NCAA Football News

Ohio State Football: Bold Predictions for 2015 Fall Camp

Ohio State is less than a week away from opening fall camp and officially gearing up for another run at the College Football Playoff.

The Buckeyes return 15 starters and loads of talent for their title defense, but there's still a number of questions that need answers before the season-opening road clash with Virginia Tech. 

How will Braxton Miller fit into the offense? Will any freshmen step up and make an early impact? And who will win the highly anticipated quarterback battle?

There's no shortage of intriguing storylines in Columbus. Here are some bold predictions for Ohio State as it approaches fall camp.


Braxton Miller Will Reemerge as a Dominant Playmaker

From the onslaught of transfer rumors to the announcement that he was staying at Ohio State and switching positions from quarterback to wide receiver, Miller was one of the hottest names of the college football season. 

After a pair of surgeries to his throwing shoulder, the two-time Big Ten MVP didn't take a single snap for the Buckeyes during their championship run last year. His lengthy recovery process has prevented him from participating in the quarterback battle at full capacity, so his announced move to wide receiver makes a lot of sense for both his future prospects and the team as a whole. 

Envisioning his former quarterback at wide receiver last week at Big Ten media days, Urban Meyer offered Miller high praise.

“He's one of the best athletes I've ever coached," Meyer said, according to Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel. "He's got an incredible first step."

That elite athleticism will set him apart when fall camp opens next week, and he'll emerge as one of the Buckeyes' top playmakers heading into the season. 


True Freshman Michael Weber Will Earn a Spot in the RB Rotation

Ohio State's backfield boasts the most productive returning rusher in the country in Ezekiel Elliott, but the Buckeyes are in need of depth at the position.

With Curtis Samuel's move to the H-back position, Bri'onte Dunn stepped up as Elliott's primary backup during spring camp. Meyer was impressed with the redshirt junior, who split time with Warren Ball during spring practice as Elliott worked his way back from minor wrist surgery.

But Michael Weber, the 4-star standout from Detroit, will quickly show why he was one of the most highly recruited running backs in the country for the 2015 cycle.

At 5'10" and 215 pounds, Weber offers the coaching staff a different and complementary running style. He's very strong and runs through arm tackles, but he has the speed to break away when he hits the second level. He also has great hands for a running back and can be a viable threat in the passing game.

All of those attributes will be on full display when the team hits the practice field, and the coaching staff will want to develop and reward that talent early.


J.T. Barrett Will Beat Out Cardale Jones and Win the Quarterback Spot

Ohio State's unprecedented quarterback battle will finally reach its conclusion over the course of the next month, and when Ohio State's offense takes the field against Virginia Tech, it'll be J.T. Barrett leading the charge.

Barrett became a household name during a breakout redshirt freshman campaign last year, when he set the Ohio State single-season record for total offense and the Big Ten benchmark for total touchdowns in a single season. But before that, during fall camp leading up to the '14 season, Barrett was named the starter over Jones because he orchestrated the offense more efficiently.

""The offense moves better when [Barrett's] in there. You can throw all the completion percentages – he's probably completing more balls and making more of the right reads in the run game," former offensive coordinator Tom Herman said last August, according to Ari Wasserman of The Plain Dealer. "Not that Cardale is doing a bad job, but the offense moves more frequently when J.T. is the quarterback."

History will repeat itself this year but not because Barrett runs the offense any better than Jones. In fact, Meyer made it clear that both quarterbacks have a similar skill set last week at Big Ten media days. The difference will be Barrett's leadership, which Meyer highlighted last week in Chicago.

With the pressure and expectations Ohio State is facing, solid leadership will be one of the biggest keys to the Buckeyes' success in 2015. And because of that, Barrett will give Ohio State the best chance of handling that pressure this fall.


All recruiting information via 247Sports.

David Regimbal is the Ohio State football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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4-Star Terrell Hall Opens Up on Decommitting from Ohio State and What's Next

Terrell Hall has altered his approach—on and off the football field—during recent months. 

The Washington, D.C. defender transformed his body following a dominant junior campaign, packing more than 30 pounds onto a physique that now stands 6'5", 256 pounds. Now weeks before the start of his final high school season, Hall is relaunching a recruitment that seemed settled.

The 4-star prospect ended a three-month commitment to Ohio State on Monday afternoon.

"I love Ohio State's atmosphere, but I need to make sure I find the best fit, and that means I have to explore some options. Regardless of which school I pick, you can't go wrong with any of them," Hall told Bleacher Report.

The St. John's College standout, rated 10th nationally among weak-side defensive ends in composite rankings, is particularly compelled by the unknown.

"I started to think about the possibility of playing positions other than a 4-3 defensive end," he said. "I like how Alabama sees me as a 3-4 outside linebacker who can still play some defensive end. It also gives me an opportunity to drop back in pass coverage and show off my athleticism. That versatility is attractive to NFL teams."

Professional football is an ultimate goal for many members of a star-studded 2016 class, and Hall is no exception. A recent visit to Tuscaloosa made Hall rethink which collegiate route could help him achieve that dream.

"Apparently people think I decommitted because of [new 5-star Ohio State commit] Nick Bosa, but I've been expecting him to commit. It had nothing to do with my decision, because I'd been on the verge for a while, really since my Alabama visit in June," Hall said. "I liked Ohio State, but it was the first big school that I visited. That trip to Alabama urged me to open my eyes to other opportunities."

His list of options continues to expand. Florida and Oklahoma both extended scholarship offers Tuesday.

"I grew up a fan of Florida. They told me they've liked me for a long time, and now that I'm decommitted, that's a school I think will really recruit me hard," Hall said. "I would highly consider taking an official visit there."

He plans to utilize all five official visits before making a decision. That almost assuredly pushes his next commitment announcement beyond this season, according to Hall.

Ole Miss, LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M and UCLA are other programs he mentioned as potential destinations on his official visit itinerary. Alabama is "definitely" on that list.

While Hall is excited to spend time at new campuses, his focus remains on finding the right fit through research.

"I'm looking at every school with an open mind about how I might fit as an athlete on defense," Hall said. "If I take an official visit to a school, it's because I know the coaches and I are on the same page."

He isn't exactly sticking to a specific script, considering several variables at the next level.

"I can play middle linebacker, defensive end and outside linebacker. I bring a lot to the table," Hall said. "It makes it hard for an offense to find a way to stop me. You have to worry about where I am before the snap—whether I'm going to drop back in coverage, rush off the edge or line up over your guard."

His high school team implements him at linebacker and on the defensive line, where he tallied 19 tackles for loss last season. However, his playing weight has since ballooned from 222 to 256 pounds.

"I've added a lot of strength without sacrificing my athleticism," Hall said. "I try to eat about every two hours and I worked out at least six days per week before training camp started. I want my body to be all muscle."

Under the training guidance of former Rutgers football player Sean Washington, his maximum bench press has increased from 275 to 405 pounds during the past year.

"These workouts can be a lot like the fourth quarter, you've got to keep pushing through them," he said. "I know it's going to pay off on the field."

Hall, who remains open to an Ohio State recommitment, believes the added physicality further enhances his status as an elite 2016 talent.

"The reason I'm the best defensive end in this class is because of all the things I can do outside of the regular position. I allow the defense to do things it wouldn't be able to do otherwise," he said.


Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake. 

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Texas OL Recruit Denzel Okafor Breaks Down His Top 2 Schools

Skill-position players dominate the state of Texas, and schools like Texas and TCU are making sure they are going after their share of the talent available.

While skill-position guys are plenty, quality offensive lineman are more scarce. They're also needed by both programs. Lewisville, Texas, standout Denzel Okafor is well aware of that fact and could make one of those programs very happy by the end of the month.

Okafor said he's looking into making a decision of where he'll play college football either the last week of August or the early part of September. His top two schools are Texas and TCU.

"I'm just honored that God's given me the talent and the ability to be in this spot. I'm just blessed," Okafor said. "A lot of people don't get this opportunity."

Now standing 6'4" and weighing 293 pounds, Okafor is a hybrid lineman who can play tackle or guard at the next level. He is listed as a 3-star guard according to 247Sports' composite rankings, but he said he's more comfortable playing tackle—even though he's all for lining up anywhere to see early playing time.

TCU may have the inside advantage over Texas at this point. The Horned Frogs, he said, were the first school to offer him, and he's built a great relationship with head coach Gary Patterson, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Sonny Cumbie and other members of the coaching staff.

Texas, however, is a school he's grown up a fan of. He likes the direction head coach Charlie Strong has the program going, and he's excited about the program's future. He mentioned Strong and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline.

"TCU really stood out last year. No one expected them to have the season they had," Okafor said. "They're building a great program that's only going to get better. With them being my first offer, the fact that I was a necessity to them stood out to me. Coach Patterson, Coach Cumbie, they're all great coaches. I can see myself being there.

"With Texas, I've always liked Texas. Coach Wickline was the first coach to really start talking to me. Coach Strong and I have had some good conversations. He's a great coach, and he's going to get them back to where they once were. I feel like he can get me where I want to be."

TCU's 2016 class already has a 4-star tackle committed in Austin Myers, as well as 3-star interior linemen committed in guard Tyler Brown and center Kellton Hollins. Additionally, the Horned Frogs' 2015 class only had three offensive linemen sign.

Texas has a ton of young offensive linemen on its roster, but it's landed only one commit for the 2016 class in 3-star guard Tope Imade. The Longhorns' 2015 class featured six offensive linemen to sign.

Okafor said that while Texas and TCU are his top two, schools like Texas A&M, LSU and Oklahoma still should be considered in the running. Wherever he ends up, Okafor said he wants to be at a school that he can help make better, as well as a place where he knows he'll learn a lot.

Look for a decision in a few weeks. Okafor said he'll either announce his decision via Twitter or by way of an announcement through a local television station.

"They're both great programs," Okafor said of Texas and TCU. "It's going to be a tough decision."


Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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Where Notre Dame Turns at Running Back with Greg Bryant Ineligible

For another season, the academic ineligibility hits keep on coming for Notre Dame. 

According to Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated, running back Greg Bryant will be ineligible for the 2015 season because of academics.  

A previous report from Tom Loy of 247Sports stated that Bryant was already slated to miss the first four games of the season due to a violation of team rules. 

Adding to the agony of it all, Bryant's father confirmed to Sampson that his son was within a letter grade in a summer course of staying eligible.

"There are certain expectations within our program that must be met on a daily basis," head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. "Quite simply, Greg did not meet those expectations." 

It was close, but unfortunately not close enough for Bryant, and now the Irish proceed without their leader in yards per rush at running back from a year ago. Where does the offense turn now?

The clear answer is junior Tarean Folston, who actually led the team with 889 yards rushing and eight touchdowns in 2014. Folston has appeared in 25 career games, starting 10 of them last season. Folston figured to be the go-to back in '15 after leading the Irish with 175 carries. 

Consistency, however, hasn't been Folston's strongest quality. Last season, roughly 81 percent of Folston's rushing yards came after the midway point in October. As a freshman in 2013, Folston never reached higher than 47 yards until a breakout, 140-yard performance against Navy in early November. 

The point being, Folston has a history of starting slow and ending strong. While that shows promise, Folston has yet to put everything together for an entire season. 

Bryan Driskell of wrote this about Folston's projection for 2015: 

The expectations for Folston are clear, carry the late stretch run into the 2015 season and perform like that on a consistent basis. Folston never carried the ball more than 21 times during that stretch, so it's not like he needs 25-30 carries to get to those numbers. His vision between the tackles combines with his ability to stretch the defense and find creases on the perimeter to make him a highly effective player.

Beyond Folston, the Irish will have to get creative. The depth and experience simply isn't there like it is at other positions. Two freshmen, 4-stars Dexter Williams and Josh Adams, figured to see some carries anyway, and they could now be asked to be more steady contributors throughout the season. 

C.J. Prosise, a converted wide receiver, had limited carries—10, to be exact—last year, but his emergence this spring has impressed the likes of Matt Fortuna of and Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated

Then there's receiver Amir Carlisle. The former USC transfer has battled consistency and injury problems during his career, but made tremendous strides this spring. "Amir Carlisle has probably had the best spring in terms of the growth at that position, understanding the position," Kelly said in April via Frank Vitovitch of

However, because the Irish are so loaded at wide receiver, now might be a good time to convert Carlisle back to his original position at running back. Carlisle is a tremendous athlete who can do great things in space, but for one reason or another, things haven't quite clicked for him yet. 

Moving forward, Bryant's absence is most felt on the depth chart. This is important in a running game made up of a committee of role players. As the season wears on, it's good to have a steady stable of backs rotating in and out of the field. It keeps everyone healthier and defenses on their toes. 

Ultimately, Notre Dame might not be able to achieve that luxury in 2015. Depth was at a premium to begin with before the rigors of the season kicked in. If the ground game is going to take pressure off of first-year starting quarterback Malik Zaire, who is, in fairness, a rushing threat himself, Folston is going to have to step up. Behind him, young players and converted receivers may have to help shoulder some of that load. 


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. All stats courtesy of All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports

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Greg Bryant Ruled Academically Ineligible by Notre Dame, Will Miss Season

Notre Dame running back Greg Bryant, who was already suspended for the first four games of 2015 because of an undisclosed violation of team rules, has been ruled academically ineligible and will miss his entire junior season.

Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated reported the news. Bryant's father told Sampson that the Florida native needed a B-plus in a summer class to stay eligible but was only able to earn a B-minus. His future with the football program overall remains unclear.

"There are certain expectations within our program that must be met on a daily basis," coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. "Quite simply, Greg did not meet those expectations."

To make matters worse, Keith Arnold of NBC Sports reported linebacker Michael Deeb and right end Mike Heurman have been medically disqualified the same day as Bryant's suspension.

Bryant rushed for 289 yards and three touchdowns last season and was expected to compete for the primary backup job behind Tarean Folston. C.J. Prosise, who has been playing a hybrid of slot receiver and running back throughout preseason workouts, will now likely step into a much bigger role carrying the ball.

“He’s a natural runner,” offensive coordinator Mike Sanford told's JJ Stankevitz in April. “He presses the line of scrimmage well, he sees things, and then he plays with good pad level, which is tough for a tall guy. I’ve been really impressed with C.J. and I just think that’s been a great storyline for our offense is just the depth that he brings and the quality he brings and the versatility that he brings to that position.”

Without Bryant, Prosise will have no choice but to make that transition successfully. The Irish will also be hurting if either Prosise or Folston goes down with an injury. Incoming freshmen Josh Adams and Dexter Williams are the only other two running backs listed on the depth chart.

Williams was the more highly touted of the two coming out of high school, so he would seemingly have the inside track at the third spot on the depth chart.     


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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