NCAA Football

Jared Lorenzen Cracks Joke About NCAA's New Unlimited Meals and Snacks Policy

Former University of Kentucky signal-caller Jared Lorenzen earned the nickname "Hefty Lefty" during his playing days for his enormous size, especially for a quarterback. Lorenzen recently reemerged in the public eye after videos showed he was still playing football despite weighing approximately 320 pounds. 

In light of the recent development that the NCAA would allow Division I student-athletes to receive unlimited meals and snacks, Lorenzen chimed in with a wisecrack about his weight:

Never change, Pillsbury Throwboy. Never change.

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Scouting Report, Video Highlights and Predictions for 5-Star LB Jeffery Holland

Among the best defensive players in the 2015 class is 5-star linebacker Jeffery Holland. From Florida, Holland is a fantastic player who can do an array of things on the field.

His talent and skills have attracted many of the nation's best programs, as the Sunshine State recruit is awfully impressive on tape. Holland has a ton of potential, plus he could be ready to contribute as a true freshman.

He warrants a more in-depth look as a prospect.

All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports. Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

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Georgia Football: 5 Things We Learned from the Bulldogs' Spring Game

The Bulldogs are in their final week of spring practice before they break for the summer. Last Saturday, the Bulldogs took part in their annual spring game to show the fans an early look at the 2014 squad.

Like any spring game there were some good things to take away from the game, and there were some things the Bulldogs need to work on during preseason practice. The two practices after the spring game are beneficial because they give the coaches the opportunity to focus on some areas of weakness before the team takes some time off.

So here are five things we learned from the spring game.

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Alabama Football: Analyzing Why Crimson Tide Will Win the SEC

Alabama is the gold standard when it comes to college football. The Crimson Tide have won three of the last five national championships, including back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012.

Interestingly, SEC championships have been harder to achieve than crystal balls. Since coach Nick Saban’s arrival in 2007, Alabama has won only two conference crowns (2009, 2012), indicating that finishing on top of the SEC, widely regarded as the most competitive conference in the country, is no simple feat.

With the 2014 college football season fast approaching, here are three reasons why the Crimson Tide will win the SEC.

 

Favorable Schedule

Last season, Alabama started the season 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation. However, the team’s SEC championship and BCS national title aspirations were halted thanks to Auburn’s thrilling 34-28 victory in which senior Chris Davis returned a missed 56-yard field-goal attempt 109 yards for a touchdown as time expired.

In 2014, the Crimson Tide’s schedule is extremely favorable. In terms of strength of schedule, calculated by adding up every team’s total wins and losses from a year ago, Alabama is the only SEC team to have less than .500 opponents’ winning percentage, according to Saturday Down South's Jon Cooper, as its opponents combined to go 71-79 in 2013.

In addition, Alabama gets Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn at home and avoids playing Georgia or South Carolina during the regular season. The toughest tests for the Crimson Tide will come on the road against rival LSU and at home to Auburn in the Iron Bowl. If Alabama can take care of business at home and manage a victory at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, it will be in good shape to win Saban’s third conference title.

 

Returning Starters

Although Alabama loses its decorated quarterback in A.J. McCarron, as well as a number of defensive players to the NFL, the team does return 12 starters from a year ago, including several key contributors on offense.

Most notably is junior running back T.J. Yeldon, who has amassed 2,343 yards and 26 touchdowns in two seasons. It won’t be a surprise if the team leans on the third-year back, especially early in the season when easing in a new signal-caller.

Alabama also returns four of its five leading pass-catchers in Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, Christion Jones and tight end O.J. Howard. The quartet combined for 1,888 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

This offensive continuity will undoubtedly help whoever starts the season at quarterback. Senior Blake Sims has performed well this spring, completing 40-of-62 passes for 515 yards and five touchdowns through two scrimmages, according to Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee. However, Sims will be pushed by junior Jacob Coker, who will join the team this summer after transferring from Florida State, where he was a backup to Heisman winner Jameis Winston.

 

Nick Saban

During his tenure at Alabama, Saban has accumulated an impressive 74-15 record, including 61 victories in 68 games over the last five seasons. According to Alabama's official team website, with four national titles, Saban joins Frank Leahy, Bear Bryant and John McKay as the only coaches to accomplish such a feat.

He has also proven to be a master recruiter, as the Crimson Tide have had the nation’s top recruiting class four years in a row. They have the top class again this season, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

But like every year, Saban will have to mold a talented, but young roster to play his brand of tough, disciplined football. But if any coach is up for the challenge, it's Saban. With an 8-1 all-time record in conference or national championship games, his track record speaks for itself.

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Alabama Football: What Will Derrick Henry's Role Be in 2014?

From the moment the clock struck zero in Alabama’s disappointing Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma, Tide fans looking ahead to the upcoming fall knew they had at least one big reason to smile—the breakout performance of running back Derrick Henry.

After racking up 161 yards of total offense and two touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving) on only nine touches against the Sooners, the biggest question entering spring practice was how Henry’s role would increase in 2014.

According to John Zenor of the Associated Press (h/t Florida Times-Union), Nick Saban is pleased with the rising sophomore’s improvement this spring.

“Derrick Henry has had a fabulous spring,” Saban said. “He picked up right where he left off at bowl practice last year. He works really hard. He runs really hard. He plays with a lot of toughness. He gets it. Very conscientious guy. He sets a great example. “

That endorsement from his head coach speaks volumes about his potential to become an impact player this season.

However, with junior T.J. Yeldon—who has piled up 2,343 yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground over his first two years—established as one of the nation’s top rushers, it will take a monumental effort for Henry to take over the starting role.

But as Alabama has proven throughout Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa, its ground game has been at its peak efficiency when relying on a two-headed monster in the backfield.

Players such as Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and Yeldon each thrived as the change-of-pace back to the touted rushers in front of them, yet each capitalized on the move to the lead role when their time came.

However, as talented as those backs were, Henry is a rare breed.

Dealing with a 240-pound player blessed with vision, power and breakaway speed, new Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is charged with the task of making sure Yeldon, Henry and the rest of the Tide’s talented stable of backs get their touches.

Coming off his bowl performance and a strong display during spring practice, Henry appears to be in a strong position to hold off Kenyan Drake for the backup job.

If he does earn that job, expect him to see significantly more carries than the 36 he logged as a freshman.

Since 2008, Alabama’s lead back has season averages of 226 carries, 1,359 yards and 15 touchdowns. Over the same period, the No. 2 back has averaged 127 carries for 776 yards and nine touchdowns.

Regardless of how the depth chart shakes out, Henry will exit spring with a ton of ammunition for his case to become one of the Tide’s most trusted offensive weapons this fall.

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Auburn to Receive 2013 SEC Championship Rings at A-Day

The Auburn Tigers will be the proud owners of a new set of championship rings at halftime of A-Day on April 19. 

Auburn players, coaching staff and administrators will receive the 2013 SEC Championship rings featuring a simple, blue Auburn logo in the center with "2013 SEC CHAMPIONS" written along the side at halftime of their A-Day game, according to coach Gus Malzahn's Twitter

Auburn beat Missouri 59-42 in the SEC Championship on Dec. 7.

[Gus Malzahn's Twitter, h/t AL.com]

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Former Clemson QB Chad Kelly Has Skills to Be Successful If He Matures

The Clemson Tigers dismissed quarterback Chad Kelly on Monday. Kelly is the nephew of former NFL star QB Jim Kelly. The No. 5 dual-threat QB of the class of 2012 was a highly recruited prospect who chose the Tigers over offers from Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State and others. 

What's next for him? What does he have to do to show coaches that he is a viable option to lead an offense?

Roy Philpott from Scout.com broke down the latest on Kelly and what's next for the former Clemson Tiger. 

 

Highlights courtesy XOS Digital.

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Rutgers Runs Special Trick Play for Wheelchair-Bound Fans in Spring Practice

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights ended their spring practice in the best possible way.

Eleven-year-old Danny Garofalo and 16-year-old Matt DeRiggi have both been confined to wheelchairs the past three years due to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), according to NJ.com's Dan Duggan. DMD progressively breaks down the muscles and eventually weakens the heart and lungs.

The two boys have attended Rutgers practices in the past. However, Saturday's practice was a completely new experience. Instead of just watching the team, the boys were able to participate in a special play.

Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova handed the ball off to DeRiggi, who got the ball to Garofalo on the reverse. With the help of blockers, Garofalo took the ball to the end zone for the touchdown.

Once the ball crossed the goal line, it was time for celebration.

[Rutgers Football, h/t USA TODAY's FTW]

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Texas A&M Football: What We Learned About Kyle Allen in Spring Practice

The Texas A&M football team's spring season is complete, but the competition for the starting quarterback job will continue into the fall. True freshman Kyle Allen exceeded expectations early in his Aggie career and is widely considered the leader in the competition to replace Johnny Manziel

Allen graduated from high school early and enrolled at A&M in January. Instead of getting ready for his senior prom, he has been trying to complete passes against SEC defenders. 

Allen is competing with sophomore Kenny Hill and fifth-year senior Matt Joeckel for the starting quarterback job. Allen and Hill were thought to be ahead of Joeckel in the competition, but then Hill was suspended after being arrested for public intoxication. 

Whether or not Allen will start his first career collegiate game will be decided about two weeks before the Aggies' season opener on August 28.

This is a look at what Allen showed the coaches and fans during spring practice. 

 

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Pac-12 Football: 5 Teams Having the Best Spring Camp

Having a great spring camp is sort of like starting a puzzle by completing the outer ring; you have a solid foundation for completing the project, but it's not the most essential aspect of the process.

For Pac-12 teams, improving during spring and maintaining health are key goals but not entirely crucial for success in the 2014 regular season. That said, you'd rather be drawing rave reviews and running crisp practices than look sloppy and be dealing with injuries.

There's no perfect formula to judge how well a team is doing, especially if fans and media aren't allowed to watch, as is the case with some programs. But we'll do our best based on practice reports, overall health of the team and, admittedly, gut feelings.

Remember that these rankings are strictly based on how a team is faring during spring practice and have no correlation with perceived order of finish in 2014. Also, being excluded from this list doesn't necessarily mean spring practice is going poorly for those teams. The five listed programs have just generated more buzz for one reason or another.

Take a look at these five Pac-12 squads that are happy about their offseason progress so far.

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Pac-12 Football: 5 Teams Having the Best Spring Camp

Having a great spring camp is sort of like starting a puzzle by completing the outer ring; you have a solid foundation for completing the project, but it's not the most essential aspect of the process...

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Kerryon Johnson Commits to Auburn: Where 'Bama, FSU Turn After Missing on 4-Star

The trio of college football programs fortunate enough to remain in the picture for a commitment from Kerryon Johnson on Tuesday would qualify as dream finalists for many prospects in America.

The coveted recruit weighed offers from Florida State, Auburn and Alabama—teams that combined to claim the past five national titles while boasting three Heisman Trophy winners along the way. Johnson, a scintillating 6'0", 200-pound athlete from Madison, Ala., chose the reigning SEC champions from an elite mix of contenders:

He announced his decision to commit to Auburn during a ceremony at Madison Academy. It's another testament to the rapid turnaround under second-year head coach Gus Malzahn.

Florida State was the opponent who spoiled a potential championship party in Southern California three months ago. The Seminoles still couldn't sway Johnson, who visited Tallahassee 10 days ago.

Alabama is a program that prides itself on being the football flagship of its home state. Nick Saban provided a gut-punch on signing day when he pried top-ranked linebacker recruit Rashaan Evans away from Auburn High School.

In the latest tussle for a common in-state target, Auburn gained the edge.

The final stretch of his recruitment was viewed as an incredibly tight race with three powerhouse programs in play for a prospect who could potentially contribute on either side of the ball. He spent time on each campus during the past month but didn't provide a strong indication of any significant lean toward one team. 

He was projected to commit to Auburn by 76 percent of experts in 247Sports' Crystal Ball. Florida State followed with 16 percent of predictions, while Alabama held eight percent.

Johnson is rated No. 2 nationally among athletes and No. 37 among all recruits in 247Sports' composite rankings. He's considered the consensus No. 2 prospect in Alabama.

His pledge to the Tigers gives Auburn six commits in its 2015 class. Johnson is the highest-rated member of Malzahn's current prospect haul.

He burst onto the scene as one of Alabama's top players as an underclassman. His three-touchdown performance in the 2012 state title game punctuated a dominant sophomore season with MVP honors.

Johnson sprinted 43 yards for a score in the 2013 championship game as Madison Academy captured another championship. He is already committed to play in the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

His dynamic skill set and speed make him a versatile option at the next level.

Johnson is a star at running back, exhibiting elite acceleration and balance as a runner. His downfield vision shines as he maneuvers through rushing lanes and bursts along the sidelines.

His length and speed serve him well in the defensive secondary where some coaches envision him as a high-ceiling safety prospect. However, it appears his future lies in the offensive backfield.

"From Day 1, Auburn has recruited him at RB, which is what he sees himself as being," 247Sports analyst Keith Neibuhr told AL.com.

Alabama and Florida State, freshly spurned by a key recruit, must look elsewhere to address roster needs.

The Crimson Tide already hold a commitment from impressive 4-star running back Desherrius Flowers but may look to bring another rusher on board. Top-ranked junior college recruit Jovon Robinson, a former Auburn signee, presents a strong possibility.

Alabama may have viewed Johnson as a safety more than his other two finalists. Saban will seek help at the position by targeting Jamal Peters (Mississippi) and Tavarus McFadden (Florida).

Florida State is still searching for a running back in this recruiting cycle. The Seminoles hope to rein in Orlando product Jacques Patrick or Georgia standout Taj Griffin, both 4-star options.

The team will also attempt to flip Fort Lauderdale running back Jordan Scarlett from FAU, along with several other suitors.

There's plenty of work ahead for Florida State, Alabama and Auburn on the way to national signing day. Today, however, Malzahn and the Tigers coaching staff can rest a tad easier knowing Johnson is on board.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Kerryon Johnson to Auburn: Tigers Land 4-Star ATH Prospect

Auburn is on its way toward even more success in the future after grabbing a commitment from 4-star athlete Kerryon Johnson.  

Keith Nieburh of 247Sports.com revealed the news of the young player's decision on Tuesday:

The Madison, Ala., native is clearly one of the top playmakers in the 2015 class, starring for Madison Academy as both a running back and a safety. He helped lead the school to the last two state championships and will hope to earn another one in his senior year.

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he is the No. 37 player in the class as well as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Alabama.

At 6'0", 200 pounds, Johnson has the size to run over smaller players while also using the speed and agility to get beyond anyone bigger than him. On the defensive side, he is a ball-hawking safety who knows how to make game-changing plays for his team.

Unsurprisingly, he also is extremely dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands and can take it to the house on offense, defense or special teams.

Josh Bean of AL.com described how dominant the versatile player has been throughout his career:

Johnson has been the best player on the field in last three AHSAA Class 3A state title games, starring as a runner, defensive back, receiver and kick returner. He really can do it all and has the size to be a difference maker on either side of the ball. His blend of size, speed and elusiveness has drawn comparisons to 2011 Mr. Football T.J. Yeldon.

As a result of his production, Johnson had the opportunity to play for virtually any college football team in the country. He had narrowed it down to the last three teams to win a national championship: Alabama, Auburn and Florida State.

When discussing his finalists, he gave insight into what he was looking for in a school. Johnson told Mike Herndon of AL.com, "They're all great schools, they have winning traditions, they do a good job of developing players -- but also, they're all good academic schools."

By the time he was set to make a decision, there was plenty of excitement all around:

In the end, he chose the Tigers, giving the already talented squad yet another elite player that will be able to contribute early in his career. Considering his size and skill, he might not even need to redshirt.

While he appears more likely to be a running back at the next level, he certainly has a talent to succeed at safety. It will probably just come down to what the coaching staff is looking for at the time. This versatility is another reason he becomes such a valuable commitment.

It will still be a while before the 2015 star steps onto campus, but fans should already start getting excited about the possibilities.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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No. 2 ATH Kerryon Johnson Commits to Auburn, How Malzahn Will Use Him in Offense

4-Star ATH Kerryon Johnson has committed to play his college football for Auburn. The 6'0", 200-pound athlete is an aggressive runner with phenomenal leaping ability.

Johnson chose the Tigers over multiple schools, headlined by Alabama and Florida State.

B/R's Barrett Sallee breaks down how Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn will use Johnson in the future and also compares him to a former SEC running back who was a ferocious runner in his own right.

Watch the video, and see how Johnson will be used and who his player comparison is.

Highlights courtesy of xosdigital.com

Standings courtesy of 247sports.com

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Best Fits for the Top 10 Uncommitted 2015 Defensive Recruits

Several of the nation's premier defensive prospects have been selective when it comes to deciding on their desired collegiate destination. Less than 10 months shy of national signing day 2015, elite playmakers remain up for grabs and continue to garner interest from college programs.

We dissect the mounting list of options for each defender, with an eye on which squads may have the advantage when an announcement arrives.  

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Tennessee Football: Butch Jones' Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Practice

Various buds of optimism sprouted throughout Tennessee head coach Butch Jones' post-Orange and White Game press conference.

Unfortunately for the young Volunteers, the words were surrounded by the weeds of worry.

The 2014 season is going to be like that for the Vols—full of hope as inexperienced players thrust into important roles all over the field grow and shine, and full of frustration, as they inevitably struggle adjusting to the rugged SEC.

For every emerging playmaker on offense or the vast improvement from the quarterback position Jones touched on Saturday, there were caveats.

The team's stars are young. The mistakes are abundant. The defense has holes. The offensive line is undeveloped. The depth has not yet arrived.

Questions abound. The stark reality is Jones, his staff and his young team have a lot of work to do in the next five months to get ready for a ridiculous schedule. This is a Vols team that will get a lot better throughout the course of the season. But what do they need to focus on foremost?

Let's take a look at the biggest concerns facing UT this offseason.

All quotes obtained firsthand.

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9 College Football Quarterback Battles That Will Last Through Fall Camp

Footballs are no longer in the air, music isn't blasting from speakers and coaches aren't barking out instructions anymore. Yes, that's right, the annual rite that is spring football is over for most colleges across America. 

That means it's time for us to assess where the state of college football is across campuses nationwide. It also means the spotlight shines on the most important position on the field—quarterback. 

While some programs got the answers they were seeking at quarterback, others have a rough and tumble battle ahead of them. 

Let's take a look at nine quarterback battles that will likely last the distance. 

 

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Florida Football: Gators Achieved Their Primary Spring Goal; Find an Offense

Florida's mission this spring was not only to install new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's hurry-up, no-huddle offense; it was to find the primary players who will make that offense click.

Mission accomplished.

Quarterback Jeff Driskel completed 19-of-33 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown in the spring game, adding 27 yards on the ground.

Is that efficient enough? Not really.

In fact, the 5.2 yards-per-attempt average is downright mediocre. But there was a silver lining, because Florida made a concerted effort to spread things around and play fast. As a result, several key pieces of the wide receiving corps stepped up.

Demarcus Robinson had 45 receiving yards, including a 31-yard touchdown reception. Quinton Dunbar had 42 receiving yards, including a 22-yarder. Chris Thompson had 31 yards and a touchdown, and Ahmad Fulwood had 32 receiving yards.

Florida found options at wide receiver and picked up on the new scheme well, which pleased head coach Will Muschamp.

“I'm extremely pleased with the day offensively with 15 practices and how far we've come," he said in quotes released by Florida. "I think you can attribute all that to Kurt Roper and the offensive staff and the job they've done.”

That is what Florida needed to do. Spring was the time for installation with fall camp becoming the "fine-tuning" phase of the offense. Driskel and the wide receivers picked up on the offense and what its goals were this spring, and they can tweak as needed this summer.

What will some of those tweaks be?

The return of slot receiver Andre Debose to full speed will be one. The 5'11", 189-pounder has largely been a disappointment since signing with the Gators in 2009, but Roper's track record of success with smaller slot receivers bodes well for Debose to shine as a sixth-year senior if he stays healthy. Two Duke receivers under Roper who were similar in stature to Debose—Jamison Crowder (2012, 2013) and Donovan Varner (2009)—topped the 900-yard receiving mark in those seasons.

Add in running back Matt Jones, who could be used either as a pure running back or as an H-back, and Roper's options will grow during fall camp. With Jones, sophomore Kelvin Taylor and senior Mack Brown, they could turn to more of a hurry-up power attack like Gus Malzahn's Auburn Tigers if they want to.

However the offense evolves, the foundation has been laid. Players have grasped the tempo and the scheme, and they now have the opportunity to fine-tune the offense when the next practice session starts in August.

Does Florida have to post one of the top offenses in the conference?

No. The bread and butter of the Gators will be a stout defense yet again. As long as Roper can get them moving the ball consistently, it's all they'll need to get back into the SEC East discussion.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All spring statistics are courtesy of the University of Florida, and all college statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.com.

 


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Everett Golson vs. Malik Zaire: Who Will Start for Fighting Irish in 2014?

Everett Golson is back in South Bend and the Notre Dame QB battle intensified after the spring game. Sophomore Malik Zaire excelled in spring practice while Golson was shaking off the rust after a year away from football. 

Golson is known for his ability to extend plays and get out of the pocket, but Zaire also has great playmaking skills. Which QB has what it takes to start for the Fighting Irish in 2014?

Check out JJ Stankevitz from CSN Chicago break down Notre Dame's QBs and who should start in 2014. 

 

Highlights courtesy XOS Digital

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UCLA Football: Deep, Talented Receiving Corps Gives QB Brett Hundley Options

Heisman Trophy-aspiring UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has an enviable dilemma for the 2014 season. With an array of talented receivers on the roster, Hundley has an abundance of options to power the Bruins' uptempo offensive attack...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

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