NCAA Football News
"Wake up, survive. Go to sleep, survive. Wake up, survive. Every day."
This is the daily regimen of Antoine Turner, a junior college commit for the Boise State football program who is currently homeless and has lived in transience most of his life.
Boise State alumni, having heard his recently discovered story, want to help Turner—who has spent the majority of his life without a stable home. Unfortunately, the school is discouraging boosters and fans from furnishing aid to the young man, fearing reprisal from the NCAA.
"My mom died when I was four of cancer," Turner told Tust. "I had this big of a hole in my heart."
The loss ruined what little relationship Turner had with his father, causing him to leave home to stay with various friends in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. Thus began the long chain of temporary and transient living conditions for Turner, who grew up to be a talented athlete despite his situation.
Growing into a 6'3", 290-pound frame, Turner found success on his high school football field but struggled to stay clear of gangs and find lodging in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Determined to play collegiate football, Turner spent all the money in his possession to make it to Fullerton Junior College in California. He made the team but was penniless. He says he began sleeping on park benches to pass the night.
"I ain't never really had no blanket or nothing like that," Turner said. "So I could either lay across this or I would sit (with my arms folded) and lay my head down. I constantly wake up, look around, make sure everything was good."
After dropping 70 pounds due to this lifestyle, things began to look up. Turner met a girl named R'Mya (now his girlfriend), whose family took him in and helped him to regain weight. Within a year, he returned to form and became the Division I football player Boise State wants on its team.
All the "We want you" letters in the world can't put a roof over Turner's head, however. Not at this moment, at least.
Unfortunately, Turner is homeless again. His newly forged living arrangement fell through due to housing regulations which preclude him from staying with his uncle in a government-subsidized house.
Until he's allowed to move in at Boise State in June, Turner will be sleeping in his girlfriend's car and staying at motels when he has the money.
And there's nothing fans can do about it, according to the Boise State compliance office (per Deadspin).
We need to make it clear to your viewers and Bronco fans that it is NOT permissible within NCAA rules for boosters of Boise State athletics to provide benefits to Mr. Turner. That would include money, loans, gifts, discounts, transportation costs, etc.
While Mr. Turner's need is abundantly clear, it is not permissible for Boise State, the athletics department or supporters of the athletics department to assist Mr. Turner at this time. Once Mr. Turner arrives on campus for the start of the summer school program, he will be well taken care of—receiving full tuition, room and board, books, fees etc. In the meantime, the compliance office is exploring a potential waiver with the NCAA that would allow us to provide assistance prior to the start of summer school.
Indeed, needs don't come much clearer cut than Turner's. Despite his situation, the young man still feels lucky to be on the cusp of a home and great opportunities.
"I feel like I owe Boise because they gave me something that I ain't never had before," Turner said. "Idaho fits perfect for me...my soul felt like it connected with [The Blue]. ... It's time to eat. And I'm hungry, too."
Do the right thing, Mark Emmert. Put the rubber stamp down, and let this man eat and sleep under a roof. Let's help a student-athlete today.
On the Twitters.
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Offensive linemen Taylor Lewan (first round, Tennessee) and Michael Schofield (third round, Denver) join receiver Jeremy Gallon (seventh round, New England) as selections in the 2014 NFL draft.
But six of their teammates are facing a more difficult path—pursuing dreams of playing professional football as free agents. Some have signed contracts while others are relying on tryouts to show their value to teams.
What's the quickest way for a head coach to lose his football team?
That's the fine line Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is walking now, thanks to an appearance on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly, a statewide syndicated radio program, earlier this month.
The second-year head coach was asked toward the end of the interview (11:17 mark) how long it will take for Arkansas to get back to a competitive level in the SEC West again and placed part of the blame on his predecessors (via CoachingSearch.com).
I really thought, coming in, because of the guy that I was replacing, I thought we would have a plethora of quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive skill and expected the defense to have certain things in place. That really wasn't the case. It's not a knock on our guys. For what we need to do offensively and defensively, there was not as much as I thought was going to be there.
But that's just the thing, it is a knock on the players brought into the program by former head coach Bobby Petrino and one-year replacement John L. Smith; more so a knock on Petrino because it's not a big assumption to connect the dots and tie Petrino—who's known for his offensive prowess—to the offensive skill players Bielema thought would be on campus.
Fans may think he's right, and Bielema may privately think that he inherited a mess. But that's where those thoughts should stay. Private.
How should starting quarterback Brandon Allen, who signed with Petrino in 2011, feel about his coach throwing him under the bus? He should be pretty upset about it, especially since his younger brother, Austin, and true freshman Rafe Peavey, both of whom were signed by Bielema's staff, couldn't beat him out for the job this spring.
How should wide receivers Demetrius Wilson and Keon Hatcher, both of whom were signed in 2012 as part of Petrino's last class, feel about it? Wilson is coming off an ACL injury that cost him all of the 2013 season, but both are expected to either start or be key contributors in the wide receiving corps this year.
What about Jonathan Williams, the 6'0", 223-pound junior running back who rushed for 900 yards and four touchdowns last season, providing a solid "1B" options to Alex Collins, who just so happens to be one of "Bielema's guys?"
If they're mad about their head coach throwing them under the bus, they should be.
This is a classic diversionary tactic by Bielema. It's an insurance policy. It's an attempt to control the narrative if Arkansas struggles this year and divert blame if things go south.
It also won't work.
A lot of the players expected to make an impact this season for the Hogs on both sides of the ball are "Petrino guys" who kept their jobs despite position battles from younger players brought in by the new regime.
Of course, Bielema feels more loyalty to his guys because if they succeed, his fingerprints are more on the success than his predecessor's. But even if the cupboard was bare, that's not something he should say publicly. The only thing it could accomplish is divide the locker room, which will only lead to problems.
* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com. For full audio of Bret Bielema's interview on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly, click here.
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With a handul of Florida Gators selected in the 2014 NFL draft, it's time to start looking ahead to those prospects eligible for the 2015 draft.
While that might feel like a decade from now, defensive end Dante Fowler has a chance to become the fourth Gator selected in the first round in the last three seasons.
Fowler is easily the top NFL prospect on the Gators roster right now and could be a high selection if he fulfills expectations this season.
It’s never too early to put together 2015 NFL draft big boards, and Fowler is receiving major props despite just two quick seasons at the college level.
Let’s break down Fowler’s draft stock and see how things are looking heading into his junior year.
Heading into the 2013 season, it seemed unlikely Auburn would produce any first-round picks.
But after its surprise run to the BCS National Championship Game, the Tigers had not one, but two first-round picks called out last Thursday night in New York City.
No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson and Senior Bowl MVP Dee Ford were joined by Tre Mason and Jay Prosch in the later rounds of the draft to complete the foursome of former Tigers chosen by NFL squads in the seven-round extravaganza.
In this day and age of 24/7/365 scouting for future NFL talent, there are already mocks and big boards out for next year's NFL draft—months before a single snap of the 2014 college season.
The rapidly rising draft stocks of Robinson and Ford show how players outside of the early projections can make big moves in the eyes of scouts and general managers.
Auburn has a wealth of playmakers who could make similar moves from off the boards to first-round recognition, from quarterback Nick Marshall to running back Corey Grant to wide receiver D'haquille "Duke" Williams.
The top Tiger on many early draft boards right now is center Reese Dismukes, who will start for Auburn for his fourth consecutive season this fall.
Dismukes arrived on the Plains as one of the top offensive line recruits in the 2011 recruiting class. The Spanish Fort, Alabama, native was the nation's No. 1 center, according to 247Sports' composite rankings, and the No. 1 player in the state in the Top247 rankings.
The early enrollee immediately made an impact on the Auburn depth chart, winning the starting job for the defending national champions and later becoming a Freshman All-American.
Dismukes was suspended for Auburn's 2012 season opener because of a public intoxication arrest, but he has stayed out of trouble since the incident to become a leader on Auburn's squad.
In the Tigers' championship-winning 2013 season, Dismukes was referred to as a "second quarterback" for Auburn's offense by his coaches and teammates.
"He's the glue," Auburn offensive line coach J.B. Grimes told AL.com's Joel Erickson after Auburn's SEC Championship win last season. "He holds it all together. [He is] the finest leader I've ever had, tough, smart, fast, quick, strong, balanced, just one of the best football players I've ever been around."
Dismukes applied for feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board toward the end of the 2013 season, but the third-team All-American decided to return for a heavily hyped senior season after Auburn's close loss to Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game.
"We've just got to get back to work and just keep getting better just like this season," Dismukes said in the Auburn locker room shortly after the loss. "We have the same motto, everybody will be together and the goal will be to get better each and every day. Come back even better next year."
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn gave the highest praise to his returning starter during a visit with fans last week:
Like Auburn's entire team, Dismukes will open the 2014 season near the top of the rankings.
The fourth-year senior is currently projected as the No. 2 center in the 2015 draft class by both B/R's Matt Miller and NFLDraftScout.com. Miller lists Dismukes as the best run-blocking interior lineman in the class.
No center was drafted before the second day of last weekend's draft, so Dismukes is not projected in any of the first-round mocks currently making the rounds on draft websites:
So when could Dismukes come off the board next May?
One could look toward another successful SEC center, Arkansas' Travis Swanson, who was drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions. Like Dismukes, Swanson was a starter in the nation's toughest conference all four years of his college career and was a Rimington Award finalist in 2013.
However, a couple of disappointing performances at the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine caused Swanson to fall to the third round, behind second-round center Weston Richburg and early third-round center Marcus Martin.
Dismukes will start the season on many All-SEC teams and award watch lists, and a fourth year of strong play as the bedrock of Auburn's veteran offensive line could see him shoot up mock drafts in a fashion similar to former teammate Robinson.
If Dismukes can continue to lead Auburn's high-powered offense to another successful season and then keep up his hard work in the offseason, he could continue an Auburn tradition of top NFL offensive linemen by breaking into the top two rounds of next year's draft festivities in New York.
Justin Ferguson is Bleacher Report's lead Auburn writer. Follow him on Twitter @JFergusonAU. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.
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Believe it or not, we are a little more than three months away from the 2014 college football season kicking off.
The new recruits are ending their high school careers and they will soon arrive on college campus to join the veterans for preseason practice.
Until then, we can only speculate what will happen this upcoming season, and for the Georgia Bulldogs many things can and will happen. But whether it’s good or bad depends on how the players work on and off the field before the season begins.
With the players the Bulldogs have coming back on offense and defense, they have a shot of winning the SEC and a chance to play in the SEC Championship. Whether they do it or not will depend on Hutson Mason.
The Georgia Bulldogs lead the way in our Spring SEC East predictions. http://t.co/VfHT0E6zmA— Southern Pigskin (@SouthernPigskin) April 15, 2014
The rising senior quarterback did a lot of good things last year and looked even better during the spring game. If he is healthy, and the offensive line can keep him upright, Mason will throw for 3,000-plus yards and 25 touchdowns.
But the key for him to be successful as well as the entire offense is the play of the line. They will miss three starters from last season, but the reserves have a ton of experience. John Theus, David Andrews and Kolton Houston will be the anchors for the group. However, they will need production from Mark Beard, Brandon Kublanow and Greg Pyke.
If there is one player that can make the offensive line better than they are, it’s one of the best running backs in the country, Todd Gurley.
After an injury-riddled 2010 season, Gurley is healthy and ready to run over and past SEC defenders. And if he can remain healthy, there is no reason he can’t rush for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The offense will be expected to score a lot of points this upcoming season. But that won’t matter if the defense can’t stop opponents.
One of the reasons the Bulldogs struggled on defense is the secondary gave up a lot of big plays. But with new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt at the helm the secondary is expected to be better.
But will they actually improve or will it be the same old song?
The spring game did not do the fans any favors as each secondary gave up over 250 passing yards. However, it was only spring and the players were still learning the system. With preseason practice right around the corner, the secondary should make strides, but players like Damian Swann and Tray Matthews will have to be leaders and show they have made strides from last year.
When it comes down to it, the defense does not have to be elite or even good for that matter. They just need to be better than what they showed last year, which should happen when the season is all said and done.
As far as a final record, the Bulldogs have the talent to win 10 games, possibly 11. And the schedule plays into their favor with home games against Clemson, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia Tech. However, there are away dates with Missouri and South Carolina, which will be swing games for the Bulldogs.
The realistic goal for the Bulldogs is a nine-win season with a top-ranked offense and an average defense. Sounds like a typical Mark Richt season. But with that said, it’s also not out of the question to think they can win 10-11 games and win the SEC East.
The only thing that’s a guarantee is the Bulldogs will make things interesting, just like they do every year.
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Three former Boise State Broncos heard their names called during the 2014 NFL Draft.
The highest picked Bronco was defensive end Demarcus Lawrence who was selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the second pick in the second-round.
Other drafted Boise State players were center Matt Paradis who went to the Denver Broncos in the sixth-round, and offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. who was picked by the Chicago Bears in the seventh-round.
These three big, talented players now leave an equally large hole on the roster back in Boise. Replacing each one of them will be a challenge, and it will take a special player or players to do the job.
Let's look at the most likely candidates who will attempt to fill the void these three future NFL players left behind at Boise State.
The Gamecocks didn't have as many players go in the draft as anticipated, though South Carolina was home to the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Jadeveon Clowney.
Original expectations had as many as five or six former Gamecocks being drafted. Yet only Clowney and wide receiver Bruce Ellington heard their names called at the draft.
South Carolina did have a handful of players sign as undrafted free agents, and they will all try to make rosters in the NFL this fall.
The Gamecocks do not have too many players to replace, which is a positive. Though replacing Clowney and Ellington as well as former standout quarterback Connor Shaw will not be easy.
Here are the Gamecocks who will be replacing former South Carolina players taken in the 2014 NFL draft.
The Miami Hurricanes recently had a lackluster weekend at Radio City Music Hall, seeing only three players get drafted and many others forced to sign free-agent contracts.
But during the 2015 NFL draft, Miami will have an excellent opportunity to see its six-year drought without a first-round pick end. At the forefront, of course, is senior middle linebacker Denzel Perryman.
Though his draft status will obviously be much clearer after the upcoming season, the 'Canes' defensive leader is already one of the top players in all of college football.
And after the program's disappointing 2014 edition of the draft, Perryman is on track to provide a much-needed addition for the pipeline from Miami to the NFL.
What Has He Accomplished at Miami?
A homegrown product, the Coral Gables High graduate arrived at "The U" as a 3-star recruit, according to 247Sports.
Perryman made an immediate impression on the Miami defense, appearing in all 12 games as a true freshman and making five starts. He tallied 69 tackles (6.5 for loss) and forced two fumbles en route to being named a freshman All-American.
One season later, the Hurricanes expected great things, as he would help replace NFL-bound Sean Spence. Instead, Perryman was subjected to the renowned sophomore struggle, missing three games before managing 64 tackles, two pass breakups and one interception.
As a junior, however, Perryman made significant strides toward reaching that elite production. He finished the 2013 campaign with 108 tackles (5.0 for loss, 1.5 sacks), three pass breakups and one forced fumbles.
In January, Susan Miller Degnan of The Miami Herald reported the first-team All-ACC linebacker received a third-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Ultimately, Perryman decided to stay at Miami to exhaust his eligibility, and he already made a lasting impression this spring by de-cleating teammate Gus Edwards.
After such a successful junior season and noteworthy start to his senior year, the 'Canes are already appreciative of their 2013 Defensive MVP electing to stick around for 2014.
What the Experts Are Saying
Darren Page of DetroitLionsDraft.com studied Perryman's performance against Florida and came away impressed, noting he saw "a wide array of skills that translate to the NFL."
He was impossible to block at the second level, using his hands to play off offensive linemen and free himself to make plays. His footwork was strong in coverage and he was quick to pick up on routes. ... If his showing against Florida is what we can come to expect from Denzel Perryman, he'll be the next Miami linebacker to earn himself a starting spot in the NFL.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports told me Perryman is among his top five senior linebackers for 2015. Brugler continued:
He has a shorter stature but is thickly put together with a stout build. He's a heavy, violent striker with excellent take-on strength to quickly engage and shed. Displays accurate reads and uses his disciplined eyes to mirror the ball at the line of scrimmage. Love his motor, never takes plays off and shows leadership traits. Smart, with a passion for the game and the coaches rave about his football knowledge and effort on and off the field.
Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated made the linebacker his No. 10 pick in Mock Draft 1.0: "Even though he does not have ideal height (listed at 6-feet even)," Burke said, "Perryman is a three-down LB who aggressively pursues sideline-to-sideline."
Where Perryman Stands in the Draft
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller touts Perryman as the No. 1 draft-eligible inside linebacker and gives him the edge in three aspects of the position, including most NFL-ready.
"He's my top inside linebacker, but not a top-32 player," Miller said. "Really agile, lateral movement. Instincts are a plus versus the run. A bit light in his legs and rear, but as far as athletic middle linebackers go, he's up there. Size will get questioned."
The writers of early mock drafts will more than likely tell you the same thing: Don't read too much into them. They serve as a starting point that is certain to change over the next 12 months.
However, the mocks give a first look at some of the top names heading into 2014, and Perryman is included in most outlets.
Brugler lists Perryman as getting selected at the end of the first round, while he just misses the opening day, according to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco. On the other hand, Kipp Adams of 247Sports has the linebacker dropping further, being taken 58th overall.
Regardless, Perryman rests among the top prospects at his position, which is a comforting sign as of now. Of course, Seantrel Henderson and Stephen Morris were once in the same spot, but Perryman has a better body of work than both players.
Whereas Henderson was highly regarded—albeit solely on unreached All-American potential—and Morris unleashed a scorching finish to the 2012 season, Perryman has had respectable stretches of production each year.
If he continues to showcase his excellent sideline-to-sideline speed, ability to shed blocks and dependability in pass coverage, Perryman will solidify his value as an early-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft, perhaps even as a first-day selection.
Unless otherwise noted, quotes obtained firsthand. Stats and awards courtesy of hurricanesports.com.
Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.
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Sterling Jenkins is one of the top offensive line prospects in the country. The big man hasn't even scratched the surface of how good he can be, which is why the future looks bright for him.
Jenkins, who is from Pennsylvania, has a chance to develop into one of the best blockers to come out of the 2015 class. Penn State has already gotten a commitment from him, which has put the Big Ten on notice.
Jenkins' potential as a prospect warrants a closer look.