NCAA Football News

Notre Dame Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame football’s spring game is around the corner, and the Irish have been equally busy the last few weeks on the recruiting trail.

Each week, we’ll be keeping tabs on the new scholarship offers sent out by the Notre Dame coaches, tracking the recruiting process as the Irish focus their attention toward the classes of 2016, 2017 and maybe even 2018.

Notre Dame wasn’t as active with its offers this week, but there’s still plenty of action in the recruiting world.

 

Kevin Stepherson

Class of 2016 wide receiver Kevin Stepherson added an offer from Notre Dame on Wednesday.

Michigan extended an offer to the 6’2” 180-pounder from Jacksonville, Florida, a day later. Stepherson also boasts offers from LSU, Indiana and West Virginia, among others.

“It means so much to have an offer from Notre Dame,” Stepherson told Irish247’s Tom Loy on Wednesday. “That offer and the one from LSU mean a lot. Those are the two schools really standing out to me right now. Both of them are big offers for me.”

 

Recruiting Notebook

The offers were few and far between this week, but Notre Dame’s spring recruiting efforts continued.

Class of 2016 outside linebacker Curtis Robinson, the No. 10 player at his position and No. 110 in the country, announced his top seven schools Monday.

Robinson then declared he will announce his commitment Monday.

The Santa Ana, California, product took an unofficial visit to South Bend in mid-March and stopped by Stanford earlier this month. The Irish will soon have clarity on one of their top linebacker targets.

A decision date has also been set for class of 2016 defensive end Julian Okwara, the brother of Irish senior defensive end Romeo Okwara.

The No. 11 weak-side defensive end and No. 185 overall player announced his top five Friday and said Saturday he will announce his commitment April 30.

The 4-star from Charlotte, North Carolina, stopped by for an unofficial visit at the end of March.

Class of 2016 offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg visited South Bend over the weekend and took in Saturday’s full practice.

A top target along the line for this cycle, Eichenberg is the No. 11 offensive tackle and No. 83 overall player in the nation. Following Friday’s portion of his weekend visit, Eichenberg recapped his visit with Loy.

“It was great. I had a good time,” Eichenberg said. “I spent a lot of time with [offensive linemen] Quenton Nelson and Alex Bars. Those are some great dudes. They were telling me that going to Notre Dame was the best decision they ever made, and they have never regretted it.”

The 6’6” 290-pounder from Cleveland is scheduled for a visit to Ohio State on Friday.

One of Notre Dame’s other high-end class of 2016 targets along the offensive line, Ben Bredeson, also visited campus this weekend. Bredeson ranks as the No. 6 tackle and No. 34 player in the class. The Wisconsin native is considering Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Stanford in addition to Notre Dame, per 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information courtesy of 247Sports.com and all quotes obtained firsthand. Star ratings reflect 247Sports composite rankings. 

Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Big Ten Football: Which Teams Will Overachieve and Underachieve in 2015?

The 2015 college football season is a few months away, and with spring practices receding into memories for most Big Ten programs, eyes are turning toward the fall. The name of the game is expectations and whether "Dear Old U" can live up to them. In that vein, we're going to lay out some predictions based on those early forecasts—will these teams fail to live up to the hype, or exceed expectations?

College football is a notoriously difficult sport to make accurate predictions in. There's so much that changes from year to year, and it seems as if no two seasons are ever the same for any program. A few short seasons ago, we were all hearing about the demise of the Big Ten and how college football had passed the conference by. The Michigan State Spartans' flash-in-the-pan status seemed to be confirmed after a 7-6 season in 2012.

Over the following two seasons, Michigan State won the Rose Bowl and the CFP Committee-selected Cotton Bowl, while the Ohio State Buckeyes won the first-ever College Football Playoff.

So which Big Ten teams will be next to defy expectations? Which Big Ten programs will fall flat in 2015? Here are our picks for the five teams that will overachieve and underachieve in 2015.

Begin Slideshow

Lou Holtz and ESPN Part Ways: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

"Dr. Lou" has diagnosed his last patient.

According to Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch, Lou Holtz will no longer work as an ESPN college football analyst. Both parties reportedly agreed Holtz would step away from his roles on College Football Final, in addition to any guest appearances on other ESPN programs.

ESPN's College GameDay tweeted out a final farewell to Holtz:

"There are plenty in Bristol who knew the Holtz-Mark May shtick was long past its shelf life, and this is a good time to change things up," Deitsch wrote. "No doubt part of the thinking on Holtz’s part was to move on without (Rece) Davis in the host chair."

The news doesn't come as a big surprise. Holtz said last May that he intended to retire after the season, per Dan Murphy of Irish247:

I'd like to leave when people say, "Why are you leaving?" not "When are you leaving?" This is my fifth last year. They usually talk me into it. ESPN is a great organization to work for. We've been together nine years now. That's unusual. They're like my family. I love them. We enjoy it. There comes a time where you need to step aside and let the younger people do it.

There will certainly be quite a bit of turnover on ESPN's Saturday night college football program. Along with Holtz departing, Davis left to take over for Chris Fowler on College GameDay.

May is now the only holdover, and with his and Holtz's banter constituting so much of the show, it will be interesting to see how ESPN tweaks the show going forward.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan Football: 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Wolverines' 2015 Season

Jim Harbaugh is the reason for the season at Michigan, so it’s probably unnecessary to tab him as one of the five reasons why Wolverines fans should be optimistic this fall.

His presence trumps all.

So with that said, this slideshow will feature the other top five reasons to expect something much more than what’s been offered during the previous three years—much, much more, actually.

While wins typically are the best measure of progress, they’re not the end-all metric. For roughly a decade, Michigan football has been devoid of a certain something, something that only a coach of Harbaugh’s ilk can provide.

With that influence in place, Michigan can finally take the steps necessary to dust itself off and reclaim its place within the world of college football.

That rebirth can happen. Oh, it’s very possible—and here are the five reasons why dreams could become reality for the Wolverines starting Sept. 3 at Utah.

Begin Slideshow

Derrick Tindal Injury: Updates on Wisconsin CB's Status and Recovery

Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Derrick Tindal was injured in spring practice on Sunday and left the field in an ambulance.   

Continue for updates.    

Tindal Suffers Scary Injury in Spring PracticeSunday, April 12

Scout.com's Benjamin Worgull and Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided the initial details on Tindal's status:

Tindal is a sophomore who saw action in 2014 as a true freshman, recording 10 solo tackles, one sack and one pass defended, per Sports-Reference.com.    

The early playing time suggests Tindal will be a big part of the Badgers program, but Sunday's scare in practice puts his well-being as the chief concern above any potential role on the team.

Although the exact nature of Tindal's injury isn't yet known, it was an ominous scene by all accounts.    

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Sean Foster to Minnesota: Gophers Land 4-Star OT Prospect

Jerry Kill's 2016 recruiting class got a huge boost with the addition of 4-star offensive tackle prospect Sean Foster.       

Per Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports, Foster announced his commitment to the University of Minnesota on Sunday with this declaration:

The family feel and how the coaches react with the players. They have the best coaching staff and one of the best education programs I have ever seen. They made me feel at home right when I got up there and it's going to be fun being a Gopher for the next four years.

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Foster is the No. 25 offensive tackle recruit in the 2016 class from Carmel Catholic High School in Illinois. He's listed at 6'8" and 285 pounds already, with room to get bigger as his body matures. 

Foster's commitment came in a hurry, as he tweeted April 3 about being in Minneapolis for a visit with the program:

After that, Kyle Goblirsch of 247Sports quoted Foster as saying that the visit was "unreal." Less than two weeks later, the Illinois native has given his commitment to the Golden Gophers. 

Foster's commitment is a testament to the slow build that Kill has done since taking over as head coach in 2011. The Golden Gophers won three games in his first season, jumped up to six in 2012 and have won eight in each of the last two years with three consecutive bowl appearances. 

The Big Ten is regaining its status for elite talent after being down for a couple of years. Minnesota is a program on the rise. Ohio State is the defending national champion. Michigan is entering the Jim Harbaugh era. It's quickly becoming an exciting conference to watch. 

Foster seems to have realized where the Golden Gophers are going and feels he can help them get there in a hurry.   

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Clemson's Mike Williams Makes Sick 1-Handed Catch at Spring Game

Mike Williams is ready for the season.

During Clemson's annual Orange & White Spring Game on Saturday in South Carolina, the 6'3", 205-pound wideout made a beautiful one-handed catch look downright mundane.

As a sophomore last season, Williams tallied 57 receptions for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns.

Clemson opens the season Sept. 5 versus the Wofford Terriers.

[YouTube]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Jake Rhoads, Terry Ayeni Arrested: Latest Details on Iowa State Football Players

Wide receiver Jake Rhoads and defensive tackle Terry Ayeni, members of the Iowa State football team, were arrested and were being held in jail Sunday.  

Bobby La Gesse of the Ames Tribune provided the known details:

Jake Rhoads, the son of head coach Paul Rhoads, was charged with public intoxication on Saturday, according to the Story County jail website. Ayeni was charged with disorderly conduct on Sunday, according to the Story County Jail website.

Both were still in jail as of Sunday morning and were awaiting bail and held on a $300 bond.

Rhoads, a walk-on receiver, didn't post any stats or appear in any games for Iowa State this past season, while Ayeni spent 2014 recovering from an ACL tear. He was expected to be a starter after transferring from New Mexico Military Institute, though his injury last year and this latest incident might call that into question. 

“We are aware of the situations involving our student-athletes,” said Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads in a statement, per La Gesse. “We are now in the process of gathering more facts and information.”

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Utah Cornerback Eric Rowe Keeping NFL Teams Interested Ahead of 2015 Draft

In the months leading up to the 2015 NFL draft, Utah’s Eric Rowe has not received as much media attention as some of the other top cornerback prospects in the draft class, such as Michigan State’s Trae Waynes and Washington’s Marcus Peters. Among the NFL teams who will ultimately determine where players are drafted, however, Rowe is receiving no shortage of attention.

A four-year starter for the Utes who also participated in the Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and Utah’s pro day, Rowe has had as many opportunities as any prospect in the 2015 draft class to impress evaluators with his football skills and athletic attributes.

Even so, Rowe has been in high demand in the weeks leading up to the draft as NFL teams have sought to get an even closer look at the defensive back.

Rowe told Bleacher Report that he has had visits with the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while he has also had private workouts with the Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and New England Patriots.

Racking up frequent-flier miles as he makes his pitch to NFL teams around the league, Rowe said he has been enjoying the process.

“I love traveling, being in different cities and team facilities,” Rowe said. “I don’t go in there with boxed or canned answers, I just go in there and be myself.”

It’s not usually typical for a player from a major conference, who has already had plentiful opportunities to prove himself on the field, to have as many visits and private workouts as Rowe has had.

The fact that more than a quarter of the NFL’s teams have taken a closer look at Rowe, nonetheless, is nothing but a good sign for his draft stock.

 

“Size, Athleticism and Versatility”

According to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net, “there’s a feeling Rowe will end up in the second half of round one and won’t get past the 40th pick.”

“Teams who like Rowe but select late in the rounds face a dilemma as most realize if they don’t draft him with their initial selection he won’t be on the board when they’re called on the clock in round two,” Pauline wrote in a blog entry last week. “Teams love Rowe’s size, athleticism and versatility but also feel he’s a smart, coachable player.”

At 6’1” and 205 pounds with 31 ½-inch arms, Rowe has great size for the cornerback position.

“I feel like it’s a big advantage, especially matching up with big, taller receivers,” Rowe said of his size. “They can’t really push me off the line, or if they want to throw a jump ball, I’m not like a 5’9” or 5’10” cornerback, I’ll go right up there with him.”

Rowe’s size could also enable him to move back to safety, a position he played for his first three years at Utah before switching to cornerback as a senior.

“If I had to pick, I would choose corner,” Rowe said in regards to his positional preference for the NFL. “I have more growth at that position, I have a lot more things to work on and having one year experience [playing cornerback], I feel like I did a pretty good job, so with some more practice and more coaching, I’ll get better.”

If drafted to play safety, Rowe believes the experience he has gained playing cornerback will only help him with the coverage demands he might face in the NFL.

“If you want me as a safety, you’ll have a safety with man-coverage experience,” Rowe said. “Nowadays, offenses are flexing out their tight ends, and safeties are having to go out there and cover … if you put me in that defense, that’s something I’m almost second nature to, going out and covering by myself.”

Regardless of which position he is drafted to play, his versatility to play multiple spots in a secondary will only increase his value.

“If I’m doing really good at corner and a safety goes down [with an injury], I know the roster’s not that big; it allows me to move up to safety and show flexibility to provide for the team,” Rowe said.

Rowe certainly has enough athleticism to play either position. At the NFL Scouting Combine in February, Rowe posted numbers that ranked him within the top 13 among all participating cornerbacks and safeties in each of the seven measurable drills, according to NFL.com's combine tracker.

Specifically, Rowe believes his 20-yard shuttle time of 3.97 seconds, which was the fifth-fastest time among all defensive backs, is an indicator of how his athleticism can help him as an NFL cornerback.

“I can change directions fairly quick. That’ll definitely translate on the field because the corner’s all about changing direction and acceleration,” Rowe said.

Altogether, Rowe’s athletic attributes make him the draft’s 12th-most physically gifted prospect across all positions, according to a metric developed by Bleacher Report’s Ryan Riddle.

 

Physical Style of Play

Despite having great length and athleticism, Rowe does not simply rely on his physical gifts for success. To the contrary, Rowe actually considers his “aggressive nature of play” to be his greatest strength.

Physicality is a staple of Rowe’s game. It is apparent both in pass defense, where he excels at jamming receivers off the line of scrimmage in press-man coverage, and run defense, as he is a sound tackler who does not shy away from contact.

The following clip, from Utah’s win against Washington State, shows one example of Rowe effectively using his hands in press coverage. Lined up against Washington State wide receiver Isiah Myers on this play, Rowe (No. 18, bottom of screen) was able to disrupt the receiver’s route by preventing him from getting a clean release off the line of scrimmage.

The next two highlights exemplify Rowe’s ability to identify where a ball-carrier is headed, then attack the ball downhill and finish the play with a sound, authoritative tackle.

On the first example, from Utah’s win over Michigan this past season, Rowe deployed a corner blitz to reach Michigan running back Derrick Green as he crossed the line of scrimmage and make a run stop.

On the next highlight, which goes back to last year’s game against Washington State, Rowe initially dropped back into coverage before coming back more than 15 yards to make a stop after Washington State running back Jamal Morrow broke a tackle attempt by one of Rowe’s teammates, Brian Blechen.

Rowe said his physical style of play has been inspired by former Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders, who was one of Rowe's favorite players to watch growing up.

“I always wanted to hit like him, just the way he just brought it every play,” Rowe said. “I try to have that same aggressive nature as him.”

 

Where Rowe Can Improve

Rowe’s physicality and his ability to use that to his advantage at the cornerback position are readily apparent. On the other hand, Rowe acknowledged that he needs to work on his ability to play in off-man coverage, that being when he is matched up against a single wide receiver but starts the play away from the line of scrimmage.

“I didn’t practice it as much at Utah because we barely used that coverage, only in certain situations,” Rowe said of his need to improve in off-man coverage.

Brent Sobleski, an NFL draft analyst for Bleacher Report, believes Rowe has “tremendous length and athleticism for the cornerback position” but needs to refine his technique.

“After converting from safety, his transition was smooth to his new position,” Sobleski said of Rowe. “Unfortunately, the transition through his back pedal isn't nearly fluid. He'll lose ground when asked to turn and run with receivers. But he can be developed as a very talented press corner.”

“If he doesn't work out at cornerback, safety is always a fallback option,” Sobleski added.

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report’s NFL draft lead writer, also has concerns about his coverage technique and grades him as a “late third- or early fourth-round” pick as a result.

“He's definitely fast and has the size and length teams love, but his coverage skills are very raw, and there's some hip stiffness and height in his backpedal that likely won't go away,” Miller said. “He's a press cover corner but lacks the hip turn to run with NFL receivers and may need to play free safety to see his career fulfilled. There's certainly intrigue to his game and pure traits, but his technique and upside for better technique seems low to me.”

In spite of those concerns, the interest Rowe is generating from NFL teams appears to have him on track to be selected much earlier than the late third round.

 

Where Will Rowe Be Drafted?

While Rowe’s measurables and physicality rank him near the top of the class at cornerback, he could also potentially be ranked as the draft’s top safety, a position that is viewed to have a lack of top-end talent in this year’s class.

Ultimately, the position he plays in the NFL will be determined—at least initially—by the secondary needs of the team that makes the call to draft him before anyone else can.

The sweet spot for Rowe’s draft stock could come between picks 19 and 32, where the Browns (No. 19 overall pick), Eagles (No. 20), Lions (No. 23), Cardinals (No. 24), Ravens (No. 26) and Patriots (No. 32) all have first-round picks.

The Green Bay Packers, who hold the No. 30 overall pick, are also among the teams highly interested in Rowe, according to Tony Pauline. Additional teams picking in that late first-round range who could potentially target Rowe for secondary help include the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 22 overall pick), Dallas Cowboys (No. 27), Indianapolis Colts (No. 29) and New Orleans Saints (No. 31).

Should he make it past all of those teams in Round 1, potential landing spots for Rowe in the first half of Round 2 would include Tampa Bay (No. 34), the Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 36), the Atlanta Falcons (No. 42), Cleveland (No. 43), New Orleans (No. 44), the Minnesota Vikings (No. 45) and Miami (No. 47).

 

Career Goals

Regardless of where Rowe gets drafted, his objective is to “make an impact right away.”

“I want to be one of those players like [New York Jets cornerback] Darrelle Revis, that if he was traded, would make an instant impact for his defense,” Rowe said. “That’s my overall career goal.”

Rowe, who does not plan to attend the NFL draft (April 30-May 2), said he also has a post-career goal of becoming a commercial developer in real estate.

The cornerback expects to prove to his NFL team that he is “someone that can connect with anybody” and will have “good relationships” with all of his teammates.

“My personality off the field does not match my personality during a game,” Rowe said. “During a game, I have so much energy, I talk a lot, it looks like I’m just a trash-talker and then off the field, [I’m] laid back, calm.

“You can’t play a game and not trust your teammates, so I just want to have that trust factor with all my teammates,” Rowe added.

 

Correction: This article previously stated that Rowe will be attending the draft. He will not be attending the draft.

All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All GIFs were made at Gfycat using videos from Draft Breakdown.

Dan Hope is an NFL Draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football 2015: Winners and Losers from Trojans' Spring Practices, Game

It's probably the only time of year that USC football fans don't care about the final score.  We're just here to get our post-winter dose of Trojans football.  We finally have something concrete to discuss, even if it is wet concrete.

While we know most of the starters for the Trojans in 2015, the spring has provided us a glimpse into how the team as a whole will shape up next fall.  Additionally, we've confirmed a few speculations while also being entertained by a few surprises.

Let's go through all of the good—and bad—about the 2015 spring practices for the Trojans by naming some winners and losers.

Begin Slideshow

USC Spring Game 2015: Recap, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

A deeper, more explosive USC Trojans roster took the field Saturday as Team Cardinal upended Team White, 37-23 at the program's spring game.

In an offense vs. defense format, Team Cardinal encountered few issues piling on the points en route to the victory, thanks to a strong showing from quarterback Cody Kessler and his backup, freshman Max Browne.

Several names, including star JuJu Smith, exploded in the quick-twitch attack, reinforcing the notion the receiving corps is in good hands moving forward.

Coach Steve Sarkisian went into Saturday's spectacle hoping to further expand the explosiveness of his offense—a year after Kessler threw for 3,826 yards and 39 touchdowns to five interceptions and the offense's leading receiver, Nelson Agholor, departed for the NFL.

ESPN's Joe Schad highlighted the focus before the game:

Suffice it to say, Sarkisian accomplished the goal.

An innovative approach to scoring allowed both the offense (Cardinal) and defense (White) to stay on the field and compete, as captured by the team's Twitter account:

After running the ever-popular Oklahoma drill and 7-on-7 to warm up, the actual game got underway.

It started with what everyone wanted to see, too, with Smith reeling in an eight-yard reception on the opening drive, which put the offense up 3-0. Considering he's the favorite to lead the team in receiving and had many dropped passes in recent weeks, it was a great sign for the offense.

As expected for a Sarkisian-led attack, things devolved into a blowout. Kicker Alex Wood made it 6-0 on the second drive, and then Kessler hit Smith for 36 yards on fourth down before firing a scoring strike to Christian Tober.

For those ready to switch to a search engine, stop—Tober played in just one game last year due to injury, but he's one critical part of a deep corps this season. Pigskin Grind's Lisa Horne put it best:

Tober wasn't done, either, catching a second touchdown pass on the next drive, this time from Browne, to make it 20-0.

It wasn't all offense, though. Team White earned three points for a three-and-out and one more for a Lamar Dawson sack. As Neon Tommy Sports points out, Dawson's sack was the first conversion of many successful pressures on the day:

Call it a sigh of relief for Trojans faithful, as a hobbled defense tasked with replacing Leonard Williams needs to be up-to-par this year.

The good vibes didn't last long, though, as Steven Mitchell, another unheralded name, turned on the burners. USC radio announcer Evan Budrovich paints the picture:

It was much of the same after the halftime break.

Smith finally got on the board, reeling in a 15-yard reception in the end zone from Browne. Pac-12 Networks captured his celebration:

So, no, Sarkisian wasn't joking about wanting to focus on the passing game Saturday.

In fact, the first rushing touchdown didn't come until the fourth quarter—and it wasn't scored by a member of the team, as noted, per the team's Twitter account:

Sarkisian himself took to social media to speak about the game's result:

At the end of the day, Saturday's event was pretty one-sided, which makes sense given all the circumstances. Defense still put on a show, though.

It's important to point out the rush was hitting home at a consistent clip. Players such as Jalen Jones and Chris Hawkins recorded interceptions, and Adoree Jackson's elite athleticism prevented a touchdown and helped with the little things.

Again, the headlines go to the offense, though, even more so when Smith uses the platform to throw down gauntlets, as Horne captures:

Free of NCAA sanctions and deeper than in recent years, this edition of the Trojans showed Saturday why a potential run at the Pac-12 crown and a spot in the College Football Playoff are realistic goals.

The Trojans have a long road ahead, over the summer, but Sarkisian's offense answered plenty of questions about depth in emphatic fashion Saturday, a small step in the right direction ahead of the journey.

 

Info courtesy of USCTrojans.com unless otherwise specified.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Why Amari Cooper Should Be Picked Ahead of Kevin White at the NFL Draft

When the first wide receiver's name is called at this year's NFL draft, the player walking to the podium should be Alabama's Amari Cooper. That's not to say it will be; after all, the draft is an inexact science. There's also West Virginia's Kevin White, who's a serious threat to be the first pass-catcher taken.

While no player, regardless of how good he is, represents a sure thing, Cooper seems like a safe bet. This year's recipient of the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's most outstanding wide receiver, is a polished route runner who makes defenses pay with his fluid ability to change direction. Here he is catching passes at Alabama's pro day.

What stands out is how strong Cooper's legs are. He does a terrific job of maintaining a low base so that when it's time to change direction, he simply plants his leg in the ground and seamlessly creates space for himself. There's also no wasted motion with Cooper. Everything has a purpose. These tools will allow him to make an immediate impact in the NFL.

According to Cooper's NFL.com draft profile, he ran the 20-yard shuttle in 3.98 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.71 seconds, making him one of the top performers in both categories. These numbers indicate the quickness and body control Cooper has, which, combined with his elite abilities as a route-runner, will allow him to line up anywhere across the line of scrimmage. He could even be used coming out of the backfield, something he rarely, if ever, did at Alabama.

If Cooper is not the first wide receiver selected at the NFL draft, there are several candidates who stand out above the rest, ranging from Dorial Green-Beckham to DeVante Parker to White. However, for a variety of reasons, none more paramount than talent, the latter has separated himself from the pack.

This is reflected in the fact that most draft experts have Cooper and White as the top two wide receivers to come off the board. Not one of CBS Sports.com's Pete Prisco, Will Brinson, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler had Parker or Green-Beckham going ahead of either player.

What separates Cooper from White? Aside from polish, there is production. In addition to his performances at the combine, his prospect page highlights some of his accomplishments during his three seasons at Alabama. As a junior, he led the nation in receptions with 124, and his 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns were both the second-most in the country.

As stated on his prospect page, these numbers made Cooper a Heisman Trophy finalist, a unanimous first-team All American and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year. What makes these accolades even more impressive is the fact they came against elite competition in the Southeastern Conference. As evidenced by NFL.com's Charles Davis' mock draft, the conference could boast as many as 10 first-round picks at this year's draft.

White, a junior college transfer, skyrocketed up draft charts after a breakout season at West Virginia, taking advantage of suspect defenses in the Big 12. He finished the year with 109 catches, 1,447 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns, per ESPN.com. According to his NFL.com draft profile, he opened his senior campaign with seven consecutive 100-yard receiving games and hauled in 16 catches against Texas.

White's advantages are his size, speed and strength. According to NFL.com, the 6'3" wide receiver ran a 4.35 40-yard dash, which tied for the fourth-fastest time at the combine. His 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press put him in a three-way tie with Sammie Coates and Geremy Davis for first place among wide receivers. These traits give him the potential to be a premier vertical threat.

Make no mistake; White has big-time potential. However, Cooper is more polished, versatile and battle-tested. Whether it's the Jaguars at number three, the Raiders at number four or a team that trades up, the highly decorated receiver from Alabama should be the first player drafted at his position.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Winners and Losers of Saturday's College Football Spring Games

Were you in need of a football fix? Saturday's slate of spring games was here to help. For another few weeks, these weekends will provide the last bit of anything resembling college football until August and September. 

So, you know, cherish them. 

Among the big-name programs to hold their spring scrimmages on April 11 were Nebraska, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma and Florida State. Naturally, there's a lot of intrigue about who will replace Jameis Winston and which first-year coaches are off to great starts. 

The points may not matter, and the stats may be misleading, but there are still fun and interesting things to take away from spring games. From quarterback competitions to freshman standouts and everything in between, here's a list of winners and losers from Saturday's batch of spring games. 

Begin Slideshow

Pages