NCAA Football News

Arkansas Football: 5 Unforgettable Moments from Razorbacks' 2013 Season

Well, 2013 is now officially over, and what a year it was for college football. From Auburn's miracle ending against Alabama to Nebraska's Hail Mary versus Northwestern, there were no shortage of great moments in another spectacular year on the gridiron.

However, 2013 wasn't great for all programs. 

The Arkansas Razorbacks struggled all season long in head coach Bret Bielema's first year guiding the team, stumbling to a 3-9 (0-8 SEC) record. For the first time since joining the SEC, the Hogs failed to win a conference game and finished the year on a nine-game losing streak, also a first.

In all of the jumbled mess 2013 was for Arkansas, it might be tough to find moments that are worth remembering. But, even in a bad year, there are things that stand out among the rest.

Here, we take a look at the five most unforgettable moments, not all good, from the Razorbacks' season, leading up to the most memorable of 2013.

 

Bryan Heater is the featured columnist for Arkansas Razorbacks. Follow him on Twitter @BHeaterRivals.

 

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Sugar Bowl 2014 Oklahoma vs. Alabama: Live Game Grades, Analysis for the Sooners

The Oklahoma Sooners will get a chance to end their three-game bowl losing streak against the SEC when they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The Sooners are coming off a 33-24 win over rival Oklahoma State and are on a three-game winning streak. Alabama is coming off a heartbreaking loss to rival Auburn and looks to end its season on a high note.

So, who will come out on top?

For full stats, check out NCAA.com.

 

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Sugar Bowl 2014: Live Score and Highlights for Oklahoma vs. Alabama

The Alabama Crimson Tide are heavy favorites in the 2014 Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma tonight at 8:30 PM ET on ESPN, but don’t believe for a second that this won’t be an entertaining showdown. 

Big 12 vs. SEC football is sure to provide plenty of excitement tonight, as both Alabama and Oklahoma have some superb talent on their rosters.

Of course, Nick Saban and the Tide would rather be playing in the BCS National Championship, but the greatest play in Iron Bowl history kept them from winning the SEC, resulting in a trip to New Orleans for a battle against “Big Game” Bob Stoops.

The Sooners’ head coach made some interesting comments about the SEC this offseason, and now he has a chance to prove that the Big 12 is in fact a better conference.

However, AJ McCarron and company won’t make it easy on him.

Keep it locked right here to Bleacher Report for live score updates, highlights from the game and much more! 

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Leonard Fournette to LSU: Tigers Land 5-Star RB Prospect

LSU got one of the biggest commitments of the year when Leonard Fournette decided to join the program on Thursday.

The 5-star running back likely could have attended any school in the country, and he received offers from most major SEC and ACC schools. In the end, however, he wanted to play for the Tigers.

Playing his high school ball in New Orleans, Fournette carved out quite a reputation for himself as an elite prospect. According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he is not only the top running back in the 2014 class but also the No. 1 overall recruit in the nation.

This lofty praise is mostly due to his unbelievable high school numbers. In 2012, the St. Augustine High School star rushed for 2,136 yards and 31 touchdowns on 196 carries, good for 10.9 yards per attempt. He added 313 yards and three scores on 15 receptions as well.

Over his four years in high school, he has totaled 7,620 yards and 88 touchdowns on the ground.

Listed at 6'1" and 226 pounds, he has the size and strength to go up the middle and break tackles to get the tough yards. Impressively, he also has enough acceleration and top speed to turn the small runs into huge gains.

In the open field, he can use his elite vision to find open holes and reach the end zone whenever he touches the football.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network offered some high praise for the running back after watching him play last year:

While LSU has other running backs on the roster, the Louisiana native has the ability to step on the field almost immediately. With his unique skill set, he should be able to succeed at the college level right away.

With this commitment, the Tigers secured a lot of winning days for the next few years.

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No. 1 RB Leonard Fournette Commits to LSU: Meet the Next Adrian Peterson

Leonard Fournette has announced his commitment to LSU at the Under Armour All-America Game. He is the No. 1 running back in the 2014 class and has the skills to be an instant impact player for the Tigers offense. 

Coming out of high school, he was drawing comparisons to Adrian Peterson. That's pretty lofty praise, but Fournette has the speed, vision and power to back it up.

Watch Adam Kramer and Michael Felder break down Fournette's game. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

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Tony Brown to Alabama: Crimson Tide Land 5-Star CB Prospect

Arguably the best high school prospect in the state of Texas is spreading his wings, as 5-star cornerback Tony Brown officially committed to Alabama.

Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports provides details:

Like all Class of 2014 recruits, Brown's commitment is only verbal. He can change his mind at any time between now and the beginning of the national signing period without penalty. 

Still, after nearly every major program in the country expressed interest, it's hard to see anyone swaying him from Alabama at this juncture.

Brown is considered the ninth-best prospect overall and third-best cornerback in the Class of 2014 by 247Sports' composite rankings. The Ozen High School standout received over 20 scholarship offers before giving official visits to LSU, USC, Texas, Alabama and Ohio State.

From almost the beginning of the process, it felt like Brown was predisposed to becoming a Tiger despite his Texas upbringing. By the time December rolled around, 247Sports' Crystal Ball indicated that he was 100 percent locked into coming to Baton Rouge. 

And it's not hard to see why.

Since taking over the Tigers post, Les Miles has developed a reputation of developing elite defensive back talent. Morris Claiborne and Patrick Peterson both parlayed their time under Miles into being first-round draft choices, and it's possible Tyrann Mathieu would have done the same had it not been for off-the-field issues. Alabama, Texas and Ohio State aren't exactly bereft of NFL-worthy talent, but LSU's recent track record speaks for itself.

Nevertheless, a late push from Alabama wound up swaying Brown enough to change the entire process.

The Crimson Tide get a player who could step in from the moment he arrives. Listed at 6'0" and 188 pounds, Brown has a ready-built body and enough speed to atone for mistakes caused by inexperience. While not an official time, multiple recruiting sites, including 247Sports, list his 40-yard dash time at 4.35—among the quickest in the entire nation. 

He's also already a very good cover corner and able to move around the defense depending on the situation. Watching Brown's highlight reels, his ability to make big plays stands out most of all. High school quarterbacks just weren't able to account for his closing speed, leading to interceptions and last-minute breakups.

Brown was a 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection. He's also a talented track and field athlete, specifically, an elite-level hurdler who could have had a career in the sport if it weren't for football. 

His tackling could use some improvement, which may be the top factor preventing him from getting extensive playing time as a freshman. But no matter what happens in 2014, Brown should be a staple defensively sooner rather than later.

 

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What 5-Star CB Tony Brown Means to Alabama Crimson Tide

Tony Brown has committed to Alabama at the Under Armour All-America Game. The 5-star cornerback has the ability to make an instant impact for the Crimson Tide, whose secondary could definitely use the addition.

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what this commitment means to the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

 

*Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

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Gerald Willis III Commits to Florida over LSU, Mother Upset Again

Five-star defensive tackle Gerald Willis III announced his commitment to Florida over LSU during the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game as his mother, April Justin, tried to hide her disappointment.

Willis III is the brother of Alabama safety Landon Collins, who announced his commitment during the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game. As you can see, Ms. Justin—an admitted fan of SEC rival LSU—wasn't too happy with that decision either. 

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Jalen Tabor to Arizona: Wildcats Land 5-Star CB Prospect

Arizona has landed coveted 5-star cornerback Jalen Tabor according to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman:

Tabor—the top prospect coming out of Washington, D.C. in the class of 2014—is the fourth-best cornerback in the nation according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings. He is listed as the 24th-best recruit overall in the country.

Tabor, who plays high school football at the Friendship Academy in the nation's capital, had received offers from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Maryland and Florida State among several other top programs.

At 6'1", 182 pounds, Tabor has the body to excel as an elite defensive back at the college level. His speed and aggressive style of play set him apart from other prospects at his position. Tabor also has long arms which make him more of a threat with the ball in the air.

Although he is considered one of the Class of 2014's best cover corners, Tabor certainly has potential at safety as well. He has tremendous ball skills and the speed to keep up with quicker wide receivers. Don't be surprised if you see him also playing a huge role on special teams as a return man.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see where his college coaches decide to play him in the coming years.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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Gerald Willis to Florida: Gators Land 5-Star DE Prospect

The Florida Gators have landed coveted 5-star defensive end prospect Gerald Willis.

Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports passes along the news:

Willis is listed as the second-best player at his position in the Class of 2014 and the No. 21 overall recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He's the fifth-best prospect coming out of Louisiana this year. 

After excelling in high school for Edna Karr in New Orleans, Willis received offers from Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama and Arkansas, among others, with the Tigers the expected favorite to land his commitment. Ultimately, he felt Florida was the best fit. 

A 6'3", 275-pound stud, Willis demonstrates plenty of versatility up front on the defensive line. He is probably best suited as a strong-side defensive end, but it wouldn't be that surprising if his college coaches played him some at defensive tackle.

Willis boasts tremendous strength and athleticism. His huge senior season helped lead Edna Karr High School to the Louisiana Class 4A state championship.

The rough-and-tumble Southeastern Conference will surely test Willis in the coming years, however. It's no secret that many of the best athletes in college football reside in the SEC, so Willis will be expected to help make a difference from the get-go.

Either way, Willis has a bright future ahead. He possesses all of the physical attributes necessary to be a dominant pass-rusher at the college level, and he'll be playing on a stage where he's sure to gain notice.

As long as Willis remains focused, stays on track and gets stronger and quicker, he's no doubt headed for stardom.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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Jamal Adams Uses a Baby to Announce Commitment to LSU

Five-star safety recruit Jamal Adams announced his commitment to LSU during the Under Armour All-America Game by holding up his niece, who was donned in purple and gold.

The little girl couldn't get enough of the microphone. 

Here's another look at Adams' niece, via Louisiana's Sports Channel anchor Jacques Doucet:

Adams also made the mistake of announcing his commitment to "The University of LSU":

The No. 2 overall safety recruit was also considering Florida before committing to the Tigers.

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What 5-Star DT Gerald Willis Means to Florida Gators

Gerald Willis has committed to Florida at the Under Armour All-America Game. The 5-Star DT really has the skills to get after the quarterback and is agile enough to play anywhere on the line. 

Watch Adam Kramer break down what this commitment means to the Florida Gators. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital

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Jamal Adams to LSU: Tigers Land 5-Star Safety Prospect

Five-star safety prospect Jamal Adams has committed to LSU, according to ESPN's Jeremy Crabtree:

The 6’0”, 185-pound Texas native has been recruited by what feels like every major program in the nation (19 total schools had interest in the prospect, via 247Sports.com), but the attention the young man received proves most universities feel Adams could develop into a viable starter at the college level.

Adams is ranked as the No. 27 overall recruit and No. 2 safety in the 2014 class by 247Sports.com, and most believe the prospect could develop into a top-tier defensive back.

There are a few elite secondary players left on the 247Sports recruiting board, but Adams is a special talent with huge upside.

With 178 tackles and nine interceptions in his three high school seasons coming into his senior year, it’s clear that the developing prospect is the kind of dual-threat safety that can stop the run and defend the pass at the next level.

In the proper facilities of a major college campus, Adams will be able to put weight on his frame to help him adjust to the bigger competition. That doesn’t mean he won’t be starting the season with the first team defensive unit wherever he lands, though.

Adams was named second-team All-American by 247Sports, and the accolade comes with high expectations for his freshman season.

Landing Adams is a huge coup for his new school, and the fans could see the safety prospect making an impact on the field as soon as next season.

 

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What 5-Star Safety Jamal Adams Means to LSU Tigers

Jamal Adams committed to LSU at the Under Armour All-American game on Thursday. The 5-star safety has the skills to have an immediate impact on the field for the Tigers, who really needed help in the secondary.

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what Jamal Adams means to the LSU Tigers.

 

*Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

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Greatest Performances in BCS Championship History

With the final BCS Championship Game only days away, it’s time to take a stroll down memory lane.

Every year since 1998, college football’s two best teams have fought one another for the right to be crowned No. 1. Thirty teams have competed, but only 15 can call themselves BCS champions.

In that time period, we’ve seen plenty of memorable performances.

Join Bleacher Report as we take a look at some of the best that ever played in the game.

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Nebraska Football: What Gator Bowl Victory Means for Recruiting

Defeating Georgia in the Gator Bowl was more than just a moral victory for Nebraska. In fact, it may have just been what the Huskers needed on the recruiting front.

With National Signing Day only a little over a month away, head coach Bo Pelini is in the home stretch of securing his 2014 recruiting class.

The difference between this year and last is that the Huskers have a bowl game win to boast. That was something that couldn't be said in 2013.

In fact, losing 45-31 to the Bulldogs in last year's Capital One Bowl likely hurt Nebraska more than anything. It didn't help that the Huskers also gave up 589 yards during that game.

What a difference a year can make.

The 2013 regular season wasn't exactly a perfect one for Nebraska, though. The Huskers recorded more losses than countless pre-season predictions had suggested. By the end, Nebraska had lost to UCLA, Minnesota, Michigan State and Iowa.

The losses to the Golden Gophers and Hawkeyes especially stung.

Beyond that, the Huskers had plenty of off-the-field drama to deal with. From Pelini's leaked audio tape, to a tumultuous day against Iowa (both on the field and off), Nebraska provided potential recruits with plenty of reasons to choose another program.

Despite it all, plenty of recruits hung in there. A few even publicly supported Pelini, including defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales.

"Man, Coach Bo is going to fight to the death for his team,” Clinkscales told the Omaha World Herald. “He doesn’t take any BS."

With the support on his side, Pelini needed the bowl game win.

While recruits don't make an entire decision based on the outcome of a bowl game, it can definitely help those on the fence.

That's why Nebraska's 24-19 Gator Bowl victory is just what Pelini needed.

The Husker coaching staff plans to hit the recruiting trail hard once again come January 15th. Those final days have always been key for Pelini.

In fact, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star, every Pelini class (with the exception of 2009) has added three recruits in the final two weeks.

The 2014 class currently has 19 commits. Pelini hopes to make that 25 when it's all said and done. According to the Omaha World Herald, cornerback Byerson Cockrell and defensive end Joe Keels could count toward the 2013 class if need be.

That means Pelini is still on the hunt for up to eight additional recruits.

If history proves anything, it's possible he'll secure those spots in January.

As the Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson noted, a dozen of Nebraska’s 26 recruits in 2013 committed after the Huskers lost to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl.

If Nebraska was able to secure 12 recruits after a loss, a win should make things a little bit easier.

There's still a long road ahead for Pelini on the recruiting front. However, the Gator Bowl victory definitely doesn't hurt things.

Instead, it makes the 2014 recruiting more promising than ever.

 

For information and updates on Nebraska's 2014 recruiting class, click here.

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Travis Rudolph to Florida State: Seminoles Land 4-Star WR Prospect

Former University of Miami commit Travis Rudolph has decided to play his football at Florida State. 

Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat has news of the West Palm Beach, Fla., native's decision to join the Seminoles:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Rudolph, who decommitted from Al Golden and the Hurricanes back in March, is ranked 69th overall in the class of 2014, as well as the No. 7 wide receiver and No. 10 prospect out of the state of Florida. 

He had other offers from around the nation, including Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and a slew of other collegiate powerhouses. 

Rudolph, once regarded as a 3-star recruit, skyrocketed most ranking systems after an electric senior season. 

Leading Cardinal Newman to an 8-4 record and their first district title since 2004, Rudolph pulled down 63 receptions for 1,237 yards and 15 touchdowns, per the Palm Beach Post's Anthony Chiang

For his efforts, he was selected to the Under Armour All-American game, invited to The Opening and named the Lou Groza Awards High School Player of the Year, which is given to the top player from Palm Beach County, via Chiang:

Rudolph's speed isn't overwhelming (he runs a 4.52 40, per 247Sports), but he does everything well. 

He has strong hands, runs crisp, precise routes and has the ability to rack up yards after the catch. As ESPN's scouting report put it (subscription needed), Rudolph is "a very good candidate as a spread slot who has the speed to break contain on jet sweeps off motion."

The 6'1", 185-pound Rudolph still has room for improvement. But after a record-breaking, scintillating senior season in which he took major strides forward, there's very little question that he can make an immediate impact at the next level. 

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What 4-Star WR Travis Rudolph Means to Florida State Seminoles

Travis Rudolph has committed to Florida State at the Under Armour All-America Game. Look for the 4-star WR to add to the depth on the Seminoles offense and become another weapon for QB Jameis Winston. 

Watch Barrett Sallee break down what this commitment means to the Florida State Seminoles. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital

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DeVante Parker Passes Up 2014 NFL Draft to Return to Louisville

It's not all bad, Louisville fans. Although Teddy Bridgewater is off to the NFL, at least DeVante Parker will be a Cardinals player for one more season.

The junior receiver announced on Twitter that he's staying in school and passing up the 2014 NFL draft.

Parker isn't projected to be a top pick like Bridgewater, but after his fantastic Russell Athletic Bowl performance, some wondered if he'd be following his teammate to the pros.

Riding such a wave of momentum, you couldn't have faulted Parker if he wanted to strike while the iron is hot. But he has decided that another year in college will be more beneficial, and it's hard to argue with the choice.   

In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had Parker off the board with the next-to-last pick in the second round. It's a solid grade, but one that could be improved with more seasoning.

Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal reported in December that Parker was firm in his intention to only enter the draft under the right circumstances. “If they’re not projecting him near the first round,” Parker's grandfather Willie said, “he’s definitely going to be back for his senior year.”

Of course, this isn't all about Parker's draft stock, as Louisville is getting back one of its best vertical weapons.

Himmelsbach is already looking ahead to the 2014 season. With redshirt freshman Will Gardner in line to take over for Bridgewater next year, Himmelsbach posited that Parker will be the perfect target for a young QB.

Eric Crawford of WDRB in Louisville speculated that the junior wideout coming back is a good indication that Charlie Strong will be back as well.

Between Parker's decision to stay and Strong possibly doing the same, 2014 looks like it will be another big year for the Cardinals. 

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Speedy Noil to Texas A&M: Aggies Land 5-Star WR Prospect

Devante "Speedy" Noil has spent his high school career blowing by defenders. He will now take that skill to Texas A&M.

Noil made the announcement at the Under Armour All-American game:

The Class of 2014 standout spent most of his career at quarterback, where he was able to star at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans. In 2012, he totaled 2,235 passing yards and 1,345 rushing yards as he showed off his dual-threat ability.   

Most impressively, he scored 47 touchdowns in his junior year: 24 passing, 20 rushing and three receiving.

At the next level, the 5'10.5", 176-pound player will likely play wide receiver.

While he does not have elite size for the position, Noil more than makes up for it with his speed and elusiveness. When he is given room to run, he usually has the quickness and agility to take it all the way to the end zone.

His overall ability makes him the 11th-best overall prospect in 2014 and the No. 1 wideout recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

Noil was also named a Second-Team All-American by 247Sports after his impressive 2012 season.

Speedy will be very raw as a receiver in his first couple of years with his new school and will have to work out his route-running. However, he is the type of playmaker that can make things happen when the ball is in his hands.

In all likelihood, the Aggies will be aggressive in trying to find ways to get him involved in the offense or even special teams early in his career.

The New Orleans native had a chance to go almost anywhere in the country after receiving dozens of scholarship offers. However, he ended up making a lot of people happy by selecting Texas A&M as his school for the next few years.

 

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