NCAA Football

Who Will Be Ohio State's Offensive MVP for the 2015 Season?

Ohio State is loaded with offensive talent. The defending national champs are looking at having one of the most potent offenses in recent memory. 

Stephen Nelson is joined by Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder, who gives his pick for the offensive MVP in the upcoming season for OSU. 

Who will be the offensive MVP next season? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

5 Schools to Watch as 5-Star Dexter Lawrence II Continues His Recruiting Process

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Here's the good news for all of the schools recruiting 5-star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence II: Every school is considered a legitimate contender.

Those were Lawrence's words during Nike's The Opening Charlotte regional on May 9. The Wake Forest, North Carolina, prospect—who has more than 20 offers—doesn't have a favorite as of yet. In fact, the 6'4.5", 335-pound bruiser is taking the recruiting process almost with a snail's pace. To him, there's no rush.

Currently, it's all about Lawrence having fun with everything. He isn't long removed from the time when "scholarship" was something of a foreign term to him.

"When I got to high school, I didn't know I would be playing for a scholarship," Lawrence said. "I was just playing because I liked it. And then a scholarship came. I was like, 'What is that?'"

Lawrence picked up his first scholarship during the spring of his freshman season. Clemson was the first school to offer, and since then, he's landed offers from four of the conferences representing the Power Five.

Lawrence brings a lot of quality traits to the table as he prepares to narrow his choices for college football. Lawrence is the first to say every school that has offered should be considered a potential landing spot, but here are five schools to keep an eye on throughout the spring, summer and fall.

 

Clemson

When Clemson arrived at one of his spring workouts during his freshman year, Lawrence said he was oblivious to the recruiting process, and what ultimately happened didn't register until days later.

"I walked into my coach's office, and [offensive linemen] Coach [Robbie] Caldwell was there. He said they were offering me a full scholarship," Lawrence said of Clemson. "I said, 'Oh, thank you.' I didn't really know what it was."

Fast forward to now, and Lawrence is most gracious when referring to Clemson. The Tigers were the first to take a chance on him, and that holds weight to the lineman.

Clemson could use Lawrence in the 2016 class. The Tigers currently have eight commits, but none of them are defensive linemen. Clemson is looking at Lawrence as the future face of the defense and someone who can be an all-conference player immediately upon arrival.

 

Florida

Florida has to feel good in this situation. Reason being, Lawrence has been a follower for quite some time.

"My childhood favorite team was the Gators," Lawrence said. "I grew up around that area; my granddad lived around there [in Ocala]. He was a Gators fan."

Lawrence said he's a fan of Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph, with whom he keeps in contact regularly. Lawrence also hears from defensive coordinator Geoff Collins.

Florida is doing well with 11 commits so far, but the team is still looking for its first 5-star pledge. Lawrence can be that keystone commit for an improving defense.

 

Florida State

Ask Lawrence about his strength on the field, and the soft-spoken tackle will give you a quick answer.

"My quickness," said Lawrence, a 330-plus-pounder who ran the 40-yard dash in a highly respectable 5.03 seconds at The Opening Charlotte regional. "I'm pretty quick coming off the line, going out and being aggressive."

Florida State has had its share of strong-but-quick defensive linemen, the latest being Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Goldman, two second-round picks for Oakland and Chicago, respectively, in the NFL draft.

Lawrence has the tools to be next in line, and the production of NFL-caliber defensive players keeps the Seminoles high on Lawrence's list. He spoke highly of defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins, running backs coach Jay Graham and defensive ends coach Brad Lawing.

 

Georgia

In a perfect world, the Georgia Bulldogs could have three of the nation's top seven defensive tackles of the 2016 class in Lawrence and fellow 5-star defensive tackles Derrick Brown and Julian Rochester. Lawrence said he has thought about playing for Georgia, and while he has yet to visit, there's still a chance the Bulldogs can land him.

"Georgia is a good program," Lawrence said. "I'm trying to visit them this summer. I talk to [tight ends] Coach [John] Lilly all the time."

The Bulldogs already have 10 commits in their 2016 class, and Jacob Eason, the nation's top-ranked quarterback, is expected to lead the offense. Lawrence could be that leader on the other side of the ball for Georgia.

 

North Carolina

Lawrence said his mother plays a significant role in his recruiting process. He believes that while obtaining a quality education is top priority to her, proximity is a close second.

"I think she wants me to stay kind of close, maybe an in-state school. She hasn't really talked about it, though. She wants to make sure they take care of me."

If proximity is an important piece of the puzzle, look for North Carolina to be a contender. Lawrence said he hears a lot from defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. Defensive line coach Tray Scott also keeps in contact with Lawrence.

Since November, Lawrence has taken a couple of trips to Chapel Hill, the latest occurring in March. Chapel Hill is roughly 40 miles from Wake Forest, which means his family would have a quick drive westward to see him play in home games.

 

After speaking about the schools, Lawrence reiterated that he doesn't have a favorite. He added that every school he's spoken with "have been pretty cool so far." Along with playing time as a freshman, Lawrence has a good idea of the the intangibles needed to help him make a decision.

"I want to go to a school that is family-oriented," he said. "Do they do things together? Are the coaches into it every day and on you? That's where I'm at right now at my high school."

There are other schools that could make a major push in the next couple of months for Lawrence, including North Carolina State, Alabama, Ohio State, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Stanford, Tennessee, USC and Auburn. He said he would like to take summer visits to all of those schools if the opportunities present themselves.

Lawrence said he will make a decision sometime after the 2015 season if he chooses to graduate early, for which he said he is on schedule. If he chooses to stay around for his entire senior year, don't be surprised if he decides on announcing either on or near national signing day.

 

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for 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

Big Ten Football: Power Ranking Top 5 Playmakers Heading into 2015 Season

The start of the college football season is still more than three months away, but 2015 is already shaping up to be a potential banner year for the Big Ten.

Not only does the league possess perhaps its largest crop of first-round picks in conference history, but there's also no shortage of young and emerging playmakers heading into the upcoming campaign. And it's not just at Ohio State, as the Big Ten continues to make its case for being college football's top conference.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the league's top five playmakers heading into the 2015 season.

Rankings are based on previous production, the player's value to his respective team and potential heading into the upcoming season.

Begin Slideshow

Alabama Has Been the Perfect Place for Lane Kiffin to Revitalize His Career

One year ago, the Alabama head coach Nick Saban and first-year offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin seemed like college football's version of The Odd Couple

Would Lane Kiffin really have control of the offense?

Can the two personalities work together in Tuscaloosa?

"My first show after Kiffin was hired was a show where you just offer your opinions and then throw the keys to the callers for them to react to the hiring," said Ryan Fowler, host of The Game on Tide 99.1 in Tuscaloosa. "Most Alabama fans didn't like the hire and was very vocal with expressing their feelings towards Saban. It took a least a month after the hire for fans to settle down and they did not calm down completely until three or four games into the season."

One SEC title, a trip to the inaugural College Football Playoff and a program-best 484.5 yards per game later, and the football marriage between Saban and Kiffin looks more like a match made in Heaven. 

It has also proven to be the perfect place for Kiffin to revitalize his career after being let go by USC midway through the 2013 season.  

The stench of how things ended at USC and the middle-of-the-night departure and wild press conference at Tennessee seem like distant memories as Kiffin enters his second season with the Crimson Tide. At Alabama, he has been allowed to get back to simply coaching football without the distractions that have landed him in trouble in the past.

Saban doesn't allow his assistants to speak to the media with the exception of once during fall camp, once during spring, at award ceremonies and mandatory appearances prior to bowl games. Because of that, brief appearances like the one when he was nominated for the Broyles Award given to the nation's top assistant coach is the most Kiffin we got all year in 2014.

On the field, Kiffin made a great case in 2014 that he still has that offensive magic. 

With quarterback issues abound, Kiffin took Blake Sims—who once moved to running back during his Crimson Tide career—and turned the Alabama offense into a force. What's more, he did it with Sims and junior Jake Coker battling for the starting quarterback job into the week of the season opener vs. West Virginia. 

It worked in 2014, but repeating the feat might be more of a challenge.

"What Lane Kiffin did with Blake Sims and Alabama in 2014 was very impressive," Fowler said. "However, it will take another magical type of performance to repeat that type of success with the Crimson Tide losing nine of 11 starters on offense."

That's a little bit deceiving, though.

One of those "new" starters will likely be running back Derrick Henry, who led the team in rushing last year with 990 yards. Another could be running back/all-purpose threat Kenyan Drake, who's played plenty of football during his career in Tuscaloosa. Yet another is likely to be tight end O.J. Howard, who has all the talent in the world but has struggled to make an impact over his first two seasons due to blocking issues.

None of that matters, though. That number—nine new starters—is daunting even though some of those players have taken plenty of game reps, and it will be one of the top bullet points on Kiffin's resume if he succeeds.

If Kiffin can keep Alabama's offense cooking at the same level this season, it will further solidify "Kiffin 2.0" as a viable head-coaching candidate down the road.

Where will that opportunity come from, though?

Miami reaffirmed its commitment to Al Golden following the 2014 season, but another season hovering around .500 might change that in a hurry. Other than that, Kiffin's options might be limited.

"His options will be limited in the Power Five conferences and he will have to settle for a lower-tier job if he decides to leave," Fowler said. "He could stay in Tuscaloosa for an additional year and this would increase his chance of landing a higher-tier job. My prediction is that he stays for a third year and gets a 'graduate level degree' in running a college program under Saban."

What seemed like one of the strangest pairings in college coaching history led to an SEC title for the Crimson Tide and has helped Kiffin repair his broken image. 

It has also allowed him to learn from one of the best head coaches in the country, which will help him whenever he gets his next head-coaching gig.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football's Most Important Offers of the Week

The state of California has been a point of emphasis for Brian Kelly and his staff since he arrived at Notre Dame. 

Last week, the Irish staff was in the backyard of hated rival USC, where they offered a pair of 4-star defensive backs who are potential targets on the Trojans’ wish list. 

The Irish offered a pair of 4-star defenders from the Los Angeles area in David Long and C.J. Pollard.

The offer took the 6’0”, 175-pound Long by surprise, according to Tom Loy of 247Sports.

"It feels great," Long told Loy. "It's a little unexpected, but it's a big one for sure."

Duke, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and Stanford are among the schools in the running with Long.

Loy reports that with the Irish offer in hand, Pollard immediately moved them into his top group of schools.

"It's a blessing to receive an offer from one of the most prestigious universities in the nation," Pollard told Irish247 (via Loy). "They have a great tradition and put players in the NFL."

Pollard, who hails from powerhouse Serra High School in Gardena, California, also has a pair of 4-star teammates who already hold Notre Dame offers in defensive back Brandon Burton and defensive end Oluwole Betiku.

With both Long and Pollard now in their crosshairs, the Irish are poised to try and add more California flavor to their roster.

 

Alabama Offers Pair of 2016 DEs

One position that Alabama is looking to replenish its roster with in the 2016 class is defensive end.

Last week, Nick Saban and his staff offered a pair of out-of-state defensive ends in Texas native Marcel Southall and 3-star Louisiana standout Andre Anthony.

As Bleacher Report’s Damon Sayles notes, Southall is one of the hottest prospects in the country who has seen his recruitment take off in the month of May.

Meanwhile, Anthony, who was also offered by Florida and Oregon last week, has 16 offers to his credit from schools such as Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State and Oklahoma.

With Alabama now in the mix with both Southall and Anthony, it will be interesting to monitor their recruitments moving forward.

 

Texas Tech Offers, Lands Rising 2016 QB

The quarterback carousel in the 2016 cycle is in full swing, and Kliff Kingsbury appears to have found a diamond in the rough in 3-star Texas gunslinger Jett Duffey.

The Red Raiders offered Duffey last week, and he subsequently committed.

Duffey earned an invite to The Opening after winning the QB MVP at the Nike Charlotte Opening Regional camp, according to Sayles.

Over the last two seasons, Duffey has thrown for 4,361 yards and rushed for another 1,938 yards while accounting for 69 touchdowns at Lake Ridge High School in Mansfield, Texas.

 

Miami Offers 2017 FSU QB Legacy

It’s safe to say that Cade Weldon has vast knowledge of the rivalry between Florida State and Miami.

After all, his dad, Casey, played quarterback for the Seminoles from 1988-91—with one of his two losses as a starter for the ‘Noles coming in the famous Wide Right I game.

Last week, Cade, a rising 2017 quarterback from Tampa, received an offer from the Hurricanes.

While the Seminoles have yet to offer, Weldon has early offers from schools such as Kentucky, South Florida and Wake Forest.

 

Best of the Rest 

2016

 

2017 

 

2018

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Meet Paul Perkins, Undercover Heisman Candidate and Pinterest Chef

The Pac-12’s leading rusher and Heisman contender you refuse to acknowledge wants to make one thing abundantly clear.

“I can do it all,” he says drenched in confidence. “I have the whole repertoire. Anything. I’m not messing around,” he adds.

“This is the real deal.”

There are a few things you should know before proceeding any further.

For starters, the Pac-12’s leading rusher last season wasn’t Royce Freeman at Oregon, or Devontae Booker at Utah, or Javorius “Buck” Allen at USC or Nick Wilson at Arizona. It also wasn’t two-way star Myles Jack, whom many pegged as UCLA’s best running option before the season began.

It was Paul Perkins.

While his name may prompt more Google searches than instantaneous praise, the 5’11, 198-pounder’s performance last year has demanded respect. Despite not being a nationally known commodity just yet, offshore oddsmakers have given Perkins 20-1 odds to win the Heisman, according to Odds Shark. Only 10 players are listed above him.

The second thing you should know is that Perkins wasn’t just hyping his ability on the football field: He was talking up his superior culinary range.

Yes, the running back who models his style after the violence of Marshawn Lynch, the vision of Jamaal Charles and the general football absurdity of Adrian Peterson would be the overwhelming Heisman favorite if the giant bronze trophy took kitchen aptitude into consideration.

When he isn’t working tirelessly on his game, Perkins is concocting meals that far surpass the ramen noodles specialties you whipped up in college.

His thirst for culinary knowledge is unquenchable. He peruses Pinterest for new recipes, he asks mom and dad for new cooking options. Regardless of the time of year, he’s always dreaming up that next great dish.

“Salmon in lemon sauce, rice, green beans,” Perkins says, diagraming one of his favorite meals. “And, of course, strawberry lemonade.

“I have to keep it on the down low, though. I can’t have everyone not paying for the food and expecting me to cook.”

Star running backs typically don’t cook gourmet cuisine, although this is where things get complicated. Not because of his passion in the kitchen, but because “star” is a floating label in this instance.

Coming off a season in which he ran for 1,575 yards and averaged 6.27 yards per carry—all while doing so for a program skyrocketing past once-reserved expectations—Perkins should be discussed with the sudden abundance of great backs, particularly the ones he outrushed close to home last season.

“We have great running backs in this conference,” Perkins said. “I’m not really so big on the praise, but I’m grateful for the love and looks.”

Heading into the 2014 season the two Bruins garnering Heisman consideration were Brett Hundley, Perkins' childhood friend, and Myles Jack, who was expected to play linebacker and running back.

Because of UCLA’s perceived lack of options at the position, Jack was supposed to play a significant role on offense and gobble up carries. But long before anyone else saw the potential, Jack recognized that he might not be needed.

“With the guys we have right now, they don’t need me,” Jack told me last July as his offensive profile was blossoming. He was right.

After back-to-back respectable performances to start the season, Perkins broke out against Texas in the team’s third game. With Hundley knocked out early due to injury, the offense sputtered.

As the second half began, however, Perkins finally broke free and jumpstarted the Bruins with a 58-yard scamper. 

“We didn’t have much momentum,” Perkins said. “Coming out of half—and even though I didn’t score—it was a confidence boost.”

The Bruins would go on to win 20-17. Perkins, who was unknown at the time, finished with nearly 200 yards from scrimmage. While his development was gradual, this was the turning point.

In the 10 games that followed, Perkins cracked the 90-yard mark eight times. He also exhibited his abilities as a pass-catcher. His four catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns against Cal in October proved to be crucial in a two-point victory.

To close out the season, Perkins delivered the best game of his career against Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl. His 194 yards rushing on only 20 carries paced the Bruins comfortably over a quality team.

Even with Hundley’s departure to the NFL, UCLA is in a prime position to carry the momentum forward and crash through yet another ceiling.

“I feel like the sky is the limit,” Perkins said. “We have all the parts to do it. We’re getting more depth and more experience. We can go as far as we want.”

The loss of his quarterback is significant beyond the obvious. Hundley, despite unrealized Heisman hopes, was a tremendous collegiate player. He was also extremely close with Perkins

The pair grew up together in Arizona. They ran track together for the Arizona Cheetahs Track Club, they played youth and high school football together. More recently, they decided to play at UCLA together.

And while the loss is noteworthy, quarterbacks Jerry Neuheisel, Asiantii Woulard and blue-chip frosh Josh Rosen have all flashed considerable promise. At times during the spring, according to Perkins, you couldn't tell who was delivering throws.

“He was a great quarterback and he’s a good friend,” Perkins said on Hundley. “Whenever you lose such an intricate part of the offense, it’s really hard to replace him. But I think we’re doing a great job of finding a replacement and I have a great relationship with all of the quarterbacks. It’s going to be just like having Brett back there.”

Hundley's departure leaves a leadership void on the Bruins the coaches have encouraged Perkins to fill. It’s a reasonable, understandable request—especially for a young man who sounds remarkably confident in what he’s doing—but it’s also an unnatural transition of sorts.

Perkins has always been a “lead by example” guy, although now he’s starting to embrace a new voice with the encouragement and his growth within the program.

“I feel like I have enough respect throughout the team that people will take what I say to heart,” Perkins said. “Whatever my role has to be in this offense to win a national championship,” I’ll do that.”

For UCLA to take it to that next level, Perkins needs a repeat performance of last season. In fact, he will likely have to do one or two better. For him to have this opportunity, one of three quarterbacks he’s currently helping groom will need to exceed expectations. This is by no means out of the question.

And for a Heisman to creep closer into the equation, Perkins and the Bruins will both have to take things to the next level. 

If that happens this season, then the star running back will get the spotlight he deserves.

The Heisman votes, undoubtedly, will follow.

“It’s a motivating factor in the offseason, but once football comes around I have to worry about my team—my family,” Perkins said on increasing his profile. “Competing for a Heisman is always there, but I have team goals I need to accomplish first. And if a Heisman comes along, so be it.”

After another exhausting day of class, reps, weights and film, the nation's greatest player-chef is ready to embrace his true calling.  Before he can get to New York City or the team’s opener against Virginia, however, Perkins needs to conceive another meal. 

What’s tonight’s main dish, you ask?

“Probably a peanut butter and honey sandwich,” Perkins said as the confidence cooled to room temperature. “And some sleep."

There is a beauty in staying simple, at least every once in a while. Sometimes the greatest meals are the ones that go unnoticed.  

Adam Kramer is the National Lead College Football Writer at Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Meet Paul Perkins, Undercover Heisman Candidate and Pinterest Chef

The Pac -12’s leading rusher and Heisman contender you refuse to acknowledge wants to make one thing abundantly clear. “I can do it all,” he says drenched in confidence...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

B/R 5th Down: Harbaugh's Deflategate Joke, Recruits' Sick Juke Moves and More

Editor's Note: The 5th 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. Jim Harbaugh and His Khakis Make Annual Trip to Peru

If you are to understand one thing about Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, let it be this: He's a man of eclectic interests, but perhaps above all a man of deep faith. 

As Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com noted, Harbaugh traveled to Peru "for a mission trip to assist the parish of Santisimo Sacramento as it provides outreach to the Peruvian community of Piura." Harbaugh has made the trip every offseason since 2009. 

Because Harbaugh's Twitter game is so strong, he documented the highlights of the mission trip, which you can see below: 

You can check out more photos on Harbaugh's Twitter profile. Come for the dad khakis, stay for the sassy "Deflategate" trolls: 

 

2. Here Are Some Sick Jukes That You'll Want to Watch Again and Again

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier had a point about how ridiculous over-the-top footwork drills are in the grand scheme of football. That said, there's no substitute for being light on your feet because you get sick jukes like this one from Golden Valley High School (CA) athlete Isaiah Montanez

You can check out the video below, courtesy of Scout.com Recruiting. But be warned: Viewing the video might cause you to shout "Ohhh!!!" or possibly something with expletives in it, so make sure you're not in a public place: 

The cherry on top is definitely the back flip at the end. 

Not to be outdone, 5-star Alabama commit Najee Harris—the No. 1 running back for 2017—showed off a little wiggle in this one-on-one drill: 

That slow motion, though...  

 

3. Tennessee Fans Helped Clear an Entire Stadium of its Whiskey Supply

This is 2015, folks. Stereotypes are bad. We should all be better than this.

But damn, Tennessee, this is one of the most Tennessee things I've ever read, and it's impressive. According to head coach Butch Jones (h/t Ryan Callahan, 247Sports), Vols fans helped EverBank Field in Jacksonville, which hosted the TaxSlayer Bowl in January, sell out of whiskey for the first time ever: 

Did Iowa fans help? Surely. The pain caused by that Kirk Ferentz buyout isn't going away by itself, you know. (Just kidding, it's still there.) 

Anyway, #govowels

 

4. Ezekiel Elliott's Weekend Was Troll-tastic

Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott has become somewhat of a 5th Down regular. Earlier this month, he threw out a nice first pitch for a St. Louis Cardinals game.

Now, he's catching small sharks (but sharks nonetheless) off the coast of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Elliott was there over the weekend instructing at a local football camp: 

By his own count: Elliott: 1, Nature: 0.

Then, Elliott took some time out of his busy schedule to take some always-needed shots at Michigan: 

By B/R's unofficial count now, Elliott: 3, Nature + Michigan: 0.

But then...a twist! Sea sickness is a nasty devil, after all: 

Still, 3-1 isn't bad. 

 

5. Your Summer Workouts Suddenly Became Less Awesome

Spring and summer are times when normal people want to get into shape so they can look good at the pool and the beach. 

Spring and summer are times when football players train in obscure ways to stay ready for the season. 

Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel does this by tackling a tree.

By. Tackling. A. Tree:  

Sure, said tree is probably on its last leg anyway. Cut that bad boy open and you're either going to count a lot of rings or find a lot of rot. Either way, that tree is like all other trees in that it's made of dense wood. 

And Zettel brought it to the ground. Physics, man. 

 

6. Did You Know: Samaje Perine is Actually Popeye?

Last season, Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine burst on to the scene by leading the Big 12 with 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns—as a freshman. He also broke the single-game FBS rushing record—held by Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin for a mere week—with 427 yards against Kansas

As a sophomore in 2015, Perine could lead the conference in both categories again and cement himself as a legit Heisman contender. For now, he's content showing off his biceps.

No joke, they're the size Oklahoma basketball player James Fraschilla’s thigh: 

Moral of the story, kids? Keep eating your spinach. 

 

7. Nick Chubb's Nine-Year-Old Cousin is Already Better at Football Than You

Some say it's never too later to pick up a new hobby. This is generally true; however, if that hobby is football, go ahead and stop right now because Georgia running back Nick Chubb's cousin is already better than you.

And he's nine years old. 

His name is Harlem Diamond, and he's already tearing it up on the football field. This makes sense considering he has good bloodlines and all: 

Look at those moves. And before you can shake your head and say "not impressed," understand that kids to a certain age aren't capable of running in anything other than a straight line, especially in pads: 

In nine more years, this kid is going to be embarrassing someone in college. 

 

8. Let's Talk About Cake, Ba-by

Now that we've spent half of 5th Down making you feel bad about yourself, we want to reward you with cake that you can't physically taste. 

It's the least we can do. 

First, here's Shelley Meyer, the wife of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, posting a miniature national championship cake from the university's “A Dinner on the 50″ event. According to the catering company, each person received a mini cake made of chocolate and peanut butter, which is pretty much heaven: 

Next: At the wedding of Robert Sabin and Amanda Perryman—Alabama and Florida fans, respectively—the groom's cake featured Tide coach Nick Saban riding an elephant. Not to be outdone, Perryman decided to have the inside of the cake secretly colored in blue and orange: 

Well done, Amanda. May you have a lifetime of happiness and go Gators and all that. 

(Also, as an unrelated side note: Did anyone ever watch "Ace of Cakes" on the Food Network? That was legit. And remember Geof? That hipster and his fondant. Guy was an everyday Leonardo da Vinci with that stuff.) 

 

9. Your Romantic Getaway Cruise with Houston Nutt is Awaiting

Admit it: One of your lifelong dreams has been to spend five days on a boat with former college football coach Houston Nutt. 

No?

Well, maybe Phillip Fulmer is more your type. Or something. Either way, for the low, low price of $525 (to $4,000), you can spend the better part of the week on the open water with some famous former college head coaches. Riley Blevins of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger has the details:  

With prices ranging from $525 to $4,000, you can sail the seas from Jan. 11, 2016 to Jan. 15 with the former Ole Miss coach and several other former college football coaches as a part of the "Legendary Coaches Cruise."

Other coaches including Gene Stallings, Phillip Fulmer, Vince Dooley, Pat Dye, Howard Schnellenberger, Bobby Johnson and more.

...

The cruise offers a formal dinner with your "favorite coach," screenings of classic games with commentary, panels, Q&As, autograph sessions, and more.

We double-checked and, yep, the cruise sets sail the same day as the 2016 National Championship Game. That formal dinner with Nutt better be worth it. 

(It will be.) 

Of course, while dinner with Nutt might a bit on the...weird side, listening to Schnellenberger talk about #crootin' for hours on end would be well worth the price. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. He's thinking about a candlelight dinner on the water with Howard Schnellenberger @BenKercheval.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Commitment: Stud WR Josh Imatorbhebhe Commits in Epic Trailer

The decision is here.

Josh Imatorbhebhe—a 4-star wide receiver—has narrowed down his decision to Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Stanford, USC, Alabama and Ohio State. Where will the talented recruit continue his football career?

Watch as Imatorbhebhe reveals his decision in this epic trailer.


Note: Recruit rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It’s safe to say that offseason recruiting is officially underway.

After a big week last week, Alabama and Nick Saban’s staff sent out 13 more offers this week.

The Crimson Tide is also gearing up for its football camp in two weeks, when things really crank up on the recruiting side.

Let’s run down Alabama’s offers this week:

 

Tate Martell, 2017 5-star dual-threat quarterback from Las Vegas, Nevada

There’s no doubt who Alabama’s most high-profile offer was this week. Lane Kiffin flexed his west-coast muscles again to go after a big-name quarterback from that part of the country, this time going after Martell, from Nevada.

Martell was committed to Washington but decommitted as the major offers started to roll in. He also holds offers from USC and Texas A&M.

"Obviously, it's cool knowing a school from the SEC, in this case Alabama, which is probably the best college program out there right now, is looking at you and wants you to play for them," Martell told Rivals.com’s Blair Angulo. "From what I gathered talking to coach Kiffin and coach Saban, they really like how fast I am with my feet, how I have a quick release and that I'm really accurate. They like that I'm a leader."

Alabama and Kiffin have had success with west-coast quarterbacks in Kiffin’s short time in Alabama. Last year, he nabbed 5-star Blake Barnett out of the state of California, a similar prospect to Martell in his mobile style.

Martell, though, would be on the small side, listed at just 5’11”, 180 pounds on his 247Sports profile.

"A big school like Alabama, you just can't turn that away," Martell told Angulo. "You have to definitely look at that for sure. "I'm still going to wait things out. I don't think I'll be committing anytime soon. I'm not doing it this summer. When I de-committed, I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to see which schools wanted me and where I would want to go."

 

Brandon Stephens, 2016 3-star running back from Plano, Texas

Another major recruiting area of the country where Alabama has had some recent success is Texas, and the Crimson Tide could be turning there to find their next great running back.

Stephens, rated the No. 44 running back in this class and from the Lone Star State, got an offer this week.

“I was just getting out of spring practice, and I thought I’d give Coach (Billy) Napier a call,” Stephens told 247Sports’ Hank South via text. “He said Coach (Nick) Saban loved my film and that I fit their style offense and the run game. I’ve been in touch with Coach Napier prior to the offer.”

Alabama still doesn’t have a running back commitment for the 2016 class, despite sending out 12 offers so far at that position. With Kenyan Drake a senior and Derrick Henry likely on his way to NFL stardom after his junior year, the Crimson Tide need to add a few more bodies to add depth at that position in time for 2016.

Despite his 3-star status, Stephens holds offers from several major programs like Ohio State and Texas. With Alabama’s massive success at that position, this offer, though, obviously stands out.

“It’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to play for the Crimson Tide,” Stephens told South. “It’s the stage kids dream of playing on. I was a little emotional receiving the offer, and I didn’t know how to react to it. I’m just blessed to be in this situation. I’m just excited about it overall.”

 

Other offers from the week

Andre Anthony, 2016 3-star weak-side defensive end from New Orleans, Louisiana

Tarik Black, 2017 4-star wide receiver from Cheshire, Connecticut

Breon Dixon, 2017 inside linebacker from Suwanee, Georgia

Nick Eubanks, 2016 4-star tight end from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Jacob Mathis, 2016 4-star tight end from Tampa, Florida

Corey Prince, 2017 4-star defensive tackle from Paramus, New Jersey

Anthony Solomon, 2019 outside linebacker from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Marcel Southall, 2016 defensive tackle from Duncanville, Texas

Isaiah Stokes, 2017 4-star offensive tackle from Memphis, Tennessee

Charles Wiley, 2016 4-star weak side defensive end from Stockbridge, Georgia (Ole Miss commit)

Brock Wright, 2017 4-star tight end from Cyprus, Texas

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and reporting were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy 247Sports, unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Auburn Football: How Former 5-Star Darius James Would Impact Tigers' Offense

Auburn might have missed out on a prized 5-star offensive lineman in the 2015 recruiting class, but the Tigers made up for it this weekend with a pledge from one of 2013's best.

According to multiple reports on Sunday, Texas sophomore Darius James is transferring to Auburn. The news was first reported by 247Sports and later confirmed to the Austin American-Statesman's Brian Davis.

James is just the latest offensive lineman to transfer to Auburn from another major program. Former 4-star Austin Golson sat out last season after transferring from Ole Miss, and he is projected to start at center for the Tigers in 2015.

According to James' high school coach, Auburn's success with Golson was part of the reason he decided to become a Tiger.

"To have some guys who have been there and done that come in like Austin Golson did last year and to have another one with Darius, those are two big-time recruits that came in," Harker Heights (Texas) head coach Rob Hagey told the Opelika-Auburn News' Tom Green. "Austin is going to contribute, and I think Darius will do the same."

The 6'6", 320-pound James is a major pickup for the Tigers' offensive line. Although he won't be eligible to play in the 2015 season, he looks to be a key figure for the future.

Though the former 5-star was the nation's No. 1 offensive guard in the 2013 class, don't lock James down into one position. He has the build and the experience to play all across the line—the Killeen, Texas, native played center, guard, tackle and even defensive tackle in high school.

James grabbed the attention of many major programs during his high school career with his size, strength and run-blocking prowess.

After redshirting his freshman season in Austin, James played in six games in 2014, starting against Baylor and Oklahoma at right tackle.

He also filled in for injured Longhorns at both guard and tackle before a knee injury of his own cost him the final four games of the season.

James' familiarity with guard and tackle will definitely boost an Auburn roster that might need help at both in the coming seasons.

The expected starters at tackle, juniors Shon Coleman and Avery Young, will both be able to declare early for the NFL draft after the 2015 season.

After losing the recruiting battle for Martez Ivey to Florida this past recruiting cycle, having a 5-star talent with starting experience in a power conference could work out better for Auburn in the short term. 

If both Coleman and Young stay for their senior seasons on the Plains, James could be the top reserve on the outside and inside of the line.

Auburn has three young projected starters on the interior—Alex Kozan, Golson and Braden Smith—but there isn't a standout backup at any of those spots.

And Kozan, who started at left guard as a redshirt freshman in the Tigers' 2013 championship run, has already missed an entire season due to injury.

James' presence on Auburn's offensive line would benefit the entire offense, especially the quarterback. Veteran line play could make Jeremy Johnson a surefire Heisman contender in 2016—or, if Johnson has a tremendous 2015 and declares for the NFL draft, it could be critical to helping Auburn's newest signal-caller.

A lot can change for a football program over a season, and uncertainty abounds on the future of an Auburn offensive line now stocked with top talent.

If James stays healthy, he can provide Auburn with elite talent, much-needed experience and an extra layer of security in 2016 and beyond.

 

Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Justin Ferguson is an on-call college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Who Will Be Tennessee's Secret Weapon in Quest for SEC East Title?

The Volunteers are on the cusp of something great down in Rocky Top. Tennessee is poised for a breakout season under head coach Butch Jones. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee gives his pick for the secret weapon for Tennessee next season. 

Who will be the focal point for the Volunteers offense next year? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

5 Top-Performing Quarterback Recruits from 2015 Oakland Elite 11 Regional

SAN LEANDRO, California — Sometimes, the joy of being a quarterback who not only is uncommitted but also without a formal offer is to outshine competition who either are committed to top programs or have multiple offers.

Such was the case for 3-star Kevin Davidson, who took home quarterback MVP honors at Sunday's Elite 11 Oakland regional at the Pacific Athletic Complex-Burrell Field. Davidson won top honors over several committed quarterbacks—including the nation's No. 1 quarterback, Jacob Eason—and he did so with a solid performance in the "Pressure Chamber," the Elite 11's final event to determine the MVP.

Roughly 80 quarterbacks from 10 states as far as Texas and Montana participated in Sunday's event. Here are some of the quarterbacks who put on a show, with additional comments from Brian Stumpf, vice president of football events for Student Sports and one of the leaders of both the Elite 11 and The Opening.

Begin Slideshow

LSU Stat Projections: Leonard Fournette Will Put Up Heisman Numbers in 2015

Leonard Fournette was one extremely impressive freshman running back in 2014, and LSU is looking for another huge season from Fournette in 2015. 

Watch as Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee gives his stat projections for the LSU ball-carrier in the upcoming season.

How big of a year will Leonard Fournette have in 2015? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Underclassmen with Best Shot to Win Heisman Before Graduation

College football has become a younger man’s game, at least at its most elite levels. And there’s no better way to illustrate this trend than looking at a list of Heisman Trophy winners. The best of the best routinely beat an early path to the NFL draft, meaning underclassmen regularly dominate award lists.

Although the Heisman has sometimes been called a “career achievement” award, that hasn’t been the case recently. No senior has won the award since Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith took the stiff-arm trophy home in 2006, and in that span, two freshmen and three sophomores have lifted the Heisman.

So suggesting an underclassman will win the trophy this fall is going with the flow instead of a contrarian opinion. The only question is: Which one? Here’s a look at 11 underclassmen who could win the Heisman by the end of their college careers.

Begin Slideshow

Odds, Prediction Where No. 1 WR and Former Auburn Commit Nate Craig-Myers Lands

Nate Craig-Myers—a 5-star wide receiver, per 247Sports—recently decommitted from Auburn, which reopened his recruitment. With several offers on the table, Craig-Myers has a tough decision ahead of him.

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson was joined by College Football Analyst Adam Kramer to discuss the odds on where Craig-Myers could land. 

Where will Craig-Myers play at the next level? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee Football: Predicting the Volunteers' 2015 Win-Loss Record

It's been a long time since hype made the hike up Rocky Top, but the Tennessee Volunteers football team is a trendy pick to make noise in 2015's SEC East race.

To his credit, after two rebuilding seasons began to produce with a bowl run and victory last year, head coach Butch Jones isn't shying away from the expectations, telling The Daily Times' Grant Ramey, "That's where we want to be."

The Volunteers are not a finished product, however, and Jones also has spent several hundred breaths telling the media that, too.

This upcoming season features a schedule that again is riddled with roadblocks. Though things appear to loosen up on the schedule beginning next year (at least on paper), UT has plenty of tough battles in what is expected to be the beginning of a potentially special run in Knoxville.

Even so, the 2015 slate is navigable. The only true road games that look difficult are in Gainesville against the rebuilding Gators, at perennial powerhouse Alabama and against beast of the East Missouri.

All the other tough games—against Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina—are in the friendly confines of Neyland Stadium. So, since everybody has offered opinions on the Vols' records, Bleacher Report decided to do ours.

Let's take a fun future look at UT's schedule with some game-by-game predictions down to how it'll shake out on the field. 

Begin Slideshow

Ohio State Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

With 15 prospects already in the fold for 2016, Ohio State's second-ranked recruiting class is filling up and nearing capacity.

Head coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes still have a number of highly ranked players on their radar, but with fewer than 10 scholarships remaining—a number largely dependent on how many junior Buckeyes declare for the NFL draft next winter—the targeting efforts for 2016 are almost all wrapped up.

But recruiting is a machine that never stops, and Ohio State is very aware of that. Two weeks ago, the coaching staff offered six 2017 recruits, highlighted by 5-star safety Jeffrey Okudah.

Last week, the Buckeyes slowed things down and offered just one new prospect.

 

Teradja Mitchell, Unranked Outside Linebacker (2018) 

The only reason Teradja Mitchell is unranked is because he's too young to garner such an evaluation.

The prospects for the 2018 recruiting class won't receive their first ranking until next spring, but when that time rolls around, look for Mitchell's name to be near the top of the list.

That's why the Buckeyes offered the talented defender last Wednesday:

Ohio State joined an offers list that looks like it belongs to an elite senior recruit—not a player coming off his freshman season. Mitchell already boasts offers from schools such as Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

With Mitchell already standing 6'2" and weighing 205 pounds, these major colleges know there's incredible potential for him to develop into a monster athlete.

He's playing middle linebacker for Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but he's projected as an outside linebacker at the collegiate level.

That position change is due to Mitchell's incredible athleticism. He has the speed to close the gap on ball-carriers already on the move and the agility to hold his own in pass coverage. Most impressive, though, are his football instincts and ability to finish a tackle completely and aggressively.

Ohio State's main objective this summer, and moving forward, will be to get Mitchell to make the trip north for a visit to the campus.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the young playmaker has no intention of delaying his recruitment, as he'll be making his way around the country this summer:

Mitchell was just the seventh 2018 prospect to receive an offer from the Buckeyes, so it's safe to assume he'll be garnering a lot of attention from Meyer and the reigning national champions in the coming months.

 

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.

David Regimbal is the Ohio State football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Mark Richt's Biggest Challenges for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2015

With Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting that Everett Golson visited the Georgia Bulldogs last week, the former Notre Dame quarterback knows that head coach Mark Richt’s team has a chance to do some big things in 2015.

With a strong running game, stable offensive line and improving defense, there’s a good chance the Bulldogs can win more than 10 games, which could mean a chance to win the SEC title and a shot at the College Football Playoff.

However, just like in any season, there will be some obstacles to navigate. But if the Bulldogs want to be a championship team, they will have to fight through challenges and be mentally tough.

Here are the biggest challenges for Richt’s Bulldogs in 2015.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Coaches Who Don't Get Enough Credit

When looking at the effectiveness of any head coach, many elements do come into play. The win-loss record is the most obvious barometer of success. However, each case is different from the next.

What shape was the program in when the new head man took over? How difficult is it to recruit at the school? What are the general expectations of the program? 

All of these aspects determine both the development and improvement of said program. Using this as criteria, this piece will delve into some of the most underrated coaches in the country. 

 

Honorable mentions: Steve Addazio, Craig Bohl, Mike Gundy, Jim Mora, Mark Richt, Mike Riley, Kyle Whittingham.  

Begin Slideshow

Pages