NCAA Football News

Michigan's 2016 Recruiting Class Is Finally Gaining Major Momentum

The Michigan Wolverines didn't manage to secure a single 2016 commitment during head coach Jim Harbaugh's first 14 weeks in Ann Arbor.

A stalled situation shifted dramatically during the past four days, as three high school juniors pledged to the Wolverines. The much-needed momentum switch—spurred by Saturday's spring game—provides fresh fuel for Michigan's recruiting efforts as Harbaugh and his staff work to assemble a foundation for the future.

The first—and most crucial—commitment came Friday evening from 4-star Indiana quarterback Brandon Peters. He arrived on campus Friday following a family spring-break visit to Mexico and announced his decision within hours:

The 6'5", 205-pound playmaker joins 2015 Michigan signee Zach Gentry and Iowa transfer Jake Rudock as quarterbacks personally landed by the current coaching regime.

Peters, rated ninth nationally among pro-style passers in 247Sports' composite rankings, completed 56 percent of his attempts for 1,876 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2014. He added 244 yards and five scores on the ground for Avon High School, where he doubles as a college-level basketball standout.

Peters became a primary target for the Wolverines last month after top-ranked California quarterback KJ Costello committed to Stanford over Michigan and USC. Harbaugh and company quickly sealed the deal, beating out fellow favorites LSU, Nebraska, Indiana and Wisconsin.

His presence could provide passing-game coordinator Jedd Fisch with six scholarship quarterbacks in 2016, though that number may fluctuate if a player or two opt to explore alternative options.

Peters has the size and skill set to compete for early reps in Ann Arbor and should help Harbaugh lure more offensive talent to Michigan.

Michigan secured its second commitment of the weekend Saturday from in-state recruit David Reese, who also attended the spring game. The 6'1", 235-pound prospect is a battering ram on both sides of the ball, presenting promise at middle linebacker and fullback.

Reese, rated 19th nationally among inside linebackers in the composite rankings, initially pledged to Louisville in early March. The Wolverines entered the equation three weeks later, extending a scholarship offer while he visited campus.

This time around, he departed Ann Arbor as a member of the 2016 Michigan class:

Reese racked up 225 tackles during the past two seasons, per He rushed for 297 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior.

"Thank you Cardinal Family for the opportunity you have given me to further my education at the University of Louisville," Reese wrote on Twitter. "But the chance to play at home I couldn't turn down."

Louisville's loss is Michigan's gain.

Battling with Big Ten rivals Ohio State, Michigan State and others for quality in-state talent, all recruiting additions on home turf are pivotal en route to signing day.

Reese could soon be joined in the class by Farmington High School teammate Desmond Fitzpatrick, a 4-star wide receiver. The 6'2", 194-pound pass-catcher is currently committed to Louisville, though he also attended Michigan's spring game and admitted mutual interest is mounting. 

“Right now I’m really comfortable with Michigan," he told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. “I told (Harbaugh) I’m still taking my time and want to get to know the program more. He said 'I want you to be 100 percent when or if you do flip.'”

Fitzpatrick caught 32 passes for 511 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014, per MaxPreps. He took note of the successful series of events in Ann Arbor.

"David committed, so I was really excited for him," Fitzpatrick told Wiltfong on Saturday. "Brandon Peters committed yesterday, so it was a big weekend for Michigan."

Positive recruiting news seeped into the new week for Michigan.

Alabama running back Kingston Davis declared his intentions to join the Wolverines on Monday:

Davis, a 6'1", 225-pound prospect from Prattville High School, is rated third nationally among fullbacks in the composite rankings. He follows in the footsteps of teammate Keith Washington, a late defensive back addition to Michigan's 2015 class.

Harbaugh's pursuit of the powerful rusher provides further evidence he's working to build an intimidating stable of backs in Ann Arbor. Davis rumbled for 1,432 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, per Nick Baumgardner of

Davis and Reese each appear capable of someday earning roles in the Wolverines backfield alongside Peters, though a pledge from Davis may ultimately push Reese into an inside linebacker slot. 

This flurry of commitments could eventually be viewed as a turning point for Michigan's 2016 recruiting haul. The trio ended a significant drought, joining former head coach Brady Hoke holdovers Erik Swenson (Illinois offensive tackle) and Dele Harding (Maryland linebacker).

Key Wolverines wide receiver target Ahmir Mitchell documented Harbaugh's impact on the program during a late-March trip to Ann Arbor.

“Coach Harbaugh seemed like a normal guy, who is honest with you and didn’t mind shaking hands or taking pictures with people who came up to him on campus," Mitchell told Bleacher Report. "It's very exciting to see how everyone feels about him at Michigan.”

Fans are likely feeling even better about their new leader after a stretch of successful recruiting endeavors. Michigan has climbed into the top 25 of the 247Sports national class rankings and may be on the verge of soaring much higher on that list.

Nearly five months shy of his first game as Wolverines head coach, Harbaugh is finally securing much-needed victories on the recruiting trail.


Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue.

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Who Are the 5 Best NFL Prospects on Texas A&M?

The Texas A&M Aggies have done a fantastic job of sending their players to the NFL. In recent years, the big names to come out of the program include Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans and, going back as far as 2008, Martellus Bennett.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down the Aggies roster and projects which players could play in the NFL. 

Which Aggies will make it at the next level? Check out the video and let us know! 

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Ranking the 5 Best NFL Prospects at Florida State

In addition to being national championship contenders over the past few years, the Florida State Seminoles have also done a great job of churning out NFL talent.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down the Seminoles roster and projects which players will be NFL picks. 

Which players on the FSU roster will be suiting up for the NFL? Check out the video and let us know! 

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Jonah Williams' Commitment to Alabama Could Spark Big Recruiting Run for Tide

Over the weekend, Florida State overtook the No. 1 spot from Miami in the 247Sports recruiting team rankings. Alabama, a team that's had the top spot since 2011, is still not in the top 15 for the 2016 rankings.

Jonah Williams' Saturday commitment bumped the Crimson Tide into the top 20 nationally. It's a spot that Alabama isn't used to being in, but the 4-star offensive tackle's pledge could be that jolt the Tide needs.

For many, Alabama's recruiting isn't about if, but when it will make a run for its sixth consecutive No. 1 ranking. Williams, out of Folsom, California, is the Tide's first pledge in nearly two months, and he's the first offensive lineman to commit.

At 6'5" and 272 pounds, Williams is expected to bring quickness, overall athleticism and a level of tenacity to the Alabama offensive line. Williams, the nation's No. 9 offensive tackle, is also a versatile lineman who can play guard if necessary.

Williams' commitment could make for a nice spring streak. He may be the first of a few pledges to move Alabama in the right direction.

Alabama has several targets considering making Tuscaloosa home, including two of the nation's top four tackles in No. 4 Willie Allen and No. 1 Greg Little, a Texas A&M commitment. Additionally, Alabama is in the driver's seat for top-five outside linebackers Lyndell Wilson and Ben Davis, and the team feels strongly about where they sit with the nation's top-ranked defensive tackle, Rashan Gary, and the nation's top-ranked defensive end, Shavar Manuel.

All six of those athletes are 5-star players. If Alabama can land four of the six, it will put the team in a great position to once again compete for a top-five spot nationally.

Panicking is one thing head coach Nick Saban and his staff never seem to do—particularly with recruiting—and even if the Tide miss out on the top spot this year, they are still expected to have a solid recruiting class.

Monday could be the start of something special. Per Andrew Bone of, eight athletes are expected to be on campus.

A big upcoming recruiting opportunity is the annual A-Day spring football game on April 18 which has, in the past, garnered as many as 90,000 fans in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Look for a large majority of Alabama targets to be in attendance.

And then there are the multiple home games for the upcoming season. Alabama will host LSU, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Arkansas this year. The campus atmospheres for official and unofficial visits during game weekends have been determining X-factors for uncommitted targets in past years.

Look for the Tide to see a spike in its recruiting class. Williams' commitment serves as a great start.


Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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College Football's Most Important Offers of the Week

Two out-of-state wide receivers, Florida native Freddie Swain and Mississippi standout A.J. Brown, stole the show at last month’s Atlanta Nike Opening Regional camp.

According to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, USC pulled the trigger on offering both of the electric 4-star pass-catchers who reside on the other side of the country. 

Swain, who was named the receiver MVP of the Atlanta camp and earned an invite to The Opening, admitted to Bartow that USC has been his dream school.

"[Receivers] Coach [Tee Martin] told me they had a meeting and decided to pull the trigger," Swain told Bartow. "I told him I'm going to come visit and see how it is."

The 6’0”, 172-pound Swain has collected 20 offers, with schools like Florida, Miami and Alabama among the others who have tendered him. 

Brown, who also earned an invite to The Opening for his performance in Atlanta, is a 6’1”, 200-pounder who resides in Mississippi State’s backyard in Starkville. 

The Trojans join the Bulldogs, Ole Miss, Alabama and Auburn as schools in the running for Brown.

USC has been one school who has had success recruiting nationally in recent years.

As their recent activity suggests, Steve Sarkisian and his staff are scouring the country in search of finding the top talent at the receiver position in the 2016 cycle.


Texas offers Out-of-State 4-Star DE

One key for Charlie Strong and the Texas Longhorns in the 2016 cycle is continuing to upgrade the talent along the defensive line. 

Last week, Strong and his staff pulled the trigger on offering 4-star defensive end Prince Sammons, according to Horns247

The 6’8”, 280-pounder could also play along the offensive line, but he’s a raw talent with the athleticism and strength the create havoc on defense. 

Sammons rates as the nation’s fifth-best strong-side defensive end prospect and the No. 71 player overall in the 2016 class.


Wisconsin After 2016 Florida CB’s 

Wisconsin’s secondary already has a bit of Florida flavor to it, with corners like Sojourn Shelton and Derrick Tindal roaming the back end for the Badgers.

Paul Chryst and his staff hit the Sunshine State last week in search of more help in the secondary. 

The Badgers offered 2016 3-star corner Henry Miller, per Demetric Warren of Varsity Preps. Also, per Scout’s Corey Bender, Wisconsin also offered fellow Floridian and 2016 3-star corner Carlos Becker.

Considering the Badgers track record with defensive backs from Florida, the recruitment of Miller and Becker could get interesting if both players decide to explore their options out of state.


Alabama, Georgia offer 2017 CB

Both Alabama and Georgia have gone head-to-head on the recruiting trail for a number of talented prospects over the last few years.

Nick Saban and Mark Richt both were hot after 2017 corner LeAnthony Williams, who was offered by both the Tide and the Bulldogs last week. 

The 6’0”, 170-pounder from Roswell, Ga., also holds offers from Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

While it’s still early in the race to land Williams, both SEC heavyweights figure to be major players in his recruitment until its eventual conclusion.


Best of the Rest


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

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Ranking the 5 Best NFL Prospects on Notre Dame's Roster

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have done a great job of getting their players to the NFL. Over the past few seasons, head coach Brian Kelly and his staff have sent several players to the next level after their time in South Bend.

But which players on the current roster have the best shot at playing on Sundays?

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down the Irish roster and projects which players can make it to the next level.

Which Notre Dame players will go on to the NFL? Check out the video and let us know!

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2015 Spring-Game Goals for Every SEC Football Team

College football is king in the SEC, but what's the second-biggest sport in the south? Spring football, of course.

Spring practice sessions are in full-gear around the SEC, with spring games around the corner. Not every problem needs to be solved on the biggest stage of the spring, but there are at least some minor goals for every SEC team to accomplish under the bright lights of the spring game.

What are the spring-game goals for every SEC team? Our picks, based on team need and positional struggles, are in this slideshow.

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Notre Dame Football: Harry Hiestand Continues to Roll on Recruiting Trail

When you close your eyes and think of the best recruiters in college football, you don't imagine Harry Hiestand. Yet, Notre Dame's offensive line coach continues to be one of the best on the trail, reeling in top 2017 offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons over the weekend.

Beating out a program like Ohio State for Gibbons is monumental. The young prospect spoke to Hiestand's reputation as an offensive line coach when he gave Brian Kelly his commitment just days after leaving campus and being offered.

"He’s the best offensive line coach in all of college football," Gibbons told Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune, per ND Insider. "Whatever he says, I’m going to take to heart."

He's also turned into the most unlikely top recruiter in all of the country. He's a 56-year-old, 30-plus-year veteran of the coaching ranks whose old-school approach puts conventional recruiting wisdom on its head. 

Today's best recruiters are a constant on Twitter. Hiestand has an account, but he hasn't tweeted anything yet. Top recruiters are glued to their phones and love sending messages through Facebook. Hiestand's Facebook profile exists—it's just stuck at 26 friends and hasn't been updated since he was a coach at Tennessee four years ago.

In hiring Hiestand after the 2011 season, Kelly reached outside of his coaching circle to pluck Hiestand away from the Volunteers. And the kind words Kelly spoke directly after Hiestand was hired now sound closer to reality than your standard press release stump speech, according to the official Notre Dame athletics website

Harry is one of the best offensive line coaches in college football, and we are fortunate to have him on our staff. When I was searching to fill this position, I asked some of the most respected offensive line coaches in football whom they would recommend and Harry's name was routinely mentioned as one of the best. His history of developing NFL-caliber offensive linemen speaks for itself, and I know our linemen will learn a lot from him.

We've already seen Hiestand's work with Zack Martin, who was an All-Pro in his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014. Adding third-round choice Chris Watt to the pro ranks, Hiestand could've had another first-rounder on his hands had Ronnie Stanley decided to leave for the NFL this offseason. 

That track record should pay off as the Irish look to reload their offensive line in the 2016 recruiting cycle. After taking just two offensive linemen in the 2015 class (Jerry Tillery's switch to the defensive line robbed Hiestand of another blue-chip tackle prospect), Hiestand is looking to add to current 5-star commit Tommy Kraemer, an Ohio native who chose the Irish over Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. 

Chief among that group is Cleveland native Liam Eichenberg. The 4-star tackle prospect will be difficult to get out of Ohio, but the Irish coaching staff has had plenty of success at St. Ignatius (Eichenberg's high school) in the past—current redshirt freshman Jimmy Byrne played there, as did former linebacker Dan Fox. 

Hiestand is also trying to find further talent at John Curtis High School, the New Orleans powerhouse where the Irish just landed pass-rusher Bo Wallace. Pulling Willie Allen away from LSU or Alabama might be a long shot, but at this point why would anybody question if Hiestand is able to do it? 

One thing that'll only help Hiestand's reputation as a recruiter is a dominant 2015. Stanley's return, along with the presence of Music City Bowl starters Nick Martin, Steve Elmer and Mike McGlinchey, have the Irish primed for a dominant season up front (the entire offensive line would've returned had Matt Hegarty decided not to transfer).

After making it to the BCS title game in 2012 with an offensive line that was undersized, Hiestand quickly changed the profile of Notre Dame's O-line. Entering 2015, they'll have bookend tackles—Stanley is 6'5 ½", McGlinchey stands 6'7 ½". Nick Martin is the shortest starter, listed at 6'4 ½", while guards Steve Elmer, Quenton Nelson and Alex Bars all have the size and were originally projected to be offensive tackles. 

Hiestand came to Notre Dame in large part because Ed Warinner was passed up internally for the offensive coordinator position. And while the Irish staff has seen attrition—both Tony Alford and Kerry Cooks moved on this offseason with hopes of moving up the ladder—Hiestand is more than comfortable coaching the players in the trenches. 

That's good news for Notre Dame and the offensive line, as Hiestand continues to show he's one of the best in the business. 


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Georgia Football: Week 3 Spring Practice Stock Report

The Georgia Bulldogs have put in another week of spring practice and are getting more prepared to play in the G-Day game, which takes place this Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

The Bulldogs had another scrimmage on Saturday, and there was some separation between players at one crucial position. Also, the newcomers are continuing to impress, including one linebacker who could make his way into the starting rotation in his first season with the Dawgs.

The offensive line was a big part of the Bulldogs' success on offense last season, but with David Andrews gone, the center position is now a crucial position to fill. However, there is one player who is standing out as the front-runner to replace Andrews.

Here’s the Week 3 spring practice stock report.


Stock Up: Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta

Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park are the three quarterbacks vying for the starting position, and all three have had a chance to work with the first-team offense.

But recently, Ramsey and Bauta have been getting the majority of snaps with the first two units. In the scrimmage on Saturday, both Ramsey and Bauta went 17-of-28 through the air. Bauta tallied 250 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while Ramsey had 219 yards and one touchdown.

According to Jake Rowe of 247Sports, Ramsey has attempted 60 passes in the two scrimmages, while Bauta had attempted 58.

The reason for Ramsey and Bauta getting the snaps is experience. Both have seen in-game action, but this doesn’t mean this is now a two-man race. There is still plenty of time for Park to gain some ground.


Stock Down: Jacob Park

Speaking of Park, he is not seeing much action in the scrimmages. He only went 2-of-8 in the Saturday scrimmage and has only thrown the ball 15 times in the team’s two scrimmages.

Again, this goes back to Bauta and Ramsey having more experience. Park has been doing some good things during spring practice, but he will have to earn playing time in the scrimmages and in the G-Day Game.

The only thing Park can do is make the most of his snaps. He has been able to do it so far, but the G-Day Game will be vital for him to move up the depth chart.


Stock Up: Isaiah Wynn

David Andrews was the leader of the offensive line last season, and because of his leadership, the Bulldogs were able to lead the SEC in scoring.

Now that he’s moved on, there needs to be someone who replaces him, and Isaiah Wynn could be the best fit.

Wynn, who was recruited as a guard and has never played center, worked with the first-team offense in the first scrimmage, according to Connor Riley of The Red & Black. Wynn said that he’s not yet comfortable being at center.

But as of right now, Wynn is the No. 1 center and has shown that he’s more than likely going to hold on to that spot for the rest of spring and fall camp.

Isaiah Wynn appears to be the leader for the vacant center role. Got all 1st team snaps today. Hunter Long second team. #UGA

— Logan Booker (@LoganMBooker) March 28, 2015


Holding Steady: A.J. Turman and Jake Ganus

There are two guys who continue to have outstanding spring seasons, and they have yet to play in a Bulldog uniform.

Tailback A.J. Turman and linebacker Jake Ganus were the two standouts in the Saturday scrimmage, but it’s no surprise because they have been doing well since the start of spring practice.

Turman worked with the second unit in the scrimmage, rushing for 140 yards and two scores on 22 carries. Ganus paced the defense with 10 tackles.

Both Turman and Ganus will be fighting for playing time because of where they are on the depth chart. But if they continue to do well during the spring practices and fall camp, they will see plenty of time on the field this upcoming season.

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10 Starting Quarterbacks Most Likely to Lose Their Job Before the End of 2015

There is no more important position in college football than the starting quarterback. Great programs begin with the quarterback and build a foundation around him. A great quarterback can win you games with steady play and nerves of steel in the clutch.

A bad quarterback can lose you games with shaky play and ill-timed pick-sixes. And if you have two quarterbacks, as the adage goes, you really have none. Multiple programs face interesting quandaries this spring and fall. Many teams are set with their signal-caller, but many more have serious questions.

Here is a look at the 10 quarterbacks most likely to lose their jobs before season’s end.

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Tennessee Football: Week 2 Spring Practice Stock Report

KNOXVILLE—The lights weren't on, and 102,000 fans weren't in Neyland Stadium when the Tennessee football team took part in Saturday's scrimmage-like settings.

Alvin Kamara showed out anyway.

After a torrid spring start, it appears to be a sign of things to come for the running back.

When the first-team offense initially took the field, Kamara got things going by bouncing a run outside and down the sideline for a big gain. A few plays later on a 4th-and-goal from the 1, he powered his way over the goal line.

It was the start of a big day.

"I love the way Alvin's been running all spring," Vols sophomore guard Jashon Robertson said. "We talked about it today. I told him, 'Look, man, we're gonna come out here, and you're gonna get 150 rushing yards in this scrimmage, two touchdowns and 50 receiving yards.'"

Though stats weren't kept, the universal praise Kamara received was a dead giveaway that his impact was evident. With incumbent starter Jalen Hurd being held out of contact, it's Kamara's team right now.

While coach Butch Jones has had nothing but glowing remarks regarding Kamara thus far a year removed from gushing over Hurd, there just aren't enough bodies at the position right now to get through the spring.

"I wish we had more than two," Jones said. "In this conference, you need a number of running backs, and we've been limited at that position. But we have two quality backs in Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara, but depth is a real, real concern there. And it continues to be a concern. We're going to have to play some true freshmen as well who aren't here right now.

"We need to continue to recruit and develop that position, but I'm excited about those two individuals."

Kamara has battled through some ankle injuries this spring, refusing to relinquish the opportunity to prove that he deserved to be the nation's second-rated JUCO running back.

He may wind up being the best.

Kamara has visions of he and Hurd running things once the big-bodied fellow sophomore gets fully recharged.

"Oh, yeah. It's exciting, 'cause me and Jalen kind of feed off each other, and even though today Jalen was no contact, he's sitting there exciting that I’m out there running. And then I'm excited like he's about to go in," Kamara said. "It's fun. It's gonna be real fun when he's full-go and both us are on the field together."

The Vols can't wait.


Young Defensive Backs Gaining Praise

There are always spring surprises, but Jones signaled out a duo of youngsters who haven't gotten a ton of publicity for their work in the defensive backfield.

Evan Berry hauled in a pair of interceptions during Saturday's scrimmage, and after a year of being worked on a variety of special teams, it looks like he could be carving a niche as a backup safety.

That's great news for UT considering Brian Randolph and LaDarrell McNeil are rising seniors, and the Vols need somebody to step up to team with Todd Kelly Jr. next year. They also need depth this season, and the younger brother of the program's best-ever safety (Eric Berry) would be an ideal fit.

Though the younger Berry hasn't been the superstar his older brother was, he's coming on.

"It's been a work in progress," Jones said. "There have been good days; there have been days that have been better than others.

"One thing about Evan is he’s extremely competitive, and you saw that today. We all know he can run. Now, it’s being able to have the instincts, you know, understanding offensive schemes, what they're trying to approach and just letting it go. I thought today he played downhill."

A more immediate, pressing concern is who is going to replace Justin Coleman at the all-important nickelback position this year.

Sophomore Rashaan Gaulden is a logical fit, and he is a player who continues to progress. If he can slide into that spot and win the job, it will give the Vols a nice, young player who can anchor their defense for the next few years.

When asked when the coaching staff identified the sophomore as a player who could take over for Coleman this year, Jones didn't hesitate. They'd thought Gaulden could play nickel ever since he was recruited.

"Right away," the coach said. "Rashaan is a very talented individual. He can run, he's very explosive, he can hit, he can cover. The big thing with him with being a young football (player) is just the overall discipline of that position. Within the nickel position, there's so much that goes into it. You have to be able to play zone coverage, re-route wide outs, you have to be able to play man-to-man coverage, you have to be able to set the edge of your defense, you have to understand the different blitz checks and blitz patterns. So, it's a mental part of it.

"Justin was able to handle it because of his skill set but also his maturity level. Rashaan has that same skill set. It's just the maturity level of continuing to retain information and just being disciplined, and we've been very pleased with Rashaan Gaulden's progress."

With that trio of young DBs on deck for the Vols, it's hard not to be excited about the fast-lane future of the defensive backfield.


Weatherd Moving Down

Rising senior Chris Weatherd is an outside linebacker no more.

With the team desperately needing defensive linemen this spring and with Weatherd's innate ability to get to quarterbacks, the Vols have moved him exclusively to defensive end for now.

How that affects his playing time once Derek Barnett and Curt Maggitt return to the field remains to be seen, but for now, UT's 6'4", 217-pound pass-rushing specialist is playing with his hand down and a fixture in defensive line meeting rooms.

Grasping the defensive concepts hasn't been the easiest thing for Weatherd during his time in Knoxville, and Jones noted Saturday that this move will allow "his natural skill set, his natural abilities to come into play and just kind of line up and play football."


Rocky Top Roundup

  • Jones told GoVols247's Ryan Callahan this week that mid-term freshman quarterback Quinten Dormady is making "tremendous progress" this spring. If the season started today, he'd almost assuredly be Joshua Dobbs' backup, or it certainly seems that way considering the number of second-team reps he's gotten.
  • This was an extremely good week for rising sophomore Josh Malone, who was praised by UT wide receivers coach and passing-game coordinator Zach Azzanni on Thursday before coming out and making several plays in Saturday's action. Malone was one of the players who spoke to the media on Saturday, and it's huge for the Vols if he continues to develop since he's one of the team's most talented players.
  • New Tennessee head basketball coach Rick Barnes took in Saturday's scrimmage-like setting in Neyland Stadium, and he was introduced to UT legendary player and coach Johnny Majors, along with others.


All statistics gathered from unless otherwise noted. Quotes and observations obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted.

Brad Shepard covers SEC football and is the Tennessee Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.

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Alabama Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As spring practice got rolling in Tuscaloosa, Alabama's recruiting took somewhat of a break.

The Crimson Tide offered scholarships to just three players this week. But they didn't lack for news on the recruiting front as A-Day starts to come into focus, now just two weeks away.

Let's take a look at some of Alabama's big recruiting news this week, starting with its three offers.


Mecole Hardman, 2016 4-star cornerback from Elberton, Georgia

Hardman is being recruited hard by two of Alabama's SEC East foes—Georgia and Tennessee—but the Crimson Tide jumped into the mix, offering Hardman on Saturday.

While 247Sports ranks him with the cornerbacks, it sounds like Alabama wants him to play on the other side of the ball, as Hardman told 247Sports' Hank South:

I talked to Coach [Billy] Napier on the phone. He was asking about my interest in Alabama, and about my family. He said I have a unique set of skills with the ball in my hands, and that he likes my style of play and everything, and that they are very interested.

It sounds like they want me at receiver, I'll for sure play offense and special teams.

Hardman hasn't visited Tuscaloosa yet but told South that he is going to try for A-Day on April 18.

Alabama already has a commitment from a wide receiver and another athlete from Georgia. Hardman's crystal ball currently gives Georgia a slight edge over Tennessee.


DeKaylin Metcalf, 2016 4-star wide receiver from Oxford, Mississippi (Ole Miss commit)

Alabama offered an Ole Miss commit who appears to be set on playing for the Rebels.

He is from the school's town of Oxford and has been committed to Ole Miss since June 2013, according to his 247Sports bio, but the Crimson Tide offered him on Wednesday. And his father, Terrence, played for Ole Miss.

He told Christian McCollum of Irish Sports Daily last year that he was solid with the Rebels.

"I committed last year in the summer, in June," Metcalf said, per McCollum. "I felt at home, and it was my only second offer. I knew I could be getting a lot more offers, but I'm not looking at it like that. I'm just trying to stay humble and let God lead me."

Metcalf talked to Bleacher Report in November to talk about his favorite NFL player and connection to the Rebels:


LeAnthony Williams, 2017 cornerback from Roswell, Georgia

Alabama got in on a 2017 prospect who is receiving a lot of attention at the same time as another SEC school did.

The Crimson Tide offered a scholarship to Williams on Tuesday, the same day that his home-state Bulldogs did.

He visited Athens the same day, according to 247Sports' Rusty Mansell.

"It did catch me by surprise, when Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt offered," Williams said, per Mansell. "He told me they really liked my tape and they were offering today," he said. "I was really excited."

Williams also holds offers from Tennessee, Virginia Tech and South Carolina.


Other recruiting news:

- Alabama got a commitment from 4-star offensive tackle Jonah Williams on Saturday. Williams is rated the No. 74 player in the country and No. 9 tackle by 247Sports. He announced his commitment on Twitter:

- Where one offensive lineman committed, Alabama lost another. 4-star tackle E.J. Price, rated one slot behind Williams at No. 10 by 247Sports, committed to Georgia. He, too, made his his big announcement on Twitter:

- Several Alabama targets got invites to Nike Football's The Opening.'s Drew Champlin has the whole list, which includes names like quarterback Jawon Pass, defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence and linebacker Dontavious Jackson.

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and reporting were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Alabama Football: Week 2 Spring Practice Stock Report

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A very forgettable week-plus for the Alabama football team came to a fitting end over the weekend with a second crushing blow on the injury front.

Running back and former 5-star Bo Scarbrough went down with a knee injury during Friday’s scrimmage, and the early returns don’t look good.

Still, the scrimmage was a good, early look at where the Alabama football team is right now and appeared to be positive on a lot of fronts.

Let’s break down the last week of Alabama spring practice with the stock report.


Appropriate end to a miserable week

Initially, Nick Saban wouldn’t give a diagnosis on Scarbrough’s knee injury except to say that he sustained one.

But Scarbrough took to Twitter on Sunday evening and said that he is having surgery:

Scarbrough’s injury compounds an already rough week and offseason overall on the running back depth chart.

On Tuesday, Tyren Jones was arrested for marijuana possession, Alabama’s third arrest in four days. The already suspended running back was promptly dismissed by Saban. Then Scarbrough went down, bringing the casualty count up to two for the week at running back.

It leaves Alabama with two fully healthy scholarship running backs—Derrick Henry and Desherrius Flowers—while it waits for 5-star Damien Harris to get to campus over the summer.

All signs pointed to Scarbrough having a productive spring. He was typically the third running back through drills during media viewing periods behind Henry and Kenyan Drake, who is recovering from a broken leg. He carried the ball 16 times and scored twice in the scrimmage.


Defensive line dominant

You can file this away in the no-duh category, but Saban is apparently already liking what he sees from his defensive line.

“The defensive front is probably the strength of our team right now,” Saban said after Alabama’s Friday scrimmage. “I think those guys showed that a little bit today—made it difficult to run and created a lot of negative plays with batted balls and pressures on the quarterback, that type of thing. As the scrimmage went on, I thought the offense sort of got in a little bit of rhythm and actually played better as the scrimmage went on, which is a good thing.”

It’s not hard to see why, given the group’s depth and talent, even after the dismissal of Jonathan Taylor.

Starters Jonathan Allen, Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson are all NFL material who will likely head that way at season’s end. Behind them, there is still an embarrassment of riches in players like Dalvin Tomlinson, D.J. Pettway, Darren Lake and Josh Frazier.

In stats released by Alabama, Tomlinson had a pass break-up, while Robinson returned an interception for a touchdown.

"Competition is always hot for us because we like competition," Tomlinson said about the internal battles. "That's how we are on the D-line. It just depends on which defense we're going to be in, and everybody has a better ability than someone else, and we try to help each other improve our abilities that we might be lacking at. We all can help out in different ways."

The group will only get better once 5-star Daron Payne and 4-star Mekhi Brown get to campus in the summer.


Jonathan Taylor saga over

Speaking of Taylor, you can officially close the book on his time at Alabama.

An Alabama spokesperson told’s Melissa Brown that Taylor is no longer in school and is not eligible for future admission. All of this came after another strange twist when his accuser recanted her story Wednesday.

The handwringing after the recantation can cease, and Alabama can finally move forward from the short-lived and emotion-filled two-plus months from his signing to his dismissal.

Saban opened up to’s Chris Low about the situation, reiterating that he would continue giving players like this second chances but apologizing for how he came off in last Monday’s press conference.

"Look, I didn't handle it the best way and I take responsibility for that, but I certainly didn't mean for it to come across that I was insensitive to the seriousness of domestic violence," Saban told Low.

Taylor is set to be arraigned in Georgia next Tuesday, per Low, for the start of his case from the Athens incident. He will plead not guilty.


Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and reporting were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Note: Players are referenced by fall 2015 eligibility.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Michigan Football: Grading Wolverines Position Groups' 2015 Spring

On Saturday, Michigan showed what it had learned through 15 practices under new coach Jim Harbaugh. On the surface, the Wolverines weren’t very shiny, nor were they overly impressive during Saturday’s spring game in Ann Arbor.

However, after scraping beneath the top layer, it was easy to see the subtle improvements. Here and there, scattered about from position group to position group, things just looked better. Harbaugh’s mission of changing the mindset of a program is in full effect.

For weeks, phrases pertaining to maturation, progression, development and improvement have been used by Harbaugh’s coaching staff. Passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch recently discussed the potential of his quarterbacks, who were the focus of Saturday’s affair.

They’re doing well, he said during a media session. They have their upsides, but they need work. Shane Morris proved that. In doing so, the junior gave a little reason to be optimistic. And in a way, so did Alex Malzone—a true freshman and early enrollee who’s found himself wedged in the middle of a brewing quarterback race.

The defensive backs were outstanding on Saturday, reinforcing recent positive reports from secondary coaches Greg Jackson and Michael Zordich. The pair of Harbaugh assistants has raved about the athleticism and potential of their should-be-vaunted defensive backfield in 2015.

Players such as redshirt senior Blake Countess, redshirt freshman Jabrill Peppers, who gets an A+, and junior Channing Stribling have been hot topics of conversation. During the spring game, Peppers made his presence known with a couple of pass breakups and a rattling hit on a receiver. But Jourdan Lewis, a junior, also had a strong showing. So did redshirt freshman Brandon Watson and junior Delano Hill—each had interceptions. 

Defensive line coach Greg Mattison and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin have also delivered good news. With an already proven group, Mattison and Durkin have simply sat back and watched their players grow. The defense, as shown this past weekend, will again be the backbone of Wolverines football this fall. 

Based on reports from spring availability and the spring game, this slideshow will grade the Wolverines’ “first” season under Harbaugh. Ultimately, the spring game will carry slightly more weight in the equation. Reports are one thing, but live action speaks volumes.

It’s important to remember that the Blue Team, which won 7-0, and the Maize Team were composed of a mixed bag. There were first-stringers vs. third-stringers, fourth-stringers vs. second-stringers and everyone and everything in between.

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Big Ten Football: Predicting the Biggest Upsets in the Conference in 2015

You can barely get through a week during the college football season without at least one headline-making upset, and you can bet that 2015 won't be any different.  While we're certain the Big Ten will see its share of upsets this fall, predicting exactly which upsets will happen is another matter entirely.

But we're willing to give it a shot.

Whether it's Virginia Tech knocking off a team like Ohio State or Nebraska almost losing to FCS school McNeese State last season, the college football landscape is full of pitfalls and land mines.  Will the Buckeyes be able to avoid stepping in any mud in 2015?  Can the Huskers finally get over the four-loss hump?  Which Big Ten teams will rise up from seemingly out of nowhere to sting a team chasing down a division title?

Here are the Big Ten games of 2015 in which we're already placing the favorite on upset alert.

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Ohio State Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

While Ohio State wrapped up its third week of spring practice, Urban Meyer stayed busy in his pursuit of the nation's top recruiting class. 

The Buckeyes hosted a number of their top targets to watch practice, a group that was highlighted by 5-star defensive end Nick Bosa

But Meyer was active elsewhere, identifying new highly rated targets. Here's a look at Ohio State's newest offers.


Drue Chrisman, Unranked Punter (2016)

Anyone who watched the Sugar Bowl between Ohio State and Alabama saw how much a great punter can affect the game. The Crimson Tide's JK Scott almost single-handedly kept his team in the game with several punts that pinned the Buckeyes inside their own 10.

Meyer had a front-row seat to the show Scott put on, and while he has a great punter in Cameron Johnston, he's already looking to identify his replacement. 

That's why the Buckeyes made an offer to Drue Chrisman, the nation's top punter, who averaged 42.7 yards per punt as a junior last year, according to Bill Kurelic of 247Sports.

“I’m pretty overwhelmed,” Chrisman said, via Kurelic. “I didn’t go into the visit thinking I was going to be offered. The first word I think I said was ‘wow.’ They offered me a full scholarship.”

The Buckeyes are the unanimous favorite to land Chrisman, according to the 247Sports' Crystal Ball Predictions, but he told Kurelic that he has a tough decision ahead.

Coach Meyer doesn’t want to rush me. He said when the time feels right I should commit. I’m going on vacation next weekend. Then I’ll probably go back to Ohio State for the spring game and then I’ll decide by the end of April. I have a top three of Ohio State, BYU and Florida State. When I visited all three I fell in love with all of them. It’s going to be a tough decision.


Bryce Mathews, 4-Star Offensive Tackle (2016)

The Buckeyes have secured commitments from three of the top four running backs in the country, and now Meyer is looking to find the bulldozers who will pave the way for that talent along the offensive line.

That process led Ohio State to offer Bryce Mathews, a 6'5.5", 275-pound offensive tackle out of Brentwood, Tennessee. 

Mathews, rated the No. 22 offensive tackle and the No. 232 prospect overall, holds offers from some of the top programs in the country, including Alabama, Clemson, Louisville and Ole Miss. Texas A&M and Tennessee are the leaders, via 247Sports' Crystal Ball, but Ohio State has the opportunity to climb the ladder.

Mathews was in Columbus for a visit two weeks ago, so there is legitimate interest in the Buckeyes. If the coaching staff makes him a priority, it would be hard for the talented tackle to ignore the reigning national champs. 


Cam Spence, 4-Star Offensive Tackle, Defensive Tackle (2017)

Ohio State currently has the nation's top-rated 2017 recruiting class, but Meyer could be on the brink of bolstering the already-stellar group.

The Buckeyes hosted 4-star prospect Cam Spence last Thursday, and according to Kurelic of 247Sports, it was defensive line coach Larry Johnson who handed out the highly coveted offer.

The visit and offer put the Buckeyes in a great position to land the star out of Baltimore.

"Coach Meyer asked me if I have a high interest in Ohio State. I have a really high interest. A lot of their defensive guys are going to the pro’s,” Spence said, via Kurelic.

Spence plays on both sides of the ball for IMG Academy, and he's rated the No. 6 offensive tackle and the No. 49 prospect overall. But the Buckeyes are looking at him as a defender, and that's a plan Spence is getting behind.

“Ohio State is at the top of my list,” Spence said, according to Kurelic. “They are my leader. Coach Meyer said to look at all places, but in the back of my mind I’m leaning to Ohio State.” 


Spencer Perry, 3-Star Safety (2016)

The Buckeyes closed out the week by offering Spencer Perry, a 3-star safety who's currently committed to Jim McElwain and the Florida Gators.

That verbal pledge won't stop Meyer, though, who personally offered Perry the scholarship.

"That's a huge offer as everyone knows," Perry told Alex Gleitman of 247Sports. "Coach Meyer was the coach that informed me that I had an offer. He talked to my parents and I. I'm very blessed. They will get a huge look. I'm going to visit there very soon." 

Perry is rated as the No. 26 safety in this year's class and collected offers from the likes of Auburn, Michigan, Mississippi State and Notre Dame before committing to Florida. He was firm to the Gators, but an offer from Meyer and the Buckeyes could change that. 


All recruiting rankings and information are via 247Sports.

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

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Notre Dame Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Football was pushed to the back burner as Notre Dame spread for a weeklong Easter break. But that didn’t stop the Irish from making some noise in the recruiting world over the weekend.

Just before college basketball’s Final Four tipped off in Indianapolis, Notre Dame landed a commitment from class of 2017 offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons, who received an Irish offer earlier in the week.

Each week we’ll be keeping tabs on the new scholarship offers sent out by the Notre Dame coaches, tracking the recruiting process as the Irish focus their attention toward the classes of 2016, 2017 and maybe even 2018.


Dillan Gibbons

Gibbons stopped by campus for an unofficial visit Wednesday, and the Saint Petersburg, Florida, native walked away with an offer.

Three days later, the 6’5”, 304-pounder pledged to the Irish.

“One of my earliest memories was a Notre Dame-Syracuse game,” Gibbons told Irish247’s Tom Loy. “I was so drawn to Notre Dame. It was in my DNA. I’m Irish Catholic. It’s just ridiculous how this all worked out. I could see myself here and fitting in with the other offensive linemen.”

For the third consecutive recruiting cycle, Notre Dame claimed its first commitment from an offensive lineman, a testament to how well Irish head coach Brian Kelly and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand have approached the position. Jerry Tillery, who has since switched to the defensive side of the ball as an early enrollee already on campus, kicked off Notre Dame’s class of 2015 in June 2013. Class of 2016 offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer gave his verbal to the Irish in October.

The Irish are off and running on the line once again with Gibbons.


Brian Burns

Class of 2016 weak-side defensive end Brian Burns received a Notre Dame offer last week.

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, product checks in as the No. 46 weak-side defensive end and No. 722 overall prospect in the country. Burns holds offers from Florida, Auburn, South Carolina, Miami, LSU and Clemson, among others.

The wiry end, who’s listed at 6’5” and 212 pounds, piled up 75 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 2014 at American Heritage.


Davonte Robinson

Class of 2016 cornerback and Kentucky commitment Davonte Robinson received his Notre Dame offer Thursday, nearly six months after he gave his verbal to the Wildcats.

Robinson told Loy he’s “solid with UK,” though the cornerback added he may visit Notre Dame.

“It’s pretty big,” Robinson said to Loy. “It means a lot. It’s going to open up some looks for me. I’m sure other schools will give me a look now. For me though, all it does is make me want to work harder.”

The Lexington, Kentucky, 3-star prospect is slotted as the No. 94 cornerback and No. 973 overall prospect.


Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information are courtesy of 247Sports and all quotes were obtained firsthand. Star ratings reflect 247Sports' composite rankings. 

Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

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BYU Long Snapper Gets Tattoo of Himself Snapping the Football

Long snappers may not get much love from fans, but BYU's Matt Foley is proud of his position.

Like, really proud.

Not only is his Twitter handle "@THE_LongSnapper," but he recently got inked up so people on the street would know who he is. Check out the tattoo Foley recently got on his arm, via Reddit user deen5526:

A tattoo that detailed certainly took a while to complete:

For all of the haters out there, Foley has a simple message for you:

Give him credit. Being a long snapper means so much to him that he is willing to sit through 10 hours of pain to permanently mark his body. You have to admire that passion. 

[Matt Foley, Reddit; h/t SB Nation]

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Michigan Football 2015: Winners and Losers from Wolverines' Spring Game

It was just the Michigan Wolverines’ spring football game, so technically there were no “winners” or “losers” Saturday at The Big House. However, there were several Wolverines who took strides in a much-needed positive direction.

As expected, all eyes were on junior quarterback Shane Morris. While he didn't deliver an earth-shattering performance, he certainly held his own while leading the Blue Team to a 7-0 victory over the Maize Team.

“I thought our offense had a great day, Team Blue, speaking for my team,” said Morris, who threw the game’s only touchdown pass, a 14-yard strike to receiver Jaron Dukes.

“I thought we had a great day. We moved the ball. There were a lot of plays that we need to improve on, a lot of throws I wish I could have had back. We did well. I thought we did well with where we’re at with our offense.”

During the early goings, Morris looked incredibly off-kilter. He rushed throws, wasn’t accurate and appeared uncomfortable. After halftime, though, was a different story.

During his postgame press conference, coach Jim Harbaugh agreed about Morris’ performance, saying that the third-year quarterback has, at least for the time being, created separation between himself and true freshman Alex Malzone, who started for the Maize Team.

Malzone had a rough go, but he didn’t exactly lose. He did all right, considering that Saturday was his first time in front of a rabid Wolverines crowd. However, he’ll have to greatly improve his accuracy and touch if he hopes to battle Morris for the starting job.

As is, Malzone just isn’t ready for the big time.


Defense Wins

The defense stole the show; there’s no other way to say it. Senior linebacker Joe Bolden and junior linebacker Ben Gedeon were tackling machines. Bolden led the Maize Team with at least 12 tackles (three TFL), but Gedeon, who debuted as a freshman on special teams in 2013, followed with at least six.

Bolden looked great; so did Gedeon. If anything, Michigan fans should be excited about this year’s crop of linebackers.

“The defense as a whole, this past spring, has really improved,” said D-lineman Chris Wormley, who finished the day with a sack. “It’s tough coming in with a new defense, but coach [defensive coordinator D.J.] Durkin is running a hard, tough-nosed defense for us to play and we’re all excited about it.”

In terms of energy, Wormley says the Wolverines met or exceeded his expectations. The defense is the pride and joy, something Michigan can “hang its hat on,” says Wormley. The same should be true come fall.

“Everyone’s flying around, everyone’s hitting hard and that’s what we like about defense—especially here at Michigan,” said Wormley with an ear-to-ear grin. “You’ve got to play tough, and you’ve got to be ready to light it up.”


Receivers Show Promise

The quarterbacks struggled on Saturday, but the receivers didn’t—if that makes sense. They made plays on the ball when they could. Because of that, senior receiver Amara Darboh sees a wealth of possibilities come fall.

“Making plays is a thing that wide receiver’s all about—we try to go out there and make plays,” said a visibly satisfied Darboh, who had three receptions for 64 yards at halftime. “I felt that we left a couple of plays out there, me personally, and I know some other guys feel the same way. So there’s still things that we need to work on, but I also feel like we did some good things and there’s some things we can build on.”

Technically, Darboh was supposed to cheer on Morris—not Malzone, who headed the Maize Team. But the spring game is all about teamwork, not division. With that said, Darboh was impressed by both quarterbacks.

“I thought they made some smart decisions,” said Darboh, who added, “I thought they both did a great job.”


Offensive Line and Running Backs Need Work

The offensive lines weren’t terrible Saturday, but there is obvious room for improvement across the board, especially when it comes to discipline. Thrice violated for infractions, lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman tainted an otherwise decent showing with mental mistakes. He was cited twice for holding and once for a false start.

That’ll get addressed by offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, who also happens to be an expert when it comes to stitching together O-lines.

Neither Derrick Green or DeVeon Smith stood out from the crowd, which is somewhat alarming. Ross Taylor-Douglas, who just converted to the backfield, actually appeared to be the quickest back. At 5'10" and 186 pounds, Taylor-Douglas has a bit of size, but he's not as durable as Green or Smith. 

That's his downside. He just didn't get much, if anything, after initial contact with tacklers. At roughly 5'11" and 220 pounds each, Green and Smith do that well.

Green had 11 yards at halftime. Smith had just 30. But again, that was partly due to the depth players on the line. There was no first string versus first string. It was a hodgepodge of everyone versus everyone, which certainly added entertainment value.

And speaking of entertainment, there probably aren’t many things that top a free trip to Michigan Stadium on a sunny spring day to watch a little football. It may not have been the show some had hoped for, but it was far more than the mess that was the 2014 spring game.

The Jim Harbaugh era is underway, and that's a win across the board for the Wolverines.


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

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

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Syracuse Once Again Messes Up Player's Name on Jersey

The Syracuse athletic department might want to look into hiring somebody who can proofread.

At the Orange's spring football game on Saturday, wide receiver Steve Ishmael took the field wearing a jersey with a glaring spelling error. 


That's close enough, right? On the plus side, at least they got the number right.

The misspelling of Ishmael's name was no doubt an honest mistake. However, this isn't the first time the Orange have made a mistake like this this year.

Back in February, Syracuse misspelled Roosevelt Bouie's name on a framed jersey that was presented to him during a jersey retirement ceremony:

Hiring someone to proofread might cost the school more money, but it would certainly help the Orange avoid future embarrassing moments. 

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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