NCAA Football News

Notre Dame Football: 5 Position Battles to Watch Heading into Spring Practice

With spring break winding down and spring football starting next Wednesday, Notre Dame football will officially move forward from 2014's disappointment to the optimism surrounding 2015.

Long gone is the November disaster, reminiscent of the season's final month that doomed the Charlie Weis era. A stacked roster nearly overflowing with talent returns, as Brian Kelly and his revamped coaching staff figure out how to get their team into the second edition of the College Football Playoff. 

Roster battles will take center stage. Some obvious, some not as much.

Before hearing from Kelly next week as Notre Dame's 15 spring workouts begin, let's take a look at some key position battles. 



Begin Slideshow

South Carolina Gamecocks' 2016 Dream Recruiting Class

South Carolina has struggled in the past few seasons, but the Gamecocks are looking to turn things around with their next recruiting class.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee discusses South Carolina's dream recruiting class for 2016.

Who are the must-have recruits for South Carolina next season?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on

Joshua Tupou Arrested on Assault Charges: Latest Details and Comments

Joshua Tupou, a defensive lineman at the University of Colorado, was arrested and faces assault charges stemming from an incident at a party in February. 

According to Mitchell Byars of The Denver Post, Tupou turned himself in to police Thursday after they claimed he assaulted three men:

Tupou, 20, turned himself in to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office on Thursday after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of second-degree assault, two counts of third-degree assault, criminal mischief, trespassing and reckless endangerment, according to court records.

According to Boulder police, officers were called at 1:30 a.m. Feb. 14 after a large fight between multiple people that started at a nearby party spilled out onto College Avenue between 10th and 13th streets. 

The school was made aware of the alleged incident days after it is said to have occurred, with Colorado athletics spokesman Dave Plati telling Byars in a separate report for the Daily Camera at the time that "there is nothing to substantiate that any of our players were involved."

In the arrest report from Byars, citing the affidavit, Tupou is said to have made a hole in a privacy fence and tackled a guest at the party before punching him multiple times. 

Tupou has been a starter on Colorado's defense for three years, recording three sacks in 12 games last season. There have been no reports at this point about what, if any, possible punishments the 325-pounder could face from the school or football team. 

Read more College Football news on

Ohio State Pro Day 2015: Recap, Reaction for Devin Smith and Top Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With Ohio State still possessing several premier NFL prospects on its roster for the 2015 season, the biggest stars at this year's Buckeye pro day may have been standing on the sideline.

But that didn't stop the current OSU prospects from trying to put on a show, with all 32 NFL teams represented and a total of 76 personnel members in attendance. The Buckeyes won't have the heaviest presence in this year's draft, but they'll try to maintain a strong one coming off of last season's national championship.

And this year's pro day seemed to help that cause.


Devin Smith

Of the Ohio State prospects who worked out at pro day, no one drew more attention than wide receiver Devin Smith. Arguably the best deep threat in the country a season ago with the nation's best 28.2 yards-per-catch average, Smith came to pro day set on proving he's capable of doing more than just stretching the field.

So much so, in fact, that the Massillon, Ohio, product opted not to run the 40-yard dash.

Of course, it didn't hurt that Smith's speed is hardly questioned and he had already run a 4.42 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine last month. But for the 6'0", 196-pounder, his primary objective remained showing off improved route running and consistency with catching.

"I really wanted to focus on running routes. That was the main focus for me," Smith told Bleacher Report and's Austin Ward. "There's a few coaches that did know I could run all the other routes and a few others just wanted to see it. It's just a matter of me showing it. I did it at the Senior Bowl, then at the combine and then here at the pro day. I thought my route running was very good."

It certainly seemed that way, with Smith hauling in catches on a number of different routes thrown by former Buckeyes Heisman-winner Troy Smith. He did have one noticeable drop that went right through his hands on an out-route, but other than that, Smith seemed to catch everything clean, including a few of his signature deep balls.

Following pro day, Smith met extensively with his hometown Cleveland Browns and also said he's been hearing from the Dolphins and Chargers. Most mock drafts have Smith being selected in the second round, although he could sneak into the first, especially if there's a big run on wide receivers on the first day of the draft.

Until then, Smith will remain working out in San Diego, waiting for the April 30 first round to approach. In the Golden State he's been training with a former rival in Michigan State wideout Tony Lippett and another former Big Ten star who's stopped by the facility.

"[Wisconsin running back] Melvin Gordon was down there training with us and I kind of gave him hell [about the Ohio State's 59-0 Big Ten Championship Game win over the Badgers]," Smith said, laughing.


Michael Bennett

Another former Buckeye who has been projected by some to be a first-round pick, defensive tackle Michael Bennett saw his pro day cut short when he pulled up lame with what appeared to be a pulled hamstring in his second attempt at the 40-yard dash. The 6'2", 293-pounder didn't participate in any other drills that were open to the media for the rest of the day, but per Jeff Rapp of WTVN 610 in Columbus, Bennett is doing just fine.

Bennett's pro day—or lack thereof—shouldn't affect his draft stock too much, although it's worth noting he also sat out the NFL Scouting Combine due to a groin injury last month. Injuries cost Bennett the majority of his sophomore season in 2012, and given that he's lighter than the prototypical defensive tackle, questions about his durability are fair.

Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine Bennett would slide past the second around after a senior season that saw him record seven sacks, including five in the Buckeyes' final five games. With the versatility to also play defensive end, Bennett would fit in most NFL schemes and served as one of the primary leaders on Ohio State's national title team.


Jeff Heuerman

Tight end Jeff Heuerman didn't speak with reporters after pro day as he was busy meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he did do plenty of talking on the field, encouraging fellow pass-catchers during wide receiver and tight end drills. Heuerman also caught some passes of his own, showcasing his hands on short, intermediate and deep routes.

The 6'5", 254-pounder had trouble getting to one of the deeper balls thrown his way, although it's worth noting Smith didn't have a particularly accurate day when it came to distributing passes. Heuerman wouldn't be asked to blow by defenders much anyways, as he's most effective as a possession receiver and elite blocker.

Heuerman's measurable results at pro day are unclear—Ohio State doesn't release them—but his 26 reps on the bench press at the combine bode well for his draft prospects. currently projects Heuerman as a fourth-round pick, and one team that may make some sense for the Naples, Florida, native is the tight end-needy Browns.


Doran Grant

Like Smith, cornerback Doran Grant didn't run in the 40-yard dash on Friday after a stellar showing at last month's combine. The Akron, Ohio, native clocked a 4.44 40 in Indianapolis and said that some coaches clocked him at a 4.38 and 4.37.

Grant still managed to potentially help his draft stock, showcasing strong hands and smooth running as he didn't drop an interception in defensive back drills. The 5'10", 200-pounder said he was pleased with his performance, although he still hasn't gotten a good grasp on where he'll be selected.

"All positive so far," Grant said when asked about the feedback he's received from NFL teams. "I'm not sure what round [I'll be drafted]. I've been hearing a lot, so I'm not sure what's going to happen. There's still a lot of time before the draft." currently ranks Grant as a third-round selection after a strong combine showing that included 21 reps on the bench press, a 33-inch vertical jump and a 116-inch broad jump. Grant also mentioned that he's been hearing from San Francisco, Indianapolis, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Dallas and Pittsburgh throughout the draft process.

As for where he'd like to be selected, the All-Big Ten corner said that he has no preference. "Just a kid from Akron, Ohio," as LeBron James once said, he simply can't wait to play his first game at the next level.

"Just making a roster," Grant answered when asked what would make him happy.

Reporters laughed.

"No, seriously. Making a roster."


Quick Hits

  • Other ex-Buckeyes who worked out at pro day on Friday included Evan Spencer, Darryl Baldwin, Curtis Grant, Steve Miller, Kyle Clinton, Russell Doup, Drew Basil, Chris Fields, Marcus Hall and George Makridis.
  • Of the bunch, Spencer stood out the most. The wide receiver appears to have added a significant amount of muscle since the end of the season and caught everything thrown to him except for one deep ball on a tough throw. With his abilities as a blocker, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team take a late-round flier on the 2014 Ohio State captain.
  • Baldwin, the Buckeyes' starting right tackle last season, noted he has a workout scheduled with the Carolina Panthers.
  • In addition to the Jaguars, Heuerman was scheduled to meet with the San Francisco 49ers today.
  • While today's pro day may have been lackluster, next year's in Columbus could be the biggest in college football. Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Cardale Jones and Taylor Decker will likely headline the bunch as potential first-round picks and could be joined by the likes of Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Joshua Perry, Braxton Miller, Nick Vannett and Michael Thomas, among others.


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.

Read more College Football news on

Tennessee Volunteers' 2016 Dream Recruiting Class

Tennessee is adding building blocks for the future that will make the Volunteers a very formidable opponent in the SEC. The Volunteers have been placing top defensive recruits in recent classes, and 2016 will be no different.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee discusses Tennessee's dream recruiting class for 2016.

Who are the must-have recruits for Tennessee next season?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on

No. 1 APB in 2016 Damian Alloway on His Speed: 'Nobody Can Keep Up'

Damian Alloway (Summit High School, Fontana, CA.) is a 4-star all-purpose back, as per 247Sports composite rankings, who is uncommitted. Alloway is an explosive and illusive back that can make a huge impact at the next level. 

Bleacher Report is joined by Alloway to discuss who he models his game after, what separates him from the pack and his love of Cinnabon. 

What kind of impact can Damian Alloway have on a college team in 2016? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on

College Football's 10 Highest-Paid Assistant Coaches in 2014

They don't make as much money as their bosses, but college football coordinators earn enough to make us all reassess some life decisions.

This has been the case for a while, which is scary since the contracts grow each season. When I assembled this list in March 2014, only five FBS assistants made seven figures. This year, that number ballooned to nine. Next year, there's a good chance it passes 10.

Assembling this list relied heavily on the USA Today salary database. However, those numbers reflect what coaches made in 2014, which means they don't reflect new hires and reworked contracts.

Thus, this list required a boatload of additional research. I am confident in the 10 names that follow, but there's a chance, however slight, that some coach slipped through the cracks. In that case, feel free to post his name in the comments, and I will edit if his contract checks out.

Also of note: The salaries that follow reflect what each coach will make next season. Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster ranked No. 1 on the USA Today database for 2014, but that was only because of a one-time payment in his contract. The deal he signed this offseason will pay him $900,000 in 2015, per Andy Bitter of The Roanoke Timeswhich does not rank among the national top 10.

For that reason, he and others like him have been omitted.

Begin Slideshow

SEC Football: Ranking the Conference's Best Rivalries

The SEC is known for having some of the best rivalries in college football, both inside the conference and outside with state schools from other conferences.

Let's leave those out-of-conference rivalries alone for now and take a look at the best rivalries in the SEC.

Our top 10 based on intensity, tradition and national importance are in this slideshow.

Begin Slideshow

Cyler Miles Takes Leave of Absence from Washington Football

The University of Washington announced Friday that quarterback Cyler Miles is taking a leave of absence from the football team for personal reasons and will not participate in spring ball.  

Christian Caple of the Tacoma News Tribune passed along a statement from the school, which stressed this was not a disciplinary action:

Miles has appeared in 20 games over his first two seasons with the Huskies. He's thrown 21 touchdowns with just six interceptions while completing better than 65 percent of his passes. He led the team to an 8-6 record last season, including a loss to Oklahoma State in the Cactus Bowl.

While he's away, it opens the door for the team's other quarterbacks to get some extra work. Jeff Lindquist, K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jake Browning all figure to get their chance to shine during spring practices.

The statement didn't include any potential timetable for Miles' return to the football program. It did note he remains enrolled at Washington while dealing with the personal matter.


Read more College Football news on

2016 ILB Lokeni Toailoa: 'I Want to Outwork Everybody; I Want to Be the Best'

Lokeni Toailoa, the No.1 inside linebacker in the 2016 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings, is out to show the college football recruiting world exactly what he is capable of. With offers on the table from many of the top programs in the country, Toailoa expects to shine at the next level. 

Bleacher Report caught up with the talented linebacker to get his thoughts on his football life thus far, his favorite play from his mixtape and his goals. 

Where will Toailoa play at the next level? Check out the video and let us know! 

Highlights courtesy of Pylon Elite Camps For more information, you can visit Pylon Football Camp.

Read more College Football news on

Alabama Football: Complete 2015 Spring Practice Primer

Defending SEC champion Alabama hits the practice field on Friday, and the questions head coach Nick Saban must answer this spring could make or break his team's title chances this fall.

One look at the depth chart on the offensive side of the ball, and you'll see a laundry list of new players who are being counted on in 2015. Saban and second-year offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin must replace nine starters off of last year's Allstate Sugar Bowl squad, including quarterback Blake Sims and Heisman Trophy finalist, wide receiver Amari Cooper.

On defense, Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart are entering the third season of the cornerback crisis, and Saban threw a curveball into the mix this offseason when he shuffled around his staff and brought in Mel Tucker specifically to coach the defensive backs.

What should you watch for during Alabama's spring practice? Here's a primer.


What to Watch on Offense

The most notable battle will take place at quarterback, where Jake Coker, Alec Morris, Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell and Blake Barnett will all square off to fill Sims' shoes.

Coker likely has at least a small advantage heading in, after leading the second team last year. Familiarity with those second-teamers could be a huge benefit, because with so much roster turnover on the offensive side of the ball, many of the players he worked with throughout the 2014 season will likely get the first crack at joining the first team this spring.

It never clicked for Coker last year, and if he doesn't have a grasp of the offense, Bateman and Cornwell—two former 4-star prospects—are certainly talented enough to run Kiffin's offense. Barnett is the new kid on the block, and while the former 5-star prospect can sling it all over the field and make things happen with his legs, it'd be a huge leap of faith for Saban and Kiffin to put the offense in the hands of a true freshman—especially with eight other new starters on offense.

While the quarterback battle will dominate headlines, it's not the most important battle on Kiffin's offense. He has to find a replacement for Cooper, and it doesn't even have to be a wide receiver. 

Cooper was the player that the offense revolved around, which was similar to Marquise Lee's role with USC when Kiffin was the head coach of the Trojans. But Kiffin also went to a national title game as the offensive coordinator of the Trojans in 2005 with running back Reggie Bush as the centerpiece.

Whether it's running back Derrick Henry, ultra-versatile weapon Kenyan Drake or a wide receiver like ArDarius Stewart, Cameron Sims, Robert Foster or somebody else, somebody has to step up. If Kiffin can find "his guy" this spring, it will accelerate the process and help the rest of the offensive pieces fall into place.

Up front, Ryan Kelly returns at center, and Cameron Robinson will lock down the left tackle spot. The rest of the jobs along the offensive line are up for grabs, and finding the right mix is imperative this spring so the continuity can be built through the summer.


What to Watch on Defense

All eyes will be outside this spring, as new defensive backs coach Mel Tucker was brought in specifically to fix Alabama's lingering issue at cornerback. 

Cyrus Jones got progressively better as last season went on and will surely lock down one side. That's the good news. The bad news is that, on the other side, there's a medium-sized village of corners contending for playing time—many of whom haven't been able to stay in the lineup despite significant playing time over the last few years.

Eddie Jackson and Bradley Sylve have both started over the last few years, Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey have the talent but haven't earned the experience, and Anthony Averett, Levi Wallace and Jonathan Cook are all vying for playing time prior to two more touted freshmen—Kendall Sheffield and Minkah Fitzpatrick—arriving this summer. It's a crowded field, but it's Tucker's show now, and a fresh set of eyes might be the magic elixir to solving the cornerback blues.

Saban and Smart got a boost this offseason, when inside linebacker Reggie Ragland passed on the chance to jump the NFL in favor of returning for his senior season with the Tide. Next to him, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Dillon Lee and hard-hitter Reuben Foster will all contend for playing time this spring in a crowded linebacker corps.

Outside, Denzel Devall will return in one spot, but he might not be able for spring after he was spotted at Alabama's pro day with a cast on his leg and moving around on a scooter, according to Ryan Anderson and the ultra-explosive sophomore Rashaan Evans will likely compete for playing time if Devall is out, and that experience could prove to be invaluable when toe meets leather this season.

Up front, the Crimson Tide are loaded.

Defensive end Jarran Reed returns after flirting with the NFL, along with ultra-talented running mates D.J. Pettway, Jonathan Allen, Da'Shawn Hand and Dalvin Tomlinson, who all return to give Saban and Smart the option of constantly rotating defensive linemen throughout games. Toss in defensive tackles A'Shawn Robinson in the middle, along with junior college transfer Jonathan Taylor, and the Tide are going to be tough in the trenches. 

Job No. 1 for the big men (and possible Job Nos. 2, 3 and 4) is to stay healthy.


Freshman to Keep an Eye on

It seems like we've been talking about Bo Scarbrough making an impact in Tuscaloosa for a decade, and now—after a long wait—we'll get to see the freshman in action in the crimson and white.

The 6'2", 235-pounder from Tuscaloosa signed with the Tide in the class of 2014, but academic issues delayed his enrollment until January. He practiced with the team during preparation for the Sugar Bowl and turned some heads in the process.

Saban said in December, according to

We think Bo is a multi-talented guy but we look at him as a running back first. He has really a diverse skill level for a big guy, he's a physical guy. He has really good running ability but he also has great receiving skills. He's actually played as much wide receiver as he has running back.

He's joining a backfield that's led by Henry, but also features Drake—who's coming off a gruesome broken leg suffered versus Ole Miss in October—early enrollee DeSherrius Flowers and suspended sophomore Tyren Jones. 

If Scarbrough is as versatile as Saban thought in December, look out for him to make a huge impact in 2015.


Coach Saban's Toughest Task

Fixing the secondary.

Alabama gave up 133 passing plays of 10 or more yards—the worst mark in the SEC in 2014—and finished 11th in the conference in pass defense (226.0 YPG). That has to change.

Sure, a stout front seven will force quarterbacks into mistakes and take a little bit of pressure off of the back end of the defense, but teams know Alabama's weakness and will undoubtedly look to exploit it early and often in 2015.

If the Crimson Tide are going to again contend for the SEC West and national titles, they have to fix their secondary problem. The most potent offense in school history provided a wide margin for error last year, and with nine new starters on that side of the ball, Saban can't count on history repeating itself.


Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

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

Read more College Football news on

Predicting the 10 College Football Teams Most Likely to Regress in 2015

College football is one of the most popular sports in America largely because of its unpredictability. Every fall, contenders emerge from unexpected places and teams pegged for the Top 10 fall out of favor in ugly fashion. Last July, who would’ve predicted Oklahoma and South Carolina’s struggles, coupled with the rises of the likes of TCU and Mississippi State? Nobody. That’s what makes college football great.

It won’t be long before college football preseason preview magazines hit the newsstand, tempting our football-starved souls with glossy print, bold predictions and a $7.95 price tag. We’ll obsess over and consume their predictions, realizing in the back of our minds that they’ll be rendered obsolete following the first week of the season.

We know there’ll be teams who surprise this fall, and teams who disappoint. Which teams will slip in 2015? Here’s a look at 10 teams most likely to regress this fall.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Coaches with Most Job Security

In the high-stakes world of college football, it seems like almost every coach is one bad year away from getting sent packing.

It's not really that drastic a situation, but the reality is that in the FBS ranks, the concept of job security is completely independent of the salary a coach earns.

More than half of the coaches at the FBS level of college football make more than $1 million, with more than two dozen earning north of $3 million. But even with so many coaches earning such enormous paychecks, that doesn't necessary ensure they'll be able to keep their job without producing results.

Which coaches are the safest, in terms of being able to weather a rough season (or two)? Check out our list of the football program leaders with the most job security.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Coordinators Who Should Be Head Coaches Already

The coaching silly season has passed. If you're one of the college football programs fortunate enough to have kept that highly sought assistant, count your lucky stars.

He may not be around for much longer.

Every coordinator on the following list has reportedly received some sort of interest from another program over the past couple of years about becoming a head coach. However, for one reason or another, things didn't work out.

Which coordinators are already qualified to land their first head-coaching jobs? We give some answers in the following slides.

Begin Slideshow

Freshmen Who Could Star Right Away at Tennessee

For the first time in several seasons, the Tennessee Volunteers won't be so dependent on freshmen.

Even though the Vols signed a consensus top-five class (including the fourth-ranked haul on 247Sports' composite rankings), it's difficult to find a handful of surefire first-year players who'll log significant snaps.

While head coach Butch Jones did grab a couple of junior college transfers who will factor into the immediate equation, the Vols are finally in a position to bring a lot of these youngsters along slowly. That will help them developmentally and as a team down the road.

But sometimes you run across players who are simply too talented to keep off the field, and UT has several of those kids on the docket.

Depth concerns are still prevalent at a few other positions, so talented first-year players may be inserted to provide the spark Tennessee needs to be competitive right away.

Regardless, some of this class of prized freshmen will play, and play well. Let's take a look at a few from this recruiting class who will make an immediate impact right away.


Begin Slideshow