NCAA Football News

Jameis Winston's Scouting Report and Outlook for 2015 NFL Draft

This year's NFL draft is finally history. After all the mock drafts and media frenzy, the picks are finally locked into place. For teams that didn't find their preferred quarterback in 2014, they may have to look no further than 12 months down the road when Florida State's Jameis Winston is likely to take his chances at professional stardom.

Winston led the NCAA in passing yards per attempt (10.6) and passing efficiency rating (184.8) in 2013, according to Sports-reference.com. He went undefeated in his first year as a starter, won the BCS National Championship, the Heisman trophy, and he has even found time to play baseball for Florida State now that the season is over. He's also highly regarded for his leadership skills and intangibles, as this video demonstrates.

Despite his weekly heroics, Winston may not even be the top quarterback in the 2015 NFL draft. That honor could belong to Oregon's Marcus Mariota. According to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, one NFL scout would have taken Mariota over Johnny Manziel had he entered this year's draft. Via Thamel:

"I'd take him over [Johnny] Manziel. He's more accurate. He's bigger and I think he's faster, not as elusive, but more durable. A lot of upside there," said the NFL scout.

Mariota has an extra year of starting experience under his belt and his numbers are impressive, but they still fell short of Winston's in 2013.

One area where Mariota does outpace Winston is running the football. Mariota racked up 775 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. Winston managed just 215 yards and four touchdowns on a 2.5 yards per carry average. Mariota may be a more effective runner, but Winston still has the mobility to move around in the pocket and buy time for his throws.

Unlike Mariota, Winston benefits from running a hybrid offense that contains elements of both spread and traditional offensive systems. Mariota will have to convince scouts that his numbers aren't the result of the unique, high-octane spread offense he runs at Oregon.

Winston's numbers aren't purely the result of a high volume passing attack that leaves quarterbacks ill-prepared for NFL schemes. In this way, Winston is unlikely to suffer the same fate as prolific college passers who played in gimmick offenses like Colt Brennan or Vince Young.

In fact, EJ Manuel, Winston's predecessor at Florida State, once stated the Buffalo Bills' offense is less complex than Florida State's. From a May 2013 interview with Sirius XM Radio, via ESPN.com's news services:

"I've done great. The learning curve for me is a lot shorter simply because of what I had at Florida State. [The Seminoles' offense is] more complex and a little bit harder to catch on and learn. This offense is very simple. I've done a great job with it."

This bodes well for Winston, who is working in a similar system under head coach Jimbo Fisher. In fact, Manuel did much more running than Winston in spread-option packages, which means Winston has likely spent more time working on pass plays that translate better to the NFL.

Of course, Winston may not even enter the 2015 NFL draft, according to Coach Fisher. Via Tim Linafelt of FloridaState.247sports.com:

“Everybody says he’s going to stay one year and leave,” Fisher said. “Which I don’t think that’s true. I think it will be two." 

It would be interesting to see how Winston might justify coming back for a junior season barring an injury that keeps him sidelined for an extended period of time as a sophomore.

Winston is a likely top-10 draft pick should he continue his dominating performances and enter the draft after his sophomore season. He has the size, skills and intangibles to compete at a high-level in the NFL. His 2014 season should give him ample opportunity to prove to NFL scouts that he is capable of performing in a traditional NFL offense.

Another quarterback Winston may have to outperform ahead of the 2015 NFL draft is UCLA's Brett Hundley. The Bruins' signal-caller has performed well in Westwood and will have three years of starting experience under his belt should he declare for 2015 as well.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Why Justin Worley Will Be the Tennessee Vols' Starting QB in 2014

Justin Worley's big-game experience, senior leadership and calm demeanor under pressure will give him command of the Vols offense and the first snaps under center when Utah State comes to Knoxville on Aug. 30, 2014.

After claiming the starting quarterback position in 2013, Worley was on track for a serviceable season, throwing for 1,239 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions before a thumb injury against Alabama sidelined him for the rest of the year.

But the stats don't show that Worley managed to do something no Tennessee quarterback has done since 2009: beat a ranked team. 

 

First Tennessee Win Over a Ranked Team Since 2009

By leading the Vols to a last-second 23-21 win over No. 11 South Carolina on Oct. 19, 2013, Worley proved that he can step up when the pressure is right in his face—literally. 

His 40-yard bomb late in the fourth quarter, thrown moments before getting flattened by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, was caught by Marquez North in dramatic fashion and led to Michael Palardy's game-winning field goal.

Just one week earlier, Worley almost led the Vols to an upset victory over No. 6 Georgia before losing, 34-31, in overtime. In both games, he turned in nearly error-free performances, throwing for a combined two touchdowns, 394 yards and no interceptions. 

Despite his achievements in big games, Worley's fellow signal-callers aren't going to let him run away with the starting position without a fight. 

 

Riley Ferguson 

Redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson may be the most talented quarterback on the Vols' roster, and both fans and media have speculated that he has the strongest arm out of the bunch.

In fact, head coach Butch Jones told Patrick Brown of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in August 2013 that Ferguson "stepped up" and "made some big throws" shortly after arriving on campus. Even Worley admitted he was impressed by his young teammate's arm strength. 

Since then, Ferguson has continued to prove himself to coaches, teammates and onlookers in practice, but he appeared rattled and uncertain during the Orange and White game in April 2014, throwing an interception and fumbling after a blindside sack. 

Despite his talent, his lack of in-game experience will keep the starting position out of his reach for another season. 

 

Joshua Dobbs

After an impressive performance on the road against Alabama to replace an injured Worley, sophomore Joshua Dobbs showed that he wasn't quite ready for the spotlight by struggling to move the chains and throwing too many interceptions against Auburn and Vanderbilt. 

However, his play against Kentucky to close out the Vols' season, which included 199 yards passing, two touchdown passes and a 40-yard touchdown run, is good reason to be optimistic about his future on Rocky Top.

Dobbs also appeared poised and greatly improved in the 2014 spring game, throwing multiple crisp passes to his wide receivers and breaking several tackles on his way to the end zone on a busted play.

With Ferguson receiving a redshirt last season, Dobbs is a prime candidate to sit out in 2014 while he continues to develop and mature.  

 

Nathan Peterman

Nathan Peterman, the Vols' redshirt sophomore quarterback out of Fruit Cove, Fla., likely fell to the bottom of the pecking order after turning in a disastrous performance against the Florida Gators in 2013.

Peterman also suffered a serious thumb injury in the game that denied him the chance of redemption later in the season. 

Although his debut in The Swamp was far from ideal, Peterman is the second-most experienced quarterback on Tennessee's roster.

Bouncing back from adversity and climbing the depth chart in 2014 isn't out of the question for the former 4-star recruit, per Rivals, but it won't be enough to unseat Worley. 

 

It's Worley's Job to Lose

Of all the quarterbacks on the roster, Worley doesn't have the strongest arm, the quickest release or the fastest feet.

But with new offensive weapons surrounding him in 2014, Worley is poised to become the efficient, calm quarterback and the leader Tennessee needs to compete in the SEC and get back to its first bowl game since 2010. 

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Texas Longhorns Go Undrafted in NFL Draft for 1st Time Since 1937

For the first time since 1937, the Texas Longhorns failed to have a single player selected in the NFL draft, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Who said Mack Brown couldn't develop talent?

Wide receiver Mike Davis, defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive tackle Chris Whaley and cornerback Carrington Byndom were among the Longhorns with draft aspirations, but they've instead joined the ranks of the undrafted free agents.

Jeffcoat said that he does have some opportunities available to him, per Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman:

Prior to his resignation in December of 2013, one of Brown's biggest knocks was his inability to make the most out of his impressive recruiting classes. He could get the players to come to Austin, but once there, their potential was spoiled.

Take a look at how the 2010 class ended up:

Baylor head coach Art Briles alluded to the fact that five players from his program will be playing on Sundays:

The fact that Texas failed to get a single player drafted is another sign of how far the Longhorns have fallen down the totem pole. This isn't some plucky school from a non-AQ conference which is happy to get a guy taken in the second or third round. Texas has the richest football program in the country. To have zero players drafted is unacceptable.

This is also a likely factor in the Longhorns' decision to bring former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong to Austin:

Louisville had four players taken in the draft, including three in the first round. One of Strong's most impressive accomplishments with the Cardinals was the way in which he got the most out of his players.

The 2014 NFL draft will likely serve as a nadir for Texas football, or at least as much as an NFL draft can be a low point for the school.

Now Strong can come in and work with a clean slate to a certain extent. Given his track record at Louisville, hopefully this is the last time Texas is absent during the draft.

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Arizona Wildcats Football: Why Ka'Deem Carey Was Undrafted in First Three Rounds

There seems to be a running theme in the reasons given for former Arizona Wildcats running back Ka'Deem Carey going unselected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft:

"Character issues."

"Character red flags."

"Questions surrounding his character."

And then this one from Heisman voter Lisa Horne, who is a Fox Sports writer from Southern California, after the season was complete in February:

Seriously?

Carey's actions involving his girlfriend and University of Arizona police more than a year ago are regrettable. He paid his price without charges filed in either case. He was suspended for Arizona's opener in 2013, eliminating his chance to lead the nation in rushing for the second year in a row.

Heisman voters like Horne held Carey's off-the-field issues before last season against him. He was not invited to New York City for the ceremony because of that.

Was Carey a bad seed to his son, teammates and coaches throughout the school year? No. Quite the opposite. He never pouted about his suspension. He never put himself above his teammates. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez was complimentary in his comments about how Carey handled the adversity.

“I’m proud of him,” Rodriguez said late last season when Carey averaged more than 150 rushing yards per game. “He’s earned that. He had some issues in the offseason which he has worked very, very hard the last six or seven months to rectify. He worked hard to earn the trust back of everybody. Ka’Deem’s a good guy.” 

Carey's Facebook wall has plenty of photos of him doting his son, Kaison. He has smoothed things over with his girlfriend, who was pictured with Carey and their son at Disneyland four months ago.

These people who do not know Carey personally, including Horne, cannot look Carey's mother, Tisha Atkins Carey, in the eye and say her son has character issues.

Ms. Carey posted a photo on her Facebook wall hugging her son during the first night of the NFL draft Thursday night. "Enjoyment on day one, love my boo boop," is what she wrote.

Character issues?

Former LSU running back Jeremy Hill was taken in the second round by Cincinnati, the 55th pick overall, despite this background: Arrested on sexual assault charges while in high school. Arrested again in April 2013 after being caught on video punching a man outside a bar near campus. For the latter, he was given a six-month suspended jail sentence and two years probation. Hill is on probation until July 2015.

The ignorance involving questions about Carey's character is unfortunate, especially including the views of a Heisman voter such as Horne.

Hill's selection in the second round is peculiar in more ways than one.

The knock on Carey is his time in the 40-yard dash (4.66 seconds) but that was the same time Hill posted at the NFL scouting combine. Hill and the other seven running backs who were picked in the first three rounds are known for their pass-catching ability.

Hill had only 18 catches for 181 yards, however, in LSU's pro-style offense last season. Carey had 26 receptions for 173 yards in one less game because of his suspension. Washington's Bishop Sankey, a second-round pick (54th overall) by Tennessee, had two more catches than Carey for 304 yards overall.

Carey had four receiving touchdowns in his three-year Arizona career. Sankey had only one in his three-year career with the Huskies.

The NFL has become infatuated with big-play performers on offense. We are living in the ESPN "Top 10 Plays" highlight era. The days of hard-nosed, physical running backs blasting through the line for an important 30-yard gain are over. John Riggins, Franco Harris and Earl Campbell do not have a place in today's NFL. If their style was still approved by NFL scouts, Carey is a first-round pick without question. 

The art of smashmouth running for paydirt in the red zone has given way to a quarterback scramble or five receivers zig-zagging to find an open area in the end zone for the quarterback to loft in the air for a jump-ball situation. The NFL of today would often rather have a quarterback (not always a running back) bolt through the line for a 10-yard gain and a first down. See Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin.

See running backs becoming less important of a commodity.

Arizona's spread offense is similar with a dual-threat quarterback and a bevy of receivers but Carey thrived in Rodriguez's balanced offense.

This much is certain: Carey's scouting combine performance in which he was timed at 4.7 seconds in the 40 and showed questionable hand-eye coordination in pass-catching drills are affecting his draft status. Two days in Indianapolis have meant the difference between Carey going in the second round to potentially landing in the fourth round or lower.

If character was a factor, Carey would shut himself off from the media and outside world because of his snub in the first three rounds. Instead, the affable Carey held a party at a Tucson establishment Friday night with family and friends. The Tucson media was welcome to attend.

Carey told the Arizona Daily Star's Daniel Berk, "It was a long night, but a great night" with family and friends.

Character?

Seriously?

 

Check out Javier Morales' blog at AllSportsTucson.com and follow him on Twitter @JavierJMorales

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

2014 NFL Draft Reflects Lowest Point of Miami Hurricanes Football

Between insufficient player development, continual collective underperformance and the overall negative impact on recruiting, the 2014 NFL draft reflects the Miami Hurricanes' struggles from 2007-2010.

Over the four-year stretch, the respective Miami combined to win just 28 games compared to suffering 23 losses.

But when a respective prospect is announced at Radio City Music Hall this weekend, he moves one step closer to reaching his goal of becoming a professional football player at the highest level.

Like many programs across the nation, Miami is projected to have a couple former athletes of their own experience this emotional time, receiving a phone call from an NFL franchise.

However, after years of dominating the draft, "The U" is looking at less than a handful of draftees in 2014.

My, how the mighty have fallen.

"This year it's anybody’s guess," Susan Miller Degnan of The Miami Herald said, "with a strong possibility of no one getting drafted until the fourth through seventh rounds are televised beginning at noon Saturday—the final day of the three-day draft."

Seantrel Henderson figured to be the first former Hurricane off the board, but Brandon Linder was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third.

Beyond the pair of offensive linemen, Stephen Morris and Pat O'Donnell are likely the only other Miami players who could be selected. Allen Hurns and potential basketball-convert Erik Swoope might be picked, but don't bet the house on it.

The mighty have fallen how far?

Scouts say Henderson has all-pro talent, but he is criticized for a mediocre work ethic, lacklustre drive and poor character.

Linder, on the other hand, is not an elite prospect, but he has other attractable qualities, as NFL Network's Mike Mayock discussed via Miller Degnan:

"I think those two offensive linemen are heading in different directions," draft analyst Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said last Thursday, before the revelation about Henderson. Mayock said Henderson was "heading in the wrong direction, whereas their guard, Linder—the more coaches get involved, the more they like Linder. He's not as physically gifted as some players in this draft, but he's smart and he's tough. He could climb. I think he's going in the fourth or fifth round, and this is a pretty good guard draft."

Ultimately, however, the highest profile ex-'Cane was a third-round pick projected to be tabbed later than that.

Before a disappointing senior campaign, Morris was one of the top quarterbacks on the boards of many analysts. Now, he may slide undetected through the entire weekend.

O'Donnell is affected by the lack of demand at punter, but he transferred from Cincinnati and wasn't even recruited by Miami. Hurns is a purely average receiver with no special qualities, and Swoope's proverbial draft stock is based solely on potential.

Note: Rankings and projections based on latest releases of Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.

Recent Miami seasons have been classified under the common theme "youth." And when looking at the 2010 recruiting class—of which Henderson, Linder, Morris and Hurns were members—it's evident from where that mantra stemmed.

Other notable players from the class include Jimmy Gaines, Asante Cleveland, Maurice Hagens, Tyrone Cornelius, Kacy Rodgers and Eduardo Clements, none of whom are expected to be drafted. Clive Walford, who will be a senior in 2014, will likely be chosen in the draft next year.

Sure, Storm Johnson was originally a member of the group, and the UCF running back should be taken before Henderson and the others, but the former top recruit is not the 'Canes to claim. Maybe tight end Chase Ford, a JUCO signee in 2010, can be added because he has been a contributor for the Minnesota Vikings, but that's stretching it.

Then, throw in Latwan Anderson, Tavadis Glenn, David Perry, Keion Payne, Travis Williams, Kevin Nelson, Jeremy Davis, Darion Hall, Devont'a Davis, Jermaine Barton, Andrew Tallman and Delmar Taylor. If you're contemplating, "who are these guys?!"—you're not wrong.

It wasn't the recruiting rankings—or stars—that mattered in the 2010 class. According to 247Sports, former head coach Randy Shannon grabbed one 5-star, five 4-stars and 21 3-stars.

There was very little production from the class, and that's the problem. Four years later, the only draftable players are Henderson, Linder and maybe Morris as a project.

According to Miller Degnan, the players who are hoping to be selected this May have only one thing on their mind: capitalize on being picked.

"Wherever I get drafted, I’ll be happy," Linder said. "It's all about the opportunity I'm given."

"Of course I want to get drafted," Cleveland said, "but I'm preparing for the worst and not trying to get my hopes up too high. Just know that wherever I go I'm going to give them all I've got."

From Denzel Perryman to Duke Johnson to Stacy Coley, the potential professional futures of current players in the program is promising. But in 2014, the overwhelming impact from the Hurricanes in the NFL draft is, quite simply, the lack of one.

 

Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Draft-Day Fall Proof Stephon Tuitt Should Have Stayed at Notre Dame

The NFL Network's cameras caught the tears rolling down Stephon Tuitt's face. And while Tuitt's emotions were overwhelming joy after being selected 46th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the slide into the middle of the second round was proof positive that the former Notre Dame defensive end should've stayed for his senior season in South Bend. 

Sure, it's easy for the guy behind the keyboard to tell the kid who just became an instant millionaire that he's making a mistake. But Tuitt's slide cost him millions of dollars in earnings over the next four years.

How much money did falling into the middle of the second round cost Tuitt? That's tough to measure. The last 48 hours have been a nice reminder that most draft experts are simply throwing darts.

Assuming Tuitt was a first-round pick next year is no given. But for the sake of the exercise, let's project a strong senior season moves Tuitt into the top 15. (After all, look what it did for Zack Martin, Tyler Eifert and Michael Floyd.)

The money difference is huge. Even with the NFL's rookie slotting system, Tuitt's slide cost him a ton of cash. According to OverTheCap.com, the projected rookie contract for the Steelers' second-round pick is a signing bonus of approximately $1.8 million and a four-year contract worth just over $4.8 million. 

To be sure, that's life changing money. But it's not even half of the money that the Steelers will pay first-rounder Ryan Shazier, who will get over $10 million. 

The stay-or-go decision wasn't one that Tuitt made alone. In a year where a record 98 underclassmen declared for the draft, only 15 of them were taken in the first round. Fellow junior Troy Niklas decided to test the NFL waters as well and was selected just a few picks after Tuitt by the Arizona Cardinals.

That both would turn down an opportunity to earn their degree, or work their way into being a first-round pick, was disconcerting for Brian Kelly, via Eric Henson of the South Bend Tribune:

I just have to do a better job of educating our own players on the NFL and what it means to be a first-round draft pick versus a second or a third. When an agent says, ‘Let’s play for your second contract,’ how ridiculous that is.

My point is in the recruiting process, we do not want to go out there and say, ‘Come to Notre Dame for these reasons: Hey, come to Notre Dame, we’ll get you an apartment off campus; come to Notre Dame and we’ll help you go pro early.’

I just wanted to be clear that these are our distinctions, and you’re shopping down a different aisle. We’re not better than anybody else, but this is what you’re going to get if you shop down this aisle.

Even Alabama coach Nick Saban—no stranger to early NFL departures— has talked about the challenge of having his players make the right decision before deciding to declare early for the draft. A bad decision could cost you millions. 

Saban said on his radio show, via AL.com's Andrew Gibble:

If you stay three years and you're going to be a first-round draft pick, that guy should probably go because it's a significant amount of money and a business decision," Saban told AL.com. "All these other guys that are second-day ... 53 percent of the guys that get second-round grades don't even get drafted. It's all about what kind of career you have.

Even the second-round pick or third-round pick, your average signing bonus is $700,000. If you can go from being a third-round pick to a guy that's the 25th pick, you make $7 million. That's 10 times more.

That Tuitt wrestled with the decision is not news. It was far from an easy choice for Tuitt, who long held firm that he planned on spending four years in South Bend, earning a degree that his mother made a priority. He nearly announced his return for his senior season in October, telling student-run newspaper The Observer that (via NBC Sports) before backing away from the statement. 

Entering the 2013 season, it was natural to wonder if Tuitt would stay or go. A preseason All-American, Tuitt was coming off one of the more impressive seasons in Notre Dame history, with his 12 sacks second in school history. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had him No. 11 on his big board.

Look at the defenders who Tuitt nearly topped for the sack title in 2012, all while playing as a 3-4 defensive end. Jarvis Jones was Pittsburgh's first-round pick last year. Bjoern Werner, another first-rounder. Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 pick this season. Anthony Barr, came off the board ninth to Minnesota. 

But Tuitt's 2013 didn't go according to plan. Plagued by an offseason hernia surgery that made it difficult for Tuitt to keep his weight down, a defensive end that played just below 300 pounds in 2012 was playing at closer to 330, robbing him of the explosiveness that helped him wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

Tuitt's sack total dropped to 7.5, a modest number considering the expectations. And while he showed moments of dominance, he produced an awful lot of head-scratching tape, looking lethargic and out of shape as he was forced to play a ton of snaps for a defensive line that was plagued by injuries.

Tuitt tried to remedy his disappointing season by whipping himself into top shape for the NFL Scouting Combine. And while he came in at a chiseled 304 pounds, a medical checkup revealed a minor fracture in his foot, a piece of bad luck that forced him out of competition at the combine, a place where a physically dominant performance would've put him back on the map. 

In the end, it's all water under the bridge. Tuitt's story isn't a tragedy. He's vowed to return for his degree and will step into an aging defense that's been among the best at identifying and developing talent. When asked about his slide down the draft board, Tuitt wasn't sure what the main culprit was. 

"I don’t know," Tuitt told Steelers.com. "All I know is I believe that everything happens for a reason. It was meant for me to come to the Steelers."

Today is a celebration for Stephon Tuitt. An NFL dream realized. But it's also a reminder that a year from now he could've been a first-round pick and celebrating an even bigger rookie contract. 

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Texas Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2014 Season

More than two weeks have passed since Texas football wrapped up spring practice, but many questions remained unanswered for head coach Charlie Strong and his team.

The Longhorns' performance throughout spring practice was decent considering Strong and his entirely new staff just got to know these players in January, but progress will need to be made before the Longhorns kick off the 2014 season.

With that in mind, here's a way-too-early game-by-game prediction of the Texas Longhorns 2014 schedule.

 

 

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BYU Football: Grading the 2014 Alternate Uniforms

Well, the cat got out of the bag quickly.

After BYU lineman De'Ondre Wesley leaked photos of potential alternate uniforms for the Cougars, Bronco Mendenhall and the athletic department wasted no time in confirming the news. It was soon announced on several media outlets that the "new" uniforms will include all-white, all-black and all-royal styles.

Although we have seen all of these uniforms in past seasons, it's good to have some variety for this fall. But every uniform has its advantages and drawbacks, so here are complete grades for all three styles.

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5 Takeways from Brady White's Commitment to Arizona State Football

Arizona State fans rejoiced last week when 4-star quarterback Brady White committed to ASU, which is another sign that the Sun Devils are on the upswing.

After being spurned by Joshua Dobbs in a last-minute flip to Tennessee in 2013 and not signing a passer in 2012, ASU completely missed on signing a quarterback in Todd Graham's first two recruiting classes. With White being ranked as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2015 class and the highest-ranked QB to ever commit to ASU since 2002, he is sure to bring a new dynamic to the offense, as well as help attract other top recruits to the program.

Let's take a look at five of the biggest takeaways from White's commitment to ASU.

 

He can help lure big talent to Tempe

This starts with friend and current teammate, 4-star wide receiver Trent Irwin.

Though Irwin says that he is not a lock to ASU, according to Rivals.com's Adam Gorney (subscription required), White's commitment does give the Sun Devils a great shot against some of the competition, which includes Stanford and California. Though Irwin will be the first to admit he is not ready to commit to the Sun Devils just yet, he also said that White's commitment may play a role in his decision:

Brady going there is big. Obviously I would like to go somewhere with him but we would both understand if we don't fit in the program or academically or whatever. If it doesn't pan out we could go somewhere else," Irwin said, though he also mentioned that he liked ASU quite a bit. "I visited last Sunday before he committed there," he said. "It was really nice and the coaches seem really cool. They have the Barrett Honors College which is an academic plus for them there. The offense seemed really good and they seemed interested so I like ASU.

Though Irwin doesn't yet have a time frame for when his commitment will come, ASU has a great shot at landing his services, and fans can be sure that White will be in his ear, coaxing him to join him in Tempe.

 

White's commitment will put ASU in the running for the Pac-12 South

With USC and UCLA both having commitments from 5-star quarterback recruits, ASU has put itself in a solid position to compete with them.

While White is only considered a 4-star recruit, player development is typically challenged and improved upon at the college level much more so than at the high school level. While only time will tell, at the very least, he should help the Sun Devils compete with the talent at USC and UCLA and put ASU in the running for the Pac-12 South title annually.

 

Having multiple options at quarterback gives ASU the keys to success

After Taylor Kelly's departure following the 2014 season and assuming that ASU signs both of its current quarterback prospects for the 2015 class—White and Bryce Perkins—the battle for the starting quarterback position will begin this year.

Current backup quarterback Michael Bercovici, who had an excellent showing at the 2014 spring game, will go head-to-head against Elite 11 participant Manny Wilkins, as well as Coltin Gerhart, whom deputy head coach Mike Norvell said may be the steal of the class.

The battle may recommence in 2015 with the additions of White and Perkins, but competition will result in the best outcome for the team. According to Chris Karpman of ASUDevils.com (subscription required), it's hard to know who will emerge as the best quarterback, and the only way to find out is by pitting the players against one another:

About half of all quarterbacks are going to eventually transfer or stop playing, that's just the nature of the beast. But if you have more perceived good options to choose from, you're more likely to end up with a very good player to lead your team, and without one of those, you don't have much of a chance as ASU coach Todd Graham has admitted.

 

White can help the Sun Devils to build a recruiting pipeline

Just like Wilkins did in 2014, White can help make a significant impact in the formation of the 2015 class. Wilkins, who committed to ASU last May, immediately became an advocate for the program, using social media to connect with potential recruits and convince them to come to Tempe.

According to Dan Mohrmann of CHSAANow.com, top-rated recruit Kalen Ballage was wavering on his decision between ASU and several other programs. Ballage didn't name any names, but he did admit that his connection to the players in Tempe encouraged him to ultimately sign with the Devils:

Although he had plenty of options on the table including CU and UCLA, the further in to the recruiting process he got the more he felt the pull from Arizona State. He cited the connection he made with the players down there as a big reason. He had been receiving text messages from those players as signing day neared, but not to pressure him into making a decision. It turned out the guys he had grown close to on his visit just wanted to check in on him and talk about things other than football. That attitude resonated with him and when decision time came, it made things much easier for him.

With social media now playing a much bigger role in recruits' lives than in the past, White has an opportunity to be the next advocate and use his influence to help bring in another top-25 class for ASU in 2015.

 

ASU needed quarterback talent after not signing any in 2012 or 2013

According to Rivals.com's Chris Karpman, 2012 was the first year since pre-1996 that ASU didn't sign a quarterback. Even though Sun Devils still had three signal-callers on their roster during this time and a great starter in Taylor Kelly, things could have been bleak for the quarterback situation had they not signed two passers in 2014, especially in light of backup Michael Eubank's transfer in January.

Luckily for ASU, the addition of White and Perkins may create a competitive battle for the position, giving the best man the chance to start. 

 

Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports and Rivals.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Teams with the Toughest Nonconference Schedules in 2014

Nonconference schedules are a hot topic in college football right now, in large part because of the SEC's new mandate for each of its teams to schedule at least one opponent from a power conference.

That rule, however, did not take effect for this season, which is how we ended up with with SEC nonconference slates such as Vanderbilt's (Temple, UMass, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion) and Mississippi State's (Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama, UT-Martin).

On the flip-side of those creampuff schedules are a group of teams that will challenge themselves. Whether by stratagem or by bad luck, their schedule features numerous teams that can beat them.

In order to make this list, a team had to have at least two quality opponents. Michigan State, for example, has the hardest nonconference game in the country—at Oregon on Sept. 6—but no other power conference teams. It was bypassed for that reason.

Beyond that, it was a judgement call.

Based on the case, I sometimes preferred a team with two very hard games over three modestly hard ones. Other times, I preferred the opposite. Context was the key.

Let me know what you disagree with in the comments.

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Jake McGee Transfers to Florida: What Former All-ACC TE Can Do for Gators

Jake McGee was the leading receiver at Virginia in 2013, but the talented tight end has decided to spend his final college campaign at Florida.

The 6'6", 250-pound playmaker announced his decision to transfer last month, though his ultimate destination remained unknown. He revealed those plans Friday afternoon:

The rising redshirt senior graduates from Virginia this week so he is immediately eligible for game action this fall. Florida head coach Will Muschamp acquires a new weapon for his offensive attack, adding a player who appeared on the 2013 Athlon Sports preseason All-ACC second team.

The Gators have struggled to replace Jordan Reed at tight end, creating an immediate need for a player of McGee's caliber. He told Scott Carter of GatorZone.com that he admired first-year Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's game plan from afar when Virginia played Duke.

Their offense, being on the other side, was sort of fun to watch. They did a lot of cool things and really did a lot with the tight end position that excites me as a player. There’s a lot of versatility with the position to create mismatches and be allowed to do all sorts of different things.

That allure helped lead him to The Swamp. He is expected to start his new collegiate football chapter next week:

McGee developed a reputation as a go-to target in key situations during his time at Virginia. According to his Cavaliers bio, 26 of his 43 receptions last season resulted in a first down or touchdown.

He converted third-down plays on 14 of those catches. Expect Florida to view him as a crucial cog in its offensive scheme as Roper continues to install his system this summer.

The Gators bring in a battle-tested tight end who is clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, per Gainesville Sun reporter Robbie Andreu.

His presence has plenty of potential to reinvigorate Florida's aerial attack. The latest roster addition could prove to be Muschamp's most impactful pickup of the offseason.

McGee led the Cavaliers with 43 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns as a junior. He caught 71 passes for 769 yards and seven touchdowns at Virginia.

His NFL stock is already solid and McGee will have a chance to improve upon it this season. ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects him to be a third-round pick next spring, according to The Gainesville Sun.

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