Things have gone from bad to worse when it comes to the Georgia Bulldogs secondary. It was announced today that Tray Matthews has been dismissed from the team by Mark Richt, according to Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph. Matthews did confirm this on his Twitter account but would not elaborate on why he is leaving Athens.
This could not come at a worse time for the Bulldogs. Richt recently kicked Josh Harvey-Clemons off the team, and shortly after that, Shaq Wiggins decided he was going to transfer. Both players have transferred to Louisville.
So the question now is who is going to take the place of the sophomore?
Tray Matthews: "I'm leaving. I can't really talk about that right now. But all I can confirm is I'm leaving."— UGA Football News (@UGAfootballLive) June 3, 2014
That is an interesting question because the depth at the safety position is very thin. Quincy Mauger is the top backup, and he’s likely going to be the No. 1 free safety when preseason practice begins. Like Matthews, Mauger is a true sophomore that played in all 13 games and started in seven of them. He recorded 42 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.
Having Mauger starting is fine because he has experience. However, when it comes to his backup, the options are not very plentiful.
Lucas Redd would be the next option. The senior has only played in 12 games his entire career, and all of them came last season. He was a member of the scout team in 2012 and in 2011.
Another option is Tramel Terry, who played wide receiver last season. Terry took the redshirt last year because he was recovering from a knee injury.
When it comes to newcomers, there is only one signee that is a true safety. Dominick Sanders from Tucker, Ga., is not as big as Matthews, but he has the ability to make plays, which is something defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is looking for. In fact, this may be a very good thing for Sanders because Richt told Gentry Estes of 247 Sports (subscription needed) that every position in the secondary is wide open, and it’s a good time to be a young defensive back at Georgia.
But no matter how young the players they have out there are, there will have to be some adjustments made in the secondary. J.J. Green, who played running back last season, was listed as the No. 1 strong safety this spring. There could be a chance he could move to free safety and have Corey Moore play strong. Another option is have Brendan Langley move back to defense and be a backup to both safety positions.
Right now, it’s too early to tell what will be the next move for Mark Richt’s crew. But if there is one thing that is certain, Richt wants the players that are going to do the right things on and off the field, and he won’t hesitate to tell players to hit the road if they don’t agree.
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With three new additions to Alabama's top-rated 2015 recruiting class within the last week, Nick Saban and the coaching staff are cleaning up on the recruiting trail.
Fourteen of the Tide’s 18 pledges are 4-stars or higher, and 10 rank among the nation’s top 100 players, according to 247Sports Composite Rankings.
With that type of talent headed to the Capstone, a handful of potential impact players are capable of making the jump to the college level and earning playing time as freshmen.
Which current commits fit the bill of being able to make an impact on the field next fall?
Darian Claiborne and Isaiah Golden, Texas A&M football players who were arrested in late February on different charges, were dismissed by the program on Tuesday, school officials announced.
Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee noted the pair's dismissal:
Claiborne and Golden, both sophomores, were arrested Feb. 23 after police approached a parked car both were sitting in along with wide receiver Speedy Noil. Golden, a defensive tackle, was charged with marijuana possession. Claiborne, a linebacker, was served a noise complaint.
Both were indefinitely suspended following news of their arrests, but were largely expected to return to the program. Head coach Kevin Sumlin told Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN.com in March that he expected Golden, who withdrew from school, to be back this summer.
It's unclear what has changed over the past couple months. Neither has been publicly cited with any further wrongdoing, and the school did not specify why the pair were dismissed.
"These two individuals have failed to meet the high expectations and standards that we have for our football players and as representatives of this university,” Sumlin said in a statement, per Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News. “These two players have exhibited a pattern of behavior that we will not tolerate at Texas A&M."
The news comes as a significant blow to the Aggies' 2014 defense. Claiborne and Golden both started as freshmen last season and were expected to be integral fixtures in an improved front seven.
Claiborne recorded 89 total tackles (seven for loss) and made 1.5 sacks. Considered a 3-star recruit by 247Sports' composite rankings, Claiborne's on-the-field production far exceeded expectation. Texas A&M often struggled defensively in 2013, but Claiborne gained valuable experience that could have begun paying dividends next season.
The February incident was his second run-in with police in a three-month span. He was also arrested last December on charges of possession of a dangerous drug and possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. Sumlin suspended him for the Aggies' Chick-fil-A Bowl win against Duke.
Golden was the more high-profile of the pair, coming into College Station with 4-star hype and garnering considerable playing time. He made 32 tackles (three for loss) and seemed a lock to start again in 2014. While fellow class of 2013 defensive tackle Justin Manning was ranked higher by most recruiting services, it was Golden who avoided the freshman redshirt.
Both players are eligible to transfer to other schools. They will be subject to NCAA transfer rules, however, meaning they would have to sit out a year if picked up by a Division I school. Because they did not redshirt in 2013, Claiborne and Golden will have three years of eligibility remaining.
As for Texas A&M, seeing Sumlin take a hard-line stance is promising—even if something about the timing is amiss. The Aggies coach's control of his program has often come into question over the last year, starting with the media frenzy surrounding Johnny Manziel and continuing with the increase in off-the-field incidents from players.
Sumlin is one of the most promising young coaches at any level and a gifted recruiter. Having off-the-field incidents derail one of the best up-and-coming programs in the nation is apparently not an option. We'll just have to see whether defensive coordinator Mark Snyder can help mitigate the loss of talent walking out the door.
Nevertheless, this is a strong message from Sumlin and the A&M program.
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Irvin Charles emerged as one of the Northeast's premier wide receiver prospects during his junior season and swiftly saw his recruitment heat up in the aftermath. The 6'4", 212-pound pass target holds more than two dozen scholarship offers but has begun to focus on the final stretch of his decision process.
Charles, rated a 4-star recruit by 247Sports, identified seven top schools during the final month of May. Still eight months away from national signing day, he determined Miami, Louisville, Michigan State, Maryland, Penn State, South Carolina and Florida would be at the forefront moving forward.
Going public about the favorites wasn't something he rushed.
"It's been a long process determining that list," Charles said. "I had a lot of people help me reach this decision. I just looked at it from a standpoint of playing time—that's first and foremost—a school that wins and a place that will fit my comfort zone. That's why I trimmed it down to those seven."
The rising senior from Paul VI High School in Haddonfield, New Jersey left several squads off his list of top collegiate options. Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee and in-state Rutgers are among programs that now look like long shots to sign Charles, although he explained that not every team outside the top seven is necessarily eliminated.
"Anything can happen," he said. "Nothing is final or set in stone, but these are the schools that have really separated themselves from the others."
Charles, who caught 49 passes for 848 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, has visited Penn State several times. He plans to return this summer, while also journeying to the campuses of his other six favorites.
The versatile playmaker detailed his thought process regarding each of the top seven programs, sharing what stands out about each option.
"It's about the vibe at Penn State. The fan support and everything about it. I've been up to Penn State multiple times, and I've never been disappointed. Not just from a football standpoint, but how everyone in the area loves the football team and how Coach Franklin is doing. I know they're going to do big things. Everyone wants to be a part of the next big thing."
The Nittany Lions extended an offer to Charles in mid-February, just a few days after the team landed fellow 4-star Southern New Jersey receiver Juwan Johnson, who remains the only committed pass-catcher. Penn State has feasted in this region when it comes to recruiting, so it's no surprise to see another standout compelled by the program.
Charles is projected to sign with Penn State by 53 percent of expert predictions in 247Sports' Crystal Ball.
"I think really highly of the Hurricanes because of what they've done in the past and what they're capable of doing in the future. I like how (wide receivers) coach (Brennan) Carroll does things. I like their philosophy down there, with freshman being able to compete with the first-team players. You can come in early and compete for a starting job."
The Hurricanes joined this race relatively late, extending an offer in April. Miami enjoyed a strong spring on the recruiting trail, with 4-star talents Dexter Williams (running back) and Dwayne Lawson (quarterback) committing to the team.
Miami trails only Penn State in 247Sports' Crystal Ball projections for Charles. The Hurricanes are predicted to sign him by 29 percent of experts.
"Obviously they can get the job done after seeing what they did last year. They have a pro-style offense, which is one I think I can really fit into. I want to go out there and get a taste of what Michigan State is all about. I've seen it from the outside, so now I want to see it from the inside and go from there."
The reigning Big Ten champions are competing with a pair of conference foes (Penn State and Maryland) for Charles. The Spartans landed talented Arizona quarterback Brian Lewerke in April but remain in search of offensive skill players.
Michigan State was the third Big Ten team to offer Charles after Iowa and Rutgers.
"One thing I take into consideration is the durability of a coaching staff. That's why I'm kind of iffy. But at the same point, it's a good offer and they do a lot of things I like. I'm going to watch this football season at Florida carefully to see how productive it is. I just want to make sure they're doing what I think they can do and see what things might look like for the following year."
Gators head coach Will Muschamp is coming off a disastrous 2013 season, when the offense struggled mightily. Charles is taking the same approach as several Florida targets, monitoring the team to see how things turn out this fall.
Among programs on his list of favorites, Florida was the last one to offer him (April 30).
"It's a winning team that never really seems to go through slumps. I also have family in South Carolina, and that's a good thing. I would have an extra comfort level going down there, and I wouldn't be homesick. I'll have people come watch me play that I'm close with. I can just get out there and ball out early, get on the field and do what I do best."
The Gamecocks have assembled a solid corps of pass-catchers during this recruiting cycle, including 3-star prospects Dexter Neal and Michael Bowman. Neither player possesses Charles' height, but they complement each other well as assets for 4-star quarterback commit Lorenzo Nunez.
"They do a good job of distributing to wide receivers. (Receivers) coach Keenan (McCardell) played in the NFL for a lot of years. He knows, from a receiver's perspective, what it takes to get to the next level. I'm going to college to get coached up, not to stay the same. I feel like being coached by him for the next three or four years would be a great thing to do to prepare for the draft."
Charles is clearly drawn to College Park by the prospect of playing for McCardell, who caught nearly 900 passes and won a Super Bowl as a pro. After a slow start, the Terrapins added two commits during the final week of May and may finally be building some momentum.
In terms of early playing time, he would immediately become one of the program's most highly regarded offensive prospects.
"I really like how they do things. I watched their spring game, and they produced a lot of offense. Another thing that sparks my interest is they're losing several wide receivers to graduation. They only have one or two key guys coming back, so I know if I go there it's going to be necessary for me to contribute early. I also have some family in Kentucky, which is another reason why they made the cut."
The Cardinals landed just one receiver with a 3-star rating or better during the 2014 recruiting cycle and have yet to solidify a 2015 prospect at the position. The team just lost a first-round NFL quarterback but has several intriguing options ready to step up as starter for the first season of Bobby Petrino's return.
Charles aims to announce a commitment prior to the start of his senior season, though he admits things could remain unsettled heading into September. A summer filled with campus visits and coaching sales pitches will help him continue to trim a dwindling list of possible destinations.
Recruit ratings and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
All quotes obtained firsthand by B/R recruiting columnist Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.
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If you could pick a starting 22 for a college football team, what would it look like? Would it be full of All-Americans and award winners? Or would it be filled with players who are, athletically, the best at their position?
Either way, picking a starting lineup and special teams is harder once you realize how many players won't make the cut. But that's what we tried to do here in Bleacher Report's Perfect College Football Starting Lineup for 2014.
If there's one thing that should be noted—and this cannot be stressed enough—style of offense or defense doesn't matter. There will be guys who play in a pro-style offense next to guys who play in read-option or air raid offenses. Defensive tackles who play in a 3-4 are still eligible to be selected for this list's 4-3 defense.
It's the dead of the offseason. It's all subjective and fun. There are no rules.
Which ones made the list? The selections are in the following slides.
Joshua Perry asked a number of his teammates to spare half a minute of their time to film a video that would make a young fan’s day.
The footage, Perry said, was for Joshua Chambers, a four-year-old in Orlando, Florida, struggling with a deadly form of leukemia.
According to Patrick Maks of Eleven Warriors (h/t Bill DiFilippo of College Spun), seven members of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team collaborated in May to send Joshua a series of videos as he lay in the emergency room awaiting treatment.
Joshua’s father Jeremy Chambers says he continued forwarding each individual video to his son’s iPad as he received them.
“I would forward them from my phone to Joshua’s iPad and he’d get a message and it would pop and he’d say, ‘It’s another Buckeye!’” Jeremy said. “The way we did it, by sending them over to his iPad one at a time, he was like ‘Oh another one and another one!’”
The players involved in the video messages included Perry, Devan Bogard, Craig Fada, Curtis Grant, Doran Grant, Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan. All of them offered words of support for Joshua, who was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February 2013.
Maks reports that Joshua’s father Jeremy is a native of Ohio, and his Buckeyes pride quickly rubbed off on his son.
Image via Joshua's Journey Facebook page.
“Thanks to his father’s Perrysburg, Ohio, roots, [Joshua Chambers] has fallen in love with Ohio State,” Maks writes.
Perry, a junior from Galena, Ohio, heard of Joshua Chambers’ plight from his mother, who had received word of the little superfan’s battle with cancer from a colleague at work.
The linebacker soon began wearing rubber bracelets with “Joshua 1:9” inscribed on the cuff. He says he knows what the football program means to the Buckeye faithful and he is trying to use his platform to make a difference in fans’ lives.
“It’s one of those things where some of the guys who aren’t from Columbus don’t necessarily understand how just being a Buckeye and the small interactions you make with people can actually make their day when they’re going through something tough,” Perry said. “If somebody says, ‘Hey, there’s somebody who wants to meet you…they’re going through a rough time…if they want me to wear their wristband and tell their story and get to know them a little bit, it’s the least I can do.”
Wise words from a young man.
As for Joshua, he is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment and is making strides toward better health, but he isn’t out of the woods just yet.
Keep fighting the good fight, Joshua. You’re the pride of Buckeyes nation, and we can’t wait to see you back on your feet and taking one to the house at Ohio Stadium.
THE Joshua Chambers.
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