NCAA Football News

Delayed Jameis Winston Hearing Serves FSU Football, Not Justice

First came the coverup, and now the delay tactics.

It's starting to look as if the clock might just run out before Jameis Winston has to stand up for any final judgment on the sexual assault allegation against him. The other way of looking at that: This thing could be stalled out so long Winston's alleged victim never gets a fair shake.      

On Wednesday, according to several reports (ESPN, USA Today, Fox, The Tallahassee Democrat, etc.), Winston's student code of conduct hearing was delayed from this coming Monday until Dec. 1. That's two days after Florida State's final regular-season game.

Winston's attorney, David Cornwell, had asked for the postponement, to give him time to look over the evidence.

A look at the rules in the FSU student handbook shows how this could well be the loophole that allows Winston to play out the season, get Florida State its College Football Playoff money and possibly even play in the national championship before ever facing a hearing.

Dropping out before Florida State can present its findings is an idea Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann suggested a month ago. "If Winston withdrew from school, he would move outside of the university's jurisdiction and could not be forced to participate in a university disciplinary hearing," McCann pointed out. With the hearing now delayed, the timeline wouldn't even necessarily require sacrificing any football.

It's hard to say for sure that anything dirty is happening with this delay. Maybe it is. Or maybe it's just the regular way things go in these types of bureaucratic, legal processes.

Either way, it's another example of football winning out, power winning out. Somehow, the people with power always seem to be the ones to win out. Ironically, power is what a sexual assault charge is usually about.

Do you think if this were about a regular student, and not a Heisman Trophy winner, it would be taking this long to play out?

No way.

The FSU student handbook says that when the hearing is finished, the school has up to 10 "class days" to come down with its decision. Consider the timeline:

Let's say the hearing takes three days, Dec. 1-3. The College Football Playoff final four will be announced on Dec. 7, meaning it's likely that the committee will be deciding on Florida State while assuming that Winston will be playing.

On Dec. 12, final exams conclude. That would be only nine class days after the hearing ends. The national semifinal game is Jan. 1, before the spring semester starts. The second semester—the next class day—isn't until Jan. 7.

And while the national title game isn't until Jan. 12, the student handbook says that people are given five class days to appeal any decision. Then another hearing has to be scheduled.

Last week, Cornwell filed for an extension and John Clune, attorney for Winston's alleged victim, told ESPN that Cornwell, "obviously doesn't want his client to ever do the hearing."

One thing that's unclear is who approved this delay. ESPN, citing unnamed sources, said Florida State had done it. But Fox, also citing sources, said it was done by retired Florida Supreme Court justice Major Harding. Both sides in the case approved Harding.

Either way, this case shouldn't have even gone this long. The New York Times showed in detail how Florida State and the Tallahassee police botched and covered up the case. The State Attorney chose not to file charges because he said there wasn't enough evidence.

So the alleged victim was down to this hearing. Now, stall tactics are threatening that.

Look, it's probably true that Winston's attorney didn't have much time to sift through the evidence after the hearing date was set. But the alleged rape happened nearly two years ago. Winston was identified a month later, and lawyers and school officials killed a lot of time covering this up and putting up roadblocks to the investigation.

Everyone has had plenty of time. The Title IX laws are in place, requiring an investigation, as a means to protect alleged victims.

I'm not sure people need any more time to delay that justice, if that's really what we're after here. Twenty-three months is enough time to get your story straight.


Greg Couch covers college football for Bleacher Report. He also writes for The New York Times and was formerly a scribe for and the Chicago Sun-Times. Follow him on Twitter @gregcouch.

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Dan Mullen: Why He Should Resist Florida Urge, Stay in Starkville

Mississippi State is on top of the football world.  It is the consensus choice among the polls as the best team in the country.  Quarterback Dak Prescott is one of the elite signal-callers in America and a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.  And overseeing it all is fourth-year coach Dan Mullen, who was hired to take over the struggling MSU program in December 2008.

Go back in time about four years, and Mullen was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Florida.  One of the premier offensive minds at the time, Mullen traveled with Urban Meyer from Notre Dame to Bowling Green, Utah and then Florida.  Over that time, he developed several star quarterbacks, including Alex Smith, Chris Leak and Tim Tebow.

Since Mullen’s departure from Gainesville, he and the Gators have taken drastically different paths.  Mullen has transformed Mississippi State into one of the best teams in the SEC, while Florida has plummeted out of prominence.

As the regular season nears completion and Florida continues to struggle while the Bulldogs thrive, Gator Nation is getting increasingly irritated.  A core group of fans are so annoyed with the direction of the program that a "Fire Muschamp" website was created.

And not surprisingly, a "Hire Dan Mullen" website consequently surfaced.  Even though the creator of the site has since taken it down, the point was made. 

This situation begs a very intriguing question: If Florida does indeed fire Muschamp in the near future and offers the job to Mullen, would he take it?

On the surface, one would think that he probably would.  It would ostensibly be a dream come true, going back to Florida, one of college football’s most storied programs as well as the same place where Mullen made his name as an offensive guru.  A Mullen-coached Gator team would have immediate dominion over the recruiting hotbed that is the state of Florida, and just imagine how good they could be.

However, despite all of that, I think Mullen should, and will, make the prudent decision of staying right where he is.

Mississippi State is not a one-hit wonder.  Don’t expect the Bulldogs to have a few spectacular years and then fall off the map.  Mullen is in the process of building a powerhouse, and he is likely to succeed in doing so thanks to his phenomenal recruiting ability.

The current MSU recruiting class is ranked 10th in the nation by ESPN Recruiting Nation (subscription required), and it is a class loaded with premier talent as well as tremendous depth.  Its 31 pledges rank first in the nation in volume.

When asked about the possibility to returning to Florida, Mullen said all the right things.  In a radio interview two weeks ago on WLAU's Head to Head radio (h/t, he gave Mississippi State a ringing endorsement.

Here’s my take on [the Florida rumors]: One, both my kids are born here.  I love Mississippi State.  I’ve loved being here.  I love the community.  I love the state.  I have a great administration.  They’ve given us what we need to build a successful program.  I think we’ve built that program.  We love being here.  That’s number one.

Mullen went on to say that he doesn’t think the fans should be giving Muschamp so much grief.  He has been in his shoes, and he knows what it feels like to be on the hot seat.  

The bottom line is that Florida can’t offer much to Mullen that he doesn’t have access to in Starkville.  Mississippi State gave Mullen a contract extension before the start of this season, and while Florida could probably offer more money, Mullen doesn’t seem like the greedy type.

Florida’s football facilities are among the nicest in the country, headlined by the sparkling Heavener Complex, but Mississippi State recently spent about $100 million to improve its facilities.  The massive renovation adds capacity to Davis Wade Stadium as well as a state-of-the-art 80,000 square-feet practice facility that includes new coaches’ offices, a new weight room and a host of other amenities.

And then there’s the expectation factor.  In Mullen’s current situation, he is revered by Bulldog fans as a savior, one who transformed the downtrodden MSU program into a national contender. 

If he goes to Florida, he will be one several coaches who have had success in Gainesville.  Should he succeed, it will be because he is expected to.  If he fails, he will be hated and ridiculed in a similar fashion to what Muschamp is experiencing.

It’s a no-win situation at Florida, while Mississippi State is full of potential.  The recruiting has been impressive and will continue to improve as the Bulldogs win more games.  With the recent splurge, MSU has some of the best football facilities in the SEC.  Mullen’s family loves it in Starkville, and he has a chance to achieve something that no other coach has done at Mississippi State: win a national championship.

It might not be this offseason, athletic director Jeremy Foley has said Muschamp’s job is safe at least through this season, but the Florida administration is eventually going to tire of living in mediocrity.  Muschamp is either going to resign or get fired, and one of their first calls is likely to be to Mullen, luring him back.

If Mullen is interested in national fame and accumulating riches, then he should strongly consider the offer.  However, if he wants to maintain an image as a down-to-earth coach living with a happy family in rural Mississippi while making plenty of money, MSU is the place to be.   

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Potential Domino Effect of 5-Star 2016 QB Malik Henry Committing to Florida St.

By landing a commitment from Malik Henry—who is rated as the nation’s top quarterback in the 2016 class—Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles are setting themselves up for a potential blockbuster class.

Grabbing one of the top five players overall in the 2016 cycle is a building block that is likely to attract the attention of other top recruits who have interest in the ‘Noles.

As noted by Josh Newberg of Noles247, Henry, who also has plans to play baseball at Florida State, has drawn comparisons to the Seminoles' current quarterback—reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

Given Henry possesses that type of potential and the fact Fisher was able to pull him out of California, his commitment signals that Florida State is primed to remain among the nation’s elite for years to come.

Henry will now turn his attention to luring other top players, but which recruits will take priority on his wish list?


Nate Craig-Myers

There will be no shortage of talented receivers for Henry to throw to in Tallahassee.

However, there are a number of talented pass-catchers in the 2016 cycle located in the Seminoles’ backyard—headlined by the nation’s junior top receiver, 5-star in-state standout Nate Craig-Myers.

The 6’2”, 205-pounder is currently committed to Auburn. However, as Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover reports, Craig-Myers appears to be having some second thoughts about his pledge and could re-open his recruitment.

If that happens, the Seminoles could be one of the teams in play. With a top-flight quarterback such as Henry already in the fold, heading to Tallahassee would make sense for an elite receiver such as Craig-Myers.


Shavar Manuel

Henry becomes the centerpiece for the future of the ‘Noles offense, but Fisher will look to find an alpha dog for his defense. 

Defensive end Shavar Manuel, who is the No. 2 player overall, is another Tampa product Fisher and his staff are vigorously pursuing.

Newberg (subscription required) notes that Manuel came away heavily impressed after attending the ‘Noles' thrilling win over Notre Dame last month.

When Winston committed in the 2012 class, the ‘Noles were also able to snag a pledge from top-rated defensive end Mario Edwards Jr.—both of whom have been integral parts of the team’s recent success. 

Fisher is hoping he and his staff can repeat that feat by pairing Henry and Manuel as the cornerstones of the offense and defense, respectively.


Isaac Nauta

Another critical piece of the ‘Noles offense in recent years has been the emergence of the tight end position.

Senior Nick O’Leary has given Fisher’s offense a versatile weapon who creates headaches for opposing defenses. 

In 4-star tight end target Isaac Nauta, the ‘Noles are looking to land a player with a skill set that compares favorably to O’Leary when he was a recruit. 

As reported by Chris Nee of Noles247, Nauta will announce his commitment on Dec. 15.

Netting an elite quarterback such as Henry can only strengthen FSU’s bid in its quest to land the nation’s top tight prospect in the 2016 class.


Saivion Smith

The secondary is another area where Fisher and his staff have succeeded in landing difference-makers in their recent recruiting classes. 

Perhaps the top defensive back on the ‘Noles' radar in 2016 is 5-star corner Saivion Smith

Smith has spent much of the last year battling against 2015 4-star FSU quarterback pledge Deondre Francois—who is his teammate at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida—in practice on a daily basis.

Henry committed to FSU despite the ‘Noles possessing commitments from three top passers, including Francois, in the 2015 cycle—which displays his desire as a competitor. 

Considering how well Fisher and his staff have recruited over the years, he and his staff have crafted a program built on fostering competition day in and day out.

Pairing elite talents such as Henry and Smith against one another on a daily basis in practice would help continue that tradition.

Henry is the fifth commitment in Florida State’s 2016 class and the first 5-star junior to pull the trigger for the Seminoles. 

However, considering the number of standout recruits with heavy interest in the ‘Noles, his pledge is likely just the beginning of a run toward another top-rated class for Fisher and his staff.


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

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Auburn Football: Ties to Georgia Make Showdown vs. Bulldogs Personal

AUBURN, Ala. — It would be hard to find a college football rivalry featuring two schools as intertwined as Auburn and Georgia.

Two of the schools' most legendary coaches, Auburn's Pat Dye and Georgia's Vince Dooley, called the other school their alma mater.

"It's like playing against your brother," Dye said back in 2007. "I don't think anybody who plays in that game can ever forget it. It just doesn't matter much where it's played or what somebody's record is. It's so intense and tough, but at the same time, it's family."

The number of individuals who have ties to both sides, either by playing or coaching, has continued to grow since the days of Dye and Dooley.

Current Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner spent 15 years at Georgia before coming back to the school where he excelled as a player. Georgia responded by replacing Garner with legendary Auburn defensive lineman and former assistant coach Tracy Rocker.

That level of familiarity between both schools extends to the players, especially those who suit up for the Tigers.

Due to Auburn's close proximity to the Georgia state line, the two schools often battle it out for the same recruits.

And after a big haul from Georgia earlier this year, Auburn now has 39 players who claim the Peach State as their home—including several key players on both sides of the ball:

Then there is the case of the highlighted one, Nick Marshall, who played defensive back at Georgia before his dismissal in 2011 due to a violation of team rules.

Two years later, Marshall, now a dual-threat quarterback for Auburn, completed a deflected last-gasp touchdown pass to Ricardo Louis to defeat his former team.

One of the players who deflected Marshall's pass was former teammate Tray Matthews, who joined Auburn this offseason after being dismissed from Georgia.

This Saturday, the senior will have to make his first trip back to Sanford Stadium after leading the Tigers to victory inside his new home at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Marshall was not made available for interviews this week, but his coaches gave some insight on his mindset ahead of his return.

"He knows a lot of those guys, and he was there," Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said this week. "It’s his home state he grew up in, but at the end of the day, once that game starts and sounds good, he’s going to play the best game he can no matter what. He’s going to go out there and do the best he can, give his best effort."

But Marshall will not be the only Tiger with emotions tied to Saturday night's game against Georgia.

Senior cornerback Jonathon Mincy grew up a Bulldog fan and always wanted to play his college ball in Athens. However, Georgia didn't offer him a scholarship.

"It's real big, especially going to their house," Mincy said. "Any game we play against Georgia, it's very touching for me, me growing up and being a fan of them and not having an opportunity to go there. It's real big."

For Mincy, the ultimate act of revenge against the Bulldogs, even after being a part of 2013's wild win in the rivalry, would be getting an interception inside Sanford Stadium.

"It'd be a great feeling," Mincy said. "An indescribable feeling. That would be one of the greatest memories I've got, beside the Iron Bowl."

On Wednesday night, after what Gus Malzahn called two "very solid" practices, the Auburn head coach said he could sense an extra level of excitement and energy from the Georgia natives.

"We've got close to 40 guys from the state of Georgia," Malzahn said. "Anytime you play in your home state, I know it's special for those guys."

But several of those players have stressed the importance of not letting their personal emotions from playing back in Georgia get the best of them.

While Auburn is coming off a tough loss to Texas A&M, there is still a slight chance the Tigers can get back into the SEC Championship picture with two more rivalry wins and some help from other teams.

"It's extremely special going back to the home state and to the place where all the guys I went to high school with are rooting for Georgia, but rooting for me," senior tight end C.J. Uzomah said. "It's a special feeling knowing that I'll have a lot of friends and family there, but we know it's business.

"We know we have to go in there ready and prepare accordingly this week. I know we'll do that."


All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports. All stats courtesy of

Justin Ferguson is Bleacher Report's lead Auburn writer. Follow him on Twitter @JFergusonAU.

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Bold Predictions for Top College Football Awards

Award season is almost upon us in college football, with a slew of trophies getting handed out next month to the nation's top players and coaches. This process began back in the summer, when the various award-giving organizations announced their overflowing "watch lists" of potential winners.

Several of these awards have started announcing their semifinalists, paring down those initial lists (while also adding some breakout stars into the mix) to give us a better idea of who will be taking home some hardware in December.

Finalists will be announced for each award later this month, but we've gone ahead and jumped the gun and made our own choices. These might not be the ones who win, but they're certainly worthy of recognition and would make for some great debate.

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Craziest High School Plays of the Week

It's time for this weeks, "Craziest High School Plays of the Week," which features some of the wildest and quirkiest plays from all over the country. 

Which play did you think was the best?

Watch the video and let us know!


Highlights courtesy of Hudl

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Notre Dame Fans Need to Get Pumped for Stud WR Commit C.J. Sanders

C.J. Sanders is a 4-star Notre Dame WR Commit from California. Sanders is an explosive presence on the field, and C.J. will be an asset for the Fighting Irish in future seasons.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder compares C.J. Sanders to a current Notre Dame WR.

What kind of impact could Sanders have on Notre Dame next season?

Watch the video and let us know!

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The 3 Biggest X-Factors for Florida State vs. Miami

Florida State and Miami square off at Sun Life Stadium in a game that could either make or break the Seminoles' season and in turn possibly change the trajectory of the Hurricanes' program.

An FSU loss Saturday night would end the team's 25-game winning streak and give 'Canes coach Al Golden the biggest win of his tenure.

On the flip side, a 'Noles win would push the defending national champions past what is arguably the last true test before postseason play and would continue the trend as this being a one-sided rivalry in favor of Florida State.

Let's take a look at the three biggest X-factors in this game.

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Jalen Dalton to UNC: Tar Heels Land 4-Star DE Prospect

The University of North Carolina received a major boost for the class of 2015 by getting a commitment from defensive end Jalen Dalton. It shouldn't take long for the edge-rusher to make an impact for the Tar Heels once he arrives on campus.

InsideCarolina provided word of the lineman's decision:

The West Forsyth High School product is a prototypical pass-rushing prospect. He has good size at 6'5'' and 235 pounds. He combines that frame with an impressive amount of athleticism for a player of his size and very good short-area quickness.

As a result, he's rated as a 4-star prospect that ranks No. 66 nationally, based on 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also considered the sixth-best defensive ends available in the class and the No. 2 prospect from the state of North Carolina.

Dalton will look to follow in the footsteps of elite UNC pass rushers like Julius Peppers and Robert Quinn.

Given the need for players who can put pressure on the quarterback, players like Dalton carry a high level of intrigue. He's going to need to further develop his moves off the edge and add more power, but the raw tools are off the charts.

Chad Simmons of Scout provided a positive evaluation:

When you see Dalton, you see a big athlete who can run on the football field. He has excellent range on the edge of the line and he can the size to contain. He needs to get stronger, play with more physicality, and improve against the run. He is a pass rusher who can chase the ball down. He covers a lot of ground quickly and can be on the quarterback before he completes his drop. His blurs passing lanes too with his length.

Many players in his position may have waited for more offers to pour in before making a choice. He still had opportunities to impress and there's a strong chance further development would have led to more interested programs.

That type of battle for his commitment wasn't something he was interested in, though. He told Mason Linker of the Winston-Salem Journal that being the center of attention and getting constant contact from various coaching staffs didn't suit him.

"I probably get [at] least a call or a text a day," he said. "If I don't recognize the number, I won't pick up, and I don't answer all the texts. I don't really like the attention like that. I like to keep quiet."

Now that he's made a decision it's something he won't have to worry about as much.

Looking ahead, there's a good chance he will be able to break the defensive line rotation as a freshman, but he'll have to earn it. Even if he does, his true impact likely won't be felt for at least a season as he gets acclimated to the college game.

If everything goes according to plan he should be a force off the edge by the time he enters his junior campaign. By then he should have the technique and move set to match his athletic ability, which will be a scary thought for opposing quarterbacks.


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College Football Playoff 2014: Week 12 Rankings and Predicted CFP Matchups

The committee in charge of filling out the College Football Playoff bracket made a couple of subtle statements with its Week 12 rankings.

Dropping Florida State one spot lower showed that being undefeated doesn't equal automatic safety and sliding TCU past Alabama was a positive sign for teams from outside the SEC.

Moreover, the lack of a formula to determine how certain scenarios would change the rankings has added some intrigue to the process. The committee is seemingly taking a fresh look at the entire picture on a weekly basis, which is good news for those teams trying to make a late charge.

Let's take a look at how the rankings currently stand ahead of a clash between Mississippi State and Alabama that's sure to shake things up one way or another.

The standings are followed by predictions for how the top four will look come playoff time.


College Football Playoff Rankings


Predictions for Playoff Matchups

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Florida State

Alabama was left out of the top four despite its overtime road win over LSU. The good news for the Crimson Tide is that if they take care of their own business the rest of the way, there's no way they won't be among the final four.

That's the message head coach Nick Saban has been preaching the entire time.

Michael Casagrande of AL.con provided the head coach's latest comments about the situation. While the theme remains the same, he was savvy enough to mention how tough the SEC is in the process:

We have to play really, really good teams in our league and we have a couple of really, really good teams that we have to play to finish the season, starting with the team that we play this week. The emphasis is, if you have success against the teams that you have to play, all those things are going to take care of themselves. The emphasis has to be on how we play, how we execute, preparing the right way for this particular game, this particular team, and give ourselves the best chance to be successful in this game.

The Tide are also in good shape because their two biggest remaining games are at home. They face Mississippi State this week and welcome Auburn to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl. Then there would be the SEC title game at a neutral site against a team from the weaker (relatively speaking) East.

So if Alabama doesn't run the table and therefore secure a playoff berth, it wouldn't be able to blame anybody else. It just has to take care of business.

Florida State in an intriguing test case for future years.

The reigning national champion came into the season with a lot of hype. The Seminoles have also remained undefeated and have three very winnable games to close out the campaign. In years past, they would have likely been on cruise control into the title game.

However, dropping them below a one-loss squad from Oregon is an interesting move.

It would still be a major shock if they finish unbeaten and don't make the final four, but if all the other teams near the top are scoring huge wins and Florida State fails to impress against unranked teams, the committee would be in an interesting spot since it already dropped the Seminoles once.

What Florida State must avoid is slipping up the rest of the way.

If the ball had bounced a different way, it could have three or four losses already. It's managed to overcome the close calls, but the resume likely isn't strong enough to get the 'Noles in with a loss.

So they just have to win out and hope that's enough for the committee to keep them in the top four.


No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Mississippi State

Barring a major surprise, Oregon should finish the regular season at 11-1. If the Ducks lose to either Colorado or Oregon State at this stage, they probably won't be making the national semifinals regardless.

It's hard to imagine that happening, though.

The last hurdle would be the Pac-12 title game. The committee has seemingly given them a vote of confidence by moving them past Florida State. So, with the South race still wide open, they should probably root for chaos to produce the easiest matchup possible.

One other interesting note for Oregon comes from ESPN Stats & Info, which states that it's currently the likeliest team to capture the title:

All told, the Ducks are probably in the best position of any team due to their remaining schedule and current positioning.

On the flip side, Mississippi State is in a tricky position, which is weird for the team currently atop the rankings. The SEC Network passed along a query from radio host Paul Finebaum that doesn't have a clear answer yet:

If the Bulldogs lose a close contest on the road to Alabama but then win their final two games, they will be a very strong 11-1 team. Their argument would include wins over Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M with a single loss against what would likely be the No. 1 team at that point.

Say Alabama and Oregon take care of their respective tasks. That would leave two spots for Mississippi State, Florida State and TCU assuming they all do the same.

Somebody with a very strong case would be left out.

Given its group of marquee wins, Mississippi State should be safe at one loss if that defeat comes to Alabama. The committee is going to have a difficult decision on its hands, though.


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Malik Henry to FSU: Seminoles Land 5-Star QB Prospect

Highly touted 5-star quarterback Malik Henry announced he would play college football for the Florida State Seminolesduring a Thursday afternoon telecast on ESPNU.

Irish Sports Daily reported the news of Henry's commitment:

Henry hails from Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, California, and is regarded as one of the prized gems of the 2016 class. According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he's the No. 1 pro-style QB prospect in the nation and the fifth-ranked player overall.

Josh Newberg of 247Sports spoke to a source who compared Henry favorably to Florida State Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston:

That is just about the highest praise a high school superstar can garner as Henry prepares for the transition to the collegiate level.

Henry looks to become the latest in a long line of highly-successful Florida State quarterbacks, recently including Christian Ponder, EJ Manuel and Winston. 

Perhaps the best traits Henry has are the most difficult for younger signal-callers to develop, and some never do. With a lightning-quick release and outstanding mechanics and footwork, Henry is already making the most out of his natural talent.

The arm strength is there for Henry to thrive in any offensive system, and his sound fundamentals help him deliver an accurate ball to all areas of the field. With enough athleticism to extend plays, opposing defenses will have to worry about Henry running the ball on occasion as well.

The Seminoles should be thrilled to land someone like Henry, who has all the makings of a multiple year starter who can emerge as one of the premier QBs in college football in the coming seasons.

As ready as Henry appears to be to take the reins of an offense, though, it's important not to fast track him at too quick of a pace.

Henry is too valuable of a prospect to be pressed into action before he's fully prepared. Beyond that minor concern, FSU is set under center for the foreseeable future by welcoming Henry to the fold.

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5-Star Malik Henry Commits to FSU: Resembles Recent Seminole Stud QB

Five-star quarterback Malik Henry has officially committed to the Florida State Seminoles. A California native, Henry is considered the top QB in the 2016 class. He chose FSU over Notre Dame, UCLA and Ohio State. Bleacher Report's college football analyst Michael Felder breaks down how this elite QB will fit into Jimbo Fisher's program.

How well do you think this stud will do in Tallahassee?

Check out the video, and let us know!

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USC Fans Look Past Cal Game, Vandalize UCLA Bruin Bear Statue

The USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins will meet for their rivalry game on Nov. 22, so both campuses better be on alert for pranks by the enemy.

Well, Trojans fans got things started a bit early this year, spray-painting "SC Runs LA" on UCLA's Bruin Bears statue.

It would be one thing to pull a prank this early if the unranked USC (6-3) were on a bye week. However, the Trojans have a game against the Cal Bears (5-4) on Thursday night.

First things first, guys.

This could be seen as the element of surprise, considering UCLA probably wasn't expecting anything with another team still standing between the Trojans and the Bruins. Or maybe USC fans don't think much of Jared Goff and the Bears.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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Alabama Football: How Tide Can Stop Dak Prescott

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — If Alabama is looking for a blueprint in stopping Dak Prescott and Mississippi State, Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart only have to flip through their game plans from a few years back.

In 2009, it faced the mighty Florida Gators in the SEC Championship Game, an Atlanta re-match of the year before. That team featured a Heisman-worthy quarterback who, up to that year, had been coached by Dan Mullen, then the offensive coordinator of the Gators and now the head coach at Mississippi State.

It was a similar style of quarterback and play, and the Crimson Tide held Florida to just 13 points in a route that propelled Alabama to its first national title under Saban.

Prescott will likely be the biggest individual threat Alabama faces this year. He’s drawing a lot of comparisons to Tim Tebow for his playing style and what he’s doing for the Bulldogs.

“Just an all-around athlete,” Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones said. “A big guy who can run and has a great arm. Manages that offense well. It's going to be a challenge for us as a defense. But I think with our preparation we'll be ready."

He’s a Heisman front-runner who compares well to some previous Heisman winners, as Mississippi State is happy to point out.

Prescott could add another similarity among him and two of those other Heisman winners. Both Johnny Manziel and Cam Newton came into Bryant-Denny Stadium and beat Alabama, sending their campaigns into high gear.

So how can Alabama stop Prescott?

The Crimson Tide have a few ideas, and they’re similar to what happened in the Georgia Dome five years ago.


Contain, contain, contain

Prescott has had a lot of success because of his ability to make plays with his feet as well as his arm.

He showed off that ability early in the season against LSU.

The challenge for Alabama will be keeping him in check as much as possible, especially in passing situations. That starts up front.

“It's pushing the pocket and making the quarterback throw in the pocket when you press the pocket up against him so he can't step up and attack the middle of the field or step up and run,” Saban said. “We have to do a better job of being very disciplined in what we do up front in terms of how we rush pass rush lanes and how we push the pocket.

“[We have to] not be so worried about, 'I want to sack the quarterback so I'm going to lose contain or I'm going to be pushed by the quarterback and now he has alleys and lanes to scramble.' Those are the critical things I think we need to do as a front so that we have really good control of the pass rush lanes and pushing the pocket.”

There can be a temptation, though, to abandon the pass too early, which is when defensive backs can easily get beat.

“If he gets through the line of scrimmage, we sometimes have our backs turned or are covering way down field,” safety Landon Collins said. “They can get 15 or 20 yards on a quarterback run, especially if he's a quick quarterback. It could be detrimental especially if we're in a third-down situation and they just take off and run.”


Force bad throws

This could be a key to every game against any quarterback, but it’s especially important when facing one where there is such a small margin of error.

Prescott certainly qualifies there.

He’s seventh in the country in quarterback rating (158.49) and tied for fifth in yards per attempt (9.3). While he gets a lot of attention for his big plays on the ground, he’s just as—if not more—effective through the air.

“I think he’s one of the best passing quarterbacks that we’ve played against all year,” Saban said. “He’s probably one of the best in the country. It’s a difficult combination when you have a guy who is big, physical and has the ability to run the ball on quarterback runs, which creates another gap. … He has the ability to really effectively, and efficiently, pass the football, down the field, short, and really take advantage of the very thing that you do to try and stop him as a runner.”

One of the most memorable plays for Alabama in that 2009 SEC Championship was Javier Arenas’ interception of Tebow late, which effectively sealed the win.

Arenas made an athletic play to close a window Tebow thought was there to thread a touchdown over the top.

It was just Tebow’s fifth interception of the season. Prescott right now only has seven. Those kinds of plays will be the difference on Saturday.



To be able to capitalize on the two previous points, it’s going to take discipline from Alabama’s defenders—a trust in teammates that they’ll have your back while you’re doing your job.

It could be tempting, for example, for a safety like Collins to be focused so much on stopping his running threat that he loses his man in the secondary, which could lead to a big play through the air.

“In the secondary, it's your job to play the pass first,” Collins said. “You got to look at your man and not look at the wrong things. And be ready if he runs to be there in run support and help the linebackers out. You definitely have to play your responsibility first and worry about the run second.”

There’s a trickle-down effect across the entire defense. The defensive line can’t over-pursue, as Saban mentioned, trying to make a big play and in turn give him a running lane. Linebackers need to play their assignments in the open field.

“It’s tough,” linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “You’ve got to read your keys and make sure everyone up front does his job. If you do that, you’ll be successful.”


Marc Torrence is the Alabama Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats come from cfbstats.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Texas A&M Football: Kyle Allen Gives Aggies Best Shot to Win out in 2014

The Texas A&M football team has the opportunity to improve on its 2013 record by winning the last three games of their season. The Aggies will have their best chance to win out with true freshman Kyle Allen starting at quarterback. 

Texas A&M's sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill will be eligible to start against Missouri after serving a two-game suspension. Hill leads the Aggies in all passing categories, completing 66.7 percent of his passes and throwing for 2,649 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. 

He was the quarterback when the Aggies endured a three-game losing streak with consecutive losses to Top Five opponents Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama. Hill struggled to consistently produce first downs and put points on the board in those games. 

Allen is the Aggies best choice to lead the team for the remainder of the season. This is a look at why Allen should start all of the remaining games in the 2014 season. 

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Buying or Selling Every Top 10 Team as Playoff Championship Contender

We've gained a bit of clarity from the College Football Playoff, at least as far as which teams are perceived as the best in the country when a group of impartial voters are locked together in a room for two days every week. But rankings only provide a pecking order; they don't always tell the true story.

Namely, who is really a championship contender and who's just ranked high on a list.

Four weeks are left before we'll know for certain which teams get to play it out in the first-ever playoff at the FBS level, but while we creep toward the official pairings announced on Dec. 7, we take a look at the Top 10 teams and gauge how realistic their chances are to win a national title.

Buy or sell? Check it out, and then let us know what you think.

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Ohio State's Jalin Marshall Is the Model for the Future of College Football

COLUMBUS, Ohio — After waiting more than a year for it, Urban Meyer finally received a national letter of intent from Jalin Marshall. And once he did on a cold February morning in 2013, the Ohio State head coach didn't sell the Middletown, Ohio, star short.

"Jalin Marshall is a young man that if he was a guy that wanted to play the game and wait until signing day to put the eight hats out there, he could have whatever many amounts of hats he wanted," Meyer said of the 4-star prospect who committed to the Buckeyes in January of 2012. "I would rather recruits do it the way he did it, but can you imagine Ohio State University and the state of Ohio and Buckeye Nation if he would have waited and put on a hat?

"That would have been a great day. Because we think he's certainly if not the best player in Ohio, one of them."

Upon arriving on campus six months later, a preseason concussion and standard freshman struggles would delay Marshall's ability to make good on Meyer's promise. But through the first nine games of his redshirt freshman season, the 5'11", 205-pounder has proved to be well worth the wait.

Helping eighth-ranked Ohio State reenter the race for a spot in the first-ever College Football Playoff, Marshall has proved to be one of Meyer and the Buckeyes' most reliable weapons. Ranking fourth on the team in receiving with 14 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns as well as fifth in rushing with 107 yards and one score on 17 carries while also returning punts, Marshall seems to have done a little bit of everything for Ohio State, and his responsibilities are only growing.

In fact, you may have noticed that I'm yet to have listed a position for Marshall here. His role(s) on the Buckeyes makes it difficult to do so.

Ohio State's official roster pegs Marshall as an H-back, Meyer's preferred name for the wide receiver/running back hybrid position that Percy Harvin made famous in the spread offense at Florida. But even the versatility that spot entails doesn't do enough justice in describing all that Marshall is capable of.

With Braxton Miller on the shelf with a torn labrum and true freshman Stephen Collier being saved for a redshirt, Marshall has managed to also take on the role of Ohio State's third-string quarterback. That's not exactly a foreign position for him, either, as he first made a name for himself as a running quarterback during his storied prep career in Southwest Ohio.

"That's right where he should have played," Meyer asserted. "He was the best player on that team."

Accumulating 2,641 total yards and 26 touchdowns in his junior season, Marshall found so much success as a quarterback that the likes of Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and UCLA each offered him a scholarship to come play the position at their schools. But none were able to overcome the pull of Meyer and Ohio State, where Marshall knew that a position switch was likely. Yet that still hasn't prevented him from lining up from behind center.

As Meyer and Buckeyes offensive coordinator Tom Herman have continued to implement their hurry-up offense, Marshall has been used as one of the unit's most important interchangeable pieces. With the ability to line up at wide receiver, running back and, yes, quarterback, Ohio State has used Marshall as its Wildcat signal-caller, taking direct snaps against often unprepared opponents.

"The Wildcat's legitimate, especially at tempo," Meyer said on Monday. "We have a couple of passes ready for him, too."

Marshall has actually already attempted one on the season, letting an incompletion fly in the Buckeyes' Nov. 1 win over Illinois. And while his one pass attempt thus far in his college career was ultimately unsuccessful, don't be surprised if more are in his future—and not just because Meyer said so.

As explained by's Chris Huston, the future of football could very well be players like Marshall, ones capable of running, catching and throwing. In a pair of tweets following Ohio State's win over Michigan State, Huston was actually referencing Miller but might as well have been talking about Marshall as he explained his vision for a new age of offense.

Meyer doesn't seem to disagree with that notion, stating that when it comes to recruiting, versatility is a priority.

"We put the [all-points bulletin] out every year for the multidimensional athlete on offense," Meyer said. "That's the tight end 'H,' and it's the tailback 'H.' And just over the years, that position has evolved. You like moving those checkers around when you can have guys that can take direct snaps."

Marshall certainly seems to fit that mold—and then some—possessing the ability to line up at any skill position on the OSU offense while also taking on special teams duties. As a threat to throw, it's fun to think about what the Buckeyes offense could potentially look like next season with Marshall and potentially Miller lining up alongside current OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett.

And while such formations may be nothing more than fan fantasies at a school like Ohio State, don't expect players with skill sets like Marshall's to stop showing up in Columbus anytime soon. Asked by B/R on Wednesday about his status as one of college football's more cutting-edge players, Marshall didn't shy away from being labeled one of the prototypes of the future of the sport.

"Hopefully, it could be," Marshall said. "I definitely don't want to be deactivated from that role in this offense. I enjoy that, and I feel like it helps us out a little bit, and the role's expanding more and more each week. I feel like it's great for me and great for the team."

That's exactly what Meyer was envisioning when he raved about Marshall's potential on national signing day two years ago. And fortunately for him and the Buckeyes, the wait is finally over.

The future is now.


Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Ohio State Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of and recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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The Class of 2016's Trendsetting Two-Sport Star

It was in the end of his second grade year when Tony Jones Jr. reached a crossroads in his life.

He was already on the path to follow in the footsteps of his father Tony Sr.—who was a standout athlete who played eight years of professional football.

However, he wasn’t as stimulated in the classroom as he was when he was out hitting home runs and scoring touchdowns as a rising two-sport athlete. 

At the time, Tony Sr. was coaching his son in both baseball and football when he received a call from one of his son’s teachers. She told him that she was afraid that he wouldn’t pass the FCAT to advance to third grade because of his lack of motivation.

The teacher knew that Tony Sr. coached his son, so she asked him what he did to motivate his son athletically.

At that point, he took Tony Jr. outside to talk. Though his son feared a scolding, he was instead taught an invaluable lesson that would shape his life moving forward.

Knowing that his son was extremely competitive as a standout young athlete, Tony Sr. asked him why he failed to compete in the classroom. 

“My message was, yeah, you can win in here too,” Tony Sr. told Bleacher Report. “You can be the first one to get an A. You can be the first one to finish an assignment. You can be the first one to answer a question. If you are going to be competitive, be competitive all-around at everything you do.’”

That one moment of dialogue between father and son sparked a complete transformation in young Tony’s habits in the classroom.

“Since then, my kid has made honor roll every semester since that conversation,” Tony Sr. proudly exclaimed. 

Almost a decade later, Tony Jr. is the first student-athlete to ever play both baseball and football at the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

He doubles as a star outfielder—who hit .359 this season for the Ascenders in baseball—and as the leading rusher on a loaded football squad that finished 9-1 and ranked No. 21 in the MaxPreps Top 25 poll.

As his achievements keep piling up in both sports, he’s still continued to get it done in the classroom. But does he plan to follow in the footsteps of noted two-sport standouts such as Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Jameis Winston?

After their son spent the first two years of his prep career at Catholic High School in nearby St. Petersburg, Tony's parents (Tony Sr. and Natalie) made the decision to enroll Tony Jr. at IMG.

Despite Tony Jr. rushing for more than 1,000 yards in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, Tony Sr. felt that his son needed to go to a place where he had stiff competition for playing time.

“I want him to feel that pressure just like he would when he gets to college,” Tony Sr. said.

However, there was still a matter of convincing the coaches at IMG—a school that has never had an athlete play both football and baseball—to let him play two sports.

“When I first came here to visit, my mom told me to make sure to tell them (about playing two sports) the first time I saw them,” Tony Jr. said.

In January, a meeting was arranged with Tony Jr., his parents, IMG administrators and the coaches of the football and baseball programs.

Given the unique circumstances surrounding his arrival to the program, he was dealt a lucky stroke of good fortune in his quest to play two sports.

IMG head coach Chris Weinke—the former Heisman Trophy–winning quarterback at Florida State who spent six years playing minor league baseball before arriving in Tallahassee for college—is one of the few coaches who can understand Tony’s plight.

“I think very few guys get the opportunity to play two sports,” Weinke said. “He has the ability to be able to play two sports. My only advice to him is to have fun doing it. I’m a firm believer that you have to enjoy playing the game. The more you enjoy it, the harder you are going to work.”

Weinke knows the grind of trying to succeed in two sports, especially at a school such as IMG that has traditionally focused on training and developing athletes in one sport in the past. 

“It hasn’t necessarily been done in the past here, but that’s OK,” Weinke said. “When the rare student-athlete comes along [who] can do both, we encourage it here, actually. We just haven’t necessarily had guys that wanted to do it here in the past.”

That doesn’t mean it’s something that comes easily. Weinke has praised Tony Jr. as “one of the hardest workers on the team.” A quick glance at his daily routine in football is proof of his proclamation. 

The only change in his schedule comes during baseball season, when Tony will join the baseball team after lunch—which means that his level of dedication to two sports takes a lot of sacrifice and commitment. 

After receiving the blessing from the baseball and football coaches, Tony Jr. was on the diamond a week later, preparing to play with one of the top programs in the state of Florida.

However, his father admits that Tony Jr. was initially met with a bit of skepticism.

“It’s funny because the baseball team is like, ‘OK, here’s this football player trying to play baseball.’” Tony Sr. said. “He got up to hit the ball for the first time, and the coach was like, ‘whoa!’”

The coaches couldn’t even believe how natural Tony Jr. was at first. However, because IMG featured a senior-laden roster this year, the newcomer found himself at the bottom of the lineup.

That was all the motivation Tony Jr. needed to make an instant impact. According to Tony Sr., he ascended in the lineup, hitting anywhere from leadoff to the fifth spot by the eighth game of the season. 

With baseball ending at the beginning of April, Tony Jr. jumped into spring football practice two weeks later.

From Weinke’s perspective, he’s a natural born football player.

“Obviously, football bloodlines are in his family,” Weinke said. “His dad played. Tony just brings a nastiness and a toughness to the position that is hard to teach. From a skill-set perspective, physically, he’s very strong. In my opinion, he has great vision and great instincts.”

At 6’0”, 207-pounds, he’s become the hammer and the leader of IMG’s three-headed monster in the backfield. According to MaxPreps, he’s rushed for 649 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging more than 11 yards per carry for the Ascenders. 

Weinke notes that Jones is fully capable of being a workhorse back on the college level.

“He’s probably not getting as much carries as he would in your typical high-school program, because we have three good backs in Tony, Jack Wegher and Taven Birdow,” Weinke said. “We have a three-headed horse. But he’s a guy [who] can handle 30 carries a game.”

In football, Tony Jr. has already earned offers from Central Florida, Cincinnati, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and South Florida, and he has plans to visit Georgia this weekend for their game against Auburn. 

Of that group, Tony Jr. mentioned that he’s discussed the possibility of playing both sports with the coaching staffs from Cincinnati, Florida and South Florida.

While he’s yet to make a definitive choice on playing both sports in college, for now, he’s focused on having fun and enjoying playing both sports at a high level. 

Regardless of which sport he chooses, his future in athletics and in the classroom is as bright as any prospect in the 2016 class.

Considering that his current head coach was once in his shoes and achieved great feats in both sports, earning his stamp of approval gives Tony Jr. the confidence necessary to continue on a path in which few athletes have found success. 

“I’m sure he’s looking forward to finishing up strong and then going into spring and playing baseball,” Weinke said. “He’s been outstanding for us. We think he’s going to finish strong and then have a huge 2015. He’s a premier player and one of the best backs in the country.”


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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