NCAA Football

Kareem Walker to Ohio State: Buckeyes Land 5-Star RB Prospect

The Ohio State Buckeyes not only played for a national championship on Monday, but they also already secured a high-profile prospect for their 2016 recruiting class.

Running back Kareem Walker announced on Twitter that he's taking his talents to Columbus:

Walker, a 5-star recruit, is rated as the No. 1 prospect at his position and the ninth-ranked player in the country.

The 6'1", 210-pound standout from DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, New Jersey, already has a big enough frame to shine at the NCAA level. What makes Walker special is the fact that he has breakaway speed to go with his mature frame.

That brings to mind past Buckeyes standouts such as Chris "Beanie" Wells and even the team's current dynamic ball-carrier in Ezekiel Elliott.

The opportunity may be available for Walker to contribute as a freshman, as Elliott could move on to the NFL following next year. However, OSU coach Urban Meyer has assembled some excellent recruiting classes since his arrival, so Walker will likely compete for reps regardless of whether Elliott is around or not.

 

Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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National Championship Sign Jokes That Winner Will Play TCU Horned Frogs

Fans of the TCU Horned Frogs weren't happy their team was left out of the College Football Playoff because they felt like they should have gotten a shot at the national title.

During the national championship between Ohio State and Oregon, some fans brought a sign that said, "Winner Plays TCU."

The Horned Frogs were ranked No. 3 in the second-to-last poll, but they dropped out of the Top Four despite winning their final regular-season game. They eventually went on to beat Ole Miss, 42-3, in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

[Twitter]

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Ohio State's J.T. Barrett Doesn't Look Interested in Talking to Tim Tebow

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett wasn't able to play in the national championship against the Oregon Ducks, but he still probably wanted to focus as much as he could on the game.

ESPN analyst and former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was on the sideline with Barrett during the game. However, Barrett didn't look very interested in talking to the two-time national champion.

[Vine, Twitter]

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Ohio State Cheerleader Nearly Trampled as Players Run onto Field

The Ohio State cheerleaders tried to get the Buckeyes fans pumped up before the College Football Playoff National Championship against the Oregon Ducks.

Unfortunately, one cheerleader got caught when the Buckeyes players ran onto the field, as she fell and the players had to do their best to avoid her. One of her fellow cheerleaders tried to rescue her as she stayed down trying not to get trampled.

The male cheerleader deserves credit for trying to save her. Fortunately, the girl wasn't injured and was able to escape once most of the players had run onto the field.

That was probably enough excitement for one day for the cheerleader, but she still had a team to cheer on as the Buckeyes tried to win their first national title since the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.

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Virginia Tech Football: 5 Players Poised to Break out in 2015

The 2014 season was a disappointing one for the Virginia Tech Hokies—by their standards. The Hokies were 5-6 entering the season finale against Virginia and needed a victory just to become bowl-eligible. The Hokies won and went bowling for a 22nd consecutive season.

So, while 2014 ended on a positive note, 2015 could be much better.

Tech had several young players starting at various positions in 2014. At times, they struggled, and on other occasions, the youngsters gave the Hokies a big lift. While there's still plenty of questions surrounding the quarterback position entering 2015, there are plenty of reasons for optimism in the new year.

Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges were freshmen who stood out in 2014. Here are five players poised for a breakout year in 2015.

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Ohio State's Jalin Marshall Reaches Around Oregon Defender to Make Grab

Considering this is the College Football Playoff National Championship, that's a pretty clutch catch.

In the first quarter against the Oregon Ducks, Ohio State's Jalin Marshall made a ridiculous catch, reaching around the defender to make the grab.

Here's another look at the catch:

That catch helped move the Buckeyes down the field, leading to a 33-yard touchdown run from Ezekiel Elliott to tie the game at 7-7.

[Vine]

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Clemson Football: 5 Players Poised to Break out in 2015

A breakout star is someone the rest of the country won’t see coming. The fans who follow the Clemson Tigers may not be surprised if these five guys break out next season, but these players have the potential to garner national attention and shock the rest of the college football world.

You won’t find Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman or Artavis Scott on this list. Those guys helped carry the load as freshmen this season, and the rest of the country learned about them.

We are more concerned with the guys who could creep up the depth chart this season, or maybe the senior who was once a promising 4-star looking to make it happen in his final year of eligibility. Here are five guys that could be poised to break out for Clemson in 2015.

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Ohio State Flag Carriers Lose 'O' During National Championship Intros

Well, that's not the best start.

The Ohio State Buckeyes ran onto the field to take on the Oregon Ducks in the College Football Playoff National Championship. As they did so, the Buckeyes flag carriers lost one of their "O"s, with the flags reading "OHI" instead.

Here are some other angles of the flags:

Ohio State fans are hoping that's the only mistake the team makes Monday night.

[Twitter]

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College Football Coaches, ESPN Analysts Read Mean Tweets About Themselves

Jimmy Kimmel Live's segment of celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves has become quite popular, and this week, the show decided to run a special segment for the College Football Playoff.

In the video above, ESPN college football analysts and a few coaches read some pretty harsh tweets about themselves. Even Florida State's Jimbo Fisher and Oregon's Mark Helfrich were included.

[YouTube]

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Cedric Ogbuehi Injury: Updates on NFL Prospect's ACL Surgery and Recovery

With the 2015 NFL draft process set to heat up in the coming weeks and months, Texas A&M star offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi has been diagnosed with a torn ACL.     

Yahoo! Sports' Rand Getlin has the unfortunate news:

At 6'5" and 300 pounds with athleticism and experience at both tackle positions, Ogbuehi looked like a lock to follow in the footsteps of former Aggies standouts Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews as first-round selections. 

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller gave his thoughts on what this does to the senior's stock:

The silver lining here is that if Ogbuehi does indeed "redshirt" as a rookie, he'll have a year to add strength and get acclimated to the NFL.

If he can make a full recovery from this injury, he has the traits and talent to be a steal in the middle rounds. 

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Oregon vs. Ohio State: Live Score and Highlights for National Championship Game

The No. 2 Oregon Ducks will battle the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes for the 2015 CFP National Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  

Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, and if this game is anything like the semifinals, college football fans are in for a great show.

The first ever College Football Playoff has been a huge success. Many believe that if we still had the BCS, Alabama and Florida State would be playing for the title.

And while that would no doubt be a fun matchup, we’re all winners for having the chance to not only getting to watch more great football, but also for witnessing history.

Will Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota lead his team to victory, or will Cardale Jones, who began the year as the Buckeyes' third-string quarterback, carry the underdogs to the top?

Keep it locked right here with Bleacher Report for the latest highlights, scores and more from Monday night's title game! 

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College Football National Championship 2015: Predictions for Oregon vs. Ohio St.

It's time to just play the game. 

The endless debate and speculation can finally come to end, as Oregon and Ohio State are ready to settle the history-making national championship on the gridiron. 

Let's take a final glimpse at the outlook before the teams kick off.

 

Date: Monday, January 12, 2015

Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

TV: ESPN (And pretty much all of the other ESPN channels for different types of broadcasts)

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Points, points and more points. Oregon (47.2 points per game) and Ohio State (45) are not only second and fifth in the country in terms of scoring, but they are both extremely efficient in doing so, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Now, it would be a mistake to overlook either of these defenses. The Ducks are adept at forcing turnovers, while the Buckeyes, led by sophomore Joey Bosa, have arguably the best defensive line in America. But these offenses are both transcendent, capable of marching the field with ease no matter who's on the other side of the ball. 

In the semifinals, Oregon poured on 639 yards and 59 points against a Florida State defense full of future NFL picks. Ohio State, playing with its third-string quarterback, embarrassed Nick Saban and the typically stingy Alabama defense to the tune of 537 yards and 42 points.

Both teams can beat you in a variety of ways. 

For Oregon, it obviously starts with quarterback Marcus Mariota, the dual-threat Heisman winner who has enjoyed one of the best individual seasons in the history of the sport. But the Ducks are just fine handing the ball to true freshman running back Royce Freeman, who boasts a tantalizing blend of speed and power. 

The Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton noted a particularly amazing stat about the Ducks' high-powered, uptempo attack:

But while Oregon often gets acclaim for its speedy offense, the Buckeyes attack is just as exhilarating. 

When Heisman candidate Braxton Miller went down before the season, pundits thought Ohio State was finished. Then J.T. Barrett proceeded to establish himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the country. When Barrett went down, Ohio State was finished again. Then Cardale Jones came on in relief and led the Buckeyes to 101 points combined in the Big Ten championship and semifinal game. 

Jones, with an unbelievable cannon for an arm and the desire to run over defenders rather than slide before them, is unlike any other third-string quarterback in the country. 

"He's an unbelievable talent,'' Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley, a former teammate of Jones' at Ohio State, told Bleacher Report's Greg Couch. "I was not surprised at all by what he's done, honestly."

It also helps that Urban Meyer is an offensive mastermind, Ohio State has a dominant offensive line and running back Ezekiel Elliott is averaging an unreal 9.7 yards per carry over his last four games. 

This game has the feeling of a first-one-to-40-wins kind of contest. It could very well come down to who has the ball last, and ultimately, you have to trust Mariota to make more plays—and fewer mistakes—than Jones in the clutch moments. 

The Ducks will squeak out a win, but no matter what happens, it's going to be a lot of fun getting to the final whistle. 

Oregon 42, Ohio State 38

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Jim Harbaugh's 2015, 2016 Recruiting Classes at Michigan Will Be Historic

Firsts are meant to be special and magically unforgettable—the first child, the first big promotion, or, in Jim Harbaugh’s case, the first recruiting classes at Michigan.

Actually, consider his “first” to be the first two, as 2015's—which he’s salvaging in the wake of Brady Hoke’s firing—and 2016’s hauls will certainly serve as the foundation for one of those beautiful, breathtaking homes that the newly crowned Wolverines coach absolutely loves to construct.

But this time, instead of building and searching for more real estate on which to repeat, he’s intent on throwing up a “permanent” dwelling, which could very well be tucked somewhere near Ann Arbor, his old stomping grounds.

At this point in time, Michigan fans are all in for Jim; they’re holding their collective breath as the former San Francisco 49ers and Stanford mastermind hires assistants and hikes the trails for prospects.

For reasons good, bad or indifferent, these next two classes will be nothing short of memorable in the minds of ardent Wolverines supporters. With any luck, they’ll be more than just the first ones—they’ll likely be the catalysts for Harbaugh, who’s already set his sights on some of the best that 2015 and 2016 have to offer.

 

Making the Most of 2015

Getting Michael Weber to Ann Arbor would serve as early magic for Harbaugh, who barely has time to make ends meet for the 2015 class.

At one time, Weber, a 5’9.5”, 219-pounder out of Detroit Cass Tech, was committed to the Wolverines, but he backed out and chose Ohio State, which in turn gained a 4-star running back from enemy territory.

While it’s unlikely that Weber will again flip and pledge to Michigan, it is worth thinking about. Not many coaches would allow one of the state’s elite prospects to cross the border without putting up a fight.

According to Scout.com’s Sam Webb, Weber recently wanted to speak with Harbaugh. But that conversation hasn’t been made public, leaving little to spike feelings either way. If they indeed exchanged pleasantries, it’d be safe to say that Harbaugh threw out his best pitch for the sake of being thorough.

He has to get the best in his backyard. That's required. If not, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio will. 

According to 247Sports, John Kelly has "warmer" interest in the Wolverines. The 5'10", 194-pounder out of Oak Park is the No. 9-ranked prospect in the state, so he could help satisfy Harbaugh's craving for a high-end homegrown product. 

Classified as an "athlete," Kelly would add, well, he'd add athleticism to the fold. Teams can never have too many all-around threats. Whether as a corner or safety, a gadget back or slot, Kelly could grow into a role in Ann Arbor.

Chris Clark, a 4-star tight end, would be a get. The 6'6", 247-pounder out of Connecticut is the prototypical Big Ten bruiser.

According to 247Sports, he has "warmer" interest in Michigan but is also considering UCLA, Texas, South Carolina and, among others, North Carolina—the school to which he committed prior to committing and decommitting from Michigan. 

Again, luring a top target back to Michigan would be pure magic for Harbaugh, who has enough NFL and NCAA cred to make anyone consider his offer, committed or not. 

Case in point: He's also looking to snatch Iman Marshall from the perceived grips of USC. The 5-star corner isn't formerly attached to a team and is as good as advertised, perhaps better. Most sane people feel he has a great chance of choosing the Trojans. 

But the 6'1", 190-pound Long Beach Poly standout would look great lined up alongside Jabrill Peppers, one of the gems of the 2014 class. 

With Marshall and Peppers locking down the corners, opposing offensive coordinators would be facing the worst-case scenario. For them. Not the Wolverines. It'd take a special group of wideouts and exemplary play-calling to sink such a tandem of talent. 

Harbaugh's also on the hunt for a quarterback and will reportedly visit McLane Carter of Texas. Jeff Traylor, Carter's coach and athletic director, has taken to Twitter to spread the word about his unheralded lefty. 

Surprisingly enough, Carter doesn't hold any major offers. Diamond in the rough? Michigan's had a terrific one of those before. 

There are possibilities. It's not time to junk the next one just yet. But with just six commits to date, the next class will always be known as the one that got away—it could have been of monumental significance to Hoke, possibly worthy of an extension had the 2014 season not bitten the dust.

Any coach who takes what's left of 2015 and makes do deserves a place in program lore. It'll be the first chapter of many more to come for Harbaugh, who seems to be in it for the long haul. 

 

Next, Next is Best/Harbaugh 'Re-Brand'

Check out (and monitor) the offers and targets for 2016 on 247Sports. 

By now, the best high school football players in the land have at least thought about the Harbaugh takeover in Ann Arbor. It's national news, of course they know. 

In terms of confidence and momentum, it'd appear that Michigan has made a triumphant return to the spotlight. That boosts perception, especially for those too young to remember dominant and nationally relevant Wolverines teams. 

With three already pledged to join, the 2016 class could be what 2015 was supposed to be—getting the absolute best at each position. It's a simple plan, really: Get the best talent, give the best talent the best coaching and watch the wins pile.

A resurgence in recruiting isn't difficult to predict. Harbaugh could go 7-5 or 6-6 this fall and still clean up at or higher than the level of Hoke on national signing day. 

Harbaugh's been on the job for all of two weeks and has little time to make visits. However, along with athletic director Jim Hackett, he's assembled a staff that will certainly command attention. 

Recruits want to win. They want to play for coaches who understand that. 

Harbaugh isn't just talking about winning and making sales pitches, he's giving prospects a real-time look at what the new era will embrace, and that's nothing short of excellence across the board. 

 

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

Unless otherwise noted, quotes and references were obtained firsthand by the writer via press conference or press release. 

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Texas Football: Longhorns' Top Remaining Targets for NSD 2015

Charlie Strong's first true recruiting class at Texas has been on the upswing in the last month-and-a-half. The Longhorns appeared to be struggling in the recruiting department with just 16 verbal commitments before December.

But Christmas came early for the Longhorns and has continued to produce presents in the form of talented recruits.

Texas has landed 10 recruits since Dec. 1, jumped up to the No. 11 recruiting class in the nation, according to Rivals.com, and still has a handful of talented targets on its wish list.

The Longhorns now have 26 verbal commitments and a little less than a month to make an impression before national signing day on Feb. 4.

The positive news for Texas fans is some of the nation's elite prospects are expected to take official visits to Texas in the weeks leading up to national signing day. And as any recruiting junky knows, getting kids on campus is a good step for the football program.

The next few weeks could be huge for the Longhorns' recruiting and the future of the program. Here's a look at the top five remaining targets for the Texas Longhorns.

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Uber Offering Helicopter Ride Service for Fans Attending CFP Championship Game

"Quick! Get to da Ubaah!"

If you do not yell this before boarding the UberCHOPPER, you are wasting everyone's time. 

Indeed, the UberCHOPPER is a very real helicopter you can reserve with your phone, and as of Monday morning, Uber is offering its premium airborne taxis as shuttles for football fans in North Texas looking to arrive in Nixon-esque style at the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Dallas Morning NewsBrandon Formby reports that the ride costs $350 per person, and no, the helicopter does not pick you up at your home or hotel.

According to Formby, users reserving an UberCHOPPER will be picked up by car and taken to Love Field, where they will board their helicopter for an aerial tour of Dallas before being dropped off at a helipad near AT&T Stadium. No word yet on whether or not passengers will be able to Bluetooth Creedence Clearwater Revival songs over the chopper sound system and/or strafe local livestock during said tour.

As for the returning leg, Formby reports that passengers who arrived via helicopters will be provided an UberBLACK ride home. 

I'll say this about the UberCHOPPER: As someone who has languished in four hours of traffic getting to and from Jerry World, I would pay unholy sums to avoid sitting in Arlington gridlock. The pre- and postgame scrum is a tangle of humanity beyond description. Purgatory is a bus of hungover fans stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-30 East. 

In any event, these aerial shuttles will probably fare better than the original UberCHOPPER.

Fly lightly, young squires.

 

Follow Dan on Twitter for more sports and pop culture filigree.

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Big Ten Football: Power Ranking the Conference's Head Coaches

The Big Ten Conference didn't escape the annual offseason coaching roulette in 2014-15, but the result presents a better top-to-bottom group of men leading their respective programs.

Ranking them requires a set of guidelines and understanding which factors are more important than others. For example, a coach who won big a decade ago but is currently in a slump won't rate as highly as a coach who might have a worse overall record but is coming off back-to-back bowl wins.

In short, if teams were holding a draft for the head coaches going into next season, in what order would they be chosen?

The wild card is obviously Jim Harbaugh, a coach who's experienced tremendous success in both the college and professional ranks. He's clearly in the conversation for the top few spots, but how much should his NFL accomplishments account for, if anything?

Take a look at our Big Ten football coach power rankings and be sure to let us know who's being undervalued, who's overrated and, of course, why I'm just plain out of my mind.

 

All stats via cfbstats.com.

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Oregon vs. Ohio State: Final TV Schedule, Live Stream Coverage and Prediction

The inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship between the Oregon Ducks and Ohio State Buckeyes is a tale of perseverance.

Urban Meyer's Buckeyes lost Heisman Trophy contender Braxton Miller, then top-five finisher J.T. Barrett. No matter—Cardale Jones took over and might just complete the most jaw-dropping three-game stretch of any quarterback in program history.

Mark Helfrich's offensive line does no favors for Marcus Mariota this year. His defense also lost top corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu yet took down Jameis Winston in the CFP semifinal. Now the offense must overcome the loss of key contributors, too.

Most programs experience injuries and losses on the way to the top, but the best compensate in convincing fashion.

"We've been playing, both our program and Ohio State have played with that kind of early loss, and your back was against the wall to get to this point every play of every game, the entire rest of the season, it was to the those words: do or die," Helfrich said, per The Associated Press (via ESPN.com).

The participants in Monday's encounter personify this better than any others could. 

 

College Football Playoff National Championship Odds and Schedule

 

Last Team to Touch the Ball Wins

Monday may not turn out to be the 70-point outburst Las Vegas seems to suggest, but fireworks are a sure thing regardless.

The Buckeyes still roll right along with an elite offense that can even keep pace with Oregon's thanks to the efforts of sophomore back Ezekiel Elliott.

As ESPN CollegeFootball illustrates, Jones' ascension to starter has been a blessing for Elliott:

To be fair, Elliott's increased usage is in large part out of necessity with the inexperienced Jones under center. The hero of the Big Ten Championship Game went just 18-of-35 for 243 yards with a score and a pick against Alabama.

Regardless, Elliott's performance against an elite Crimson Tide defense that still ranks sixth in scoring suggests he will have few issues with the Oregon defense. Florida State's Dalvin Cook ran wild for 103 yards on just 15 carries, so Elliott's outlook is great, no matter how predictable the Ohio State attack may be.

Most focus on Oregon's offense, but it's for the wrong reasons going into Monday.

Mariota is close to capping off one of the best seasons in history after 40 touchdowns to three interceptions through the air, 15 more scores on the ground and some individual hardware to boot.

What really jars the accomplishments alive, though, is a note on the offensive line provided by ESPN Stats & Info:

Granted, star center Hroniss Grasu is back in the fold, which will place more of an emphasis on the run game between the tackles.

That will be just fine with Helfrich, who can lean on the underrated Royce Freeman. While a freshman, he continues to rise to the occasion and has 1,343 yards and 18 touchdowns so far.

Further placing an emphasis on the run, other than to keep Mariota out of the hands of Joey Bosa and others, is the fact the aerial attack will be without major weapons such as Devon Allen and Pharaoh Brown.

Also, try not to forget that wideout Darren Carrington, the hero of the encounter with Florida State thanks to a pair of scores, will miss Monday's action due to suspension, per Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman.

An emphasis on rushing attacks is not what some may want to see, but both programs have reason to protect their quarterbacks Monday, whether it is from an elite defense or downright inexperience.

The dream scenario for both teams is ripe for the picking.

Down to a third-string quarterback, Ohio State can complete an epic run that wouldn't have been possible in the now deceased BCS and take down the three top Heisman finalists in the process before moving on to a realm of quarterback prosperity for years to come.

Oregon can shed the minute remains of the "choke" label and take home their first national title while Mariota, perhaps the most dominant Heisman winner in history, departs for the NFL with accolades galore.

Only one can unfold, though, and Monday just feels like Mariota's time.

Experience very much matters. While Elliott will come firing out of the gates and keep the Buckeyes in it—kick-starting next year's Heisman pursuit—Jones will fall into erratic, Winston-esque splotches of rhythm that create turnovers.

More possessions for Mariota is the last thing the Buckeyes can afford. Really, with the game on the line, one of the quarterbacks is much more trustworthy than the other.

As he has all season, look for Mariota to come through when it matters most.

Prediction: Oregon 36, Ohio State 30

 

Betting information courtesy of Odds Shark. Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

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Empire State Building Lit Up in Ohio State, Oregon Colors for Championship Game

The Empire State Building has joined the fun leading up to the College Football Playoff National Championship game between Ohio State and Oregon. 

The famed New York City building is lit up in Ohio State and Oregon colors. It may look like Christmas colors, but hey, this game is a present. 

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Nebraska Football: Cornhuskers' Top Remaining Recruiting Targets for NSD 2015

With national signing day less than a month away, Nebraska football head coach Mike Riley is working to complete his first class for the Huskers.

Having only been at Nebraska since early December, Riley is doing his best to pick up where former head coach Bo Pelini left things—while also paving his own path.

Nebraska currently has four early enrollees and 11 hard commits, according to 247Sports. Of those, the majority are 3-star recruits, with a few 4-stars mixed in.

At this time, 247Sports ranks the Huskers at No. 33 in its recruiting rankings. However, Riley is likely less worried about the final ranking of this class and more about securing important and much-needed recruits.

Who are those recruits exactly? Here are five of the Huskers' top remaining recruiting targets heading into national signing day.

 

All stats and player information via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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Predictions for Top 25 Uncommitted 2015 College Football Recruits

The 2014-15 college football ends Monday night, but it won't take long for recruiting season to hit full gear. With national signing day on Feb. 4, teams must pivot from the season that was and start looking at the seasons ahead.

Part of that includes closing strong in the 2015 cycle, even though most of the top recruits have already made their commitments known. There is still plenty of talent to be had, including the No. 1 overall player in the country, three other members of the national Top Five and 23 players in the national Top 100.

Here's a guess at where the Top 25 uncommitted prospects, per the 247Sports composite rankings, will sign in early February.

Sound off below, and let me know where you disagree.

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