NCAA Football News

OSU Football Players Send Inspirational Videos to 4-Year-Old Cancer Patient

Joshua Perry asked a number of his teammates to spare half a minute of their time to film a video that would make a young fan’s day.

The footage, Perry said, was for Joshua Chambers, a four-year-old in Orlando, Florida, struggling with a deadly form of leukemia.

According to Patrick Maks of Eleven Warriors (h/t Bill DiFilippo of College Spun), seven members of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team collaborated in May to send Joshua a series of videos as he lay in the emergency room awaiting treatment. 

Joshua’s father Jeremy Chambers says he continued forwarding each individual video to his son’s iPad as he received them.

“I would forward them from my phone to Joshua’s iPad and he’d get a message and it would pop and he’d say, ‘It’s another Buckeye!’” Jeremy said. “The way we did it, by sending them over to his iPad one at a time, he was like ‘Oh another one and another one!’” 

The players involved in the video messages included Perry, Devan Bogard, Craig Fada, Curtis Grant, Doran Grant, Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan. All of them offered words of support for Joshua, who was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February 2013. 

Maks reports that Joshua’s father Jeremy is a native of Ohio, and his Buckeyes pride quickly rubbed off on his son.

Image via Joshua's Journey Facebook page.

“Thanks to his father’s Perrysburg, Ohio, roots, [Joshua Chambers] has fallen in love with Ohio State,” Maks writes. 

Perry, a junior from Galena, Ohio, heard of Joshua Chambers’ plight from his mother, who had received word of the little superfan’s battle with cancer from a colleague at work.

The linebacker soon began wearing rubber bracelets with “Joshua 1:9” inscribed on the cuff. He says he knows what the football program means to the Buckeye faithful and he is trying to use his platform to make a difference in fans’ lives.

“It’s one of those things where some of the guys who aren’t from Columbus don’t necessarily understand how just being a Buckeye and the small interactions you make with people can actually make their day when they’re going through something tough,” Perry said. “If somebody says, ‘Hey, there’s somebody who wants to meet you…they’re going through a rough time…if they want me to wear their wristband and tell their story and get to know them a little bit, it’s the least I can do.”

Wise words from a young man. 

As for Joshua, he is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment and is making strides toward better health, but he isn’t out of the woods just yet. 

You can access his Facebook page here, and I highly recommend reading Maks’ in-depth article on Joshua in its entirety.

Keep fighting the good fight, Joshua. You’re the pride of Buckeyes nation, and we can’t wait to see you back on your feet and taking one to the house at Ohio Stadium.

 

THE Joshua Chambers.

 

 

 

 

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Michigan QB Recruit Alex Malzone Starts Talking Smack to Ohio State Fans Early

The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is so intense that high school recruits need to be ready to jump in from the moment they step on campus. The most dedicated recruits, like Wolverines quarterback recruit Alex Malzone, start the trash-talk early.

After Malzone attended an Elite 11 event in Columbus, Ohio, this week, the class of 2015 recruit got Buckeye fans riled up with a simple tweet:

Ten minutes later, he was already loving what he was seeing:

Just like that, Malzone has already become a hit with Michigan fans.

Malzone has a lot of confidence, but beating the Buckeyes—regardless of venue—will be no easy task for the quarterback. Ohio State has won 11 of the past 13 meetings between the rivals, including both games since Urban Meyer took over as coach. Michigan has lost its last six games at the Horseshoe and has not won in Columbus since 2000, so Malzone better be prepared for a challenge.

For now, it's just good old smack-talk between rivals.

[Twitter, h/t Fox Sports]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

PJ Mbanasor Commits to Oklahoma: Sooners Land 4-Star CB

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops landed his biggest commitment of the 2015 class Tuesday afternoon, as 4-star Texas cornerback PJ Mbanasor (Hendrickson High School) announced he will be playing for the Sooners next season.

Mbanasor made the news public on Twitter:

"(I am) done with recruitment," Mbanasor told Football Brainiacs. "I've analyzed every factor, prayed about it, considered in my heart and I am done with recruitment. I am 100,000 percent sure!"

Mbanasor is the No. 133 overall player and No. 17 cornerback in the country, per the 247Sports composite rankings. He is the ninth top-20 cornerback to commit and the first to commit to a Big 12 school.

At 6'0.5", Mbanasor fits the mold of the new-age man-coverage cornerback—the mold made famous in recent seasons by the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. He is physical on the outside and in run support, and even though he could stand to add some weight to his 176-pound frame, he projects as a complete defensive back at the next level.

Oklahoma sorely needs this commitment. Prior to Mbanasor, it only had four other players signed up in the 2015 class and only two—defensive tackle Marquise Overton and offensive tackle Bobby Evans—who ranked among the top 400 prospects in the country.

But both of those guys, like Mbanasor, rank among the top 150 prospects in the country, which has allowed the Sooners to move up from No. 50 to No. 42 on the 247Sports team rankings, per OU Insider:

The cycle is young and Stoops has never had trouble attracting talent, so there was not much reason to fret even before this signing. But bringing in a player of Mbanasor's caliber should, at the very least, quiet some of the chatter about his struggles.

It also provides a nice developmental prospect on the outside for a team that just lost Aaron Colvin at the position.

It's a pretty solid addition for the Sooners.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star WR Christian Kirk Tweets Top-10 List

Coveted wide receiver recruit Christian Kirk has spent much of his high school career collecting scholarship offers from across the country. The 4-star prospect decided to pare down a long list of options Tuesday.

Kirk shared his top 10 schools on Twitter:

The 5'11", 195-pound playmaker kept plenty of programs in the mix, including several squads he recently spent time with in person. Kirk embarked on an SEC tour in late May, visiting Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia.

The Crimson Tide are the only team to miss the cut from that cluster of campus trips.

Kirk, who stars at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, kept another SEC team in the picture. He listed Texas A&M among his favorites, which isn't a surprise, considering his relationship with Aggies true freshman Kyle Allen.

The 5-star quarterback is competing to start this season and spent significant time working with Kirk in past years as a fellow Arizona phenom. The receiver didn't shy away from admitting the allure of playing with Allen at the next level while discussing Texas A&M last year with Taylor Hamm of 247Sports (subscription required).

It’s good to have a quarterback that you know and have chemistry with. Me and Kyle workout a lot and I’m always out running routes for him when he’s training. We have that timing and stuff down already. I think if I were to come in while he’s there, I’d be able to make an impact because of our relationship.

The Aggies are projected to sign Kirk in 82 percent of expert predictions in 247Sports' Crystal Ball. Ohio State and Oregon, following with seven percent apiece, received mixed news.

The Buckeyes made the cut, while Oregon is left on the outside looking in.

Several Pac-12 programs are still under consideration. USC, UCLA, Stanford and Arizona State give the conference plenty of clout in Kirk's collection.

Oklahoma is the lone Big 12 team listed. The Sooners offered Kirk last November.

Kirk, rated No. 5 nationally among receivers in 247Sports' composite rankings, has caught 142 passes for 2,775 yards and 35 touchdowns during the past three seasons. He flashed impressive rushing skills last year, gaining 832 yards and 13 scores on the ground.

Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami and Texas are notable exclusions among nearly 30 teams left off of his top 10 list.

 

Recruit ratings and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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4-Star Dual-Threat QB Travis Waller High on Alabama, Waiting on Bigger Offers

The quarterback dominoes of the 2015 recruiting class continue to fall. The Oregon Ducks lost out on No. 1 dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray so now they turn their eyes to 5-star dual-threat quarterback Travis Waller. The Anaheim, California native has been pursued by Alabama and Ohio State lately and should be announcing his commitment later this summer. 

What's the latest news with Waller's recruitment? Is he now Oregon's top quarterback target? Which dark horse Big Ten school is in the running?

Watch 247Sports' Ryan Bartow break down the latest in Travis Waller's recruitment. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital. All recruit rankings are from the 247Sports composite rankings.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4 Reasons Why 5-Star WR Damarkus Lodge Will Sign with Texas A&M

The Texas A&M football coaches have the No. 5-ranked recruiting class in the nation committed and a lot of momentum on the recruiting trail right now. The Aggies will sign 5-star wide receiver recruit Damarkus Lodge in February to put an exclamation point on top of their excellent class.

Lodge is considered by many to be the top wide receiver prospect in the state of Texas. If the Aggies want to win conference and national titles, it starts by winning the big recruiting battles in their own state.

Lodge is an impact player who would see playing time from the time he steps foot on campus at any program in the country. He is one of the truly elite recruits in Texas in the 2015 class. 

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff will prevail in their pursuit of Lodge. They will sign him and continue to add to the stacked roster they are building in Aggieland.

This is a look at the reasons why Damarkus Lodge will sign with the Aggies.  

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Miami in Talks with Alabama and LSU About Future Nonconference Kickoff Games

The Miami Hurricanes former mantra—"any team, any place, any time"—might reportedly be put to the test in the next couple of years, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is reporting that the school has had preliminary talks about scheduling a season-opening game against either Alabama or LSU.

"UM has been approached about opening the football season against Alabama in 2017 in Atlanta or LSU in 2018 in Arlington, Tx," Jackson wrote. "UM will consider playing in one but not both."

These talks appear to be in the infant stage of development, and a lot could change to throw Miami off Alabama and LSU's trail.

But the game would make sense, in theory, since all three teams have not been shy about scheduling blue-blood nonconference opponents.

Say what you will about the state of TCU and Virginia Tech in 2013—LSU and Alabama had to have thought that those games would be more competitive when they were scheduled. Same goes for the Tide's season-opening matchup against West Virginia in 2014.

And as for Miami, just take a look at some of the marquee programs they have scheduled for the next few seasons:

Scheduling Alabama in 2017 would bridge the current gap and ensure the Hurricanes have at least one power-conference opponent (or Notre Dame) scheduled in each of the next eight seasons.

Scheduling LSU in 2018, however, would be risky in addition to the previous agreement to play Rutgers that season. The Scarlet Knights are down right now, but they are a historically competitive program that should ostensibly benefit from their move to the Big Ten.

Still, this is Miami we are talking about—a program that does not, historically, like to back down from a challenge. 

Which leaves all of us, just like Bryan Fischer of NFL.com, hoping desperately to see one of these games happen:

Amen to that, brother.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football Recruiting: Position-by-Position Preview for the Class of 2015

USC's 2015 recruiting cycle is off to a strong start. Head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff have eight verbal commitments at six different positions, including two 247Sports composite 5-star prospects. 

All told, the Trojans top 247Sports' Pac-12 rankings and check in at No. 13 nationally. 

The current corps of commits provides USC a strong foundation for national signing day 2015. 

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