NCAA Football News

Every Top 25 Team's Main College Football Recruiting Pipeline

Sustained recruiting success requires roots to be laid in particular regions that perennially produce top-tier prospects. Coaching staffs and college teams aim to establish consistency in these talent hotbeds, setting the stage for key signings on a regular basis.

These connections are often referred to as "pipelines" in the college football spectrum, and can ultimately help create championship-caliber rosters. Here's a look at key pipelines for each program that placed in last season's Associated Press Top 25 poll.

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Brett Hundley: Breaking Down UCLA QB's Pro Day Workout

It's no secret that the 2015 NFL draft is lacking in top-tier quarterback talent. The good news for the second-level players at the position, like UCLA's Brett Hundley, is there are plenty of opportunities and teams to impress over the next seven weeks. 

Hundley took his first major steps toward trying to become the No. 3 quarterback in the 2015 class, behind Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, on Tuesday during UCLA's pro day. He brought all of the scouts into his house, so anything less than a strong showing wasn't going to be tolerated. 

Per Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register, there were plenty of scouts who made the trek to Los Angeles to see what the Bruins quarterback was going to do:

Teams are always going to do their due diligence on a quarterback, especially one who was once regarded as a potential first-round pick, so seeing all those eyes on Hundley isn't surprising. 

However, leading up to the start of Tuesday's pro day, UCLA head coach Jim Mora made an interesting comment regarding Hundley, via NFL Media PR on Twitter:

That's certainly not damning with faint praise, but in a business where everything gets scrutinized so closely, Mora's comments aren't a glowing review of his quarterback. He basically says Hundley can't play in year one, or at least shouldn't. 

Sometimes that can work out well, as Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers have carved out good careers after sitting on the bench for at least one season.

Mora certainly knows Hundley as well as anyone, and has a history of coaching in the NFL, so his assessment should carry more weight than a coach who just signs the praises of every prospect who has ever come through his system. 

Going back to the field and what Hundley was showing scouts, Mark Dulgerian of NFL Network liked a lot of what he saw:

The note about Hundley's footwork is important because that's been a problem for him with scouts in the past. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah wrote in October the UCLA star doesn't use his feet well in the pocket:

No one denies that Hundley is a tremendous athlete who can run, but being a quarterback in the NFL is all about playing in the pocket. Some guys are able to have a lot of success outside the hash marks, most notably Russell Wilson, but they are few and far between. 

After Hundley was done throwing, per Kartje, he made a point of singling out his footwork for emphasis:

That's what offseason workouts are designed to do. Players file the paperwork to see where they stand in the draft, then get feedback from NFL personnel about things that need to improve. Hundley took his criticism and appears to have worked on it. 

One workout in shorts doesn't prove Hundley has everything figured out, but small improvements before the draft are going to curry a lot of favor with scouts. 

On the whole, per Jordan Lee of the Daily Bruin, Hundley went 57-of-60 before his workout session ended:

Time will tell if Hundley was able to increase his draft stock with this pro day. After the combine, B/R's Matt Miller had the UCLA star ranked as his No. 3 quarterback and No. 70 overall. That would make him a third-round pick, at the earliest. 

However, given what teams need and how easy it is to fall in love with a quarterback, Hundley may have put himself squarely in the second-round mix if he wasn't already there.

No one denies Hundley's got the skills to do damage in the NFL. It's just a matter of being able to make progressions, play in the pocket and stay composed. Great athletes are always going to be given the benefit of the doubt, so don't be shocked if his name gets called sooner than you think on draft weekend. 

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Video of Frat's Racist Chant Made Me Decommit from Oklahoma: 'I Was Disgusted'

After seeing a video of a racist chant by members of the University of Oklahoma chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, 4-star offensive tackle Jean Delance decommitted from the Sooners on Monday. Below, he explains in his own words—as told to Bleacher Report's Damon Sayles—what led to that decision.


My mom and I visited the campus the day before the video came out. The biggest thing for me was to get my mom on board, and I think [the visit] sold her on everything. That was it for me. I was going to come back and watch the spring game and even bring my grandma there. I was done.

Then I saw the video on Twitter.

I was disgusted. That's not anything I want to be a part of. I know it's just those few select people, and it's not everybody [at Oklahoma]. It's not like cancer where it's going to spread all over.

But specifically, that chant…they couldn't get a couple [of] guys to say, "We can't do that?"

I was disgusted.

My grandmother's people picked cotton. I can't understand their struggle, but I can't go [to Oklahoma] and say I'm comfortable with being there, especially with what my family went through. My grandmother said she didn't want me going there if they still continue to do things like that. She said that would be disrespectful to her, my mom and myself if I did.

It's just not something that you want to be a part of.

[The social media reaction to my decision] has been surprising. Percentage-wise, it's been about five percent understanding to 95 percent against. There are some who are totally understanding about a young recruit's decision. But then there are people I don't even know who are saying, "Why would you do that? This had nothing to do with the school."

I probably won't be considering Oklahoma anymore.

Now I've got to get to know everybody and start over again. I don't think some people know the difference between getting an offer and committing. Getting offered and getting to know a coach are two different things to me. You want to know who's going to coach you for the next three or four years. That's important.

A coach can extend an offer, but anything can blindside you. This is something that was totally unexpected. You just never know what can happen.

Every recruit has a way of expressing himself. This is mine.


In the days since the video's release, school president David Boren removed Sigma Alpha Epsilon from the Oklahoma campus, expelled two students named leaders in the chant and stripped the letters from the fraternity’s house, giving the members until midnight Tuesday to remove all personal items.

Additionally, Bob Stoops and members of the football team have very publicly denounced the remarks.


All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings.

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8 Events to Get College Football Fans Through the Offseason

We feel your pain, college football fans.

Ever since Ohio State was crowned as the first playoff-determined national champion back in mid-January, we've been mired in a seemingly endless offseason. It's still almost six months until the first games of the 2015 season are on our TVs, and it feels like there's nothing to keep us entertained until then.

Or is there?

Believe it or not, there are other sporting events between now and then. And while nothing can match the excitement of those Saturdays filled with collegiate action, they're better than nothing.

Check out our suggestions for events to help tide you over during college football's long offseason.

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Auburn vs. Alabama: Which Team Is Better Fit for 5-Star LB Lyndell Wilson?

Lyndell Wilson is a 5-star linebacker, per the 247Sports composite rankings, from the state of Alabama. Wilson has a skill set that the nation's top programs very highly covet.

Bleacher Report college football analyst Michael Felder debates whether Alabama or Auburn is a better fit for Wilson.

Who do you think will sign the stud LB? Check out the video, and let us know! 

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Urban Meyer Reveals Plan for Ohio State's Unprecedented Quarterback Battle

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State took the field for its first practice as the reigning national champion on Tuesday, a mere eight weeks removed from the victory over Oregon that clinched college football's crown.

But as the Buckeyes warmed up inside the walls of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the start of spring practice, all eyes gravitated toward a player who never even took the field during Ohio State's championship season.

It had been nearly seven months since Braxton Miller last donned a scarlet and gray helmet, as a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder brought a premature end to his senior season two weeks prior to the start of the 2014 campaign.

Rumors swirled of a potential transfer despite constant insistence Miller would return to OSU for a fifth year in 2015, and there he was, stretching with his teammates in his No. 5 jersey.

For Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, it was a sight for sore eyes.

"I love Braxton Miller...I always have," Meyer said. "It's great to see him out there warming up."

Today seemed to be a pretty good day for Miller, although his activity was limited to stretching, running and some light tossing off to the side of the field while the rest of the team practiced.

There's still time for him to consider his options—Russell Wilson didn't transfer from North Carolina State to Wisconsin until the summer of 2011—but his presence and scheduled meeting with the media on Thursday seem to indicate he'll be staying in Columbus for the foreseeable future.

And thus, the most talked-about quarterback competition in college football begins.

While Miller was off to the side for the majority of the portion of practice that was open to the media, Cardale Jones took reps as the first-string quarterback, two months removed from leading the Buckeyes to three consecutive postseason wins.

Behind him was J.T. Barrett, the reigning Big Ten Quarterback of the Year who rewrote the Ohio State quarterback record book in Miller's absence before fracturing his ankle in the regular season finale. Barrett was dropping back and throwing timed patterns but unable to participate in running drills.

Three quarterbacks. Three compelling resumes. Three different levels of health. One starting spot.

Predictably, Meyer was asked relentlessly about his quarterback situation after practice, despite only Jones—and redshirt freshman Stephen Collier—being able to fully participate at quarterback. The three-time national champion coach acknowledged the rareness of his predicament, but stated that for now, his attention is on each player's individual path.

"It's unique. At that position, I've never had it like that. I've had it at other positions. I've had three or four really good wide receivers, but you play more than one at a time," Meyer said. "I've never been in this situation."

Regarding Miller, Meyer said that the priority is getting him back to full strength. Originally given a recovery timetable of eight to 12 months, the two-time Big Ten MVP appears to be ahead of schedule, but is being careful not to re-injure his shoulder as he did last summer.

“Today was all about Braxton continuing on his journey to get healthy,” Meyer said. “He's been to Birmingham to get checked two or three times to work with them to make sure the rehab is on point."

Asked about the possibility of Miller playing a position other than quarterback for the Buckeyes, Meyer said he believes that with Miller's athleticism, he's capable of anything, though he is still of the opinion that his future is at quarterback.

As for Barrett, Meyer was pleased with the third-year sophomore's progress, but admitted he's not at full strength quite yet. The CFPA National Freshman of the Year is expected to be ready by the start of fall camp, but he seems to be getting a head start on his recovery thanks to his ability to participate in seven-on-seven drills.

"He is doing a little more than I thought he could," Meyer said of Barrett. "We want to keep pushing him and get him healthy.”

And then there's Jones, the national champion quarterback and 2014 Big Ten Championship Game MVP. Despite his impressive resume, Jones still only has three starts to his credit in his college career, which adds to the importance of his increased reps this spring.

"Cardale is getting more reps than he's ever gotten,” Meyer said. "He became a very functional player with repetition...he's still almost a rookie—an older rookie that hasn't had a lot of reps."

Meyer said he hasn't felt any stress stemming from the impending quarterback controversy, but anticipates there's some around the corner. Not due to the ability of his quarterbacks—any coach would be happy to have any of the three—but because he's going to have to settle on one, leaving two on the bench.

For now, Meyer's not worried about that, allowing all three quarterbacks to continue on their respective paths through the spring. Eventually, that decision will have to come, but for now it's too early for the Buckeyes head coach to know what it will be.

"We want to see [Miller] get healthy, J.T. get healthy and for Cardale to improve,” he said. "How's it going to play out? I don't know."


Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Will Muschamp Making Huge Recruiting Waves at Auburn Junior Day

When Gus Malzahn was able to lure Will Muschamp to Auburn as the Tigers defensive coordinator in the offseason, it was considered a game-changing moment for the program. 

Since his arrival on the Plains, Muschamp has wasted little time making waves on the recruiting trail.

He helped Auburn surge down the stretch in the 2015 class, landing the Tigers a group that finished No. 9 nationally—with Muschamp helping to close the deal on several late targets on the defensive side of the ball.

It’s still early in the 2016 cycle, but Muschamp’s presence was looming large with a handful of top prospects who made their way to the Plains last weekend for Auburn’s junior day.

What are some of the top recruits who were in attendance saying?

Find out in this post-junior day wrapup.


2016 4-Star Georgia LB Has “Awesome Trip”

Tre Lamar has been a busy man in recent weeks.

In addition to picking up offers from powers such as Florida State, Oregon and Texas A&M, he’s also attended junior days at Georgia and Alabama in the previous two weekends.

He made his way to Auburn last weekend, and the 4-star linebacker was impressed with what he saw.

“It was an awesome trip,” Lamar told Bleacher Report. “It was really my first time getting to see the facilities they have there. It was my first time meeting with Coach Muschamp for a good amount of time and having a good conversation with him.”

Muschamp and the defensive staff were able to lay out a plan for Lamar, should he choose the Tigers in the end.

“Coach Muschamp’s message to me is that he can see me play either the 'Mike' or 'Will' linebacker in their defense,” Lamar said. “So I’m comfortable at either position. It’s definitely comfortable for me because we play a 3-4 defense at my high school, and it’s the same type of defense they play in college, even though it’s more in-depth.”

Lamar, who plans to major in engineering in college, was also pleased to learn about the opportunities Auburn can offer him in that academic field. Next up for Lamar includes trips to Florida State on March 20 and Florida on March 21. 

For now, he said that Auburn has made a move for his services.

“They definitely made a push for me,” Lamar said. “Now that they have a new defensive staff, I see them in a whole new way. I’m definitely open to them in my recruitment and this visit moved them up for me. “


Tigers Impress Pair of In-State 5-Star LBs

Perhaps the biggest prizes in-state for the Tigers are 2016 5-star linebackers Lyndell Wilson and Ben Davis.

Wilson—who is teammates with fellow Auburn target and 5-star defensive end Marlon Davidson—said that one of the highlights of his trip was speaking with Muschamp in-depth about his plans for him at the next level, according to Justin Hokanson of Auburn Undercover.

"It went well. I sat down with Muschamp and talked defensive fit in the system," Wilson told Hokanson. "He said I could play any of the three linebacker spots and I think I can do very well. There aren't too many guys that can play linebacker in space and cover guys."

Davis’ ties to in-state rival Alabama have been well-documented, as his father Wayne was a star linebacker for the Tide in the '80s.

However, Auburn is still making a run at the 6'4", 230-pounder.

Muschamp gave Davis some high praise, comparing him to a few all-time greats and one player that he helped mold into a potential first-rounder in next month’s NFL draft, according to Hokanson.

"He showed me Dante Fowler, that's who he said my game reflects on him," Davis told Hokanson. "He showed me Junior Seau and Jason Taylor, those are some of the guys I look like when I play football. It's humbling and I'm honored to be compared to those guys.”

While Alabama is a factor with both Davis and Wilson, Auburn seemed to put its best foot forward with both over the weekend.


Muschamp Compares Top 2016 DL to Former UF Great

One frequent visitor to Auburn’s campus in recent months has been 2016 4-star defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson.

According to Keith Niebuhr of Auburn Undercover, Jackson was in town last weekend—which marked his eighth visit to the Tigers campus.

Muschamp developed his share of strong defensive linemen at his previous stop as the head coach at Florida. As Niebuhr notes, Muschamp told Jackson that his game reminds him of a former Gators standout who currently plays for the New England Patriots.

“They were laying out how they’d use me in their 3-4 and 4-3 defense,” Jackson told Niebuhr. “(Muschamp) said I’m an all-around player and I reminded him of Dominique Easley from Florida.”

Jackson, who is being pursued by a bevy of top programs, told Niebuhr that Auburn and Georgia are the two schools coming after him the hardest.

He also mentioned Alabama, LSU and USC as schools that have his attention at the moment.

However, the Tigers seem to be in a good position with Jackson—who rates as the nation’s No. 8 defensive tackle and the No. 51 player overall in the 2016 cycle.

Similarly, it’s Muschamp’s presence that has the Tigers trending with a number of their top targets on the defensive side of the ball in the 2016 class.


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

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Alabama Football 2015 Spring Practice Check List

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — With several SEC teams back on the practice field for the spring, Alabama will finally join that mix on Friday. The Crimson Tide will hit the practice field Friday afternoon, then get the following week off for spring break, before returning 10 days later the following Monday.

It’s somewhat of a strange schedule to kick things off, but at this point, it’s hard to question Nick Saban’s practice and preparation tactics.

Anyway, with everything kicking into high gear in a couple of days, let’s take a look at Alabama’s spring practice checklist—a list of things the Crimson Tide need to get done during these next 15 practices, including the spring game, before leaving the pads behind for the summer.

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Which QB Will Be SEC's Leading Passer in 2015?

The SEC has always been loaded with top-tier talent. On both sides of the ball, fans have been accustomed to seeing big-time performances, especially from the quarterback position. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analysts Michael Felder, Adam Kramer and Barrett Sallee offer their predictions regarding who will be the best passer of the SEC in 2015. 

Who will light it up next season under center in the SEC? Check out the video and let us know! 

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Why Experience No Longer Matters for Starting QBs in College Football

It's almost time to hit the beach or the pool with your favorite college football preview magazine, soak up the sun and get prepared for the season.

If that magazine tells you "Team X won't contend because of uncertainty at the quarterback position," wind up, toss it into the water and turn it into fish food.

That's all it's good for.

First-year starters have won five of the last six national titles, and eight of the last 12 starting quarterbacks in college football's national title game were first-year quarterbacks.

That's not an aberration. It's a trend that you should pay attention to.

Quarterback is the most important and most visible position on the field, but it isn't always what makes or breaks a team's success. If there are talented players around—even ones who aren't experienced—that's still a recipe for college football success.

"Teams that win national titles can run the ball, play good defense, and have good quarterback play," South Carolina quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus told Bleacher Report. "It takes a complete team, but good quarterback play always helps."

Mangus' team not only has a new quarterback taking the snaps this season after Dylan Thompson moved on, but has a new-look offensive line and needs to find a replacement for running back Mike Davis.

That might make it difficult for his Gamecocks to contend, but for other schools a new quarterback isn't the end of the world.

Four of Bleacher Report national lead writer Ben Kercheval's post-national signing day top 25 boast new quarterbacks—No. 3 Baylor, No. 5 Alabama, No. 7 UCLA and No. 9 Oregon. Over at, it was more of the same, with No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Baylor, No. 6 Oregon, No. 8 Georgia and No. 9 UCLA all in the top 10.

What do all of those teams have in common?

Brilliant offensive minds either as the head coach or offensive coordinator (or both), and veterans all over the place.

Quarterback experience is nice, but in this day and age of exotic offenses it isn't the most important thing.

Having a head coach and/or offensive coordinator who has proven over time to adjust his offense to fit his offense around the strengths of his quarterback—regardless of age and experience—is what will make or break a team's offensive success.

That means a team like Auburn, which was on the periphery of the top 10 in each of the two rankings mentioned above, is dangerous with the combination of Gus Malzahn and quarterback Jeremy Johnson. Sure, Johnson still has to actually win the job, but he has proven over two years as a backup that he has the potential to be a superstar.

Malzahn adapted his offense to become even more of a multidimensional power rushing attack to fit the dual-threat capabilities of former quarterback Nick Marshall, but he's also the same coach who produced a 5,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000-yard receivers as Tulsa's offensive coordinator in 2007.

Is Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich suddenly going to forget how to coach offense now that former quarterback Marcus Mariota is gone? If we've learned anything over the last decade, it's that the Duck offense is plug-and-play at quarterback after Jeremiah Masoli and Darron Thomas each have led the program to success.

"I want to earn the starting spot, earn everyone’s trust, win games, win a Pac-12 championship, hopefully a Heisman and a national championship," potential Oregon starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. told Bleacher Report national lead writer Adam Kramer.

Florida State's quarterback situation is very much up in the air with Sean Maguire as the safe choice among several others, including true freshman early enrollee De'Andre Johnson and incoming freshman Deondre Francois. But head coach Jimbo Fisher has still recruited his tail off over the last five years and has a loaded roster that very much can continue to compete in the ACC and on the national scene.

Don't fall into the trap, look who's returning starting quarterbacks and write those teams off.

That's just lazy.


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.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Jamal Couch Commits to Florida State: Will He Bring Two 4-Star Teammates With?

Florida State’s 2016 class received a major boost when 2016 3-star linebacker Jamal Couch committed to the Seminoles Monday evening via his Twitter account:

The 6’4”, 214-pounder from Central High School in Phenix City, Alabama, selected FSU over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi State, among others. 

Couch becomes the 11th member of the Seminoles' 2016 class and the fourth linebacker who has verbally committed to Jimbo Fisher and his staff.

But what is the impact of his commitment for FSU and its class?

For starters, Couch is a versatile player who could play inside or outside linebacker at the next level. 

It’s clear that Fisher and his defensive staff have targeted the linebacker segment as one of the main needs to fill in 2016.

According to Ourlads, the ‘Noles will bring back one junior and a pair of senior starters at linebacker next year. However, with the offseason transfer of E.J. Levenberry, FSU will need to hit a home run at linebacker in terms of quality and quantity in hopes of restocking the cupboard with talent in the middle level of its defense.

Couch adds to a haul that already includes 4-star Emmett Rice, 4-star Josh Brown and 4-star JUCO product Tyree Horton.

Couch is a terrific athlete who also plays tight end for his high school team. In fact, according to MaxPreps, Couch hauled in 17 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns—which resulted in an average of nearly 26 yards per catch—last season.

Additionally, his commitment could help FSU out with a pair of his prep teammates who hold offers from the Seminoles—2016 4-star corner John Broussard and 2017 4-star linebacker Markail Benton

Both Broussard and Benton took to Twitter to chime in their thoughts on their teammate heading to Tallahassee, and the early returns seem to indicate positive vibes for the Seminoles' chances to pull off a potential package deal, per Chris Nee of Noles247.

Aside from linebacker, another position of emphasis for FSU in the current cycle is at corner. Broussard, who is the nation’s No. 6 corner and the No. 87 player overall in the 2016 cycle, would fill another major need should he join Couch. 

In order to make a move on Broussard, the ‘Noles will have to beat out a pair of SEC West powers that are currently in the lead for the 6’0”, 164-pounder.

“As of right now, Auburn and LSU are my co-leaders,” Broussard told Bleacher Report last month. 

Benton represents one of the elite talents in the 2017 class, and he is currently rated as the top rising junior in the state of Alabama. 

Although he was scheduled to join Couch at FSU’s junior day in late February, Benton didn’t make it to Tallahassee. However, he did mention the ‘Noles as a program that has grabbed his attention in the early stages of his recruitment. 

“They are just smooth,” Benton said of FSU. “They got good coaching. I just like the atmosphere.”

Landing Couch gives FSU another player who has great long-term potential at a position of need. His commitment is also a signal that the ‘Noles could become a bigger player for both Broussard and Benton than perhaps they were previously expected to be.


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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College Football Teams Set for Huge Turnarounds in 2015

Turnaround stories have come to dominate college football.

First came the 2013 Auburn Tigers, who turned a 3-9 record into an SEC title and a trip to the BCS National Championship Game, where it narrowly lost to Florida State. Then came the 2014 TCU Horned Frogs, who turned a 4-8 record into a co-Big 12 title and a trip to the Peach Bowl, where they thoroughly beat Ole Miss.

But who will maintain the tradition in 2014?

To answer that we've looked at numerous important factors for improvement, chief among them returning starters, incoming talent, turnover luck, coaching changes and success in recent seasons.

Sound off below and let us know what you think.

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College Football's Top RBs Entering 2015 Spring Practice

If you think the running back position has been devalued, well, you may be right in some sense. Just don't tell the following players. 

With spring practice underway, our position-by-position offseason rankings roll on. Today's edition involves the best ball-carriers this sport has to offer. 

As always, stats matter but aren't the only thing under consideration. What was a player's value to his offense? Is he versatile or a role player? Was he the No. 1 guy, or did he share carries? How consistent was he?

With these questions in mind, let's get to it. Here are the top 10 running backs heading into spring practices. 

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Every Power 5 Team's 1 Position Battle That Will Last Until Opening Day

When a position battle pops up on a college football team during the season, it's often a sign of trouble because it either means the starter has lost his effectiveness or an injury has forced a change at a spot where there's no go-to backup.

But in the offseason, position battles are far more common and looked at as an opportunity for hungry players to show their desire to be a starter. They also serve as an elixir for action-starved fans looking for anything football-related to track and discuss during the long months between the end of one season and the start of the other.

Every power-conference team figures to have several position battles that will be waged over the next two months during spring practice, but not all of them can be decided during this brief time frame. Either because no strong candidate emerges from the pack or because starting contenders aren't available until the summer, several competitions will continue on until the final days of training camp.

Here's the one position battle that every Power Five team (plus Notre Dame) will have continue on until right before the 2015 season opener.

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Auburn Football: Complete 2015 Spring Practice Primer

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn enters his third year as the head coach of the Tigers in 2015, and this spring practice is all about getting Auburn back to the promised land.

Malzahn's Tigers orchestrated one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college football history when he took over a 3-9 program and brought it to within 13 seconds of a national title in 2013.

The encore, though, was a bit of a struggle. The Tigers danced around the College Football Playoff for the first two months of the season, but three losses over the last four games sent the Tigers to the Outback Bowl, which they lost in overtime to Wisconsin.

Will Muschamp was brought in to fix the defense, which hasn't finished in the top half of the SEC since 2007.

What must Malzahn and Muschamp see this spring? Our spring primer for the Auburn Tigers will let you know.


What to Watch on Offense

Malzahn made waves with a multidimensional, power-rushing attack that featured dual-threat quarterback Nick Marshall as its trigger man. With Marshall gone, junior Jeremy Johnson will likely inherit the starting job and usher in a more pass-happy approach in the process.

Johnson has filled in well for Marshall over the last two seasons, particularly in last season's opener when he threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns in one half of play against Arkansas. He has a big arm, is accurate when he takes something off and can push the ball from sideline to sideline. 

The biggest question for Johnson this spring is who will be his second option.

D'haquille "Duke" Williams is a known freak, but alongside him, Ricardo Louis, Melvin Ray, Marcus Davis, Tony Stevens and a talented and deep pool of receivers are vying for playing time this spring. If Louis becomes more of an edge-rusher—which is a role he settled into during the latter half of the 2015 season—it could open the door for some lesser-known receivers to step up.

Running back isn't an issue.

"Roc" Thomas will return along with junior college transfer Jovon Robinson and sophomore Peyton Barber, with 2015 signee Kerryon Johnson coming this summer. All four have the talent to be the No. 1 running back, and it's up to the staff to have a pretty good idea of how that depth chart will shake out when spring practice ends. 

As Cole Cubelic of SEC Network and WUMP 730 in Huntsville, Alabama, notes, eventually, Malzahn must get to one by the end of fall camp.

Up front, Auburn returns a loaded offensive line that includes tackle Shon Coleman, versatile Ole Miss transfer Austin Golson, veteran guard/tackle Avery Young, monster Braden Smith and guard Alex Kozan, who missed all of last season with a back injury. The experience and talent up front is undeniable, and it's up to the coaching staff to find out in the spring where these players will line up this fall.


What to Watch on Defense

Muschamp's task looks tough on paper considering the Tigers finished ninth in the SEC in total defense (398.8 yards per game). It really isn't, though.

Auburn has some quality pieces in place, including defensive end Carl Lawson, who's healthy after missing last season with an ACL injury, defensive tackle Montravius Adams, cornerback Jonathan Jones and linebackers Cassanova McKinzy and Kris Frost. Muschamp's primary goal is to get all of those players on the same page at the same time, which will go a long way toward Auburn boasting an adequate defense.

Let's be honest, that's all Auburn has to be. 

It's not like Muschamp has to be a miracle worker and get the Auburn defense to a point where it's holding teams under 300 yards per game on a consistent basis. With an offense like Auburn boasts, 375 yards and 22 points per game is more than adequate.

Auburn only had 21 sacks last year (11th in the SEC), and developing Lawson into a Dante Fowler clone is something Muschamp needs to do this spring. If he does, that will take pressure off of Adams and other defensive linemen in the rotation and let a talented yet underachieving secondary feast on mistakes.


Freshman to Keep an Eye On

Defensive end Byron Cowart won't arrive on campus until the summer, so for the time being, focus on 4-star athlete Tim Irvin

The Miami, Florida, native enrolled early as part of the class of 2015, and he will compete for playing time at cornerback in the new-look defense headed by Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson. Irvin, who is former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Michael Irvin's nephew, has a relationship with the new defensive staff dating back for nearly a half-decade.

Irvin told Charles Goldberg of

They had been recruiting me since my freshman year and I had wanted to play for those guys. He's one of the great defensive coordinators in college football and I felt like I wanted to be a part of that. 

He asked me what I wanted to do, I said I wanted to come play for you guys. I had built the bond early with those guys and I felt like there was a brotherhood and fatherhood to me.

That's important, because everybody has a clean slate on Auburn's defense, and being one of "Muschamp's guys" will give Irvin even more of a chance to compete for playing time right away.


Coach Malzahn's Toughest Task

Finding a pass rush.

Auburn was all over the place last year, to a point where hybrid safety/linebacker Brandon King moved down to defensive end in pass-rushing situations in an effort to find some kind of spark and generate a little bit of pressure.

It didn't work: Quarterbacks had all day in the pocket and routinely picked apart a Tiger defensive backfield that finished 12th in the SEC in pass defense (230.1 YPG) despite tying for the conference lead with 22 interceptions. 

Lawson should be the guy who steps up, but it doesn't really matter who it is as long as somebody finds a way to collapse the pocket and get quarterbacks on the move.

If Malzahn can find a pass rush this spring, he might find himself in the College Football Playoff next winter.


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.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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14 College Football Teams in Need of a Uniform Redesign

If uniforms don’t matter, then why is it difficult to find an Oregon game preview that doesn’t mention what the team will be wearing?

Though the Ducks definitely serve as the sport’s fashion trendsetter, there is a uniform style craze sweeping the nation. 

While some schools have had great success in tweaking their kits, others have missed the mark.  And then there are those teams whose time has come to try something, anything, to take their bland unis to the next level.

The teams highlighted here have issues across this broad spectrum, but all share one common denominator: It's time to call the fashion police.

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Georgia Football: Ranking the Hardest Games on the 2015 Schedule

Georgia head coach Mark Richt is entering his 15th year in Athens, and this could be the year where he finally meets all the expectations fans, students and alumni have set for his team since he arrived on campus.

The 2015 schedule sets up well for the Bulldogs (at least in the beginning) to where they can make a run at the SEC title as well as the College Football Playoff. However, the SEC is never easy, and in order for Georgia to get over the hump, it will need to fight through an SEC schedule that could be quite challenging.

So which game will be the toughest for the Bulldogs? Which team (or teams) could give them the most trouble as they try to win their first SEC title in 10 years?

Here are the rankings for the hardest games on the 2015 schedule.

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UCLA Football: Ranking the Hardest Games of the 2015 Schedule

Although we're months away from the start of the 2015 season, it's never too early to look ahead at the UCLA football program's future schedule. 

The 2015 slate appears to be a bit more manageable when compared to the 2014 schedule. UCLA will avoid Oregon and Washington this upcoming season and will have one nonconference game on the road—versus lowly UNLV in Las Vegas. 

With that said, the conference road games aren't a breeze by any stretch. Although not expected to be an overly tough game, the affair versus Oregon State in Corvallis could be a tricky ordeal (as Arizona State can attest to). 

This piece will rank the five toughest games on the 2015 schedule for the UCLA Bruins. The rankings are based upon returning starters for the respective teams, as well as the sheer difficulty of the opponent itself.  


A full schedule of the 2015 season can be found here.

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Dak Prescott, Mississippi State Teammates Attacked During Spring Break Concert

Mississippi State star quarterback Dak Prescott and some of his teammates were jumped while attending a concert on their spring break holiday in Panama City, Florida.

Yahoo Sports' Dr. Saturday reported the news Monday:'s Alex Scarborough confirmed the story, adding that Prescott was not seriously injured:

Bulldogs signal-caller Damian Williams took to Twitter to express his frustration about the incident. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Williams stated, "We got jumped for no reason, It's sad we can't go anywhere without being attacked by people."

Prescott would later tweet about the situation as well: 

Brooks Roberts of Bulldog Sports Radio located an image of Prescott receiving medical attention following the altercation:

Michael Bonner of The Clarion-Ledger added more details, which came from Prescott's family:

Dak Prescott is recovering from lacerations to his face after a group of men attacked the Mississippi State quarterback and his teammates during a trip on spring break, Prescott's family told the Clarion-Ledger. 

The injuries the senior sustained are not serious and the group is returning home after the incident, the family said.

Edward Aschoff of ESPN reports that no legal action will be taken:

Brandon Walker of the Commercial Dispatch confirmed through a Panama City Beach PD spokesman that no arrests have been made on the alleged assault. 

With Prescott listed at 6'2" and 230 pounds on the school's official website, it's a bit of a surprise anyone wanted to attack him. After all, the rising senior didn't have many problems taking on SEC linebackers in the open field with his powerful running style.

Passions run deep among college football fans, and Prescott and his friends were unfortunate victims of an apparently violent act.

Prescott has been thrust into the spotlight after a 2014 campaign in which he contended for the Heisman Trophy and had Mississippi State atop the initial College Football Playoff rankings. The dynamic QB threw for 3,449 yards and ran for nearly 1,000 more, accounting for 41 total touchdowns.

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