NCAA Football News

Nebraska Football: Mike Riley Steps Up Big in Final Recruiting Weekend

It was another big weekend for Nebraska head coach Mike Riley and his staff. As the Huskers prepare for national signing day, this was exactly what the 2015 class needed.

Going up against new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, Riley was faced with the very real possibility that Nebraska could lose three commits to the Wolverines. The Huskers already lost one in defensive end Reuben Jones, who originally committed to Nebraska last November. On Jan. 24, he chose Harbaugh instead.

The Huskers could have lost both defensive end DaiShon Neal and tight end Matt Snyder in similar fashion. Harbaugh and Michigan were making a strong case for both; they even sent a letter of 42 reasons to attend Michigan to Snyder.

Riley's staff didn't back down, though. Instead, the Huskers stepped in and won those recruiting battles.

Reaffirming commitments from players Harbaugh wanted wasn't Riley's only victory this weekend. He and his staff also secured new commits who can fill the void at important positions.

Who are those commits? They are defensive end Alex Davis, linebacker Antonio Reed, wide receiver Lavan Alston and long snapper Jordan Ober, per Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star.

Considering Nebraska has needed to fill specific spots at defensive end and linebacker, it couldn't have worked out much better. It's also clear, per Mike Schaefer of Huskers Illustrated, that Riley and his staff did not downplay what they can do for recruits like Alston.

“I feel the three heads involved in that—the offensive coordinator coach Danny Langsdorf, coach Mike Riley and coach Keith [Wiliams]—are all involved in that individually,” Alston told Schaefer. “I think I’m a perfect fit for this offense. They know how to put athletes in space. They can get their athletes the ball. They know how to run. I think we’re going to do great things here."

That wasn't all that sold Alston on Nebraska; his decision had a lot to do with the coaches themselves.

"I love all those coaches, man. They're very genuine, they're very real," Alston said, per Christopherson. "They all have knowledge for years. I can learn a lot from them."

Alston wasn't the only recruit that felt this way.

"I had an idea of what Nebraska had to offer, but the final step to me was getting a chance to talk to these coaches," Davis said, per Christopherson. "Once I did that, it was very good."

And the weekend's hard work has paid off in more ways than one. The Huskers jumped four spots to No. 30, according to 247Sports' Composite Team Rankings. Nebraska also moved up to No. 4 in the Big Ten rankings.

The final weekend before national signing day could have taken any turn. For Riley and his staff, it was as good a return as Husker fans could have hoped for: The 2015 class now boasts four early enrollees and 16 hard commits.

It was clear by the time the weekend ended that Riley's staff was pleased with the results. They took to Twitter to express just that:

Riley and his staff should be pleased. The weekend put Nebraska in a good position come national signing day with players who can make immediate impacts at key positions, like Alston at wide receiver and Davis at defensive end.

With a little time left, there's still the potential for Riley to snag a few more players. Regardless, his staff made sure that the final weekend to recruit was a solid one.

It was exactly what the Huskers needed.


Rankings and player information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — National signing day is right around the corner, and Notre Dame football is putting the finishing touches on its class of 2015.

The Irish currently have a 22-member class, including the four early enrollees already taking classes and participating in workouts in South Bend.

The expectation is for those 18 players to sign their national letters of intent with the Irish on Wednesday. Between them and other potential pledges, let’s predict the entire group of players who could sign with Notre Dame.

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Devonte Fields Will Be Incredibly Dangerous with 2nd Chance at Louisville

Potential was never an issue for former TCU defensive end Devonte Fields. People believed in him. They still do. 

This was a player voted as the 2014 Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year by the media—after he played in only three games in 2013 because of injury. Preseason awards are always hype-driven, but that instance was especially obvious. 

This is also a player that has had one exceptional season at the highest level in college football in three years. 

However, Fields will have another chance to realize his potential at Louisville, where he's expected to sign this week on national signing day. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining. 

This is a marriage that could have two outstanding years ahead of it. Football—life, really—is full of second (and third, and fourth) chances for talented people. And Fields is undeniably gifted. 

When Fields is playing, he's a force. Fields recorded 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks as a true freshman in 2012 and was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Newcomer of the Year. Last season at Trinity Valley, Fields had 61 tackles and 6.5 sacks. 

Fields should fit right in with Louisville's defensive front seven, which loses edge-rushers Lorenzo Mauldin and Deiontrez Mount. Both were seniors, according to Combined, Mauldin and Mount had 11.5 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss. 

But production wasn't limited to just those two. Under Grantham, Louisville finished third in the ACC with 3.15 sacks per game and fifth in tackles for loss. Four different players finished with at least 10 tackles for loss and three sacks. 

Now, the Cardinals have a dynamic playmaker in Fields who will only make the defense's pass rush more formidable. 

This could also be a good personality fit for Fields. Petrino and Grantham are both intense guys. Petrino specifically is notoriously strict in how he runs his program. That kind of atmosphere might be what Fields needs to maximize his ability, both on and off the field. 

Fields and Louisville both have caught grief for the decision. The program has developed a reputation, fair or not, as the landing spot for troubled players—notably Auburn's Michael Dyer.

Bringing in Fields is the classic high-risk, high-reward scenario. Certainly, the off-the-field issues are noteworthy. Fields was dismissed from TCU in 2014 following allegations that he assaulted his ex-girlfriend. Fields was also suspended for two games in 2013 for a "violation of university and team policy." 

Eric Crawford of explains the messages that Louisville is sending by bringing on Fields: 

I don't know Fields. He might be personable and great to be around. He might be a misguided kid who got into a bad situation and made a horrible decision in a moment of anger. I'm sure there will be a defense of signing him, and it will sound reasonable, and many people will accept it.

Here's what I accept.

There are two kinds of football programs: Those who stand against domestic violence, and those who help perpetuate the problem by being part of the safety net, the net that says no matter what you do, someone, somewhere will give you another chance, if you have enough football potential.

But Fields, Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham can't, and won't, take that criticism too personally. Petrino and Grantham, in theory, should have a better grasp on Fields than anyone. 

To Fields' credit, he kept a low profile in his brief stint in junior college. That should give Petrino confidence that Fields has turned things around and will continue to keep his nose clean. It also should help Fields' draft stock down the road. 

"My [stock] is probably down since the Ray Rice situation," Fields told Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated in September. "It probably dropped me a little bit.”"

A year at Louisville should change that. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All stats courtesy of

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National Signing Day 2015: Rumors and Predictions for Coveted Football Recruits

Many of the top recruits in the class of 2015 have already made their college selections. There are still some high-profile prospects who continue to weigh their options ahead of national signing day, however, which leaves plenty of intrigue.

Every year is different. Sometimes a couple of early commitments turn the tide in favor of a particular program while other years it's more like mass chaos. When the latter occurs, it's hard to get a read on the rankings until the dust finally settles.

All told, it creates one of the most unique days on the sports calendar. So let's check out some of the most talented recruits still in the decision-making process and examine some of the latest talk about where they may land on national signing day.


Byron Cowart (DE)

Byron Cowart has all of the tools coaches look for in a defensive end. He pairs good size and athleticism with terrific instincts and an explosive first step. He'll benefit from further technique coaching to add more moves to his repertoire, but the raw tools are tremendous.

He's a top-five prospect based on 247Sports' composite rankings. Thus, it doesn't come as much of a surprise his recruiting became a bit hectic down the stretch. He explained to Safid Deen of the Tallahassee Democrat that he was trying to get away from the hoopla toward the end: "In text messages with the Tallahassee Democrat on Tuesday, Cowart said he's 'just trying to get away from recruiting'—a statement he's echoed in recent weeks as his recruitment has become one of the most intriguing sagas for players in the Class of 2015."

That's not uncommon, of course. Being wanted is the fun part of the recruiting process, but when it comes time to make a final decision and the pressure level rises, it can be difficult. Cowart just wanted a chance to consider his numerous options.

247Sports lists Florida and Auburn as the clear front-runners. From there, it's a virtual toss-up. The Gators have been a heavy presence throughout the process, but with Will Muschamp helping to put together a strong defensive class for the Tigers, they get the slight edge.

Prediction: Auburn


Martez Ivey (OT)

It's hard to find any flaws with Martez Ivey. He possesses the size and the power to dominate in pass protection without sacrificing the quickness necessary to get to the second level while run blocking. He's extremely far along in his development for an incoming freshman.

The 247Sports composite rankings agree with the bullish outlook. He has a nearly perfect grade and checks in as the No. 2 recruit in the class. Justin Hokanson of Auburn Undercover believes the Tigers are the favorite over Florida after the tackle delayed his decision:

After all of these developments, one source that spent some time with Ivey at the Army Bowl thought it would be Auburn in the end, citing Ivey's teammate in Chandler Cox, saying he believed the blue-chipper would go play with his 'brother.' At the Top Gun camp this summer in Dublin, Ohio, players that hung out with Ivey thought it would be the Tigers in the end.

This is an example of the phenomenon mentioned previously. Cowart and Ivey are both considering the same schools. If they make the same decision, it could swing the momentum firmly in favor of either Auburn or Florida.

That said, there have been no definitive indications the big names still available are all leaning the same way. So, even with the late surge from Auburn, Florida continues to hold the top spot here. It would be a massive addition for the Gators, who can probably offer him a quicker route to playing time.

Prediction: Florida


CeCe Jefferson (DE)

CeCe Jefferson is a bit undersized for a modern defensive end. He still has time to grow, however, and he more than makes up for it with high-end athleticism and outstanding short-area quickness. More than anything, it probably means the transition to the collegiate level may take a little longer.

The entire package still makes him a top-10 recruit, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. The outlet also lists several programs as still heavily involved in the sweepstakes. Scout's John Garcia (via Yancy Porter) noted in December that Ole Miss was the school to beat:

Now, the question is whether anything changed enough over the past handful of weeks to alter that outlook. He's another player with Florida and Auburn in the mix, which leaves the door open for a monster day for either of those programs.

If the tide has turned, it will likely be in favor of the Gators. They could certainly use a late rush of signings, and there's a chance for Jefferson to get on the field quickly. But the Rebels are still the pick with a few days to go.

Prediction: Ole Miss


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Georgia Football: Is the Bulldogs' Top Recruit Underrated?

Defensive tackle Trent Thompson, the Georgia Bulldogs' top recruit heading into national signing day on February 4, is underrated.

According to 247Sports, he's the best player in the state, the top player at his position and the nation's best overall prospect. But he's still underrated.

Thompson, who stands taller than 6'2" and weights more than 300 pounds, is an absolute force in the trenches. Barton Simmons, the Director of of Scouting for 247Sports, notes that Thompson has everything one could hope for in a defensive lineman:

On the line of scrimmage, attitude is probably even more important than talent. Trent Thompson is the No. 1 player in the country because he has the right amount of both. The Georgia commit is fiercely competitive, he's got a nasty streak, he plays hard and he's extremely physically gifted.

And yet Thompson is underrated.

Thompson isn't stealing headlines as national signing day approaches. In fact, he's not getting all that much attention at all. Instead, he's quietly staying loyal to the commitment he made to Georgia back in August.

Perhaps the calm, waning days of his recruitment are a reflection of selflessness. Or perhaps his self-assurance and confidence in his decision-making process have left him with little to say. In any event, the nation's top overall prospect and Georgia's top recruit is staying largely out of the limelight.

Though Thompson's commitment will be appreciated by Bulldog loyalists on national signing day and on the field as soon as next season, the lack of drama means Thompson's signing may be overshadowed by others this week.

There's a bit of injustice in that respect given the degree to which Thompson has already "Committed to the G."

This past weekend, Thompson took an official visit to Georgia. According to Rusty Mansell of 247Sports, the trip wasn't about being recruited so much as it was about recruiting future teammates. Thompson told Mansell he was there to "work on others," including former Alabama commit and defensive back Rico McGraw.

Thompson's efforts to lure in McGraw and keep other Bulldogs in the fold are invaluable and Thompson is optimistic about the Bulldogs' crop on national signing day.

"I hope we get him on signing day, he would be a big part of this class," he told Mansell of McGraw. "We have to keep the rest of our commits too."

That team-first mentality sets Thompson apart in an era of recruiting defined by wacky press conferences, premature commitments and dramatic changes of heart.

Thompson uses the word "our" with a degree of ownership that surpasses a passive or fickle affinity for the Bulldogs. Georgia is his team, his school and his program. He's already playing a role in shaping its future, and that's what makes the nation's best player paradoxically underrated.

The measurables jump off the page. He's incredibly quick for a man his size. His agility seems at odds with his brutalizing strength. He dominates the line of scrimmage—even against the nation's best competition.

Trey Scott of 247Sports went so far as to credit the 2015 Army All-American Bowl as the reason analysts tabbed Thompson as the 10th-best recruit since 2010.

But none of those qualities speak to the immeasurable value Thompson has already brought to this recruiting class. There's no way to rate that impact.

If he continues making such contributions, it's going to be awfully hard to measure his success at Georgia over the coming years. And that should terrify future opponents.


Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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College Football Recruiting 2015: Top Storylines as National Signing Day Nears

National signing day is a spectacle like few others, with unproven teenagers making announcements and college football fans around the country desperately hoping they'll choose their school. It doesn't matter that we have no idea what types of players these kids will develop into—there's a pride attached to finishing atop the recruiting rankings.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the top storylines heading into national signing day.


Top Prospects Undecided

A ton of top prospects remain, including eight 5-star recruits, according to 247Sports. Chief among them is offensive tackle Martez Ivey, the No. 2 recruit in the country and one who remains split between two schools as of late December.

“Right now I would say I’m 50/50 between Florida and Auburn,” Ivey told Andrew Spivey of Gator Country.

He isn't the only one seriously considering the two schools. Defensive end and No. 3 recruit Byron Cowart has also said that his decision has come down to the Gators and Tigers. If either school was to bring in both players, it would be a gigantic recruiting coup.

Far more players could swing recruiting toward one school or another. Cornerback Iman Marshall (No. 4 recruit) and defensive end CeCe Jefferson (No. 7) are the two remaining top-10 recruits still undecided, while a trio of defensive tackles (No. 13 Terry Beckner Jr., No. 14 Daylon Mack and No. 23 Rasheem Green) will make someone's February a whole lot brighter when they declare.

And then there is No. 32 Soso Jamabo, the 5-star running back who made waves in December when he had a bit of fun naming his "final two" schools, per Lost Lettermen on Twitter:

National signing day is a ridiculous spectacle. You can't really blame Jamabo for having a little fun with the whole thing.


Who Will Come out atop the Rankings?

Alabama, once again, is going to be pretty tough to top, as the school already has six 5-star recruits and currently sits atop the rankings. Frankly, it's hard to see any of the schools behind them—Florida State, USC, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Notre Dame and LSU are also in the top 10—catching up.

Auburn would certainly vault into the top 10 if they could nab both Ivey and Cowart, giving them two 5-star recruits to go with a stable of 4-star prospects.

A few other teams to look out for are Tennessee, which is surprisingly in the top five; Penn State, which is sitting at No. 13; and Ole Miss, which is also within the top 15, according to A few more recruits for any of the schools could finish off an excellent 2015 class and help former standouts like Tennessee or Penn State reemerge as national powers. 

Ole Miss, meanwhile, is trying to continue their success from this year and build upon a strong recruiting foundation. Regardless, it promises to be an exciting national signing day with so much on the line.


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National Signing Day 2015: Projecting Where Every 5-Star Recruit Will Land

National signing day is nearly upon us, and speculation continues to mount about where America's premier football prospects will spend the next phase of their careers. Years of talent evaluation, campus visits and big-game performances will pay off on Feb. 4, when these elite athletes finalize collegiate choices.

While many 5-star recruits committed during the early stages of this cycle, several remain undecided, and others are still considering alternatives. Here's a look at where we expect every 5-star player to end up next season.


Prospect order and ratings based on 247Sports' composite rankings.

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Ranking Top 25 Recruiting Classes Heading into National Signing Day 2015

With just a short time remaining until Wednesday's national signing day, top teams across the country have already done the majority of the legwork that they hope will land their programs a top-25 class. 

Of course, there are plenty of fireworks reserved for the days leading up to the moment the nation’s top recruits can make their pledges official. 

After it suffered a trio of decommitments Jan. 29, there’s some intrigue about whether Alabama can retain its stranglehold on the top spot in the recruiting-class rankings. Schools such as Auburn, Florida State, Texas and USC are among those lurking with a shot to unseat the Crimson Tide.

The main criteria for this snapshot of rankings is based on the quality of top targets already committed in each school's class and the depth of each class as a whole as things currently stand. 

Which programs make up the nation’s top 25 classes heading into national signing day?

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College Football Coordinators Sure to Land Head Coaching Jobs in Coming Years

As we approach national signing day, college football’s coaching carousel is finally slowing down, as programs are finalizing their staffs for the 2015 season. This winter, 15 FBS programs changed their head coaches, and Central Michigan is the only team with a current opening following Dan Enos’ departure to become Arkansas’ offensive coordinators.

But athletic directors are always thinking about their next coaching hire, just in case they need to make it. Any AD who tells you he doesn’t have a list of potential candidates tucked away in his drawer or in the back of his mind is lying. They’re constantly revising and thinking about the list, in good times and bad.

Here’s a look at college football coordinators who should be on those lists across the nation, if athletic directors are smart. These guys will be hot names on the carousel next winter and for years to come.

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DeChaun Holiday to UCLA: Bruins Land 4-Star CB Prospect

The future of the UCLA secondary just got brighter following the addition of DeChaun Holiday to the Class of 2015. 

Edward Lewis of passed along word of the defender's choice:

Holiday is rated as a 4-star prospect and is ranked as the No. 68 overall recruit in the country, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. After originally being listed as a safety, he's been switched to be placed among the cornerbacks. He definitely fits the mold of the bigger, tougher corners taking football by storm.

If that wasn't enough, Gerard Martinez of Scout noted he's also done some work as a wide receiver. While he projects as defensive back for the long haul, it's always nice to have options heading into a collegiate career at a big-name program where the competition level is high:

Plenty of intrigue follows Holiday because he's developed the size of a safety (6'3", 195 pounds) without losing the quickness or athleticism of a corner. He's exactly the type of prospect colleges and pro teams covet.

His future position rests heavily on how much more he grows and how that impacts his ability to cover. It's possible he does end up landing at safety in the years ahead, but for now trying him out at corner at the collegiate level is an intriguing option.

Holiday took part in The Opening back in July. He talked with Greg Biggins of Scout about his experience at one of the summer's premier events for high-school athletes.

"I had a great time out here," Holiday said. "It was great competing against all these great players. There were some great receivers with Christian Kirk, Cordell (Broadus) was doing his thing and the guys from Florida were all good too. It was fun and I thought I stacked up pretty well overall."

Coaching staffs from around the country apparently agreed because the recruiting battle got even more intense after his appearance at the showcase.

Now that he's made his decision it will be interesting to see how quickly he can make the transition. Based on talent alone it wouldn't be a surprise to see him receive snaps in select packages almost immediately, but his technique still needs some work.

By the time he's a junior his outlook should be a lot more clear. He should surely be ready for a full-time position by that point and his experience as a rotational player should have him prepared for a starting role as either a safety or corner.

Though there are still questions to answer, he's a tremendous athlete with a promising future. That's true regardless of where he ends up in the secondary.

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National Signing Day Predictions 2015: Forecast for Nation's Top Prospects

National signing day is quickly approaching, and that means many of the nation's top prospects have some potentially life-changing decisions to make. 

It's often impossible to get into the minds of these teenagers and accurately predict what they are thinking. But there's no denying what kind of major impact their decisions can have on the programs involved, so it's worth discussing what to expect. 

With that said, let's break down some of the country's top uncommitted players. 


Martez Ivey, OT

Rated as the No. 2 overall prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings, Martez Ivey has scholarship offers from pretty much every major college in the country. But he has narrowed his decision down to just two. 

“Right now I would say I’m 50/50 between Florida and Auburn,” the 6'5", 275-pound future left tackle told's Andrew Spivey in late January. 

For someone as talented as Ivey, immediate playing time figures to be a key factor in his decision. 

Patrick Miller was a surprise NFL draft entrant, but the Tigers still have three players returning—Shon Coleman, Braden Smith and Avery Young—who logged starts at either tackle position in 2014. For Florida, starting left tackle D.J. Humphries is off to the NFL and starting right tackle Chaz Green is graduating, leaving the Gators with just one returning offensive lineman. 

Ivey has the physical tools to make an impact as a true freshman with either school, but he would have the easier path at Florida. 

Throw in the proximity to home—Ivey attends high school in Apopka, Florida, which is less than two hours south of Gainesville—and this is looking like a huge get for Florida's new coaching staff.

Prediction: Florida


Byron Cowart, DE

First, just to know what's at stake with Byron Cowart, here's this, via Rivals' Mike Farrell:


Just like with Ivey, we're looking at a top-three prospect—Cowart is No. 3 in 247Sports' composite rankings—and Florida native whose decision has been narrowed down to Florida and Auburn. Florida State may still be in the mix, but the Seminoles are on the outside looking in after Cowart canceled a visit to Tallahassee

Call it the Will Muschamp Effect. The former Florida head coach had developed strong relationships with the state's best recruits, and now that he's defensive coordinator at Auburn, these high school seniors are torn between the two. 

And it's not just the players, either. Cowart recently talked about the effect Muschamp had on his mother, via The GainesvilleSun's Zach Abolverdi:

I have to take the Florida official for my mom. She wants to get a feel for coach Mac and see, ‘Who is this guy?’ That’s the biggest thing. And she wants to meet coach (Geoff) Collins.

She was so tied in with coach (Brad) Lawing, and then she was really hurt when coach (Will) Muschamp got fired, but everything worked out. She likes Auburn, too. But the biggest thing for Florida is for her to be able to talk to coach Mac and coach Collins. It’s really important.

While Florida will be able to keep Ivey, Muschamp—a defensive guy—seems to have the strong relationship to bring Cowart over to Auburn with him. 

Prediction: Auburn


Iman Marshall, CB

Good luck figuring out this one. Since December, Iman Marshall, the No. 4 recruit in 247Sports' composite rankings, has made official visits to Notre Dame, Florida State, LSU and Michigan, per ESPN's Erik McKinney. Also still in the mix are in-state schools USC and UCLA. 

He seems to like something different at every program. 

"At Florida State, the football atmosphere and the coaching staff is great," he told McKinney. "At Michigan, the networking and the new coaching hire. And LSU, that's DB U." 

USC has long been considered the favorite—247Sports' Crystal Ball Predictions have it over 90 percent in favor of the Trojans—but this one is far from settled, as the recent success of FSU or the allure of Jim Harbaugh being at Michigan could easily pry him out of state. 

I'm sticking with the hometown favorites for now, but the confidence on this one is low. 

Prediction: USC

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CFB Recruiting 200: Top 8 Pro-Style Quarterbacks

After thorough study using specific scoring criteria, Bleacher Report recruiting analysts Sanjay Kirpalani and Tyler Donohue have graded the top 200 players in the 247Sports' composite rankings and provided in-depth analysis. As national signing day draws near, Bleacher Report provides a position-by-position breakdown of the best college football recruits. Here we present the Top Inside Linebackers.

Other Positions 

The 2015 crop of pro-style passers could eventually reshape the nation's conference landscape.

A strong contingent of West Coast quarterbacks are prepared to take Pac-12 play to another level, while prospects from across the country also enhance a group surrounded by lofty expectations.

We continue to break down recruits listed among the top 200 players in 247Sports' composite rankings, grading each quarterback with a 100-point system that takes football IQ, mobility, leadership, pocket presence, arm strength and accuracy into consideration. 


*All prospects studied and graded by Bleacher Report national recruiting analyst Tyler Donohue

*Players listed in order of 247Sports' composite rankings.

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Georgia Football: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

National signing day is only days away, and the Georgia Bulldogs are making one last push to have the best class in the country. This past week has been an interesting one, as they gained a commit but also lost one.

But Mark Richt has been hard at work, visiting a top recruit at his home this week, and a couple more top recruits visited the campus this week as well.

What makes this class interesting is that a quarterback won’t be signed, but that has to do with the Bulldogs signing a top quarterback last year with another one committed for the class of 2016.

So here’s a look at all the commits that will sign on national signing day.

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National Signing Day 2015: Predictions for Top Uncommitted Recruits

On Wednesday, the college ranks will be replenished, as the nation's top recruits will finally announce their intentions. This year's national signing day could be more surprising than most, as several of the highest-ranked prospects are not only still undecided, but are torn between a couple of schools.

These players have already visited their desired campuses, met with coaching staffs and talked with family members about their impending decisions; however, it's a difficult process. Take coveted defensive end Byron Cowart for example. Here's what the prospect's mentor, Woodrow Grady, had to say about the recruiting process, via Derek Tyson of

Byron has committed to eight schools in his mind since this process begun. There was Auburn, Florida, FSU, Alabama, Oregon and so on. Byron finds the best in every school. That's what he looks for. He's not looking for the speed traps. That's why he's been all over the place in where he may go.

While we anxiously await the decisions of Cowart and several other sought-after recruits, let's take a look at the recent buzz surrounding the nation's top players and predict where they will ultimately play college football.


Byron Cowart, DE

That aforementioned list of schools Cowart was considering has been significantly narrowed. After cutting Florida State from his list of possible destinations, Cowart is now left with a decision between two schools—Florida and Auburn.

A highly athletic player, Cowart would provide a big boost to the school of his choice. He was named the Under Armour All-America Game MVP, as he displayed a great combination of size (6'4", 250 pounds), speed (4.60 second 40-yard dash) and strength. Not only is he quick enough to circumvent blockers, but he's powerful enough to run right through them.

So, which school has the upper hand to land this 5-star recruit?

According to Martin Rickman of Sports Illustrated, Cowart's relationship with Will Muschamp gives Auburn the advantage. However, according to a tweet from Mike Farrell of, the Gators are making a late push to acquire the Florida native:

Based on Grady's comment that Cowart sees the best in every school, the team to visit him last could ultimately win his services. As of now, that school appears to be Florida.

Prediction: Florida


Iman Marshall, CB

There's plenty of chatter surrounding where this 5-star cornerback will wind up, as he still has six schools currently in the running—Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, UCLA and USC. How do we know this? Marshall released this teaser making his top schools known to the public:

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah is one of the many who can't wait to hear the recruit's decision:

The hype surrounding Marshall is real. At 6'1" and 190 pounds, he has the size and length every team covets. His quickness allows him to stay on the hip of faster receivers, and he reacts very well when the ball is in the air, gaining leverage and making a play at its highest point. He should have no problem playing in man or zone coverage going forward.

According to 247Sports, USC appeared to be the early destination of choice for the cornerback. Although, there have been some recent intriguing developments. Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was hired at Michigan, and following Marshall's visit to the school, he's seriously considering being a Wolverine, according to a tweet from

USC has a great program, but it's tough to compete with an up-and-coming team that landed a fantastic coach over the offseason.

Prediction: Michigan


Martez Ivey, OT

There are plenty of reasons why many schools view Ivey as their most coveted recruit. At 6'5" and 275 pounds, he is a mauler in the trenches, and once he adds some weight, he'll continue that trend at the collegiate level. Even more impressive than his size-strength combination is his quickness. He covers a wide area in pass protection and can get to the second level in a hurry when blocking for the run.

According to Andrew Spivey of, Ivey is split between Florida and Auburn. Said the tackle, "Right now I would say I'm 50/50 between Florida and Auburn. I'm done with visits because I'm going on a cruise next weekend to the Bahamas. It kind of worked out so that I can take a break from everything but it wasn't planned like that."

Apparently, Ivey has now made up his mind, as he contemplated announcing his decision early, according to a report from ESPN's Tyson. Unfortunately, he decided against it, so we're left to speculate.

While both schools would be great fits for Ivey, the difference-maker here comes down to the head coach position. Auburn boasts Guz Malzahn, a proven winner and offensive guru. Florida's Jim McElwain is an offensive mind as well, but his inexperience could lead to missing out on this 5-star prospect.

Prediction: Auburn


All recruit information courtesy of 247Sports and current as of February 2.

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Miami Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

It's almost here. National signing day 2015 is within reach, and the Miami Hurricanes coaches are awaiting final, binding decisions from prospects.

Miami is looking to hold on to 13 unsigned verbal commitments and bring in a handful of targets who are either uncommitted or currently pledged elsewhere.

The NCAA has reached a dead period, however, so Al Golden and Co. are restricted to electronic and written communications, since coaches are not permitted to contact recruits in person at this time.

Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 7 a.m. ET is the first moment a player can send his National Letter of Intent, but which signatures will be rolling into the 'Canes' NSD headquarters?


Notes: Though 3-star Evan Shirreffs is a name to keep an eye on, Miami isn't expected to ink a quarterback—or a specialist—on signing day. Consequently, neither positional unit is given a slide.

Additionally, surprise commitments are possible. Each player listed has expressed interest in the 'Canes on multiple occasions. Any recruit featuring italics in the "Predictions" section denotes he has already enrolled.

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How Jim Harbaugh Has Handled First Month as Michigan Head Coach

Jim Harbaugh has dazzled fans during his first month as head coach and is now poised to deliver a quality recruiting class on national signing day.

Harbaugh is still hoping to add one or more of the following highly coveted players to his first recruiting class: 5-star cornerback Iman Marshall, 4-star linebacker Roquan Smith, 4-star running back Mike Weber or 4-star receiver Van Jefferson.

Michigan football had languished in the month between Hoke’s dismissal and Harbaugh’s hire but has become a force to be reckoned with under Harbaugh’s leadership. Already he has made good on his promise to hire top assistants while wreaking havoc on the recruiting classes of opposing schools.

After the media crush at his opening press conference, followed by the adulation of fans at a Michigan basketball game, Harbaugh found himself in a deserted Schembechler Hall working the phones to assemble a staff and prepare for recruiting visits.

“A three-point stance waiting to get out,” is how he described his first few weeks on the job, according to the Detroit Free Press.

He began his tenure during a recruiting “dead” period, when no meetings are allowed between coaches and recruits. He could text, email or call recruits and their families, but that was it.

He faced two distinct recruiting efforts during his first month—hiring his coaching staff and completing his first recruiting class.

One effort focused on convincing seasoned coaches, many of whom had known Harbaugh for years, to join him in Ann Arbor. As a former player who grew up in Ann Arbor, the job had a special attraction for him, but he needed to convince other coaches that the opportunity was too good to pass up.

Harbaugh reached out to former colleagues and even his own son to join his staff. He assembled a group of coaches with experience at the collegiate and professional levels with national connections in areas that are hotbeds for producing professional football talent.

His other task depended on quickly planning and executing a recruiting strategy. Opposing coaches had been talking to many of these players for over a year. Harbaugh and his staff needed to evaluate players and build a rapport with recruits and their families in only three weeks. Every recruit may have known of Jim Harbaugh as a professional coach, but visits are crucial to build relationships and trust.

With most top players committed to other programs and only a handful of commitments, Harbaugh targeted players to flip from other programs. Former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez had been criticized for poaching a recruit from a fellow Big Ten program, but Harbaugh declared open season on any recruit, Big Ten or not. He flipped a player from Nebraska (Reuben Jones) and is working to grab one from Ohio State (Mike Weber).

He also claimed quarterback Zach Gentry from Texas and offensive lineman Nolan Ulizio from Connecticut.

This week, he will find out how successful his pitch has been to a few remaining high-profile recruiting targets. No matter how many recruits he flips, the small size of Michigan’s recruiting class will keep it from being highly rated. But former coach Brady Hoke had stocked the roster with talented, if underdeveloped, players. Harbaugh only needs to fill out a few positions, most notably at quarterback, to field a competitive team.

With his coaching staff in place and first recruiting class almost complete, Harbaugh can start preparing for spring practice.

If his first month is any indication, the Big Ten is in for a shock when games begin.

Phil Callihan is a featured writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations obtained firsthand.


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Texas Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

The dream finish won't happen, but Texas should still expect some great news on national signing day from four of its top targets.

Kyler Murray's decision to shut down his recruitment prevents Texas from hitting the home run and hauling in as many as seven of the state's top 15 players. 

It's a tough loss for the quarterback-needy Horns, but they've have moved on just fine so far. Top cornerbacks Kris Boyd and Holton Hill each committed to the program on Friday, giving Charlie Strong one of the best defensive classes in the country.

Now it's mostly a waiting game for the targets left on the board. DaMarkus Lodge is off the board with Murray gone, while Deandre Baker and new offer PJ Locke are expected to stay committed to their current programs.

That leaves Chris Warren, Daylon Mack, Kai Locksley and Soso Jamabo as the predictive favorites to commit on signing day.

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Ohio State Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

Fresh off their national championship victory, Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes are primed to sign another Top 10 recruiting class.

When national signing day rolls around on Wednesday, years of hard work will come to a head as the Buckeyes' 2015 recruiting class will be solidified. Ohio State already has 24 commitments in the fold, four of whom enrolled early, but there are sure to be a few surprises on signing day.

Will the Buckeyes be able to hold on to their current commits? Will they be able to add to their already impressive class?

Here's a prediction of how Ohio State will close things out on Wednesday. 


Note: * indicates a player who enrolled early.

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Virginia Tech Football Recruiting: Predicting All Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

National signing day is mere days away, and the Virginia Tech is on the verge of signing a solid class. The Hokies are currently ranked No. 25 in the country, per 247Sports.

While Virginia Tech fans will remember the misses (Josh Sweat and Jalen Dalton), it's important to note the Hokies have signed—or are expected to sign—several good players. Defensive tackle Tim Settle and quarterback Dwayne Lawson were recent additions to the class of 2015 for Virginia Tech. Both are 4-star recruits. 

In recent years, Tech fans complained about players flipping their recruitment to other schools at the last minute. This year, VT coaches flipped 4-star offensive lineman Austin Clark from South Carolina and Lawson from archrival Miami. Those were big wins for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech's class currently stands at 23 players; seven of those players signed and enrolled in January. The Hokies will likely not add a wide receiver in this class.

Here's a projected look at Virginia Tech's class of 2015. Don't expect any surprises on signing day—the Hokies aren't anticipating any major decisions on signing day, and that includes decommitments.  

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LSU Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

LSU head coach Les Miles will bring in another top-10 recruiting class in 2015. But if some things fall positively for Miles, the Tigers could find themselves in the top five after national signing day on Wednesday. 

The Tigers currently rank No. 8 in the 247Sports composite team rankings, which is good enough for fourth in the SEC. Their 19 commitments makes them the only school in the top 10 with less than 20.

Miles will have four early enrollees from the 2015 class competing in spring practice. He also has a signed letter of intent from junior college transfer safety Jeremy Cutrer.

National signing day is always a frenetic 24 hours for coaches. Hard verbal commitments could switch to another school at any time. Miles and his staff hope the 14 unsigned players in the 2015 class keep their promises.

LSU is always known for finishing strong. The Tigers have a long history of flipping players committed to other universities late in the recruiting cycle. 

Here is preview of where some of the prospects might land. 

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