NCAA Football

B/R 5th Down: Charlie Strong Forgets His Quarterback's Name

Editor's Note: The Fifth Down captures the top social college football stories of the week. Because the long, grueling offseason is underway, we'll focus on things that make us laugh, think or maybe cry, but mostly laugh. 

 

1. Texas Coach Charlie Strong Has a Brain Fart But Rallies 

First, some background information.

There's an ongoing lawsuit between Oklahoma State and Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline, who previously held the O-line coach title with the Cowboys. The issue at hand is whether Wickline actually calls the plays for Texas. If he doesn't, he would owe Oklahoma State $600,000 in a buyout for taking a lateral position with another job. 

Anyway, Strong was deposed about this last month—a copy of the deposition can be read here, courtesy of the Austin American-Statesman (h/t Good Bull Hunting)and some of his answers are miraculous. 

Namely, Strong had a brain fart and forgot the name of his starting quarterback, Tyrone Swoopes. 

You know...that guy. What's his face.  

We'll chalk it up to an honest mistake and not a hint that Jerrod Heard will be the Longhorns' starting quarterback in 2015.

Maybe.

OK, we'll see. 

Strong rallied, though. Asked later about the play-calling duties in the Oklahoma State game last season, a game the Horns won 28-7, Strong delivered a gorgeous troll that would make even South Carolina Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier blush: 

Way to rebound, Strong.  

 

2. This Week in College Football Body Art

Want to show just how committed you are to school? Don't sign a national letter of intent.

Ink it on your body, bro. 

2015 Florida signee Jordan Scarlett hasn't played a down for the Gators, yet, but he's showing how much he loves his new school with a pretty rad tattoo on his leg. 

Getting a tattoo is a big commitment, and you don't want to paint yourself into a corner with it. So, you know, be careful and whatnot. 

Of course, it's one thing to get a tattoo of something about which you're passionate. It's another to get a tattoo of, well, basically yourself. 

But that's what BYU long snapper commit Matt Foley did, inking up his arm with a picture of what can only be assumed as him snapping a ball (via Reddit user deen5526): 

And here's the finished product: 

Of course, Foley doesn't care what you think about it, which is pretty much the only attitude you can have with something like this. So, do you, Foley. 

 

3. Ohio State is Concentrating Too Much on Baseball, Paawwwwlllllll 

Unless you're trying to tackle him, it's tough not to like Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott. He emerged from behind names like Melvin Gordon at Wisconsin and Ameer Abdullah at Nebraska to help the Buckeyes win a national championship last season. 

However, some things in this world are unforgivable. 

Elliott was about commit a Cardinal sin, so to speak, by attending a Cincinnati Reds game in a St. Louis Cardinals hat. The only thing that saved him from being "that guy" was an "academic obligation"—otherwise known as stats class

Which, if you've ever taken statistics in college, you'll know that calling it an obligation is being kind. 

In the end, Elliott "played school." It's probably best for everyone, anyway. Nothing good ever comes from wearing a Cardinals hat in public. 

Meanwhile, Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer, linebacker Joe Burger and defensive lineman Adolphus Washington—the latter two of whom are Cincinnati natives—threw out the first pitches in Cincinnati's series against the Pittsburgh Pirates this week. It's a nice honor, but apparently, Burger's teammates were split over whether he would actually throw a strike. 

Clearly, this proves team chemistry is at an all-time low, and Ohio State has zero chance of repeating as national champs. 

(You can watch a video of the first pitches via Land Grant Holy Land.)  

 

 

 

4. Boston College Quotes Drake in Recruiting Letter and Nothing Was the Same

Boston College Eagles head coach Steve Addazio is a national treasure—if said treasure was the phrase "buncha dudes" instead of gold, valuable antiques and the like. 

Anyway, Addazio and his staff have come up with some solid recruiting tactics, the latest of which was a letter to 3-star wide receiver Seth Dawkins referencing Drake's new album, "If You're Reading This It's Too Late." 

Whether Dawkins will commit to Boston College remains to be seen. But suffice to say, he started from the bottom, now he's here. 

 

5. Stephen Garcia is Back for All Your Quarterback Needs

Honest confession: I miss former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia. He played fearlessly on the field, lived fearlessly off of it and got into a lot of trouble with Spurrier because of it. 

He was the ultimate football bro, but was he ever fun to watch. 

According to Chris Dearing of GoGamecocks.com: "Garcia was invited to the University of Florida for the Gators' Pro Day in front of NFL scouts on Tuesday. He threw passes to the Florida receivers, tight ends and running backs, and had a great time doing it." 

Of course, Garcia's trip to The Swamp wouldn't be complete without a picture next to Spurrier's statue.  

All I'm saying is, if anyone needs a quarterback who will make you hold your breath on each play until you pass out, Garcia is available. 

 

6. An Update on Alabama Crimson Tide Running Back Bo Scarbrough

If you hadn't heard, Bo Scarbrough suffered a torn ACL in his knee during a scrimmage and is out indefinitely while he recovers from surgery. 

Scarbrough has a long way to go but is already able to do a straight leg lift.  

Why is this important? Imagine shredding the inside of your knee, a crucial joint for everyday use that is made that much more important when you're an athlete. Now, imagine being able to apply physics and pressure to said joint two days after the ligaments in it were repaired. 

Some folks might say Scarbrough is a physical freak like that. However you want to put it, here's to hoping his recovery is as speedy and successful as possible. 

 

7. Finally, Here's Iowa State Cyclones Coach Paul Rhoads Covered in Mud

You may not know it just by looking at him, but Paul Rhoads used to be a fine young football player at Missouri Western. Here's an awesome photo of Rhoads from his playing days, courtesy of Iowa State athletics communications director Mike Green: 

Level of proudness displayed by Rhoads: So Proud. It would have been better if he were completely covered from head to toe but good effort. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 College Football QBs with Most to Prove in 2015 Season

College football is a team game, but the quarterback position holds more importance than any other on the field. Because of this, the pressure on these players is often far greater than on any of their teammates, and this usually includes the expectation that they'll be able to do what it takes to lead their teams to success.

That's one of the many things that college quarterbacks have to prove each year, though the individual expectations differ for each player. They all have something to prove, some more than others.

Here's a look at the 10 quarterbacks who head into the 2015 season with the most to prove, detailing what they need to be able to show they can do and why this matters to them and their teams this fall.

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Jim Harbaugh Lands the Next Andrew Luck, Sets Sights on Top Player in 2016 Class

The University of Michigan has had a great week when it comes to football recruits.

How big of a week did Michigan have? What impact will these recruits have on the program?

Watch as Stephen Nelson and Steve Lorenz of Wolverine247 discuss Michigan's big recruiting week in the video above.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

B/R Exclusive: California 4-Star LB Bryce Youngquist Announces Current Top 10

California 4-star outside linebacker Bryce Youngquist has a current top 10, and if there's one thing that can be said, it's that he isn't afraid to play college football far away from home.

The Rancho Cucamonga, California, linebacker announced to Bleacher Report a top 10 consisting of Tennessee, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Utah, Washington State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Illinois and Oregon State.

Of the 10, none are in-state schools. At least, not for now.

"These [10] schools have been showing a lot of interest, and I found that I have a lot of interest in those schools, too," Youngquist said. "My thing is, whatever college is the best fit for me, that's where I'm going to go.

"I'm willing to play in California, Florida, Maine...it doesn't matter. I don't care if I play in the snow. I just want to find the best fit for me."

Now standing 6'1" and weighing 215 pounds, Youngquist has 15 offers. Of the 15, San Diego State and Fresno State are the only California schools to offer. Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico are the three other schools to extend an offer. USC and UCLA are two schools that are showing interest, as well.

Ranked the nation's No. 12 outside linebacker, Youngquist is an athlete with high 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash and a high motor on the field. Per Rivals.com, he had 43 tackles and two sacks as a junior.

Youngquist said having a top 10 is the first step in keeping his recruiting process as simple as possible. He began trimming his list after receiving his latest offer from Tennessee last week.

"To be honest, it's now time to get serious," Youngquist said. "I know the recruiting process is supposed to be fun, but at the same time, it can be stressful. I just want to make it easier on myself."

Youngquist said of the schools that made the cut, Arizona State is the only one he visited. He was in Tempe in November when the Sun Devils beat Notre Dame, 55-31. He called the environment "unbelievable."

"It was a great unofficial [visit], almost as good as an official," he said. "The atmosphere was great; I hadn't been in an atmosphere like that. There were so many people, and it was so loud. You could really feel it."

Youngquist said he is planning on taking several visits to the schools on his list between now and the end of the summer. A commitment, he said, most likely will come at the end of his senior season, as he wants to take all five official visits before making a decision.

The winning school, he said, will have a good balance of athletic and academic advantages. He is looking to play in a great football atmosphere and be on a campus that will provide a quality education.

"After my [official] visits, I'll basically decide what's best for me," Youngquist said. "I want to visit all the schools, no doubt about it. They've all shown so much interest, and I feel those are the best schools with the best interest."

 

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst with Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee, Auburn Top List of Schools Increasing Athletic Scholarship Aid

The implementation of a new rule that allows schools to cover the full cost of athletes' scholarships has reportedly led to some major upticks in aid starting this fall.

Brad Wolverton and Sandhya Kambhampati of The Chronicle of Higher Education report at least 15 colleges will increase the scholarship amount by more than $4,000. Tennessee and Auburn top the list, both adding more than $5,500 to the total aid.

Chance Linton of 247Sports highlighted the largest increases:

The changes come after a January vote by the Power Five conferences to allow schools to cover expenses beyond the basics.

Steve Berkowitz of USA Today provided the details following a 79-1 vote in favor of the new plan:

The vote, taken during the NCAA's annual convention, redefines an athletic scholarship so that it can cover not only the traditional tuition, room, board, books and fees, but also the incidental costs of attending college. That means a scholarship will now be able to pay for items including transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses.

Wolverton and Kambhampati's report notes concerns have been raised by some schools that basing increased scholarship aid on cost of attendance will lead to recruiting advantages, but one anonymous source told the Chronicle that admission offices try to keep the projected cost down.

"If we're talking about a few-hundred athletes versus 5,000 or 10,000 incoming students, who do you think is going to win that battle?" an athletics official said. "The admissions department is going to put their number up there because they're marketing the school."

In other words, while athletic departments could gain a recruiting edge by raising the projected cost of attendance, it's unlikely admissions offices could be convinced of the benefits of such a move given the impact it would have on the rest of the student body. The report states the extra money comes from the increased size of television contracts.

If this new scholarship bump works, it could ameliorate much of the financial strain placed on athletes during college, as they pay for things not previously covered by scholarships, but still necessary to attend college. 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Miami Football: 2014 3-Star Ready to Have Huge Impact on Defense This Season

After a breakout season from freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya coupled with some strong recruiting, the Miami Hurricanes are doing everything they can to get back to their winning ways in Coral Gables. 

CanesInSight.com's Peter Ariz was joined by Stephen Nelson as they profiled an under-the-radar defender who could open eyes for the 'Canes in the 2015 season. 

How will the Hurricanes' defense fare in 2015? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Hold Your Judgement on Ohio State's Handling of Jamel Dean Departure

COLUMBUS, Ohio — From the moment ElevenWarriors.com first reported Ohio State 2015 signee Jamel Dean would be leaving the program after not being medically cleared by the Buckeyes' medical staff, one number has seemed to be at center of the situation: 85.

That's the number of scholarship players Ohio State must possess by the time fall camp opens at the beginning of August. It appeared the Buckeyes would be sitting at 88 without any additional attrition before the news of Dean's departure, causing cries that Urban Meyer had "oversigned" his roster and was now using roster management to get down to the required limit.

And while it's easy to see how one could arrive at that conclusion, that doesn't necessarily make it an accurate one.

Ohio State staff members are not permitted to publicly comment on situations involving a player's health such as Dean's, but a source close to the program insisted to Bleacher Report that this is not a case of Meyer managing his roster. The source said this is an issue the Buckeyes had been dealing with since Dean arrived on campus as an early enrollee in January, which is just now hitting a crescendo as news of his departure has been made public.

Although he has criticized the handling of his former player publicly to multiple media outlets in the past day, John Wilkinson, Dean's high school coach at Cocoa (Fla.) High School, confirmed as much.

“It was a big thing that went on and on and on. I’ve known about it for three months," Wilkinson told Blake Williams of BuckeyeSports.com. "I’ve been working hard trying to make sure my kid is taken care of.”

If Ohio State was in fact managing its roster to meet the scholarship limit, it would seem strange to do so by starting with a player who hadn't even been on campus for a full month. With plenty of depth in the secondary—including three of four starters—returning from last year's national title team, it's likely that Dean would have been in line for a redshirt in 2015 anyway, regardless of his medical situation.

Only complicating matters is Dean's medical history and signing of a midyear agreement.

Meyer and his staff knew Dean had an injury history when they accepted his commitment in Dec. 2013, less than a month after the former 4-star defensive back tore his ACL during his junior season. The Sunshine State product rehabbed and played in every game of his senior season the following year, but suffered a torn meniscus in his high school finale.

So the Buckeyes knew that Dean would have injury concerns upon arriving for the start of his college career. But this is where the situation gets murky.

Last August, Dean signed a midyear aid agreement guaranteeing his scholarship would be available to him should he choose to remain committed to Ohio State. A lifelong Buckeye fan, Dean's commitment was never in question, and Ohio State offered to honor his scholarship as a medical hardship—meaning he would stay on scholarship, but would be unable to participate and would not count against the 85-scholarship limit—upon not clearing him.

Did Dean's second injury change Ohio State's opinion of him, or did he show up to spring practice more injured than expected? Indications thus far have suggested the latter.

Originally, the Buckeyes expected Dean to participate partially in the spring while rehabbing to full strength by the fall, but according to defensive coordinator Chris Ash, he was yet to take part in practice in any way as of last week. Wilkinson's account to Williams also suggests a discrepancy in what Ohio State was expecting and what it received from Dean when he arrived on campus.

“He went and saw [noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews]," Wilkinson told Williams. "He called me when I left there and said, ‘Coach I’ll be fine by the summer.'"

As for accusations of oversigning, Meyer has been outspoken about the practice, which is most commonly associated with the SEC. On signing day, when it was clear the Buckeyes were over the 85-scholarship limit—as they're allowed to be before the start of the season—the three-time national champion head coach was adamant that he doesn't use such strategy.

"How aware am I of the roster? About as well as you can be," Meyer said. "But there's also the truth that you don't know for the next couple weeks, couple months, with these injuries what happens. So you have to prepare. But you also can't do the unthinkable and that's be stuck with 87 scholarship players come June or July."

With Dean's departure, that's where the Buckeyes appear to sit with four months to go until the start of fall camp. As he mentioned, injuries happen, as does attrition by way of transfer, most of which typically doesn't happen until after spring practice.

There's also the possibility that a player or two won't qualify academically, or that a player could "grayshirt," meaning he'd delay the start of his eligibility until the following season. Ohio State may seemingly be over the scholarship limit at the moment, but per NCAA rules, it's allowed to be at this point in time.

Which is why accusations of Dean's departure being related to an oversigned class don't currently add up. The Buckeyes aren't in any rush to get to the 85-scholarship limit without natural attrition, and even if they were, Dean wouldn't seem to make sense as a place to start.

"There's a couple guys that you're just not sure can continue playing," Meyer said on signing day. "You have to just to be aware."

In Ohio State's opinion, Dean qualifies for that category.

 

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Best Neutral Site Games for 2015 College Football Season

In college football, little beats a crazed home-field environment welcoming a hated visiting team, with plenty on the line. Those games are common within league play but have become less and less common in intersectional play. Neutral-site games, like the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta and the Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium in Texas, have become lucrative lures for teams who prefer a single game over a home-and-home series.

As CBSSports.com's Jon Solomon notes, neutral-site games both help and hurt college football.

Neutral-site “classics” are nothing new: The Kickoff Classic matched marquee teams in the old Giants Stadium from 1983 until 2002. But, they've had a recent resurgence and appear here to stay.

Mixed with traditional neutral-site games, they've become a strong part of the college football schedule. Here's a look at the best neutral-site games scheduled for 2015.

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