NCAA Football News

Meet the Replacement for Every 3rd-Round NFL Draft Pick of 2015

While players who get drafted in the first and second rounds tend to get far more publicity at the outset, those who are taken in the third round often end up earning that attention through their play in the NFL.

A pair of last year's third-round selections were named to's All-Rookie team. Auburn running back Tre Mason (St. Louis Rams) and Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland (San Francisco 49ers) didn't get picked until late on the second day, but that didn't lessen their impact in the league.

Replacing third-round draft picks isn't easy either, but it has to be done. Graduation and early NFL entry make it imperative for schools to plan for the future, and those that are losing players in the third round hope to have a successor in place when the 2015 season begins.

Here's our look at the players who will step in for this year's third-round picks, based on their performance last season and how they fared during spring practice.

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Meet the Replacement for Every 2nd-Round NFL Draft Pick of 2015

It's a tall task for a college football player to step in and replace an NFL draft pick, particularly one who goes as high as the second round. But attrition is part of the college game, and coaching staffs tend to have a plan in place for who will succeed their departed stars.

This process began last season, particularly when it came to grooming backups to replace seniors, and since then, other reserves have been looked at to take on bigger roles following the announcement by any players who turned pro early.

Based on how they performed last season as well as what was seen during spring practice, we've identified the individual who is expected to replace each player taken in the second round of the 2015 draft on Friday.

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Fake Transfer Prank Reminds Us Why Cardale Jones Is the Superstar CFB Needs

At 2:24 p.m. Eastern on an unassuming Friday during the college football offseason, the city of Columbus, Ohio, collectively stopped consuming oxygen. The people of this great football town hugged loved ones in despair. They frantically made phone calls and sent text messages seeking out answers and guidance. 

National championship hero-quarterback Cardale Jones announced he was leaving the program through his Twitter account:

It was a rough decision but I think it's best for me, like to thank OSU for this amazing opportunity but my time here has came to an end 😔

— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 1, 2015

His destination? Akron.

Yes, that Akron. Jones changed his Twitter avatar and background and offered up the following confirmation (as if it were necessary). Christmas came early for Akron head coach Terry Bowden.

As for Ohio State’s quarterback quandary? Well, consider it a bit more solved.


— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 1, 2015

The most significant piece of news of the college football offseason entered our world without an invitation, knocking our football senses off their axis with a pickup-sized cinder block.

And then, eight minutes later, as my editor reached out in a panic and colleagues began lighting fires through Google Chat, the madness subsided. The frenzy ripped through our world like a tremendous twister and left without a trace of destruction, and it was hilarious:


— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) May 1, 2015

May Fools.

I repeat: May Fools.

The Twitter avatar and background returned to normal—to a picture of Jones kissing the sport’s magnificent trophy in his championship uniform. The collective blood pressure of Columbus residents began to inch back down to normal. Tears of sadness were washed away with tears of happiness.

A young man dealing with such incredible pressure and expectations had the chops to pull off the hoax of the offseason. And like his brief on-field performance, he executed it brilliantly.

To the surprise of no one, some people got mad. Of course they did. People always get mad these days, especially when it involves social media.

For those of you who were upset that a student athlete successfully took you on an abbreviated—and completely harmless—emotional roller coaster, please exit immediately and find another sport.

This one will do you no good, not if you can’t appreciate the strange, twisted beauty in all of this. Tip your cap and move on.

If you can’t find fun in a young man having fun—especially given the way negative headlines are packaged and delivered with regularity in football—there’s no helping you. Quite frankly, I needed a good jolt heading into the weekend, and this sufficed quite nicely.

In less than five months, the star quarterback for the nation’s best team has talked smack while beating 16 year-old Jared Foley, 98-35, in a football video game while he was recovering from heart surgery; held a surprise press conference to announce he would not enter the draft; staged a fake transfer on Twitter, and thrown a football 74 yards in a QB contest before declaring, "my arm was kind of tired, probably can throw it a little further."

This face of college football—as unexpected as that may still seem—enjoys fun. He’s good at creating it and having it. He knows precisely how to walk the line, knows how to push the appropriate buttons when he feels they should be pushed. He has been a welcomed breath of fresh air since he crashed through our family room walls late last year.

And yes, he got us good. There’s no other way to put it. Jones has a perfectly good understanding of his own power and how he’s able to twirl us around on his finger—even if only for eight minutes.

Good for him. Good for Ohio State. Good for college football. Good for fun.

Sometimes we take this whole college football thing way too seriously, and often times we are reminded of the sport’s emotional, playful origins. Jones has repeatedly (and creatively) tapped in to those, which is exactly why I’m thrilled that we’re talking about his fake transfer to another Ohio school and not his status and potential landing spots in the NFL draft.

More Cardale Jones, please.


Adam Kramer is the College Football National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

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Meet the 1st Pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, Ohio State's Joey Bosa

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first round of the NFL draft came and went on Thursday without a player from college football's national champion being selected for the first time since 2003.

But make no mistake, it won't be long before Ohio State adds another first-rounder to its resume.

Joey Bosa would have been a lock to be selected with one of the first 32 picks on Thursday, if not for one small issue: He's only a sophomore. But in just two years, the Buckeyes defensive end has shown enough to already have projecting him as the player who will be selected with the first overall pick of the 2016 draft.

“I obviously hear about it and see it around," Bosa said of the draft chatter that has seemingly surrounded him since he was midway through his freshman year. "But it doesn't really get to my ahead."

If recent history is any indication, it may not even take that much.

Unlike Bosa, Jadeveon Clowney found himself facing the expectations of being a No. 1 overall pick dating all the way back to his days as a 5-star prospect in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Winding up just down the road at the University of South Carolina, everything seemed to be going according to plan as Clowney tallied 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss in his sophomore season in 2012.

Unsurprisingly, most mock drafts penciled the 6'6", 274-pounder to be taken first overall as soon as he became draft-eligible in 2014.

But as Clowney's junior campaign unfolded, he hardly looked like a player capable of being the face of a franchise. Questions arose as to whether he was playing it safe to protect his draft stock, as he tallied just three sacks while appearing in 11 games for the Gamecocks.

Nevertheless, when the Houston Texans took the podium last May, it was Clowney they selected with the draft's first pick.

Bosa isn't the physical freak that Clowney is—although he's not far off either—but when it comes to production, he's actually done more than the 2012 All-American at this point in their respective careers. In two seasons, Bosa has recorded 99 tackles, 21 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss, and he was named a consensus All-American in 2014.

With the premium that's placed on getting to the quarterback in the NFL, it's no surprise that teams have already been salivating over the Buckeyes' 6'6", 275-pound defensive end.

It's not a secret around the Ohio State facility that 2015 will be Bosa's last season in Columbus either, but Buckeyes defensive line coach Larry Johnson insists his star player won't fall victim to the same junior year slump Clowney did when he was facing similar circumstances.

“That’s not what’s on his mind right now," Johnson said. "Joey Bosa wants to be a great player, and he knows to do that he’s got to start here. It starts every day at practice. He’s not looking to the NFL. He knows he’s got to get it done here."

There might not be a coach in the country who knows more about first-round defensive linemen than Johnson, who was responsible for helping develop six such players during his time as an assistant at Penn State.

Johnson declined to reveal where Bosa ranks among the likes of Courtney Brown and Tamba Hali in terms of talent, but Urban Meyer—who has a history of his own with defensive linemen dating back to his days at Florida—has said that he would already consider putting Bosa at the top of his list.

“Could be as good a defensive linemen I've ever coached," Meyer told Jeremy Fowler at last spring. "He can be as good as there is.”

If that was before Bosa's monster 2014 campaign, then one can only imagine what the Ohio State head coach now thinks of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native. Bosa, for his part, insists he can get even better, which is obviously a scary thought for opposing offenses.

"I see that plays could just fall into my lap, and as long as I’m doing my job, I could make even more plays," Bosa said of his offseason film sessions. "I’d see five or six sacks that I could have had but I went inside instead of outside or something like that."

Having initially arrived at Ohio State a a shy kid, award show circuits and the spotlight of the first-ever College Football Playoff have made Bosa media savvy, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's already come up with the right answers about his approach to his junior season.

But until he hits the field next fall, questions will remain as to whether he'll take the same path as Clowney, knowing the millions of dollars that an injury-free season would guarantee.

“It will never happen. It will never happen,” Johnson insists. "Because he wants to be great."

With the way NFL teams are already looking at him, you could argue that he already is. And while his draft placement will ultimately be determined by who winds up with the No. 1 overall pick a year from now, there's a reason why he's already leading the discussion of next year's top prospects.

"I'm not really thinking about it much," Bosa claims. "I have my goals set, and it’s just to get better and be a great team again this year. I feel like if I go out and work every day, everything will fall into place.”

As Clowney showed last year, regardless of what happens for Bosa in 2015, that may have already happened.


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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Winners and Losers from College Football Recruiting Trail for the Month of April

We're another month closer to national signing day 2016, and the past four weeks have produced plenty of newsworthy developments. The recruiting trail continues to pick up pace, as premier prospects have begun to announce commitments and alter decisions with more frequency.

As the dust settles and we leap into May, let's look back at the college football programs that flourished and floundered during the month of April based on the success of their recruiting.

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4-Star Jean Delance Reconsidering Oklahoma, Is in No Hurry to Commit

It's been a little less than two months since Mesquite, Texas, 4-star offensive tackle Jean Delance decommitted from Oklahoma following the racist actions of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

There was a time when Delance said he most likely wouldn't consider the Sooners again.

Time tends to heal many wounds, and after nearly two months of relationship-rebuilding, Delance told Bleacher Report that he is considering the Sooners once again. Although he wouldn't go into full detail, Delance said his relationship with the Oklahoma coaching staff is "as good as ever."

"Basically, they have recruited just the same since Day 1, but [now] harder," Delance said. "They haven't given up on me."

And Delance hasn't completely closed the door on the Sooners either. Being an uncommitted recruit means weighing all options, which is what Delance said he's planning to do this summer. He said he wants to take visits to USC, Texas A&M, Alabama, Michigan, LSU, TCU and Texas.

And Oklahoma. The reason for that is he's always had a great rapport with Sooners offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and head coach Bob Stoops.

Before he decommitted, he raved about the campus atmosphere and overall feel of Norman, Oklahoma, and he was in the process of selling his mother on everything he loved about the campus.

When the fraternity video leaked, however, Delance said he was "disgusted" with what he saw and parted ways with the school. Delance was the first to say his decision had nothing to do with the football team, but he reopened the process out of respect for his family.

Since the video release, Oklahoma quickly expelled two fraternity members and removed the fraternity from the campus. The football team, additionally, held a silent protest while standing arm in arm and wearing black.

Oklahoma is in a much better seat than it was in March, but Delance has his options. He has 24 offers, the latest coming from Michigan on Wednesday:

Delance appreciates every offer he receives but said he was intrigued by the Michigan offer. Being coached by Jim Harbaugh is something to consider, and playing in the Big Ten would give him a chance to line up against solid defensive linemen throughout the conference.

"There's no question that Michigan is an amazing program," Delance said. "Also, the coaching staff is phenomenal. I can't wait to see for myself."

From a recruiting standpoint, Delance had a great month of March. He picked up offers from Nebraska, Texas A&M, Missouri, Alabama, USC and Florida. With the summer approaching, Delance is hoping to add to his list of offers.

He also expects to be diligent in making a big decision regarding his future. He said recruiting has "been a lot more intense" as the days pass.

"Coaches have been selling their schools harder than ever," he said. "Overall, [they're] saying I can be their next guy."

As for the Oklahoma experience, what has Delance learned?

"Anything's possible," Delance said. "Before you make any decision throughout the recruiting process, make sure, before you make any decision, it's perfectly determined in your heart that's your best fit and [you're] ready to call the place home for the next four or five years."


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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Cyrus Jones' Domestic Violence Charges Dropped: Latest Details and Reaction

Domestic violence charges against Alabama defensive back Cyrus Jones have been dismissed two days after he was arrested in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

According to the Tuscaloosa Police Department, per Charlie Potter of 247Sports, all charges against Jones were dismissed:

After speaking to Jones, the victim (a 22-year-old female) and witnesses on Wednesday, police determined that Jones took and damaged the victim's cell phone and threatened to assault her.

According to the TPD, however, "sufficient probable cause existed for both offenses," but the dismissal of the charges comes because Jones attempted to "deescalate the situation" by calling the police.

On April 29, WBRC Fox 6 reported Jones was arrested and booked on one count of harassment and one count of criminal mischief. He was "held under a mandatory 12-hour domestic violence hold."

Following the arrest, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in a statement (via Matt Zenitz of that the program was still gathering information before making any decision on Jones' future: "We don't ever condone any behavior that shows any kind of disrespect. There was no physical contact in this situation. Once we get the facts, we will take the necessary steps to correct this behavior in the future."

Jones is entering his senior season with the Crimson Tide. He appeared in all 14 games for Alabama last season, recording three interceptions, and was named to the All-SEC second team. Jones started his college career as a wide receiver before switching to defense in 2013.

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Cardale Jones Pranks Twitter, Says He's Leaving for University of Akron Zips

April Fools' Day was the worst day of the year. That's all over now.

The new front-runner for worst day of the year is one that exists solely in Cardale Jones' head. It's called "MAY FOOLS," and you celebrate it by making the people of Ohio choke on their lunch.

The Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback tweeted out what many took to be a bombshell Friday afternoon. He briefly changed his Twitter avatar and banner to the University of Akron Zips logo and delivered a heartfelt goodbye to Buckeyes fans.

About seven minutes and 20,000 shock-induced heart palpitations later, Jones said he was just joking. The quarterback was just trying to liven up a lazy Friday.

Cardale Jones, everyone. Where he was once not here to play school, he is now not here to entertain you on Twitter.

Can't say he didn't wake you up, though.

Also, pray May Fools doesn't catch on. We all have enough problems as it is.


Dan is on Twitter. Jokers gonna joke.

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Spring Football Report Card Grades for Top Early Enrollees

Spring practice is in the books for all but two schools: Hawaii and Oregon. With that in mind, it's time to look back at the top early enrollees based on their places in 247Sports' top 100 ranking and the impacts they made. 

For a select few, they enter the summer months in the middle of their team's two-deep. For others, there's still a ways to go. 

One thing that's taken into account when grading is that not every position is created equal in terms of the depth chart. For example: There's (typically) only one quarterback who plays. Meanwhile, a defensive player who's technically second string could see the field often. 

In other words, just because an early enrollee quarterback isn't named the starter doesn't mean he's given an "F." Conversely, a player who could see time out of necessity (i.e. a lack of depth) isn't guaranteed an "A." 

It depends on how each player performed during spring and what the top of the depth chart looks like—and whether they can realistically get there. 

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Did Cardale Jones Make a Mistake Not Entering the 2015 NFL Draft?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For what it's worth, Cardale Jones insists that his decision to return to Ohio State for the 2015 season was all about education.

And the Buckeyes quarterback certainly doesn't care what I think.

But nevertheless, it was difficult to watch the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday without wondering whether or not Jones made a mistake by not entering this year's selection show. Only two quarterbacks were taken in the draft's first 32 picks—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Jameis Winston first overall before Marcus Mariota was drafted second by the Tennessee Titans—and another signal-caller may not be taken off the board until Friday night's third round.

Jones likely would have changed that, although where he would have fit into this year's draft would have been complicated. The 6'5", 250-pounder only has three starts to his credit in his college career but in that time showed enough talent to potentially be taken with a first-round pick.

“As an athlete, it’s all there. He’s huge. His arm is amazing. It would be the best arm in this year’s draft. He grades great throwing it to every level of the field. Really good anticipation too," Bleacher Report Lead Draft Analyst Matt Miller said following Ohio State's win over Oregon in the national title game on Jan. 12. "I could see someone falling in love with him and going crazy."

With so little game film on Jones to study, a lot of his hypothetical draft stock would have depended on how he fared at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Buckeyes' pro day and individual workouts with teams. With his size, arm strength and upside, though, it's hard to imagine the Cleveland native would have lasted past Friday night's second round.

Especially when you take into account the sizable gap between the two quarterbacks selected in the first round on Thursday and the next ones who are expected to be taken in this year's draft. In Miller's final seven-round mock draft, he projected Baylor's Bryce Petty to be the only quarterback picked in the second round, before Oregon State's Sean Mannion is selected in the third.

But rather than take advantage of a seemingly weak quarterback class, Jones will return to Ohio State, where he could face stiffer competition than he would have found in the draft. Despite leading the Buckeyes to three consecutive postseason wins, there's no guarantee he'll reclaim his spot in OSU's starting lineup with J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller each returning from the injuries that opened the door for Jones to start in the first place.

"I don’t know," Jones answered when asked how he expects the Buckeyes' unprecedented quarterback competition to play out. "That’s up to the coaches. I’m just going through the spring trying to get better on a couple of personal things I want to improve on. But I’m pretty sure our coaches will figure something out."

From the outside looking in, Jones appears to be the favorite to start in Ohio State's opener in September, as he has both health and momentum on his side at the moment. Early 2016 mock drafts seem to agree, with projecting him to be taken third overall and the first quarterback selected a year from now.

And while a storybook season could very well place Jones on that trajectory, all indications from the Buckeyes' spring practice session were that the race between Jones and Barrett is already closer than expected. In fact, Meyer's plan to rely on statistical data over a "gut feeling" seems to favor Barrett, who is already ahead of schedule in his recovery from a fractured ankle.

If Barrett does wind up reclaiming his starting job, it will be interesting to see how it affects the draft stock of Jones, who has already revealed that it's his intent to enter the 2016 draft. With the Buckeyes likely to play in several blowouts as they defend their national title, there could be enough time for Jones to still showcase the skills that would have made him such an intriguing prospect in this year's draft.

Or Jones could start and come back to earth, revealing deficiencies that weren't previously put on display during his starts against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. There are simply a lot of directions that Jones could take in the next 12 months, with no guarantee that his stock will ever be as high as it is right now.

"It's kind of cool to be sitting here using the word 'NFL' next to Cardale's name," Urban Meyer said the morning after OSU's national title win. "I will tell you this: He could play in the NFL."

And make no mistake: Jones believes that, too. So much so that he was willing to put his dream off for a year, betting on himself that he wouldn't just retain but also improve his standing with NFL teams.

"Football has always been a stepping stone for my education," Jones said in January. "I thought it all through. The chances (of being a first-round draft pick in 2015) are slim."

And at the time, maybe they were. But after watching how it shook out after just one round, it sure seems like Jones' future would already be a lot more certain had he opted to enter the draft.


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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B/R 5th Down: OSU Fan Names Baby After J.T. Barrett, Drafted Players Celebrate

Editor's Note: The Fifth Down captures the top social college football stories of the week. Because the long, grueling offseason is underway, we'll focus on things that make us laugh, think or maybe cry, but mostly laugh. 


1) Let's Talk About Naming Your Baby After Football Players

Let's get this out of the way first: We're not here to judge what parents name their newborns. Unless you're Johnny Cash's father and named your boy Sue, what you call your child is probably okay by comparison.

So when one Ohio State fan decided to name his baby daughter after Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett, all you can really do is shrug your shoulders and say, "Yeah, that works."  

The name "Barrett" is unisex enough—like Ryan—that it can be pulled off, yet it's interesting enough that people will want to know where she got her name. The only thing you can hope for then is that Barrett stays out of trouble. 

Otherwise, she'd have to say she was named after Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee. And nobody wants that. 


2) Dante Fowler Jr. Had the Greatest Shoes Ever at the Draft

Some of the best moments about the NFL draft, which started Thursday night, don't actually involve the physical picks themselves. If you're looking for actual draft coverage, head on over to B/R's NFL page

For the stuff that really matters, keep reading. 

You have to start with Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who dressed like he was about to premiere the most fire album of 2015. 

Seriously, though, those shoes: 

Fowler was selected third overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He may have been the best edge-rusher in the draft, but we're thinking his threads had something to do with his selection as well. 


3) Meanwhile, People Get Angry About Jameis Winston

While Fowler went third overall, the first two picks went to the past two Heisman winners: Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota, neither of whom attended the draft. 

Winston opted to have a draft party with his friends and family in his hometown of Bessemer, Alabama, complete with a red carpet and everything:  

Because it's 2015 and people get upset about pretty much anything, it should be noted that Winston's grandmother, Myrtle, was unable to travel to Chicago, per Ira Schoffel of

But wait! There's more reason for folks to be mad! After Winston was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he celebrated with a delicious plate of crab legs. Winston, of course, was busted for stealing crab legs from a Publix last year. However, he later said that he received a "hook up" for them. 

The photo has been deleted, but for backstory on the picture, you should check out the twitter feed of former quarterback Shaun King. It explains the whole thing, which is definitely not worth getting upset over. Long story short, they were a gift because Winston helped out at a charity auction.   


4) Todd Gurley THA GAWD

Georgia running back Todd Gurley was drafted Thursday by the St. Louis Rams with the 10th overall pick. It was a perfect moment for a guy—and I think I speak for a lot of college football fans when I say this—whose college career was never fulfilled in the way that it could have been.

Gurley, of course, is coming off of a season-ending ACL injury and was suspended four games by the NCAA for profiting off of his popularity. 

That makes Gurley's post-draft tweet that much more amazing: 

Get money, Gurley. You should have been earning a long time ago, anyway. 


5) Never Forget: Marcus Mariato Mariota Got Hung Up On

Good heavens, people. What did Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota ever do to you? (Besides put up 60 points on your defense, probably.)

First, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell channeled his inner John Travolta by screwing up Mariota's name:

Then, Conor Orr of reported that the Titans, who selected Mariota with the No. 2 overall pick, initially hung up on their future face of the organization: 

NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon spoke with Mariota, who said he had no indication that the Titanswould draft him. He spoke with Whisenhunt and Webster on the phone ... but they initally hung up on him by accident. Once the connection was re-established, the Titans had their guy. 

Small potatoes? Perhaps, but there's nowhere to go but up from here, I suppose. 


6) Cardale Jones is the Offseason Puppet Master 

It's May, which means there's not a lot going on in the college football world. Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, who will soon be in a heated three-way battle to start for the Buckeyes, understands this. And because everything on Twitter is taken as truth, Jones decided to have some fun with his more than 164,000 followers by indicating he would transfer to Akron: 

Of course, the only real loser here are the Zips, who thought, just maybe, their prayers have been answered.

The other loser is of the figurative variety: all of us, for clinging so dearly to a social media app on our mobile devices when it's a Friday afternoon in the spring time 

Well done, Cardale. May Fools is now a thing and we all fell for it. 


7) Kentucky's Student Managers Get the 'Full House' Introduction

As you may have heard by now, a Full House reunion officially got the green light on Netflix, bringing all your late 1980s/early 1990s dreams to life. Apparently, that hit Kentucky football right in the feels. 

The Wildcats opted to use this news to introduce their student managers—which Zach Barnett of Football Scoop notes is the "ultimate thankless, pay-your-dues job" in college athletics—in an awesome Full House spinoff. 

The lack of an Uncle Jesse mullet is disappointing, but overall, nice work. Cheesy, but in a good way.  


8) UCLA Student Gets Leveled by Linebacker Myles Jack...Voluntarily

Meet UCLA student Danny Siegel. According to the video below, Siegel is running for general representative at UCLA. As part of that video, Siegel willingly takes a brutal hit from Bruins linebacker Myles Jack for your vote. 

The video is actually well done, but the hit doesn't come until the very end. It's a nice...exclamation point, if you will.  

Unlike Dennis the Constitutional Peasant, you can actually vote for Siegel. So do it.

(If the election isn't over already, that is.)

(And assuming Siegel is still alive.)

(Still, do it anyway.) 


9) Virginia Tech Football:  Bad Lip Reading 

The 2013 edition of "The NFL: A Bad Lip Reading" is one of the most quotable things, so to speak, I've seen on YouTube in a long time. The later editions were pretty good, too. 

Anyway, Virginia Tech did its own version of "A Bad Lip Reading," and we have to say, it's solid. 

"Did you forget to bring the nugget tray? Ah, peaches!" 


10) If You Keep Filming Videos of Walk-Ons Receiving Scholarships, We'll Keep Watching

Coaches award scholarships to walk-on football players all the time. This isn't new, but dammit if it isn't awesome to watch when someone records it. The most recent video to come across the social media wire is from Penn State, where head coach James Franklin awarded junior linebacker Von Walker a full ride. 

The video and Vine of Walker getting the news can be seen below (though be advised there's some language not safe for work): 

Congratulations to Walker. What an incredible sight. 


11) Football Players Are Better at Solving Rubik's Cubes than You

Now that you feel all warm and fuzzy, it's time to make you feel insignificant again. Nothing does that in a more frustrating manner than showing you videos of other people solving Rubik's Cubes in no time. 

Here's Vanderbilt linebacker Stephen Weatherly getting it done in less than two minutes:

As if that wasn't enough, here's Florida defensive back Nick Washington one-upping Weatherly by solving the devil's game in roughly one minute's time:  

Not bad, but fold a fitted sheet—correctly—in the same amount of time and then you can color me impressed. 


12) Charlie Strong Struggles with Player Names (Part 2)

You may recall a few weeks back when Texas head coach Charlie Strong forgot his quarterback's name—psst, it's Tyrone Swoopes—while being deposed in a lawsuit involving one of his assistants. 

We chalked it up to a brain fart because, hey, they happen, right? But confusing defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who was drafted Thursday night by the New England Patriots, and running back Malcolm Brown?

Well, that was inevitable. Note that the top tweet, which has since been deleted, is to Malcolm Brown. The bottom tweet is the correct Malcom Brown. 

It's not the best look, but if Strong starts winning a ton of games, he can call his players whatever he wants. Malcolm, Malcom, Mitchell, Murphy, Jeffery. Whatever.   


13) Oh, Look, Oregon Has New Uniforms For its Spring Game

Oregon gets new unis pretty much every year, but it also has a cool tradition of wearing Nike uniforms every spring game that are inspired by those who serve this country. 

According to Oregon's website, "For the past six years, Nike and the University of Oregon have partnered to create a special 'Salute the Day' uniform design for the football team’s final spring scrimmage. This year the new Nike Mach Speed uniforms will honor the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, and those who serve the state of Oregon."  

Images of the new unis can be viewed below: 


14) Ohio State Players Mulch the Buckeye Grove 

You've heard how some teams reward spring game winners with steak dinners while the losers get hot dogs and baked beans, right? Well, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer takes a different approach. 

The loser of the Buckeyes' spring game earlier this month—in this case, the Scarlet team—was forced to mulch the trees in the Buckeye Grove, an area dedicated to the school's All-Americans. It's an annual tradition under Meyer, which is great not only because it serves a community purpose but because it smells like crap.

Video of the "punishment" can be viewed below: 


15) Finally, Your LOLWUT??? Quote of the Week 

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is quickly approaching Jim Harbaugh and Steve Spurrier levels of hot mic greatness. To be someone on the Razorbacks beat is probably one of sports journalism's great rewards. Like, chances are it's good karma from a previously life or something. 

Anyway, here's Bielema on Bo Mattingly's show talking about God knows what and does it really matter? 

Never change, Bret. Never change.


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football.  

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Remembering Every 2015 1st-Round NFL Draft Pick as a Recruit

The NFL draft gives us an annual opportunity to assess the backgrounds of professional football's newest premier performers. In many cases, the event is a culmination of more than a decade of determination and dedication to the game for young men chasing their ultimate dream.

Not all the names called Thursday night in Chicago arrived at college as favorites to end up first-round picks. For every heralded 5-star high school recruit, there are countless overlooked prospects with plenty to prove.

The results of first-round action serve as a reminder that NFL rosters consist of an eclectic mix of athletes who've taken diverse paths to reach the sport's pinnacle. We took a look in the rearview mirror to remember the teenage recruits who grew up to become pro football's future.

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Oregon Ducks to Wear New 'Salute the State' Uniforms for Final Spring Scrimmage

As tradition warrants, the Oregon Ducks are breaking out another edition of "Salute the Day" kits for their final scrimmage of spring practice.

Nike released photos of the new getups Friday. The new jerseys are stamped with "Salute the State" in honor of members of the United States' armed forces and public servants working for the state of Oregon.

The kits are quintessentially Oregon, meaning shiny and bird-centric:

Don't sleep on the socks:

Or the Bane helmet:

There you have it: fresh, well-executed kits made for a single practice game. Pure Oregon.


Dan is on Twitter. Needs more metallic.

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How Alabama Will Replace Its Top 5 2015 NFL Draft Prospects

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — With the 2015 NFL draft underway, the focus in Tuscaloosa turns toward the holes left by Alabama’s departed players.

Where do the Crimson Tide go with no Amari Cooper or Landon Collins? Who will step up in their absence.

Luckily for us, spring practice gave us a glimpse of who may be playing where when the 2015 season gets underway.

Here’s one player to replace Alabama’s top five draft prospects. (Note: draft rankings based on Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s final big board.)

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Charlie Strong Tweeted the Wrong Malcom Brown During NFL Draft

The Texas Longhorns' football roster has featured two different guys with exceedingly similar names over the last few years—running back Malcolm Brown and defensive tackle Malcom Brown. The New England Patriots drafted the latter at No. 32 overall on Thursday night.

With a single letter differentiating the two names, it can be easy to mix them up—even if one player is three inches taller and weighs roughly 100 more pounds than the other.

Such was the issue for Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong on Thursday night.

After watching the Patriots select Big Malcom to fortify their run defense, Strong ostensibly closed his eyes and tweeted out his congrats to Malcolm. posted a picture of Strong's initial congrats, which he sent to the wrong guy:

The coach corrected himself quickly:

Naturally, Little Malcolm had been preparing for the onslaught of mis-tweets:

Being good at Twitter is hard.


Dan is on Twitter, messing up two out of every five tweets.

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Alabama the Latest Team to Offer Evander Holyfield's 4-Star Son Elijah

Auburn is thought to be the leader in the recruiting process for Atlanta 4-star running back Elijah Holyfield.

But that doesn't mean Auburn's bitter rival won't go down without a fight. After all, the son of the former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world is a top-10 running back nationally in the 2016 class, and winning recruiting battles is always sweeter against your rival.

Alabama became Holyfield's 32nd reported offer, per 247Sports, on Thursday. And while some may think the Crimson Tide are a little late to the party, the fact remains that they are a team to consider, particularly coming off another stellar year where they made the semifinals of the inaugural College Football Playoff tournament.

Per 247Sports, Alabama running backs coach Burton Burns and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin have been handling recruiting duties in the quest to land the Woodward Academy standout. Holyfield is a 5'11", 205-pound back who runs with power and has good speed, field vision and agility. He's been offered by multiple Power Five schools.

Does Alabama have a legit chance of landing him? It depends on who you're asking. Tide fans point to the argument that head coach Nick Saban doesn't have a running back committed as of yet, and a dynamic player of Holyfield's stature and character definitely would boost the team's 2016 class.

On the other side of the coin, Alabama being the 32nd school to offer and not the first, second, fifth or even 20th could mean Holyfield's already comfortable with the relationships he's built with other schools. Earlier this year, Holyfield said he had four schools high on his list—Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Michigan.

All four are still considered candidates, and now, USC and Oregon have also entered the race. USC is a legitimate school to keep an eye on. The Trojans offered Holyfield in February, and he's been able to establish a solid relationship with both running backs coach Johnny Nansen and head coach Steve Sarkisian.

"I'm definitely looking at [USC]," Holyfield told Chris Swanson of in an article published April 23. "They're coming to visit me in about two weeks I think."

When Holyfield ultimately makes his decision, many feel the race will include Auburn at the very end. He knows the coaching staff well, including head coach Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and running backs coach Tim Horton. He's also quite familiar with the campus, as his older brother, Evander Holyfield Jr., ran track and was a walk-on football player at Auburn a few years back.

Holyfield is the kind of back who has shown both durability and versatility at the position. He rushed for 1,735 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior at Woodward, but he also toted the football 264 times (an average of 6.6 yards per carry). Additionally, he caught 27 passes for 289 yards and three scores.

Whichever school lands him will get a patient playmaker, someone who can be a game-changer in the backfield. And while Holyfield may be Auburn's to lose, you can bet that Alabama will put its cards on the table to earn his verbal commitment.


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

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Notre Dame Football: Irish's Best 2016 NFL Draft Prospects

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A name uncharacteristically absent from the early rounds of the 2015 NFL draft could be poised for a big return in 2016.

Entering Thursday night’s first round, Notre Dame boasted 485 draftees—the most of any school—since the NFL started drafting players in 1936. The Irish have had 64 first-round choices, the third-most behind USC (77) and Ohio State (71).

But Notre Dame isn’t expected to make much noise in the early rounds—or even late rounds—this year.

This year’s downturn, however, is a precursor to next year’s potential uptick. Let’s look at some of Notre Dame’s top potential NFL prospects for next year’s draft.

For the purposes of this exercise, we’re looking only at the draft-eligible players and how they could fit in at the next level. We’re not speculating on who may or may not leave early.


Ronnie Stanley

This list has to start and end with Irish left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who flirted with an early exit for this year’s draft but eventually decided to return to Notre Dame for his senior season.

Stanley passed up a lot, as he had been landing in the first round of many early mock drafts. Bleacher Report’s own Matt Miller offered more context on the athletic tackle earlier this week.

That’s high praise, especially considering five tackles—Brandon Scherff (No. 5 overall pick), Ereck Flowers (No. 9), Andrus Peat (No. 13), Cedric Ogbuehi (No. 21) and D.J. Humphries (No. 24)—were chosen in Thursday’s first round.

With another year to develop and fine-tune his technique, Stanley is in contention to be the first lineman off the board in 2016.


Sheldon Day

Three days before Stanley announced he would return for his senior season, Irish defensive lineman Sheldon Day said he’d be back in South Bend for the 2015 season.

In three seasons for the Irish, Day has piled up 96 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries and 3.5 sacks. The Indianapolis native has battled his share of nagging injuries and has made 19 starts in his career.

Listed at 6’2”, 285 pounds, Day will start along the interior of Notre Dame’s defensive line in 2015. He certainly doesn’t possess the size of recent Irish defensive line draftees Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt, but Day shows good quickness and logs a high volume of snaps.


Jaylon Smith

Just two years into his career, it feels odd to start mentioning Jaylon Smith’s name in draft discussions. And let’s be clear: Smith’s inclusion here does not indicate he will leave early or anything of the sort. We’re merely including Smith as a potential top prospect were he to leave Notre Dame and forego his senior season.

The 6’2.5”, 235-pound linebacker could profile as an ideal outside linebacker at the next level with high-end athleticism. Smith earned second-team All-American honors from the Associated Press in 2014 after leading the squad with 112 tackles and nine tackles for loss.

Last year was the former 5-star recruit’s first year at a new position (the “Will” linebacker spot) in a new defensive system under first-year coordinator Brian VanGorder. With that initial season under his belt, Smith could be poised to take a major step forward in 2015.


Other Names to Watch

Stanley, Day and Smith are probably a cut above the rest of the Irish roster when it comes to next-level prospects. But Notre Dame still has an interesting and deep crop of other names to watch.

If and when everything goes according to plan and cornerback KeiVarae Russell returns to school this summer, Russell will join that trio as a strong NFL prospect. A freshman All-American in 2012 as a rookie starter, Russell logged another 13 starts as a sophomore in 2013. Listed at 5’11”, 190 pounds, Russell brings athleticism and physicality to the position.

Sticking in the secondary, Notre Dame has other draft-eligible starters in corner Cole Luke and safety Max Redfield. Again, by no means are we saying they’ll leave early. But Luke broke out as a sophomore, and Redfield, a former 5-star recruit with impressive size and athleticism, earned positive reviews for his spring growth.

Fellow juniors Isaac Rochell, Will Fuller and Tarean Folston have been productive as well through the first halves of their careers in South Bend.

As for other seniors and fifth-year players, defensive lineman Jarron Jones is an intriguing prospect. The 6’5.5”, 315-pounder was a first-year starter in 2014 as a junior. He notched 40 tackles before suffering a season-ending foot injury against Louisville in November. Jones did not play as a freshman and holds a fifth-year option.

Graduate student center Nick Martin was one of four Irish players to request an evaluation from the advisory board following the 2014 season, but he returned for a fifth season like his older brother Zack. Martin has started at both guard and center for Notre Dame, but he’s admitted center is his natural spot as he shifts back there for his final season.


Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information courtesy of and all quotes obtained firsthand. Star ratings reflect 247Sports composite rankings. 

Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

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Tennessee Football: Vols Backfield Poised to Lead a Rushing Resurgence

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The role reversal may have been unexpected for the Tennessee football team last Saturday, but it provided the clearest image of the versatility that will be featured in the Volunteers' 2015 offensive backfield.

There was JUCO transfer Alvin Kamara, starting the Orange & White Game by barreling into the line of scrimmage for various tough-yardage runs. As Kamara tired, sophomore incumbent starter Jalen Hurd surged untouched around the end (in a no-contact green jersey) for 40 yards on three carries.

What kind of bizarro world was this?

Wasn't Hurd supposed to be the power runner who shoulders most of the load? Wasn't Kamara supposed to enter as the electrifying, one-cut running back who was UT's big-gain threat?

Here's the answer: They're interchangeable, they're both really talented and they both can play either role this season—hard yards or big gains, first or second team.

They complement each other, and this spring proved that.

Toss in dual-threat junior quarterback Joshua Dobbs, and the Vols' running game could enjoy a complete turnaround from a season ago.

With all that talent, why even throw the ball until you have to?

Yes, the offensive line is a major question mark, but if UT's offensive line is improved from a season ago, the Vols have two running backs who are capable of producing 1,000-yard seasons. And they've got a quarterback in charge who has a history of making the running game click.

"I feel like we can be deadly," Kamara said of Tennessee's new dynamic duo. "It was just a taste out there [Saturday] of what we can do together. Jalen is not 100 percent yet, but once he gets back to 100, we will give a show.

"We will go out there and hopefully put 'CMG' on the map."

The Tennessee football team is full of slogans and sayings, but one of the most important when it comes to wins and losses is the acronym Kamara uttered. It stands for "Chain Moving Gang," and it's what the Vols running backs are calling themselves.

Every team needs big-play ability, but getting first downs and sustaining drives are elements that were lacking in Tennessee's offense a season ago.

Hurd and Kamara should be able to do that and so much more.


The Dobbs Difference

Everybody around Knoxville may be buzzing about Tennessee's running back duo, but don't forget Dobbs.

When the dynamic, dual-threat quarterback took over last year, it drew a clear line of demarcation in UT's rushing totals, and he should be a catalyst again in 2015.

A season ago, Tennessee's rush offense went from the biggest disappointment on the team to an area that carried the Vols down the stretch.

While a new, inexperienced offensive line deserves a lot of the credit for that, the unit wasn't handed any favors by having statuesque quarterback Justin Worley in the pocket during the first half of the season.

Enter Dobbs. When he took over, everything changed.

Not only did the Vols get better because of his ability to scamper away from trouble and pick up important yardage on the ground, they got better individually.

Before Dobbs took over, Hurd averaged 59 yards per game on 14 carries per game. Afterward, that went up to an 81-yard average on 15 carries per game. His yards-per-carry average went from 4.3 to 5.2.

Suddenly, defenses had to account for an extra threat that wasn't there when Worley was behind center. Rocky Top Insider's Daniel Lewis wrote after Dobbs' 2014 debut against Alabama:

[Dobbs] gives the Vols another ball carrier on the field and, when he runs, they have an extra blocker as well. That's something the defense must plan for.

But perhaps just as important is how he takes defenders eyes off of other playmakers. That opened up the rest of the run game. Against an Alabama defense that came into the game [on October 25] giving up an average of just 64 rushing yards per game, the Vols were able to pile up just over 180 yards on the ground for one of their best performances of the season. It was no coincidence that it coincided with Dobbs' appearance in the game.

Though that was just after one game of Dobbs, it proved prophetic.

The Vols were much more dynamic offensively with Dobbs behind center, and the majority of that success materialized on the ground. When you consider UT finished 92nd nationally in rush offense and 103rd in rush average, imagine how much worse it would have been without Dobbs.


The X-Factor

Now, UT adds another talented runner into the offensive backfield in Kamara.

Way back in 2013 when Tennessee was recruiting Kamara out of Norcross High School (Georgia), UT coach Butch Jones made him a high priority upon arriving in Knoxville because he was the ideal back to run his system.

Even with several friends and high school rivals on the Vols roster, Kamara was locked in on Georgia and Alabama, eventually choosing the Crimson Tide.

He transferred after one year, however, and following a JUCO season at Kansas' Hutchinson Community College, Kamara committed to UT.

This spring, Jones saw all he needed to know Kamara has what it takes to excel in the SEC.

"I see a young man who's very determined, very determined," Jones said earlier this spring. "He's had great consistency every day here. He's come in and put a full workload in each and every day. Our players have gravitated toward him. He's been a great teammate. He's been a great presence in the locker room. He has displayed great work ethic, and he's displayed some toughness.

"He's battling through some injuries, and he's still working through spring and doesn't say two words. He just smiles and says, 'Gotcha, Coach.' So, he's been a great addition to our football family."

Not mentioned anywhere in that assessment of Kamara is the fact that he's an absolutely explosive player with the ball in his hands, too.

During one scrimmage earlier this spring, he had two defenders sealing off the edge until he turned it up a gear and shot 12 more yards down the sideline before being tackled.

Though he was a bit banged up in the Orange & White Game and never got on track, coaches and teammates raved about his quickness all spring.

Once he gets to the second level—which can happen sooner than defenders expect—Kamara is difficult to bring down. UT star outside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin found that out the hard way during the first week of camp.

"I got past him today," Kamara told the Chattanooga Times Free Press' Patrick Brown back in late March. "He was like, 'Dang, I didn't know you were that fast.' I was like, 'Yeah.' When those pads come, I ain't trying to get hit."

The best thing for the Vols is that Hurd hasn't bristled at the idea of sharing carries.

As a matter of fact, it's been the exact opposite. A year of having to carry the entire running game at times will make any running back realize his need for assistance.

The biggest positive about Kamara, though, is he is big enough to absorb it when he does get hit. The redshirt sophomore is 5'11", 210 pounds, and he proved all spring he could be an every-down back with Hurd on the sidelines.

Similarly, Hurd never really broke free for many big gains during his freshman year, but he flashed the wheels in the spring game that look like he's gained a step or two.

That versatility of all three is what has Vols fans excited. A Twitter search of the runners' names churns out an array of euphoric excitement about possibilities.

When you consider that Hurd amassed 899 rushing yards in 2014 despite having a porous offensive line and only getting seven combined carries while being banged up against Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, his totals from a season ago are even more impressive.

Had he remained healthy, Hurd would have been over 1,000 yards, and everybody would be mentioning him in the same breath as Nick Chubb and Leonard Fournette.

The Vols aren't deep at running back, but they have tremendous talent at the top of the depth chart. If everybody stays healthy, UT can turn a team that finished next-to-last in the league in rush offense a year ago to one that hovers near the top in '15.


Quotes and observations obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. All statistics gathered from or, unless otherwise noted. All recruiting information obtained from

Brad Shepard covers SEC football and is the Tennessee Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.

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Meet the Replacement for Every 1st-Round NFL Draft Pick of 2015

For 32 players, Thursday night was the biggest night of their young lives. In Chicago, NFL teams ended months of anticipation and hype by making their first-round draft picks, giving young men instant riches and instant responsibility.

Those players left college behind months ago when they declared for the draft, and while their teams basked in Thursday’s attention, their departures left important holes for their teams to fill. Most teams spent spring practice addressing those needs, and some were more successful than others at determining successors to the stars.

Here’s a look at the replacement for all 32 NFL first-round picks. They’re sorted by the spot where the departed player was selected, from No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston to No. 32 pick Malcom Brown.   

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Ohio State Football: Re-Evaluating the Buckeyes' Top Recruiting Targets

Urban Meyer is hoping to dethrone Alabama as the college football recruiting champion in 2016, and with 12 highly rated prospects already in the fold, he's well on his way. 

Ohio State currently checks in at No. 3 in the recruiting rankings behind Miami (which already has 20 verbal pledges) and top-ranked Florida State (which has 14 commitments). But with the players still on Meyer's radar, the Buckeyes certainly have the opportunity to move past the Seminoles and the Hurricanes.

After securing half of its 12 commitments in the last two months, Ohio State's '16 class is taking shape in a hurry. Who are the top prospects left on the Buckeyes' board?


Rashan Gary, 5-star Defensive Tackle

It's fitting that the first prospect on this list is the No. 1 overall recruit in the country. And while the Buckeyes are long shots to land Gary's verbal pledge, his otherworldly talent alone merits his inclusion here. 

The 6'4", 290-pound defensive tackle is an absolute load in the interior, and yet, he still has enough speed to run a 4.7 40-yard dash. 

Guys that big shouldn't move that fast.

That's why Gary is the most coveted defensive line prospect in the country. He has offers from just about every major program worth mentioning, but Alabama and Michigan are shaping up as the early favorites, according to 247 Sports' Crystal Ball. 

But it would be foolish to count out the Buckeyes with Meyer at the helm. Even though Ohio State is currently on the outside looking in, the coaching staff is still going all out in his recruitment. The standout recently took a trip to Ohio State's campus and is frequently visited by defensive line coach Larry Johnson. 

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, Gary is taking his time. He told Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue that he plans on releasing a top-five list before the start of his senior season. It's safe to bet that the Buckeyes will spend their summer trying to make the cut. 


Nick Bosa, 5-Star Defensive End

Sticking with the defensive line, Ohio State is in great shape to land one of the country's most dangerous pass-rushers in Nick Bosa.

The younger brother of current Buckeye superstar Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa has offers from programs such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State and Notre Dame, but Ohio State is the unanimous favorite to gain his commitment, via 247 Sports. 

Nick Bosa himself reaffirmed those projections by naming the Buckeyes his leader on Tuesday.

The 6'4", 260-pound edge-rusher is ranked the No. 2 strong-side defensive end and the No. 7 overall recruit nationally. Some, like St. Thomas Aquinas assistant coach (and former Buckeye great) Cris Carter, think Nick Bosa will be even better than his older brother.

Larry Blustein, a Florida-based recruiting analyst who has spent the last 40 years scouting high school talent, told Chris Johnson of Sports Illustrated how dangerous Nick Bosa can be on the field.

“If you don’t double team him, you sign your death warrant,” Blustein said, via Johnson.


Ben Bredeson, 5-Star Offensive Tackle

The state of Ohio routinely produces a bevy of elite high school prospects, and 2016 was no exception as the state turned out nine of the top 150 recruits nationally.

The No. 1- and No. 3-ranked players in the state—offensive tackles Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg—were big Buckeye targets at the start of the recruiting cycle. Both, however, offered their verbal pledge to Notre Dame, sending the Buckeyes in search of other elite tackle prospects.

That process is headlined by Ben Bredeson, a 5-star mammoth offensive lineman out of Hartland, Wisconsin. The 6'5", 270-pound tackle has offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Notre Dame and a host of others, but the home-state Badgers are the considerable favorite, with Michigan coming in as a distant second, according to 247Sports. 

Can the Buckeyes make a push for the nation's fourth-ranked tackle? 

Bredeson hasn't visited Ohio State since last year's spring game, when he received his offer from the Buckeyes coaching staff. But that visit made a big impression.

"I loved the campus there," Bredeson told Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors. "The way it was set up and buildings were all beautiful, it's a nice university. Obviously their facilities were top notch, but that's expected at a program like Ohio State."

Now with Kraemer and Eichenberg off the board, expect Ohio State to turn on the full-court press for Bredeson.


Brendan Ferns, 4-Star Linebacker

After the Buckeyes lost their grip on the pair of in-state offensive tackle prospects, they're hoping to avoid the same fate with Brendan Ferns.

An instinctive defender out of Saint Clairsville, Ohio, Ferns is one of the most highly recruited linebackers in the country. He boasts offers from Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC, but everyone is looking up at Ohio State, which currently holds a 72 percent chance of gaining his commitment, via 247Sports.

That would be a big win for the Buckeyes, and not just because he's one of the state's best prospects. His older brother, Michael Ferns, committed to Michigan and enrolled early last season, but later transferred to West Virginia after Brady Hoke's termination. 

Holding off the Wolverines (who haven't offered yet) and the Mountaineers (who are second in his recruitment, according to 247Sports), would be a big win for the Buckeyes coaching staff. 

Rated the no. 81 overall recruit and the No. 2 inside linebacker, Ferns will make one school very happy when he ends his recruitment. The Buckeyes have to like their chances in this battle. 


Austin Mack, 4-Star Wide Receiver

The Buckeyes signed just two wide receivers in their 2015 class, so the staff is really targeting the position in the '16 recruiting cycle. They already have one wideout committed in Kierre Hawkins, but one of their top targets was lost when Justin Layne pledged to Michigan State last week.

That's why Austin Mack is so important.

The 6'2", 205-pound pass-catcher has elite speed, but he prides himself on being more than just a fast wideout. Talking to Justin Kenny of The News-Sentinel at the IMG 7v7 National Championships last summer, Mack explained the difference in his skill set.

“A lot of those guys couldn't run a route to save their lives, but they stood out in other ways with their athleticism.” Mack said. “I can do the little things to gain separation (on defenders).”

Ohio State would love to add that ability to its offense, and while Notre Dame and Michigan are in the hunt, Meyer and the Buckeyes hold a considerable edge for his commitment. Mack intends to announce his decision at the R.A.S. Football Camp in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on June 7, according to 247Sports.

Ohio State's '16 class will likely get a huge boost that day.


David Regimbal is the Ohio State football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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