NCAA Football

Michigan Football: WR Drake Harris Suffers Hamstring Injury

After tweaking the hamstring that kept him out of his entire senior season at Grand Rapids Christian in 2013, freshman wide receiver Drake Harris has been limited in recent days at Michigan's spring practice and confirmed on Tuesday that he likely won't play for the rest of camp or in the spring game.

Harris said the following, per Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com:

It's nothing too major, I pulled it, so I think I'm probably going to sit out the rest of spring. It's nothing major. I'm just still trying to get stronger in the weight room and get back.

It's pretty frustrating, but I've played basically the whole spring (until now). I've learned a lot. So I'll stay focused and stay positive.

It's a good sign that Harris has dismissed the severity of the hamstring pull, also saying that "The way I felt it this time was a lot different from what I did in high school." If he's telling the truth, he should be a full go for fall camp and be ready for the start of the season.

That would be big for the Wolverines. Per the 247Sports composite, Harris was the No. 7 receiver, No. 67 overall player and No. 3 prospect from the state of Michigan this past cycle, ranking higher than each of Michigan's other early enrollees and second highest in the class behind 5-star athlete Jabrill Peppers.

At 6'4'', Harris has the size to become a target on the outside as immediately as his true freshman season. Especially with four of the five leading wide receivers gone from last season—chief among them Jeremy Gallon, but also including Drew Dileo, Jeremy Jackson and Joe Reynolds—there is opportunity for a player to see the field no matter his age or experience level.

In Harris' wake, even more opportunity will be afforded to fellow early enrollee Freddy Canteen, who has enjoyed a strong camp to date and is making a push for early playing time. He is shorter (6'1'') and faster than Harris, angling more to replace Dileo in the slot than Gallon on the outside, but now, at the very least, more coaching attention can be focused on Canteen's development.

New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier was never afraid to play true freshmen at Alabama—e.g. Amari Cooper in 2012.

If Harris or Canteen (or both) earn their spot on the field, they will not have to wait long before seeing it.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Odds on Where 2015 No. 1 DE CeCe Jefferson Lands

The nation's No. 1 defensive end, CeCe Jefferson, is an absolute beast on the field and will make an instant impact wherever he ends up at the college level. The top programs in the country are recruiting this 6'2", 250-pound stud. 

Mark Stoops and Kentucky landed huge defensive lineman Matt Elam from the 2014 class. How will that affect CeCe Jefferson's recruitment?

Check out Adam Kramer break down the odds on where Cece Jefferson will play in 2015.  

 

Highlights courtesy of XOs Digital

Rankings and stats from 247Sports

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Malik McDowell Officially Joins Michigan State's 2014 Recruiting Class

Nearly two months after national signing day Malik McDowell is officially a member of Michigan State's 2014 recruiting class. The arrival of his paperwork ends a long and winding saga.

McDowell announced on Twitter that he submitted his letter of intent late Tuesday night, which was the final signing date for the period:

Mike Griffith of MLive.com confirms the paperwork was received by Michigan State and McDowell finally became a member of the class:

McDowell was a highly coveted recruit. The 5-star prospect ranked inside the top 40 nationally and was one of the top five strong-side defensive ends available, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. The outlet lists 20 programs as have shown interest.

Furthermore, he was the top-ranked prospect in the state of Michigan. So Michigan State seemingly landed a major piece of its class on national signing day. Instead, his letter of intent never showed up and questions were raised about his status.

It turned out his mother originally prevented him from making his commitment official. James Jahnke of the Detroit Free Press reports Joya Crowe thought her son should have chosen a different school and wouldn't sign the letter:

McDowell verbally committed to MSU on Signing Day in early February, but his mother, Joya Crowe, refused to sign his letter of intent, preferring that he attend one of his other finalists: Ohio State or Florida State. McDowell also strongly considered Michigan, especially early in his recruiting process.

The report notes it's unclear what changed that led to McDowell officially joining the Spartans.

Regardless, it's a huge boost for Michigan State after an extended period where it wasn't clear where the talented defensive lineman would land following the chaos.

McDowell is still a bit raw, but his combination of size and athleticism makes him an extremely intriguing prospect with plenty of upside. He should be ready to play a rotational role right away before moving into a more prominent role once he gains experience.

Landing with Michigan State is also good for him because of its strong defensive system. The Spartans ranked third in the nation in points against per game last season. It should allow him to showcase his potential sooner rather than later.

There were probably some tense moments over the past few months for the Michigan State staff. Now they can rest easy. McDowell is on his way.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State Football: TE Jeff Heuerman Out for Spring with Injury

One of the most underrated players on Ohio State's offense, senior tight end Jeff Heuerman, had successful surgery on the foot he sprained last week, which will keep him in a boot and on the sideline for the remaining portion of spring practice.

Head coach Urban Meyer confirmed the news Tuesday evening, per Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors:

Heuerman finished last season third on the team with 26 receptions and 466 receiving yards. All six of his 50-yard receiving games came in the second half of the season, starting with a career-high 116 yards on five catches against Purdue Nov. 2.

The absence of the senior tight end might affect the rest of the team more than Heuerman himself. Having been through this now multiple times, Heuerman doesn't need the reps as much as the younger players on the roster need a leader.

Here's what Doug Lesmerises of the Columbus Dispatch wrote before spring practice when he listed Heuerman as one of five Buckeyes "on the spot":

With quarterback Braxton Miller and receiver Evan Spencer sidelined, the only senior starters on offense who will be out there for the first day of practice are Heuerman and receiver Devin Smith.

Heuerman may never catch a ton of passes, but he has the build and skills to be a high-round NFL pick with a strong senior season.

First, he’ll have to rally the troops. Leadership was a major topic for Urban Meyer last year. If players like Heuerman and Smith on offense and Michael Bennett, Doran Grant and Curtis Grant on defense fill their senior roles, Meyer may not have to talk about it so much this year.

Nick Vannett, a junior who caught eight passes for 80 yards and a touchdown as Heuerman's backup last season, will now likely get the majority of tight end reps for the rest of fall camp and in the spring game. Also in the mix is Marcus Baugh, a top-100 recruit in the class of 2013 who redshirted last year but has been arrested for underage drinking twice since arriving last July—most recently in January 2014, according to Austin Ward of ESPN.com.

Ohio State will hold its spring game Saturday, April 12 at 1:30 ET.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Nebraska Football: Spring Practice Position Battle Tracker

Nebraska football fans know that one of the best parts of spring is watching position battles, trying to get an idea of who will be starting in the fall and leading the Cornhuskers (hopefully) to gridiron glory.

While the starters at some positions are relatively obvious, there are a number of ongoing battles. Make no mistake, starting jobs will be won by performances in spring and fall practice.

Here are five position battles that are still in various stages of play. 

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Florida Gators Football: Will This Be the Season of a 1,000-Yard Wide Receiver?

One of the most mind-boggling stats involving the Florida Gators is that the program hasn’t produced a 1,000-yard receiver since Taylor Jacobs in 2002. That’s more than a decade ago. Just sit back and let that soak in for a few minutes.

To put that in a little better perspective, 2002 was the year Kelly Clarkson won the first season of American Idol. She’s now working on her seventh studio album, and the popular television series is still running strong. On a football scale, 44 receivers last season topped the 1,000-yard mark, and four of them were in the SEC.

Just think of all the great recruits to come through Florida over the years and all the solid pass-catchers. From Percy Harvin to Aaron Hernandez to Louis Murphy, none have come close to reaching the four digits. Riley Cooper has come the closet to reaching the mark, as he finished with 961 receiving yards in 2009. Heck, a Florida receiver hasn’t even cracked 600 receiving yards in the last five years.

Will this be the year Florida has an elite receiver who can take over games single-handedly?

It’s probably best to think baby steps after Florida finished last season ranked dead last in the SEC in total offense. Jeff Driskel remains a question mark at quarterback, and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is entering his first season with the club. It’s also nearly impossible to forget that the Gators have countless receivers jockeying for the position after nobody emerged as the go-to guy.

This looks like a recipe for another year added to such a bizarre streak. This has got to be a statistic that could stump the Schwab.

Ahmad Fulwood, a receiver who is fighting for a starting job this spring, recently addressed this issue to Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports:

I'm sure every team would like that (600-yard guy), but we're all right now just trying to contribute as much as possible, Fulwood said. If we have eight 300-yard receivers, that's just as good as having one 600-yard receiver.

Fullwood has got a point. After all, LSU's Jarvis Landry, Texas A&M's Mike Evans and Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews put up eye-popping receiving numbers last season, and none of those programs reached the SEC Championship Game. Meanwhile, the Missouri Tigers had three receivers with more than 600 receiving yards, and they ended up being the surprise team in the SEC.

So, maybe the 1,000-yard thing is overrated a little. Still, it’s an individual goal that’s cool to fulfil and has turned into a streak that has to be broken sooner or later, right? Florida brings in too much talent each season for such a drought.

If you’re somebody hoping this streak gets put to bed soon, you may be in luck with Roper calling the shots as offensive coordinator. Roper is a coach who works with what he has and harps on his players’ strengths over and over until the defense figures out a way to stop it.

Last season, Jamison Crowder, a Duke receiver who topped 1,000 yards, caught 108 of the team’s 298 receptions. That’s good for a little over 36 percent of the Blue Devils' passing game. In 2012, Duke had two receivers top 1,000 yards (amazing, right?), and those two guys combined for more than 45 percent of the team’s receptions.

In other words, if Florida can find that one receiver who can separate himself from the pack, there’s a good chance this statistic won’t pop up on Jeopardy.

While Andre Debose has a chance to finally thrive in his last season, the player with the best chance of becoming that true game-breaker is sophomore Demarcus Robinson. Forget last year's suspensions and the disappointment—Robinson has made the coaching staff proud during spring practice and has coach Will Muschamp bragging a little, according to a Goldkamp report:

I think he has done some fantastic things in the passing game, Muschamp said. He’s an explosive receiver. He’s a tough match one-on-one because of his size, his athleticism. He’s got really good ball skills down the field.

I think, again, sometimes (it takes) maturing a little bit. We mature at different times. I think we’ve seen some strides there.

Robinson has elite receiver written all over him. You know, the type of talent it would take to reach the 1,000-yard plateau. With his size, hands, speed and the fact he’s going up against a top tier cornerback in Vernon Hargreaves III in practice, there’s no excuse for Robinson not to blossom into an all-conference receiver.

So, when will this streak become a thing of the past? Who knows? What I do know is that Florida has easily its most talented receiver on campus since Harvin and an offensive coordinator who knows how to put guys in position to thrive. 

Why not this season? 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

11 College Football Teams That Give Opposing Quarterbacks Nightmares

Even in today’s era of dominant offenses in college football, certain defenses still leave opposing quarterbacks—and offensive coordinators—waking up with night sweats before big games.

Defenses can be dangerous to quarterbacks for several reasons—strong secondary play, takeaway ability, pass rush or ability to turn offenses into single-minded attacks.

Programs like Alabama, Stanford and LSU continue winning in volume with help from dominating defenses and power run games.

It’s no coincidence all three will find their names on this list.

However, the old cliché about defense winning championships no longer holds water.

Virginia Tech, for instance, fielded one of the strongest defenses in the nation this year. Yet the Hokies could never find consistent answers on offense and, therefore, finished the season 8-5.

That Michigan State struggled to a 7-6 campaign in 2012 wasn’t indicative of the team’s strong defensive prowess but rather its offensive ineptitude. The Spartans found a better, more polished attack in 2013. They won the Big Ten—and the Rose Bowl—as a direct result.

In other words, finding dominant defenses is no longer a matter of simply perusing the win-loss records of teams. More complicated factors must be examined instead—such as the ability to get after the passer, ability to create turnovers and a proven knack for holding teams below their season passing averages. 

With that in mind, this is a list identifying the 11 defenses most capable of making life difficult for opposing quarterbacks. This list examines teams that will scare quarterbacks in 2014—not which defenses scared them in 2013.

Arizona State and South Carolina would have been ranked highly if this was a 2013 list. Both lost so many players—and so many impact players—that reloading seems like a tremendous challenge.

Here is our list: 

 

All stats courtesy of http://www.cfbstats.com/2013/national/index.html.

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Ranking the Top 25 Freshmen Heading into the 2014 College Football Season

The last two Heisman Trophy winners have been freshmen. Redshirt freshmen, but still players in their first year of college football.

Who's to say this isn't the start of an annual trend, as it's starting to become in college basketball, that the best players in the game are often the ones with the least experience at that level?

Impact freshmen are a big part of college football nowadays, and this year shouldn't be any different. Dozens of the top recruits from the 2013 recruiting class saw significant time last season, and the same will likely happen this fall.

But there's also a solid crop of players who redshirted last year. Now with a full year of practice and development under their belts, they are ready to run, throw and tackle wild.

Here's our look at the top 25 freshmen heading into the 2014 season, factoring in their chance to start and make an instant impact. Becoming Heisman-worthy is entirely optional.

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Penn State Football: Grading Each Early Enrollee's Spring Performance

The bulk of Penn State's 2014 recruiting class isn't on campus yet, but the players who are have already been put to work. 

In January, the Nittany Lions welcomed five early enrollees—defensive tackle Tarow Barney, quarterback Michael O'Connor, wide receiver De'Andre Thompkins, defensive tackle Antoine White and offensive tackle Chasz Wright. All five are currently taking classes and participating in spring practices under the tutelage of new head coach James Franklin.  

While the adjustment period has been easier for some, the group in general has done a relatively good job. Some have even raised enough eyebrows to warrant consideration for regular playing time come August. 

When grading how each player has performed this spring, those two factors were taken into consideration—how well they've acclimated themselves to life in college, and their level of play on the field. 

Here's how each early enrollee has fared so far this spring.

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Big Ten Football: Updating Every Team's Quarterback Situation

It might seem as if college football is the sport farthest removed from springtime, but the most dedicated college football fans know that a team's fortunes can be won or lost during spring football practices, especially when it comes to the quarterbacking situation.

Quarterbacks are often the difference between winning and losing in today's game.  Even in April, coaches, fans and the media keenly watch for any signs of instability or change at the position.

With quarterbacks being so critical to the success of college football teams, it might be a good idea to get an idea about where each Big Ten team stands as we begin 2014 spring football in earnest.

Class years reflect the player's 2014 status.

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Michigan Football: What Should Fans Expect from Amara Darboh in 2014

Think of Amara Darboh as a figment of the imagination.

Time-wise, he’s approaching year No. 3 at Michigan—the 6’2,” 214-pound redshirt sophomore receiver signed with the 2012 class, coach Brady Hoke’s first.

But playing-wise, he’s been absent.

However, it hasn’t been his fault.

As a true frosh, Darboh played four games but was essentially shelved for later use.

When it came time for later use, an injury to his right foot—one which required surgery—threw the sophomore into a wayward course of recovery and waiting.

Then there was more recovery accompanied by more waiting.

Time-wise, he’s certainly due for something.

Team 135 will need at least that, especially since Jeremy Gallon’s career has come to an end. After a record-setting senior season, "Mr. Security Blanket" is NFL-bound.

Needless to say, the Wolverines are on an active search for their next play maker—and plenty of talent resides within their wideout depth chart.

Devin Funchess, a junior, could outgrow his conference star-in-the-making status and enter the national realm.

A close-to-proven commodity, Jehu Chesson, is also on the ascent. The redshirt sophomore will likely be on the end of several plays this fall. 

Assuming he makes a healthy return, sophomore Jake Butt should take a prominent role in the passing game. He’s a tight end. But why nitpick? He can catch, and Doug Nussmeier, the offensive coordinator, needs guys who can do that, regardless of position title.

Freddy Canteen, a true frosh, has impressed during spring drills. At the moment, he’s among contenders for a regular gig.

Another "up-sider," Drake Harris, Canteen's fellow early enrollee, was supposed to provide a boost to the receiving corps. However, due to a hamstring injury, 2013’s "Prize of Michigan" recruit will likely miss the rest of spring, including Saturday’s scrimmage at "The Big House."

Michigan has a lot in the cupboard. But Nussmeier and Hoke need a hero to get things cooking.

So why not Darboh? He’s completely willing to step into the mix. However, according to his coaches, he's not yet ready.

“Right now I feel like I’m 100 percent, but they’re keeping me out,” said Darboh to MLive.com’s Kyle Austin. “By the time fall camp comes around I should be 100 percent.”

Offensive progress hinges on the fingertips of the receivers. A challenging hand was dealt to Darboh, but don't discard him just yet. He represents a fraction of Michigan's untapped talent. 

 

Darboh Refresher

Hello... again... 

In the recruiting world, "a few years ago" seems like forever. Basically, anything that's not at least a year ahead of the current class is old news.

That being said, Michigan’s gone through some changes since 2012. For Darboh, the biggest change, of course, has to be the swapping of OCs—going from Al Borges to Nussmeier could present a few roadblocks.

Or it may open up things for the eager, former West Des Moines Dowling Catholic star looking to make a name for himself this fall. 

But before that conversation gets started, take a second to get reacquainted. Please find the following table useful while doing so.

Here's the link to his 247Sports profile. 

What Can He Do?

The following video from YouTube user kdutch98 looks about right...

It's a fair question...

What does he bring to the table? 

He's big.

But he's not a Megatron-like target.

At 214 pounds, he has enough mass on his 6'2" frame to absorb a few tackles and break through linebackers and defensive backs. With a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, he has the speed to get away from them, too. 

Pegging him as a sideline specialist seems about right. He's nimble and has reliable mitts. Those guys move chains and use every last horizontal inch of the field. 

But he can get vertical as well. 

The following report is from Allen Trieu of Scout.com.

Above average size and speed ratio. Maybe not a burner, but has solid deep speed. Excellent hands, ball skills, and ability to go up and get the ball in traffic. He tracks the ball well and has good body control. After the catch he has good ability and is a pretty strong kid that can break tackles in the open field. - Allen Trieu

Sold. 

All of that sounds perfect. Michigan will take two. 

What's not to like about Trieu's assessment? It gives reason to anticipate Darboh's arrival. However, he has zero catches for zero yards and zero touchdowns. As mentioned above, he's played just four games as a receiver. 

Thanks to special teams, his three-year resume boasts all of 11 games. 

 

Quality, Not Quantity 

Former OC Al Borges saw Darboh's potential from the start...

OK, so basically, Darboh is unproven stock. But if Hoke and Nussmeier invest proper resources, they could be in for a surprising return in 2014. 

Sometimes, the best and most useful players don't lead on the stat sheet. That much was true for Butt, who slipped into the rotation on a regular basis after a late-season surge. Statistically speaking, Gallon, who reeled in 89 receptions for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns, was Michigan's "leader and best" in 2013. 

But there's a strong argument for Funchess, who finished the year with 49 catches for 748 yards and six touchdowns. Gallon was the go-to, but Funchess, who is 6'4" and 230 pounds, was a great bailout option for Gardner, who could find a similar friend in Darboh this fall. 

It's not all about numbers. Inflated values mean nothing when compared to efficient, steady production. 

Imagination time is about to expire. Darboh is a concept-player who's one step closer to becoming a finished product.

 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State Football: Spring Practice Position Battle Tracker

The Ohio State Buckeyes need 10 new starters for the 2014 season and with spring practice winding to a close, the competition is heating up.

While the Buckeyes are fortunate to return senior quarterback Braxton Miller, Urban Meyer will need to replace Carlos Hyde (the team's leading rusher), Corey Brown (the leading receiver) and Ryan Shazier (the top tackler), along with a host of leaders from the offensive line and secondary.

Here's a breakdown of Ohio State's spring position battles.

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Notre Dame Football: Spring Practice Position Battle Tracker

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—We’re closing in on the Blue-Gold Spring Game, meaning it’s an appropriate time to take stock of various position battles.

There’s obviously still the caveat that we’re roughly five months away from the season opener and things will undoubtedly change but let’s take a look at what we’ve learned so far and try to understand how things look right now and how they could look come Week 1.

 

*All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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Scouting Report, Video Highlights and Predictions for 5-Star Martez Ivey

Martez Ivey is a 5-star offensive tackle who is one of the most athletic blockers ever evaluated at the high school level.

The sky is the limit for Ivey, as he could develop into an All-American left tackle in college. His size and potential are just two of the many reasons college coaches are drooling over him, and he has offers from a ton of elite programs.

Ivey warrants an in-depth look as a prospect.

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Clemson Football: Week 3 Spring Practice Stock Report

The Clemson Tigers returned to the practice field last week for their second session of spring practice. It was perfect timing for the Tigers with their first scrimmage scheduled for Monday.

Monday's scrimmage was the coaches' first chance to see all three quarterbacks taking snaps in live action. Head coach Dabo Swinney was pleased with his team's first scrimmage, particularly the offensive line, per Clemson's official website:

The offensive line played with pride today and it carried over to everyone on that side of the ball. The defensive line got exposed in some ways. What was called an easy sack previously was not a sack today. 

Swinney's comments are surprising in the sense that it's the first time we've heard of the defensive line struggling at all this spring. It's good news for the offensive line, which was without two starters in the scrimmage. Center Ryan Norton and guard Eric Mac Lain both missed the scrimmage with injuries. 

Surprisingly, for the first time in Swinney's tenure as head coach, he kept the purple jersey off the quarterback, and defenders could hit the quarterback.

Why did Swinney allow his defenders access to the quarterback?

"It was good for both sides of the ball," Swinney told orangeandwhite.com

Swinney understands the need to simulate each scrimmage as close as possible to a game situation in order to fully evaluate all three quarterbacks. 

As far as allowing the defense to hit the quarterback, it was something Swinney said was done during his time as a player at Alabama. 

 

Three-Way Race at Quarterback Heats Up

Just last week, offensive coordinator Chad Morris said senior Cole Stoudt, sophomore Chad Kelly and freshman Deshaun Watson were in a "three-person race" to be the Tigers' starting quarterback, according to David Hood of TigerNet.com.

All three quarterbacks, plus redshirt sophomore Nick Schuessler—not a contender for the starting job—combined to go 27-of-48 for 379 yards and four touchdowns in Monday's scrimmage.

The biggest news from the scrimmage was that none of the four signal-callers turned the ball over in 100 total offensive snaps.

Swinney was pleased with his quarterbacks Monday, per Hood:  

We have good competition a quarterback. I have said before that I am not worried about that position this year. We have talented players at that position. Overall it was a good first scrimmage. There was back and forth. The offense would stand out, then the defense would come back strong. We hope all the players learn from today's scrimmage and come back next Monday even stronger. 

Yes, it was just the first scrimmage, but Swinney and Morris had to be happy with how efficient the quarterback group was. 

 

Young Wide Receivers Impressing

Germone Hopper, Charone Peake and Mike Williams were all expected to be big contributors in 2014 with Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant heading to the NFL. That still may be the case, but, for different reasons, only Williams has participated fully thus far in spring practice.

Peake tore his ACL last September and is still rehabbing. Fortunately for the Tigers, Peake was granted a medical redshirt last week and will now have two years of eligibility remaining. 

Hopper is another story. The super-talented Hopper is Clemson's best chance at a big-play threat this fall, but he first must take care of things in the classroom.

Last week, Swinney sent Hopper home for the remainder of spring practice to focus on his academics. It's a tough blow for Hopper as he is Clemson's second-leading returning receiver from a year ago. 

Suffice to say, Swinney was not pleased with Hopper (subscription required), per Scott Keepfer of the Greenville News:

He’s a good young man, talented, but not very focused or committed to doing what he needs to do academically. So I’m giving him some time to go focus at Vickery Hall. That’s what he’s going to be working on these next few weeks.

While Williams has been on the practice field, he struggled early on. Morris was disappointed with Williams during the first week of practice, but in recent days, Williams began to impress coaches. 

That has opened the door for three true freshmen who enrolled in January: Demarre Kitt, Kyrin Priester and Artavis Scott. 

Priester spent 2013 at prep school after failing to qualify academically last year. Both Kitt and Scott came to Clemson after graduating early.

With the attrition at the position, a door has opened for at least one of the young players to contribute immediately. 

According to Aaron Brenner of the Charleston Post and Courier, Swinney even compared Kitt to former Clemson star DeAndre Hopkins recently:

Demarre is going to remind a lot of people a little bit of a Nuk (DeAndre) Hopkins type of guy. He's not as long or gangly as Nuk, but he's slinky and smooth like Nuk. He's got a great knack for getting his body in position to make plays.

Senior Adam Humphries is the only sure thing among the receivers, and he isn't necessarily a big-play guy. Whoever plays quarterback is going to need someone to step up opposite of Humphries among this group of young and talented wideouts. 

 

MacKensie Alexander Has Coaches Excited

Every few years it seems like the Tigers land a transcendent talent. Whether it's C.J. Spiller or Sammy Watkins, Swinney has had no trouble landing some of the top players in the country.

Perhaps the player who most fits that bill on this year's squad is redshirt freshman cornerback MacKensie Alexander.

Alexander likely would have played as a true freshman, but an injury early in fall practice set him back and allowed coaches to bring him along slowly. 

It looks as if that move will pay off big for Clemson.

A 5-star recruit in 2013, according to 247Sports (subscription required), Alexander looks like he will fill Bashaud Breeland's shoes capably in 2014. 

Count defensive coordinator Brent Venables among those impressed, per Hood:

I would just say MacKensie is the one because we lost a couple of starters at a position where we're thin. He's had a nice first seven, eight practices. Adrian Baker has as well. They give you reason to believe by the end of fall camp that we'll have some guys ready to play, as far as guys who have not been on the field for us. 

Cornerback is not a position that is often conducive to early success. Players take their lumps early on. But Alexander has a year in the program under his belt, and going up against Watkins and Bryant in practice last year should benefit him in 2014. 

The Tigers are just over a week away from the annual spring game, but don't expect any answers at the quarterback position until the summer. For the receivers and the defensive backs, though, spring practice is an opportunity to separate from the competition. 

 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Power Ranking Top 10 2015 Recruiting Classes Right Now

With April now upon us, recruiting is starting to move along in the 2015 cycle. Recruits are starting to form relationships and bonds with coaches, lists are on the verge of being narrowed, and summer visits are starting to be scheduled.

However, some prospects have sped up their process to a point where they're already committed to a school. With commitments comes the forming of recruiting classes, and with the forming of recruiting classes comes the need for those classes to be ranked.

Looking at the top recruiting groups right now, several are from the SEC. However, a Big Ten school not named Ohio State or Michigan is coming on strong, plus a surprise school from the Big 12 has one of the better classes in the country.

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