NCAA Football

Clemson Football: 5 Bold Predictions for the Tigers' Bowl Game

Since Sunday, the Clemson Tigers have known they will be taking on the Oklahoma Sooners in the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 29. That much we know. The part that is still up in the air is exactly how things will go in the bowl game for the Tigers, especially with the recent news, via ESPN, that quarterback Deshaun Watson will be undergoing season-ending knee surgery on Friday.

Can the defense win another close game for the Tigers? Will Cole Stoudt end his college career on a positive note? Here are five bold predictions for Clemson’s bowl game.

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Jordan Stevenson Decommits from Texas: What's Next for Longhorns, 4-Star RB?

Texas suffered a significant blow to its 2015 recruiting class Wednesday when in-state running back Jordan Stevenson decommitted, per EJ Holland of The Dallas Morning News. The 4-star South Oak Cliff standout elected to reopen his recruitment more than a year after initially pledging to the Longhorns.

It didn't take long for another top suitor to emerge for Stevenson, who rates 18th nationally among rushers in 247Sports' composite rankings. He spent an official visit at Wisconsin, and his decision quickly followed an announcement on The Dan Patrick Show that Badgers Heisman Trophy candidate Melvin Gordon plans to enter the 2015 NFL draft.

Stevenson, a 5'8", 185-pound speedster who started his career at Dallas Skyline High School, initially pledged to Texas last fall. He chose the Longhorns in October 2013, but offers soon followed from the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, UCLA and Wisconsin.

After rushing for more than 1,900 yards and 18 scores as a junior, Stevenson established career bests this season. He carried the ball 258 times, churning out 2,511 yards and 31 touchdowns en route to state quarterfinal action.

The focus now shifts to Wisconsin, where sophomore Corey Clement is the heir apparent to Gordon. The New Jersey native accounted for more than 800 yards and nine scores during the regular season after seeing significant reps as a freshman.

Stevenson could follow a path similar to Clement's in Madison, taking on a change-of-pace role in the backfield before earning his turn as a feature back. He is also expected to line up a visit to UCLA before national signing day, per Holland.

Meanwhile, Texas is left with a positional vacancy in its 2015 recruiting class. Stevenson, who pledged to former Longhorns coach Mack Brown, creates a need at running back two months shy of national signing day.

Chris Warren, a 4-star rusher from Rockwall, Texas, is expected to arrive on campus in Austin this weekend. The 6'2", 232-pound playmaker views the Longhorns as one of four finalists, along with Washington, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

"I know the Texas staff very well," he told Bleacher Report earlier this week. "My goal during the visit is to see what coach [Charlie] Strong is doing differently than coach Brown did to set the team up for more success on and off the field."

Warren, one of six finalists for U.S. Army All-American Player of the Year, rushed for 2,329 yards and 34 scores as a senior. He is rated ninth nationally among running backs in 247Sports' composite rankings.

"I kept a close eye on Texas this season," Warren said. "It wasn’t the best they could possibly be, but there were some great moments. In another year, with the right players, the team could jump up to a new level."

The Longhorns hope he's part of the solution. Texas already holds a commitment from 3-star in-state running back Tristian Houston, who rushed for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014.

Texas' 2015 class currently includes 18 commits. It rates 17th nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings.

 

Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report national recruiting analyst Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports. 

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SEC Football Announces Awards for 2014 Season

Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper highlighted the SEC's individual awards, which the conference announced Wednesday.

The junior wide receiver was named the Offensive Player of the Year, the only award that went to a member of the conference champion Crimson Tide.

Cooper leads FBS in receptions (115) and yards (1,656) along with 14 touchdowns. He had 12 catches for 83 yards in Alabama's SEC title game win over Missouri.

"To do what he does every Saturday is impressive, man," Alabama tight end O.J. Howard told The Associated Press (h/t Yahoo Sports). "We're like, 'Wow.' We knew he could do it, but he's doing more. So that's impressive. Without Coop I don't know where we'd be right now."

East Division champion Missouri picked up three awards, with junior defensive end Shane Ray earning Defensive Player of the Year honors and senior Marcus Murphy getting named Special Teams Player of the Year. Tigers coach Gary Pinkel was chosen as Coach of the Year.

Ray led the conference with 12.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. Murphy is fourth in the country in kickoff return average, at 29.88 yards per return, along with two TDs. And he also had a punt return score.

Pinkel previously was named Mid-American Coach of the Year in 1995, when he was at Toledo, and was co-Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2007.

Georgia players were honored as Freshman of the Year (running back Nick Chubb) and Scholar-Athlete of the Year (senior wide receiver Chris Conley), while LSU senior offensive tackle La'el Collins was named the Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner.

Chubb ran for 1,281 yards and 12 TDs, gaining at least 100 yards in each of the last seven games. Conley, set to graduate this month with a degree in journalism, has a 3.32 GPA.

Collins is projected by CBS Sports as a first-round draft pick.

The SEC individual awards were voted on by the league's head coaches, who could not choose their own players.

 

Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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Why Auburn's Offense Will Be 'Explosive and Dynamic' in 2015

The Auburn Tigers are losing a lot of talent in Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne, but that doesn't mean they won't remain an elite offensive team.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee discuss the potential Auburn offense in 2015.

Will Auburn's offense remain at the top in 2015? Check out the video and let us know!     

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Recruiting 2014-15: Latest News, Rumors and Commit Updates

After a debut season filled with ups and downs, Texas head coach Charlie Strong is busy preparing for a big-time run over the final weeks leading up to national signing day.

The Longhorns currently have 19 commitments in their 2015 class, per 247Sports.

Here's a look at the latest news, top targets and commits for the Longhorns.

 

Latest News

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Texas lost a commitment on Wednesday, as 4-star running back Jordan Stevenson announced plans to reopen his recruitment, per his Twitter account.

The loss leaves Texas with 19 commitments in its 2015 class and only one from a running back—3-star rusher Tristian Houston.

However, the 'Horns are still in the running for 4-star running back Chris Warren, who has Texas among his four finalists. 

 

Top Targets and Commitments

Wednesday, Dec. 10

One of the Longhorns' top remaining needs in the 2015 cycle is at linebacker. Per Colt Barber of Horns247, Strong visited top target and 4-star linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. on Tuesday evening. 

Kirkland recently announced plans to commit at the U.S. Army All-American Game on Jan. 3, and the Longhorns join Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Tennessee as one of his four finalists.

Landing the 6'2", 235-pounder would be a huge coup for Strong, who also has Texas squarely in the hunt for 5-star linebacker Malik Jefferson.

 

Recruit ratings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted

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Maps Show Where College Football Playoff Teams Recruit From

The college football programs that can recruit all over the country typically have the most success. That's why it should come as no surprise that the four teams in the inaugural College Football Playoff aren't limited to recruiting regionally.

The Alabama Crimson Tide, the Oregon Ducks, the Florida State Seminoles and the Ohio State Buckeyes are among the teams that tend to get the best recruits in the country, which has translated into a lot of success on the field. 

In order to give fans an idea of where each team has gotten its recruits from, John Nelson of IDV Solutions has put together some maps that show the hometowns of each team's players.

 

Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Ohio State

 

Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Florida State

As most fans could probably guess, Oregon's Air Mile Index (27.0) is the highest of the four playoff teams. A score of 30 means that the team is able to recruit just about anywhere, and the Ducks are pretty close to that mark. The other three teams are in the 14-17 range.

With the amount of high school talent in the state of Florida, the Seminoles don't have to go very far to recruit. They have been able to get players from many other states, but the Sunshine State is where the majority of their players come from.

 

Maps for each individual team can be seen on the IDV Solutions website.

[h/t SB Nation]

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