NCAA Football News

Jordan Scarlett Decommits from Miami: What's Next for Hurricanes, 4-Star?

Miami suffered their second decommitment from a 4-star running back within the last month when Jordan Scarlett announced he was backing off his pledge to the Hurricanes on Sunday.

The 5’11”, 222-pounder will announce his decision between Florida, Florida State and Miami on Monday.

While the ‘Canes are still stated as a team he’s considering, Scarlett’s decision is likely to come down to the ‘Noles and the Gators.

Where does Miami turn, and how do Florida and Florida State stack up in the race to land the nation's No. 12 running back?

For starters, Scarlett’s defection is a huge blow to the ‘Canes 2015 class.

Heading into 2015, a trio of 4-star rushers in Scarlett, Dexter Williams and Mark Walton gave Miami perhaps the nation’s top backfield class.

Now, only Walton remains.

Williams—who decommitted from Miami on Jan. 2, per Nate Adelson of InsideTheU—still has the ‘Canes among his finalists along with Notre Dame and Louisville.

According to Adelson, Williams—who will decide on signing day—is still considering the Hurricanes for a few reasons.

“I haven’t talked to them much because I know they’re busy,” Williams said. “The coaches are still trying to see if they can open a spot in the best interests of the team. I understand where they’re coming from. At the same time, they were my first offer and I was committed there for a long time. I would like the chance at staying in Florida to play for them and that’s basically.”

If the ‘Canes are unable to land him, a class with Walton as the lone rusher headed to Coral Gables would be a disappointment considering the trio they expected earlier in the cycle.

As for Scarlett, both Florida and Florida State present him with unique opportunities.

New Gators head coach Jim McElwain would love to add Scarlett and tab him as the back that represents the future of his offense.

With Kelvin Taylor entering his junior season and sophomore Brandon Powell more of a shifty back, Scarlett potentially has a more navigable path to find the field early in his career in Gainesville.

At FSU, Jimbo Fisher has rising sophomore Dalvin Cook and incoming 4-star rusher Jacques Patrick—who is already on campus as an early enrollee—ready to form a strong punch in the backfield.

Adding Scarlett would give the ‘Noles a mix of young and talented rushers who can hurt defenses in different ways.

Fisher and his staff have consistently reeled in top talent in recent years, which lends credence to the theory that the ‘Noles offense will still be a potent unit in the post-Jameis Winston era. Scarlett would give Fisher another versatile skill weapon with which to surround his new quarterback. 

All three Sunshine State powers would love to have the services of a big and powerful back such as Scarlett.

If his Crystal Ball page is any indicator, his recruitment will be a bitter fight until the very end.

 

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

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Texas A&M Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

The Texas A&M football coaches are going to sign a top-10 recruiting class on national signing day. They will finish out the class with a couple of elite recruits, and this class will contribute immediately in 2015. 

In order to compete in the SEC on a weekly basis, you need to have elite talent. The Aggies could bring in a top-five recruiting class and they still would not even sign the best class in their division. 

There are currently four SEC teams with recruiting classes ranked higher than the Aggies' class. Alabama and LSU are in the SEC West along with Texas A&M, and both have classes ranked above the Aggies'. 

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has done a nice job of turning over the roster and stocking it with SEC-level talent. The 2015 class is Sumlin's fourth recruiting class in Aggieland and should put A&M in position to compete for SEC titles every year going forward. 

This is a look at all of the players who are expected to sign with Texas A&M on national signing day.

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National Signing Day 2015: Buzz and Predictions for Top Recruits

The first week of February is a big week for football, at every level. One can see the long throughline of a football player's career in this time, with the Super Bowl on Sunday and national signing day on Wednesday. 

The Super Bowl turns regular players into heroes and legends. Before they were regular players, they were NFL draft hopefuls. Prior to declaring, they were collegiate stars. Before they became the big men on campus, they were wide-eyed freshmen, redshirting, working the scout team and maybe, just maybe, playing on Saturdays. 

And before that, they were high school phenoms, stressing over which college program they would bet their future on. 

Feb. 4 will see the top uncommitted football recruits finally announce their college decisions, assuaging the fears of some fans and opening up anxieties in others with a few simple words or the donning of a baseball cap emblazoned with their new home's logo.

With a few days until National Signing Day, let's take a look at the final twists and turns in some interesting recruiting sagas and predict where a trio of coveted teenagers will play college ball.



Iman Marshall, CB (No. 4 overall, No. 1 position)

Long thought to be a lock to don a USC cap on national signing day, top-rated cornerback Iman Marshall has been the subject of a late-stage recruiting frenzy, with illustrious programs such as Michigan, Florida State and LSU making late overtures.

Marshall had positive things to say about all three schools, highlighting key aspects of each school that illustrate the difficulty of the choice ahead of him.

"At Florida State, the football atmosphere and the coaching staff is great," he said, via ESPN Insider's Erik McKinney. "At Michigan, the networking and the new coaching hire. And LSU, that's DB U." 

However, there is one top-tier program that has Marshall on its wish list but could be out of the running. According to ESPN's Craig Haubert, Marshall decided to cancel a late visit to Oregon:

With so many top programs to choose from, it makes sense that Marshall is trying to simplify things before he makes his announcement—scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on Feb. 4, for those interested.

The Long Beach Poly product is the type of player who can make an immediate impact on campus with his strong frame (6'1", 190 lbs) and undeniable athleticism. Marshall racked up 79 tackles and 16 passes defensed as a senior in 2014. 

UCLA and USC are still in the running apparently, with the Trojans perhaps the favorite to win the local kid over. According to 247 Sports' Crystal Ball predictions, 98 percent of experts polled see Marshall heading to Southern California. That's an outsized level of confidence for such a highly recruited player, but USC showed this past year there is room for true freshmen to compete should they prove themselves worthy.

With Marcus Mariota leaving Oregon and Brett Hundley leaving UCLA, there could be a bit of a power vacuum in the Pac-12. Look for Marshall to stay close to home and commit to USC.

Prediction: USC Trojans

 

Daylon Mack, DT (No. 14 overall, No. 4position)

Daylon Mack, a bruising Texas high school football product through and through, is deciding among some of the top programs in the Lone Star State.

At 6'0" and 330 pounds, you could theoretically line Mack up against some NFL squads, and he would hardly look out of place.

The wide-bodied mauler racked up 17 sacks and a staggering 89 tackles for loss in three varsity seasons at Gladewater (Texas). He also moonlighted as perhaps the most terrifying prep fullback in the nation his senior year, rushing for 264 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

Texas A&M, TCU and Texas all appear to be contenders for Mack's signature, but the Horned Frogs may have slipped in the race, per ESPN's Gerry Hamilton: 

They could still very well be in the running, but the canceled visit doesn't bode well for the program. The Aggies also have to be quite nervous considering Mack was a former commit before re-opening the process in recent months.

Apparently, Mack has already made up his mind, per his Twitter account:

Maybe his Twitter account has a potential clue. Let's take a look:

I think he's trying to tell us something. Charlie Strong's commitment to the Longhorns program will sway the young lineman, and Texas fans will be delighted watching the young man wear burnt orange in the coming years.

Prediction: Texas Longhorns

 

K.J. Hill, WR (No. 152 overall, No. 16 position)

Urban Meyer and Nick Saban's storied rivalry isn't limited to furious gridiron battles and championship contests. With Meyer running Ohio State and Saban presiding over Alabama, it's of little surprise that the two men will fight for the same prep recruits from time to time.

The latest such example is the saga of wide receiver prospect K.J. Hill, a 4-star player who was thought to be heading to Arkansas but could now very well end up a Buckeye or member of the Crimson Tide.

247 Sports' Trevor Hewett has the latest on the young wideout:

On Wednesday night, Nick Saban and wide receivers coach Billy Napier had an in-home visit with North Little Rock (Ark.) four-star wide receiver and top Tide target K.J. Hill and his family. The 6-foot, 188-pounder recently decommitted from Arkansas following his official visit with the Tide earlier this month.

Arkansas is a program on the rise, but it's hard to beat the allure of Alabama, where SEC and national championships are expected instead of merely aspired to. 

However, Ohio State isn't out of the running, although it could be a long shot as Cleveland.com's Ari Wasserman noted: "Ohio State hosted Hill for an official visit last weekend, but the Buckeyes are still seemingly on the outside looking in for the 6-foot, 188-pound prospect. A former Arkansas commit, Hill is very high on Alabama and is officially visiting the Razorbacks this weekend."

A national championship is a nice asset to flaunt when persuading young recruits. Ohio State could have a very real shot at landing Hill if he's looking for programs that can virtually guarantee success in the coming years—a reassurance the Razorbacks cannot provide after a 7-6 season.

The rousing success of wideout Amari Cooper and his departure to the NFL ranks make the Crimson Tide a uniquely compelling destination for a top wideout. Cooper racked up 124 receptions in 2014. The next-best player in that category was DeAndrew White, who racked up 40 catches, a relatively meager sum.

As an Arkansas kid, Hill knows all about the allure and power of the SEC. Look for him to take his collegiate chances with this hard-nosed conference and give Saban at least one small victory over Meyer this winter.

Prediction: Alabama Crimson Tide


Composite rankings, stats, recruiting info and measurements courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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15 Best Returning College Football Players You've Likely Never Heard of

Top players from college football's power conferences are often showered with compliments, and rightfully so in many cases. The Group of Five boasts a solid collection of talent, however, and those stars are widely overlooked.

NFL-bound contributors Jay Ajayi and Jacoby Glenn might be recognized on the national landscape, but casual followers of the NCAA often don't know the small-school superstars. So that's where Bleacher Report comes in.

To qualify, a player must be returning for the 2015 season and have represented a school that competes in the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West or Sun Belt conferences—as well as FBS independents—in 2014.

With that being said, we excluded all Notre Dame players because the program is a national brand.

While the list is organized alphabetically by school, notable factors used to determine inclusion are individual production, all-conference honors, national awards and expectations for 2015.

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Tavares Chase to Clemson: Tigers Land 4-Star WR Prospect

The Clemson Tigers added another weapon to their passing game for the 2016 season.

Wide receiver Tavares Chase, a 4-star prospect, revealed that he's headed to "Death Valley," per Paul Strelow of Rivals.com:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Chase is the 32nd-best wideout for 2016 and 137th-best player overall. The Plant City, Florida, star is also the top-ranked player committed to Clemson's '16 recruiting class so far.

ESPN.com's Derek Tyson sees Chase having a big impact for the Tigers:

While he's still far from a finished product, it's easy to see why Chase is such a highly regarded recruit. He may not be a track star in terms of speed, but he has more than enough to succeed at the FBS level. Chase's agility and acceleration will also help him create separation from his defender in tight spaces.

The area where Chase needs the most work is his route running. He's proficient enough to excel in high school, but college will be a different story.

At this time, his lack of top-end speed somewhat limits his ceiling, which could be the difference between being an All-ACC-caliber player and an All-American.

Chase will have at least one year of Deshaun Watson as his quarterback, which would give the Tigers a lethal aerial combo.

Dabo Swinney has had a lot of success at Clemson since taking over in 2008. He hasn't yet gotten the school over the top, though. Securing commitments from players like Chase will help rectify that problem.

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SEC Football: Each Team's Most Loaded Position Group for 2015

In an ideal world, every SEC team would prefer to have the same amount of balance and depth at every position, both offensively and defensively. It doesn't happen that way, though, thanks to injuries, graduation, early NFL departures and recruiting.

Instead, what more often happens is that teams end up looking OK in most areas but really good in a few others. Not surprisingly, those loaded positions tend to determine how those teams will fare.

Taking a look at the SEC rosters as they sit now, including the expected arrivals of recruits who are set to sign on Wednesday, we've identified a position group that each school can be proud of. It might not be the team's best unit, but it is the one with the least depth-related questions.

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Courtney Lark to TCU: Horned Frogs Land 4-Star WR Prospect

TCU's ascent to national relevance in 2014 is continuing to pay dividends. Courtney Lark, a 4-star receiver out of Bellaire (Texas) High School, committed to the Horned Frogs on Saturday, spurning offers from Baylor and Nebraska among others.

Gerry Hamilton of ESPN reported the news:

TCU was a bit of an upset choice given expert predictions. 247Sports' crystal ball gave Lark a 62 percent chance of committing to Baylor, with Oklahoma coming in second place at 25 percent. None of the predictions listed went TCU's direction.

Lark is considered the No. 78 recruit in the nation and 11th-best receiver in the Class of 2016, according to 247Sports composite rankings. Listed at 6'1" and 170 pounds, Lark has excellent hands and has become an increasingly solid big-play threat. He made 58 receptions for 1,138 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior.

While he'll need to bulk up to withstand Big 12 punishment, Lark is yet another coup in what's becoming a landmark class for Gary Patterson. Lark's signing moves the Horned Frogs up to No. 7 on 247Sports' Class of 2016 rankings, fifth-highest among schools with seven or fewer recruits. Patterson has inked four 4-star recruits already, double the number from his 2015 group.

With a 12-1 season in the books, a number of players returning and reinforcements like Lark on the way, the future in Fort Worth is sure looking bright.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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Tennessee Football: 4 Commits Who Will Start a Game in 2015 for the Vols

The Tennessee Volunteers are on pace to welcome another top-five recruiting class Wednesday, when their non-early enrollees sign letters of intent to spend their college careers in Knoxville.

If head coach Butch Jones' impressive 2014 class was the foundation for restoring Rocky Top to its former glory, the 2015 class is the mortar that holds that foundation together.

One of the perks of being a highly rated recruit in last year's class was the sheer number of opportunities to see the field right away. In fact, players like Jalen Hurd, Von Pearson, Jashon Robertson, Derek Barnett and Ethan Wolf have all locked down starting spots heading into 2015.

However, that doesn't mean the class of 2015 will be relegated to merely providing depth next season. As good as the 2014 class is, there are still some holes in Tennessee's roster that can immediately be filled by this year's new crop of signees.

Here are four current commits or enrollees who have great chances of landing atop the depth chart in the 2015 season.

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Is Ole Miss 2015 Recruiting Class in Danger of Last-Minute Collapse?

Ole Miss managed to assemble another impressive recruiting class during the 2015 cycle, but the Rebels suddenly appear at risk of watching things unravel as national signing day nears.

Head coach Hugh Freeze, hosting a collection of prospects during the final weekend of official visits, received some disheartening news Friday evening. Leo Lewis, the nation's No. 1 inside linebacker, decommitted from Ole Miss during the first day of his stay at LSU:

The 4-star prospect, listed 63rd overall in 247Sports' composite rankings, will presumably end up with an SEC rival—signing with either the Tigers or Mississippi State.

The loss of Lewis, long considered a paramount in-state prospect, puts a damper on the program's final push toward signing day.

His departure from the Rebels' class could potentially be the first domino to fall in a series of negative developments. 

"Priority No. 1 was keeping its top 100 commits committed," wrote Riley Bevins of The Clarion-Ledger. "Priority No. 1 won't be accomplished, at least not completely."

Freeze must also face the fact that two more of his top recruits are currently being fawned over at foreign campuses. 

Drew Richmond, a Memphis product rated third nationally among offensive tackles, is spending time at Tennessee:

Fellow 4-star commit Van Jefferson, a Georgia receiver who joined the class just last week, leaped at the chance to visit Michigan following a late offer from the Wolverines:

It isn't uncommon for committed players to explore other collegiate opportunities down the stretch, but when three foundational members of a class are looking elsewhere the situation becomes a bit scary. 

Lewis has already been lost, while situations with Richmond and Jefferson seem tenuous at best.

"Jefferson had to convince his dad, who was against his son going to Ole Miss, to be on board with his decision," Bevins wrote, casting further doubt on the pass-catcher's potential of landing in Oxford.

It's worth noting that Mr. Jefferson spent eight seasons in Michigan serving as an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions. 

Tennessee, meanwhile, has never cooled on Richmond. Not even when he spurned the Volunteers for Ole Miss at his September signing day ceremony. 

He is Butch Jones' top priority at this point and would punctuate a sensational class for the rising SEC East squad.

The Rebels currently hold 17 commitments in a class rated 17th nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings. Big additions could be on the way—notably 5-star Florida defensive end CeCe Jefferson and 4-star Texas wide receiver Damarkus Lodge—but at this juncture it's just as important to hold onto what you already have in a class.

Lewis is out of the equation, and that hurts. If Jefferson and Richmond both join him by jumping off the bandwagon, the sting could become unbearable in Oxford on signing day.

 

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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