NCAA Football

10 College Football Players Who Could Be Headed for Sophomore Slumps

The concept of a sophomore slump is hardly a new one in college football, or college sports in general. A freshman emerges onto the scene as a talented player and is feted with accolades, attention and a higher profile. And it goes to their head. They ease up a bit, more film gets out on them and opponents adjust.

A slump happens. Maybe it isn’t their fault (a new coaching staff arrives, or the talent around them dips), but the concept remains the same, and their production falls off from the highs they reached as freshmen. Here is a group of players who could be facing sophomore slumps in 2015.

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Georgia Football: 5 Most Consistent Players on the Bulldogs

Consistency is the key to any aspect of life. Being consistent at work, school and even in the gym can really take a person places.

The same holds true in college football, because the most consistent teams will always be in the running for the national title. And in order for the Georgia Bulldogs to get where they want to go in 2015, they will need to be more consistent on offense, defense and special teams.

The talent on the Bulldogs roster is evident, and they will have a chance to win the SEC if things bounce their way. But they can’t be inconsistent like they were last season, which cost them three loses.

So here’s a look at the five most consistent players on the roster.

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Tennessee Football: 10 Best Players in Volunteers History

Coming up with an all-time-greats list for a program as tradition-rich as Tennessee football is not an easy task.

For generations, UT football has been among the nation's top programs. The Volunteers are 10th on the all-time wins list and sixth in bowl wins. There are legends up and down the list of all-time Vols greats, and a who's-who of the top college football and NFL players played their college careers on the Hill.

Evidence of Tennessee's prolific ability to churn out talented players can be seen in the culmination of a recent down cycle of the program. The 2015 NFL draft marked the first time in 51 years that no Vol was selected by a pro team.

Though it was sad to see such a long streak end, that's still a pretty remarkable run of success that spanned more than half a century.

The UT football program has stocked the NFL with stars for years. From the halcyon days of General Robert Neyland to the talent-stacked Tennessee teams of the 1990s, the Vols were among the nation's top teams.

Even after the forgettable final seasons of legendary coach Phillip Fulmer, the one year of Lane Kiffin and the failed hiring (and subsequent firing) of Derek Dooley, UT still ranks among college football's greats.

Stars such as Heath Shuler, Al Wilson, Jason Witten and Arian Foster were showcased on the UT teams of the 1990s and 2000s. Also, NFL greats like Peyton Manning, Beattie Feathers, Doug Atkins and Reggie White played their college days in Knoxville.

This list doesn't include Vols greats who weren't standout players. If so, Neyland would have made it, as would Fulmer. The list took into account playing careers mostly with at least some emphasis on their careers beyond. Also, any lasting legacy impact was taken into consideration.

So, picking an all-time UT top-10 list is tough. But where's the fun in not trying?

Let's take a look at Tennessee's top legends throughout such a rich history.

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Texas Football: Ranking the 5 Most Consistent Players on the Longhorns

In 2015, consistency will be a problem for the Longhorns, who lost a bunch of experienced talent at the end of last season. The guys who are left need to take a page out of Dylan Haines' book.

While also being the best players on the team, Malcom Brown, Jordan Hicks, John Harris and Quandre Diggs were models of consistent play last season, They showed up every day and did their jobs, dragging a flawed team to a bowl berth.

Now that they've moved on to the next level along with six other starters, the team's most talented players aren't necessarily their most consistent. Hassan Ridgeway can record one tackle just as easily as he can get two sacks, and Duke Thomas can pick off two passes in one game, then give up two touchdowns in the next.

This is just the state of the program as it reloads with young talent. 

Fortunately, there are some less talented guys who always seem to impact the game by playing smart, sound football. It's up to their more gifted teammates to follow the example these guys set.

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Ohio State Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

Ohio State kicked off the week by landing a key commitment from 4-star wide receiver Austin Mack, and Urban Meyer closed it by hosting some of his top targets for pivotal visits over the weekend.

The Buckeyes also looked to capitalize on their spring momentum by offering four new prospects for their 2016 and 2017 classes.

Here's a rundown of Ohio State's latest recruiting activity.


Santino Marchiol, Unranked Outside Linebacker (2017)

The first offer of the week went out to Santino Marchiol, an unranked outside linebacker from Englewood, Colorado.

Marchiol is one of the rising prospects in the '17 class. Just a few short months ago, he didn't have a single offer from a major collegiate program. But after impressive showings at scouting camps around the country, big-time colleges are starting to take notice. The Buckeyes were the latest to do so, becoming the 18th school to join an impressive offer list that includes Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska and Penn State.

“It motivates me to work even harder,” Marchiol said of his recent recruiting spike, according to Scout's Josh Harvey. “I want to prove all these coaches right.”

With 20 months until national signing day in 2017, Marchiol knows that he has plenty of time to make his decision. That's why he's planning on taking his time with the process.

“As of right now, they are all the same," Marchiol said of his top schools, via Harvey. "I feel blessed to have all these offers and feel blessed to have all these opportunities to go to different places. As of now I’m enjoying the process and not really narrowing it down.”


Matt Dotson, Unranked Tight End (2017)

Ohio State's top-ranked 2017 recruiting class will need a tight end when it's all said and done, and the Buckeyes may have identified their top target on Saturday when they offered Matt Dotson.

Dotson has just four offers after the Buckeyes joined Cincinnati, Illinois and Tennessee, but he's receiving legitimate attention from other programs such as LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. At 6'5" and 225 pounds, the Cincinnati native already boasts the size to start at the collegiate level, and he hasn't even stepped on the field for the first snap of his junior season of high school. 

Director of Matt Porter told Mike Dyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer that Dotson thrives in two key areas. 

"Great all-around tight end," Porter told Dyer. "Physical at point of attack for the run game. He can flex out and be a mismatch in the passing game."

Those are the traits that made Jeff Heuerman such a successful tight end in Meyer's scheme. The Buckeyes need their tight ends to be weapons in the passing game, obviously, but they also require them to block in their power run game. 

Dotson fits the bill there, and according to 247 Sports' Crystal Ball, Ohio State is the unanimous favorite to land his commitment. 


Jaylen Harris, Unranked Wide Receiver (2017)

Dotson wasn't the only elite 2017 pass-catcher who hauled in an Ohio State offer last Saturday.

The Buckeyes also offered Jaylen Harris, a standout prospect from Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Harris was one of the many prospects in Columbus last weekend, and he made a big impression on the staff. Ohio State joined an offer list that already includes Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia. But according to Bill Kurelic of 247 Sports, the Buckeyes' offer stands out. 

“It’s really big,” Harris said, via Kurelic. “They are up there on my list.” 


Other Offers from the Week

Cavin Ridley, 4-Star Wide Receiver (2016)


All recruiting rankings and information via 247Sports.

David Regimbal covers Ohio State football for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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Redshirt Freshmen You Need to Know for 2015 College Football Season

Returning starters are always the best luxury a team can have going into a new football season. 

But more often then not, it's the heroics of previously unsung heroes (see Johnny Manziel) who were redshirt freshmen going into the fall who take teams to new heights. 

So let's check out the five redshirt freshmen of 2015 whom you need to know, from highly touted Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers to Texas gunslinger Jerrod Heard. 


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OTL Investigates Perception of Top College Athletic Programs and Law Enforcement

ESPN's Outside the Lines conducted a study beginning in the fall of 2014, looking into men's college basketball and football players from 10 high-profile schools who were accused of crimes from 2009 to 2014.

Sunday marked the release of the study, per's Paula Lavigne, which concluded that athletes often avoid prosecution and prison because of their status. Of the 10 schools, Florida and Florida State ranked first and second, respectively, in total athletes who had run-ins with the law.

Eighty Gators players were suspects in over 100 crimes, while the Seminoles had 66 players involved in alleged crimes. Florida had 56 percent of its cases either not result in charges, result in dropped charges or not reach the prosecution phase. Florida State had 70 percent of cases fall by the wayside on such statuses.

Lavigne cited a number of factors that contribute to many accused student-athletes not seeing a day in court. The intimidation factor of prosecuting an athlete from a big-name program is one, which has to do with athletic department personnel becoming involved in cases, along with the resources available to the players to call on renowned attorneys.

With specific regard to the Seminoles, Outside the Lines discovered nine instances in its study where "Florida State coaches or athletic department officials tried to determine when and where city police would interview athletes or attempted other involvement."

A former department staff member highlighted Seminoles associate athletic director Monk Bonasorte as a go-to intermediary.

"He is kind of the fixer for football," said the past employee. "He knows where the skeletons are buried, but he also helps keep those football players, not out of trouble, but out of paying for the trouble they've gotten into."

Recent No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is mentioned in the Outside the Lines story regarding a sexual assault allegation against him. Winston ultimately didn't face prosecution after an investigation.

Benton County (Oregon) District Attorney John Haroldson, whose office deals with Oregon State athletes' cases, weighed in on how the media spotlight impacts similar cases.

"I think it would be naive to suggest that the high level of [publicity] doesn't have a chilling effect on people," said Haroldson. "You certainly see that happen in cases of sexual assault. ... They have to contend with, 'Do I want this to play out in the media?'"

Ex-Florida running back Chris Rainey was noted as being "named a suspect in five crimes in Gainesville" but "faced charges once."

Outside the Lines' investigation also revealed that Florida, along with other programs, has a campus police department with members assigned to specific university officials or the athletic department.

Although it's dangerous to conclude there is an imbalance of justice, the rates that crimes involving college-age males get thrown out before reaching court in Gainesville and Tallahassee are 28 and 50 percent, respectively. Those percentages are considerably lower than the rate for the athletes examined in the study.

The burden of proof certainly seems held to a different standard for men's college basketball and football players—at least at many of the powerhouse programs Outside the Lines reported on. In the study, Michigan State is noted as an outlier, since it offers free legal counsel to all of its students, eliminating the improved access to defense attorneys that athletes have at programs like Florida and Florida State.

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