NCAA Football News

Which Position Should Florida Commit Tyrek Tisdale Play in College?

Tyrek Tisdale—a 3-star all-purpose back, according to 247Sports—will continue his football career at the University of Florida. The talented athlete can play a number of offensive positions, from running back to wide receiver. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down Tisdale's game and where he fits into the Gators' offense. 

What position will Tisdale play for Florida next season? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

For Lawrence Phillips, a Dead Cellmate and Another Day of Reckoning

Before death was unleashed in his two-man cell on April 11, inmate No. G31982 led a quiet life inside the stone and concrete walls of California's Kern Valley State Prison, a haunting, fortress-like structure that rises out of a dusty patch of land in the San Joaquin Valley.

Most mornings inmate No. G31982 was stirred awake at 6 a.m. as guards at Kern told the nearly 4,000 all-male prisoners—the maximum-security facility was built to hold 2,400—it was time to begin the day. Soon a hot breakfast that typically consisted of eggs, hash browns and thinly sliced ham was delivered room-service style to his cell. Many mornings he purchased a special package of vitamins and proteins, the fuel for his late-morning workout.

For a few hours Kern's most notorious prisoner then had some free time in his cell. He loved to read books—he devoured about one a week, according to several people who corresponded with him. The words in the pages were his escape, his way to fly away from his chains at Kern.

He also wrote letters, reams of them, to old friends and mentors. He was particularly interested in the state of the Nebraska football program, wondering in his handwritten notes how it had fallen from the ranks of the nation's elite. Yet his prose was steadfastly upbeat in his missives.

"He was trying to earn good-behavior time in prison," said George Darlington, an assistant coach at Nebraska for 30 years who regularly traded letters with inmate No. G31982. "He was focused on the future, on getting out and getting another chance at life."

Later in the morning, along with many of the condemned wearing their state-issued blues, inmate No. G31982 would be released to the yard.

Though there weren't any weights to lift—"We had to get rid of the weights a few years back because inmates used them as instruments of destruction to kill each other," said Lieutenant Marshall Denning—he'd work out with such intensity it was as if he was back in the training center at the University of Nebraska.

He'd do pushups, situps and burpees. On a pullup bar, he'd lift himself up over and over to the point of exhaustion. Other times he'd run sprints across the yard like he was training for the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

In the early afternoon he'd be escorted back to his cell, where he'd eat a sack lunch that usually featured either a bologna or pastrami sandwich, an apple and a cookie or two. Then, for a few hours, he'd work on his appeal of his two convictions: felony assault with a deadly weapon and domestic assault. The sentences for the two guilty verdicts added up to nearly 32 years behind bars.

Though inmate No. G31982 earned more than $5 million in the NFL from 1996 to '99, he was now broke and couldn't afford to hire a private lawyer. After his second conviction in 2009, he fired his public defender.

In the evenings he was free to roam in what is called the "Day Room Floor," an area inside Kern where inmates can sit at tables and converse. But inmate No. G31982 almost always kept to himself—which made him an ideal prisoner to his jailers.

"He was not someone who caused problems, and he was really quiet, just doing his own thing," said Denning. "We have got the worst of the worst in here, the most violent of the most violent, and that was not Lawrence Phillips from what I saw. Not at all."

According to three sources, Phillips—the former Cornhusker running back who was the No. 6 overall selection in the 1996 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams—asked prison officials several times to be put in solitary confinement for his own protection.

In at least two instances Phillips' wishes were honored, according to a source. But then in early April, for reasons that remain unclear, Phillips, 39, was moved from isolation into a cell with 37-year-old Damion Soward, who was the cousin of former USC Trojan and NFL wide receiver R. Jay Soward.

Prison officials didn't respond to a request from B/R seeking clarification on why Phillips was moved out of isolation.

According to court documents, Damion Soward was a member of the Inland Empire Projects Gang in San Bernardino, California. He was serving 82 years to life for the murder of Michael Fairley, a rival gang member.

"Lawrence wanted nothing to do with the gangs in that prison," said Tony Zane, Phillips' high school football coach at West Covina (California) High, who has communicated with Phillips about twice a month for several years. "That was why he was always asking to be moved into isolation. He knew that guys could make a name for themselves, so to speak, if they came after him because of his notoriety."

At 12:46 a.m. on April 11, Soward was found strangled to death in the cell he shared with Phillips, who has been named as a murder suspect. The district attorney, who has been investigating the incident for nearly one month, has yet to announce if any charges will be filed.

Soward's family is looking for answers. "I just want to find out what happened," R. Jay Soward told TMZ. "That's the only thing I care about."

Several people close to Phillips believe they already know what happened in that tiny cell in the dead of night on April 11.

"I truly believe this was a situation where Soward said, 'Only one of us is walking out of here in the morning,'" said Zane. "Look at Lawrence's history. Yes, he has a very troubled past, but he's never done anything like this. Look at Soward's history as a hit man. I believe this was 100 percent self-defense. I believe Lawrence had no choice. Lawrence has been a target at Kern ever since the day he got there."

Two decades ago, in the spring of 1995, I traveled from my home in New York City to Lincoln, Nebraska, to spend time with Phillips for what would turn out to be my first Sports Illustrated cover story. Phillips was entering his junior year at Nebraska, the world spread out before him like an endless buffet of chances, and he was already being compared to some of the greatest I-backs in Cornhusker history: Mike Rozier, Roger Craig, I.M. Hipp. Phillips was the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite.

The previous year he had run for 1,722 yards—still a record for a sophomore at Nebraska—and helped Nebraska win the 1994 national championship. But instead of focusing on his on-field gifts, I wanted to burrow deep into Phillips' past. Only 20 years old at the time, he had already lived a remarkably hard life. I wanted to understand what made him tick.

In 1987 Phillips' mother, Juanita, invited her boyfriend to stay in their home in Inglewood, California. Lawrence and the boyfriend bickered constantly—the boyfriend allegedly abused Lawrence, according to Jason Cole, then writing for the Sun Sentinel—and Lawrence began to run away from home and skip school.

State officials eventually intervened and placed Lawrence in a foster home. After living there for only two weeks, he was transferred to MacLaren Hall, a juvenile detention center straight out of a child's worst nightmare, a place where abuse was allegedly rampant, according to Carla Rivera of the Los Angeles Times.

We may never have heard of Lawrence Phillips if not for Barbara Thomas, who supervised a state-supported group home in West Covina. "When I first saw Lawrence he looked very athletic, but he was smoking cigarettes," Thomas told me back in '95. "I knew sports would give him a chance, so I took him into our home and immediately enrolled him in sports leagues."

The rage that tormented Phillips' life—"He was basically abandoned by his mom and his dad wasn't around, so that caused a lot of anger in Lawrence," a Nebraska staff member told me—was his best friend on the football field. He soon emerged as one of the top high school running backs in the nation, a snorting bull of a back with 4.4 speed and always charging at the red flag. He picked Nebraska precisely because it was so far from his troubled past in California.

When Phillips and I sat down in the lounge beneath the south end zone of Memorial Stadium, he eyed me suspiciously. I was only 23, and I tried to connect with Phillips by telling him how much I enjoyed the college lifestyle and that he should savor every moment of it.

He eventually warmed up and then shared with me many of the horrors from his past: nights of being homeless, not going to school for weeks at a time, trying to stay a step ahead of the gangs in his neighborhood.

"It was a tough time," he said. "But I owe a lot to my school. They stuck with me."

Phillips, a sociology major, spoke about how he one day wanted to open a group home for wayward kids. He was articulate—in eighth grade, standardized tests revealed him to be intellectually gifted—and passionate when he dreamed aloud of helping others.

As we ended our conversation, Phillips leaned closer to me. In a soft voice, he said, "I'm still working on controlling myself and my temper. Lincoln has been a great city for me to grow up and mature in, and I'm learning to stay out of situations where I could get in trouble."

Phillips then rose and disappeared into the Nebraska locker room. I wouldn't see him again for four years.

About five months after I spoke with Phillips, Nebraska traveled to East Lansing, Michigan, and administered what remains the worst drubbing of Nick Saban's coaching career. In the Huskers' 50-10 victory over Michigan State, Phillips rushed for 206 yards and four touchdowns. The Heisman Trophy was his to lose.

But later that night he did just that. Phillips, according to several sources, was asleep in his Lincoln apartment when he was awakened by a phone call. The person on the other end of the line informed Phillips that his former girlfriend, Kate McEwen, was inside the apartment of sophomore quarterback Scott Frost, who is now the offensive coordinator at Oregon.

In a fury, Phillips stormed to Frost's apartment, scaled the wall to his third-floor balcony, entered and dragged his ex-girlfriend by her hair down three flights of stairs. Phillips was later arrested for assault. (He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge.)

According to several former Nebraska coaches, McEwen was Phillips' first true love. "Lawrence has major abandonment issues, especially when it comes to females because of how he was treated by his mother," said a former Nebraska staffer. "He was never given the proper counseling to develop coping mechanisms when he's put in a high-stress situation. And when he got the call in the middle of the night, he just lost it."

Nebraska coach Tom Osborne suspended Phillips six games, but he allowed his troubled tailback to return for the final three regular-season games and for the Fiesta Bowl. Facing No. 2 Florida on Jan. 2, 1996, Nebraska won its second straight national title, demolishing the Gators 62-24. Phillips ran for 165 yards and scored three touchdowns.

But this Nebraska team was never invited to the White House. "There was a cloud over that team, and a lot of it was because of Lawrence," said Ron Brown, a longtime assistant at Nebraska who is now at Liberty University. "The White House wanted nothing to do with us."

Brown can still recall the moment he realized Phillips could have emotional problems. During Phillips' freshman season of 1993, Nebraska played UCLA in the Rose Bowl, which sits just a few miles from where Phillips grew up. Midway through the game, Phillips, who would rush for more than 100 yards in Nebraska's 14-13 win, fumbled the ball, and the Bruins recovered.

Phillips ran to the bench, took a seat and began sobbing uncontrollably. It was a staggering outpouring of emotion, especially considering Barbara Thomas had never seen Phillips cry once between the ages of 12 and 18.

"Lawrence looked like this grown man, but there he was on the bench crying like a baby," Brown said. "I put my hands on his shoulder pads and said, 'You'll get more opportunities. Just stick with us.' But in that instant I realized that there is a sensitivity to Lawrence that few people ever saw. He grew up rough, but he was innocent and naive in many ways. There was a little baby boy in there that never grew up.

"I wondered then—and still do now—if that's how he acted in his relationships when they didn't go well. He just couldn't handle trauma, like there was always something swelling inside of him. When he let someone down or someone let him down, he had a hard time coping, just like most little children. As adults we have a foundation and a way to deal with these things. But Lawrence never had that. He was never coached in the ways of life."

The next time I spoke to Phillips was in Barcelona, Spain, in the spring of 1999. At the time he was trying to resuscitate his flagging career in NFL Europe.

Though Phillips was a Category 5 risk of a prospect, the Rams had selected him with the sixth overall pick of the 1996 draft. In less than two seasons in St. Louis he was fined more than 50 times for an assortment of violations. And on the field he appeared a step slower than he was at Nebraska. At the request of the Rams coaches, Phillips gained about 15 pounds from his Nebraska playing weight of 205.

"I'll never understand why the Rams coaches had him gain weight," said Darlington, the longtime Nebraska assistant. "They thought he needed to bulk up, but Lawrence was already a power runner. And throw in the fact that they had a rookie quarterback [Tony Banks] who fumbled every other snap, and Lawrence had no chance. Every time he came into the game there would be nine guys at the line of scrimmage focused on him."

Frustrated with the losing—the Rams went 11-21 in 1996 and '97—Phillips grew increasingly withdrawn. When head coach Dick Vermeil told Phillips late in '97 that he was being demoted to second string, Phillips immediately left the Rams' practice facility.

A day later, when Vermeil announced he was releasing Phillips, he told reporters that Phillips had more potential than any running back he'd ever coached. As the coach spoke, he choked up, and his eyes moistened. He wasn't the first to feel as if he had failed to save Lawrence Phillips.

The Miami Dolphins picked up Phillips late in 1997. In two games he gained 44 yards on 18 carries. He was cut after he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery for allegedly hitting a woman in a Plantation, Florida, nightclub who refused to dance with him. It was an all-too-familiar story: A woman who rejected Phillips wound up on the business end of his wrath.

After sitting out a year, Phillips went to play for the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe in the spring of '99. At the time I was researching a book on the league—The Proving Ground would be published in 2002—and everyone in the Dragons organization marveled at Phillips' talents and his willingness to follow orders.

"Lawrence loved to practice," Jack Bicknell, Barcelona's head coach, said at the time. "Every time we ran a play, he'd break through for 40 or 50 yards. I'm sure he did that all of his life because I've talked to people at Nebraska, and they said he was one of the hardest-working guys they ever had."

In the resort town of Sitges, a half-hour drive south of Barcelona, where the Dragons were based and where temptation lurked around every corner, Phillips rarely went out. Occasionally he'd play dominoes with his teammates in the lobby of the team hotel, but usually he stayed in his room or lay on the beach and listened to music.

He also liked to wade in the Mediterranean, the warm salt water soothing to his legs. It was the perfect football environment for Phillips: He practiced, went to meetings, ate his meals, kept to himself on the beach and went to bed early—a simple life.

Phillips thrived. He became the first player in the history of the league to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He was named NFL Europe's MVP. And he led the Dragons to the championship game, which they lost to Frankfurt 38-24.

"Without Phillips, that team would not have won two games," Amsterdam coach Al Luginbill said at the time. "If he can learn to run with the right people and stay away from alcohol, he can be all right. But when he boozes, he becomes a different personality."

Twenty years have passed since my first conversation with Lawrence Phillips. I sit in my home office, a middle-aged writer now, searching for clues about Phillips, trying to understand how so much promise can turn into so much despair.

I have written Lawrence a letter requesting to speak to him—as long as he is in administrative isolation at Kern, this is the only way anyone outside of the prison can reach him—but I have yet to hear back. Phillips has told a few friends that he wants people to forget about him, but I cannot shake the mystery that is Lawrence Phillips.

Reporters, with enough digging, can often uncover truths about their subjects that the subjects themselves cannot see. But what is the great truth about Lawrence Phillips?

After NFL Europe, Phillips signed with the San Francisco 49ers. He didn't last an entire season. The beginning of the end for Phillips in the Bay Area came on a Monday night game against Arizona on Sept. 27, 1999. He didn't make a block on blitzing cornerback Aeneas Williams, who throttled quarterback Steve Young with a devastating blindside hit. Young, knocked out cold, suffered a concussion—the final one of his career. He never played again. San Francisco waived Phillips later that fall, his final exit from the NFL.

Away from football, Phillips burned through his money. "We'd go out for a night, just the two of us, and by the end of the night there would be 30 people in our group at a club," said one of Phillips' friends. "Lawrence would pay for everybody. And this happened a lot. I mean, all the time."

Phillips, broke, had just borrowed $100 from a former high school teammate in August 2005 when he went to Exposition Park in Los Angeles to play in a pickup football game. Minutes after the game, Phillips couldn't find the $100. Accusing a few of the teenage boys he'd been playing with of stealing from him, he drove his SUV into a throng of the kids.

No one was seriously injured, but in October 2006 he was convicted of felony assault with a deadly weapon. While serving his seven-year sentence, he was convicted of an earlier domestic violence charge against his girlfriend and sentenced to an additional 25 years.

So what to make of Lawrence Phillips? I phoned a former staff member at Nebraska who I have known for 15 years, a man who is as familiar with Phillips as anyone.

What, I asked, is the underlying moral of the Lawrence Phillips story?

"This is a story of one thing," he said."This is a story of a broken kid who never got the help, for whatever reason, that he really needed. He never got the help to overcome the demons that were created in his childhood."

In the end, in the case of Lawrence Phillips, the demons beat his angels.

The D.A.'s investigation into the homicide of Damion Soward continues. Alone in his cell, Phillips waits for yet another judgment day.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Everett Golson to Alabama Crimson Tide: Could It Really Happen?

In the past few weeks, the Braxton Miller-to-Alabama rumors have started to die down, at least for the moment, as Miller has yet to announce any intent to transfer from the Ohio State Buckeyes. But a college football offseason without constant rumors would be no fun. So as the Miller speculation has dwindled, the rumors of former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson going to Alabama have begun to spring up. 

After leading Notre Dame to the BCS National Championship game in 2012, Golson was suspended from the Irish program for the 2013 season for academic reasons. After returning to his starting position in the 2014 season, Golson appeared to be having a strong comeback campaign before faltering down the stretch and ultimately surrendering the starting job to sophomore Malik Zaire. 

As a graduate transfer, Golson will be eligible to play immediately wherever he chooses to resume his college career. ESPN's Brett McMurphy has reported that Alabama was one of 10 schools that Golson gave to Notre Dame's compliance department as potential transfer options. In the same report, McMurphy stated that Alabama would accept Golson as a graduate transfer if he were to make the decision to play for the Crimson Tide.

The possibility of Golson playing in Tuscaloosa has Alabama fans intrigued after a spring that featured inconsistent play from all five of Alabama's current quarterbacks, including senior and former Florida State transfer Jacob Coker. Even a month after spring practice, head coach Nick Saban recently confirmed that no clear starter has emerged for the 2015 Crimson Tide thus far.

The prospect of walking into a fairly open quarterback situation would have to be attractive for Golson.  Of course, wherever Golson transfers, he will have only the summer and early fall to learn a new offense and lock down a starting job. If there is one thing that Alabama fans learned from the 2014 season, it's that a high-profile transfer isn't guaranteed anything. 

Golson would seemingly be a strong fit in offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin's scheme at Alabama. After the incredible progress that former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims showed in one season under Kiffin, a player with the physical similarities to Sims that Golson possesses could help the Alabama offense transition smoothly into this season.

Unlike Sims, who had never started a college football game a year ago, Golson already has two full seasons as a starter in a Power Five program. Of course, one glaring difference is that whoever leads this year's Tide offense will have to do so without the services of consensus All-American Amari Cooper. However, this year's Crimson Tide will still feature a corps of talented young wide receivers. 

An obstacle that could prevent Golson from finding his way to Alabama is the SEC's rather strict transfer policy. Among the criteria for SEC transfers are at least two years of remaining eligibility and a clean disciplinary record from the the previous school. Golson has neither of those things and would require a transfer waiver to be able to play at Alabama or any other SEC program. 

At this point, it appears unlikely that Golson lands in Tuscaloosa, and not only because he might still have nightmares of Alabama from the pummeling he took in 2012. 247 Sports' Ryan Bartow has reported that among his potential suitors the Florida State Seminoles are the current leaders for Golson's services.  

The opportunity to succeed Jameis Winston and the SEC's strict transfer conditions may ultimately be too much for Alabama to overcome if they want to land Golson. But that won't stop fans' imaginations from running wild until a final decision is made. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ten 2015 College Football Games Perfect for Prime-Time TV

We're at the halfway point of the college football offseason. Don't worry: It only gets better from here. 

Still, with nearly four months before the first game, we're left thinking about what we miss most: night games. Perusing through next season's schedule, several games have the look of being prime-time matchups. 

Some games are no-brainers for prime time, like Oregon vs. Michigan State (scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Sept. 19). Others, like Thursday night games, are already prime-time events. To make things more interesting, here are 10 games that may end up being broadcast in prime time—or not but should. 

With official times yet to be established, here are the games we're most looking forward to in 2015—and hoping that they're played under the lights. 

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Power Ranking College Football's Best 2015 Pro-Style Quarterbacks

The dual-threat and spread-oriented quarterback has become so prevalent in college football that it's threatened to render obsolete the type of player who has dominated the position for decades.

But the pro-style quarterback isn't dead yet. In fact, in 2015 a strong crop of QBs focus on throwing the ball and prefer to leave the rushing to the running backs. And this group could help allay the fears of some NFL personnel that the college game is ruining the quarterback position.

"There a growing skepticism about how NFL-ready QBs from spread systems are especially in an era where franchises are looking to play young quarterbacks earlier than in years past," Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman wrote earlier this month.

The top two picks in the 2015 draft were quarterbacks, with No. 1 selection Jameis Winston coming from a pro-style offense and No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota bred from the spread.

It's too early to say for certain what direction teams will go in next year's draft (or beyond) when it comes to the quarterback position, but if they are interested in a traditional pocket passer, he might come from this list of the 12 best pro-style college QBs in 2015. They're ranked based on their past results, expected performance and how well they play their position.

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Which Recruits Should Alabama Target in the 2016 Class?

The Alabama Crimson Tide have long established themselves as a recruiting powerhouse. But even at the top, Nick Saban and his staff have to draw up game plans when it comes to locking down the very best talent in the land. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder broke down which recruits Alabama should target in the current class to keep that pristine recruiting reputation intact.

Who is on your wish list for Alabama recruiting? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star Chaz Ah You Is the Man of 1 Million Positions

Chaz Ah You's natural position at the college level could be safety. 247Sports has him listed as the No. 5 safety in the country in the class of 2017.

Then again, wide receiver could be the projected spot.

Or maybe running back. Perhaps cornerback? Quarterback? Outside linebacker?

Punter?

Ah You is the proverbial problem many coaches would love to have. Truly defining the word "athlete," he has played nearly every skill position at the high school level and has been a topic of discussion at every position—punter included.

"I don't have to be just a free safety in college," he said. "I don't feel I'm a one-position athlete."

There are times when athleticism just overflows in an athlete to where he excels at everything he does. The 4-star prospect has played nearly a dozen positions since first putting on a helmet at six years old.

In high school, he's played safety, wide receiver, quarterback, punt returner, kickoff returner and punter, and there's a chance he also will line up at cornerback and running back for his junior season.

"I've pretty much played almost every [position] all my life," Ah You said. "I've still got two years left, so I'm sure I'll play some other positions—that's if my coaches want me to."

What makes Ah You even more of an attractive prospect, particularly in college football recruiting, is that he's humble about his achievements, which include eight college football offers, five letters in three different sports and various all-region and all-valley honors playing for Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, Utah.

"I don't feel like one of those guys who is good at everything," he said. "I think I'm good at certain things, mediocre at others, but I just want to be the best at everything I do."

Emphasis on everything.

 

Working hard, having fun

Ah You began playing safety full-time as a freshman in high school after playing quarterback since the fifth grade.

And then there were the times in elementary school where he saw time on the line.

"I first played organized football at six," he said. "I was a defensive end. I thought I could make some money at defensive end. It turned out to be a little different."

He is the nephew of C.J. Ah You, who played defensive end at Oklahoma and went on to spend time in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and the St. Louis Rams, and Matt Ah You, who played outside linebacker at BYU. There was a time when, position-wise, he thought he'd follow one of his uncles' footsteps.

"It really didn't matter where I played," he said. "There were times when we were missing a center. I remember playing wide receiver once, and then my coach put me in at center."

One thing about Ah You: He doesn't shy away from hard work. Learning every position is a part of his plan to be the best athlete possible. Using the football tips in other sports allows him to never get complacent mentally. Ah You's mind is always on, and it's always sharp.

"My uncle C.J. always told me to have fun with everything and not cave in to any pressure," Ah You said. "He always said to just take everything as it comes. I want to make sure that coaches aren't recruiting me just for one position."

For now, his main priorities are to contribute for Westlake as best as he can and, ultimately, become the nation's top-ranked athlete. Currently, he's listed by 247Sports as the No. 2 player from the state of Utah, behind 4-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele.

"I'm not happy with where I'm at," he said, "but knowing it makes me want to work harder. I'm working to be the best."

 

Versatility is a plus

Playing so many positions has helped Ah You become a true student of the game, in addition to an ultra-versatile athlete.

"I think playing every position allows you to know the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of the ball," Ah You said. "On offense, I'm able to find where the defense's weak points are. On defense, I'm able to read offenses and make the right plays."

Being strong on both sides of the ball forces college coaches to not put Ah You in a box. He's projected to be a safety, but playing wide receiver isn't far-fetched. Neither is quarterback in the right system. And, if he bulks up, neither is outside linebacker.

Just for style points, neither is punter. Ah You can do it all.

And if it means anything, he's also solid in the classroom. He is an honor student with a 3.75 grade-point average.

"I just want [the programs] to get the best out of me," Ah You said. "I don't want to go to school and plateau out. I want to go somewhere that'll help me not only off the field but in the classroom as well."

Currently, Ah You has offers from Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Washington, Washington State, Hawaii and in-state schools BYU, Utah and Utah State. Washington State is his latest offer. He also is getting a lot of interest from UCLA, USC, Oklahoma and Oregon.

No summer visits have been set up, but Ah You said he's looking into making the trek to a few campuses for one-day summer camps, Among the schools potentially to get a visit are UCLA, USC and Oregon.

 

Life as a decathlete?

If Ah You has his way, he'll further show his versatility in college by balancing football with a track and field career. He's competed as a decathlete and wants to do the same in college.

The decathlon consists of the 100-meter dash, the 110-meter hurdles, 400 meters, 1,500 meters, long jump, high jump, shot put, discus, pole vault and javelin throw. That's 10 events; Ah You wouldn't mind adding more.

He recently participated in a track meet and agreed to throw the shot put for Westlake. It was an event he hadn't competed in since the eighth grade and hadn't practiced since March.

Ah You ended up throwing the shot 45'3" and setting a personal and Westlake school record.

"My coach asked me if I wanted to do it," Ah You said. "I said, 'Sure, why not?' It'd been a while for me, but I was pretty happy with what I did."

Ah You has shown an uncanny ability to adapt, regardless of where he is or which sport he's participating in. In addition to football and track, he's a good basketball player who said he's considering playing AAU summer ball if his schedule permits.

His combination of strength, speed, explosiveness, elusiveness and agility is incomparable to many athletes his age. At the Elite 11 Los Angeles regional, he threw the power ball 38 feet and recorded a vertical jump of 36.3 inches.

In the weight room, he has bench-pressed 230 pounds and squatted 405. He's run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, the 100 meters in 11.49 and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.19. He's also long-jumped 21'3".

And, at 16, he's still growing.

"I've still got some time," he said. "I just want to get better, and keep getting better."

 

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

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Summer Goals for Every Top 25 College Football Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Music's in His Bones

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FSU: 'I Got a Certain Feel'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Unofficial Visits Galore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Either way, he just wants to excel.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who exactly will be shouldering the load, though?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait, what about the defense?

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

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

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

 

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

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

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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