NCAA Football News

USC Football: 5 Best QBs Trojans Will Face in 2015

USC has the tremendous boost this season of having an established weapon at quarterback in Cody Kessler. The senior was one of the nation's most efficient arms last season and will be primed for a huge year in Los Angeles.

But the other side of the ball could be troublesome for the Trojans' big title hopes in 2015. USC finished 118th in pass defense last season and gave up plenty of big plays to some of the Pac-12's best quarterbacks.

Some of those same stars will be back to test USC's defense this season, and the Trojans will need to see improvement from their secondary in order to take the next step as a strong contender.

As the preseason starts to wind down, let's take a look at several of those top quarterbacks on the USC schedule this year. These signal-callers were picked based on their experience, overall team quality and previous results against the Trojans.

Begin Slideshow

Wake Forest WR Has a Secret Handshake with over 50 Members of the Team

Wake Forest receiver Cortez Lewis is some sort of handshake savant.

The redshirt freshman supposedly has a secret handshake with over 50 members of the team, so WF Athletics followed him around with a camera.

Yup, sure enough, he does.

Two questions:

  1. How does he remember so many different handshakes?
  2. How does he remember whom to do all those handshakes with?

If the team is lucky, Lewis’ memory works the same way when it comes to the playbook.

[YouTube]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Wake Forest WR Has a Secret Handshake with over 50 Members of the Team

Wake Forest receiver Cortez Lewis is some sort of handshake savant.

The redshirt freshman supposedly has a secret handshake with over 50 members of the team, so WF Athletics followed him around with a camera.

Yup, sure enough, he does.

Two questions:

  1. How does he remember so many different handshakes?
  2. How does he remember whom to do all those handshakes with?

If the team is lucky, Lewis’ memory works the same way when it comes to the playbook.

[YouTube]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

De'Andre Johnson, Former FSU QB, Enrolls at East Mississippi Community College

Former Florida State quarterback De'Andre Johnson has enrolled at East Mississippi Community College and is expected to play football for the program this fall.

ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy reported he is enrolled as a full-time student at the community college, with the fall semester set to start August 17. 

Johnson was dismissed from Florida State on July 6 after video was released showing him striking a woman in the face at a Tallahassee bar, via Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com.  

In July, he appeared on Good Morning America with Michael Strahan (via Sports Illustrated) and issued an apology for his actions. 

"There’s no explanation for that. I totally should have walked away," Johnson said. “I am ashamed of that. I’m sorry. I apologize to the lady in the incident, to her family, to my family, to my mother. I know I wasn’t raised that way."

The 19-year-old is scheduled to appear in court for battery charges this month, per WTXL-TV in Tallahassee. 

Per McMurphy's report, Johnson is the second high-profile quarterback from a Power Five conference who was dismissed to play at East Mississippi after Clemson's Chad Kelly last season. The East Mississippi Lions are one of the best junior college programs in the country, with two titles in the last three years, including a 12-0 mark with Kelly in 2014.  

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

De'Andre Johnson, Former FSU QB, Enrolls at East Mississippi Community College

Former Florida State quarterback De'Andre Johnson has enrolled at East Mississippi Community College and is expected to play football for the program this fall.

ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy reported he is enrolled as a full-time student at the community college, with the fall semester set to start August 17. 

Johnson was dismissed from Florida State on July 6 after video was released showing him striking a woman in the face at a Tallahassee bar, via Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com.  

In July, he appeared on Good Morning America with Michael Strahan (via Sports Illustrated) and issued an apology for his actions. 

"There’s no explanation for that. I totally should have walked away," Johnson said. “I am ashamed of that. I’m sorry. I apologize to the lady in the incident, to her family, to my family, to my mother. I know I wasn’t raised that way."

The 19-year-old is scheduled to appear in court for battery charges this month, per WTXL-TV in Tallahassee. 

Per McMurphy's report, Johnson is the second high-profile quarterback from a Power Five conference who was dismissed to play at East Mississippi after Clemson's Chad Kelly last season. The East Mississippi Lions are one of the best junior college programs in the country, with two titles in the last three years, including a 12-0 mark with Kelly in 2014.  

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez Stars in James Bond-Style Hype Video

“Rod…Rich Rod.”

Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez channeled his inner James Bond in a new hype video the team released.

The clip shows the Wildcats leader swinging from an upper-deck rope, players driving sports cars on the field and, to keep things football-related, highlights from last season.

Of course, the title Licence to Thrill is a play on the Bond film, Licence to Kill.

This is really some top-notch marketing.

[YouTube]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez Stars in James Bond-Style Hype Video

“Rod…Rich Rod.”

Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez channeled his inner James Bond in a new hype video the team released.

The clip shows the Wildcats leader swinging from an upper-deck rope, players driving sports cars on the field and, to keep things football-related, highlights from last season.

Of course, the title Licence to Thrill is a play on the Bond film, Licence to Kill.

This is really some top-notch marketing.

[YouTube]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Isaac Nauta Tweets Official Visit Plans: Who Holds Edge in Chase for 5-Star TE?

Isaac Nauta, perhaps the most prized uncommitted offensive prospect in high school football, is preparing plans for a multiconference college tour this season.

The 5-star tight end intends to officially visit Georgia, Michigan, USC and TCU, per his Twitter account:

He left his fifth and final official visit open—or at least private.

Nauta, a 6'4", 237-pound senior at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, decommitted from Florida State in July. He had spent the previous eight months considered a cornerstone of another impressive Seminoles recruiting class.

His decommitment occurred just weeks after his dominant performance at The Opening, an elite, invite-only showcase at Nike's world headquarters in Oregon. He teamed up with 4-star Florida State quarterback commit Malik Henry to reach the nationally televised championship game of the seven-on-seven tournament:

Both Henry and Nauta were named to the All-Tournament team, allowing Seminoles fans to imagine a future in which the young duo torched opponents in Tallahassee.

Instead, Nauta is resetting his recruitment. Only two of the tight end's official visits are return trips.

Georgia and TCU previously welcomed him to campus, while USC and Michigan will need to capitalize on upcoming opportunities to impress the coveted playmaker.

Nauta is a rare college-ready talent at tight end. He's rated No. 1 overall among pass targets, including all 2016 wide receiver prospects, in composite recruiting rankings.

Attention shifted toward the Georgia Bulldogs immediately after Nauta distanced himself from Florida State. He starred in the Peach State at Buford High School prior to his IMG transfer this offseason.

The Bulldogs have been contenders since the start of this widespread recruitment. After initially striking out on Nauta, Georgia is now the perceived team to beat.

According to 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions, 72 percent of experts expect Nauta to end up in Athens.

"Georgia, from the beginning, and when I made my decision, they were in my top four, but really they were in the top two," Nauta told Kipp Adams of Dawgs247. "They have always been at the top for me. Really the proximity to home plays in their favor. ... So Georgia has atmosphere, closeness to my family and a great tight end coach as advantages.”

The Bulldogs, who host him on Oct. 3 for a highly anticipated game against Alabama, appear to be a prohibitive favorites in this race. Nauta represents another paramount piece of the puzzle for first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Georgia already holds commitments from 5-star quarterback Jacob Eason and similarly dynamic tight end/wide receiver Charlie Woerner.

“Eason is a cool and funny guy and a great quarterback who hasn’t even reached his potential yet,” Nauta told Chris Kirschner of DawgNation. “Eason is going to be a baller on the next level. I mean, everyone wants to play with a great quarterback because they ultimately are in the driver’s seat in big-time games.”

The Bulldogs' collection of offensive weapons in the 2016 class could eventually grow to include Nauta, 4-star wide receiver Kyle Davis and top in-state running back Elijah Holyfield.

Holyfield and Davis are both expected to announce their college choices this fall.

If you're looking for the likeliest program to lure Nauta beyond his home state, keep close watch on Michigan here. Head coach Jim Harbaugh and his son, Wolverines tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh, have ardently pursued top-tier talents at the position since they arrived in Ann Arbor.

They lost a head-to-head battle with UCLA for elite 2015 tight end Chris Clark but are now primed to welcome two premier prospects for official visits this season. Philadelphia tight end Naseir Upshur, a 4-star talent who also shined at The Opening, is also expected to attend a game.

If Upshur doesn't choose Michigan, odds are in favor of him landing at Florida State as Nauta's replacement.

No team should be counted out at this stage, and another program—perhaps Texas or LSU—could slide into that last official visit slot before a final decision is reached. Until Nauta's national letter of intent is signed, sealed and delivered, he can anticipate constant attention from college coaches.

 

Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler on Twitter @TDsTake.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Isaac Nauta Tweets Official Visit Plans: Who Holds Edge in Chase for 5-Star TE?

Isaac Nauta, perhaps the most prized uncommitted offensive prospect in high school football, is preparing plans for a multiconference college tour this season.

The 5-star tight end intends to officially visit Georgia, Michigan, USC and TCU, per his Twitter account:

He left his fifth and final official visit open—or at least private.

Nauta, a 6'4", 237-pound senior at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, decommitted from Florida State in July. He had spent the previous eight months considered a cornerstone of another impressive Seminoles recruiting class.

His decommitment occurred just weeks after his dominant performance at The Opening, an elite, invite-only showcase at Nike's world headquarters in Oregon. He teamed up with 4-star Florida State quarterback commit Malik Henry to reach the nationally televised championship game of the seven-on-seven tournament:

Both Henry and Nauta were named to the All-Tournament team, allowing Seminoles fans to imagine a future in which the young duo torched opponents in Tallahassee.

Instead, Nauta is resetting his recruitment. Only two of the tight end's official visits are return trips.

Georgia and TCU previously welcomed him to campus, while USC and Michigan will need to capitalize on upcoming opportunities to impress the coveted playmaker.

Nauta is a rare college-ready talent at tight end. He's rated No. 1 overall among pass targets, including all 2016 wide receiver prospects, in composite recruiting rankings.

Attention shifted toward the Georgia Bulldogs immediately after Nauta distanced himself from Florida State. He starred in the Peach State at Buford High School prior to his IMG transfer this offseason.

The Bulldogs have been contenders since the start of this widespread recruitment. After initially striking out on Nauta, Georgia is now the perceived team to beat.

According to 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions, 72 percent of experts expect Nauta to end up in Athens.

"Georgia, from the beginning, and when I made my decision, they were in my top four, but really they were in the top two," Nauta told Kipp Adams of Dawgs247. "They have always been at the top for me. Really the proximity to home plays in their favor. ... So Georgia has atmosphere, closeness to my family and a great tight end coach as advantages.”

The Bulldogs, who host him on Oct. 3 for a highly anticipated game against Alabama, appear to be a prohibitive favorites in this race. Nauta represents another paramount piece of the puzzle for first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Georgia already holds commitments from 5-star quarterback Jacob Eason and similarly dynamic tight end/wide receiver Charlie Woerner.

“Eason is a cool and funny guy and a great quarterback who hasn’t even reached his potential yet,” Nauta told Chris Kirschner of DawgNation. “Eason is going to be a baller on the next level. I mean, everyone wants to play with a great quarterback because they ultimately are in the driver’s seat in big-time games.”

The Bulldogs' collection of offensive weapons in the 2016 class could eventually grow to include Nauta, 4-star wide receiver Kyle Davis and top in-state running back Elijah Holyfield.

Holyfield and Davis are both expected to announce their college choices this fall.

If you're looking for the likeliest program to lure Nauta beyond his home state, keep close watch on Michigan here. Head coach Jim Harbaugh and his son, Wolverines tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh, have ardently pursued top-tier talents at the position since they arrived in Ann Arbor.

They lost a head-to-head battle with UCLA for elite 2015 tight end Chris Clark but are now primed to welcome two premier prospects for official visits this season. Philadelphia tight end Naseir Upshur, a 4-star talent who also shined at The Opening, is also expected to attend a game.

If Upshur doesn't choose Michigan, odds are in favor of him landing at Florida State as Nauta's replacement.

No team should be counted out at this stage, and another program—perhaps Texas or LSU—could slide into that last official visit slot before a final decision is reached. Until Nauta's national letter of intent is signed, sealed and delivered, he can anticipate constant attention from college coaches.

 

Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler on Twitter @TDsTake.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon Football: How Vernon Adams Can Win Ducks Starting QB Job by Week 1

The biggest math test in college football is finally over, as is the long national nightmare for Eastern Washington Eagles transfer Vernon Adams Jr. The Football Championship Subdivision human highlight reel is officially a member of the Oregon Ducks. The dream for Adams to play at the highest level of college football is still alive, as B/R colleague Adam Kramer wrote Thursday evening.

But now comes the harsh reality: Adams was a superstar at his old program and a two-time runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, the FCS' version of the Heisman Trophy. That's not the case in Eugene. The competition between him and front-runner Jeff Lockie is very real.

"At Oregon, he's below the walk-ons in terms of where he fits in," said B/R colleague Michael Felder, a former defensive back for the North Carolina Tar Heels. "He's the new kid in school.

"He has to figure out whom he's going to eat lunch with."

If Adams is to start for the Ducks in Week 1 against his old team, he'll have to earn every bit of respect possible from his teammates and the coaching staff. It starts with the fact that Adams is a late arrival to preseason camp, which for Oregon began Monday, Aug. 10.

In June, Andrew Greif of the Oregonian reported there was unfinished business with Adams' arrival, stemming from the now-infamous math class. He has taken care of it, but it's important to remember Adams announced his transfer to Oregon in February.

Granted: Lord knows most of us have had to take (and retake, and maybe retake again) some crucial tests during college. They're not fun. And beyond the stress and frustration of it all, a "football purgatory," as Kramer described, awaited Adams if he did fail.

No one should want that for him.

All the same, Adams had intentions of moving on from Eastern Washington six months ago under the condition that he would be allowed to play immediately once he graduated. Adams did graduate—eventually—but not within the timeline he initially promised.

That, Felder explains, can create trust issues in the locker room. Put simply, Adams didn't take care of his business when he said he would. His responsibility now is to show that type of misstep won't happen again. 

Adams' challenge between now and Sept. 5 is twofold. On the practice field, Adams has to show he can digest the playbook. He can receive help from teammates on running the offense, but he can't rely on them. He has to show command.

Ultimately, Felder said, "he either gets it or he doesn't." 

And because Adams wasn't able to work out with his new teammates over the summer, he'll have to come early and stay late to develop a rapport with Oregon's wide receivers, running backs and offensive line. "That type of chemistry takes time. That's the reason [quarterbacks and receivers] throw over the summer," Felder said.

Secondly, and just as importantly, Adams has to show up humble and willing to work. The college football world outside of Oregon's locker room may expect Adams to be the starter, but that's not the attitude he can have himself.

"Adams has to be genuine," Felder said. "He has to show he cares about them [teammates]. He has to show that he has the same goals as they do.

"If that means he has to carry balls during practice, it means he has to carry balls during practice." 

As counterintuitive as it may sound, Adams also has to shadow Lockie. Yes, the two will compete against each other. Yes, Adams arrives looking to "steal away" Lockie's grip on the job. But showing respect to a guy who has been in the program for four years is a good way to, in turn, earn everyone else's respect.

Lockie doesn't possess the physical gifts Adams does. There's not a thing in the world Lockie can do if Adams pulls even with him in the quarterback race. However, pulling even isn't a given, either. Lockie knows the offense backward and forward.

We don't know yet if Adams does. 

Lockie's not going to outrun anyone like Marcus Mariota did or throw the ball 80 yards down the field with the flick of a wrist, but all signs indicate that he can move the chains. 

We don't know yet if Adams can.

Lockie has the respect of his teammates. Adams has to work on that. 

All of these things mean something, and nobody knows that better than head coach Mark Helfrich, who elaborated on what Oregon's offense would look like under Lockie to Fox Sports in July

Jeff Lockie had an outstanding spring, and I know to a person in our program, we have a hundred percent confidence in him and all those around him.

The key to replacing a great player, a once-in-a-lifetime player, however you want to describe a guy like Marcus is everybody has to do their job better. We don't need somebody to come in and try to be Superman when they're not. We need them to play their role well, utilize the strengths we have on our team and go. 

Adams can bring Oregon's offense to a level that Lockie probably can't, but don't mistake that for Helfrich not having confidence in Lockie. If, in a few weeks, all things are equal, it wouldn't be surprising for Adams to get the nod.

Why? Because he can give you highlight reels like this: 

But there's a lot that Adams needs to prove before anyone can even consider him to be on the same level as his main competitor.

"And that's hard to do," Felder said.

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon Football: How Vernon Adams Can Win Ducks Starting QB Job by Week 1

The biggest math test in college football is finally over, as is the long national nightmare for Eastern Washington Eagles transfer Vernon Adams Jr. The Football Championship Subdivision human highlight reel is officially a member of the Oregon Ducks. The dream for Adams to play at the highest level of college football is still alive, as B/R colleague Adam Kramer wrote Thursday evening.

But now comes the harsh reality: Adams was a superstar at his old program and a two-time runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, the FCS' version of the Heisman Trophy. That's not the case in Eugene. The competition between him and front-runner Jeff Lockie is very real.

"At Oregon, he's below the walk-ons in terms of where he fits in," said B/R colleague Michael Felder, a former defensive back for the North Carolina Tar Heels. "He's the new kid in school.

"He has to figure out whom he's going to eat lunch with."

If Adams is to start for the Ducks in Week 1 against his old team, he'll have to earn every bit of respect possible from his teammates and the coaching staff. It starts with the fact that Adams is a late arrival to preseason camp, which for Oregon began Monday, Aug. 10.

In June, Andrew Greif of the Oregonian reported there was unfinished business with Adams' arrival, stemming from the now-infamous math class. He has taken care of it, but it's important to remember Adams announced his transfer to Oregon in February.

Granted: Lord knows most of us have had to take (and retake, and maybe retake again) some crucial tests during college. They're not fun. And beyond the stress and frustration of it all, a "football purgatory," as Kramer described, awaited Adams if he did fail.

No one should want that for him.

All the same, Adams had intentions of moving on from Eastern Washington six months ago under the condition that he would be allowed to play immediately once he graduated. Adams did graduate—eventually—but not within the timeline he initially promised.

That, Felder explains, can create trust issues in the locker room. Put simply, Adams didn't take care of his business when he said he would. His responsibility now is to show that type of misstep won't happen again. 

Adams' challenge between now and Sept. 5 is twofold. On the practice field, Adams has to show he can digest the playbook. He can receive help from teammates on running the offense, but he can't rely on them. He has to show command.

Ultimately, Felder said, "he either gets it or he doesn't." 

And because Adams wasn't able to work out with his new teammates over the summer, he'll have to come early and stay late to develop a rapport with Oregon's wide receivers, running backs and offensive line. "That type of chemistry takes time. That's the reason [quarterbacks and receivers] throw over the summer," Felder said.

Secondly, and just as importantly, Adams has to show up humble and willing to work. The college football world outside of Oregon's locker room may expect Adams to be the starter, but that's not the attitude he can have himself.

"Adams has to be genuine," Felder said. "He has to show he cares about them [teammates]. He has to show that he has the same goals as they do.

"If that means he has to carry balls during practice, it means he has to carry balls during practice." 

As counterintuitive as it may sound, Adams also has to shadow Lockie. Yes, the two will compete against each other. Yes, Adams arrives looking to "steal away" Lockie's grip on the job. But showing respect to a guy who has been in the program for four years is a good way to, in turn, earn everyone else's respect.

Lockie doesn't possess the physical gifts Adams does. There's not a thing in the world Lockie can do if Adams pulls even with him in the quarterback race. However, pulling even isn't a given, either. Lockie knows the offense backward and forward.

We don't know yet if Adams does. 

Lockie's not going to outrun anyone like Marcus Mariota did or throw the ball 80 yards down the field with the flick of a wrist, but all signs indicate that he can move the chains. 

We don't know yet if Adams can.

Lockie has the respect of his teammates. Adams has to work on that. 

All of these things mean something, and nobody knows that better than head coach Mark Helfrich, who elaborated on what Oregon's offense would look like under Lockie to Fox Sports in July

Jeff Lockie had an outstanding spring, and I know to a person in our program, we have a hundred percent confidence in him and all those around him.

The key to replacing a great player, a once-in-a-lifetime player, however you want to describe a guy like Marcus is everybody has to do their job better. We don't need somebody to come in and try to be Superman when they're not. We need them to play their role well, utilize the strengths we have on our team and go. 

Adams can bring Oregon's offense to a level that Lockie probably can't, but don't mistake that for Helfrich not having confidence in Lockie. If, in a few weeks, all things are equal, it wouldn't be surprising for Adams to get the nod.

Why? Because he can give you highlight reels like this: 

But there's a lot that Adams needs to prove before anyone can even consider him to be on the same level as his main competitor.

"And that's hard to do," Felder said.

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rivalry Games That Should Make a Return

While conference realignment has been a success for several college football programs, the shock wave of change ripped apart some of the game's best annual matchups.

Bring up a rivalry game that doesn't happen anymore, and realignment is usually to blame.

New conferences and scheduling regulations make it tougher for high-profile contests to return, while old-fashioned bitterness over the changes has been the cause of death for some rivalries.

College football still has plenty of excellent rivalry games each and every year, but there are a few holes in the annual schedule when it's compared to the past.

Here's a look at 10 historic rivalry games that have gone by the wayside and need to make a return in some form or fashion down the road. While a few should be annual matchups again, any number of scheduled meetings for others would be welcome for fans everywhere.

Which rivalry game do you want to see make a return? Let's hear it in the comments below.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Rivalry Games That Should Make a Return

While conference realignment has been a success for several college football programs, the shock wave of change ripped apart some of the game's best annual matchups.

Bring up a rivalry game that doesn't happen anymore, and realignment is usually to blame.

New conferences and scheduling regulations make it tougher for high-profile contests to return, while old-fashioned bitterness over the changes has been the cause of death for some rivalries.

College football still has plenty of excellent rivalry games each and every year, but there are a few holes in the annual schedule when it's compared to the past.

Here's a look at 10 historic rivalry games that have gone by the wayside and need to make a return in some form or fashion down the road. While a few should be annual matchups again, any number of scheduled meetings for others would be welcome for fans everywhere.

Which rivalry game do you want to see make a return? Let's hear it in the comments below.

Begin Slideshow

Meet the Man Behind Notre Dame's Green Monster Inspired Uniforms

Glance back at Notre Dame football’s Shamrock Series uniforms worn in the 2014 matchup against Purdue in Indianapolis, and you won’t find green. You won’t find a leprechaun, and you won’t find a shamrock.

That’s because before Under Armour and Notre Dame even designed those 2014 threads, they’d already agreed on the recently released, all-green outfit the Irish will don in the 2015 Shamrock Series game against Boston College at Fenway Park in Boston in November.

“Collectively, we agreed that we were gonna do green in the Fenway Park game essentially at the onset of our agreement with Notre Dame,” said Adam Clement, Under Armour’s senior creative director for team sports.

Notre Dame announced its matchup with the Eagles at Fenway Park in late December 2013. One month later, Notre Dame and Under Armour formalized their new partnership.

“Last year when we did Shamrock we wanted to keep it really about Notre Dame and the core of Notre Dame, which is why it was focused on campus buildings, it was blue and gold only,” Clement said. “Also, a component of that which we couldn’t talk about last year was that we knew this year we wanted to do green for several reasons.”

Clement calls it a “double whammy.” Boston’s Irish heritage and the leprechaun’s green outfit made the color a natural choice. Of course, with Fenway’s 37-by-231-foot wall looming in left field beyond the yard markers, the selection was simple.

“What is the most iconic part of Fenway Park? Clearly, we all know it’s the Green Monster,” Clement said. “We wanted Notre Dame to come out green on green to personify the Green Monster.”

With that primary component agreed upon, Clement and his team went to work on the full uniform. Clement leads a department that will grow to 17 members in the very near future, and he and one other designer worked specifically on the Shamrock Series uniforms. Beyond them, however, eight other people from various groups—product managers, sourcing specialists, tech designers and sports marketing folks—had their hands involved from Under Armour’s side.

“What’s amazing is the amount of people on this side that have to touch it in order to actually get this to the field,” Clement said.

Clement worked directly with Irish head football equipment manager Ryan Grooms, who served as the point person on Notre Dame’s chain of communication, which included the input of athletic director Jack Swarbrick and head coach Brian Kelly.

“The relationship with schools, it’s different for each school,” Clement said. “With Notre Dame, it’s fantastically collaborative. Ryan Grooms, he’s an integral part in this whole process. We have very open dialogue about what we want to do each year.”

Knowing the uniforms would be green provided a baseline and made the process easy, Clement said. With Grooms and the Irish aware of the color choice, Notre Dame gave Under Armour the flexibility to do its own research, find stories and begin to tell those stories.

“[Notre Dame] makes sure it’s authentic, it’s real and it makes sense for them,” Clement said. “We’ll present a concept to them. Then they have a few tweaks here or there. Collectively, we come to this final resolution that we’re all really proud of.”

Clement jokingly knocked on wood and said, so far, Notre Dame’s tweaks have been minor, citing the consistent communication throughout the process and the biggest aspect, the color.

“Our relationship with Notre Dame has been such a lock-step relationship,” Clement said. “We’ve been really side by side this whole time.”

The uniform’s stripes have 11 breaks to represent Notre Dame’s 11 consensus national championships. “Fighting Irish” text graces the right pant leg, a nod to the “The Original Fighting Irish” painting in Kelly’s office, a work that portrays the idea of standing shoulder to shoulder on a united front, Clement said. Such detail typifies one of the functioning principles in Under Armour’s design department: no art merely for art’s sake.

Clement, who earned his bachelor of fine arts from James Madison, recalled various college courses. For certain projects, Clement and his classmates would construct their designs and put them on the wall for the rest of the class to critique. On one occasion, Clement worked all night and waltzed into class quite pleased with his work. He put it up on the wall. The professor asked why he did what he did.

“I had no answer,” Clement recalled.

Because I think it looks cool. What answer are you looking for?

Take it off the wall. Find a concept. When you have a concept, come back and put it back up on the wall.

“From that day forward, that’s how I work,” Clement said. “That’s how my team works. Everything that we do will always have a reason. We won’t do design for the purpose of what’s trendy or what’s cool.”

Clement stressed the overall importance of thick skin in his line of work, joking there’s a good number of people “that want me dead because of some of the things I’ve done.” So he understands that while some Irish fans may hate the green-on-green look, Clement thinks they may be able to appreciate the concept behind it, the level of detail and the stories told through art.

“They can appreciate the concept behind it,” Clement said. “That will allow this uniform to stand the test of time. People won’t look back at this and think it’s the worst thing ever because there’s something about the University and about the team and the history that’s embedded into the design.”

Notre Dame and Under Armour fine tuned details such as the texture on the helmet and the shine of the leprechaun head decal on the helmet. The uniform was finalized during the 2014 season.

“The rest of the world saw this for the first time yesterday, but for all of us involved, both at Notre Dame and here at Under Armour, it’s almost old news because we’ve seen it for so long,” Clement said.

 

All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Meet the Man Behind Notre Dame's Green Monster Inspired Uniforms

Glance back at Notre Dame football’s Shamrock Series uniforms worn in the 2014 matchup against Purdue in Indianapolis, and you won’t find green. You won’t find a leprechaun, and you won’t find a shamrock.

That’s because before Under Armour and Notre Dame even designed those 2014 threads, they’d already agreed on the recently released, all-green outfit the Irish will don in the 2015 Shamrock Series game against Boston College at Fenway Park in Boston in November.

“Collectively, we agreed that we were gonna do green in the Fenway Park game essentially at the onset of our agreement with Notre Dame,” said Adam Clement, Under Armour’s senior creative director for team sports.

Notre Dame announced its matchup with the Eagles at Fenway Park in late December 2013. One month later, Notre Dame and Under Armour formalized their new partnership.

“Last year when we did Shamrock we wanted to keep it really about Notre Dame and the core of Notre Dame, which is why it was focused on campus buildings, it was blue and gold only,” Clement said. “Also, a component of that which we couldn’t talk about last year was that we knew this year we wanted to do green for several reasons.”

Clement calls it a “double whammy.” Boston’s Irish heritage and the leprechaun’s green outfit made the color a natural choice. Of course, with Fenway’s 37-by-231-foot wall looming in left field beyond the yard markers, the selection was simple.

“What is the most iconic part of Fenway Park? Clearly, we all know it’s the Green Monster,” Clement said. “We wanted Notre Dame to come out green on green to personify the Green Monster.”

With that primary component agreed upon, Clement and his team went to work on the full uniform. Clement leads a department that will grow to 17 members in the very near future, and he and one other designer worked specifically on the Shamrock Series uniforms. Beyond them, however, eight other people from various groups—product managers, sourcing specialists, tech designers and sports marketing folks—had their hands involved from Under Armour’s side.

“What’s amazing is the amount of people on this side that have to touch it in order to actually get this to the field,” Clement said.

Clement worked directly with Irish head football equipment manager Ryan Grooms, who served as the point person on Notre Dame’s chain of communication, which included the input of athletic director Jack Swarbrick and head coach Brian Kelly.

“The relationship with schools, it’s different for each school,” Clement said. “With Notre Dame, it’s fantastically collaborative. Ryan Grooms, he’s an integral part in this whole process. We have very open dialogue about what we want to do each year.”

Knowing the uniforms would be green provided a baseline and made the process easy, Clement said. With Grooms and the Irish aware of the color choice, Notre Dame gave Under Armour the flexibility to do its own research, find stories and begin to tell those stories.

“[Notre Dame] makes sure it’s authentic, it’s real and it makes sense for them,” Clement said. “We’ll present a concept to them. Then they have a few tweaks here or there. Collectively, we come to this final resolution that we’re all really proud of.”

Clement jokingly knocked on wood and said, so far, Notre Dame’s tweaks have been minor, citing the consistent communication throughout the process and the biggest aspect, the color.

“Our relationship with Notre Dame has been such a lock-step relationship,” Clement said. “We’ve been really side by side this whole time.”

The uniform’s stripes have 11 breaks to represent Notre Dame’s 11 consensus national championships. “Fighting Irish” text graces the right pant leg, a nod to the “The Original Fighting Irish” painting in Kelly’s office, a work that portrays the idea of standing shoulder to shoulder on a united front, Clement said. Such detail typifies one of the functioning principles in Under Armour’s design department: no art merely for art’s sake.

Clement, who earned his bachelor of fine arts from James Madison, recalled various college courses. For certain projects, Clement and his classmates would construct their designs and put them on the wall for the rest of the class to critique. On one occasion, Clement worked all night and waltzed into class quite pleased with his work. He put it up on the wall. The professor asked why he did what he did.

“I had no answer,” Clement recalled.

Because I think it looks cool. What answer are you looking for?

Take it off the wall. Find a concept. When you have a concept, come back and put it back up on the wall.

“From that day forward, that’s how I work,” Clement said. “That’s how my team works. Everything that we do will always have a reason. We won’t do design for the purpose of what’s trendy or what’s cool.”

Clement stressed the overall importance of thick skin in his line of work, joking there’s a good number of people “that want me dead because of some of the things I’ve done.” So he understands that while some Irish fans may hate the green-on-green look, Clement thinks they may be able to appreciate the concept behind it, the level of detail and the stories told through art.

“They can appreciate the concept behind it,” Clement said. “That will allow this uniform to stand the test of time. People won’t look back at this and think it’s the worst thing ever because there’s something about the University and about the team and the history that’s embedded into the design.”

Notre Dame and Under Armour fine tuned details such as the texture on the helmet and the shine of the leprechaun head decal on the helmet. The uniform was finalized during the 2014 season.

“The rest of the world saw this for the first time yesterday, but for all of us involved, both at Notre Dame and here at Under Armour, it’s almost old news because we’ve seen it for so long,” Clement said.

 

All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Don't Let Him Fool You, Urban Meyer Will Know His QB Decision Sooner Than Later

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Urban Meyer took the podium following his team's first practice of fall camp, the Ohio State head coach didn't waste time playing coy.

With an unprecedented quarterback competition officially underway, Meyer knew what was on everybody's mind and didn't even wait for a question to broach the subject of the now-ongoing battle between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett.

"J.T. and Cardale—they're fine. There's no update other than they're fine, I guess," Meyer said while delivering rare opening remarks in his post-practice press conference.

"It's even. Straight even."

The three-time national champion head coach expects his quarterback conundrum to remain that way throughout the first half of fall camp as he gives equal reps to both Jones and Barrett. In fact, Meyer entered the preseason so set on giving an equal shot to each of his signal-callers to reclaim their starting status that he determined who would take the first rep of Monday's practice by flipping a coin.

Meyer claimed he wasn't even sure at the time who won the toss—it was Jones calling "heads"—only furthering the illusion that Jones and Barrett are currently deadlocked.

"It's a little bit of a work in progress. Our objective is [in] the first dozen practices, 50-50 right down the middle," Meyer said. "Have we ever done it like this? I can't think we have."

But while Meyer aims to give both Jones, the national championship winner and potential first-round pick, and Barrett, the reigning National Freshman and Big Ten Quarterback of the Year, equal opportunities, a front-runner between the two will eventually emerge.

And that may happen sooner than Meyer would lead you to believe.

Especially when considering that while Jones and Barrett are similar in some ways, they're much different in others. At 6'5", 250 pounds, Jones is known for his cannon of an arm and bulldozer-like style of running, while Barrett—listed at a generous 6'2", 225 pounds—is a bit shiftier while carrying the ball and more accurate with his intermediate passing game.

With no shortage of playmakers surrounding the quarterback, the Buckeyes have the ability to adapt to either skill set.

"You have to base it on, 'what can your signal-caller do best?'" Buckeyes offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. "Our offense has the flexibility within the system and all the talent at all the different positions that we can kind of move it in the direction we want."

But the sooner the Ohio State offense figures out how it's going to attack opponents—especially the defensively stout Virginia Tech in the opener—this season, the better. While Meyer may want to give both Jones and Barrett until the midway point of fall camp before determining a pecking order, it simply may not be a realistic goal.

Meyer, of course, begs to differ, pointing to the experience of the two quarterbacks as the primary reason why neither needs full "starter reps" at this very moment. Jones is a fourth-year junior who spent a year out of high school at a prep academy, while Barrett already has 12 starts under his belt, leading Ohio State to an 11-1 record a season ago.

"They're both established guys. Cardale, not necessarily, but Cardale's been here a long time now. It's his eighth year here," Meyer said jokingly. "J.T. has played a lot of football.

"We won't announce anything until the first guy who takes the field against Virginia Tech. That won't happen."

That last part is key.

Although Meyer stated he has an idea of when he'll determine a starter, if all goes according to plan, no one will know who that will be until the Buckeyes' first offensive series of the season. That means even once one quarterback sets himself apart from the other, we likely won't know about it, and should it happen ahead of schedule, Meyer won't have any incentive to share.

Because if this is all about keeping a secret from the Hokies in order to alter their preparation for the opener, why would Meyer want to proclaim his quarterback competition as anything but "dead even?"

With Ohio State's first practice session in pads having just wrapped up, Jones and Barrett appear to remain on equal footing. But in the four practice periods that were open to the media on Friday, it was Jones running the first-team offense, although he may have just won the coin toss for the day.

If it were up to Jones, however, he would prefer that it be his play and not good fortune that lands him in the starting lineup.

"The pressure's on because you've got a guy who wants to play as bad as you," Jones said. "I'd prefer not to flip a coin for who goes first."

Sooner rather than later, Meyer may not need to. But if the head coach has his way, he'll keep everybody guessing for the rest of the summer—including, most importantly, Virginia Tech.

 

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

Don't Let Him Fool You, Urban Meyer Will Know His QB Decision Sooner Than Later

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Urban Meyer took the podium following his team's first practice of fall camp, the Ohio State head coach didn't waste time playing coy.

With an unprecedented quarterback competition officially underway, Meyer knew what was on everybody's mind and didn't even wait for a question to broach the subject of the now-ongoing battle between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett.

"J.T. and Cardale—they're fine. There's no update other than they're fine, I guess," Meyer said while delivering rare opening remarks in his post-practice press conference.

"It's even. Straight even."

The three-time national champion head coach expects his quarterback conundrum to remain that way throughout the first half of fall camp as he gives equal reps to both Jones and Barrett. In fact, Meyer entered the preseason so set on giving an equal shot to each of his signal-callers to reclaim their starting status that he determined who would take the first rep of Monday's practice by flipping a coin.

Meyer claimed that he wasn't even sure at the time who won the toss—it was Jones calling "heads"—only furthering the illusion that Jones and Barrett are currently deadlocked.

"It's a little bit of a work in progress. Our objective is [in] the first dozen practices, 50-50 right down the middle," Meyer said. "Have we ever done it like this? I can't think we have."

But while Meyer aims to give both Jones, the national championship winner and potential first-round pick, and Barrett, the reigning National Freshman and Big Ten Quarterback of the Year, equal opportunities, eventually a front-runner between the two will emerge.

And that may happen sooner than Meyer would lead you to believe.

Especially when considering that while Jones and Barrett are similar in some ways, they're much different in others. At 6'5", 250 pounds, Jones is known for his cannon of an arm and bulldozer-like style of running, while Barrett—listed at a generous 6'2", 225 pounds—is a bit shiftier while carrying the ball and more accurate with his intermediary passing game.

With no shortage of playmakers surrounding the quarterback, the Buckeyes have the ability to adapt to either skill set.

"You have to base it on what can your signal-caller do best?" Buckeyes offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. "Our offense has the flexibility within the system and all the talent at all the different positions that we can kind of move it in the direction we want."

But the sooner the Ohio State offense figures out how it's going to attack opponents—especially the defensively stout Virginia Tech in the opener—this season, the better. That's why while Meyer may want to give both Jones and Barrett until the midway point of fall camp before determining a pecking order, it simply may not be a realistic goal.

Meyer, of course, begs to differ, pointing to the experience of the two quarterbacks as the primary reason why neither needs full "starter reps" at this very moment. Jones is a fourth-year junior who spent a year out of high school at a prep academy, while Barrett already has 12 starts under his belt, leading Ohio State to an 11-1 record a season ago.

"They're both established guys. Cardale, not necessarily, but Cardale's been here a long time now. It's his eighth year here," Meyer said jokingly. "J.T. has played a lot of football.

"We won't announce anything until the first guy who takes the field against Virginia Tech. That won't happen."

That last part is key.

Although Meyer stated he has an idea of when he'll determine a starter, if all goes according to that plan, no one will know who that will be until the Buckeyes' first offensive series of the season. That means that even once one quarterback sets himself apart from the other, we likely won't know about it, and should it happen ahead of schedule, Meyer won't have any incentive to share.

Because if this is all about keeping a secret from the Hokies in order to alter their preparation for the opener, why would Meyer want to proclaim his quarterback competition as anything but "dead even?"

With Ohio State's first practice session in pads having just wrapped up, Jones and Barrett appear to remain on equal footing. But in the four practice periods that were open to the media on Friday, it was Jones running the first-team offense, although he may have just won the coin toss for the day.

If it were up to Jones, however, he would prefer that it be his play and not good fortune that lands him in the starting lineup.

"The pressure's on because you've got a guy who wants to play as bad as you," Jones said. "I'd prefer not to flip a coin for who goes first."

Sooner rather than later, Meyer may not need to. But if the head coach has his way, he'll keep everybody guessing for the rest of the summer—including most importantly, Virginia Tech.

 

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

Jerry Kill, Minnesota Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The University of Minnesota's football program has made big strides under head coach Jerry Kill, and the school rewarded him for that progress Friday.

Kill, who is the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading Minnesota to an 8-5 record in 2014, secured his future Friday by adding another year to his current deal, according to Marcus R. Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Fuller also provided specifics related to the new contract:

Kill took the reins at Minnesota in 2011 after three years at Northern Illinois. The Gophers went 3-9 in his first season, improved to 6-7 in 2012 and have gone 8-5 in each of the past two campaigns.

Minnesota athletics are currently in turmoil as former athletic director Norwood Teague resigned after sexual harassment allegations surfaced.

Kill provides stability as one of the central figures at the university, and Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press believes he will be a key figure in Minnesota's search for a new AD:

The 53-year-old coach is so influential that Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune sees his profile increasing even more now that Teague is out of the picture.

Much of that perceived influence is speculation, but there is no question that there are high expectations for Kill and the Gophers to produce on the field in 2015.

While Ohio State is the class of the Big Ten overall, the West Division is very much up for grabs, and Minnesota figures to be one of the top contenders.

A great deal of confidence has been shown in Kill's ability to lead, but now it's time for him to take Minnesota to the next level on the heels of consecutive winning seasons.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Jerry Kill, Minnesota Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The University of Minnesota's football program has made big strides under head coach Jerry Kill, and the school rewarded him for that progress Friday.

Kill, who is the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading Minnesota to an 8-5 record in 2014, secured his future Friday by adding another year to his current deal, according to Marcus R. Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Fuller also provided specifics related to the new contract:

Kill took the reins at Minnesota in 2011 after three years at Northern Illinois. The Gophers went 3-9 in his first season, improved to 6-7 in 2012 and have gone 8-5 in each of the past two campaigns.

Minnesota athletics are currently in turmoil as former athletic director Norwood Teague resigned after sexual harassment allegations surfaced.

Kill provides stability as one of the central figures at the university, and Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press believes he will be a key figure in Minnesota's search for a new AD:

The 53-year-old coach is so influential that Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune sees his profile increasing even more now that Teague is out of the picture.

Much of that perceived influence is speculation, but there is no question that there are high expectations for Kill and the Gophers to produce on the field in 2015.

While Ohio State is the class of the Big Ten overall, the West Division is very much up for grabs, and Minnesota figures to be one of the top contenders.

A great deal of confidence has been shown in Kill's ability to lead, but now it's time for him to take Minnesota to the next level on the heels of consecutive winning seasons.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Rising Stars Emerging in College Football 2015 Fall Camps

The start of preseason camp is a time when, for many position battles, there's a clean slate. Sure, spring practices help mold depth charts, but they are by no means final. 

In this early part of August, reps are more evenly divided and new players have the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of playing time. In the following slides, we look at freshmen and transfers who are beginning to emerge as fall camp rolls on. 

While the following players may not start, they are at least pushing for playing time and have specifically caught the eyes of their coaches and teammates. 

Begin Slideshow

Pages