NCAA Football News

Jovon Robinson Commits to Auburn: Spotlight Will Shine Bright on No. 1 JUCO RB

The Jovon Robinson saga has now come full circle.

Robinson, a one-time Auburn commit in the Class of 2012 and the No. 1 junior college running back in the class of 2015, according to 247Sports.com, re-committed to the Tigers, according to Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com.

"I have taken visits and evaluated every school that offered me the opportunity to be a part of their program, and after careful thought and consideration, I have chosen to verbally commit to Auburn University," Robinson told Hokanson.

Robinson had 272 carries for 2,387 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2013 for Georgia Military College. According to Hokanson, he will graduate in December and enroll at Auburn in January.

He's a huge addition. The Tigers will boast a backfield in 2015 that could consist of 4-star Robinson, fellow Class of 2015 4-star athlete Kerryon Johnson, former 5-star and incoming freshman Roc Thomas and current redshirt freshman Peyton Barber.

That's scary for opposing defensive coordinators and gives head coach Gus Malzahn even more options in his scheme, which thrives with a multidimensional running attack.

Robinson better be prepared, though, because he will be the most polarizing player not only on that roster, but perhaps even in the SEC.

Let's flash back to the summer of 2012.

Former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was entering what would be his final season as Auburn's head coach, and despite the Cam Newton investigation being officially put to bed in October 2011, rumors and assumptions of impropriety continued to swirl around the program.

Robinson's situation only added to them.

The former star at Wooddale High School in Memphis, Tennessee, signed with Auburn and participated early in fall camp before being ruled ineligible on Aug. 17, according to Charles Goldberg, then of AL.com. The NCAA found that at least one of Robinson's high school grades was changed and that he wouldn't be eligible without the grade change.

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported in August 2012 that a Wooddale counselor resigned after admitting to changing the grade from a 70 to a 76, admitting that someone told her to do it but not naming that individual. Since Robinson signed with Auburn, dots were connected after, according to the same report, Auburn initiated the initial investigation by Memphis City Schools when it inquired to the principal about transcripts that didn't match.

It was one of the most polarizing stories of the 2012 offseason, and regardless of what happened, fans of other SEC schools have long memories when it comes to scandal.

Had Robinson committed elsewhere, the grade story would likely disappear forever and be viewed as a small blip on the radar. But at Auburn, it will be different, even if it shouldn't be. The grade change that cost him his eligibility out of high school will be brought up if and when he is made available to the media, and opposing fans will undoubtedly let him hear about it when the Tigers go on the road. 

That will be the nature of the beast, whether Robinson likes it or not.

He has all the talent in the world, and as we saw last season, Malzahn knows how to get the most out of his running backs.

He also has a backstory that will shine a bright spotlight on him throughout his Auburn career.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college writer for Bleacher Report. All recruiting information, junior college stats and rankings are courtesy of 247Sports.com unless otherwise noted.

 


 

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No. 1 Overall JUCO Recruit Jovon Robinson Commits to Auburn Tigers

Jovon Robinson is headed to Auburn…again.

Nearly two years after being ruled ineligible during his freshman training camp, the talented running back has renewed his commitment to the Tigers. Robinson, now the nation's No. 1 overall junior college recruit, described his decision to Rivals.com reporter Justin Hokanson.

"After careful thought and consideration, I have chosen to verbally commit to Auburn University," he told Hokanson.

The Memphis, Tennessee, native was a headline member of Auburn's 2012 class. Robinson, then rated No. 11 nationally among high school running backs in 247Sports' composite rankings, arrived on campus with lofty expectations in place.

However, he never made it to opening kickoff.

An investigation into charges of a fraudulent academic transcript at Wooddale High School led to Robinson's abrupt departure and the resignation of his former guidance counselor.

The development left Auburn searching elsewhere for offensive help and placed the heralded playmaker on an uncertain path.

"I was prepared to play in the SEC as a freshman, to maybe be the face of Auburn University, and in a moment it was like I was being snatched from my ultimate dream," Robinson told AL.com reporter Matt Scalici in April 2013.

After spending a season away from football, Robinson returned to the field with ferocity at Georgia Military College last fall. He rushed for 2,387 yards and 34 touchdowns, setting NJCAA records in both categories.

His dominant JUCO performance earned him another mountain of scholarship offers. Robinson visited campuses at Louisville, Auburn and Alabama this spring.

Robinson is the 14th commitment in Auburn's 2015 class. The group rates No. 3 nationally in 247Sports' composite team rankings.

He walks into a different situation with the Tigers this time around—Robinson is more physically mature, Gene Chizik is no longer the head coach—but another opportunity to make an immediate impact awaits. His shot at redemption occurs with a familiar face in charge.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was the team's offensive coordinator during the earliest stages of Robinson's high school recruiting process.

"Two of the best people connecting again," he told Hokanson. "I shocked the world, he shocked the world, so what can we not do?"

Auburn fans will finally find out in 2015.

 

Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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If Max Wittek Doesn't Land at Texas, Who Starts at QB for Longhorns?

Texas' quarterback situation is anything but a sure thing. Perhaps it's appropriate, then, that one of the surest things of the offseason has become suddenly unsure. 

USC quarterback transfer Max Wittek has, as far as anyone is concerned, been a virtual lock to come to Texas for months. He's taken multiple visits and would add to a position that needs competition.

However, multiple reports surfaced Wednesday that Wittek-to-Texas may be falling through.

Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman reported that Texas was "backing away" from Wittek for undisclosed reasons. Joe Schad of ESPN.com added that Wittek is not expected to transfer to Texas because an "off-the-field circumstance could possibly lead to a delay in Wittek's graduation and gaining immediate eligibility."

For what it's worth, Wittek told Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports that he's unaware of any change with Texas. Wittek still plans to select a school later this month. 

Whatever the story is, there now appears to be a very real chance that Wittek doesn't land in Austin. So where does first-year head coach Charlie Strong turn? He basically has three options: Incumbent starter, though oft-injured, David Ash, sophomore Tyrone Swoopes and incoming freshman Jerrod Heard. 

Let's start with Heard, since he has the least likely chance of being named the Week 1 starter against North Texas. Heard is a highly touted 4-star recruit, per 247Sports composite rankings, but he joins the team later this summer. That means he'll only have preseason camp to prove to the coaches that he's the guy. 

That's a lot to ask of anyone who is still getting acclimated to the team and college life. There's a lot of physical and mental maturation that usually takes precedence over everything else during that time. 

"He's going to have a chance because he is going to be out there," Strong said of Heard, via Bleacher Report's Taylor Gaspar. "But the thing is that the guys who are here now know the system, and Jerrod has to come in and learn the system when he gets here in June."

Swoopes is a more likely option to start in Week 1 for the Longhorns than Heard, but he's also shown that he has a long ways to go in his development. 

Swoopes struggled in limited action as a freshman last season, completing just five of 13 passes for 26 yards. Considered a rushing threat, Swoopes still only averaged 2.8 yards per carry outside of his season-long 26-yard run in the Alamo Bowl loss to Oregon.

Because Ash was held out of the final stretch of spring with a fractured foot, Swoopes was thrust into a first-team role in time for the Horns' spring game. Swoopes started slow—quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson said, per ESPN's Max Olson, that Swoopes had "a little deer-in-the-headlights look"—but improved as the game went on. 

There's no doubt Swoopes, at 6'4", 245 pounds, has the physical tools to be a successful quarterback. He just has to show in the offseason that he's made significant progress in understanding the playbook and the position. 

Otherwise, first-team reps won't be given to him in preseason camp like they were toward the end of spring.

Rather, Ash could emerge as the first-team quarterback early in preseason practices. (He'll have recovered from his foot injury by then.) Ash has the most experience and he's shown flashes of being a top-tier signal-caller. His problem has been staying healthy—he missed most of last season with a concussion—and consequently, consistency. 

However, Strong praised Ash earlier this spring for stepping up in a way a No. 1 quarterback should. From Gaspar's previous article: 

You would have never known that he had the injury by just how well he has been practicing and the way he has been carrying himself. I wouldn't say that he is the clear No. 1, but he has established himself. He did a great job learning the offense and terminology and wanting to lead the team.

Unless Swoopes makes major progress this summer and/or Ash regresses, the redshirt junior probably gives Texas the best chance to win heading into Week 1. 

Of course, no one has run away with the job yet, meaning August will be a critical month for all three quarterbacks. 

And if Texas has shown us anything, it's that the quarterback spot is no sure thing.

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. 

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James Franklin Claims Penn State Facilities Worse Than Vanderbilt's

New Penn State head coach James Franklin gave a candid and impassioned press conference at a Pennsylvania shopping mall Tuesday, lobbying as he has all offseason for an upgrade of the Nittany Lions' football facilities.

Here is a short video of Franklin's statement:

"To put it in a little bit of perspective for you, when I was at Vanderbilt, we had the last-place facilities in the SEC," said Franklin, according to Mark Brennan of FightOnState.com. "It wasn't even close. And our facilities at Vanderbilt (were) better than what they are at Penn State right now, which is probably a little shocking to people."

Shocking, indeed. Penn State is a much bigger football program than Vanderbilt and some of the other, lesser SEC schools. It has national championships in its history and boosters who defray the program.

According to Forbes.com, even though Penn State is not as profitable as it used to be before the Jerry Sandusky scandal, it was still the 15th-most valuable college football program in 2013.

The team was valued at $71 million, generated $59 million in revenue and made a profit of $30 million.

Regardless of comparison with Vanderbilt—or any other SEC school, for that matter—this seems like enough money for Penn State to reasonably upgrade its football facilities. Especially as it pertains to recruiting, doing so would have many benefits.

But it's not that cut and dried. Franklin also touched on the school's financial situation, saying in the video above:

We have some financial challenges right now and issues that everyone is aware of. It's going to be getting people to support that vision (of better facilities) and jump on board with us through fundraising, and those types of things.

Franklin mentioned branding, technology and carpeting—repeatedly on all three fronts—as things that need to be improved in the Nittany Lions' facilities. Doing so gives off an air of confidence from the program to recruits, makes the situation feel more homey.

PSU leads the nation with 16 commitments in the 2015 class and places second behind Alabama in the 247Sports team rankings. Franklin thinks those numbers could go up with renovations.

"We've got the No. 2 recruiting class in the country," said the first-year head coach. "Where are we going to be able to go once we get some of these things updated?"

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT.

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USC vs. Alabama in the Cowboys Classic Needs to Happen

It's the offseason, which means it's time for athletic directors to start finalizing their future schedules.

According to Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times, one possibility that's being tossed around is a neutral-site game between Alabama and USC to kick off the 2016 season in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas.

"Yeah, we're always looking," Nick Saban told reporters on Wednesday. "But not anything I can share with you right now. I don't think we want to create speculation."

This absolutely needs to happen.

It'd be better if the Trojans and Crimson Tide worked out a home-and-home series, because it'd be fantastic to see these two traditional college football powers in each other's stadiums. However, a neutral-site matchup will work just fine.

Imagine the possibilities.

Lane Kiffin could be entering his third season as the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator, facing his old program against head coach and friend Steve Sarkisian, who will be entering his third season as the Trojans' head coach.

At that time, the Trojans won't be fully recovered from the scholarship restrictions that they've worked through since 2011, but they'll be close.

Sarkisian was allowed to sign a full class of 25 in the most recent recruiting cycle, but George Schroeder of USA Today indicates the coach is limited to 75 scholarship players this season10 shy of the limit.

In a perfect world, this game would be between two tradition-rich, national title contenders and dripping with personal storylines that would make it extra spicy.

But what are some other storylines that could arise?

Maybe these two meet in one of the first two College Football Playoffs, with this tilt serving as a revenge game and tone-setter for the 2016 national championships? What if Kiffin burns Alabama just like he has in previous stops, and the two fanbases unite in their disdain?

The possibilities are endless.

What could prevent this from happening?

Last June, AL.com's Jon Solomon reported that Pac-12 teams can't play neutral-site games with out-of-conference teams unless the Pac-12 owns all media rights for the game.

It's doubtful that Alabama would agree to the game knowing that it could end up on the Pac-12 Network, and it also serves as a deterrent if any Pac-12 teams want to get involved in kickoff games against big-time out-of-conference opponents.

But rules are made to be broken—or at least amended—and in an evolving college football landscape, this one should be changed to give college football fans what they want.

Alabama vs. USC in JerryWorld to kick off the 2016 season needs to happen.

For everybody's sake.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report.


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4-Star DE Recruit Natrez Patrick Sets Decision Date

Dynamic defender Natrez Patrick is ready to pick with which university he'll spend the upcoming years of his football future. The 4-star Georgia product will announce Friday, May 16, and is down to four finalists, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Michael Carvell.

He named Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia and Alabama as teams still jockeying for his commitment. The highly anticipated reveal will take place during his spring game at Mays High School (Atlanta).

Patrick, a 6'3", 220-pound edge-rusher, earned first-team all-state honors in 2013. He tallied 83 tackles, including 27 for loss, and 17 sacks.

His junior season also featured three defensive touchdowns. Mays reached the second round of postseason action with Patrick wreaking havoc up front.

He is rated No. 7 nationally among weak-side defensive ends in 247Sports' composite rankings but could spend the majority of collegiate snaps at outside linebacker.

The upcoming decision will cap a whirlwind recruitment that includes programs from across the country. LSU, Florida, Clemson, USC, Notre Dame and Tennessee are among teams left on the doorstep during the final stretch of his recruiting process.

A commitment will help quell the madness.

“I definitely wanted to do it before the season started,” Patrick told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I didn’t want to think about it during my senior season of high school football. Because my season comes first, so I just wanted to get it out of the way.”

Georgia is viewed as a strong favorite to land the in-state talent. Experts project Patrick to sign with the Bulldogs in 100 percent of 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions.

However, it's never smart to discount Nick Saban and Alabama. Patrick plays alongside a future Tuscaloosa lineman.

Offensive guard Dallas Warmack, his teammate at Mays, committed to the Crimson Tide last summer.

"If you get an offer from (Alabama), they should always be one of your top choices," Patrick told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

With four SEC squads in the mix, plenty of eyes will be on Patrick when a choice arrives Friday.

 

Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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LSU Head Coach Les Miles Jabs at Texas for Lack of Draft Picks

At this point of the offseason, with no spring football left and still a few months before real football begins, cheap shots are the only type of shots a school can levy.

LSU head coach Les Miles took full advantage of this opportunity Tuesday, taking a jab at the University of Texas—a school the Tigers haven't played in more than a decade—for not having any players selected in the 2014 NFL draft.

Per Ralph Malbrough of WWLTV.com:

According to Bryan Fischer of NFL.com, the Longhorns were shut out of the draft for the first time since 1937.

Even though it was an obvious down year for the program in terms of talent production, many expected pass-rushing specialist Jackson Jeffcoat to go in the later rounds. When he didn't, ostensibly because of his injury history and lack of a true NFL position, Texas' fate was sealed.

Adding insult to injury, SMU quarterback and former Longhorn Garrett Gilbert was drafted in the sixth round by the St. Louis Rams. In a worthwhile interview with Judy Battista of NFL.com before the draft, Gilbert explained that Texas fans essentially booed him out of Austin after he struggled in 2011.

In Gilbert's own words:

Hearing boos again, not really being able to shake that, at that point I kind of knew it might be time to start over and wipe the slate clean. It's tough to sum up quickly. For whatever reason, things didn't work out. I think that led to some forcing the ball, trying to force things to happen. Maybe I read the papers a little too much, as well.

LSU also had a quarterback, Zach Mettenberger, drafted in the sixth round (by the Tennessee Titans). He was one of nine former Tigers selected—more than any other school in the country—including five who went in the top-95 picks. LSU has had 18 players drafted the past two seasons, tying it with Florida State for the most of any program.

Miles has never coached against Texas since arriving in Death Valley, but he does recruit against it often. The Longhorns are ushering in a new era under head coach Charlie Strong, and this embarrassment does not impugn the new direction of the program, but Miles is wise to issue a reminder for any recruits that are on the fence.

Both schools have the pageantry, the fans and the winning tradition. Based on recent history, however, only one has the ability to make you some money in the league. Which one are you gonna choose?

Not a bad tactic, Mad Hatter.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

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Odds on Where 2015 5-Star WDE Josh Sweat Lands

The No. 1 WDE of the 2015 class, Josh Sweat, has the skills to have an immediate impact on any defense, and his recruitment is really heating up. The 6'5", 230-pound stud has offers from just about every top program in the country. 

The Chesapeake, VA native is warm on the usual SEC schools, but which school in Virginia is making a push to land the defensive end?

Check out Adam Kramer break out the odds board and break down which schools are most likely to land Sweat. 

 

Highlights courtesy XOS Digital.

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USC QB Commit David Sills Among Top Targets for Alabama's 2015 Class

The 2015 recruiting cycle is in full swing, and many of the top quarterbacks of the class already committed, leaving Alabama with limited targets.

The No. 2 pro-style QB of 2015, Ricky Town, decommitted from Alabama in January and has since committed to USC. After a last-second effort from the Crimson Tide, Brandon Wimbush, the No. 6 dual-threat QB, committed to Penn State

Which QBs are Alabama going after in the 2015 class? David Sills committed to Lane Kiffin while he was at USC. Can the Tide land the longtime USC commit?

Check out Matt Scalici break down Alabama's top QB targets for the class of 2015. 

 

Highlights courtesy XOS Digital. All rankings from 247 Sports Composite

 

 

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College Football's All-NFL-Ready Team for 2014

What makes a player "ready" for the NFL?

This is something that scouts try to figure out when evaluating college talent, especially when looking at players outside of the senior class.

To use a draft choice on a player who might need more time to develop, whether it be physically or in terms of maturity, is the ultimate gamble that could result in a pink slip for those involved in the selection process.

But every year, there are a good number of college football stars who—for many reasons—just look like they're ready to be pros. You can easily envision them in an NFL uniform, playing on Sundays.

We've assembled an entire team of such ready-to-go players ahead of the 2014 season, which presumably will be their last year to hone their crafts as amateurs before getting paid big bucks to perform in the pros.

Think some—or all—of them aren't ready? Let us know in the comments section.

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SEC Football Recruiting: Most Exciting 2015 Prospects to Watch at Summer Camps

Even with the recent trend of earlier-than-ever commitments, summer camps mean coaches getting the opportunity to work with and watch top-notch recruits.

Some have already made their decisions. Others will walk onto different campuses across the Southeast looking to make names for themselves or to determine where they best fit.

Once camps end, commitments could come fast and furious for those reasons.

Recruiting has evolved into a 365-day-a-year process (and business, with a full marketplace now among 247Sports, Rivals and Scout).

When people need their football fix, these summer camps can help fill the void between spring games—where applicable—and the start of August camp.

Today we examine some of the most intriguing prospects heading into summer camps.

We are looking at several components, from overall hype to recruiting status. Five-star commitments who have already made commitments, for instance, probably aren’t as exciting to see this summer as are 4-star players who are wide open in the process.

Here is a high-overview look at 12 prospects who could make or break recruiting classes next February.

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Oklahoma State Football: Who Will Be the Next Justin Gilbert?

Since Mike Gundy became head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the boys from Stillwater have consistently churned out quality defensive backs.

Perrish Cox, Andre Sexton, Markelle Martin and Broderick Brown are just a few of the names any Cowboys fan will remember fondly when thinking back on Coach Gundy's tenure with the team.

However, one name stands above the rest as one of the best defensive players ever to suit up for Oklahoma State: Justin Gilbert.

Gilbert's blend of prototypical size, track-star speed, otherworldly athleticism and great skill in man coverage made him one of 2013's best cover corners in college football. In fact, his senior campaign was so dominant that the Cleveland Browns decided to make him the eighth pick in the 2014 draft.

Replacing an All-American such as Gilbert is never going to be easy, but the Oklahoma State coaching staff has done an admirable job in building depth at the cornerback position while molding young players into potential stars.

The first option for Oklahoma State is probably either Kevin Peterson or Ashton Lampkin. Both are going to be juniors and have seen significant time in each of the last two years. Peterson has a little more experience, as he started opposite Gilbert last year, but the gap between the two isn't huge.

Further, Peterson and Lampkin possess comparable size to Gilbert, coming in at 5'11" to Gilbert's 6'0". Gilbert does outweigh them both by 15-20 pounds (at 180 pounds, Lampkin is listed as five pounds lighter than Peterson), but both players could easily bulk up a bit over the summer.

Though both basically match up to Gilbert's size, neither has his speed.

Gilbert posted a 4.37 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, per NFL.com, which definitely helped his draft stock. Peterson was able to attain a 4.5 40 during his senior year of high school, per NCSA, and that number would likely be better if he was timed now; however, I doubt he could catch Gilbert in a race.

Lampkin, on the other hand, could only get a 4.83 40 in high school, per ESPN's Recruiting Nation, so there's no way he could compete with Gilbert on the race track.

Peterson and Lampkin do possess solid ball skills and have good instincts. Further, they're improving in man coverage as they get more experience, though they still aren't in Gilbert's league as cover corners.

These two guys will likely be your day-one starters this fall, and both are going to be quality corners in their own right. However, neither is likely to match Gilbert's talent.

So what about the younger guys behind them? Do any of them have that same dynamic talent that made Gilbert a star?

Of the guys behind Peterson and Lampkin, Darius Curry and Jerel Morrow are the most likely candidates given their size. Curry is bigger at 6'1", 190 pounds, but Morrow is right behind him at 6'0", 180 pounds.

We can probably throw Curry out, though, because even though he's bigger, his game differs from Gilbert's. Curry uses that frame well and really throws his weight around. He's a hard hitter and very aggressive, something no one would say about Gilbert.

In fact, it's possible Curry could make a move to safety if the Pokes struggle to replace Daytawion Lowe and Shamiel Gary. He has the size and the mindset to play center field for Oklahoma State.

Morrow is pretty much the opposite of Curry, making him a strong candidate to be the next Justin Gilbert.

Like Gilbert, Morrow has elite athleticism and size. In fact, Morrow is a three-time state champion in the long jump, and a jump from his senior year would have qualified as the longest in the country if the wind had been a fraction of a second slower on the day of the meet.

Additionally, Morrow played wide receiver in high school and excelled out of the slot when he could get in space and use his speed. That means Morrow has good hands and ball skills, so it's not a stretch to assume that he'll probably get his fair share of interceptions.

The one knock on Morrow is probably his technique, given that he spent most of his time in high school on offense. However, Gilbert was a dual-threat quarterback in high school, so the position can be learned.

With that said, I would be remiss not to parse the crop of incoming freshman and JUCO recruits before making a final decision, so let's quickly examine Oklahoma State's 2014 recruiting class.

Chris Hardeman is probably the most field-ready of the young cornerbacks coming in, but he's only 5'8" and could have difficulty being put on an island against taller receivers.

Outside of Hardeman, the Pokes picked up Ramon Richards and Trevion Roberts as cornerback prospects. Both possess great size and speed, per 247Sports. Both played quarterback in high school (just like Gilbert). Both have great ball skills.

And both have minimal experience at the cornerback position. At this point, it's probably too early to tell if either of these players will have what it takes to play corner for the Cowboys; and Roberts, in particular, could easily move to safety.

However, though the potential is there, it's just too early to tell if either of them could become the next big man on campus.

Which brings us back to Jerel Morrow.

If anyone on the roster has the same blend of size, speed, and playmaking ability as the No. 8 overall draft pick in the 2014 NFL draft, it has to be Morrow. He's a great athlete and developed excellent ball skills as a wide receiver in high school; that said, he has to work on his technique if he wants to take the next step.

If Morrow puts in the time, I would not be surprised at all to see him compared to Gilbert in a year's time. He has all the talent; he just needs to put in the work on the practice field.

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Texas A&M Installs Arena Football League Field Goals to Improve Kicking Accuracy

Texas A&M has just made field goals a lot tougher for its practices, which should result in better accuracy for its games.

The team installed an Arena Football League-sized goalpost on its practice field. For those curious, NFL goalposts are just under 19 feet wide compared to Arena Football League's nine-foot-wide goalposts.

[Twitter, h/t Diehard Sport]

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Pac-12 Football Recruiting: Most Exciting 2015 Prospects to See in Summer Camps

With Pac-12 football being the most important aspect of our lives—wait, that's just me?—finding ways to stay connected to the sport we love in the offseason can be challenging.

However, the recent increase in recruiting information has helped us to get through the dark months away from the gridiron.

Nowadays, you can find lists of top recruits several years in advance, and there are a variety of camps being held for these young prospects to showcase their skills.

Once again, the conference has landed or is in the running for a number of top recruits.

We're taking a look at five of the most exciting prospects—either committed or still mulling a final destination—who will be participating in summer camps.

Does your school have a chance to land any of these top-notch talents? Perhaps one is already committed, and every rocket pass or stone-wall tackle has you envisioning the player being a force in your favorite program.

In any case, here is another piece to help you along in your quest to stay sane in the offseason. Take a look at the five most exciting Pac-12 prospects to watch throughout the summer.

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Breaking Down Ole Miss Wide Receiver Markell Pack's Highlight Tape

Markell Pack is a speedy 4-star receiver who signed with Ole Miss in February. At 6'2" and 180 pounds, Pack has the explosiveness to be a constant threat to secondaries in the SEC.

Pressing Pack at the line is a dangerous gamble for a cornerback. If he gets on top of them after the snap, chances are the play will result in a touchdown. Pack should become one of the Rebels' top offensive weapons over time.

His highlight tape warrants a closer breakdown.

 

All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings.

Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports

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Clemson Football: 5 Freshmen Who Will Make an Impact in 2014

Every year, a freshman arrives on the scene and has all of college football buzzing. Two years ago, it was Johnny Football. Last season, it was Jameis Winston.

While those two high-profile players went on to win the Heisman in their rookie campaigns, they weren't the only freshmen to make an impact in college football.

Every team, in every conference, has freshmen who contribute. Some lead the team in sacks, touchdowns or receptions, while others start on the path to becoming solid four-year starters along the offensive line. In this day and age, coaches expect more and more from their first- and second-year players. 

The Clemson Tigers lost several talented players to the NFL last week. While some upperclassmen will help fill the voids vacated by the likes of Sammy Watkins, Tajh Boyd and Bashaud Breeland, several talented freshmen are waiting in the wings to become the next big star for Clemson.

Here are five freshmen who will make a big impact for the Tigers in 2014.  

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10 College Football Recruits Most Likely to Commit This Summer

With summer approaching, many recruits will be out of school. That means they will be able to focus on taking visits and narrowing their lists.

However, some of them will use the summer to decide where they want to attend college. While many surprises are likely in store for the 2015 recruiting cycle, several prospects have already stated they will be committing to a program sometime in the summer.

A 4-star receiver could decide to make things official with an SEC school soon, while a talented dual-threat quarterback could also do the same. Plus, a 4-star defensive end will be announcing his decision toward the end of the summer.

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Notre Dame Football: Realistic Expectations for the Irish's 2014 Season

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Following the Pinstripe Bowl in December, Brian Kelly reflected on what constitutes a good versus a great season for Notre Dame football.

The Irish head coach looked back on the 9-4 campaign—a season highlighted by wins against USC, Michigan State and Arizona State, yet stained by close losses to Pittsburgh and Michigan.

Kelly’s evaluation?

“A good year that could have been a great year,” Kelly said. “I would say a couple of missed opportunities in some games where we very easily could have been a team that’s looking at double-digit wins,” Kelly said. “And that’s where we want to be every year.”

Yes, double-digit wins. That’s what the Irish—and any program, for that matter—strive for.

“9-4 is a good year for Notre Dame, [but] it’s not what we sign up for every year,” Kelly added.

Heading into 2014, the Irish will look to reach 10 (or more) wins. But what are the realistic expectations for Notre Dame this season?

Before we even begin to look at the Notre Dame team, it’s worth analyzing a schedule that Kelly called “very, very challenging” in late February.

It’s inherently challenging to predict how Notre Dame and its opponents will look when the season begins in late August, much less how the teams will be playing when they meet throughout the regular season. But we’ll make an early attempt at handicapping the matchups.

Florida State will almost undoubtedly be favored against the Irish and rightfully so. The Seminoles are the defending national champions, and they still boast Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

Stanford also should claim an edge over Notre Dame. The Cardinal lost a slew of defensive playmakers but return quarterback Kevin Hogan and wide receivers Ty Montgomery and Devon Cajuste, among others. Our own Barrett Sallee recently predicted the Top 25 and slotted Stanford at No. 11 (three spots ahead of Notre Dame).

At this early stage, there doesn’t appear to be any overwhelming separation between Notre Dame and the likes of Michigan, Arizona State and USC. The Wolverines and Trojans always pose tough matchups for the Irish, and the Sun Devils hung with the Irish until losing by three points last season.

Between those three teams, Florida State and Stanford, Notre Dame can probably grab two wins. Thus, a three-loss regular season seems in play, as Notre Dame likely holds the edge on paper against Rice, Purdue, Syracuse, North Carolina, Navy, Northwestern and Louisville.

But much of Notre Dame’s fate will be determined by how quickly and effectively the young and inexperienced Irish talent develops.

The defense replaces five starters in the front seven and has been learning a new system under defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. Still, following the Blue-Gold Game, linebacker Jaylon Smith laid out his high expectations for the group.

“It’s going to be a great year,” Smith said. “We’re coming together. We’re building that culture to where we can all communicate and be as one. We’re young, so that’s really good, it plays a big part when you’re all fetching to get better and continuing trying to learn. We’re going to be nice this year.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the Irish are young as well, especially at wide receiver.

So, realistically, a 9-3 regular season seems an appropriate starting point for expectations surrounding Notre Dame in 2014.

There’s plenty of potential. How much the youth shows itself will play a major role for the Irish in trying to reach double-digit wins.

 

*All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football: RB Becomes a Recruiting Priority Now with Ty Isaac Transferring

According to Lindsey Thiry of Scout.com, Ty Isaac announced his plans to transfer out of USC to be closer to home (Illinois) on Wednesday. USC's recruiting strategy for 2015 now takes a major turn. 

The former 4-star running back showed glimpses of being a great addition to the Trojans' stable of running backs in 2013, but limited playing time was likely a contributing factor to his decision as well.

With Javorius "Buck" Allen, Tre Madden, Justin Davis and D.J. Morgan ahead of him on the depth chart, Isaac would have remained in his role as a backup in 2014.

The Trojans can take the hit this season because of that quartet, but Steve Sarkisian and his staff now have to start seriously recruiting some running backs, effective immediately.

Morgan is a redshirt senior this season, and both Allen and Madden are redshirt juniors. It's possible all three don't return to Troy in 2015, and if that were to happen, that would leave Davis as the only tailback on the roster with game experience.

Realistically, either Allen or Madden elects to stay based on who receives fewer reps this coming season, but it's still really important for the Trojans to get a jump on keeping the stable loaded going forward.

Sark said during his signing-day press conference that USC will look to take two running backs in 2015, and now it's time to make good on that statement. In looking at the 247Sports.com composite for this recruiting cycle, USC was previously not pursing any running backs that aggressively.

So who should the Trojans turn their sights to now?

USC has offered and expressed interest in 5-star Damien Harris, who decommitted from Michigan in January. He's considered the No. 1 running back in his class, but for now, Harris looks to be a Big 10 lean. He's still considering Michigan as well as Ohio State, among others.

Then there's Jacques Patrick, a 4-star talent out of Florida. He's the No. 2 running back in the 2015 class, and given USC's success in recruiting in the Sunshine State, he could be a talent the Trojans start to court more heavily.

Another target USC could turn its attention to is 4-star Austin Joyner, a former commit of Sark's while he was still at Washington.

Interestingly, USC has yet to extend an offer to Joyner, but that might change in light of Isaac's transfer.

With all that said, it's worth noting that the Trojans have struggled to hold on to their running backs over the past few seasons.

As Hank Shaw of Reign of Troy points out, USC has had no trouble recruiting blue-chip running backs, but keeping them on roster is another story entirely:

Having a highly touted running back transfer away from USC isn’t anything new for the Trojans, and in fact it’s been somewhat of a trend. In recent years, Troy has lost Emmanuel Moody to Florida, Broderick Green to Arkansas and Amir Carlisle to Notre Dame. Add in the loss of Dillon Baxter and it’s remarkable how many four and five-star backs have concluded their collegiate careers elsewhere.

So when Sark does ultimately get the two tailbacks he wants for 2015, it's even more important that he can keep them on roster.

The success of Allen, Madden and Davis this season will go a long way in showing future running backs what they can expect if they commit to USC. Right now, however, Sark and his staff need to sell the targets on a grassroots effort to return USC to the days of Running Back U.

With Bishop Sankey's recent transition to the NFL after a strong career under Sark and running backs coach Johnny Nansen at Washington—who has since joined Sark at USC—it shouldn't be that hard of a sell.

 

Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

SEC Football: Ranking the Top 25 Players Heading into 2014

The SEC led all conferences, once again, with 49 players drafted in 2014. Some of its marquee players from last season such as Loucheiz Purifoy (Florida) and Anthony Johnson (LSU) didn't hear their names called but also won't return in 2014.

But the SEC doesn't rebuild; it reloads. I want to go wash my fingers out with soap for typing that, but hackneyed or not, it's the truth. How else could the conference have 49 players drafted this year after having 63 players drafted in 2013? That was a record-sized exodus!

There is still plenty of talent in the SEC, and all 25 names on this list are proof of that. So are the barely undeserving players who didn't make this list, as they will be the ones replacing a good portion of this crop after the 2015 NFL draft rolls around.

In order to decide on the 25 best players, more than just statistics were considered. Past production played a big role, but so did age and projected improvement. A junior defender with 10 tackles for loss might have been better last season than a freshman with seven. That doesn't mean he will be again in 2014.

Enjoy!

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