NCAA Football News
COLUMBUS, Ohio — With a nation-high 14 players invited to last month's NFL Scouting Combine, Ohio State knew it was in for a special day in what Urban Meyer called an "unprecedented" pro day.
And what a spectacle it was.
Representatives from all 32 NFL teams—including multiple head coaches and general managers—flocked to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Friday to watch a total of 22 prospects attempt to better their NFL hopes. Of the crop of talented ex-Buckeyes, seven currently project as first-round picks, according to Bleacher Report NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller, with two others slotted to land in the second round.
"This is as big of a pro day probably in the history of the NFL and Ohio State," Meyer said midway through the exhibition.
With a handful of players having already excelled at the combine in Indianapolis, not every prospect participated in all of Friday's workouts. And while Ohio State doesn't release official results, below is the best collection of unofficial information that could be gathered on Friday.
Jones-ing for a Shot
After being unable to participate in extensive workouts at the combine because of a hamstring injury, Friday's pro day was especially important for quarterback Cardale Jones. After an up-and-down 2015 that saw him saw him move in and out of the Buckeyes' starting lineup, the national championship-winning quarterback had plenty to prove in his last significant action before individual team workouts begin.
"The stakes are already high," Jones said after his workout.
Attempting 82 passes in 31 minutes, according to ESPN's Austin Ward, Jones put on quite the show in what felt like the main event of Friday's festivities. Throwing to his former teammates and fellow NFL hopefuls, the 6'5", 250-pound Jones wasn't shy to put the deep ball that helped him carry the Buckeyes to the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship on display.
In addition to his cannon-like arm, Jones also hoped to show that he was more than just a one-trick pony during his workout.
"That was one of my main focus points of today, showing touch and accuracy," Jones said. "I don’t think anyone in their right mind would question my arm strength."
Grading his efforts as a B-plus on the day, it remains to be seen just how much Jones helped or hurt his draft stock with his pro-day performance. Of all the Ohio State prospects, Jones might be the toughest player to pin a projection to, as he could land anywhere from the second day of the draft to potentially going undrafted.
"I don't feed into all that," the Cleveland native insisted. "I just want to get my foot in the door."
Braxton Back in Action
After running a relatively disappointing 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, quarterback-turned-wideout Braxton Miller set out to prove that he is indeed one of the draft's fastest players.
Based on the 40 time he ran on Friday, it'd be tough to argue otherwise, as the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year clocked in with an unofficial—and, if accurate, blazing—4.35.
"Just show that I wasn’t a 4.5 at the combine," Miller said of his pro-day goal. "My speed, I cherish that, I take pride in that, so I had to come out here and showcase what I did today."
With his speed no longer in question—as if it ever was—Miller remains a work in progress as a wideout as evidenced by his workout with Jones. On some routes, the 6'2", 210-pounder looked like the natural that he is, gliding down the field both before and after snagging impressive catches. On others, he looked like a player less than a year into playing the position on a full-time basis.
Voted the Senior Bowl's most impressive player in practice by NFL executives, Miller has seemingly done nothing but boost his draft stock throughout the past few months. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller currently projects the Cincinnati Bengals to take him in the first round with the draft's No. 24 pick.
Still with plenty to polish as a route-runner, Miller will ultimately be drafted more on his potential than anything else. But after Friday, this much is certain: The ability is there—and so is the speed.
"I've never ran a 4.5. I've never ran that. That’s why I was so upset," Miller said of his combine time. "Something isn’t right with that laser timer."
Bosa's Big Day
Of all of the sights in Columbus on Friday, perhaps the most interesting didn't come from a former Buckeye but a future one.
In town to support his brother, Ohio State signee and 2016 5-star prospect Nick Bosa watched from the sideline as Joey Bosa ran through drills. Breaking Meyer's cardinal rule of wearing blue in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the younger Bosa donned both a shirt and hat representing the Tennessee Titans, who just so happen to hold the NFL draft's No. 1 pick.
"That was his idea," Nick and Joey's father, John Bosa, a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1987, said of his younger son's wardrobe choice.
Having seen his draft stock seemingly slip in the past few weeks after a ho-hum combine performance, Bosa looked good on Friday, improving both his bench press (28 reps) and 40-yard dash (4.78, per the NFL Network). In his latest mock, Matt Miller had the All-American defensive end sliding to the Baltimore Ravens at the No. 6 pick after he entered the draft process in contention for its No. 1 overall slot.
With more than a month left until the draft's first round on April 28, Bosa has plenty of time to further better his draft stock as he appeared to do on Friday.
And while the younger Bosa may ultimately have to invest in a new selection of NFL team gear come the draft, it will only be a few more years until he's the one garnering all of the attention at the Ohio State pro day.
Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.
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Life in the SEC is tough. No other conference had a better record against Power Five competition in 2015, and no other conference won more postseason games last year.
And considering all SEC teams have to play eight games against the members of their powerful conference each season, everyone has a hard schedule of some kind. That strength of schedule will only increase moving forward, as 2016 will mark the first year that every member has to play at least one other Power Five team in nonconference play.
But not all schedules are created equal, especially in a conference that isn't exactly balanced between its two divisions. Some SEC teams are bolder than others when it comes to scheduling nonconference games, too.
With that in mind, let's rank every SEC team's 2016 schedule from the easiest to the hardest. These rankings are based on the combined 2015 records of a team's 2016 FBS opponents, number of 2015 bowl and 2016 composite preseason Top 25 teams, location of games and spacing of the toughest opponents.
Which SEC team do you think has the toughest schedule in 2016? Which one do you think has a slate that deserves more preseason respect? Sound off in the comments below.
University of Miami offensive tackle Jahair Jones was cleared of the charge against him Thursday following a Wednesday night arrest.
Continue for updates.Police Spokesman Explains Dismissal of Jones' Charge Friday, March 11
According to Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, he will not be prosecuted on a charge of resisting an officer without violence during a traffic stop, and it is expected that his teammate—Trevor Darling—will receive the same result after getting arrested along with Jones.
Per Miller Degnan, the arrest affidavit said that both men were in the middle of the roadway and impeding traffic. They were then arrested after ignoring multiple orders from police to remove themselves from the area.
Following the dismissal of Jones' charges, Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office spokesman Ed Griffith explained the reasoning: "They determined the arrest form was legally insufficient to substantiate the criminal charge."
According to Miller Degnan, University of Miami athletic director Blake James acknowledged the arrests of Jones and Darling on Thursday in a written statement: "I am aware of the reported incident involving two student-athletes last night and we are still gathering information. I have very high expectations for all of our student-athletes, as I know Coach [Mark] Richt does for his team, and any misconduct will be addressed."
The 19-year-old Jones is a redshirt sophomore who transferred to Miami from ASA College in New York.
Jones has yet to appear in a game for the Hurricanes, but the Brooklyn, New York, native figures to have an opportunity to earn some playing time in 2016.
While his legal issues are no longer a factor following Thursday's dismissal, it isn't yet clear if Jones will face any repercussions from the university.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.
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Making awesome catches off diving boards is one of our nation's most cherished pastimes. And as cool as you thought you looked making that one-handed grab off your grandma's diving board that one time, chances are 4-star athlete Bruce Judson did it better.
Watch the coveted prospect out of Cocoa, Florida, make sick catches off the diving board in the video above.
Special thanks to the Cocoa YMCA.
Recruit info and rankings courtesy of 247Sports.
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While Tennessee's resurgent success on the field and all the hype leading into the 2016 season haven't resonated yet on the recruiting trail, the Volunteers already have lured a slew of top talent onto campus for junior days.
Before long, you have to think coach Butch Jones will add to the two 3-star prospects (Georgia linebacker Mo Burnham and Mississippi tight end Chase Rogers) who've already pulled the trigger with commitments in the '17 class.
UT is on the list of many of the nation's top prospects, and while national runner-up Clemson has proved to be a nemesis on the recruiting trail so far, the Vols have to win some battles with top talent within state boundaries in a banner year for talent close to home.
The Vols are already behind on several top targets, including Knoxville receiver Amari Rodgers and Memphis running back Cordarrian Richardson, who've both committed to Dabo Swinney's Tigers. Also, California offensive lineman and UT legacy Kanan Ray pledged to UCLA.
If Ray and Rodgers follow through with these commitments, it'll mark the first time in Jones' tenure he's lost a legacy commitment the Vols have really coveted.
Despite the struggling start, the recruiting board for every team right now is massive. While it's difficult to sort through and assign rankings to the top players, it's becoming obvious who some of the Vols' top targets will be.
But narrowing it to a top five is a tough exercise. Without talking directly to Jones (who can't commit on unsigned prospects) this list is going to be subjective. For instance, this one doesn't even include Maleik Gray or JaCoby Stevens, who are without question important to UT's '17 class.
In his first two full classes, Jones proved he could start strong and space out commits. Just last month, he showed with the '16 haul that he can close strong.
What will Tennessee's 2017 class look like when all is said and done? That's anybody's guess. But let's take a look at the Vols' top five early targets based on need, geography and sheer playmaking ability of the prospects.
College football coaching staffs constantly search the country for high school prospects who could eventually make an impact on their respective rosters. This quest for talent requires programs to place emphasis on scouting several regions, but every team must be able to identify an area it can return to for key pickups on a perennial basis.
Whether it's a specific school district, overall region or an entire state, these established "pipelines" can consistently provide pieces that upgrade a game plan. We shined a spotlight on pipelines that have been particularly kind to the 25 programs featured in the final 2015 coaches poll.
When national signing day is in the books for the 2017 recruiting cycle, the Ohio State Buckeyes could have as many as six 5-star recruits in the fold.
The Buckeyes currently have a stranglehold on the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, leading the country with two 5-star and nine 4-star prospects for their '17 class. But with the high-level targets still left on the board, Ohio State's grasp on the top spot could be unbreakable when it's all said and done.
With the class filling up quickly, Urban Meyer and Co. will need to be selective with their remaining scholarships. These five players are pivotal not only because of their high ranking and ratings, but because they'll fill positions of need, keep chief rivals from getting stronger and open up huge pipelines to talent-rich high schools across the country.