NCAA Football News

Ykili Ross to USC: Trojans Land 4-Star WR Prospect

USC has landed coveted recruit Ykili Ross, an athlete capable of playing on either side of the ball as a wide receiver or cornerback. Wherever he ultimately lands, his playmaking ability should help him make an impact for the Trojans.

As Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports indicates, Ross announced he'll be headed to USC for the "next three years":

Ross is a 4-star recruit that's listed with the wide receiver group in 247Sports' composite rankings. He rates inside the top 200 nationally. The outlet's own rankings view him even more favorably, placing him inside the top 90.

Normally when a recruit is able to play on both sides of the ball, one position is noticeably stronger. The other position is more of a fallback plan should things not work out, thus giving the player a chance to reboot their efforts.

In Ross' case, he's showcased serious potential at both wideout and corner. It opens up more possibilities as he gets ready to begin his collegiate career.

Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans are turning a corner. With sanctions in their rearview mirror, they have become a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-12 South once again. Taking back the power in Los Angeles from rival UCLA begins with adding more talented recruits like Ross. 

Eventually he, along with the coaching staff, will have to pick a position for him to focus most of his attention. He sports an impressive combination of size and athleticism that's made him a matchup nightmare at the high school level.

It's that talent that allowed him to get chosen for the Army All-American Bowl, an honor he discussed with Scott Schrader of 247Sports.

"I was blown away when I learned I was being invited to such an incredible game with the best players in the country," Ross said. "It's the biggest bowl game in America and only a select few get this amazing opportunity. And to have all of these people show up and support me made this a day I will never forget. A lot of great players are playing in this game and I can't wait for it to get here."

On offense, he projects as a player who's going to run a lot of intermediate routes that will allow him to use that 6'2'' frame to his advantage. That equates to a lot of looks on third down to move the chains and in the red zone. But he also has enough speed to break a big play.

Defensively, he has the skill set necessary to become an imposing physical corner. Those types of players are really starting to gain traction, especially at the NFL level. So in terms of his future outlook, that probably presents the most upside.

That said, Jamie Uyeyama from SonofaCoach.com is confident he'll succeed on either side of the ball:

Poly High (Riverside) athlete Ykili Ross is going to have to eventually choose between wide receiver or cornerback at the next level. Right now it has to be a toss up as to what he will choose because he is very good at both. All I know is that someone is going to get an excellent football player to come to their school no matter what side of the ball he ends up on.

There will be a learning curve. When a terrific athlete, who's used that natural ability to thrive in high school, is forced to focus on one area, it's a transition. Things like technique and reads will come with time, but the potential is clearly there.

Even if Ross doesn't make an immediate impact, it's a solid signing. The long-term outlook is positive despite there likely being some short-term growing pains along the way.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Stanley Norman to ASU: Sun Devils Land 4-Star ATH Prospect

The Sun Devils added a big piece to their 2015 recruiting class after securing the commitment of 4-star athlete prospect Stanley Norman.

Doug Haller of AZCenrral provided the news of Norman's announcement, which was made on Saturday:

Listed as an athlete who plays both wide receiver and cornerback, Norman ranks 95th on 247Sports' composite rankings for the class of 2015 and is the seventh-best athlete in the country coming out of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California. He ranks No. 15 among all California prospects.

While he will more than likely play defense in college, Coach Todd Graham has some flexibility with how to use his newest commit.

The defense held strong after losing stars Will Sutton and Carl Bradford to the NFL draft after the 2013 season. Now, they'll be looking to build on that success with a lot of returning faces and an influx of new talented players like Norman.

Norman isn't the kind athlete who boasts blinding speed, but he's fast enough to beat opposing secondaries over the top and match up against the opponent's top wideout and not get burnt on the deep routes.

Because of his size (6'0", 180 pounds), Norman is probably best utilized at cornerback. Perhaps if he was more of a pure dynamic athlete, his height wouldn't be as much of a hindrance at wide receiver. However, he'd likely have much more success as an undersized defensive back than he would as an undersized wideout at this stage of his development.

Over the past year and change, Norman's stock has only gone up and up. Back in November 2013, ESPN.com's Erik McKinney (subscription required) labelled him one of the biggest risers among the juniors on Pac-12 schools' radars.

Blair Angulo of ESPN.com listed Norman among 15 prep stars for USC to watch in 2015. About the player, he wrote, "College coaches will be hard-pressed to find a fiercer competitor than Norman, whose on-field exploits earned him the nickname 'Scrappy' from none other than Snoop Dogg."

Throughout the recruiting process, Norman targeted schools from all across the college football hierarchy. He wasn't limiting himself to just the top 10 or 15 teams, either. He told 247Sports' Ryan Bartow that Washington State would be the first school he visited.

When asked where else he was looking, he responded "Arizona, Cal, Oklahoma and the last one is open. I don't know the last one yet. I'm going to leave that one open for a reason."

As you'd expect of a young two-way player, once Norman's position is figured out, he'll need to sharpen his skill set to fit the duties he'll carry out. He has loads of potential, though, and with the specialization he'll receive in Tempe, he should flourish in no time.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Championship 2015: Early Odds Advice for Oregon vs. Ohio State

Nobody really knows what to expect in the 2015 College Football Championship between the Oregon Ducks and Ohio State Buckeyes.

In the span of one day, the SEC and Florida State's reign of terror over the collegiate football landscape evaporated, for better or worse.

Of course, Las Vegas seems to have a strong idea of what will unfold in a game that never would have occurred under the watchful eye of the BCS computers.

Really, though, does anybody want to doubt Urban Meyer's Buckeyes anymore? How about Marcus Mariota and Oregon, a team that continues to laugh in the face of past demons and expectations?

It all adds up to make one hostile betting environment.

 

College Football Playoff National Championship Odds and Schedule

Odds courtesy of Odds Shark and accurate as of 10 a.m. ET on Jan. 3.

 

Preview and Odds Advice

Oregon seems to have the respect of the nation finally.

This is a Ducks team led by one of the most dominant Heisman Trophy winners in history, sure, but there always seemed to be a Stanford, Utah or something else that ruined things.

Not this year.

Oregon lost to Arizona in early October, then went on to beat Stanford, Utah and Oregon State in the Civil War before dissecting Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game, 51-13.

This past weekend, Mariota threw for 338 yards and two scores with another 62 yards and a score as a rusher in a 59-20 mockery of Florida State. The result seems to be a new sense of respect, as ESPN Stats & Info breaks down:

Better late than never, right?

Ohio State knows the feeling. Braxton Miller's injury gave way to J.T. Barrett, who led the Buckeyes to the Big Ten championship with just a single loss and even wound up second on the team in rushing. The strong season produced critical wins over Michigan State, Minnesota and a 59-0 triumph against Wisconsin in the conference title game.

That blowout against the Badgers saw sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones at the helm, though. His 257 yards and three scores lifted the Buckeyes to the CFP, where he then threw for 243 yards and a score in a 42-35 upset of Alabama.

Jones himself used few of his allotted 140 characters after the performance to let the globe know his status going into the title game:

Does Jones have enough to duel with Mariota, though?

A former Heisman winner did not. Credit does go to the underrated Oregon defense for that, as Winston posted a 29-of-45 mark with a touchdown and an interception.

If there is an avenue in which the Buckeyes can exploit the Ducks, it will come on the ground. The Seminoles ran for 180 yards and a score, a great sign for Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, who needed just 20 carries to gain 230 yards and two scores against the vaunted Alabama defense.

All spotlights will go to Mariota, though, and rightfully so. His lone interception against the Seminoles was his first since the beginning of November and just his third of the year.

An interesting game of chess will unfold between the future 2015 first-round pick (should he declare) and the Ohio State defense.

Las Vegas seems confident in its over/under of 74.5, but the Ohio State defense did just control the pace of a contest against Alabama and pick off quarterback Blake Sims three times. Now, the defense could not stop Heisman finalist Amari Cooper (71 yards, two scores), but Oregon does not have a weapon outside of Mariota who compares.

When it comes to the official spread, a full touchdown is a tad much now.

Mariota is due for another big game, but the Ohio State defense continues to prove it is big enough and athletic enough to stifle the run and force mistakes through the air. Elliott's performance against the Alabama defense is a strong signal that he will be able to control the tempo of the game too.

Make no mistake—Oregon is the eventual winner. A player such as Mariota tends to swing things in this manner. Ohio State will hang tough, though, so against the spread, keep the faith in Jones and the Buckeyes.

Prediction: Oregon 36, Ohio State 30

 

Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Devonaire Clarington to Texas: Longhorns Land 4-Star TE Prospect

After years of terrorizing defenders at the high school level, 4-star tight end prospect Devonaire Clarington has announced his commitment to the Texas Longhorns.

Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report noted the announcement, which was made on Saturday at the Army All-American game:

Clarington is the No. 4 tight end in the 2015 class, the No. 22 overall prospect out of Florida and the No. 126 overall prospect in the nation, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He weighs in at 6'5.5", 222 pounds, and will very much be a versatile chess piece for his new coaching staff to utilize on every down.

A recent transfer to perennial powerhouse Booker T. Washington, per Ryan Bartow of 247Sports (who notes that Clarington will also spend time at defensive end), Clarington caught 46 passes for 890 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior (subscription required).

Charlie Strong gets a huge lift as he looks to redefine a Texas program that has been uncharacteristically absent from college football relevancy. 

Clarington fits the ever-changing mold of the position quite well, as he lines up at wide receiver on a regular basis and uses quality speed and great length to take advantage of smaller defenders on what have mostly been deep passes to this point in his career.

With scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee, the recruiting trail for Clarington was intriguing to say the least. While many figured he would stay local and sign with the Miami Hurricanes, the developing tight end took to Twitter to list his final seven, and it came with a few surprises:

One school he was quick to isolate that caught the attention of the nation? Tennessee:

In his new home, the earliest fans may see Clarington is in red-zone packages thanks to his great length and ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point. Until he can add significant bulk and prove to be an effective blocker, though, he will be relegated to certain packages.

As far as other areas of improvement go, he has work to do as a route-runner and when it comes to diagnosing whether the defense is in a zone or man-to-man approach. This will in turn better allow him to pick and choose spots to sit down and haul in passes while his frame boxes out smaller defenders.

The positives certainly outweigh the negatives, though. ESPN (subscription required) puts this best in its summary of his career trajectory:

Clarington is very athletic for his height. Will most likely be an in-line tight end with the ability to flex out and create mismatches in the red zone on linebackers and safeties at the next level. A potentially high level power conference prospect that will need to continue to refine his technique and route running ability.

Any true debate about Clarington's future position is null and void as long as he continues to add plenty of bulk to a frame that seems very functional. .

At this point in his career, the hints of an elite-level tight end in a major conference are certainly present. Clarington is a natural in every sense of the word, and as long as the physical and mental aspects of the game continue to come to him at a steady pace, he will leave a major mark on the program sooner rather later.

 

Note: All recruiting info courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings unless otherwise stated.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida State Fan Loses Bet, Forced to Get 'Crab Leg Friar' Haircut

Here's your reminder to be careful about what you bet on.

A confident Florida State fan and his friend made a bet on the Rose Bowl against the Oregon Ducks, with the loser having to get an awful haircut. The Seminoles fan lost and was required to get what the winner called the "Crab Leg Friar," which you can see in the picture above.

Here's another angle of the terrifically terrible hairstyle.

For reference, here's what the fan looked like before he lost the bet.

[Reddit, h/t Busted Coverage]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star Neville Gallimore Commits to Oklahoma: 'Sky's the Limit' for DT

Neville Gallimore is a 2015, 4-Star DT, as per 247Sports Composite rankings, who has committed to Oklahoma.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder discusses the impact Gallimore can have on the Sooners next season.

How much of an impact can Neville Gallimore have on the Oklahoma defense?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Neville Gallimore to Oklahoma: Sooners Land 4-Star DT Prospect

Oklahoma's defense just got a lot stouter.

Bob Stoops and the Sooners landed defensive tackle prospect Neville Gallimore on Saturday. Brandon Huffman of Scout.com reported the news of the player's announcement, which occurred on Saturday at the Army All-American game:

Gallimore, who hails from the Canada Prep Football Academy in Ontario, is a 4-star recruit per 247Sports’ composite rankings. He rates No. 104 among all recruits nationally and is the No. 13-rated defensive tackle in the entire class of 2015.

The first thing that jumps out about Gallimore is his impressive size. He checks in at 6’3” and 300 pounds and is capable of swallowing up massive holes in the middle of the line, which helps stifle the opposing rushing attack.

Gallimore lines up on the edge for a number of plays each game, but he is probably going to transition to the middle of the defensive line in college based on his size alone. That means his ability to take up space is rather important.

It is more than just his brute strength, though, that will help the Sooners. Gallimore registered a time of 4.72 seconds in the 40 yard dash (per 247Sports), which means he has a downright scary athleticism component to his game. It almost seems unfair for a kid that large and strong to be that athletic as well.

At least that will be the sentiment from plenty of offensive coordinators in the Big 12 for the foreseeable future.

That speed and athleticism helps Gallimore chase down quarterbacks if he breaks through the line and apply constant pressure even when he doesn’t. In 2013, he tallied seven sacks along with 15 tackles for loss. It’s not that unusual to see him shoving one or two offensive linemen into the backfield, and he is more than capable of pursuing ball-carriers in the open field.

Some of the most prestigious programs in the country recruited Gallimore throughout the summer at one point, including Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Oklahoma, Florida State, Oregon and Florida, among others. 

It wasn’t just the schools recruiting him, as Allen Trieu of Scout.com pointed out:

For those wondering about the Canadian angle of this commitment and how well Gallimore will translate in American college football, his high school coach, Geoff McArthur, had an answer, via Tyler James of the South Bend Tribune (subscription required):

Even though we're in Canada, we play a full U.S. schedule. That's help validate his ability. I work really hard to get my kids' information out there, so we can spread the word and make sure that we're doing a good job on our end and working hard for the kids.

Defensive tackles who can also tally sacks are rare in college football. There is so much emphasis on stuffing the middle to take away an alley for read-option plays and draws that coaches often only fixate on the larger bodies who can eat up space. Gallimore is that special talent who can do both and immediately transforms the Sonners' defensive line going forward.

While Oklahoma are typically among the best teams on paper across the country, Gallimore could find a way to earn early playing time as a freshman. Defensive linemen tend to rotate about six to eight deep because of the grueling nature of the position, so Gallimore should have an opportunity to impress right away.

Don’t be surprised when he does.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Fan Phyllis Goes off on Paul Finebaum Show After Sugar Bowl Loss

Alabama Crimson Tide fans were upset after their team fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl, but one fan was downright salty.

Phyllis, a regular caller on The Paul Finebaum Show, went on the air after the Sugar Bowl loss and was pretty heated throughout her call. The show even had an intensity meter to gauge just how loud Phyllis would get.

There's always next year, Alabama fans, and Phyllis wants to make sure everyone knows that the Crimson Tide are still a good football team.

[YouTube, h/t Saturday Down South]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Army All-American Bowl 2015: Commit Tracker and Recruit Highlights

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl annually attracts many of the country's elite college football prospects. The event returns to San Antonio on Saturday, continuing a tradition that has featured eventual NFL stars Andrew Luck, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson. 

The game features a final glimpse at these standouts before they take their talents to the collegiate level and provides conclusions for multiple recruitments. Several key prospects are set to announce commitments during the contest.

Follow along here for live updates on each decision as they occur at the Alamodome.

Begin Slideshow

Army All-American Bowl Roster 2015: Final Look at Teams and Recruits to Watch

Saturday marks a final chance for some of the nation's top college football recruits to leave their mark thanks to the 2015 edition of the Army All-American Bowl.

The roster oozes talent, undecided and committed stars alike. With national signing day right around the corner at the beginning of February, rest assured that many programs and fans worldwide with something at stake will pay close attention Saturday.

Future collegiate and professional athletes do not get together like this often, so the event acts as a good way to be acclimated with the stars of tomorrow.

Before things get underway, below is one last look at the important info surrounding the event.

 

Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

When: Saturday, Jan. 3, at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Live Stream:NBC Live Extra

 

U.S. Army All-American Bowl Roster

Roster courtesy of USArmyAllAmericanBowl.com.

 

Top Recruits in Attendance 

Deon Cain, WR, Clemson

Forget conventional wisdom when it comes to Tampa Bay Tech High School star Deon Cain.

Those who know Cain's career trajectory understand he no longer lines up at center—as he did for most of his career—but at wideout.

The result? A 5-star ranking and status as the No. 3 overall wideout in the 2015 class.

As #ArmyBowl captures, Cain is already hard at work in Texas this week:

At 6'1" and 190 pounds with 4.4 40-yard-dash speed, Cain is by far one of the most explosive players in his class, a fact that will be on emphatic display Saturday for all to see.

The scary part is Cain might not be done with his ascension up the rankings just yet. As perhaps Clemson's next big deep threat, he is just getting started.

 

CeCe Jefferson, DE, Undecided

Baker County Senior High School product and Glen Saint Mary, Florida, native CeCe Jefferson continues to drive his suitors mad in the same way he does offensive linemen.

Jefferson, a 5-star recruit and No. 2 overall strong-side defensive end, does not seem anywhere close to a commitment, as Scout Recruiting points out:

On the field, Jefferson's stature at 6'2" and 275 pounds allows him to generate pressure and gobble up multiple blockers against the rush, which frees up linebackers behind him to go to work.

More so than anything else, though, Jefferson's explosiveness off the snap is something that cannot be taught—nor can his knack for fluidly making his way to opposing signal-callers.

A laundry list of names that includes Ole Miss, Florida, Alabama and Florida State, among others, are on the hunt for his services for good reason.

The nation will see what Jefferson has to offer Saturday, with the only disappointed ones being those he lines up against on the field.

 

Donte Jackson, ATH, Undecided

As far as all-around players go, it is difficult to name one more promising than Riverdale High School star Donte Jackson.

The New Orleans native is only a 4-star recruit and the No. 7 athlete in the 2015 class, but do not tell that to a global audience set to see a show. As Andrew Lopez of The New Orleans Times-Picayune points out, Jackson will do it all Saturday in a performance that will likely see him move up boards:

He's been a lockdown cornerback and when he switches to offense, shows some of the best burst of any of the wide receivers in attendance. I could forsee a game where Jackson makes plays on offense, defense and in the punt return game where he should get a chance to make an impact. Don't be surprised to see Jackson rise in the national recruiting rankings when this week is done.

What might go most underappreciated in the face of notable offensive and special-teams plays is Jackson's strong contributions as a corner. Justin Hopkins of 247Sports provides an example from practice in the week leading up to the game:

With LSU, Georgia, USC and Florida State, among others, hot on his heels, look for Jackson to put on a show—if not steal the whole thing on his own.

For some, translating strong practice performances to the field can be a major hurdle. Saturday will show whether Jackson struggles in this area.

 

Player rankings based on 247Sports' composite ranking system. All recruit measurements and stats courtesy of 247Sports.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Birmingham Bowl 2015: Live Score, Highlights for East Carolina vs. Florida

Florida 21, East Carolina 7 Halftime

As the Florida Gators prepare for the Jim McElwain era and attempt to put Will Muschamp’s tenure in the rearview mirror, the Birmingham Bowl against East Carolina will serve as both a beginning and an end.

Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin will lead UF (6-5) as the interim coach against Ruffin McNeill’s Pirates (8-4) in the game at Legion Field as the team makes the transition.

A victory would ensure another winning season for a proud program not used to being in this position and would serve as a good glue game for the future. A loss would add to the tumult in what has begun as a shaky offseason wherein the Gators are trying to fortify a recruiting class piecemeal and get McElwain’s staff in place.

ECU’s season, on the other hand, tailed off after it started with such promise. A shocking Hail Mary loss in the regular-season finale against Central Florida left a sour taste in the mouths of a large group of seniors. A victory over the Gators would erase that.

It’ll be a clash of styles as the high-powered Pirates meet UF’s staunch defense. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football National Championship 2015: X-Factors to Watch in Title Clash

Think about this for a minute—there is a very real chance college football fans would have been treated to a Florida State vs. Alabama national championship this season under the old BCS system.

Instead, Ohio State proved other teams outside the SEC are allowed to have speed, while Oregon demonstrated what can happen when the Seminoles make too many mistakes against an opponent that isn’t Boston College, North Carolina State or Florida.

Now, we have our inaugural College Football Playoff national title game, and it looks like a traditional Rose Bowl matchup on paper. You have the Buckeyes from the Big Ten as the established, blue-blood brand with Urban Meyer and his two national title rings on one side and the Ducks from the Pac-12, a team that is finally looking to climb over the championship mountaintop, on the other.

The main players in this one became household names during the season and semifinal contests.

Oregon has Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota at the helm of its high-powered offense as the best quarterback in the country and running back Royce Freeman right on his side. Ohio State has budding star Ezekiel Elliott at running back and a battering ram of a quarterback in Cardale Jones.

What about the overlooked factors and players for the title game, though? Assuming the Jan. 12 showdown comes down to the final quarter, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see an overlooked X-factor determine the outcome.

With that in mind, here is a look at a couple of X-factors for the 2015 national championship.

 

Health of Dontre Wilson

Ohio State has received plenty of good news the past day couple of days, and Erik Elken of ABC 22 had some more for the new year:

Speedster Dontre Wilson broke his foot during the season-defining win over Michigan State and has battled back since. There were questions about whether he would play in the Sugar Bowl, which he ultimately didn’t, so now factors such as rust also come into play.

Wilson is one of the most intriguing storylines of the entire national title game—and not just because he has game-breaking speed as another potential weapon for the formidable Buckeyes attack.

The game is in Texas, where Wilson played high school football, and it is also against the school he originally committed to in the recruiting process. However, Chip Kelly left Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Wilson eventually chose Ohio State after visiting Columbus.

Wilson discussed that trip and meeting with Meyer, via Matt Wixon of The Dallas Morning News: “He just acted like I was already going there. He showed me the plays that we’d be running, how I was going to fit in.”

Oregon may be the team in this game known for its innovative offense and no-huddle style of play, but the Buckeyes have a stable of weapons on their side as well. Adding Wilson to a list that already includes Elliott, Michael Thomas, Devin Smith, Jalin Marshall, Curtis Samuel and Evan Spencer, among others, seems almost unfair.

Wilson finished the season with 100 rushing yards, 300 receiving yards and 664 combined punt- and kick-return yards in only nine games.

Oregon’s defense impressed with its ability to force turnovers and step up in the red zone against Florida State and others for most of the season, but it is far from dominant. The Ducks were 50th against the run this season and an alarming 111th in pass defense. If the Buckeyes are going to win this game and the championship, they are going to need a number of contributors to spread the ball against Oregon’s secondary. 

Adding the speedy and versatile Wilson to the mix of weapons may be just what the Buckeyes need to further open things up against Oregon’s defense.

 

Oregon Running Back Thomas Tyner

Oregon running back Thomas Tyner has been an afterthought for the vast majority of the season, but that was the last thing he was in the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

Tyner, not Mariota or Freeman, was the one gashing the Florida State defense on the ground for a game-high 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He boasts incredible speed when trying to get the edge and is strong enough to break through the linebackers and make a play if needed.

Tyner’s campaign derailed a bit when he missed four games with injury, and his season high was only 64 rushing yards in the opener against South Dakota. He only scored four total touchdowns all season before the Rose Bowl, but he shone the brightest on the biggest stage when his team needed someone to step up.

The most important change for Tyner, especially since he had some time to prepare from the Pac-12 Championship Game to the Rose Bowl, is that he is healthy. Like so many Oregon players, Tyner is a blur in the open field with the ball in his hands. 

Ivan Maisel of ESPN seemed a bit surprised by the performance:

Of course, the Buckeyes are going to watch the tape from the Rose Bowl and know where Tyner is on the field. Still, so much attention will be devoted toward stopping the likes of Mariota, Freeman and even wide receiver Darren Carrington or Byron Marshall that Tyner could once again slip through the cracks.

Ohio State is a solid but not spectacular 35th in the country against the run, but it proved vulnerable in the Sugar Bowl when it allowed five yards per carry against Alabama. The opportunity will be there for Tyner to make some plays against this Buckeyes front. 

The only question now is whether he will deliver.

 

Follow me on Twitter:

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Under Armour All-America Game 2015: Recruits Who Made Biggest Impact at Event

The future took center stage Friday at the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game, where Team Highlight took down Team Armour, 46-6.

In the process of the lopsided outcome, tomorrow's collegiate and professional stars stole the show with big performances against the best of the best.

Certain programs and legions of fans also left the proceedings as major winners. Take LSU, for example, which scored a commitment from 5-star wideout Tyron Johnson, as illustrated by ESPN College GameDay:

On the field, a few names took advantage of the spotlight. Observers around the globe will want to become familiar with the recruits, as Friday was only the beginning.

 

Top Performers 

Daylon Mack, DT, Undecided

It should come as no surprise that 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack put on a show Friday.

The Gladewater High School (Texas) product weighs in at 6'0" and 330 pounds, so his ability to stand out among eventual college players seems a given.

Through just two quarters of play, it was apparent that the fourth-rated defensive tackle in the 2015 class was a man among boys, as ESPN's Derek Tyson points out:

Such a speed-size combination rarely comes around, especially at the age of 17. As Rotoworld's Raymond Summerlin muses, Mack is well on his way to the next level given his current trajectory:

Funnily enough, Mack is not ready just yet to reveal where he will even go to college. Texas A&M, TCU and Texas seem to lead the pack, but pushes for his services are likely only to intensify after Friday's epic showing.

 

Byron Cowart, SDE, Undecided

Mack is not alone in his all-star game dominance.

Byron Cowart, a 5-star recruit and No. 1 strong-side defensive end in the 2015 class, is actually Mack's equal in the minds of those who ran the event, as Tyson captures:

The Seffner, Florida, native, who weighs in at 6'4" and 250 pounds, lived up to his incredible hype with sheer athleticism and speed that allowed him to fluster opposing quarterbacks all night long.

Rivals Camp Series captures just one instance:

Like Mack, though, Cowart's eventual destination remains a mystery. He seems to want to stay local as well, hence Florida and Florida State leading the charge over others such as Alabama and Arkansas.

For fans of the sport in general, a glimpse into the future of major-program play with Cowart's performance Friday was quite a treat, regardless of where he ends up.

 

Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State

Florida State’s future looks great.

Deondre Francois, a 4-star quarterback and the No. 4 pro-style passer in the class, took the globe by storm Friday night and surely did enough to jump up the board after entering the game ranked No. 100 overall.

While he did not see a huge amount of action, Francois made an impact, with 103 yards and a touchdown pass, the latter of which drew praise from Tyson:

"I wanted to just come out here and have fun," Francois said, per The Associated Press (via FoxSports.com). "It was nice to get a pass to George because he and I were roommates this week. We tried to set something up."

At 6'1" and 195 pounds with 4.6 40-yard dash speed, Francois continues to do nothing short of improve as he learns the position.

For the Seminoles, Friday was another reassurance that the quarterback position is in good hands down the road.

 

Player rankings based on 247Sports' composite ranking system. All recruit measurements and stats courtesy of 247Sports.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Army All-American Bowl 2015: Top Recruits Announcing Commitments at Game

The social media age has turned every recruit's commitment into a spectacle. Whether via tweet, televised press conference or skywriting, players make their decisions known in the most public of fashions. Hell, even the announcement of the date of the announcement gets coverage.

The Army All-American Bowl provides one of the best platforms. Not only will the nation's best high school players be in action, but many of them will be playing in a nationally televised game for the first time. There's really no better place possible in terms of the number of eyeballs headed your direction.

As such, there has become something of a deluge of scheduled commitments for Saturday's contest. No fewer than five players will take the plunge, and the list could reach double digits by kickoff. That creates something of a chilling effect akin to national signing day. If so many people are announcing at the same time, it takes away from the attention each individual can receive. 

It's a cost-benefit analysis that recruits must run but nonetheless builds excitement around what would otherwise be a shrug-worthy exhibition game. With that in mind, let's check in on some of the highest-profile names who are confirmed to be making their decisions Saturday.

 

S Marvell Tell

The nation's No. 4 safety appears headed for Los Angeles, with USC emerging as a favorite. Tell's Crystal Ball predictions at 247Sports give him a 76 percent chance of becoming a Trojan, with UCLA coming in second at 18 percent. UCLA and USC have long been favorites for the Encino, California, native's services.

Listed at 6'2" and 175 pounds, Tell will need to put on weight before getting on the field, but he has pro-level talent. He is ranked No. 57 on 247Sports' composite rankings and is the ninth-best player in the state of California.

While he doesn't possess elite top-end speed, Tell makes up for it with excellent instincts and strong overall performances against the run and pass. Tell moves decisively and with intelligence, particularly when stopping the run. He is a little less polished against the pass, particularly when it comes to creating turnovers.

But those are things that can be taught. Tell has all the physical tools necessary to be a star wherever he goes. If he doesn't develop into at least a two-year starter, it'll be a pretty big surprise.

 

ATH Stanley Norman

Another guy who needs bulk to expect any long-term success, Norman is listed at 180 pounds but looks smaller in uniform. He's also a guy who put on a good deal of extra weight over the last year, which could mean his frame is finally starting to fill out.

If that's the case, he'll be a pretty significant addition to his next stop. Norman is an excellent all-around athlete who will move to cornerback or wide receiver full time in 2015, changing a bit of how we evaluate his talent. As a wideout, the frame and general size issues may be more important. As a cornerback, he might be able to start as a freshman.

Norman is a threat to make big plays any time he's near the ball, using his quickness to jump routes on defense and to make gains after the catch on offense. It's possible he could play both sides of the ball. Odds are he'll probably start out on defense given that's where he's more polished and where he could get on the field faster.

Norman's recruitment is a bit up in the air, with UCLA and Arizona State standing out as the early favorites. The Sun Devils and Bruins are tied at 44 percent on his 247Sports Crystal Ball meter. USC and Louisville are relative dark horses at six percent.

Looking deeper, it appears Arizona State has an edge. Seven of the last eight analysts to make their predictions have given the nod to the Sun Devils.

 

DT Neville Gallimore

We're down to a two-horse race for Gallimore, who will choose between Oklahoma and Ohio State on Saturday. 247Sports' Crystal Ball currently gives the Sooners an edge at 63 percent. The Buckeyes are second at 37 percent, and there are only two teams listed as potential options. Florida State had been in the running but appears to have dropped out.

The best word to describe Gallimore is "beast." Listed at 6'3" and 300 pounds, Gallimore already brings a pro-ready body and is one of the class' best defensive linemen off the ball. He's gone a little underappreciated through the process because he's Canadian—only three players from Ontario even have 247Sports pages—but could become an instant contributor.

That said, Gallimore is a bit raw in terms of his technique and has played against subpar opponents for most of his career. He's lightning quick whenever the ball is snapped but tends to get a little lost in the shuffle when his initial burst doesn't create headway.

Developing more consistent fundamentals will be key, as will working with more intensity. It wouldn't be fair to call him lazy, but he can rest on his physicality at points. Whenever he learns to meld his physicality with consistent technique and effort, he'll be something special.

It'll be interesting to see if his coaching staff forces a redshirt year for those purposes.

 

Among others expected to make their announcements: WR Lawrence Cager, TE Devonaire Clarington, DE Kyle Phillips.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon vs. Ohio State: TV Info, Preview for College Football Championship 2015

After a long, wonderful season of college football, the biggest stage is finally set.

Oregon will take on Ohio State in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 12 after both teams won their semifinal matchups in the inaugural College Football Playoff. It should be a momentous game unlike any other in college football's illustrious history.

"I think it’s good for college football. Once again, we’re part of history. And we also don’t want to swing and miss," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said, via Grantland's Charles P. Pierce.

Oregon capped defending national champion Florida State's epic winning streak at 29 games Thursday at the Rose Bowl, riding a late scoring surge to a thrilling, convincing 59-20 victory.

Later that evening, Ohio State bested Nick Saban's Alabama squad in the Sugar Bowl, 45-32, behind the miraculous play of quarterback Cardale Jones—a third-stringer in principle only, as he would start for a vast majority of college programs—and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

It's a bold step in a new direction for NCAA football, and there couldn't be two better participants for this novel edition of the college football championship, set to take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Meyer is quite possibly the best coach in college football today, while Oregon's been one of the premier programs in the nation over the past half-decade and features this year's Heisman Trophy winner in Marcus Mariota. 

Here is the date, time and key viewing info for the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship, followed by a quick preview of this historic clash.

 

College Football Playoff National Championship 2015: Schedule, TV Info

Date: Jan. 12

Time (ET): 8:30 p.m.

Matchup: Oregon vs. Ohio State

Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

TV Info: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN

 

Championship Preview

This is a national championship game with an extra layer or two of legitimacy thanks to the new format.

The word "bowl" has been scrubbed from the proceedings, there's no BCS computer in a dark room absorbing controversial results and spitting out data in favor of even more controversial potential champions and the semifinal buildup was a rousing television success, lending credence to the new format.

In fact, the semifinals were such a brilliant display of the new format, the games convinced Pierce of the overriding business interests that may soon make this four-team format a relatively short-lived experiment:

But there is no question that the idea of a playoff has triumphed among the players themselves. They already sound like basketball players who are between the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. (And if you think the field is going to stay at four teams, I have a used Mercedes-Benz Superdome I’d like to sell you.) The old days of one, two, heck many national champions and an offseason full of entertaining, if unhinged, acrimony are long gone already. The players and the coaches already talk differently, as if there is something more substantial on the line than the top spot in the last AP poll. 

Really, it's almost impossible not to get wrapped up in the moment, especially considering the talent of the two teams involved.

Just look at Meyer's endearingly transparent reaction upon hearing just how badly his next opponent whooped the defending national champions in the Rose Bowl, via SportsCenter: 

Sure, some probably felt that TCU deserved to be in the playoff over the Buckeyes, but who other than perhaps Baylor's Shawn Oakman wants to argue with a team that hung a 42-spot on the Crimson Tide's sixth-ranked scoring defense?

Meyer's up-tempo, no-huddle offense caused 'Bama fits at times. It's certainly tempting to credit Jones' success to this relentless system—Thursday night was only the sophomore's second career start—but it should be said that just about any championship-caliber defense would have trouble dealing with a quarterback boasting the athletic frame of Cam Newton and the arm strength of Byron Leftwich.

SB Nation's Spencer Hall is clearly a fan of Jones' running ability:

Key to Oregon's chances in this one will be slowing down the instantly famous Jones-to-Devin Smith long-distance connection. Smith reeled in three long touchdowns from Jones against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game and left the Sugar Bowl with another highlight to add to the reel, as SportsCenter can attest:

Jones' atomic arm is a dangerous weapon, and Smith has the launch codes.

Oregon's secondary did well to make up for the absence of star cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who is out for the season, against Jameis Winston and Co. in the Rose Bowl; the team will need another standout performance if it is to win it all on Jan. 12.

The Ducks front seven won't be without its challenges, especially when it comes to containing Sugar Bowl MVP Elliott, who carried the ball 20 times for 230 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference-maker in the game.

The Seminoles' Dalvin Cook averaged 6.9 yards per carry against Oregon on Thursday; if the Ducks can't slow down the rushing attack, they could be in trouble.

Clearly, Ohio State has a penchant for big plays on offense. It's too bad the Buckeyes defense has to face the Ducks, who know a thing or two about putting together an equalizing touchdown drive in blitzkrieg fashion.

Oregon's first two touchdown drives against the Seminoles were a combined 19 plays that took just five minutes and 11 seconds off the clock. Their first two scoring drives of the third quarter? Ten plays in just under three minutes. 

Mariota accounted for three touchdown in the semifinal (two passing, one rushing). He was superb in the second half of that game and should have little to no trouble splitting Ohio State's defense at the seams and engineering a handful of scoring drives.

Ducks offensive coordinator Scott Frost never lost faith in his star signal-caller.

"He's such a special player that eventually he's going to make plays," Frost said, via USA Today's Paul Myerberg. "He missed one or two, but he made his fair share too."

Mariota did seem a bit rattled early on, throwing just his third interception of the season in the first half of the game. By comparison, Ohio State picked off Alabama pivot Blake Sims three times in the Sugar Bowl. Mariota won't be that guy in the title game.

Besides, his defense should be strong enough to make up for an errant throw or two in the title game. The Ducks forced five turnovers against Florida State. Jones is human too, right? 

Buckeyes defensive end Joey Bosa will be one to watch against the Ducks' suspect offensive line, but expect a strong rushing attack led by Thomas Tyner and Royce Freeman to counteract an overeager pass rush. Tyner missed the Civil War game against Oregon State and the Pac-12 title win over Arizona, but ESPN Stats & Info points out he's been hot when able to play:

If there is a way to separate these two high-flying teams, it's coaching. Meyer's had success everywhere he goes—Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and now Ohio State—and is 8-2 in bowl games with two national championships to his credit.

Oregon seamlessly transitioned from Chip Kelly to Mark Helfrich as head coach in 2013, but the head honcho in Eugene can't hold a candle to Meyer's sterling big-game resume, although he is 2-0 in bowl games himself.

Adjustments will be key in this one as Oregon feels out what Jones offers on the day and the Buckeyes essentially play gridiron whack-a-mole against the litany of Nike-clad Ducks who can pop up for a big play at any given moment. It's tough to say if coaching experience will win out in this one, but it's definitely going to be worth tuning in to find out.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Army All-American Bowl Roster 2015: Breaking Down Top Recruits in Marquee Game

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is a fantastic showcase for some of the best college football recruits in the country, and the 2015 edition will feature some incredible talents on both sides of the ball.

While some of those competing in the game have already committed to programs for the 2015 season, others will use the game as a platform to make their decision. That is an added wrinkle that makes the bowl even more entertaining than it already is from a gameplay perspective.

Along with a full rundown of the East and West rosters for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, here is a closer look at the players who will make the biggest impacts.

 

Players to Watch

Martez Ivey

While offensive linemen don't always receive as much attention as skill-position players, that isn't the case when it comes to tackle Martez Ivey.

Ivey is the No. 1-ranked 2015 recruit by 247Sports, and he has yet to decide where he will attend school. He was initially supposed to make that announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but that is no longer the case, per Allen Trieu of Scout.com:

The bowl gives Ivey one more opportunity to show teams what he can do although it is already quite obvious that any program in the country would love to have him.

According to Jamie Newberg of Scout.com, he is the state of Florida's top recruit—if not the very best in the entire nation:

With that in mind, the University of Florida is naturally in the running to land him, per 247Sports.

Ivey is a physical specimen at 6'6" and 270 pounds, and he will have a chance to test himself against some of the very best pass-rushers in the nation.

He is going to be a prized recruit for whichever program ultimately secures him, but the U.S. Army All-American Bowl will say a lot about what can be expected of him next season.

 

Trenton Thompson

Perhaps the best prospect playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl who has already made a college choice is defensive tackle Trenton Thompson.

According to 247Sports, he is the No. 2 recruit in the nation and has committed to playing for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2015 and beyond.

Per ESPN.com's Gerry Hamilton, the Albany, Georgia, native is thrilled about the opportunity to suit up for the Dawgs.

Georgia, they were my first offer. They were the first coaches that came down to see me and showed me the most love. Georgia has great coaches, and I have good relationships with them. The fan base has also showed a lot of love, and I also think that in the classroom Georgia can help me be the best student I can be.

It remains to be seen how Thompson will perform in the All-American Bowl, but Jason Howell of Rivals.com has already been impressed with his work in drills:

Thompson was a dominant force at Westover High School at 6'4" and 292 pounds, and one can only assume that he will have his way with the opposition in Saturday's game.

Even though Thompson doesn't necessarily need to impress anyone after already committing to Georgia, he has a chance to increase the substantial hype surrounding him even more.

 

CeCe Jefferson

Pass-rushers are always at a premium at every level of football, and CeCe Jefferson is undoubtedly one of the best in the class of 2015.

He is ranked as the No. 5 overall player and No. 2 defensive end by 247Sports, and he is still mulling over potential colleges.

While nothing is official, Barton Simmons of 247Sports is reporting that the Floridian is leaning toward Ole Miss currently:

Landing him would be a major coup for the Rebels, especially since another stud defensive lineman in Robert Nkemdiche is already on the team.

As pointed out by Rusty Mansell of 247Sports, Ole Miss and every other program will get a good look at just how prepared Jefferson is when he goes up against Ivey in the All-American Bowl:

Jefferson and Ivey could battle each other for years depending upon where each of them end up going to school, and there is no doubt that they will be the spotlighted matchup of Saturday's game.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Championship 2015: Top Early Storylines for Oregon vs. Ohio St.

In a season where the inaugural College Football Playoff created an entirely different atmosphere, it's only fitting that the semifinal results have overturned the long-established hegemonies from the BCS era.  With Oregon and Ohio State, fans will get to see the perennial bridesmaid face off against a powerhouse that has suddenly taken the underdog role.

It seems probable that, if the BCS were still in existence, Alabama and Florida State would have met for the national title, so the playoff has already validated its purpose and worthiness.  The championship game will simply serve as the cherry on top, pitting two of the nation's most complete teams that likely would never have gotten their shot in the BCS era.

Though Oregon has opened up as a considerable favorite, the Buckeyes possess the type of front seven talent and rushing game that could stymie the Ducks.  Third-stringer Cardale Jones has now come through on two massive stages, seemingly answering whatever questions may still exist at the quarterback position.

The quarterback battle is just one angle to this game, as there are several fascinating subplots.  With the semifinals in the rear-view mirror, here are the storylines that have emerged as the most intriguing in the lead-up to Arlington on Jan. 12.

 

The QB Battle

In terms of recognition, a massive chasm exists between consensus Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and the callow Cardale Jones.  Mariota and Jones do possess some stylistic similarities, as both are dual-threats who force defenses to use spy defenders, thus creating throwing lanes.

However, that's where the similarities largely end.  The 6'5", 250-pound Jones is bigger than many NFL linebackers, and his "12-gauge" nickname embodies the cannon arm that has opened up Ohio State's vertical passing game.  Though presumptive first overall pick Mariota has received lots of scouting love, Jones is starting to generate some hype himself:

Conversely, the Oregon offense is predicated on packaged plays that create defined short to intermediate reads for Mariota.  While he does have the arm strength to gun one down the seams, and the speed to punish defenses with option keepers, the Ducks offense hums best when Mariota gets his playmakers the ball in space:

Thus, we should see a fascinating contrast between Oregon's up-tempo high-percentage passing game and the explosive big-play bombs from Jones and the Buckeyes.  The opposing defenses can't simply scheme around these passing tendencies because of the mobility both quarterbacks provide, making for significant headaches on both sides.

 

Oregon Running Game vs. OSU D-Line

Mariota is a significant component of the Ducks' rushing attack as well.  But Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner are the headliners of the ground game, as Oregon just compiled an absurd 301 rushing yards against a rangy and uber-athletic Florida State defense.  However, Ohio State has the same level of athletes as the Seminoles, and it should provide much tougher sledding.

The defensive line trio of Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett and Adolphus Washington is arguably the best in the nation, and they're backed up by a strong linebacker unit that includes Darren Lee (two sacks and three TFL vs. Alabama).  Excluding a 25-yard Derrick Henry touchdown scamper, the Buckeyes held the Crimson Tide to 4.4 yards per carry, well below their 5.1 season average or Oregon's 5.5 average.

Oregon's running game has been incredibly prolific this season, but stopping them isn't unprecedented.  Arizona held the Ducks to 3.5 yards per carry in their October upset at Eugene, while Washington State held them to 4.1 per attempt in a seesaw contest they ended up losing 38-31.

Conversely, Ohio State hasn't faced a spread up-tempo attack like Oregon's this season, and as the Seminoles illustrated, the results can be catastrophic when a defense is clearly shell-shocked.  This is likely the game's most important matchup, as the underdog Buckeyes must demonstrate better containment and assignment discipline than Florida State did to have a chance at the upset.

 

The Turnover Battle

In addition, the most prominent disparity between these teams relates to turnovers.  Ohio State's plus-10 turnover margin ranks 15th in the country, but they also had three turnovers against the Tide.  Oregon has given away the ball just 10 times and possesses a plus-20 turnover margin, both of which are the best marks in the nation.

Otherwise, both offenses are extremely balanced.  According to Football Outsiders' FEI-plus ratings, Oregon and Ohio State boasted the second- and fourth-best offenses in the country during the regular season.  They're extremely balanced, as both averaged over 5.5 yards per carry and 9.0 yards per attempt.  Quite simply, it doesn't appear as if either can be stopped on a per-play basis.

Thus, big plays look like the best hope for both defenses.  Ohio State actually forced more turnovers than Oregon (32 to 30), as only three teams exceeded the Buckeyes' 24 interceptions on the season.  This is a significant strength-on-strength matchup, as these were the two playoff teams to have a positive turnover differential.  

As the Seminoles learned, the combination of a sudden possession change and Oregon's lightning-fast offense can snowball into disaster very quickly.  Of course, a pick-six also propelled the Buckeyes' upset over Alabama.  With the talent margin so thin, the team that wins this battle will hold a substantial edge.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Army All-American Bowl 2015: TV Info and Top Recruits to Watch in Showcase Game

New Year's Day may have been a significant day for college football, but January 3 will be no less important. On Saturday, myriad top prospects from around the country will compete in the Army All-American Bowl.

Among those top prospects, Martez Ivey is the biggest name, as the No. 1 player in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Several other top offensive linemen will be in attendance, including Clemson commit Mitch Hyatt and future USC tackle Chuma Edoga.

Many of the top defensive players like Trent Thompson and Kahlil McKenzie will also be on the field to test the linemen. Before the game officially kicks off, here's a look at the TV info and best recruits in the showcase game.

 

Game Information

Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

When: Saturday, Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra

 

Top Recruits

Any discussion about the top prospects in the country begins with Ivey, a physically imposing offensive lineman. Though it initially appeared he would be announcing his decision on his commitment at the Army All-American Bowl, he has decided to move the plans back.

Ivey made the news official with Blake Alderman of Rivals.com earlier this week:

Rather than announcing his decision during the game, Ivey gets a chance to prove that he's still the No. 1 player in the country. The showcase bowl gives him the spotlight in front of a national audience—similar to what he will have at a Division I college.

Even with the delay for Ivey, many still believe he will ultimately wind up with Florida. Kevin Flaherty of 247Sports offered his take on Ivey's eventual decision:

So where is Ivey going to play his college ball? It appears the answer to that question lies in Gainesville, Fla. The Gators have long been a favorite of Ivey’s, and his 247Sports Crystal Ball reflects that, with 80 percent of his 59 predictions going the Gators’ way. ...

It also appears that the firing of Will Muschamp hasn’t affected Ivey’s process that much — of the five Crystal Ball picks made after Muschamp’s dismissal, four have him headed to Florida. That’s still 80 percent.

One prospect potentially opposing Ivey will be CeCe Jefferson, who is also still uncommitted. A 6'2", 275-pound prospect, Jefferson still has a wide-ranging list of programs he's shown interest in.

The 2015 recruit is listed with a nine in the closing speed, athleticism and pursuit categories. Heading into the game on Saturday, Barton Simmons of 247Sports also notes which SEC team is at the top of his list:

Along with the big men in the trenches, several skill position players will also be showing out during the huge game. One of those top prospects is Devonaire Clarington, a 4-Star tight end with several teams still on his list.

Unlike Ivey, Clarington has announced he will make his commitment official on Saturday:

The crop of prospects runs deep in the Army All-American Bowl and the importance can't be overstated. Each program looking to build toward the future will be hoping to hear its name called by one of these talented players in San Antonio.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

GoDaddy Bowl 2015: Toledo vs. Arkansas State TV Info, Spread, Time and More

Admittedly, this just doesn’t feel right.

College football fans witnessed two incredible playoff games on Jan. 1 and four other New Year’s Six bowls between some of the best and most high-profile teams in the country. The fact that Toledo and Arkansas State square off Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN isn’t really fair for two teams who deserve to be in the spotlight a bit more.

Had this game been slotted before the playoff games, like most of the smaller bowls, as something of an appetizer, it may have elicited more attention. Still, college football fans who tune in will witness a clash between two relatively evenly matched squads in a game that could come down to the final minutes.

Here is a look at the essential information for the contest.

 

2015 GoDaddy Bowl

Matchup: Toledo vs. Arkansas State

Date: Sunday, Jan. 4

Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN 

Spread: Toledo -3.5 (via Odds Shark, as of Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET)

 

Preview/Prediction

If there is one team in the country that should be confident heading to the GoDaddy Bowl, it is Arkansas State. The Red Wolves have won the past two games here and are looking for a third straight GoDaddy Bowl championship with a win over Toledo.

If they are going to accomplish that, they will have to find a way to stop dynamic running back Kareem Hunt, who eclipsed the 100-yard barrier in every game he played this year. He was third in the country with an average of 151.1 rushing yards per game and found the end zone on the ground 11 times in nine contests.

Throw in quarterback Logan Woodside’s 2,087 passing yards, and Toledo has a lot working in its favor on offense.

Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson discussed the matchup, per STATS LLC, via ESPN.com: "Toledo has an outstanding football team. There's no doubt that it will be a huge challenge for our defense. Offensively, we've got to keep them off the field. So both sides have to work together, and we know we're up against a good challenge." 

Toledo was 17th in the nation in rushing yards per game behind Hunt and Terry Swanson, who added 732 yards of his own, and it finished 30th in the nation in scoring. It will look to push the tempo early and often, especially against an Arkansas State defense that was an abysmal 93rd in the country against the run.

This just isn’t a favorable matchup for the Red Wolves defense that allowed 37, 45 and 35 points in the last three games.

Mike Herndon of AL.com talked about Hunt’s meaning to the Toledo program and his overall season:

Hunt's signing has proven to be a bonanza for the Rockets. With what Campbell describes as a "unique" blend of power and quickness, Hunt topped the 100-yard mark in every game he played this season, including a season-high of 265 in a 27-20 win over Bowling Green on Nov. 19. He's rushed for 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Rockets (8-4) despite missing three games with a high ankle sprain, and his 151.1 yards per game place him third in the Football Bowl Subdivision behind only All-American's Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin and Tevin Coleman of Indiana.

If Arkansas State hopes to win against Hunt and company, it will have to outscore Toledo with its offense.

The Red Wolves were 22nd in the country in scoring offense and put up at least 27 points in every game since September. The rushing attack finished 24th in the nation thanks to running back Michael Gordon and dual-threat quarterback Fredi Knighten.

Gordon tallied 1,064 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, while Knighten added 775 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns to go with his 2,874 passing yards and 19 touchdown tosses.

Toledo will counter with a defense that allowed more than 20 points in only one of the last four games.

Still, nobody is going to mistake the Toledo defense that finished 86th in the country in points allowed per game for the Legion of Boom of the Seattle Seahawks, but it at least played well down the stretch. In this matchup of two dynamic offenses against vulnerable defenses, that could be enough to garner a critical stop or two in the fourth quarter.

That may be all the Rockets need to come away with a victory, especially with Hunt controlling the clock against Arkansas State’s porous run defense. Look for a Toledo win in an exciting back-and-forth shootout. 

Prediction: Toledo 38, Arkansas State 34

 

Follow me on Twitter:

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Under Armour All-American Game 2015: Most Impressive Recruits in Showcase

In an All-Star game, making yourself look good is more important than the final score.

The Under Armour All-American Game saw Team Highlight come through with a dominant victory over Team Armour with a score of 46-6. Still, the true story of the game is the individual performances of some key players.

This showcase featured plenty of high-profile players on both teams like defensive linemen Terry Beckner Jr. and Byron Cowart, quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Brandon Wimbush or skill players like Calvin Ridley and George Campbell. However, a few lesser-known players showcased their ability in this showdown.

 

Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State

Although he didn't have the biggest impact in the game, Deondre Francois might have turned the most heads with his performance.

In a game with plenty of talent at quarterback, the Florida State commit had some of the best throws on a great drive in the first half. Derek Tyson of ESPN liked what he saw on a throw to Francois' future teammate:

After throwing a touchdown pass to Garrett Williams, Mike Farrell of Rivals.com was impressed:

According to 247 Sports, Francois is the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the 2015 class. However, this performance showed that he is much more upside than most were expecting.

If he can continue to improve, Seminoles fans will quickly be able to forget about Jameis Winston.

 

Ronald Jones, RB, USC

It was a big day for running back Ronald Jones, who started the game by committing to USC on national television:

He then gave Trojans fans a lot to be excited about with a 58-yard touchdown that showcased his burst and ability to turn up the field. Adam Friedman of Rivals.com noted the strong play:

This was by far the best play of the day for Jones, but the type of talent his showed means that big moments like this could happen at any time. USC has lacked a dynamic running back at this level in recent years, but this is someone who can make a big difference on offense and special teams.

With good size (6'0", 185 lbs.) and speed, Jones could be one of the top true freshmen in the nation next season.

 

Daylon Mack, DT, Undecided

Christian Wilkins might have had the biggest play for a defensive lineman with a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. However, the best defensive player of the game was clearly Daylon Mack.

The defensive tackle was in the offensive backfield virtually the entire game, getting tackles for loss all day while disrupting plays where he didn't make the tackle.

Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee had a short reaction while watching him play:

Meanwhile, Raymond Summerlin of Rotoworld sees a bright future for the young player:

The Texas native appears to be staying local with his college choices, considering Texas A&M, TCU and Texas, according to 247 Sports. No matter where he lands, he should be able to make an impact early in his college career.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages