NCAA Football News

Byron Cowart to Auburn: Tigers Land 5-Star DE Prospect

Byron Cowart, one of the premier defensive end prospects in the class of 2015, has immediately bolstered Auburn's crop of incoming freshmen on Wednesday in announcing his commitment to the Tigers.

ESPN reported Cowart's decision:

Hailing from Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida, Cowart is rated as a 5-star prospect, the No. 1 strong-side defensive end and third-best recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. That suggests he's ready to make an immediate impact in college, and both his skill set and mature build help his cause.

Cowart is already 6'4", 250 pounds and runs a 4.60-second 40-yard dash, per his 247Sports profile. As a junior, he registered 13 sacks and piled up 72 total tackles. In 2014, he had 21 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles.

Possessing such an impressive blend of speed and athleticism has allowed Cowart to dominate his formidable high school competition, so he could very well wind up producing similar results in college.

With the ability to play the run well and to stand up on the edge and sink into coverage if needed, the versatility Cowart brings to the gridiron makes him a particularly coveted prospect. Although he's proven he can bull-rush with effectiveness, he'll have to use the other moves in his arsenal to find success against better competition.

Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards coached Cowart before the Under Armour All-America game and gave a glowing review, per BayNews9.com's Ryan Bass:

Defensively, he's a game changer, but he goes about his business. He's a leader and he was our team captain. You could tell by the first day when you've got select captains, I'm going that guy right there is going to be a captain. ...

... He plays when the moment is big, and he gets it. He's a hard-working guy and he has a fantastic motor. He won't live off his talent. He's going to work at it. Whoever gets this guy, I'll tell you what, look out.

ESPN's Derek Tyson was impressed with Cowart's performance in the big game, too:

Cowart has an incredibly quick first step and explodes out of his stance once the ball is snapped. There is a sense of anticipation and a knack for diagnosing plays that's evident on tape, which bodes well for Cowart to crack the starting lineup sooner than later.

Cowart can use his hands effectively to disengage blockers, swim past offensive linemen and gain inside leverage to drive his way into the opposing backfield. It doesn't even look as though he moves fast on the field, yet he still covers a ton of ground in a very short amount of time and usually finishes off the play with a violent collision.

Raw power and strength is important for any lineman to succeed at the highest level of college football.

In addition to possessing those traits, it's evident that Cowart is intent on improving his game and seems to just be realizing his potential, which translates well to his future and long-term outlook. Now that he's added some finesse to his game and will only be coached up with even more intensity, Cowart has a seemingly limitless ceiling as a pass-rusher and a game-changing force that offenses have to game-plan around.

Special teams likely won't be a phase such a special player in Cowart will have to go through. He should crack the defensive line rotation and could even line up inside if he adds more bulk to become a disruptive force who can collapse the pocket from the interior.

Cowart is too polished and capable of producing big plays not to see the field right away in some fashion as a prominent contributor to the defense.


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Chris Clark to UCLA: Bruins Land 4-Star TE Prospect

One of the most coveted pass-catchers in the 2015 recruiting class is off the market, as tight end Chris Clark has announced his college decision.  

Clark announced on ESPNU he will be attending UCLA. ESPN CollegeFootball provided an image from Clark's announcement:

Kevin McGuire of NBC Sports' College Football Talk noted it was an important win for Jim Mora:

Clark is ranked as the No. 2 tight end in the class and 85th-best player overall by 247Sports.com. He initially committed to the University of Michigan, but Brady Hoke's firing led to him having a change of heart by posting a note on Twitter:

According to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com, Clark was one of eight Michigan recruits to decommit from the school due to the disappointing 2014 season and/or Hoke's firing. 

Clark's note did say he remained interested in Michigan and 247Sports' Crystal Ball prediction had the Wolverines listed as the overwhelming favorite for his services at 63 percent. Steve Willfong of 247Sports.com reported that Clark was taking an official visit to the school, as well as UCLA in January. 

The Connecticut native will immediately present matchup problems for the Bruins. Clark is listed at 6'6" and 247 pounds, boasting the size of a defensive end with speed and athleticism to outrun linebackers at the college level. 

There aren't a lot of difference-making tight ends in college football right now. Clark has a chance to be among the best right away, as long as he can adapt to the speed of the game and find the right quarterback to help ease his transition. 

A quarterback's best friend is a good tight end. They serve as a safety net over the middle with the size to run over defenders. Clark is a special athlete who will have a fruitful college career because of his ability to make plays in traffic. 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

K.J. Hill to Ohio State: Buckeyes Land 4-Star WR Prospect

Ohio State is already on the board early on national signing day by landing wide receiver K.J. Hill. It's a major addition to the 2015 class for the reigning champion Buckeyes.

Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors reports Hill made the choice during a press conference at North Little Rock High School. The decision was reportedly made last night:

Since his visit, Hill's recruitment has taken twists and turns but confidence from the Buckeye remained strong even in the face of reports that Alabama had made a late push. According to sources, Hill and his family informed Ohio State last night that he would be signing with the Buckeyes this morning.

Justin Ferguson of the Sporting News notes Ohio State edged Alabama and Arkansas, where Hill originally committed, in the hotly contested recruiting battle:

Hill is a 4-star prospect who ranks just outside the top 150 nationally, according the 247Sports' composite rankings. He also rates as the No. 16 receiver in the class and the top player coming out of Arkansas in 2015.

The most impressive part of his game is making plays in space. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for with terrific playmaking ability. He can take a quick slant route and beat several defenders to pick up the first down with relative ease.

He'll likely need to add more power to his frame before he becomes a consistent contributor at the next level. It's always a delicate balance, though. He doesn't want to overdo it, causing him to lose the quickness and agility that have made him a coveted prospect.

By adding Hill early, Ohio State puts itself on course for another successful signing day.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

National Signing Day Predictions: Projecting Destinations for Top Recruits

College football's balance of power remains in limbo heading into national signing day.

Sure, some of the usual suspects, such as SEC powerhouse Alabama, have already put together fine recruiting classes prior to Wednesday's event; however, the likes of USC, Tennessee, Clemson and LSU aren't far behind. A couple of key commitments from remaining recruits could result in a shift within the nation's pecking order.

So, will the rich get richer, or will this year's recruiting class tighten things up prior to the upcoming season and second annual College Football Playoff?

To ensure you stay locked in as this pivotal day unfolds, let's take a look at the full schedule for national signing day, along with predictions for each featured recruit.

 

National Signing Day Schedule

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 4

Time: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. ET

Channel: ESPNU

Live Stream: WatchESPN

School-Specific Coverage List: CBSSports.com

Twitter Announcements: @ESPNCFB@CollegeGameDay

 

Recruit Announcement Schedule and Predictions

Player announcement list courtesy of ESPNMediaZone.com.

 

Iman Marshall, CB

Marshall, a 5-star recruit and the top cornerback prospect, according to 247Sports' composite rankings, will be deciding between his six finalists on national signing day. The corner hasn't alluded to any sort of favorite, but he did make his choices well-known by releasing this teaser video:

Sure, the move to produce the video may seem a bit brash, but let's get one thing straight: The hype surrounding Marshall is very real.

At 6'1" and 190 pounds, he has the size and length of a prototypical outside corner; however, that's only a portion of what makes him such a coveted prospect. While that size allows him to defend against larger wide receivers in press coverage, Marshall also has the necessary quickness and agility to stay on the hip of quicker receivers in off-man coverage as well.

Those traits should allow him to excel rather quickly at the collegiate level, making him a multiyear starter for the school of his choice. Now, there's the matter of deciding which school will ultimately land the sought-after prospect.

The heavy favorite in this race is USC. A Long Beach, California, native, Marshall may opt to go with an in-state program, and he could certainly do worse than the Trojans. Although, a new hire at Michigan quickly made the school a possibility, via Rivals.com:

Jim Harbaugh has been successful at both the collegiate and professional levels, making him a very desirable coach for many recruits. He has the ability to quickly turn Michigan's program around, and according to a report from Brandon Brown of TheWolverine.com, Marshall "came away impressed with Ann Arbor" after his official visit.

Here's a look at the cornerback alongside Harbaugh and Co. at Michigan:

Marshall's decision could certainly go either way here. Whether he decides to go with USC or Michigan, he'll be landing in a quality program surrounded by great players and coaches. While remaining in California to play at USC does seem like a very appealing option, there's something about the allure of playing for Harbaugh and helping the coach build something special at Michigan.

Prediction: Michigan

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

National Signing Day 2015: Last-Minute Predictions for Recruiting Stunners

National signing day is one of the most frantic days on the college football calendar, with hundreds of top-level recruits finally signing on the dotted line for their prospective schools. But the day also produces some of the crazier moments, like when recruits decide to flip schools. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analysts Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer highlight which players they believe could flip their current commitment for a new school. 

Who will flip on national signing day? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

National Signing Day 2015: Tracking Top 100 College Football Recruits

National signing day represents the time when colleges across the nation celebrate the arrival of a new class of prospects destined to lead each program to success in the near future.

Recruits can come with the same type of fanfare as Jadeveon Clowney did at South Carolina or be like Oregon's Marcus Mariota and fly under the radar during the transition to the college level.

A handful of the nation’s elite recruits have already enrolled at their schools of choice while others are either deciding at the final moment or solidifying the commitments made earlier in the process.

Stay tuned as Bleacher Report keeps you updated on when the nation’s top 100 overall recruits in the 2015 cycle are signed, sealed and delivered.

Top 100 rankings courtesy of 247Sports Composite Rankings.   

Begin Slideshow

LSU Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

Les Miles and the LSU Tigers have some major retooling to do over the offseason, as the team is still trying to recover from the losses of former players Odell Beckham Jr., Jeremy Hill, Jarvis Landry, Ego Ferguson and more. Luckily, things are starting to head in the right direction.

According to the 247Sports team rankings, LSU currently holds strong at No. 6 overall heading into national signing day. Earning commitments from the likes of 5-star cornerback Kevin Toliver II, wide receiver Tyron Johnson and running back Donte Jackson will go a long way for the Tigers; however, they're not done yet.

LSU still has a few uncommitted targets remaining heading into national signing day, and the team has a chance to finish with one of the year's best recruiting classes if these prospects elect to don the purple and gold.

Here's a look at the Tigers' current recruiting haul, followed by predictions for their targets' ultimate decisions.

All player ratings courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

 

National Signing Day Predictions

Daylon Charlot, WR

One of the most coveted remaining targets of the Tigers, Charlot has plenty to offer at the wide receiver position. He possesses good size and length at 6'0" and 193 pounds, and his speed—his 40-yard dash was clocked at 4.35 seconds, via Hudl.com—makes him a legitimate vertical threat.

He has all of the makings of a game-changing wide receiver.

Currently, Charlot is torn between Alabama and LSU. The receiver decommitted from Alabama in 2014; however, the team's coaching staff continued to pursue the receiver thereafter.

Charlot hasn't given any indication as to which way he's leaning, but an interesting report from James Smith of The Times-Picayune sheds some light on the matter:

Charlot was disappointed that it took LSU longer than other programs to offer him and the Tigers have been battling the sour taste in his mouth throughout the whole process. LSU wide receiver coach Adam Henry has kept things interesting by making leaving Louisiana a difficult decision for Charlot. He was supposed to take an official visit to Miami this past weekend, but cancelled the visit after Alabama took a firm stance about his impending travel plans.

So, not only was Charlot upset that it took LSU quite some time to generate an offer, but the receiver also apparently canceled his trip to Miami after Alabama expressed displeasure over the visit. Unfortunately for LSU, all signs point to Charlot signing with the Crimson Tide.

Prediction: Alabama

 

Leo Lewis, ILB

LSU is known for its great defense, and acquiring the services of Lewis will play a big part in keeping that trend alive. The 6'3", 225-pound linebacker has nice strength, and his frame appears able to support additional weight he'll need to pack on to play on the inside.

Not only is he strong, but he's highly athletic, plays with a huge motor and doesn't shy away from contact, routinely making big hits.

This 4-star recruit hasn't given any indication as to which school he's leaning toward, and his decision on national signing day will be between LSU and Mississippi State.

A Mississippi native, Lewis may opt to remain in-state with the Bulldogs; however, the Tigers have been putting forth a very strong recruiting effort, and it appears to be paying off.

Lewis recently decommitted from Ole Miss and officially removed the Rebels from his final list shortly after his visit with LSU, according to a report from Smith.

That bit of information alludes to a great visit with the Tigers, possibly making them the new front-runners. JC Shurburtt of 247Sports appears to be one of the many analysts to feel the same:

LSU was probably the underdog coming into this, as it's generally difficult to sway a prospect away from an in-state school, but the Tigers look like they'll get this one done.

Prediction: LSU

 

Toby Weathersby, OT

One of the Tigers' biggest targets, the 6'4", 295-pound Weathersby is a mauler in the trenches, boasting a combination of great size and strength.

Not much of a finesse player, Weathersby has the power to drive defenders back on their heels or simply toss them out of the way. He's still a bit raw, but his upside is immense.

Here's some impressive statistics from Weathersby's senior season, via Richard Davenport of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

On Wednesday, the tackle will make his decision between LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss. Weathersby was committed to Texas but changed his mind in mid-December. The Tigers jumped at the opportunity to corral the tackle's services, bringing him in for an official visit on Jan. 23 and continuing to pursue him thereafter.

Weathersby's visit to LSU came a week after his trip to Arkansas, giving the Tigers a better chance of leaving a lasting impression. Call it a hunch, but this tackle finds his way to Baton Rouge.

Prediction: LSU

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

USC has already made a huge splash in the recruiting process ahead of national signing day. The Trojans are currently holding strong at No. 2 overall—behind only Alabama—in 247Sports' team rankings. Much of that success can be attributed to gaining the commitments of game-changing players like guard Chuma Edoga and outside linebackers Osa Masina and Porter Gustin.

While this year's recruiting class is already poised to help USC climb the ladder in the Pac-12, the school isn't done yet. The Trojans are aiming to finish with a flourish, as the school has its eye on several 5-star recruits who will be announcing their ultimate decisions on national signing day.

So, which of the team's top targets are most likely to don cardinal and gold in the near future? Before we delve into some predictions for remaining uncommitted prospects, here's a look at USC's current recruiting class.

All player ratings courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

 

National Signing Day Predictions

Iman Marshall, CB

One of the most coveted remaining uncommitted prospects, Marshall is the big target for USC. It's easy to see why the Trojans are making a strong push for the cornerback, as his blend of size (6'1", 190 pounds), speed (4.5-second 40-yard dash) and ball skills (he also played wide receiver in high school) will allow him to flourish in several different coverage packages.

While USC was thought to be the overwhelming favorite for Marhsall, the Michigan Wolverines have moved into the picture due to the efforts of new head coach Jim Harbaugh. During an interview with Erik McKinney of ESPN Insider, Marshall briefly touched on what he liked in Ann Arbor: "At Michigan, the networking and the new coaching hire."

Marshall also tweeted out this picture of himself with Harbaugh and Co.:

Still, while Michigan is making a valiant effort to snag this 5-star recruit, he'll ultimately land in Los Angeles. Hailing from Long Beach, the California native may find it difficult to relocate to the bitter north, away from a Trojans football program that has produced a long lineage of NFL players.

Prediction: USC

 

Rasheem Green, DT

The 6'5", 275-pound Green is a game-changing defensive lineman who has the versatility to play inside at tackle or outside at end. A great mix of length, explosiveness and power make this 5-star recruit a highly sought-after prospect, as his ability to shed blocks en route to the backfield and close up running lanes in a hurry make him an extremely well-rounded defender.

USC is considered the team to beat for Green; however, Arizona State is well in the mix as national signing day commences. The Sun Devils sent defensive coordinator Keith Patterson and defensive line coach Jackie Shipp to visit Green in mid-January, and according to Doug Haller of The Republic, "It went well" was all the recruit had to say about the visit in a text message.

Now, let's compare that to what Green had to say following a visit from USC defensive line coach Chris Wilson and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon. Following the meeting, and before Green visited the USC campus, he spoke with Lindsey Thiry of the Los Angeles Times: "It was really cool talking to the staff at school. We talked about what we would do this weekend and who my host might be."

The Trojans are considered the front-runners for Green's services, and judging on his apparent increased level of enthusiasm toward the school, the guess here is that he lands with USC.

Prediction: USC

 

John Houston, OLB

This 6'3", 211-pound 4-star linebacker was actually a teammate of Green's in high school. Houston has great instincts at his position, reading schemes and adjusting to plays quickly to get himself in position to make an impact. His intelligence on the field combined with his sound technique should allow him to excel at the collegiate level quickly.

USC is once again considered the front-runner here, as the Trojans have been making a push to land both Green and Houston, recruiting them simultaneously.

Oregon is thought to have a chance at signing Houston as well, but it's tough to bet against the Trojans here—especially since they were the last to meet (and leave an impression on) Houston before national signing day, according to a tweet from Adam Gorney of Rivals.com:

Taking this into consideration, and keeping in mind Green—Houston's high school teammate—has a strong chance of signing with the Trojans, the pick has to be USC in this instance.

Prediction: USC

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon Ducks Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

How does a team that came within one victory of a national championship and then lost its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback pick up the pieces and move forward? 

Securing a top-notch class on national signing day would be a good place to start.

That is exactly what Oregon hopes to do Wednesday as the faxes come rolling in and various recruits pledge their talents to different schools. The Ducks have the No. 15 class in the country in 247Sports’ composite rankings, but they are involved in a handful of national signing day battles that could bolster the class to top-10 range if they break the right way.

With that in mind, here is a look at some predictions for the top remaining targets for the Ducks.

 

Semisi Uluave

Semisi Uluave is a 4-star prospect and the No. 22 guard in the country, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and would bolster the Oregon offensive front as a 6’5”, 315-pound blocker.

Texas Tech and UCLA are both listed as schools of interest and figure to be the toughest competition for Uluave, although he visited California this past weekend as well.

Whichever school lands Uluave will get a player who could step in right away and create running lanes with his sheer size and power. He is a mountain of a prospect who will simply physically overpower opponents, even as a freshman. After a couple years of college coaching and weight training, he should be an absolute beast up front. 

Few teams in the country rely on offensive linemen more than Oregon considering how many plays it runs with its quick tempo and the read-option looks it uses every game. Marcus Mariota would have never won a Heisman Trophy were it not for solid blocking throughout much of the season (when the line was actually healthy).

Uluave commented the success of the Ducks this season, via Andrew Nemec of The Oregonian:

It's tough, because you see all the success that they are having and you want to be a part of success, but I feel like with the success they are having now all credit goes to those guys. None of that credit should go to the guys that are being recruited by them. That is going to be a different journey for us. When I see it, I'm happy for them and all their success, but they are doing that without me. I want to be able to, if I'm on that team, give as much as all of them are giving to make it that far as well.

Oregon has seemingly come on strong late in this race, and its on-field success by reaching the national championship game certainly doesn’t hurt in the eyes of high school recruits. Uluave even mentioned that it “is going to be a different journey for us,” which has to be encouraging for those Ducks fans reading between the lines of that quote. 

Ultimately, Oregon represents the best chance for Uluave to compete for championships right away, and he will respond accordingly by choosing the Ducks.

 

Josh Smith and John Houston

Remember when Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott was making mincemeat of the Oregon front seven in the national championship game? Well, the Ducks’ best chance at remedying their issues at linebacker is by hitting the recruiting trail hard.

Nemec, in a separate piece from the one linked above, didn’t paint a pretty picture for Oregon when it comes to the position: “The biggest area of concern on the current roster, aside from replacing Marcus Mariota, is the linebacker position. Oregon was miserable during the college football playoff and doesn't seem to have a true impact man in the middle.”

Naturally, Oregon has its eyes on a couple of linebacking prospects on national signing day.

Josh Smith is a 4-star prospect and the No. 3 inside linebacker in the country in 247Sports' composite rankings, but he also happens to be a Vanderbilt commit. John Houston is also a 4-star recruit who checks in as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the country on 247Sports' composite rankings.

Landing both would give the Ducks elite players at the inside and outside linebacker spots and provide the defense with more depth and versatility than it had down the stretch of the season. Perhaps that will make a difference against strong running teams in the immediate future (that September date at Michigan State jumps out).

However, Nemec noted that Houston “seems like a future Trojan,” and it is difficult to overlook the fact that Smith already gave a verbal pledge to Vanderbilt. Sure, Oregon represents a better chance to win than Vanderbilt, but Smith is from Tennessee.

There is something to be said for playing close to home.

While the Ducks made some late noise with both of these recruits and could really use them as part of their linebacking corps, they will be left on the outside looking in on national signing day. Fortunately for Oregon, it will win enough recruiting battles to still land a top-15 class this year. 

 

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.

 

Follow me on Twitter:

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

National Signing Day 2015: Final Recruit Announcement Schedule and Predictions

National signing day is arguably the most important event that takes place over the course of college football's offseason. A great deal of hype always surrounds the year's top recruits, and their ultimate decisions could lead to a CFB juggernaut growing stronger or an up-and-coming program gaining significant ground on its competition.

One of the most nerve-wracking and exciting ways to follow national signing day is to tune in to watch the nation's most coveted recruits announce their intentions throughout the course of the day. This allows us to watch some schools grow stronger, and others become increasingly fragile as a result, with every official commitment.

So, which uncommitted recruits are slated to make an appearance during ESPN's 11-hour national signing day special? Here's a look at how to watch the event, followed by a list of expected player announcement times and predictions for their ultimate decisions.

 

National Signing Day Schedule

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 4

Time: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. ET

Channel: ESPNU

Live Stream: WatchESPN

School-Specific Coverage List: CBSSports.com

Twitter Announcements: @ESPNCFB@CollegeGameDay

 

Recruit Announcement Schedule and Predictions

Player announcement list courtesy of ESPNMediaZone.com.

 

Byron Cowart, DE

Cowart is the top prospect at his position and a certified 5-star recruit. He's one of the year's most coveted prospects and has narrowed his potential destinations to Florida and Auburn. Currently, the schools appear to be in a dead heat for his services, so let's speculate on his impending decision.

First off, let's take a look at why Cowart is such a coveted prospect.

At 6'4" and 250 pounds, the defensive end has a perfect combination of size, length, power, athleticism and speed. He can anchor himself to set the edge, burn offensive tackles with his speed or simply power through them with a devastating bull rush. Here's a look at one of his many lasting impressions during practice for the Under Armour All-American Game, courtesy of Mike Farrell of Rivals.com:

That kind of play generated some very high praise from coaches in attendance. One such coach was Roland Smith of Miami Central High School during an interview with Martin Rickman of Sports Illustrated:

He had an outstanding week of practice and had outstanding work habits. He was a great leader for our team. Every play that kid came hard. He didn't waste a rep or anything. It all started with his preparation. If he can take that preparation he had that week of the Under Armour game with him to school, he can be a tremendous player.

So, is Auburn or Florida more likely to gain Cowart's impressive skill set?

At face value, the early upper hand has to go to Florida. After all, Cowart is a native of Seffner, Florida, and staying in-state should be pretty appealing. However, the Tigers made a big hire that could have Cowart heading northwest to Alabama.

The Gators were very active in recruiting the defensive end early on, and one coach in the midst of that action was former Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Well, during the offseason, Auburn hired Muschamp to be its new defensive coordinator. If Cowart felt any kind of a connection with the coach, he'll still have the opportunity to play for him with the Tigers.

While that could certainly be a likely scenario, it's difficult to discount Cowart's gimmick that continues a tradition of Florida defensive linemen. That gimmick happens to be his affinity for the Chucky doll, seen here in a tweet from Sleeper Athletes:

According to Wesley Sinor of AL.com, the Chucky doll was a mascot passed around by Gators linemen. New England Patriots defensive end Dominique Easley started the trend and Dante Fowler took over thereafter. With Fowler heading to the NFL, perhaps Cowart will be next in line to tote the doll around.

If Cowart is already carrying on a Gators tradition, it's difficult to see him landing anywhere but Florida.

Prediction: Florida

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

If you thought recruiting in the immediate aftermath of a national championship would make Urban Meyer’s job easy at Ohio State, think again.

Sure, the Buckeyes have the No. 7 class in the country, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, but they are fighting all the way up to national signing day to hold onto two of their top commits. What’s more, they are in a battle for a top-notch wide receiver from Arkansas and a physically imposing offensive tackle from Maryland.

How many of these top remaining recruits will choose the scarlet and gray hat on national signing day?

Read on for some predictions.

 

K.J. Hill

K.J. Hill checks in as a 4-star prospect and the No. 16 wide receiver in the country in 247Sports’ composite rankings. He is 6’0” and 188 pounds, and uses impressive speed and route-running to beat cornerbacks and safeties for big plays down the field.

Interestingly, Hill is from North Little Rock, Arkansas, which means Meyer is going to have to beat the SEC (and Alabama, in particular) in its backyard off the field like he did on the field in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama and Arkansas are both listed as schools of interest alongside Ohio State on Hill’s 247Sports page.

Hill recently took an official visit to Ohio State, and Meyer recently visited the wide receiver as well. The Buckeyes are making a strong late push for the playmaker, and sometimes last-minute momentum is all a coach like Meyer needs.

It’s hard to argue with the success Ohio State has had at the position in Meyer’s short tenure as well.

Corey “Philly” Brown started for the Carolina Panthers down the stretch this season, Devin Smith turned into the best deep threat in college football this year and could be a first-round pick in the upcoming draft, and players like Michael Thomas, Evan Spencer and Jalin Marshall were critical cogs in the national championship-winning machine.

However, Montez Peterson, Hill's stepfather, had some interesting comments regarding Alabama’s chances, via Drew Champlin of AL.com:

He never really got 'Bama out of his system. It's just one of those things where you want to make sure that you're sure. That's where it is with that. They knew that he really was still thinking about them. That's why he wanted to continue taking some of his visits, just to be sure.

While it is hard to argue against the lure of playing at Alabama, especially for someone who grew up in SEC territory, Meyer and the Buckeyes have plenty of late momentum in this race after the visits. Ohio State will parlay that into a recruiting victory on Wednesday. 

After all, the crystal ball predictions on 247Sports heavily favor the Buckeyes (64 percent, as opposed to 28 percent for Arkansas and eight percent for Alabama, as of Tuesday night at 11 p.m. ET).

 

Isaiah Prince

Isaiah Prince is a 4-star prospect and the No. 7 offensive tackle in 247Sports’ composite rankings.

The 6’6” and 272-pound lineman can clear running lanes and keep his quarterback upright with his impressive reach and strength, but his athleticism is what really stands out. He has excellent footwork and lateral quickness that gives him a very high ceiling as a potential left tackle at the next level.

Prince represents another battle with Alabama, although hometown Maryland was the leader in the crystal ball predictions on Tuesday night.

Prince’s high school coach, Tom Green, discussed Prince’s visit to Maryland, via Matt Zenitz of The Baltimore Sun:

He enjoyed it. He really liked it. He’s been on campus a lot. We have two of our former players, two linemen that played for us that are on the team at Maryland, a tackle and a guard already that play for them, so he’s real familiar with those guys, and they have a lot of local guys on the team, so there’s quite a few guys that he knows up there. I think that helps.

Alabama and Ohio State may be the bluest of blue-chip programs when it comes to championship pedigree, players in the NFL and overall tradition, but there is something to be said for the pull of staying close to home. Reading between the lines can sometimes be a dangerous game when it comes to recruiting predictions, but Green played up the relationships that are already in place on Maryland’s team in that quote. 

Those will ultimately be too hard for Prince to ignore, and he will choose the Terrapins over the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide.

 

Torrance Gibson and Mike Weber

Both quarterback Torrance Gibson, who is a 4-star prospect and the No. 6 athlete on 247Sports’ composite rankings, and running back Mike Weber, who is a 4-star prospect and the No. 9 running back on 247Sports’ composite rankings, gave their verbal pledges to Ohio State.

However, Auburn, Miami and LSU are all still in play for Gibson, while Michigan has made a late push for Weber after the Jim Harbaugh hiring. 

For what it’s worth, Mike Farrell of Rivals.com sees both players in Columbus next season:

Gibson is certainly an intriguing battle to watch since the quarterback race at Ohio State will be the most talked-about subject in all of college football during the offseason. Adding Gibson’s name alongside Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller would only make it more interesting, even if Gibson would almost certainly have to wait his turn behind those established players.

Still, Miller only has one season remaining, and Jones could very well head to the NFL after the 2015 campaign. If this year taught us anything, it is that every quarterback on the Ohio State roster should be ready to play at a moment’s notice.

As for Weber, he originally committed to Michigan, changed sides to the Buckeyes after the Brady Hoke firing and could head back to the Wolverines with Harbaugh in tow.

There may be more immediate playing time waiting in Ann Arbor, but it is hard to ignore the success Meyer has had with running backs in Columbus between Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott. The chance to be the next in line in that group has to be enticing.

Ultimately, Ohio State has been in on both Gibson and Weber for quite some time now, and those established relationships with the coaching staffs will pay dividends on signing day. Both Gibson and Weber will keep their pledges to Ohio State.   

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.

 

Follow me on Twitter:

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Recruiting Rankings 2015: Projecting Top Classes and Programs

It's officially national signing day for the 2015 college football class, which means powerhouse programs fighting all year for top recruits will find out how well they did.

While recruiting rankings only matter so much in the broad picture and there are sure to be hits and misses, schools that finish high atop the team rankings become too loaded with star power for it not to weigh in considerably. With a handful of schools getting at least three or four 5-star players along with more than a dozen 4-star standouts, that's the case again this season.

Schools like Auburn, Texas A&M, Texas or LSU have a real shot to climb on national signing day, but elsewhere, the top couple of teams seem pretty close to concrete. As Wednesday's announcements loom, let's look at the early morning rankings and a prediction for the final top three.

Above information courtesy of the 247Sports team rankings.

 

Projected Top Three

1. Alabama

More quietly than any year in recent memory, Alabama has compiled yet another top-ranked recruiting class to restock Nick Saban's Crimson Tide once again.

Alabama has landed a whopping 18 players at 4-star or better, with six of them already on campus as early enrollees. That includes No. 2 pro-style quarterback Blake Barnett and No. 2 safety Deionte Thompson. The Tide have bolstered their playmaking as well, nabbing the top wide receiver recruit in the nation in Calvin Ridley

The scary thing? The best may be yet to come for Alabama entering Wednesday's heap of announcements.

It isn't in for as many signing-day holdouts as in years past but could make a splash with CeCe Jefferson, which would send shock waves through the SEC. While perhaps trailing Ole Miss and Florida for his services, it wouldn't be the first time the Tide forced a late flip.

Either way, blue-chip pearls like No. 4 cornerback Kendall Sheffield, No. 7 defensive tackle Daron Payne and No. 5 cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick guarantee the Tide's class won't be rivaled by anyone.

 

2. USC

The first year of Steve Sarkisian's reign at USC brought considerable improvement on the gridiron, and it's no surprise to see that translate into an elite recruiting class.

In Sarkisian's first full recruiting cycle, he assembled a class for the ages. The first win, however, has already come with the players he's gotten on campus. Perhaps the two most important players in the class—No. 1 guard Chuma Edoga and No. 6 pro-style quarterback Ricky Town—are already enrolled at the school.

It's the consistency from top to bottom in the class that stands out most. Including the enrollees, the Trojans boast 15 players among their 21 commits that rank in the top 10 at their position, per the 247Sports composite rankings.

Plus with their names squarely in the hat for top-notch players like John Houston, Iman Marshall and Equanimeous St. Brown on signing day, it could end up even better, per ESPN college football:

Whether Sarkisian and the Trojans hit a home run with any of the marquee recruits set to announce on Wednesday or not, it will be a big-time class for USC.

 

3. Tennessee

For the second straight year, Butch Jones has put together a star-studded class at Tennessee loaded with both quantity and quality.

Want quality? The Volunteers have seven of their 10 early enrollees on campus as 4-stars, per the 247Sports composite, and also claim more 5-stars (four) than anyone else in the nation. 

Want quantity, too? Don't ask how, but the Vols have loaded 28 players—more than anyone else in the top 10—into the class one year removed from a 32-man class.

It may be somewhat expected given the upward trajectory of the program and the funds thrown into it, as per Knoxville News Sentinel's Dustin Dopirak, but Jones' rebuild from the ground up is nonetheless impressive:

Tennessee isn't done, either. No. 3 offensive tackle and 4-star Drew Richmond decommitted from Ole Miss after his weekend visit to Knoxville. The exhilarating tone of the visit—including crowd chants at a hoops game—indicates he should soon be a Vol, per 247Sports' Wes Rucker:

Jones has the Vols in position for a top-three recruiting class even without the commitment of Richmond. And if it weren't for the likes of USC and Alabama possibly adding more in front of them on Wednesday, they'd have the chance to jump even higher.

 

All recruiting rankings and info courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

No matter what happens on national signing day, Charlie Strong has done a heck of a job building his 2015 class. 

Hired by Texas in January 2014, Strong, who inherited only one prospect (4-star center Patrick Vahe) from Mack Brown, had barely a year to sell potential recruits on a Longhorns program that struggled to a tumultuous 6-7 season. Still, he has managed to put together the top class in the Big 12 and the No. 9 group in the nation, per 247Sports' composite rankings

He has done an especially standout job on the defensive side of the ball, adding top-100 prospects Malik Jefferson, Anthony Wheeler, Holton Hill and Kris Boyd. 

There's still work to be done, though, so let's take a look at what to expect from the Longhorns' remaining targets ahead of Wednesday's crucial signing deadline. 

 

Breakdown of Predictions

Five-star quarterback Kyler Murray's commitment to Texas A&M didn't just hurt the Longhorns because they are QB-needy (although the addition of Kai Locksley certainly helps in that area). It also hurt because of what it means for DaMarkus Lodge. 

The talented wide receiver, closely tied to Murray, is now a considerable long shot. According to SB Nation's Wescott Eberts, Lodge has already informed the Texas staff of his decision to sign elsewhere. 

Bad news could also be coming in the form of Daylon Mack and Soso Jamabo, a pair of 5-star prospects. 

According to sources cited by 247Sports' Bobby Burton, both players have eliminated Texas from consideration. Mack, a defensive tackle, has reportedly narrowed his decision to Texas A&M and TCU, while Jamabo, a big, powerful running back, is a strong UCLA lean. 

Fortunately for the Longhorns, they'll still return Johnathan Gray, while the potential addition of Chris Warren will help depth at the position. The son of the former Seattle Seahawk by the same name raved about his visit to Austin in December: 

A 6'2", 240-pound workhorse who does everything well, Warren would easily soften the blow of losing Jamabo. 

Finally, Deandre Baker is currently a Georgia commit, but he made an official visit to Austin in late January, which appeared to narrow the gap: 

The Longhorns already have an astounding secondary class with Hill, Boyd, DeShon Elliott and Davante Davis. Expect Baker to add to that, especially after the recent decommitment of Jamile Johnson. 

Although it may not be a banner day with Lodge, Mack and Jamabo all looking unlikely, Texas is still in fantastic position to land a top-10 class. The head-coaching transition was a rough one in its first year, but rest assured the future is blindingly bright under Strong.

 

All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless noted otherwise.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas A&M Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

On Wednesday, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin will put the final touches on the 2015 recruiting class during a lengthy national signing day.

By all accounts, a class that ranks among the top 10 in the nation so far at 247Sports will only continue to rise. That said, Sumlin and his staff can only hope that their recruiting efforts on the defensive side of the ball pay off with more commitments.

The investment absolutely needs to if the Aggies are to improve upon last year's 3-5 mark in the SEC.

The class so far is stellar, headlined by 5-star quarterback Kyler Murray. A few final dominoes must fall on Wednesday, though, or the Aggies risk treading water.

 

2015 Class Predictions

 

Top Remaining Targets

Daylon Mack, DT

For quite a while, it appeared as if Daylon Mack, a 5-star defensive tackle, would don the burnt orange of Texas.

Just look at his recent Twitter activity:

These things change in a hurry, though.

In fact, per 247Sports' Texas A&M website, "word started to circulate on Monday that he has informed the Longhorn coaches he would not be headed to Austin."

After all, well, Mack is quite active on social media:

That leaves TCU and Texas A&M in the running.

At 6'1" and 330 pounds, one lucky program will land a tackle who can clog running lanes upon arrival. The long-term upside, of course, is even more attractive.

Count on Texas A&M being the pick. The arrival of defensive coordinator John Chavis figures to play a big role in the decision, as does the opportunity to be one of the main reasons the Aggies defense finally turns things around.

Prediction: Mack signs with Texas A&M.

 

Roquan Smith, OLB

The Aggies are one of three teams in serious contention when 4-star outside linebacker Roquan Smith announces his decision on Wednesday.

At 6'2" and 205 pounds, there is an obvious allure to Smith's skill set that makes him a strong fit in Chavis' defense.

Recent rumblings that the Macon County High School product will join the UCLA Bruins seem premature, too, as explained by Woody Wommack of Rivals.com:

As former Texas A&M player Brandon Leone illustrates, a one-two punch of Smith and Mack would be quite the way to finish off a top-tier defensive class:

Here is the kicker—Chavis has been all over Smith for a long time.

As Macon County coach Larry Harold tells Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chavis has been recruiting Smith since his time at LSU.

"Coach Chavis was all over Roquan when he was at LSU," Harold said. "Coach Chavis has contacted him since the move, and we had an extensive talk last weekend."

Per the report, Smith canceled his visit with the Tigers once Chavis left. 

In other words, there is serous clout there that may override anything else come Wednesday.

Prediction: Smith signs with Texas A&M.

 

Damarkus Lodge, WR

Aggies faithful know all about Damarkus Lodge.

He committed last summer, but he backed out and has been seen in Texas and Ole Miss since.

That does not mean the Aggies are out of the running, though. After all, the 4-star wideoutmade the trip to visit the Longhorns with the aforementioned Murray, which suggests they may turn out to be a package deal.

Now that Murray is for sure on board with Texas A&M, there figures to be a good chance Lodge follows suit.

At 6'2.5" and 190 pounds, Lodge is an ideal addition to Sumlin's offense for the future. Look for him to name College Station his future home on Wednesday. Ole Miss is a strong contender, but it's a defensive-minded school that will eventually not have Murray under center.

Prediction: Lodge signs with Texas A&M.

 

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

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Auburn Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

A late-season debacle and .500 mark in the SEC evaporate for Gus Malzahn's Auburn Tigers with a strong showing Wednesday, otherwise known as national signing day.

There is a method to the madness. 

Will Muschamp's arrival means the Tigers are more entrenched in SEC recruiting warfare than normal, and a bevy of the nation's top undecided recruits swing in the balance.

There is a strong class in place already considering the 2015 haul ranks 11th at 247Sports. A dramatic increase is in the cards, though, if Wednesday is a positive one for the program.

 

2015 Class Predictions

 

Top Remaining Targets

Byron Cowart, DE

At the center of the Auburn-Florida war rests 5-star defensive end Byron Cowart.

The Armwood High School product comes in at 6'4" and 250 pounds, and after a dominant career to date, he is perhaps the crown jewel both the Tigers and Gators need to finish with a bang.

As Donovan James of rsenreport.com notes, though, Cowart may not be alone in his decision:

That said, the arrival of Muschamp seems to bode well that the Seffner, Florida, native will choose the Tigers. A note by Matt Hayes of Sporting News puts it best: "It’s not like the Florida administration didn’t know this could happen; the steps are easy to connect. Fire a popular coach among recruits, hire a coach with few recruiting ties to the state of Florida and it gets ugly quickly."

As the process wears on, it becomes easier to see Cowart packing his bags for greener pastures. By all accounts, the Muschamp connection runs deep, which may prove to be the deciding factor when he hits national television Wednesday. 

Prediction: Cowart signs with Auburn.

 

CeCe Jefferson, SDE

So much for that package deal. 

CeCe Jefferson, a 5-star defensive end at 6'2" and 275 pounds, seems much more likely to stay home and not concern himself with who comes and goes on the Gators' coaching staff.

To be fair, the Tigers are still one of the Baker County Senior High School product's final choices:

Auburn does seem the least likely of the bunch, though. Jefferson has made multiple trips to Ole Miss, calls Florida home and was the benefactor of a massive recruiting push by Auburn.

The attention makes sense. Jefferson can play right away, which is not something that can be said for many prospects.

Even though Jefferson named Ole Miss his favorite, many still expect him to stay local. This includes ESPN's Derek Tyson:

At Florida, Jefferson will be able to lead a defensive-minded team and play in spots that have produced plenty of talented NFL defensive ends.

Auburn hurts if Jefferson stays home, but Cowart helps to ease the pain.

Prediction: Jefferson signs with Florida.

 

Martez Ivey, OT

The top offensive tackle in the 2015 class and a 5-star recruit, Martez Ivey figures to follow a similar path as Jefferson.

Tyson predicts this for good reason.

Ivey is less susceptible to Muschamp's influence given his spot in the offensive trenches. Reinforcing this is what he told Tyson himself in a recent interview:

I'm not really big in to specific coaches. They come and go because it's a business. Nothing's guaranteed in their position so I'm not really a coaches guy. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I like a school because of ‘this coach and that coach.' That's just how I feel about it. Like coach Muschamp was at Florida recruiting me and now he's at Auburn recruiting me. So coaches-wise, I don't really get caught up in that.

In other words, Jim McElwain seems ready to steal one from Malzahn and his staff.

While a force at 6'5.5" and 275 pounds and a major loss, Auburn can still celebrate the fact someone such as 4-star guard Marquel Harrell is still on board.

Look for Ivey to stay local and join Jefferson.

Prediction: Ivey signs with Florida.

 

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

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

Nick Saban is at it again. 

The Alabama Crimson Tide's recruiting class ranks No. 1 overall at 247Sports heading into national signing day. Even after a few decommitments, the Crimson Tide sit pretty with six 5-star recruits and almost 20 points above the next team on the list, USC.

Now, national signing day is not going to be explosive for Alabama. Most of the major announcements for the future of the program are already in the books and top-tier prospects have plenty of options this time of year.

No matter what happens, Saban's 2015 haul is a home run. A few added signatures couldn't hurt, though.

 

2015 Class Predictions

 

Top Remaining Targets

Daylon Charlot, WR

Amari Cooper is on the way out the door, so it makes sense that Saban and his staff are all-in on a recruit such as 4-star wideout Daylon Charlot.

Charlot, a 6'0", 193-pound speedster who calls Patterson, Louisiana, home, already decommitted from Alabama in December. It's noteworthy that the news came out while he was on a visit with the LSU Tigers.

Really, though, Charlot is one of the more difficult recruits to figure out this year. As James Smith of The Times-Picayune captures, the Patterson High School product feels strongly about LSU and respects the wishes of those in Tuscaloosa:

Charlot was disappointed that it took LSU longer than other programs to offer him and the Tigers have been battling the sour taste in his mouth throughout the whole process. LSU wide receiver coach Adam Henry has kept things interesting by making leaving Louisiana a difficult decision for Charlot. He was supposed to take an official visit to Miami this past weekend, but cancelled the visit after Alabama took a firm stance about his impending travel plans.

At this point, proximity to home and pressure to stay there figure to weigh in on the decision. It seems Charlot always wanted an offer from the Tigers.

Now he has it.

Prediction: Charlot signs with LSU

 

CeCe Jefferson, SDE

CeCe Jefferson seems to want to make a big splash on signing day.

Wednesday he will choose between Auburn, Ole Miss, Florida and Alabama, with the Crimson Tide receiving some last-second hope thanks to an image provided by John Talty of AL.com:

The only problem when it comes to the 5-star defensive end is that each of the three other options make loads of sense.

Florida is a hometown favorite provided he hails from Glen Saint Mary, Florida, while Auburn is an emerging candidate thanks to Will Muschamp's arrival. He even went as far as to name Ole Miss his favorite some time ago.

Unless Jefferson is just playing games in order to make that aforementioned splash, the Crimson Tide appear a rather distant contender at this point. 

ESPN's Derek Tyson, for one, sees Jefferson staying close to home: 

It is hard to ignore the possibility. Auburn is a strong contender, but not the defensive powerhouses that Ole Miss and Florida can be.

The playing time, proven pro success for his position and proximity to home are with the Gators, unless Jefferson has some trickery up his sleeve.

Prediction: Jefferson signs with Florida

 

K.J. Hill, WR

There is a three-program race for the services of 4-star wideout K.J. Hill at the deadline.

Alabama, of course, is one of these programs along with local school Arkansas and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

At 6'0" and 188 pounds, the North Little Rock High School product made sure to go through all of the paces before making a concrete commitment.

It is worth pointing out, though, that Montez Peterson, his stepfather, says the visit to Alabama was "mind-blowing," per Drew Champlin of AL.com. Peterson goes on to detail where Hill's mind is at with the decision:

He never really got 'Bama out of his system. It's just one of those things where you want to make sure that you're sure. That's where it is with that. They knew that he really was still thinking about them. That's why he wanted to continue taking some of his visits, just to be sure.

Arkansas seems a distant third at this point. Thanks to this past season's reliance on the passing game, Hill surely finds it difficult to ignore what Alabama's staff was able to get out of Amari Cooper, who went on to become one of three Heisman finalists.

For Hill, Columbus is a bit too far from home and the Crimson Tide seem to have never really left his mind.

Prediction: Hill signs with Alabama

 

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

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish need to reverse a few trends on national signing day. 

A limp to the finish line this time last year gave way to a horrific late-season collapse a few months ago. If crunch-time performances do not improve, things will only become worse for Kelly and Co. down the road.

The good news is that the Irish rank just outside of the top 10 at 247Sports going into Wednesday's marathon of commitments.

Like last year, Kelly and his staff have a few big names they need to secure at the finish line.

 

2015 Class Predictions

 

Top Remaining Targets

Dexter Williams, RB

Not too long ago, Dexter Williams named Notre Dame his favorite.

This was cause for celebration in South Bend, as the 4-star running back comes in at 6'0" and 192 pounds with great 4.54-second 40-yard dash speed.

One problem—it seems Williams continues to weigh the pros and cons of both Notre Dame and Miami, as captured by Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel:

It’s very difficult because both schools are great and at both schools, the depth chart is looking very good and both schools have great coaches. The only real difference between them is the type of environment. ... Notre Dame is really different. Miami is like the city life, which is not bad and it’s something I’m used to, but Notre Dame is not a bad different. ... It’s a very good different.

Since the beginning of January, though, Williams seems to have started to lean toward Notre Dame.

The "very good different" figures to win out in this scenario. Kelly and Co. seemed to get Williams at just the right time close to the deadline, so expect a signature for the Irish.

Prediction: Williams signs with Notre Dame

 

Arrington Farrar, S

Things seem to move at a fever pitch around Arrington Farrar, a 4-star recruit out of Woodward Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Stanford was Farrar's program of choice until admissions rules stepped in the way.

Now it seems to be a two-program race between Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

Although Farrar was recently in South Bend for a visit, it sounds as if he prefers the Badgers, per Mike Farrell of Rivals.com:

While Wisconsin making such a big push is an interesting note, it is quite important to point out that Notre Dame got to Farrar last.

While Kelly and others have to make up ground with other top safety recruits, Farrar is a strong candidate to come on board considering how clear it is that Notre Dame is serious about the safety position.

Prediction: Farrar signs with Notre Dame

 

Equanimeous St. Brown, WR

The owner of the best name in the 2015 class has made just two official visits—one to Notre Dame, the other to Utah.

In other words, the Fighting Irish sit in a great spot when it comes to Equanimeous St. Brown.

A 4-star wideout who hails from Anaheim, California, players who measure in similar to St. Brown are quite difficult to find. Not only does he come in at 6'5" and 205 pounds, St. Brown runs a 4.44 40-yard dash.

As Irish Illustrated points out, things on national signing day seem to set up rather strategically:

All things equal, it is difficult to see a reality in which St. Brown does not join the Fighting Irish—especially after Notre Dame also offered his little brother a piece of the pie.

Look for St. Brown to spend his college days in South Bend.

Prediction: St. Brown signs with Notre Dame

 

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

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

FSU Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

For all the plaudits Nick Saban receives for being an expert recruiter, Jimbo Fisher isn't far behind. Fisher has gathered a top-10 recruiting class in each of his first five seasons as Florida State's head coach, including three top-five outfits.

On Wednesday, Fisher will almost certainly lock up his sixth straight top-10 and fourth top-five class. Despite some disappointments over the last couple of weeks, 247Sports' composite rankings have the Seminoles third coming into national signing day. Only Alabama has more 5-star recruits; only USC and Alabama have landed recruits with a better average grade.

That said, it's hard not to feel a little disappointed about Fisher's haul. As noted by Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat in a complimentary column, quarterback Kai Locksley, running back Jordan Scarlett and cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick have all rebuffed overtures from Florida State in recent days. Brian Bell, a 3-star linebacker who initially committed to Florida State, will also not sign his letter of intent due to ongoing off-field troubles, per Bud Elliott of Tomahawk Nation.

With a majority of the nation's top prospects decided, it's likely Florida State's recruiting haul has already been decided. A few lower-profile targets will probably ink their official commitments Wednesday, but the high-profile names are few and far between. Here's a look at the Seminoles' biggest remaining targets for national signing day.

 

Iman Marshall (CB, Long Beach Poly)

The odds are overwhelmingly stacked in USC's favor for the nation's best remaining defensive back. Marshall, while he did not take an official visit, grew up not far from the USC campus. He's been considered a near-lock to affirm his commitment to the Trojans for months, and in the process inch them closer to Alabama for the No. 1 class.

247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions give USC a 94 percent chance of landing Marshall. Florida State, the only other school to even get a nod, comes in at six percent. Officially, Michigan, LSU, UCLA, Notre Dame and Oregon are also still on the table.

Marshall is considered the nation's fourth-best recruit overall and the best cornerback by a pretty substantial margin. LSU commit Kevin Toliver II is the only other corner even in Marshall's general skill range. Listed at 6'1" and 190 pounds, he's a relentless ball-hawk who already has an advanced understanding of reading defenses and the fast-twitch movement to break on routes.

Should Marshall surprise and pick Florida State, the Seminoles would undoubtedly have the nation's best secondary class. They already landed 5-star cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and 5-star safety Derwin James. Barring a last-second change of heart, Florida State fans shouldn't bank their hopes on that scenario.

Prediction: USC

 

Terry Beckner Jr. (DT, East St. Louis High)

Florida State appears to be in a close race with Missouri and Auburn for Beckner's services. The St. Louis product has been thought to be leaning local for most of the process, but he's kept his cards close to the vest as signing day comes close.

"If you would've asked me last week, I would've said Mizzou strong and FSU edging in, but after coming back from this Auburn visit, he was more excited than I ever saw after a visit," East St. Louis assistant coach Harith Mitchom told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. "Whatever they did down there really, really caught his eye."

As of now, few experts have flipped their prediction to Auburn. Missouri still leads with a strong 70 percent and Florida State is the next closest at 18 percent among 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions. The most recent predictions have been split almost 50-50 between Florida State and Missouri, with more coming in on the former in recent days.

Where Beckner lands ultimately means more to the Tigers than the Seminoles. Missouri does not have a 5-star commit in its 2015 class and currently ranks 27th coming into national signing day. Beckner signing on the dotted line would not only improve the artificial rankings but also Missouri's standing among big-time SEC threats. Despite a couple of strong seasons, Gary Pinkel's program is still seen as being on the lower rung on the recruiting trail.

For Florida State, Beckner merely represents its last chance of grabbing a marquee recruit in this class. Sometimes that's enough. Call it a gut feeling, but I think Beckner would have picked Missouri by now had he been 100 percent sure he wanted to go there. The late-process dalliance with Florida State and Auburn gives me the sense he's just waiting to be swayed away from his home state.

Prediction: Florida State

 

Marcus Lewis (ATH, Gonzaga High School)

Another player where Florida State seems to be in the running based on reputation only. Almost no one expects the 4-star athlete to wind up in Tallahassee. Kentucky has put on a consistent hard charge and made Lewis its prized possession since jump street. Miami has been consistently near the lead of the charge and has been trending upward since December.

Only two of 247Sports' recruiting analysts, both with ties to Florida State, have Lewis landing with the Seminoles. In recent days, it's been Big Blue all the way—a trend I would expect to continue Wednesday. Kentucky has been in on this kid from the beginning; he's be by far the biggest coup in this class and the flattery goes a long way in these situations.

Prediction: Kentucky

 

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

All recruiting info via 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan Football Recruiting: Top Remaining 2015 Recruits, Class Predictions

New Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh's influence seems to be benefiting the program already. It has secured late commitments from 3-star wide receiver Grant Perry and 6'7" 4-star quarterback Zach Gentry.

Perry, a Michigan native, tweeted this image to celebrate his intentions to become a Wolverine:

He'll join his high school quarterback Alex Malzone in Ann Arbor. Malzone committed to Michigan under former head coach Brady Hoke's regime, and he stayed after the coaching change.

The best could be yet to come. If the Wolverines can pry 5-star cornerback Iman Marshall away from the west coast, he'll prove to be the crown jewel of Michigan's 2015 recruiting efforts. Per Rivals.com on Twitter, the Wolverines made enough of an impression to at least get the 6'1" corner thinking about the program after his Jan. 19 visit.

Coupled 2014's top recruit Jabril Peppers, the Wolverines would have one heck of a young and dynamic secondary.

Marshall is a long shot. However, the fact that Michigan could place itself in contention at this late date for such a highly regarded recruit from Pac-12 country is an encouraging sign.

This is one of the more potentially intriguing storylines to follow on Wednesday. Here's a look at the predicted signings for the Wolverines on Wednesday.

 

A Given?

A far more likely signing should come from 4-star athlete Tyrone Wheatley Jr. Yes, he's the son of former Michigan running back and recently hired assistant coach Tyrone Wheatley Sr. 

Junior is much bigger than his dad. At 6'6", Wheatley Jr. could be a tight end or defensive end for Harbaugh. Quite honestly, if the Wolverines can't secure the son of a former player and current member of the coaching staff, it would be pretty embarrassing.

Ultimately, the kid will make up his own mind, but you'd like to think there would be enough of a pull there to get Wheatley Jr. to sign on the dotted line.

 

UCLA or Big Blue?

Tight ends were a major part of Harbaugh's offenses at Stanford, and that figures to be the case at Michigan. That explains why a recruit like Chris Clark is so important. 

Before Michigan made the well-publicized Harbaugh hire, the 6'6" 4-star recruit voiced his desire to potentially play for the head coach in an interview with Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com. Clark said:

"I've got to wait and see if it's 100 percent a done deal, but I'd really like to have the opportunity to talk with [Harbaugh] and just take it from there. But, yeah, Michigan would be a school that I'd have a lot of interest in again. Hopefully he'll be the head coach."

Not so fast, Big Blue Nation. Per Tom VanHaaren of ESPN, the UCLA Bruins might have swept Clark off his feet in a recent visit.

I don't know everything Clark is thinking, but we do know UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. has a reputation as more of a player-friendly guy than Harbaugh. It's also a lot warmer in California in the fall than it is in Ann Arbor.

Something tells me UCLA may have swooped in and taken a potential gem away from Michigan.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

National Signing Day 2015: Live Recruit Commitments and Reaction

National signing day 2015 is upon us, and with wire-to-wire coverage spanning the morning, afternoon and early evening, it will once again glue our eyes to the television and internet. 

Three of the top four, four of the top seven and seven of the top 14 high school football players in the country, per the 247Sports composite rankings, are set to announce their decisions. The rest of the class will put ink to paper and fax in their letters of intent.

Where will Martez IveyByron Cowart and the rest of the 2015 class take their talents? Will any top recruits make a last-minute flip? Which teams and coaches will close the cycle with the strongest push? Who will win our hearts by announcing their decision with a live animal mascot?

Keep it locked right here at Bleacher Report throughout the day for all the latest news, commits, flips, highlights and more! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages