NCAA Football News

Summer Goals for Every Top 25 College Football Team

It's good to have goals. It's even better to achieve them.

Spring practice gave college football players and coaches an idea of what they have to work with for the upcoming season, but not everything could be figured out in just 15 practices conducted during the school year. The real work comes in the summer, when preseason training camps get underway and teams are molded into shape for 2015.

There are certain things that every team hopes to get done this summer, but each has its own specific aims.

Using Bleacher Report's post-spring practice rankings as a basis, we've listed some goals that each top-25 team is hoping to accomplish this summer.

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Which School Gives 4-Star WR Diondre Overton the Best Chance to Thrive?

Diondre Overton, a 4-star WR per 247Sports, has not yet decided on where he'll play his college football. But, with several offers on the table, the talented wideout has a tough decision ahead.

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down Overton's game and also offers the school at which he believes Overton would thrive.

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Meet Janarius Robinson, Accomplished Musician and 2016's No. 1 WDE

Football has been very good to Panama City, Florida, defensive end Janarius Robinson. He's the nation's top-ranked weak-side defensive end, a top-35 player nationally, a Florida State commit and a player with more than 20 offers to choose from.

For someone who turned 17 last week, Robinson's already working with a pretty solid resume. And that doesn't include his musical talents.

As a 4-star athlete, Robinson is expected to dominate on the football field. He's a Florida State commit who has kept the door of his recruiting process ajar by taking unofficial visits during the spring. He's also planning to take several more visits in the upcoming weeks.

What may be more intriguing is that the 6'5.5", 250-pound, Bay High School football star loves to show off the talents many don't know he possesses. When he isn't honing his football skills to prepare for college, he's perfecting his craft as an all-around drummer and keyboardist.

And truth be told, he's pretty good with musical instruments. Good enough to open for a major gospel artist.

Those who follow gospel music know Tamela Mann and her powerful voice in the industry. Last summer, Robinson played drums for the group Jay Wade & 1AChord to open Mann's concert at the Marina Civic Center in Panama City.

"I remember finding out two days before we were supposed to do it," Robinson said. "I found out at rehearsal. It was crazy. To open up for a big person in gospel industry like that, it's mind-blowing. I was pretty nervous first off, but after I got into it, I was fine."

Robinson said Mann's promotion contacts were in touch of the manager of his group, and the group was chosen as an opening act. With that, one of Robinson's dreams became reality: He was performing in front of thousands of fans.

Expect the feeling he had to become commonplace the minute he steps out the tunnel of Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturdays. And expect him to turn nervousness into production, much like he did at the concert.

 

Music's in His Bones

Before he was an intimidating football player, he was a toddler with an unmistakable interest in musical instruments. Robinson's mother, Cherine Duncan, said when he was two, he would sit in church on the drummer's lap and play the drums every Sunday.

"That's how he got his beginning," Duncan said. "We would notice he'd go to the drums every Sunday. When he was three, we bought him a pee-wee drum set. He still has that drum set today."

Robinson began playing for the church around eight years old. He admits to playing the drums by ear. As he got older, however, he began learning to play the keyboard and organ. He also is a vocalist.

Getting the chance to open the Mann show, at 16, is something Robinson will never forget. He said he briefly met Mann backstage and hopes to get a second shot to open for a major group soon.

"She's pretty amazing in the gospel industry as far as her music goes," he said. "I don't really know her as a person, but she's a nice lady."

Duncan added: "I was nervous for him, but he did an excellent job. When the favor of God is on your life, he'll allow things to come for a reason. He had the opportunity to play for her, and she sang 'Take Me To The King.' It was awesome to see that."

 

FSU: 'I Got a Certain Feel'

Learning music seemed to come natural for Robinson—as did playing football.

Robinson picked up his first offer in March 2014 from Tennessee. By the end of May 2014, he had double-digit offers.

Among the schools to offer: Florida State, which offered during an unofficial visit that April.

"When I first visited there, I got a certain feel," Robinson said of Florida State. "They just made me feel that's where I needed to be. I loved everything about it. The coaching staff, the campus, the players, everything was great."

Robinson made several trips to Tallahassee, Florida, that summer, and in September 2014, he gave coach Jimbo Fisher, defensive coordinator Charles Kelly and then-defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri his verbal commitment. He chose the Seminoles over offers from Tennessee, Clemson, South Carolina, Michigan and a few other programs.

Since his commitment, Robinson has put on 25 pounds and has emerged into one of the elite athletes of the 2016 class. He bench presses 350 pounds and power cleans 330. He also has run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.

Additionally, he's a U.S. Army All-American.

"He’s a beast out there," Duncan said. "He's a team player, and he's a beast. I'm so proud of him."

 

Unofficial Visits Galore

Robinson consistently reiterates the fact that he's still committed to Florida State, but he enjoys taking unofficial visits to other campuses. He said he wants "to leave no table unturned" when it comes to his process, particularly with him committing as a sophomore.

For him, the experience of seeing something different is valuable. In April, Robinson made two trips to Alabama and individual trips to Florida and Tennessee, in addition to Florida State.

"I went (to Alabama) the first time for their scrimmage. The second time, I wanted to come back and see how the game environment was," Robinson said. "It was pretty awesome.

"With Tennessee, I like the vibe around the city. I like the fans and the coaches there. Florida has great coaches there, too. I really like Coach Mac [Jim McElwain]. He's a cool dude. I think I have a good connection with him."

Robinson has a busy schedule planned in the next couple of weeks. He wants to visit Auburn on May 30, Alabama again on May 31, Louisville on June 12 and Notre Dame on June 19. Robinson added that he wants to visit South Carolina and Clemson before the end of the summer.

Robinson is Florida State's to lose, but he said he is looking for the best fit. He is strong and elusive enough to play defensive line, yet quick and versatile enough to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 formation.

Education is important to Robinson, as well. He's uncertain about a major but said he wouldn't mind learning more about the inner workings of music production and sound technology.

"The main thing, I want him to enjoy football, enjoy life and stay focused," Duncan said. "I just want him to keep God first and keep his academics up. He's my only child, and I pray for him every day. I want him to look back one day and see all the hard work he's put in paying off."

Robinson, like most other elite football athletes, has aspirations to play in the NFL one day. If that doesn't happen, a career as a world-traveling musician wouldn't be a stretch.

Either way, he just wants to excel.

"I'm having a lot of fun with everything right now," he said. "Whatever I do, wherever I go, I'm making sure I'm doing what's best for me."

 

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

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Texas A&M's Newfound Focus on Run Game Will Make Aggies SEC West Contenders

In November 2012, Texas A&M topped Alabama in Tuscaloosa and announced its SEC presence with authority.

Since then, though, the Aggies have been more sizzle than steak.

A nine-win season in 2013 followed by eight wins last year have relegated the Aggies to more of an afterthought in the most grueling division in college football rather than contender.

Based on his coaching moves this offseason, head coach Kevin Sumlin intends on changing that.

The high-profile move, of course, was Sumlin's bold move of luring defensive coordinator John Chavis from division-rival LSU shortly after LSU fell to Notre Dame in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

Another one, though, could be what vaults the Aggies into legitimate SEC West contention.

Former Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen moved to College Station this winter to become the new offensive line coach and running-game coordinator in Aggieland. The latter title is important, because the major problem with the Aggies offense last season was a remarkably unbalanced offense that favored the passing game.

Texas A&M ran just 421 running plays last year while throwing 514 times. With two relatively inexperienced quarterbacks—first sophomore Kenny Hill and then freshman Kyle Allen—that's probably not the best idea.

The addition of Christensen will spice up Texas A&M's running game, which was a goal for Sumlin this offseason.

"We feel pretty good coming out of spring football what we are doing schematically," he said on Tuesday's teleconference. "It's not a dramatic change from what we were doing, but we are doing some things—without giving away any secrets—where we can run the ball not only when we want to run it, but when we need to. That was a point of emphasis [this spring]."

Translation: When Sumlin says "when we need to," he means that more power is in his plans.

Utah finished third in the Pac-12 in rushing offense last year under Christensen, when it averaged 190.38 yards per game on the ground. What's more, the Utes led the Pac-12 with 43.46 rushing plays per game and ran the ball 59.9 percent of the time.

He's the perfect running-game coordinator to fix the Aggies' rushing woes.

Who exactly will be shouldering the load, though?

Tra Carson is the likely No. 1 running back in College Station, but he missed spring practice recovering from a broken foot. He led the team in rushing last year with 581 yards and five touchdowns on 124 carries.

When he's healthy, the 6'0", 235-pounder is a perfect option for Sumlin and Christensen to use as a workhorse in a more power-based spread attack. He clearly has the size to take the punishment, but is quicker than most people realize. As long as that still exists when he's fully recovered, he should be a star in 2015.

But a team can't win with just one running back, right?

James White saw spot duty as a freshman last year, when he gained 153 yards on 22 carries and scored three touchdowns. The 6'0", 218-pounder was one of the stars of the spring as Carson sat out. Jeff Tarpley of 247Sports compared him to a "bull in a china shop," which should play well in the new-look Aggies running scheme.

Senior Brandon Williams will bounce around between running back and safety. While he's not known for his power, his effectiveness on the edge and as a receiver out of the backfield will only increase after Carson and White have worn down the defense. 

Up front, the change will impact the typically stout Aggies offensive line.

Germain Ifedi will likely stick at right tackle after playing some on the left side this spring, while Avery Gennesey—a junior college transfer from two recruiting cycles ago who redshirted last year—will likely lock down a left tackle spot that's a pipeline to the NFL.

Sumlin is pleased with the progress of the way that unit has adapted to the new scheme.

"We were able to develop a starting five and a backup three or four guys," Sumlin said. "That is going to be critical. As we've learned over the last couple of years, this is not just a talent league, but a depth and talent league."

Sumlin isn't abandoning its roots of having an exotic offense, whether quarterback Kyle Allen keeps his job or incoming freshman Kyler Murray takes it. A new running game will, however, be a nice supplement to the high-octane offense that already exists.

That's going to drive opposing defensive coordinators nuts and will help vault Texas A&M into contention in the West.

But wait, what about the defense?

It's not like Chavis has to be a miracle-worker.

There are plenty of talented players on Texas A&M's roster like defensive ends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, safety Armani Watts and linebacker Otaro Alaka. With the talent on board and a massive upgrade in defensive coordinator from Mark Snyder to Chavis, the Aggies will be dangerous simply if Chavis produces an adequate defense.

A more balanced offense will give that defense even more wiggle room than it already has, which should be enough to keep A&M in the discussion in November.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 Summer Events to Help College Football Fans Through the Offseason

College football's hot, long offseason summer months are here. Spring practices are in the books, and it's the time of year when no news is good news. 

You're wandering aimlessly through a metaphorical desert—or, maybe a real desert, for all we know; people have strange summer plans—with no earthly idea about which way you're headed. We get it, and if we could, we'd give you a hug. But we can't, so here's a list of things to keep you occupied in the meantime. 

From conference media days to summer camps and everything in between, here are 10 events to keep you going until college football preseason camps start in August. 

The more you can concentrate on other things, the faster the next few months will go. 

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Keith Ford to Transfer from Oklahoma: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Keith Ford, who started the 2014 season as Oklahoma's starting running back, has decided to transfer to another school this spring.    

Continue for updates.  

Ford Granted Transfer from Oklahoma Wednesday, May 13

Ford released the following statement, via Guerin Emig of Tulsa World:

Ford was suspended indefinitely in March for what head coach Bob Stoops deemed to be "academic and team rules violations," per Brandon Chatmon of ESPN.com. It concluded a rough year for the junior running back, who missed five games due to a leg injury and saw freshman Samaje Perine seize the starting gig after rushing for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns. 

Though he returned after his five-game absence and did receive playing time, it was limited, and Ford finished the year with just 71 carries for 392 yards and five touchdowns. It was a disappointing campaign for the player, and Ford likely would have been stuck in a deep pool of running backs behind Perine on the depth chart had he remained with the Sooners. 

Ford will likely find plenty of suitors given his talent and the fact that he started the season as Oklahoma's incumbent running back. In that regard, his transfer may come as a bit of a surprise to Oklahoma fans, but it isn't hard to see the logic in the decision. 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Now Fully Healthy, Cyrus Jones Will Be a Key Leader on Alabama's 2015 Defense

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As Nick Saban tinkered with different lineups and player combinations during spring practice, it seemed like no two days were the same.

But there was one constant.

Off to the side, there was Cyrus Jones, pedaling away on an exercise bike, chatting with fellow senior Denzel Devall while strength coach Scott Cochran barked on.

Jones spent the spring on the sidelines recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn hip labrum. While there were no indications of any sort of complications or setbacks in the recovery, Saban delivered some welcome news on Tuesday.

Jones, along with Devall, has been “fully cleared medically,” Saban told reporters on a conference call.

“We didn’t feel like we needed to push them into the spring and maybe cause issues and problems for them in the future,” he said. “So we think both those players will be ready to go through the summer conditioning program.”

Especially in Jones’ case, the news clears the way for him to fully assume his role as one of the senior leaders on the Crimson Tide defense, both on and off the field. After a surprise breakout year last season, he’ll be saddled with more responsibility in 2015, and there’s every indication he will thrive on it.

Last year, Jones went from a risky position change to a steady hand in the span of a few games. He started all 14 games last season at cornerback, eventually earning second-team All-SEC honors.

Jones’ transition is even more impressive considering his size. He stands just 5’10” but consistently matched up with massive SEC receivers such as Mississippi State’s De’Runnya Wilson.

“Right when I made the transition my sophomore year, I was trying to feel my way around, like I was playing unconfident, still not sure what I was supposed to be doing as far as the defense goes. It definitely hindered me as far as being able to just go out there and play fast and with confidence,” Jones said during the spring.

“If you don’t have confidence playing corner, you just can’t do it. It’s impossible. Now I know what I can do, and I know my abilities, and I know the defense. Now it’s just up to me to just go out there and play and prove everyone wrong who has something bad to say about it.”

And off the field, he’s been a model of what Saban looks for in his players. He even won the Media Good Guy award for giving thoughtful answers in interviews.

Jones was involved in a domestic violence arrest two weeks ago, but police ended up dropping the charges after they found he “attempted to deescalate the situation,” which included calling the police himself.

But during the spring, Jones wasn’t able to be as involved on the field. Now he can.

His presence will be important for a lot of reasons.

Jones is Alabama’s unquestioned No. 1 corner, but behind him will be a lot of inexperience.

Eddie Jackson’s move to safety means sophomore Tony Brown will likely be the one playing next to Jones, at least at the beginning of the season. Behind Brown, Marlon Humphrey, Anthony Averett and Bradley Sylve make up a group that has talent but lacks either experience or consistent play.

Jones’ presence in that group should help the players come along as well as give them a rock to lean on while they take their lumps. Brown did some of that last year but will have a much bigger role this year.

Alabama’s secondary took a lot of heat last year for being a weakness on the team, giving up plenty of big plays at inopportune times.

Now that he’s fully healthy and full speed ahead, Jones will be one of the key forces in making sure that’s not the case next season.

“I’m a guy who is super, super competitive. I take a lot of pride in my play,” he said. “I know criticism is something you have to let go in one ear and out the other, but it’s hard when you’re constantly hearing the same things, whether it’s personally or with your group—my group being the secondary.

“It’s definitely something the secondary takes personally. We have a point to prove. … And I know when I come back, I’m going to be ready to prove all the doubters wrong. It’s definitely personal to me.”

 

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

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Julian Rochester Tweets Top 10: Which Schools Hold Edge in Race for 5-Star?

One of the most prized recruits from the state of Georgia in the 2016 cycle is 5-star defensive tackle Julian Rochester.

The nation's No. 3 defensive tackle and the No. 11 player overall in the 2016 class tweeted out his top 10 on Tuesday.

A few newcomers in Louisville, LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Oregon and USC joined three schools—Auburn, Clemson and Georgia—who have consistently been among his group of favorites.

But which schools hold the edge for the massive 6'5" 315-pounder? 

While Auburn and Clemson are still in the hunt for Rochester, the gap between them and Georgia may be widening, as noted by Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover.

Rochester has been a fixture in Athens recently, having visited the Bulldogs campus three times since February.

He named the Bulldogs his leader at the Atlanta Nike Opening Regional camp in late March, and he told Bleacher Report that his comfort with coach Mark Richt and his staff is part of what has the Bulldogs in a strong position with him.

"I like Coach Rocker, Coach Pruitt and Coach Richt," Rochester said. "All of them—Coach Sherrer, too. They just treat me like family, and they have since I was a youngster. It's been cool to go through this process and have them build that relationship with me."

Earlier this month, he told Kipp Adams of Dawgs247 that he enjoyed his most recent trip to Athens for Georgia's spring game in April.

It was really fun, because I got to see all of the top players across Georgia. We all hung out and had a great time at the game. I actually spent the night and spent three days at Georgia. I was able to experience college life and see what Georgia has to offer, from the facilities, to the dorm rooms, to the food, to the atmosphere—everything.

He also told Adams that a decision could come down later this month, which would seem to benefit Georgia's chances of landing the U.S. Army All-American.

Auburn, whom Rochester listed as his No. 2 school, is fighting to get the No. 2 prospect in the state of Georgia on campus for its Big Cat Weekend at the end of the month, as noted by Niebuhr.

However, it may be a case of too little, too late for the Tigers with Rochester.

Given his recent visits and the bond he has with other top Georgia targets, all signs are pointing toward Rochester landing on the Bulldogs' commit list sooner than later.

 

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

 

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Updated Odds on Where Everett Golson Will Play in 2015

Everett Golson is on the move, having transferred from Notre Dame last week. With a long list of potential suitors, where will the talented signal-caller play next season?

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson was joined by Adam Kramer as he handicaps the schools interested in Golson.

Where will Golson play next season? Check out the video and let us know! 

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