These kids need to see those rings and see people that have done it before and see how they act, see what they do, see what they say."

They'll now not have to look any further than their head coach to do so.

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury Opens Up on QB Battle, Rebounding from Tough Season

For a head coach that had everything he could ask for—a dream job at his alma mater and a contract extension through 2020 that would pay him $3.1 million in 2015—Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury had almost nothing he wanted. 

It's not like he asked for too much. Kingsbury's not that complex. As a coach, he wants two things: for his players to compete and to win football games. He's a firm believer that the former plays a role in the outcome of the latter.

Last year, he got neither—at least to the level he desired. The Red Raiders struggled to put away Central Arkansas and UTEP in the first two weeks. Tech won just two games after that, sputtering to a 4-8 effort. 

Those struggles have made the team's 2015 spring practices a battle every day at just about every position. 

"When you have the kind of season we did," Kingsbury said, "there aren’t many secure positions because we didn’t play well." 

This time a year ago, Davis Webb was the only scholarship quarterback on roster. Webb himself wasn't the issue. As a freshman, he played in 10 games, starting six, throwing for 2,718 yards and 20 touchdowns. Though he didn't begin the 2013 season as the starter, Webb ended the year as the Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP in a 37-23 upset over Arizona State. 

The problem, Kingsbury explained, was the lack of competition in the spring. Week 1 starter and Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year Baker Mayfield had transferred to Oklahoma. Backup Michael Brewer left for Virginia Tech. Both delivered strong parting words toward Kingsbury and Tech on the way out, but nothing stung Kingsbury as much as the lack of competition the attrition created. 

"Having Davis be the only scholarship quarterback, it wasn’t really a competition per se," Kingsbury said. "It was him working on his game."

Things are different now. Webb is more than four months removed from season-ending shoulder surgery, and sophomore Patrick Mahomes, who started the final four games of the season, has been taking the majority of the reps. Davis competes some, Kingsbury said, but he has been held out of live drills. 

"D-linemen tend to get a little antsy when we are going live," Kingsbury chuckled, "and we don’t want to get him knocked around." 

Still, Kingsbury is getting what he didn't have last spring—a true quarterback competition. It has made both players significantly better knowing they're being pushed. 

"Patrick has a lot more confidence," Kingsbury said. "Last year he had to play catch up. He had the summer to work with everyone a little bit, but not a lot.

"After a year of getting some reps and then stepping in and playing well at the end of the season, you can see his confidence grow. He really picked up where he left off at the end of last season."

As for Webb, he's continued to grow as a team leader even when he's not on the field. He's giving teammates high-fives in practice, interacting with his offensive line. 

"The thing I’ve been most impressed with Davis is that, going through a year he got injured, he could have easily tanked and been selfish," Kingsbury said. "But he’s been incredibly supportive of his teammates and of other quarterbacks. He’s shown his leadership through hard work and being the consummate team player."

The competition will carry over into preseason camp, at which time Kingsbury expects to have a starter in mind. Ball protection, he says, will be a key factor in the race. 

It's an important area for everyone, for that matter. Turnovers weren't just a major issue for the Red Raiders last season, even though they finished 117th nationally with 28 turnovers (and a minus-13 turnover margin). The numbers were even worse in 2013, as Tech finished with 33 giveaways and a minus-14 turnover margin. 

Penalties were a problem too. Tech averaged 9.3 per game. Only Baylor was worse at 9.8 per game. 

So what do you do?

“We’re still figuring it out," Kingsbury said. "I think it’s going to come with the maturity of our team. Some young guys have to grow up." 

There wasn't an ounce of concern in Kingsbury's voice. He was as cool and collected as ever. As a former signal-caller for the Red Raiders, Kingsbury is cut from a unique cloth. He never gets too high or too low. 

"This was just one of those years that it didn’t go the way we wanted," he said with a half laugh, half sigh. "That’s the nature of the business. Not every year is going to be awesome." 

Nope, he's not complex at all. You'd never guess this was a guy trying to regroup a team of college players after winning four games. 

The things is, Kingsbury hasn't lost a ton. Prior to 2014, he experienced one losing season as either a head or assistant coach—at Houston in 2010. And that's when starting quarterback Case Keenum and backup Cotton Turner were lost for the year with ACL and clavicle injuries, respectively. 

Sometimes, luck isn't on your side. The 2014 Red Raiders, though, didn't have much of anything going for them. 

But the fact remains that Kingsbury has won a lot of games as an assistant and head coach, too. He's been taught by some of the best offensive minds in the business. He didn't suddenly forget everything overnight. 

Kingsbury is who he is, and he's not about to change now. He's not any tougher on his players than he was before, but he's putting extra focus on the details in practices—areas like ball security, mental toughness and the like. When things get difficult (and they will) and players get tired (and they will), how will they respond? That's the type of atmosphere every coach strives to create in spring. 

It's preparation for the worst moments in the season. To make sure 2015 doesn't become a nightmare again, Kingsbury has to make it as close to that as possible now. 

"After you go through a tough season, you think what you could have done better, pinpoint things and make them a point of emphasis," Kingsbury said. 

"But I don’t think you try to reinvent the wheel." 

 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com

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Is FSU or LSU Best Fit for 4-Star CB Trayvon Mullen?

It’s almost fitting that Florida State and LSU are battling it out for 2016 4-star corner Trayvon Mullen.

After all, both the Seminoles and the Tigers have deep histories of producing top-flight defensive backs.

According to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, the ‘Noles have taken over the top spot for Mullen—who recently released his top 10 schools in order. 

The two titans have already butted heads on the recruiting trail in 2016, with the Tigers winning out over the Seminoles, among others, for 5-star corner Saivion Smith in January.

But which school provides the best fit for the nation’s No. 5 corner and the No. 41 player overall in the 2016 class?

Actually, both schools are very similar in their style of play and the opportunity they can offer Mullen.

"I just saw an opportunity there," Mullen told Bartow about his switch at the top. "FSU sends guys to the NFL. I'm there a lot like I'm at LSU a lot. I feel I could be a huge star [at FSU]."

As Noles247 illustrates, a quick glance at the ‘Noles depth chart in the spring shows that outside of junior corner Jalen Ramsey—who will be a candidate to test the NFL draft waters next year—there’s no proven entity at either corner slot.

FSU is likely to have both starting corners from last year’s squad, P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby, hear their names called at the end of the month in the 2015 NFL draft. 

The 6’2”, 175-pound Mullen is of similar build to those former ‘Noles standouts, which makes him a coveted commodity for Jimbo Fisher and defensive coordinator Charles Kelly.

"[Kelly] also talks about how they need corners, they don't have that many big corners like myself, so I would be a great fit for them. Help them out a lot with where they are trying to be," Mullen told Chris Nee of Noles247.

LSU is in a similar situation when it comes to needing corners who can step in and play early. This year, junior Tre’Davious White will be the only seasoned corner who takes the field, and like Ramsey, he could be another candidate who could test the NFL draft waters next year.

Despite having a verbal from fellow Sunshine State standout Smith, LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond has remained steadfast in his pursuit of Mullen.

"It's a tossup," Mullen told Bartow. "[Tigers defensive backs] coach [Corey] Raymond is who I talk to the most actually and he recruits me the hardest."

With both schools offering him similar opportunities for playing time and both employing schemes that will use him as a lockdown man-to-man corner, the main factor for Mullen could be whether or not he wants to stay at home or leave the state to play in college.

Both schools offer Mullen a great fit, but proximity to home could be the deciding factor that helps the Seminoles win out in the end.

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Georgia Football: Will Any QB Emerge as Front-Runner in Spring Game?

It's the closing stretch in Athens, and the crowded quarterback battle for the Georgia Bulldogs appears to have been narrowed to two.

According to the practice report released by Georgia, junior Faton Bauta and sophomore Brice Ramsey put up nearly identical statistics, completing 17 of 28 pass attempts each. Bauta tossed for 250 yards, two touchdowns and a pick; while Ramsey—last season's primary backup—threw for 219 yards and one touchdown.

Head coach Mark Richt commented on his two quarterbacks in the release:

I thought they both had some good moments and a couple bad moments again. I couldn't tell (the completions and attempts were the same) until I looked at the stats. I wouldn't have been able to predict that. As it went, Faton was a little hotter on the front end, and Brice was a little hotter at the tail end of the scrimmage. They're getting there. They really are.

Noticeably absent from the report was redshirt freshman Jacob Park, who received only a handful of snaps on Saturday, according to Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph.

So who will be the star of the spring game Saturday afternoon between the hedges?

Both are neck-and-neck, but I'll take Ramsey as the favorite to shine.

New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has a pro-style pedigree after coaching in the NFL since 2001, and as has been the case for the duration of Richt's tenure, the Bulldogs will run a pro-style system that's founded on establishing the run and working off of play-action.

Ramsey was good enough to win the primary backup job last season under a similar scheme, and he played well at times—particularly in mop-up duty vs. Kentucky, when he completed all five of his passes for 80 yards and one touchdown.

The next step is winning the job when it's vacant, so why wouldn't he be the man for Georgia in 2015?

That's not to say that Bauta won't have a role. He will.

The 6'3", 218-pounder from West Palm Beach, Florida has a little bit of Tim Tebow in him in the sense that, while he isn't going to win the gold in the 100-meter dash, he can do some things on the ground and run over a linebacker or two.

But Ramsey has the arm strength to be a force within the offense despite coming from a Wing-T offense at Camden County High School in Kingsland, Georgia, as the video below from his high school days illustrates.

He gives the Georgia offense more upside.

Let's be honest, the No. 1 attribute that Richt and Schottenhemier are looking for in a quarterback is the ability to stretch the field, and Ramsey is more likely to do that consistently.

Whatever happens in the spring game, though, Georgia's primary focus of the spring seems to already have been accomplished. The race appears to be down to two, with Bauta—who will have some kind of role regardless—in the mix.

That gives the wide receiving corps—which is replacing its top two players from a year ago—a little bit more clarity on who will be involved in the game plan as the Bulldogs enter the summer workout session. That's invaluable as they hit the practice field to work on their own.

Either contender seems capable of winning the job, but Ramsey just seems to be a better fit.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Where Will Auburn Turn After 4-Star QB Austin Kendall Committed to Oklahoma?

Quarterback Austin Kendall announced his commitment to the Oklahoma Sooners on Tuesday afternoon, less than a month after backing off an initial verbal pledge to Tennessee:

The 4-star North Carolina prospect picked up an offer from Oklahoma in late March while on a campus visit in Norman. He traveled to Auburn a week later, spending time with the Tigers just four days before his decision became public.

Kendall, a 6'2", 205-pound junior standout at Cuthbertson High School, quickly emerged as one of Auburn's primary 2016 targets following his decommitment from the Volunteers. 

"I sat down with [offensive coordinator Rhett] Lashlee and Coach [Gus] Malzahn. They really want me," he told Woody Wommack of Rivals earlier this week. "They're going to take one quarterback right now, they say, and they want me to be it."

Kendall, rated eighth nationally among pro-style passers in 247Sports' composite rankings, threw for 4,461 yards and 49 touchdowns in 2014. He added 519 yards and nine scores on the ground.

Auburn was viewed as a top contender to eventually land Kendall along with Kentucky. Instead, he's headed to Oklahoma, leaving the Tigers with a pivotal slot to fill in this cycle.

Malzahn and Lashlee have their sights set on multiple quarterbacks, with offers extended to 4-star recruits Dwayne HaskinsJarrett GuarantanoJawon PassErvin Barrett and Xavier Gaines

Haskins appears to be focused elsewhere, with LSU, Notre Dame and Maryland emerging as potential landing spots. Guarantano is set to commit April 15, selecting either Tennessee, Ohio State or Rutgers. 

That leaves Pass, Barrett and Gaines—each considered premier dual-threat playmakers at the position—as viable options. 

Pass, a 6'5", 220-pound prospect, has drawn comparisons to fellow Georgia product Cam Newton. It isn't hard to imagine him doing damage in the same offensive attack that vaulted Newton to a Heisman Trophy and national stardom. 

Rated second nationally among dual-threat talents, his recruitment currently centers on the Tigers, Alabama, North Carolina and Louisville. Pass' older brother was a member of the Cardinals' 2015 recruiting class.

Gaines doesn't possess the unique physical stature of Pass, but he's proved to be one of the top overall athletes in Florida. Other interested teams include Clemson, Ohio State, Texas and Virginia Tech. 

Auburn is considered more likely to secure a commitment from Pass, according to 247Sports' Crystal Ball, which accounts for expert predictions. The Tigers hold a slight edge over Louisville, with 36 percent of all projections.

Pass used to sell popcorn at Auburn basketball games, according to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports. Now, Tigers fans hope he'll become the main athletic attraction on campus. 

Barrett is locked in at 100 percent to Auburn in the Crystal Ball. The 6'2", 213-pound Orlando, Florida, standout named the Tigers and Alabama co-leaders last month.

"I feel like I'm a dual threat, which is just like Nick Marshall," Barrett told Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports. "The things Nick Marshall can do, I could probably do better. That's how I feel."

It remains to be seen if Auburn would shut down its recruitment of Pass if Barrett pulled the trigger on a pledge.

Auburn's ambitions to sign a single quarterback in this class could certainly change. Malzahn made a late push for eventual Ohio State signee Torrance Gibson last winter despite holding a commitment from Tyler Queen.

With Kendall out of the equation, Auburn could opt to explore other opportunities at the position. Potential targets include Tylin Oden (Tennessee), Jalen Hurts (Texas), Anthony Brown (New Jersey) and Chazz Surratt (North Carolina). 

 

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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