NCAA Football News
Spring practices have wrapped up around the South, with some questions being answered at key positions.
Trevor Knight has been tabbed as Texas A&M's starting quarterback, Drew Barker will take the snaps at Kentucky and Austin Allen will take over under center for his older brother at Arkansas.
How has that impacted the SEC race? Does the fact that other key positions battles around the SEC remain unresolved drop contenders down the pecking order?
Our post-spring SEC power rankings based on talent, experience, scheme and unresolved questions are in this slideshow.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — All at Mallard Creek High School on Sunday saw the future of Stanford football compete nearly in his own stratosphere.
Davis Mills put on a show in the Elite 11 Charlotte regional that solidified his top-five national ranking among pro-style quarterbacks. The Greater Atlanta Christian School standout not only claimed camp MVP honors but also earned an invitation to compete in the Elite 11 finals, which will take place June 3-5 in Los Angeles.
Mills stood out among roughly 75 quarterbacks from 14 states and Washington, D.C., who competed on Sunday. He shined in a competitive half-skelly showdown, which featured six signal-callers battling for camp MVP honors.
Davis was impressive, but he wasn't the only quarterback to show his skills. Here is a look at five quarterbacks who stood out on Sunday. Brian Stumpf, president of sports at Student Sports, provided analysis on each athlete.
Spring football has come and gone, at least in the Big Ten, which wrapped up its final spring games of the year this past weekend.
Now all eyes in the conference will turn toward offseason conditioning and workouts leading up to the start of fall camps this August.
But with spring ball having passed, we now know more about the Big Ten as a whole than we did even just a couple of months ago. Even with the entirety of each team's 2016 recruiting class having yet to arrive on campus, a clearer picture of a likely pecking order in the coming year is beginning to take form.
With three months down in the offseason, plenty will likely change between now and the time the 2016 season officially kicks off in September. But for now, here's a ranking of how each team in the Big Ten stacks up coming out of spring football.
The only constant in college football is change. The end of each season is the beginning of the talent life cycle. Players declare for the NFL draft, and a few weeks later, coaches sign new recruits to national letters of intent, filling holes left by graduation and early draft entries.
That was true this year, as it is all years. A total of 107 players declared early for the draft, and this weekend, they’ll see their dreams play out when the NFL holds its annual draft in Chicago.
It’s a little bittersweet, really. For college football fans, watching players take a new step in their journey is exciting, but it also means they’ll never pull on the uniforms of their favorite team again.
Here’s a look at 10 players that we wish didn’t declare for the NFL draft. They have great potential as professional players, but they were supremely fun to watch in the college game. For one reason or another, we wish we had a little more time with them on Saturdays.
Jaeveyon Morton isn't a piece of someone's turf. He isn't a piece of meat. He's not a commodity or a statistic. No, he is a 16-year-old sophomore at Martin Luther King High School in Detroit. He has dreams.
Football talent, smarts, athleticism, a work ethic, a face, a name, hopes and dreams.
"I want to go to college and play football," he says.
The amazing thing is, even though he's only 5'9", he is good enough to achieve this dream.
But money is tight because his dad has health issues. Morton has two older brothers; one went to college in Illinois for a year, but the bills were too much. So the Mortons brought him home. Then, with the help of some grants and student loans, he went to college another year, this time in Ohio, but the bills still piled too high. He came home.
Will Jaeveyon get to college? Not if he doesn't get a scholarship.
"That wouldn't be realistic," says his mom, Kenthia, who works to support the family.
Jaeveyon Morton is nothing but reality.
Meanwhile, the power brokers within the multibillion-dollar industry of college football are working against him. Oh, they don't know it. Reality isn't on their radar. But that's the result of what they did earlier this month when they banned teams from holding satellite camps, requiring "schools to conduct camps and clinics at their school's facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition."
The college football power base—the programs in the southeast corner of the U.S.—were so freaked out that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was invading their territory to steal crumbs off their plates, they pushed a new rule through the NCAA just to keep him away.
But instead of dealing specifically with their Harbaughphobia, they carpet-bombed the hopes and dreams of Jaeveyon Morton and hundreds or thousands of kids like him.
Those kids are unintended consequences. They weren't even considerations in the banning of the camps.
"This rule is about big money, big politics, big egos," said Terel Patrick, assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Martin Luther King, which is a top Detroit program that regularly produces college scholarship players. "It's 1 percent of decision-makers making decisions for the 99 percent who are affected."
The rule was about protecting turf, and college football is willing to risk letting Jaeveyon fall through the cracks to help teams do that.
What happened is this: Harbaugh came to Michigan last year with endless energy and no regard for tradition. It was Harbaugh being Harbaugh.
Instead of holding his offseason camps for kids just at Michigan, he also started holding them in the South, where much of the country's high school football talent is. SEC and ACC coaches didn't like this, so they led a charge to get the NCAA to adopt a rule against it.
"We all know what the story is here," Kenthia Morton said. "Harbaugh came in, and he moved too fast. It's simply that. And the other schools don't like it."
In fact, many of the coaches involved went as far as admitting their opposition to satellite camps like Harbaugh's was purely self-serving. USA Today's Dan Wolken and Alabama Media Group's James Crepea shared comments from coach Hugh Freeze and coach Jim McElwain, respectively:
They were thinking about themselves, about their programs, about winning—not about the kids.
For kids like Morton, the new rule will make it infinitely harder to be noticed by college coaches.
"I guess you'd say he's a typical fringe-type of kid," Patrick said. "He's probably a MAC kid."
Again, Morton is 5'9". He was probably never going to have the measurables to end up in a Power Five conference. But playing in the Mid-America Conference is still playing college football.
The satellite camps were great for kids like this. They were a showcase players and teams of all levels attended.
College football camps in general tend to get coaches from many different schools working at them. So if Ohio State held a camp on its campus, only a small fraction of the kids there would likely ever get a scholarship offer to play for the Buckeyes. But coaches from other schools were watching, too.
Under this new rule, Morton would have to go around the country, campus to campus, in hopes that someone will take him. The costs can add up.
"He's a good player, but he hasn't been in the forefront on his high school team because he plays behind some 5-star players. He needs these satellite camps to be seen," Kenthia Morton says. "I'm going to have to pick a few camps to go to now, and they're going to have to be close by. I don't know which ones."
The Detroit area is fortunate to have the Sound Mind, Sound Body football camp. Founded by Curtis Blackwell to help kids in his hometown, the camp is not technically a satellite. It is run independently of a specific college, though college coaches fill the place up.
Under the new rule, coaches from FBS programs won't be able to help out anymore.
Sound Mind, Sound Body will still offer instruction from coaches and give kids a chance to showcase themselves. But that will now be in front of coaches from schools with more limited scholarship opportunities like Eastern Illinois and Youngstown State. In the past, coaches such as Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio have been there.
"I just think they didn't think this ban through," said Blackwell, who is no longer officially at Sound Mind, Sound Body but is instead the Michigan State recruiting coordinator. "There is no way coaches would want to take opportunity away from kids. No way.
"Until someone tells me that to my face, that they knew this would happen, I won't believe it."
The ban, which conference officials voted on, is still somewhat of a mystery. Officially, no one is saying why it was important. All we know for sure is that after Harbaugh started having camps in the South last year, SEC coaches and officials started complaining, and now we have a ban.
Blackwell said kids pay $90 for a two-day camp, but that's a misleadingly low number. In addition, he said, to come to a camp, a family has to get the kid there and usually stay at least a night or two in hotels. Parents might have to pay for flights. The camps are also usually on weekdays, meaning parents have to get off work to get there.
The costs can add up. And if a trip to an on-campus camp will now put a kid in front of just one school's coaches, then just how many camps will a family have to travel to in order to get the word around about their kid? Will the different schools have their camps on the same days? And if kids start going to one camp after another all summer, what about potential injuries?
The top-rated prospects won't be hurt by the ban. Power football programs will find them. Well-off kids can afford multiple camps.
But when told about Morton's specifics and how a lack of exposure could make the difference between college and no college, Blackwell said this: "Wow, wow, wow. It's the realities of life in the system we have. And in a city like Detroit, it's pretty much do or die. You can't bounce back when things go wrong. People with resources, they can bounce back."
Patrick, Morton's high school coach, points out Iowa's Desmond King won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back in 2015 despite being a Detroit kid originally projected to play in the MAC. Then he was discovered at Sound Mind, Sound Body.
What happens if he hadn't been discovered?
"The best kids don't always get out of here," Patrick said.
So you can see the fine line in the real lives of kids. That's what college coaches—who are part of our education system, right?—should be thinking about rather than their own turf.
During the offseason, Patrick said, the coaches at King strategically pick a camp or two to send several team members to so they can be seen by the broadest amount of coaches. Last year, he said, they took 14 or 15 kids and some ended up at the top level, Division I, while some went to Division II, some went to Division III (which doesn't offer scholarships) and some went to small-college NAIA.
King's coaches, he said, paid their own way and usually contributed more so kids who couldn't fully afford the trip could go, too. But where will King's coaches take their kids now?
"We'll have one kid in the car with 40 offers and one hoping to get one," he said. "Who is more important? Who is more important? It has been life-changing because of these opportunities."
The hope now is for the NCAA to change the rule back and to allow satellite camps. And there is one force in college football that's more powerful even than the SEC and the NCAA.
Rozlyn Peoples, mother of Detroit Cass Tech 5-star recruit Donovan Peoples-Jones, started a petition to get the ban overturned. She was moved to create the petition when she saw a letter her son had posted on Twitter to show his disappointment with the new rule. In the letter, he talked about how lucky he was to have been able to showcase his football abilities and also to have learned at satellite camps.
"I was fortunate enough to have a great group of family, friends and coaches who have guided and supported me throughout my years of playing football," he wrote. "Unfortunately, many of the athletes in Detroit don't have the same background foundation as I was blessed with."
Rozlyn read it and said, "It almost brought tears to my eyes how appreciative he is. He was taking a stand. I wanted to help raise awareness."
It now has more than 14,000 signatures, many from people who left testimonials about how much the camps helped their kids or about how they don't know what they'll do now.
Peoples said she took her son to one camp in Florida and one in California last year, and it cost roughly $5,000. But, she said, there were at least 35 schools represented at each camp.
"How many camps can you afford to go to?" she said. "A lot of these kids don't have anyone to take them across town, let alone to camps."
She said she knew plenty of kids who would be hurt by the ban and suggested talking with Djuna Barker, mother of Detroit football player Kalon Gervin.
"I'm the mother of five boys, and actually they're all great athletes," Djuna Barker said. "I was married, but my husband passed. When these camps come up, that is actually how the [players] can actually be exposed to different places other than Michigan, Michigan State. Coaches might come from Cincinnati, Iowa, UCLA. To some of these kids, that's the only time they can dream.
"My son is a 4-star now, but he didn't have offers. Like Peoples, he's a really good kid. He didn't get exposed to schools until he went to Sound Mind, Sound Body. The same thing happened with Peoples."
She recommended talking with Kenthia Morton, which brings us back to Jaeveyon.
He has an offer from Akron, but Kenthia said she isn't sure that offer is official or how solid it is. Patrick, his high school coach, said he doesn't feel confident about that, either.
It could still go either way for Jaeveyon.
Gervin and Peoples will get offers. Their mothers speak out anyway, even though the rule doesn't really affect their kids. Peoples figures the more awareness people have of the downside to banning satellite camps, the more pressure there will be to end the ban.
"I got involved from a parent perspective as well as for people who don't have a voice," Peoples said. "These 1-star, 2-star, 3-star kids, that's who this [ban] disenfranchises. That's who I'm concerned for."
Concern for others not as a piece of turf, but as human beings. Someone has to do it.
All star ratings via 247Sports.
Greg Couch covers college football for Bleacher Report. Follow him at @gregcouch.
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The fourth spring under Tennessee football coach Butch Jones is in the books, and the lessons learned are far-reaching for a program possibly on the brink of some big things.
If the Volunteers are going to live up to the massive expectations many national experts placed on their shoulders, they've got to get healthy.
They've also got to be able to fill the voids better than they did a season ago when those injuries occurred. Sure, the setbacks on the offensive line led to profitable future finds in tackle Chance Hall and Jack Jones, among others.
But the Vols felt the sting of losing then-nickelback Rashaan Gaulden before the season when Malik Foreman wasn't ready to step in. As the year progressed, Foreman shone, but he struggled at the onset. The same goes for UT's lack of a middle linebacker until Darrin Kirkland Jr. began to receive most of the snaps.
When Shy Tuttle was lost for the year against Georgia, the Vols really didn't replace him in the rotation.
So, while the 20-plus injuries that befell UT this spring were difficult to deal with, the flip side is it gave several players the opportunity for extended auditions under the coaches' watchful eye. Several young Vols took advantage of the situation.
Over the course of March and April, the Vols found some areas where they will be considerably stronger and deeper than a season ago. Other spots need reinforcements from the 2016 class to get to Knoxville and help right away.
All in all, Tennessee knows more about itself after this spring practice, which is the purpose of it, anyway. Let's take a look at some of the things we learned about the Vols this spring.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett is finally in position to take over as the leader of an Ohio State team that's incredibly young but equally talented.
That was one of the biggest takeaways from a pivotal spring camp in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes, who are working to replace a number of superstars such as Ezekiel Elliott and Joey Bosa, wrapped up 15 practices with its annual spring game last week—and the scrimmage showcased an inexperienced squad that's brimming with potential.
Urban Meyer is trying to mold that group into a contender this fall. Since his arrival in 2012, the Buckeyes are an incredible 50-4, but they boast just one Big Ten title in the last four years.
The quest to the conference championship game actually began with spring practice. Here are five things we learned about the Buckeyes.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At the start of Sunday, 66 athletes had earned invitations to The Opening July 5-10 in Beaverton, Oregon. By the end of the day, that number increased by six.
The Opening Charlotte regional saw an abundance of talent venture to Mallard Creek High School to battle for that coveted golden ticket to one of college football recruiting's most premier and prestigious events for high school athletes. More than 400 athletes were in attendance, and six more joined the ranks of the elite athletes already selected.
Oak Ridge, Tennessee, wide receiver Tee Higgins validated his 5-star rating with a phenomenal performance throughout Sunday. Defensive backs Devon Hunter, from Chesapeake, Virginia, and A.J. Terrell, from Atlanta, are 4-star talents who showed versatility and patience in seven-on-seven drills.
Linebacker Sherrod Greene, a 3-star prospect, played like an athlete with a lot to prove Sunday, as did 3-star offensive tackle Blake Vinson, who had a solid day against gritty defensive linemen. Khalan Laborn showed why he is the No. 2-ranked all-purpose back in the 2017 class.
Here are some highlights from The Opening Charlotte:
#RunningManChallenge, extreme rules
Athletic teams from Maryland, Michigan and other programs have participated in the new social media craze called the #RunningManChallenge, where athletes do a run-in-place dance to the '90s hip-hop track "My Boo" by Ghost Town DJs.
The dance, as Maryland basketball players showed, brings a lot of laughs and can be a lot of fun:
The Opening decided to one-up the competition:
In a collaboration with Bleacher Report, The Opening had its entire group of athletes at Mallard Creek High School do the dance. Among those doing it was Elite 11 head coach Matt James, who spearheaded a fake "Fastest Man" race to organize the actual cuing of the dance.
Entering Sunday evening, the performance had been retweeted more than 8,000 times and "liked" more than 9,000 times on Twitter.
Atlanta DB continuing high school trend
Atlanta 4-star defensive back Terrell did his best to hide his emotions when he heard his name called as one of the invited participants to The Opening. Upon receiving his medal, he maintained a look that was almost stoic.
It was after the event when Terrell let his emotions out. It hit him that one of his longtime football dreams was coming true.
"I've dreamed of going to Oregon for The Opening since I was little," Terrell said. "I was happy, but I didn't really want to show it as much. I couldn't wait to get into the car, though."
Terrell said he's been following The Opening for a few years, and he was even more proud to keep his high school's trend going. Terrell attends Westlake High School, the same school Tennessee signee and The Opening alum Nigel Warrior attended before transferring to Peachtree Ridge High School.
"With Nigel, I looked up to him. We both play the same position, and people compare me to him with offers and how he's making for himself," Terrell said. "Now I'm following his footsteps and making a name for myself."
Shirt serves as battle scars for Florida OL
It was easy to tell Citra, Florida, offensive lineman Vinson had been in a few battles. As he walked up to receive his The Opening qualifier medal, he showcased a huge piece of his shirt missing near the lower part of his left shoulder.
Torn shirts are common with linemen at The Opening regionals. But for guys like Vinson, torn shirts are pleasant reminders of what hard work can produce. And for Vinson, the work produced a trip to Oregon in the summer.
"I tore it in finals against [4-star defensive end] Malik Herring," said Vinson, a 3-star offensive tackle listed at 6'4" and 280 pounds. "He ripped my shirt after an outside move, but it's OK, though.
"I've been thinking about [The Opening] the past couple of months. It's a really nice feeling; it's awesome."
Walkup gets ratings MVP award
Kendall Lewis wasn't on the initial The Opening Charlotte roster. He was listed as a walkup.
After his efforts on Sunday, no one will remember Lewis simply as the last-minute addition. The Charlotte wide receiver, who only has a reported offer from Miami (Ohio), per Rivals, recorded a ratings score of 121.41, capped by a vertical leap of 43.5 inches.
A receiver at Rocky River High School, Lewis' vertical jump is tied for fifth nationally among all athletes on the 2016 Nike+ Football Rating Leaderboard. The 6'1", 189-pound receiver also threw the power ball 41 feet, which is a top-five national score among wide receivers.
Backflips before, speechless after for invited RB
Before The Opening, Laborn was doing backflips—simply because other players told him he couldn't.
The Ocean Lakes, Virginia, 4-star running back had a fun time with fellow athletes before the start of the event, but when it was time to perform, he let his athleticism and work ethic speak for him. His efforts were enough for him to earn an invitation to Oregon.
"I feel good. I feel like a new man," Laborn said. "I wasn't expecting it. Certain things didn't go the way I thought it should go. Some of the drills didn't go the way I wanted."
Laborn said he didn't want to dwell on the negative, but he felt that errors here and there in running back drills—led by former pros Jamal Robertson and Natrone Means—ultimately would doom him of any shot at advancing to The Opening.
He was more than ecstatic when he found out his thoughts were incorrect.
"When they called my name—and then they called my name first—my jaw dropped," he said.
Laborn, at 5'9" and 193 pounds, has offers from Florida State, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Alabama, Georgia and a host of other schools.
For LB, act Super—as the emblem says
Greene wore a chain with a Superman emblem attached. Superman isn't his nickname, but his work on Sunday definitely was heroic.
Greene, a 3-star linebacker from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, did everything asked of him en route to earning an invitation to Beaverton. He went above and beyond in drills, and he left the facility with the respect of the multiple coaches in attendance.
"It feels great. I'm just thankful for the opportunity to compete," said Greene, who has offers from North Carolina State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, East Carolina and others. "I knew if I came out and competed and did what I do best, I would do a good job. To get an invite to go to Oregon...I just thank God for it all."
Greene then was asked about the emblem on his chain. The idea of taking up the nickname Superman isn't expected. At least not yet.
"I don't know about that," he said with a smile. "Maybe later. Maybe."
Learning and player-recruiting for Wolfpack commits
North Carolina State has four commits in its 2017 class. Two of the four were making it a priority to not only receive excellent tutelage from The Opening coaches but also use the time with athletes as an opportunity to do some player-recruiting.
Defensive tackle Grant Gibson and quarterback Matt McKay said Sunday was a great day to see talented players they believe can help benefit the future of North Carolina State football. Both players said they were in the ears of a few uncommitted players and hoped their words made some athletes consider being a part of the Wolfpack.
"I definitely came to recruit. I basically recruit every day, especially on Twitter," McKay said. "I tell them N.C. State's a great place that's very family oriented. I feel like we're going to the next level. It's time to join now."
"It's good to have your [future] teammates out here," Gibson added. "We're just trying to build something strong at N.C. State. It's just good that we all are out here getting a chance to compete.
South Carolina WR wins close 'Fastest Man' race
The Opening's "Fastest Man" race, which is quickly becoming one of the social-media fan favorites of the regional event, was so close that officials had to literally go to video to determine a winner.
And when the results were tallied, York, South Carolina, wide receiver Jaevion Matthews edged out West Columbia, South Carolina's Kerryon Richardson, Washington, D.C.'s Christian Braswell and Douglasville, Georgia's Jaytlin Askew—all of whom are athletes who lined up as defensive backs at The Opening.
To earn a spot in the "Fastest Man" race, Matthews ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds.
Acrobatic Tennessee WR makes a name for himself
He may not have been named wide receiver camp MVP or earned an invitation to The Opening on Sunday, but Zack Dobson proved he was a show-stealer.
Dobson, from Knoxville, Tennessee, had a few memorable moments and made sure the public talked about him once everyone left. For starters, the 5'8", 170-pound athlete recorded a vertical jump of 41 inches. His leaping ability proved to be a topic of discussion, particularly after finding out his vertical jump.
Shortly after, Dobson showed his athleticism with a super-acrobatic backflip off a brick wall. He finished his day by making two exceptional catches in the half-skelly showdown, which helps to determine camp MVPs at each position, primarily the quarterbacks.
"I'm here to have fun, man," Dobson said. "Gotta show everybody what I can do."
Dobson reportedly has offers from Austin Peay, Jackson State, Charleston Southern and Tennesse Tech. Tennessee, Oklahoma State and West Virginia are among the schools showing interest.
Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings, unless otherwise noted. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles
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Former Boston College and New England Patriots defensive tackle Ron Brace died at the age of 29, Kevin Duffy of MassLive.com confirmed Sunday.
Al Washington, Eagles special teams coordinator and a former teammate of Brace, tweeted his thoughts:
AJ Brooks, Brace's teammate at Boston College, shared his thoughts via Facebook:
Brace's cause of death has not been disclosed.
He was a second-round pick (40th overall) in the 2009 NFL draft. In four years with the Patriots, he accumulated 39 tackles and a forced fumble in 39 games. He was cut by the team in December 2012 and signed with Washington in February 2013, though the Redskins released him before the 2013 season began.
In four seasons at Boston College, Brace recorded 85 tackles (including 22 for loss) and five sacks.
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The spring football season is coming to a close, as a bulk of college football teams wrapped up their offseason workouts Saturday. All told, 26 of the 128 FBS schools held some form of game or scrimmage Saturday for fans to see what's in store for the 2016 season.
These games are generally devoid of much in terms of major developments, as they're meant to serve as both a wrap-up for spring practice and a preview of the real version that comes this fall. But some players, position groups and teams stood out, for good or bad, based on how they looked in front of crowds of varying sizes.
We've picked out the most notable happenings from Saturday's spring action. Check it out but make sure to take anything that happened this far before the regular season begins with a grain of salt.
The UCLA Bruins continued their preparations for the 2016 season Saturday with the Spring Showcase at Elvin Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles.
Rather than staging a traditional spring game like many schools, head coach Jim Mora instead held a beefed-up practice featuring 11-on-11 and seven-on-seven drills and very little contact so as to preserve the health of his players.
As expected, much of the focus was on sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen on the heels of his impressive freshman campaign in 2015.
The Manhattan Beach, California, native threw for 3,670 yards and 23 touchdowns in his debut season, and he set no shortage of school records in the process, as seen in this graphic courtesy of Pac-12 Network:
While Rosen may be in for a spectacular sophomore year, the Spring Showcase represented a mixed bag for him, as he made some big throws but also had some issues turning the ball over.
As seen in this video, Rosen displayed fantastic arm strength and accuracy at times, which could be a sign of things to come in 2016:
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Rosen's day was the fact that he showed he could make throws at all levels and under many different circumstances.
Matt Joye of the Daily Bruin highlighted Rosen's ability to get the ball down the field on this scoring strike to fullback Nate Iese during 11-on-11 drills:
While Rosen isn't regarded as an overly mobile signal-caller, his athleticism was on full display in the Spring Showcase when he completed an against-the-grain play-action pass while rolling out to his weak side, via UCLA Football:
Rosen struggled a bit in seven-on-seven drills, though, as he was intercepted by senior cornerback Charles Dawson and freshman linebacker Mique Juarez over the course of just four plays, according to Joye.
He was also picked off earlier by Dawson, which suggests the veteran leader of the secondary is ready to spearhead the Bruins' defensive attack in 2016.
One factor that should aid Rosen during the upcoming season is the continued development of his offensive weapons.
That includes senior wide receiver Ishmael Adams, who is converting to the offensive side of the ball after 34 games over the past three years as a defensive back.
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports captured one of the many electric plays Adams made at wideout during the Spring Showcase:
Another new target for Rosen to potentially utilize is Cordell Broadus, who returned to UCLA after sitting out the 2015 season.
The son of rapper Snoop Dogg made some impressive plays Saturday, including this touchdown grab:
Rosen had great things to say about Broadus leading up to the Spring Showcase, and he believes the wideout can be similar to Jordan Payton, who was UCLA's leading receiver last year as a senior, according to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the Los Angeles Daily News: "He's awesome, he's been killing it. He's picking up the offense quickly. He's a big receiver, physical. He reminds me a lot of JP, but he's going to evolve, just like all of us."
If Broadus develops into the type of player Mora thought he was getting prior to his hiatus, then the Bruins offense has a chance to be the best in the Pac-12.
UCLA finished third in the Pac-12 South last season at 5-4 and 8-5 overall, but it was just one game out of representing the division in the Pac-12 title game against Stanford.
That means even the slightest improvement could allow the Bruins to vie for a spot in the Rose Bowl, which they haven't played in since 1998.
There is no question the team still has a lot of developing to do with regard to its young players between now and the start of the season, but plenty of bright spots emerged Saturday and offered hope for a fantastic 2016 campaign.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.
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The first step of Michigan State football's reloading year concluded Saturday, and a few players exited spring practice destined for meaningful roles in 2016.
Others, however, have an uphill battle toward earning a significant place on the depth chart. One positional unit took a notable hit, too.
Although the spring offers a far-from-definitive look at potential breakout candidates, new or inexperienced talents often receive praise during the workouts.
While each "winner" of the session must continue impressing throughout the summer and fall camp, few are locked into starting roles. There's still plenty of time to recover from a tough spring.
UCLA wrapped up spring practice on Saturday with exactly that—practice—which in today's era of college football is unique.
Considering the injury problems that plagued the Bruins, however, it was the prudent choice for head coach Jim Mora and Co.
Much of UCLA's efforts this spring were focused on implementing new philosophies on both sides of the football. Additionally, the Bruins started the process of replacing NFL-bound talents like Paul Perkins, Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte.
A few promising players emerged, but a couple of storylines weren't quite as wonderful—particularly for the fans. All things considered, though, it's a negative the program will accept.
Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes running back Mark Walton was suspended by the team Saturday following an early-morning arrest in Miami, according to NBC6 in South Florida.
Liane Morejon of WPLG Local 10 in Miami reported Walton was charged for DUI and driving with a suspended license.
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press also reported that a source said Walton is being investigated for impersonating a police officer; however, police have yet to confirm.
Will Manso of WPLG Local 10 in Miami tweeted out a statement from Miami athletic director Blake James regarding Walton's punishment:
Walton rushed for 461 yards and averaged 3.55 yards per carry as a freshman in 2015. He also caught 22 passes for 293 yards to go along with 10 total touchdowns.
Walton was penciled in to share the backfield workload with junior Joseph Yearby, who rushed for 1,002 yards last season, but his status is now up in the air.
While the university did not reveal a potential timetable for Walton's return from suspension, the sophomore's absence leaves Miami's offense in a state of flux.
The Hurricanes looked to be a team on the rise after going 8-5 last season, especially if quarterback Brad Kaaya continues to develop. A strong running game would go a long way toward making that happen, and Walton was tabbed to be a big part of that.
It is unclear if James and head coach Mark Richt will allow the suspension to carry into the season, but if it does, then Yearby figures to have an even bigger role with Trayone Gray perhaps being asked to fill the backup void as well.
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Turnover around key positions will define the UCLA Bruins' 2016 spring game Saturday at Drake Stadium.
It's a new venue for what coach Jim Mora dubs the "spring showcase." Once again, the event won't be an official game but an enhanced practice sans full contact or a scoreboard keeping track of the action.
“We’re going to try to make it eventful, fun and interesting,” Mora said, according to Matthew Joye of the Daily Bruin. “It will not be a full-contact scrimmage. I just don’t think it’s in the best interest of our players to do so.”
With Josh Rosen back under center directing a new offense and the defense boasting strong upside, fans can expect Mora's first reveal of the 2016 Bruins to be interesting, full contact or not.
2016 UCLA Spring Game
When: Saturday, April 23rd, at 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: Drake Stadium
TV: Pac-12 Network
Live Stream: Pac-12.com
The aforementioned Rosen now has a year of experience under his belt, which might be the biggest thing the offense has going for it given the turnover on the offense.
Where to start? The Bruins have to plug holes at three spots in the offensive trenches. Darren Andrews is the only wideout returning who ranked among the top five last year. Leading rusher Paul Perkins is also gone.
Alas, Mora and the program expect a jump from Rosen, who completed 60 percent of his passes last year with 23 touchdowns to 11 picks. It's not hard to see why everything sounds encouraging around the sophomore given the records he broke last year, as captured by Pac-12 Network:
Rosen will have to bring along the offensive line this year and squeeze the most out of a new-look wideout corps led by Ishmael Adams, a former defender.
Adams seems to get the most hype because he's one of the nation's most dangerous players with the ball in his hands. Mora echoed these sentiments during spring practices while chatting with ESPN.com's Kyle Bonagura:
He seems excited about it. We see good things. We see a guy that can catch the ball in the flat or, like we talked about the other day, that short-area quickness to make people miss and get vertical in a hurry. And he’s competitive and he’s tough, and those are traits you like to see offensively.
In the backfield, things aren't as dire as they seem after losing a leading rusher considering Soso Jamabo rushed for 403 yards and four touchdowns last season on a 6.1 yards-per-carry average.
The offense absorbs most of the attention going into Saturday because there isn't much changing on the defensive side of things. An experienced group returns nine of 11 starters from last year, allowing it to sprinkle in some 4-3 elements to keep things fresh.
With Matt Dickerson and Takkarist McKinley manning the edges, the unit that struggled last year flashed all spring with new faces in new places and the looks confusing an offense also making a few changes from a schematic standpoint.
Don't forget seeing high-profile recruits such as Mique Juarez, either.
For Mora, practices thus far have seemed rather even, which he cites as a good thing, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
"It's kind of been back and forth every day, which to me is a good thing. Both sides have had good days. It's been very competitive, and when it's competitive like that, you see progress."
While Saturday won't provide a traditional contest, fans can expect more of that back-and-forth between the two growing units.
The checklist for the event is extensive. It's time to see how new recruits fit into things, if Rosen can spur a new offense and new contributors, and if a veteran defense making a change can live up to the hype.
Saturday will provide a solid indicator as to where Mora has the program heading into the summer.
Stats and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
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For most, the concept of a broken elevator can conjure up images of panic, claustrophobia, boredom or even intimacy.
Writing hip-hop lyrics, however, isn't a typical response.
But dropping bars to a wall-panel-created beat is precisely how Zach Banner and the other University of Southern California offensive linemen passed the time in their hapless, suspended state, and thus, "The Elevator Rap" was born.
Although the flow may have taken their minds off their predicament, is spitting fire potentially dangerous in such a cramped space?
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Expectations vary among college football recruits, with the vast majority viewed by coaching staffs as long-term investments who could impact a squad following a few years of seasoning on practice fields. Others arrive on campus counted on to make an immediate impact just months after graduating from high school.
True freshmen such as UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk and Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick were among former 5-star prospects who made their presence known on college campuses last season. The stage is again set for newly enrolled athletes to seize a spotlight this fall, and excitement is already swirling around several members of the 2017 recruiting class.
Still looking ahead to highly anticipated senior campaigns, these recruits have the skill set and physical makeup to quickly move up college depth charts next year. Here's a glimpse at 10 high school standouts who could emerge as collegiate starters as freshmen.
The University of California is joining the Under Armour movement, as the two parties have reached a long-term shoe and apparel deal.
After the reports came out, Under Armour made the move official by welcoming California into the family:
Under Armour continues to make waves in the sports world, both at the college and professional levels. The apparel giant is still young compared to competitors like Adidas and Nike, which previously had a deal with the Golden Bears, being founded just 20 years ago.
Rovell also pointed out the difference in total annual money Cal will receive from Under Armour compared to its previous deal with Nike:
In 2014, Notre Dame left Adidas to sign a 10-year deal worth nearly $90 million with Under Armour. California doesn't have the history Notre Dame does, particularly in football, but the two deals are so close in value that it's clear how valuable getting the Under Armour logo on a jersey instead of the Nike swoosh is.
Of course, Under Armour can afford to pay these huge deals thanks to Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry. Per Matt Egan of CNN Money, the reigning league MVP has propelled the Baltimore-based company to huge sales gains in 2016:
Footwear sales at Under Armour surged 64% in the first three months of 2016 as sports fans gobbled up the Curry signature basketball line. Under Armour said Thursday that overall sales jumped by an impressive 30%, led by strong growth overseas.
Here's a stat even Curry, the 2015 NBA MVP, would be wowed by: Under Armour has now generated sales growth above 20% for each of the past 24 quarters.
Nike has been the top sports footwear and apparel company in the United States for decades. The Jordan brand being part of the family will always help keep it going strong.
Under Armour's rise, though, opens things up for schools that are looking to increase their merchandise revenue stream. California knew its deal was coming up, found a company it wanted to work with and negotiated a great contract for itself.
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AUBURN, Ala. — Jamel Dean thought his college football career was over before it even started.
Dean was on track to play at Ohio State, where he would be part of a team looking to defend a national title. But a pair of knee injuries late in his high school career jeopardized his future. The 4-star cornerback was then told he wasn't healthy enough to play for the Buckeyes.
However, a year after fearing the worst, Dean is back on the football field and taking full advantage of his second chance at Auburn.
"It felt real great to be out there [in spring practices] and experience it knowing my knee is still holding up," Dean said. "I feel like it’s going to be a great season for me. ... It just seems like I've been waiting a long time for this."
In his junior season of high school in Cocoa, Florida, Dean committed to play for Urban Meyer and Ohio State. That same year, the athletic 6'2" cornerback tore his ACL and meniscus. A year later, in the final game of his high school career, Dean re-tore the meniscus in the same knee.
But Dean still arrived at Ohio State in January 2015 to enroll early. A few months later, Eleven Warriors reported the Buckeyes medical staff didn't clear him to play. He was then offered a medical hardship, which would allow him to stay in school with an academic scholarship.
Dean's high school coach, John Wilkinson, told Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com he believed the Buckeyes were forcing the young corner out because they oversigned in their 2015 class.
Dean sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, the world-renowned sports surgeon. According to Lesmerises, Andrews told Dean he would be able to resume full football activities by the summer of 2015.
With Andrews' second opinion in hand, Dean looked for a way out of Columbus. A month later, Dean announced he was transferring to Auburn, joining then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and then-defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, who once recruited him to play at Florida.
At first, things didn't go according to plan for Dean at Auburn. He sat out the 2015 season with a redshirt due to the NCAA's transfer rules, so he never got a chance to play in a game for the coaches who recruited him.
Despite Muschamp's and Robinson's departures to South Carolina in December, Dean still turned heads as Auburn prepared for the Birmingham Bowl against Memphis. When practices resumed this March, Dean picked up right where he left off with the Tigers.
"He has a lot of talent," Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. "He can run. He's a physical guy. He really caught our attention in bowl practice when we did some scrimmaging, and he's carried it over into spring."
In the year since his situation with the Buckeyes came to light, Dean's outlook has changed.
He told David Jones of Florida Today last summer Ohio State's coaches "really didn't care" whether he stayed in Columbus or not and that he would have "a lot of anger built up" if Auburn ever played Ohio State.
That wasn't the case this spring.
"I don't hold any grudges," Dean said. "I wanted to try something new, and I wanted to be back in the South. I thought [Auburn] was the best fit for me just because of the defense they run."
Dean is focused more on his future with the Tigers, which looks bright. He adjusted to a new defensive coaching staff—which runs a system similar to the one he signed up for with Muschamp—and battled with Javaris Davis for a starting cornerback spot opposite 2015 breakout star Carlton Davis.
By the end of spring camp, Dean was lining up with the first team almost exclusively and drawing the praises of coaches and teammates alike.
"The guy I'm really excited about is Jamel Dean," new Auburn defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff said. "What a big corner that's explosive with speed. We have some tools on the outside that's going to give us a chance to line up, be able to play man, play zone and be able to keep the football in front of us."
Standing at 6'2" and 205 pounds, Dean's size and physical nature make him a perfect match for All-SEC freshman Carlton Davis, who is 6'1" and 190 pounds.
"We're both about the same," Dean said. "Both of us can cover. Both of us have length, and both of us are strong."
The two represent a gradual change in philosophy at Auburn, which has recruited bigger defensive backs in recent classes to combat the larger receivers who dominate the SEC.
"It gives the receiver a hard time at the line of scrimmage," Dean said. "Throws off the offense's rhythm."
While the battle between Dean and Javaris Davis is expected to continue into fall camp, the redshirt freshman appears to have the early advantage. But even if Javaris Davis commands a top spot on the depth chart by the season opener, new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele still projects Dean as a key player.
"In this league, to sustain it through the long haul, you're going to have to have 18-plus guys that are really starters," Steele said. "If you've got less than that, it's going to be hard sometimes. We tell them not to worry about that, and when your name is called, just go play, and they've done a nice job with that."
With his physical gifts and hunger to play again, Dean has the opportunity to be a game-changing defensive back in the Auburn secondary for years to come.
Although it was thrown into doubt this time last year, Dean's football career is far from over. It's just getting started.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting rankings are courtesy of 247Sports.
Justin Ferguson is a National College Football Analyst at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.
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Exotic offenses and creative play-callers have infiltrated the SEC over the last half-decade, but one cliche has remained true in the process: The game is won and lost in the trenches.
In order to contend for the SEC title (and perhaps more), the big men up front have to be fast, physical and on the same page in order to create holes for running backs and protect quarterbacks.
Which offensive lines are the best in the SEC heading into 2016?
Our picks based on production and returning talent are in this slideshow.