NCAA Football News

Watch 3-Star HS Football Prospect Tope Imade Deadlift 515 Pounds

When Tope Imade's recruiting process comes to an end next February, he, coaches, friends and teammates could look back on this month and say one thing.

It was the deadlift that started it all.

What began as Imade, a 3-star interior offensive lineman from Arlington, Texas, simply accepting a challenge from his coach is quickly turning into an impressive athletic feat that's turning the heads of college coaches. Last week, Imade set the Bowie High School deadlift record by picking up 515 pounds.

The previous record of 500 pounds was held by 4-star offensive tackle Madison Akamnonu, who signed with Texas Tech last month. Imade, who measured in last week at 6'5" and a slim-looking 320 pounds, finished the feat surrounded by screaming teammates who were excited for the powerful athlete.

"My coach kept challenging me to add more weight. He kept adding, and I kept lifting," Imade said. "Eventually, it got to 515, and I got it up.

"It was heavy, but I had my teammates there encouraging me."

Bowie head coach Danny DeArman watched Imade deadlift 450 pounds in athletics class earlier in the week. Imade wanted to attempt more then, but they ran out of class time. Imade went to DeArman and told him he wanted to finish what he started.

DeArman said Imade lifted 450 pounds, then 475. After that, Imade was on a mission.

"He asked me what the record was," DeArman said. "I told him it was 500. He said, 'I want 515.'

"I whistled and got the players to gather around. I told them he was going for a new record. When he lifted it off the ground and got it to his mid-thigh, he paused it, and all of the kids went crazy."

The deadlift video made its way around social media, and it ultimately helped Imade land his two biggest offers to date. On Monday, he was offered by both Washington and Texas Tech. Imade now has six offers, the others being Texas State, Arkansas State, Illinois State and Tulane.

"I didn't even know my coach was videotaping," Imade said. "After the video, I started getting more interest. I think it had an impact on recruiting."

When Imade picked up the Texas Tech offer, he rewarded the program for being the first Big 12 school to take a chance on him. He told Daniel Paulling of 247Sports that the Red Raiders automatically will be in his top three.

DeArman calls Imade "Grizzly Bear" because he "doesn't know if he knows his own strength." Imade currently has a 325-pound bench press and a 500-pound squat, but DeArman said he hasn't been tested to his full potential. Imade said he wants to deadlift 600 before he graduates high school.

Imade added that he hopes the video will help him add more offers to his growing list. He's ready to show what type of lineman he can be at the next level.

"I want to show I'm a great run-blocker," Imade said. "I'm also a great pass-blocker with a really good work ethic."

As for continuing his efforts in the weight room?

"I'm always going to attack the weights," he said.

 

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst with Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. Player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Realistic Expectations for Charlie Strong and Texas in 2015

If Texas head coach Charlie Strongdidn't think the Longhorns were going to play for a national championship last year, what does he think about the 2015 team?

After going 6-7 in Year 1, it wouldn't be surprising if Texas regresses in the win column in Year 2.

Why? There are no clear answers yet at quarterback, several defensive leaders are gone and the schedule is still tough.

Bleacher Report contributor and former Texas quarterback Chris Simms brought up a valid point when interviewed in December: According to him, the program former coach Mack Brown inherited in 1998 was in a better place than the one Strong inherited. 

Though this team should have more of Strong's stamp on it, there's going to be a lot of growing up involved. The question becomes how quickly the Horns can mature. The '14 team showed some promise in November during a three-game winning streak but couldn't sustain it. 

Immediate results are important to some, but the big-picture goal for next season has to be about growth. Never mind the number of wins; can young players show that the future is indeed bright?

Here are realistic goals for Strong and Texas in 2015.

 

Find Someone, Anyone, at Quarterback

Maybe it's time for redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard. Maybe it's true freshman Kai Locksley. Maybe it's a grad transfer who has yet to even speak to Strong, let alone arrive on campus. And for all anyone knows, maybe it's incumbent starter Tyrone Swoopes. 

Whoever starts at quarterback next season, Texas has to get as much as possible out of the position.

Quarterback play was hit-and-miss in 2014, to put it lightly. While Swoopes was put in a tough situation, writers like Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning Newsdon't have much confidence that he is the answer going forward. 

It's amazing that with all the quarterback talent coming out of Texas, the Longhorns can't nail down a top-flight signal-caller. Maybe Heard will change that narrative. With a more wide-open offense being installed this year, perhaps quarterbacks will be more interested in coming to Austin. 

Either way, it's important the quarterback spot isn't a liability again. In theory, all Swoopes had to do last year was move the chains, because the defense was so good. That might not be the situation this time around. 

 

Find One or Two New Leaders on Defense

That leads to the next point: Defense was the one thing that kept Texas in games last season. 

The best players on the team were on that side of the ball: defensive end Cedric Reed, linebacker Jordan Hicks, defensive tackle Malcom Brown and cornerback Quandre Diggs. Of those four major departures, the losses of Brown and Diggs hurt the most. 

Brown had a legitimate case to be the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and Diggs was the outspoken emotional leader. It was Diggs who was unafraid to call out his own teammates and, at least publicly, seemed more hellbent than anyone on resurrecting the program. 

Now it's time for someone else—maybe multiple people—to take on that role. Per Ourlads.com, the Longhorns have to replace seven starters on defense.

So who steps up?

Defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway seems like a natural fit. Ridgeway was overshadowed by Reed and Brown but put together a solid season with 9.5 tackles for loss. He'll be a junior and a veteran on the team.

It's the same story with cornerback Duke Thomas, who will be a senior. Again, Diggs got most of the attention from opposing quarterbacks last season, which freed up Thomas to lead the team with 10 pass breakups. 

It wouldn't be surprising to see some 2015 freshmen crack the defensive two-deep or even start, so it'll be up to guys like Ridgeway and Thomas to show them the ropes. 

 

Get Young Players on the Field

The future faces of Texas football may be in the 2015 class. How many of those players will see the field right away? Maybe several of them. 

Linebacker Malik Jefferson was the No. 1 player in the state of Texas according to 247Sports. He's a program-defining pickup for Strong. 

But Jefferson probably won't be the only one who sees playing time. Running back Chris Warren, cornerbacks Chris Boyd and Holton Hill and receiver John Burt could be among those who make an immediate impact, according to Max Olson of ESPN.com

Texas is going to have a young team in 2015, and the list of signees who can help this team immediately could be a long one. Hill, Boyd, DeShon Elliott, Chris Warren III, Devonaire Clarington, Gilbert Johnson and John Burt are among the many incoming players who could be relied upon early, but they'll have to show up ready to go when they enroll at the end of May. And you never know who will rise up that list -- remember, Jason Hall was Texas' lowest-rated recruit a year ago.

No matter whether a player is a 5-star or a 2-star recruit, adjusting to the college game is tough. Keep in mind that most will have been on campus for only a few months. They're going to be thrown into the fire, and mistakes will be made. 

That's OK. Ideally, these young players will look different—for the better—by the time November and December roll around. Strong is an excellent coach and he has a staff capable of developing players. The only way to do that, though, is to put those players in live (and tough) situations. 

2015 could be another tough year for the Longhorns. Scraping to six wins could be a challenge again. Ultimately, though, it should be a defining season in terms of turning the program around. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. Stats courtesy of CFBStats.com

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oklahoma Football Players, Athletic Director Comment on Racist Fraternity Chant

With the University of Oklahoma still reeling from the video showing members of a school fraternity shouting a racist chant, the football team and the athletic director have released separate statements on the situation. 

Per Oklahoma Athletics' Twitter account, athletic director Joe Castiglione said he is going to meet with the university president and members of the football team about the investigation into the fraternity:  

In addition to Castiglione's statement, Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight tweeted out a full statement from the entire football team on the matter:

The statement reads as follows:

In light of the recent release of an undeniably, disgustingly racist video featuring members of a fraternity at our university, we the student-athletes of the University of Oklahoma football team have met to discuss the issues that are at the heart of this matter. This single incident brings to the surface pervasive issues that must be confronted and resolved in order for the university to move forward. We applaud the actions that the university has taken thus far, and we appreciate President Boren's swift and decisive actions following the controversy. We thank Coach Stoops and the staff for wholeheartedly supporting our decisions as a team. As a team, our goal first and foremost is to raise awareness of racism and discrimination on college campuses nationwide. These types of incidents occur nationwide every single year, and our hope is to shed light on this issue and promote meaningful change at a national level. But before we can change the nation, we make it our mission to change our campus. We seek to accomplish this goal by stepping out of the spotlight and integrating the student-athlete experience and the student experience. As student athletes of all races, classes and creeds, we hope to show the university and the community that we are defined by more than the numbers on our jerseys, and that we are human beings that desire to get to know our classmates as we all attempt to end the culture of exclusivity on this campus. Secondary to accomplishing these goals, we also seek disciplinary action for those responsible. The two students that have already been expelled are only a symptom of a larger disease, a disease perpetuated by the leadership of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The chant was not invented by the two that led it, but was taught to underclassmen by people of higher authority. As a team, we have come to a consensus that, in any organization, the leadership is responsible for the culture created and, in this case, encouraged. Being a student at the University of Oklahoma is a privilege, and allowing this culture to thrive is against everything it means to be a Sooner. Ignorance is no excuse. Therefore, we would like to urge the university to continue to investigate the Executive Board of SAE, and we trust that this investigation has already begun. It is our passionately expressed desire as members of the football team for the leadership of SAE to be expelled, suspended, or otherwise disciplined severely. Moving forward, we seek to continue to raise awareness for this issue and reiterate that this is much greater than football. We have not practiced this week, and will not be practicing today as we will demonstrate silently on Owen Field during our normal practice time. We will not forget about this during spring break, and upon our return to the practice field on Monday, March 23, we will continue to address this issue in our media opportunities and by wearing black during our practices. We cannot express how grateful we are to Coach Stoops and the coaching staff for supporting each and every action we have taken, even when these actions may have seemed extreme. We simply cannot wait to get back on the practice field in our pursuit of a national championship, but even a national championship is not more important than using our platform as student athletes to make our university and our nation a better place. We look forward to working with Coach Stoops, Mr. Castiglione, and President Boren to improve the state of our campus and our nation going forward! Boomer Sooner!

Oklahoma's football team has felt the effect of the fraternity members' actions, with 247Sports 4-star recruit Jean Delance withdrawing his commitment to the school. He told B/R's Damon Sayles that he couldn't "go [to Oklahoma] and say I'm comfortable with being there, especially with what my family went through."

While the racist chants were made by a select group of people at the university, it's not the kind of thing that can or should be swept under the rug. Oklahoma has a lot of work to do to repair its image, if that's even possible, but at least the people in prominent positions are going to do what they can to make sure ignorant and hateful things like this don't happen again. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bold Predictions for Alabama Football Spring Practice

The Alabama Crimson Tide football program's spring practices are in full swing as the team looks to continue its SEC dominance. Despite making the first-ever College Football Playoff, there are still some question marks for Nick Saban and his squad.

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee offers his bold predictions from Alabama's spring practices thus far. 

Who will challenge Jake Coker for the quarterback position? How will the Tide address their secondary issues? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Cameron Lewis to LSU: Tigers Land 4-Star Safety Prospect

LSU has a long tradition of excellence within its secondary, and it took a big step toward preserving its reputation by landing highly touted safety prospect Cameron Lewis Thursday.  

According to Scout.com's Chad Simmons, the Monroe, Louisiana, native has committed to playing for the Tigers in 2016:

Lewis is a four-star prospect, per 247Sports, and he is rated the No. 13 safety in his class. He also plays quarterback at the high school level, and while he is not expected to be under center at LSU, it shows that he has plenty of versatility.

As pointed out by Michael Detillier of WWL-870, Lewis' greatest attribute may be his ability to locate and attack the football after it leaves the quarterback's hand:

Much of the Tigers' success in recent years has been predicated on the secondary's penchant for making big plays and creating turnovers.

There is little doubt that Lewis fits that mold, and it is easy to envision him being a key part of the LSU defense in the very near future.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Odds Where Athletic Safety Deontay Anderson Lands at Next Level

Deontay Anderson, a 4-star safety in the 2016 class, per 247Sports, is still undecided on the college program with which he will continue his career. With many offers on the table, Anderson has a tough decision ahead of him. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Adam Kramer lays down his odds on where he believes the talented defensive back will land at the next level. 

Where will Deontay Anderson play his college ball? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Owamagbe Odighizuwa Is a Name to Remember in 2015 NFL Draft

Oh-wah-MAH-bay Oh-DIGGY-zoo-wah.

Roger Goodell should be practicing that pronunciation for UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa now, because there is a good chance the NFL commissioner will be announcing his name as one of the 32 picks in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft.

The spelling of Odighizuwa’s name can be tough to remember, and he was not often the player who stood out most on UCLA’s defense. But the player often simply identified as “Owa” has a case—even alongside quarterback Brett Hundley and inside linebacker Eric Kendricks—for being the Bruins’ best NFL prospect this year.

Ball-watchers and box-score scouts probably did not take much notice of Odighizuwa, who only recorded 12.5 sacks in four playing seasons at UCLA. Those who paid close attention to the play on the defensive line, however, should have noticed that Odighizuwa regularly wreaked havoc in the trenches.

After missing the entire 2013 season with a hip injury, Odighizuwa bounced back to have the best season of his career in 2014. He recorded 59 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and four pass breakups—all career highs—and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection.

Since then, Odighizuwa’s draft stock has only continued to rise, as he has impressed observers at the Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and UCLA’s pro day.

There are many qualities about Odighizuwa that make him one of this year’s most intriguing draft prospects, as well as a few reasons for teams to be concerned. But before one digs into Odighizuwa’s tape and his strengths and weaknesses, one should understand how much the 22-year-old has already overcome to get to where he is today.

 

A Journey Full of Adversity

Born April 1, 1992 in Columbus, Ohio, according to UCLA’s official website, Odighizuwa had a nomadic childhood. As reported in a 2009 ESPN.com article by JC Shurburtt, Odighizuwa lived in Nigeria for five years before moving back to the United States, first to Virginia and then to Portland, Oregon, where he played prep football at David Douglas High School.

While some NFL draft prospects had football-playing dads who taught them the game, Odighizuwa did not have that benefit. "His father, Peter, is serving three life sentences for a triple homicide at the Appalachian School of Law (Virginia) in 2002," as noted in Bob McGinn’s NFL draft outlook for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Odighizuwa, in an interview with Mark Whicker of the Los Angeles Daily News last August, credited his mother, Abieyuwa, for keeping him and his three younger brothers on the right path.

“She held us together, she was the rock,” Odighizuwa told Whicker.

Odighizuwa has also credited other role models in his life for helping him along the way. 

In spite of all he has had to overcome, Odighizuwa performed well both on the field and in the classroom at UCLA. He was the Maggie Gilbert Academic Achievement Award winner in 2012, according to his bio on the school’s website, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, according to Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News.

From adverse circumstances growing up to his 2013 hip injury, Odighizuwa has yet to allow anything to stop him from succeeding. This history should be encouraging to NFL teams, who must now determine how likely Odighizuwa is to overcome his next great challenge and become a productive player at the sport’s highest level.

 

Physical Tools and a Well-Rounded Skill Set

As he proved at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, Odighizuwa’s physical attributes stack up right alongside those of the other top edge defenders in the 2015 draft class. At 6’3”, 267 pounds, with 33 3/4” arms and 11” hands, Odighizuwa ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash and posted terrific numbers across the board.

Odighizuwa is not likely to be among the top five edge players selected this year; those players are expected to be (in no specific order) Florida’s Dante Fowler, Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Kentucky’s Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Missouri’s Shane Ray and Nebraska’s Randy Gregory.

That said, Odighizuwa arguably has the best combination of size, speed, length and strength of any edge defender in the 2015 draft class.

Odighizuwa has a great burst off the line of scrimmage, and can bring pressure in a hurry if he has a lane to the opposing quarterback.

He also exhibits the ability to convert speed to power and drive a blocker back with a bull rush, like he did in the following clip from UCLA’s win over Virginia this past season (see No. 94, top of screen).

When an opposing offensive line leaves a gap to Odighizuwa’s inside, he is often able to exploit it. In addition to his ability to accelerate, Odighizuwa plays with violent hands and has a moderately effective spin move.

Even when Odighizuwa cannot get to the quarterback, he can be a threat to make a play. His long arms, big hands and 39” vertical leap make it possible for him to get in the lane of passing attempts and swat them down, like he did twice—including the example below—in the Alamo Bowl against Kansas State.

Odighizuwa has the physical traits of a top pass-rusher, but where he really shines is defending the run. In fact, Odighizuwa might end up being the best run-stopping edge defender in this year’s class.

Strong at the point of attack, Odighizuwa consistently holds his ground against offensive linemen and makes plays along the line of scrimmage. While many of the aforementioned top prospects have trouble with getting driven away from rushing attempts, Odighizuwa should be able to make an immediate impact versus the run in the NFL.

In addition to setting the edge effectively, Odighizuwa can crash in to make plays up the middle and also use his speed to pursue runs outside. He is a typically sound tackler.

While Odighizuwa did not make as many spectacular, flashy plays as the edge players who are vying to be potential top-15 picks, he is as well-equipped as any prospect at his position to be a quality three-down starter in the NFL. That said, there are still some areas of concern that could hurt Odighizuwa’s draft stock.

 

Limited Pass-Rushing Ability, Questionable Versatility and Durability

The most evident problem with Odighizuwa’s game is that he lacks the bend and flexibility to turn the corner effectively as an outside pass-rusher. For as many impressive qualities as he put on tape this past season, one thing he rarely ever showed was the ability to win around the outside of an offensive tackle.

While Odighizuwa has very good burst and speed, he is too linear in his movements to win consistently on the edge. Even Kansas State center B.J. Finney, playing right tackle in the Alamo Bowl only due to an injury to the Wildcats’ starter, was able to shield Odighizuwa outside the pocket with ease, like he did to No. 94 in the clip below (bottom of screen).

Odighizuwa’s inability to turn the corner is unlikely to improve significantly, and that weakness limits his potential as an NFL edge-rusher.

To compensate, Odighizuwa must work upon developing his pass-rushing moves. While he is active and strong with his hands, he does not show a great ability to disengage from blocks. He is overly reliant upon his spin move and needs to be more skillful with his upper body, as physical tools alone won’t be enough for him to make a consistent presence in opposing backfields.

In spite of his pass-rushing limitations, Odighizuwa still projects well as a left defensive end for a defense that runs a 4-3 scheme. Given his size and ability to win inside, Odighizuwa can also line up as a 3-technique defensive tackle in pass-rushing situations, which could maximize his value.

Teams that run 3-4 defenses, on the other hand, have more reason to be wary of investing an early-round pick on Odighizuwa, who might not have a natural fit in those schemes.

He played as a 3-4 defensive end at UCLA, and his skill set as a whole is actually tailor-made for that position. At 6’3”, 267 pounds, however, he is undersized to play that position in the NFL.

His length could enable him to play as a 5-technique, but he would likely be asked to add 15-20 pounds, which could be tough for him to do without compromising his athleticism.

From a measurable standpoint, Odighizuwa looks as though he could be a great fit to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. Playing from a stand-up position could actually help him as a pass-rusher, as utilizing his speed from wider angles could lessen the need to turn the corner tightly around blockers on the edge.

Making the move to outside linebacker from defensive end, however, is a tough transition that many players fail to make successfully. It would not play into Odighizuwa’s strengths, especially as a run defender, and it is uncertain whether he has the instincts and change-of-direction skills to be effective in space and dropping back into coverage.

Behind the scenes, it’s likely that Odighizuwa is impressing NFL teams with his character and intelligence in the interview rooms. One area that could cause concern for all NFL teams, however, are his medicals.

Having had surgeries on each of his hips, Odighizuwa was one of the players that NFL teams had “a close eye on” at the combine in regards to his medical evaluation, according to CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler. That might not end up having any significant effect on his draft stock, however, as Odighizuwa said doctors “were real impressed with everything” in Indianapolis, per Brugler.

 

Where Will Odighizuwa Be Drafted?

Accounting for his deficiencies as a pass-rusher, Odighizuwa’s profile fits that of a second-round pick more than that of a first-round selection. That said, Odighizuwa ranks among the top 32 prospects in a draft class that is lacking in top-end talent.

At UCLA’s pro day earlier this week, Odighizuwa only participated in position drills—having no need to improve upon his numbers from the combine—but continued to raise his draft stock with “another strong outing,” according to Jordan Lee of the Daily Bruin.

“Odighizuwa is built like a statue, but showed off his athleticism by moving very well in space when asked to drop back,” Lee wrote.

NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer, who was also at the pro day in Westwood, likewise came away with the impression that Odighizuwa’s draft stock is moving up.

The ideal spot for Odighizuwa in Round 1, given scheme and need, might be the Dallas Cowboys, who could draft him with the No. 27 overall pick. He could be an upgrade at left defensive end, but could also help replace 3-technique defensive tackle Henry Melton—who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, according to Melton's agent, Jordan Woy—in pass-rushing situations.

Among teams who run 4-3 defenses, other potential fits in Round 1 could include the Cincinnati Bengals, who hold the No. 21 overall pick, and the Detroit Lions, who pick 23rd.

Should he fall into Round 2, teams who could target him then include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 34 overall), Oakland Raiders (No. 35), Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 36) and Atlanta Falcons (No. 42).

Regardless of where he ends up, there are many reasons to believe Odighizuwa will have a productive NFL career. He has great physical gifts, an impressive all-around skill set and a proven ability to overcome the obstacles life throws his way.

 

All GIFs made via Gfycat using videos from Draft Breakdown and Dailymotion.

Dan Hope is an NFL/NFL Draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Football: Ranking the Bulldogs' Top Recruiting Targets for 2016

The 2015 signing class has a chance to be a great class for the Georgia Bulldogs. With guys like Trent Thompson, Jonathan Ledbetter and Rico McGraw in the fold, the class has a chance to do some special things before it leaves Athens.

That said, the 2016 signing class is shaping up to be on the same level. Seven players have committed, including Jacob Eason, who is the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the country.

The Bulldogs are looking to get stronger on the offensive and defensive lines, and they are also looking to add depth at the skill positions. There are some talented recruits out there, and the Bulldogs are not letting them out of their sight.

Here are the rankings of the top recruiting targets for the Bulldogs.

Begin Slideshow

Texas Football: Ranking the Longhorns' Top Recruiting Targets for 2016

With their first 60 offers already out, the Texas Longhorns have begun hard pursuit of their top targets for 2016.

Looking at the projected depth chart, Charlie Strong's needs are obvious. The entire defense is young and will need as much talent as Strong can pump into it between now and next spring.

On offense, the Longhorns have already addressed two of their most pressing needs. Quarterback Shane Buechele has already committed, joining two very good receivers in Collin Johnson and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps.

These three commitments will allow the staff to focus on replenishing the ranks along the offensive line, which also needs as many bodies as it can get.

Though as of now, the best available talent is on defense. Guys like Ed Oliver and Eric Monroe should get most of the attention until those needs are filled.

Going after a well-known talent like Tren'Davian Dickson would be a good idea too.

 

1. DT Ed Oliver

Because of his elite size, athleticism and versatility, Ed Oliver has been, and should be, Texas' top target for the 2016 cycle.

Already 285 pounds, Oliver possesses a truly remarkable skill set. He has all of the power you would expect from a guy his size, but with the quick feet and burst that should belong to somebody 40 pounds lighter.

It's this rare combination that makes Oliver so important for Texas. He's going to be big enough to play tackle, but he also has enough lateral agility to play the edge, as noted by SB Nation's Wescott Eberts. With some improvement in his pass-rushing technique, he should be able to contribute immediately.

Oliver's currently considered a heavy LSU lean, so the Horns have some work to do. The same could have been said about Malik Jefferson this time last year.

 

2. DT Kendell Jones

A tackle through and through, the massive Kendell Jones comes in just behind Oliver on the Longhorns' priority list.

Whatever shock value Oliver provides with his running back-like agility, Jones matches with his sheer size.

Yes, you read that right. Jones is closer to being 400 pounds than not at age 16.

And it's not like that size is holding him back. His composition is every bit deserving of being nicknamed "The Hulk," and his tape shows a player who can really blow guys off the ball.

Jones is currently considered a Texas lean, though he told 247Sports' Chris Hummer that he's still evaluating everything. However, he did show some excitement over the Longhorns' recent hire of line coach Brick Haley.

"He's excited, like I got to go get this guy," Jones said. "He's a trustworthy and responsible man."

The massive recruit will be back in Austin later this month, where the coaches hope they'll be able to push him closer to a commitment.

 

3. OT Jean Delance

It's not just that picking up Jean Delance would pile it on during a rough patch for the rival Oklahoma Sooners. He's one of the best tackles out there, and the Horns need as many offensive linemen as they can get.

In light of the despicable video that emerged over the weekend, Delance broke off his commitment to the Oklahoma football program. Though he would explain to Bleacher Report's own Damon Sayles that the video was the cause, it's more likely that its emergence was simply the last straw.

Delance has picked up 21 offers since his commitment to the Sooners back in November. Now it looks like a two-way battle between the Longhorns and their other (sort of) rival Texas A&M.

With Greg Little almost certain to play in College Station and Willie Allen opting out of junior day, Delance, JP Urquidez and guard Chris Owens pretty much cover the impact players at the position.

The Horns are in a good spot with Urquidez, who told 247Sports' Jeff Howe he thought about committing at junior day. Then there's Owens, who is Shane Buechele's high school teammate.

Texas pretty much needs all three, but Delance will require the most work over the next year.

 

4. S Eric Monroe

He doesn't quite have the coverage skills of top safety Brandon Jones, but Eric Monroe would work out just fine on the back.

Jones and Monroe are the top two safeties in the class, each bringing physicality and advanced coverage ability to the position, albeit in different ways. Jones projects as the better man-to-man defender, while Monroe is a more natural center fielder.

As of now, it looks like Texas has a better shot of getting the latter in burnt orange. He made it to junior day last month, and Galena Park North Shore has historically funneled talent to Austin, such as Tristian Houston in 2015.

Either one of these elite prospects would have an early role. Monroe just seems more available, and he should be the higher priority, at least until the Horns can get Jones on campus.

 

5. WR Tren'Davian Dickson

This last spot is really a matter of preference.

For the defensive side of the ball, hybrid end/linebacker Erick Fowler makes a lot of sense, as does thumper Dontavious Jackson. On offense, you could make the case for Urquidez and Owens, who were mentioned above.

But is anyone going to excite prospective teammates like receiver Tren'Davian Dickson? Don't count on it.

Watching Dickson play receiver is pure bliss. The 6'1" burner plays much bigger than his frame, capable of making contested catches then shredding defenders in the open field. In 2014, he turned those talents into 39 receiving scores, which is a national record.

Dickson doesn't quite fill a pressing need at this stage. He is, however, a recruit with a big reputation, one that his classmates will want to play with. That matters now in recruiting, and he has the skills to make an even bigger difference once he gets on campus.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all stats and information courtesy of 247Sports.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

BYU Football: Ranking the 5 Hardest Games of the 2015 Schedule

BYU is over a week into its spring football practices, and Bronco Mendenhall surely has his team's focus on the upcoming season. Although the Cougar basketball team is stealing the spotlight so far this month, the football squad has a big year coming up.

BYU's 2015 schedule is among the toughest in school history with big-name games almost every week. The Cougars return several starters, including stars like Taysom Hill and Bronson Kaufusi, and could be poised for a breakout season.

But what games will stand in the way of the Cougars having a big year? Here are five of them.

Begin Slideshow

Alabama Pro Day 2015: Recap, Reaction for Amari Cooper, Landon Collins and More

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Hank Crisp Indoor Facility has become a mecca of sorts for NFL scouts who make the trip here each year, and Wednesday was no different.

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams were on hand to watch a whopping 17 former Alabama players work out in hopes of getting to the next level. Dee Hart, the former Alabama running back who transferred to Colorado State, worked out with his former Crimson Tide teammates too.

All eyes were on Blake Sims, who was throwing for the first time since the combine, this time with his former teammates he was familiar with.

Sims, Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, Christion Jones and Brian Vogler scripted 50 plays leading up to the workout with Sims’ quarterback coach, Ken Mastrole, who was in town to help with Sims’ workout.

Mastrole led the passing display.

Sims showed a good release but struggled with accuracy at times. The biggest surprise came when Sims himself ran a few routes with the running backs, catching balls out of the backfield.

“Six weeks ago I was throwing touchdowns, and now I'm running routes,” said Sims, who is trying to show he can play running back or receiver if need be. “It was good, thanks to T.J. (Yeldon). He taught me some things.”

If you were looking to see a show from Alabama’s stars such as Cooper and Landon Collins, you were probably disappointed. Cooper didn’t feel the need to improve on his 4.42 40-yard dash time from the NFL combine but said he could do better.

“I ran a 4.3. In training, I never ran a 4.4 so I thought I was going to run a 4.3,” Cooper said. “There were some things I could have worked on when I ran.”

White continues to show that he can be a productive receiver at the next level. He ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and improved on that at the pro day.

“Some scouts said 4.34, some said 4.37,” White told reporters. “It was all over the board, 4.3 something.”

Injuries and playing behind Cooper limited some of White's production, which led Saban to call him underappreciated.

"I think DeAndrew White is probably a guy that I would, if you said, 'Who would be most underappreciated by the NFL?' because he has a lot more ability than what his production maybe has been here, whether it's because of injuries or whatever that he's battled through,” Saban said.

Another player continuing to turn heads is fullback Jalston Fowler. Fowler said scouts told him he ran a 4.72-4.75 range, which would be about a two-tenths improvement from his combine time.

He showed good hands in the open field too, grabbing a one-handed catch over the middle at one point.

"I think there's no question Jalston Fowler can do so many things well,” Saban said. “He's a really good receiver. He's a great blocker. He has running skills with the ball in his hand so he actually can be a big back for somebody. There's still some situations where guys like Jalston Fowler have tremendous value.”

On defense, Trey DePriest got to go through drills after having to sit out the combine because of surgery. When DePriest spoke with reporters, he hadn’t yet gotten any of his measurables, but he said he felt good about what he did, while his two-year-old son, Onyx, watched from the stands.

“Just getting to participate, for real. Not everybody gets to do this, so coming in here and getting to participate with my boys, too. Who knows what I’ll get to see them again?” DePriest said.

Collins didn’t run the 40 but went through some position-specific drills. He said he plans on attending the draft in person in Chicago.

“I wouldn’t say stressful. It’s just the experience. You can come in here and have fun with it,” Collins said. “That’s basically what I tried to do. It’s a good thing. I try to come out and have fun. We’ve been playing for all our life, why stress about it? Let’s ball.”

Here are some more notables from Alabama’s pro day:

- Safety Nick Perry said T.J. Yeldon told him he ran in the 4.4 range, which would be a big improvement over the running back’s 4.61 at the combine. Perry said he ran a 4.6. Tight end Brian Vogler heard he was in the 4.7s. Xzavier Dickson said scouts told him he was around 4.65-4.67. Austin Shepherd said he ran a 5.2. Arie Kouandjio said he didn’t ask what his 40 time was. "It's not that I didn't want to know,” he said. It's things that are already in the past, and I'm a forward kind of guy."

- Colorado State had its pro day Wednesday, but its star running back, Dee Hart, was working out in Tuscaloosa. It was good to see Hart, who is still beloved by his former Crimson Tide teammates, working with them and getting that kind of exposure.

- There didn’t appear to be any NFL head coaches in attendance, but New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese took in the action in person.

 

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

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Elite 2017 ATH Richie LeCounte Reveals the Play That Put Him on the Map

Richard LeCounte, a 4-star athlete from Hinesville, Georgia, per 247Sports, is still uncommitted on where he will play at the next level. With many offers on the table from some of the top programs in the country, LeCounte has a tough decision ahead of him. 

Bleacher Report caught up with LeCounte at the Cocoa Beach 7v7 Pylon event to discuss his goals in the game and the play that put him on the map. 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Juke Gotta Be Kidding Me: Michael Felder's Top Showstoppers of the 2016 Class

There are recruits that absolutely make you say, "Wow." These are the showstoppers that have caught our eyes, and they are impressing scouts around the country with their scintillating play.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder discusses the recruits that really show some impressive moves on the field.

What do you think of these recruits? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star Baveon Johnson Commits to Florida State: Offense of Future Looks Scary

Florida State must face the task of replacing a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback this year, but pieces continue to come together for future offensive fireworks in Tallahassee.

The Seminoles secured another one Wednesday, landing a commitment from 4-star offensive lineman Baveon Johnson, per Ryan Bartow of 247Sports.

"Always wanted to be a 'Nole," he told Bartow, via Noles247's Chris Nee. "I grew up loving the school."

He owns the artwork to prove it:

Johnson, an in-state standout from Lake Gibson High School, is rated second nationally among centers in 247Sports' composite rankings. He gives the Seminoles 12 commitments in the 2016 cycle, including 10 players who warrant at least 4-star status.

The 6'3", 310-pound prospect is a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection and recently accepted an invitation to compete at The Opening, an elite football showcase held at Nike's world headquarters. 

Johnson received a Florida State scholarship offer last month while attending the school's on-campus junior day. Less than three weeks later, he chose the Seminoles over a list of options that included Maryland, Nebraska, Mississippi State, Wisconsin and Miami.

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has landed a lineman who possesses an ideal skill set to dominate inside. His college-ready physique is enhanced by outstanding footwork.

Johnson tosses around interior opponents with power and an emotional edge that adds to his intimidation. He can reach gaps in pull situations and works his way to the second level to take out linebackers as a lead blocker.

His toughness up front is exactly what Florida State is searching for after loading up at offensive skill positions earlier in this cycle. This class already features 5-star quarterback Malik Henry, top-rated tight end Isaac Nauta and 4-star wide receiver Keith Gavin

The Seminoles are also a serious threat to flip prized Auburn pledge Nate Craig-Myers, who spent time in Tallahassee two weeks ago.

Florida State's 2016 recruiting class currently rates second nationally in 247Sports' team rankings.

It's an impressive start that follows another sensational national signing day.

Fisher and his staff secured four 5-star prospects for their 2015 class in February, including former Michigan wide receiver commit George Campbell. The dynamic pass-catcher is already on campus for spring practice, along with 4-star Miami receiver Da'Vante Phillips and running back Jacques Patrick, who finished high school on Florida's top-10 all-time rushing yardage list.

Further offensive reinforcements will arrive this summer, headlined by 4-star quarterback Deondre Francois, 4-star receiver Auden Tate and high-ceiling offensive tackle Abdul Bello

These 2015 and 2016 recruiting hauls are loaded with playmakers who have the potential to lead Florida State into a new offensive era while maintaining status as national championship contenders.

Considering the impact that true freshmen like Dalvin Cook and Travis Rudolph made as members of Winston's supporting cast last season, these premier prospects have the ability to fight for early playing time.

Johnson is just the latest talent thrown into the mix. He could prove to be among the most valuable by consistently opening holes and keeping his quarterback safe.

 

Recruit ratings and info courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Football: Ranking the Hardest Games of the 2015 Schedule

Notre Dame football begins spring practice in seven short days, and the Irish kick off the 2015 regular season in less than six months.

So with football around the corner, let’s turn our attention to the upcoming season and analyze Notre Dame’s 2015 schedule. We’ll rank the hardest games for the Irish, considering timing and venue—everything that goes into the game—not just the opponent.

At first glance, Notre Dame’s 2015 slate of games may not be as challenging as its 2014 schedule on paper. When we power ranked the 2014 opponents last summer, there were seven teams drawing top-25 consideration (Louisville, North Carolina, Arizona State, Michigan, Stanford, USC and Florida State).

This year? There are only five teams—Georgia Tech, Clemson, Navy, USC and Stanford—on the 2015 docket that won at least eight games in 2014. The combined 2014 record of Notre Dame’s 2015 opponents was 82-71 (.536).

But of course, it’s way too early to jump to any conclusions. Last year, we pegged Northwestern as Notre Dame’s third-easiest game and Michigan as its second-hardest game. Welp.

Let’s dive into the 2015 edition, ranking the opponents based on their 2014 success, their additions and losses and the scheduling logistics.

Begin Slideshow

USC Pro Day 2015: Recap, Reaction for Leonard Williams and Top Trojans

When USC throws a pro day, the entire NFL shows up.

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams attended Wednesday afternoon's showcase, where they watched 15 former Trojans perform an assortment of on-field workouts. 

Here is the full list of participants, courtesy of USC Athletics:

Defensive tackle Leonard Williams, a projected top-five draft pick, forewent numerical testing after a strong performance at the scouting combine in February. He did, however, perform positional workouts.

Here he is showing some nimble footwork:

And here he is treating a blocking sled like a throw pillow:

Regardless, Williams' decision to take things easy opened the door for other players. The biggest beneficiary? Wide receiver George Farmer.

Farmer was the No. 8 overall recruit in the country in 2011, but injuries derailed his college career. He caught five total passes his first three seasons and missed all of 2013 with an injury, but he returned to catch 25 balls for 314 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games as a junior.

Eager to bank a paycheck while he's healthy, Farmer forewent his senior year and declared for the draft. His decision earned widespread skepticism—again: He's caught 30 career passes—but he justified his confidence with an official 4.35 in the 40-yard dash.

Farmer didn't attend the scouting combine, but his 40 would have tied Chris Conley (Georgia) and Kevin White (West Virginia) as the No. 3 mark among receivers. Considering his listed size (6'1", 220 lbs), that's a phenomenal number to have posted.

Farmer's vertical jump (34.5") left a lot to be desired, but Wednesday was a big day regardless. That 40 time earned him some money, and so did posting 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.

Fellow wide receiver Nelson Agholor, the higher-regarded NFL prospect, and running back Buck Allen stood on most of their scores from the combine. Agholor ran a 4.42 40 in Indianapolis, and Allen ran a 4.53, so there was no good reason for either to run again.

Agholor and Allen ran position drills, which is where they'll make their money anyway. Each has such a natural understanding of his position, especially Agholor, whose quantifiable performance at the combine—when combined with his intangible qualities—should make him a late first-round or early second-round draft pick.

Joel Klatt of Fox Sports raved about Agholor's hands:

Allen told reporters he scheduled a workout with the Carolina Panthers, who recently released running back DeAngelo Williams and must add young legs behind Jonathan Stewart. He will conduct the workout for Carolina Friday, per Bryan Fischer of NFL.com:

Shaw missed most of the season with ankle injuries—injuries derived from that infamous three-story fall—and so he didn't provide a lot of senior tape. Scouts arrived at pro day with an eye on his positional workouts, and though he didn't turn heads, he looked fine:

Any other notable performances? Sure.

Let's roll through them rapid-fire:

  • According to Real Sports Entertainment, linebacker Hayes Pullard ran a 4.59 40. If someone shares that time, DON'T BELIEVE THEM. Officially, Pullard clocked a 4.74 that was right on par with his time from the combine (4.78). If and when he's drafted, it will be for his strength, his leadership and his production—not his speed.
  • Tight end Randall Telfer skipped pro day after suffering a Lisfranc injury, per Michael Lev of The Orange Country Register. Telfer also skipped most of the combine, so this news comes as a major disappointment.
  • Former Trojan D.J. Morgan participated after retiring from the team in September. He retired so he could focus on track but always maintained that he had eyes for the NFL. Morgan played both running back and defensive back in Los Angeles, and though it's unclear where his future lies at the next level—or even what "next level" means—he did make noise with a 39.5-inch vertical.

 

Note: All recruiting info refers to the 247Sports composite rankings

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Spring Game Dates, Times, and TV Options for Every Top 25 Team

The calendar might not say spring for another week or so, but the sounds of pads smacking and whistles blowing say otherwise.

Spring football is well underway throughout the country, with most FBS teams in the midst of their allotted 16 practice days during a five-week span during the offseason. These workouts help new players get acclimated to the program while allowing upgraded systems to get implemented.

This culminates with an end-of-practice exhibition or scrimmage usually referred to as a spring game, which is open to the public and can serve as an early chance to see the stars of next season's team.

Spring games are scheduled nearly every week between now (Colorado holds its scrimmage on March 15) through early May, with Duke having already held its game on Feb. 28.

Using Bleacher Report's post-signing day Top 25 as a guide, we've put together a handy list of the dates, times and (when applicable) TV info for fans looking to watch a school's spring game. 

 

NOTE: Spring game television information is current as of Wednesday, March 11.

Begin Slideshow

Frank Iheanacho Arrested: Latest Details, Mugshot and More on Texas A&M WR

Texas A&M wide receiver Frank Iheanacho has reportedly been suspended from taking part in any athletics activities after he was arrested Tuesday in Brazos County, Texas.   

According to Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicleciting the Brazos County justice system website, Iheanacho was "arrested on charges of failure to identify and providing false/fictitious information":

The charges stem from a February shoplifting incident in a Bryan Wal-Mart, according to KZNE Radio in College Station, which first reported the arrest. Iheanacho, a sophomore from Westside High, posted $2,000 bond on Tuesday, the day of his arrest.

Iheanacho has been suspended from all athletics activities per athletic department policy, according to an A&M spokesman.

Zwerneman also provided a look at Iheanacho's mugshot on Twitter:

Iheanacho played sparingly as a freshman in 2014, catching just two passes for 23 yards, but he was one of the top incoming receivers. He was ranked as the 13th-best wideout and the 89th-best player overall by 247Sports coming out of high school. 

The Aggies finished 2014 with a 7-5 record and defeated West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. Iheanacho caught one pass for 13 yards in the game. Zwerneman's report does mention the team is currently going through spring practice before spring break next week. 

The school, as well as head coach Kevin Sumlin, will certainly monitor Iheanacho's situation before making any final determinations about his football eligibility. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Football: 5 Redshirt Freshmen Ready to Contribute

As coach Brian Kelly enters his sixth season at Notre Dame, the program stands on solid ground. While both 2013 and 2014 fell short of their high-end expectations, Kelly has the program on the best footing we've seen since Lou Holtz roamed the sidelines. 

That has allowed the Irish to build their depth chart and stockpile talent that develops on the right timeline. 

A young roster in 2014 turns into an experienced group in 2015. And after sitting out as true freshmen last year, expect five redshirt freshmen to make their mark come this fall. 

With spring practice set to begin next week, let's look at five redshirt freshmen who are poised to make an impact. 

Begin Slideshow

Urban Meyer and Ohio State's Biggest Offseason Challenge

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State won't officially take the field as college football's defending national champion until Sept. 7, when the Buckeyes head to Blacksburg for a revenge game against the only team to beat them last season, Virginia Tech.

But that doesn't mean Urban Meyer will have to wait another six months to find the first opponent of the 2015 campaign.

It's a battle that started on the first day of Ohio State's spring practice on Tuesday and could continue all the way through a potential title defense in next season's College Football Playoff. With a roster full of young players eight weeks removed from winning the national championship—in football-crazed Columbus no less—Meyer knows he'll have to keep an eye on complacency as the Buckeyes inch toward the actual season.

"Do we have to be aware? We're human beings, man," Meyer responded when asked if he has to watch out for a sense of self-entitlement around his program. "Last year, I don't think we had that sense of entitlement at all. This year, I'm watching it."

Meyer said he hasn't seen any of it from his players—yet—but there's still nearly six months to go until the start of the season. The three-time national champion head coach has been in this position before, defending titles at Florida following the 2006 and 2008 seasons, neither time doing so successfully.

That wasn't necessarily due to complacency—the '07 Gators lost a lot of talent, and Meyer's '08 squad went undefeated before losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game—but the fourth-year Ohio State head coach has long stated his preference to coach an "angry" football team.

With a roster full of players who have just reached college football's pinnacle, that might not be the easiest attitude to install. After all, what's there to be angry about at Ohio State right now?

But if the words of Meyer's players are any indication, the Buckeyes aren't having any trouble coming up with sources of motivation—whether they be real or imaginary.

“We know that people are always going to doubt us, so that’s going to be a big thing for us,” senior linebacker Joshua Perry said after Tuesday's practice. "We know that we have a target on our back and that people are going to doubt us. We’ve still got something to prove every day that we go out there.”

Doubters? For Ohio State? Just two months removed from a national title run, 14 starters returning and three of the best quarterbacks in the country playing for arguably the nation's best coach? There can't be many.

But that hasn't stopped the Buckeyes from finding them.

“We did lose players who were vital to that team last year," left tackle Taylor Decker said. “I can see why there are reasons people could doubt us.

"Not that I believe in those,” he then added.

But while Perry and Decker—both three-year starters and presumed captains for the 2015 team—are already busy trying to maintain their team's competitive edge, they both are aware of the sense of complacency their head coach is fighting against. Make no mistake, Ohio State has gone from the hunters to the hunted after a playoff run that included wins over top-ranked Alabama and second-seeded Oregon.

It would be a shock if the Buckeyes weren't the country's preseason No. 1 team, and a favorable schedule would make anything short of a second consecutive playoff appearance a disappointing season. Bovada (via Odd Shark) currently lists Ohio State as a 4-1 favorite to repeat as national champion, the next closest team being Alabama at 7-1.

Decker, however, isn't ready to let his teammates buy it.

"It’s kind of scary, a team coming off a big season like we did, to have a letdown," the senior said. "You don’t want guys to think they’ve arrived or be entitled to winning games.”

Only many of these young Buckeyes have already arrived, the losses in last year's lineup being limited to just four players who were invited to last month's NFL Scouting Combine. Ohio State will return the current Heisman Trophy front-runner in Ezekiel Elliott, one of the nation's best defenders in Joey Bosa and one of the country's top quarterbacks—whether it be Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett or Braxton Miller who starts at signal-caller against the Hokies in September.

That, of course, is a long ways away, which is both good and bad for the Buckeyes. On the one hand, Ohio State has half a year left of hearing how great it is before taking the field for a game again. On the other, Meyer has that much time to guard against it.

"I don't feel it," Meyer said. "If I do, we dive right in. Not a whole lot of whispering. We dive right in and see what the problem is."

For now, Meyer insists he's more focused on seeing how his two new assistant coaches fit in with the Buckeyes' already established culture rather than forming an identity for next season's team. But if you listen to his players, the process already seems to be taking place.

"It wouldn’t be as fun if everybody was always cheering you on all the time," Perry said. "You kind of need those doubters to give you a little bit of that extra edge.”

It still remains unclear exactly who those doubters are. Just don't try telling that to the Buckeyes—they have mindset, and they're trying to maintain it.

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages