NCAA Football News

Nebraska Football: Coach Mike Riley's Biggest Challenges for Nebraska in 2015

Mike Riley knew he had a big job on his hands when he took over as Nebraska’s head football coach. But now that spring practice is over, Riley will be focusing on the upcoming 2015 season. As we settle in for a long summer offseason, let’s take a look at three things that will be occupying Riley’s attention as he prepares for the upcoming campaign.

 

What the Quarterback Will Be

Notice the very specific phrasing of this challenge. It’s not who Nebraska’s quarterback will be—all evidence points to junior Tommy Armstrong, absent injury. The bigger question is what the role of quarterback will be in Nebraska’s new offense.

At Oregon State, Riley’s quarterbacks were pure pocket passers. Riley’s most recent signal-caller, Sean Mannion, left Corvallis as the Pac-12’s career passing leader and was a third-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in this year’s NFL draft.

If that’s going to be what Riley is expecting, Armstrong is a bad fit. Mannion had a career 64.6 completion percentage and a 1.43 touchdown-to-interception ratio (according to Sports Reference), while Armstrong has a career 52.9 completion percentage (according to Huskers.com).

But Riley might be changing his expectations of his quarterback. His first quarterback recruit for 2016 (according to 247 Sports) is Terry Wilson, a dual-threat quarterback. Why would Riley be bringing in a dual-threat quarterback if he wanted to move Nebraska into a pocket-passer style of offense?

It’s clear that Armstrong will not be Riley’s Joe Dailey, a run-first quarterback asked to run a pass-heavy offensive scheme. But trying to find that balance between the offense Riley has run with the talent in Lincoln will be one of Riley’s biggest challenges this season.

 

How Nebraska Adapts to a New Defense

Nebraska’s defense will look quite different under new defensive coordinator Mark Banker. As described by Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald, Banker’s Blackshirts will think less, react more and play fast. That’s in stark contrast to former head coach Bo Pelini’s focus on complex schemes and blitzes to keep opposing offenses off balance and look for advantages in matchups.

It sounds great, a very exciting style to watch. But it will also mean that Nebraska will have to win more battles athletically as opposed to a reliance on scheme to make up the gap against a more talented opposing offense. A team playing fast is also vulnerable to misdirections, counters and other offensive schemes designed to use a defense’s speed and aggression against it.

Particularly in year one of Banker’s new defense, Nebraska could be faced with growing pains as it learns how to play defense fast and simple. That could result in some ugly plays, which could lead to ugly losses if not managed properly.

 

September

“Wake me up when September ends.”

– Green Day

Say what you will about Pelini and the way he left, but he consistently won nine games. He never had his Callahan moment of a losing season and missing out on a bowl game. Yes, he never won the big prize, but he never guided Nebraska onto the reef like coaches past had done.

Some still question the hiring of Riley, whose career record of 93-80 in college may not inspire confidence in his ability to lead Nebraska to compete with Urban Meyer at Ohio State and Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Of course, as a smart and particularly handsome analyst observed, Riley’s record in Corvallis was far more impressive than the .538 winning percentage given the limitations at Oregon State.

But there will still be some skepticism about Riley’s ability to win at Nebraska, and his first three games present a stern challenge. A home opener against BYU and dark-horse Heisman candidate in quarterback Taysom Hill could easily see Nebraska start off 0-1. And after a paycheck game against South Alabama, Nebraska has to make a trip to South Beach to play a very talented Miami squad.

Yes, on paper Nebraska should probably be favored to win both games. But given that Nebraska is also installing a whole new offense and whole new defense, it’s not at all implausible to imagine Nebraska losing to both BYU and Miami.

And a 1-2 start to his tenure could easily poison the well for Riley with the Nebraska faithful, particularly if NU struggles in the rest of the season and limps to a poor (dare I say) Callahan-like record in 2015.

Of course, the opposite is true as well. If Nebraska beats BYU and knocks of Miami on national television, Nebraska could find itself vaulted into the spotlight with a feel-good story of Riley’s success.

So while Riley should be afforded time to put his stamp on the program, the fact remains that the first three games of his career in Lincoln have the potential to define how he is viewed by the Nebraska faithful and the college football world as a whole. 

 

This column first appeared at The Double Extra Point, which you can follow on Twitter at @DblExtraPoint.

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Clark Yarbrough to Stanford: Cardinal Land 4-Star OT Prospect

The Stanford Cardinal bolstered their offensive line Tuesday with the addition of class of 2016 prospect Clark Yarbrough.    

The incoming offensive tackle shared the news on Twitter:

The 6’6” and 270-pound Yarbrough is a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and the No. 95 overall player in the class of 2016. He is also the 12th-ranked offensive tackle and the No. 2 player in the state of Virginia.

A number of teams showed interest in Yarbrough during the recruiting process, including Virginia, Duke, Michigan, Florida and Clemson. He ultimately elected to go far from home and join a Stanford program that has developed a reputation for hard-nosed and physical running.

That sounds like something an offensive lineman can get used to during his college career. 

Yarbrough commented on his decision and why he chose to attend Stanford, per Jacquie Franciulli of Scout.com: "It was just a perfect fit for everything I was looking for in terms of great academics and a great football program."

Yarbrough is particularly important for Stanford because offensive tackle is an area of need moving forward.

Andy Drukarev of Rivals.com noted that “Stanford has only signed three true tackles in the last three recruiting cycles (Casey Tucker, Reilly Gibbons, Jack Dreyer), and with Gibbons leaving the program prior to the start of last season, the tackle position is a major priority for Stanford in the 2016 class.”

The opportunity is there for someone with Yarbrough’s strength at the point of attack and mobility from the offensive tackle spot to compete for playing time right away.

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How Mike Riley Plans to Get Nebraska Back to the Promised Land

Nebraska is a college football riddle: What do you do when nine wins a season isn't good enough? Most places, after all, would love to have that problem. 

But Nebraska isn't like most places in college football, so that's the question first-year head coach Mike Riley has to answer. 

The Huskers have a history of national championships and Heisman winners. The program is still a game-day destination with world-class facilities and outstanding institutional/fan support—all the things that make up a blue-blood program. 

Yet Nebraska hasn't won at an elite level since the early 2000s. The likes of Bill Callahan and Bo Pelini could never replicate the success the program experienced under legendary coach Tom Osborne.

Can Riley reverse that trend? Yes and no. 

Understand this about the promised land for Nebraska: It's not a replica of the Osborne era. That's just not the Huskers' place in college football anymore. 

If Riley can lead Nebraska to a Big Ten championship at least once and multiple Big Ten West division titles, he'll have done his job. More specifically, if he can get Nebraska to play with consistency, those goals are more obtainable.   

Consistency—that's something Pelini's teams rarely had. If anything, they were consistently inconsistent. That was perhaps the biggest reason Nebraska never flourished under him. How many times were the Huskers in a position to take home a divisional or conference crown only to fall (sometimes astoundingly) short?

There were losses of every variety, with blowouts and heartbreakers alike. The 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the 2012 Big Ten title game was an embarrassment. The loss to UCLA at home in 2013 was brutal. Up 21-3 with one minute remaining in the second quarter, Nebraska gave up a Paul Perkins touchdown. Then it gave up 28 straight points in the third quarter as part of a 41-21 defeat.

In order to get back to the level it wants, Nebraska has to be more consistent. That starts with winning the games it's supposed to win in a division that's—to put it one way—winnable. 

That goes without saying, right? Yes, but Brandon Vogel of Hail Varsity provides an in-depth answer as to why it's so important: 

Over the past seven seasons, Nebraska — according to Phil Steele’s data — was favored in 75.5 percent of its games. The Huskers won 71.1 percent of those games outright over that span. During Mike Riley’s tenure at Oregon State, the Beavers were favored 51.4 percent of the time and won outright 53.7 percent of the time. ...

Now, 2 percent above expectations might not seem like a huge deal, but it’s really hard for a coach, particularly one at a powerhouse program, to be better than the spread. That’s Riley challenge (sic) now. Assuming Nebraska is of relatively the same strength over the next five years (and 13 games per year), if the Huskers were favored 75 percent of the time and Riley was two percentage points better than that, he’s averaging 10.1 wins a season. Even if he’s just at that 75 percent number, that’s 9.8 wins per year, a half-game improvement per year over the average for the previous seven seasons.

That half-game could be a halftime adjustment. It could be finishing what the team starts in a game. It could be the difference between a second-place Big Ten West finish and a divisional title, or between another Holiday Bowl trip and a Rose Bowl berth.

It could also mean the difference between whether Riley has a job with Nebraska in five or six years or not. 

At Oregon State, Riley developed a reputation for taking a team of mostly under-the-radar players and getting every last bit of potential out of them. Though Nebraska is at a whole other level as a program, the same need applies. Riley has to get the most out of the talent available and the talent which is not yet on the roster. 

The benefit Riley has now is that he has resources available to recruit more than just under-the-radar players. Pulling out recruiting gems will still be part of the game plan, but so will landing bigger-name prospects. Nebraska may not have a natural recruiting territory, but it can still attract some blue-chip players Riley never would have had access to at Oregon State. 

As JC Schurburtt of 247Sports opines, Riley is as resourceful as any coach in the country. He'll make the most of his recruiting efforts in Lincoln: 

At Nebraska, you have a bigger, better brand to sell, but you still have to be resourceful and scour the country for talent (along with having a developed walk-on program for the in-state prospects). There’s no more proven head coach in the country at doing just that than Riley. The talent level at Nebraska will ultimately prove to be superior to what he had at Oregon State (and likely already is), but it’s his resourcefulness and ability to build a high-level roster on an annual basis that will pay dividends for this program.

That doesn't mean Nebraska will land top-10 classes regularly anytime soon, but Riley should be able to pull in top-25 classes with a mix of 4-star and higher 3-star targets from Oklahoma, Texas and elsewhere. One recent commit, dual-threat quarterback Terry Wilson, is from the Sooner state. 

He's also committed to keeping in-state and regional kids coming to Nebraska. 

“The one thing that we want to know for sure is that we’re going to keep all the best football players from right here,” Riley said, via Jon Nyatawa of the Omaha World-Herald

Riley is known as one of the nicest, most respected coaches in the business—but he's also known as a builder and developer. Nebraska may have been winning nine and 10 games under Pelini, but the program is not above the need to build and develop. 

Riley is establishing a new culture at Nebraska, one that's more fan-friendly and less abrasive. Pelini's attitude (he only cared about his players) never meshed well with the administration or the fanbase. 

Nine-win seasons may not be the end of the world for this program, but the attitude around the program has to change. Additionally, the blowout losses have to stop, and the ceiling has to be higher. 

Even if that ceiling is reached once every few years. 

 

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

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College Football Teams with Longest National Championship Droughts

There are plenty of ways to judge success in college football, but one tops all the others: being a national champion.

Through the years, only a select number of schools can lay claim to this honor, and some have been waiting a long time since their last titles. While only 46 of the 128 schools currently playing at the FBS level have ever been considered a national champion in some fashion, a dozen of them have been going through a title-less drought that dates back 65 or more years.

This makes Ohio State ending a 12-year championship void far less noteworthy, doesn't it?

Since the first games were played in the 1860s, some form of champion has been determined via polls or ratings systems, as well as through bowl alliances like the BCS and the four-team playoff system that went into use following the 2014 season. As a result, there have been many years where two or more schools have been able to lay claim to a title.

There are more than 40 championship selectors the NCAA lists in its record books as entities whose title declarations over the years hold merit. Some of those date back to 1869...and even then there was controversy over who won the title, as Princeton was the choice of two selectors while it and Rutgers were considered co-champions by a third.

The most frequent selectors have been The Associated Press media poll, which has been around since 1936, and the coaches' poll (currently called the USA Today/Amway poll) that has been in use since 1950, as well as certain computer rankings and ratings based on historical data. These are the ones the NCAA recognizes as the most representative and are what we used to determine which FBS programs have gone the longest since their last national titles.

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Everett Golson and the New Free Agency in College Football

In the end, the only things missing from The Decision: Everett Golson-style were Jim Gray and ESPN. But it's one thing waiting for the world's greatest professional basketball player, LeBron James, to pick his new team and another waiting for a college quarterback to decide where he'll transfer for one year of football.

It is different, isn't it?

If you don't know, Golson left Notre Dame, shopped himself around to different schools and announced Tuesday he'll play this fall for Florida State, per Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman:

Let the college football world's panic begin.

This is the latest example of college football free agency. It's also the latest example of what big-time college football is all about: football, not college.

"Free agency's a little bit of the recruiting puzzle in college football now, whether we want to believe it or not," said Terry Bowden, who has coached at every level of college football and is currently head coach at University of Akron. "The top 30 quarterbacks in the country always go to the same few schools every year. When one is passed by another one, he's looking to transfer so he can play somewhere else.

"I always keep my eyes open to see what players are leaving."

So why is this cause for panic? It's not just the transfer rules; it's the graduate transfer rule, specifically. Normally, when a player transfers from one school to another, he has to sit out a year before he can play. It's meant as a disincentive to transferring, keeping college football from having open-market free agency like in professional sports.

But with the graduate transfer rule, which Golson is taking advantage of, a player doesn't have to sit out a year if he has already graduated. The rule was put in place to allow players, who can have five years of athletic eligibility, to start working on a master's degree. But players are making football decisions, not academic decisions.

Golson graduated from Notre Dame this past weekend. He'll play for Florida State this fall.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby put it best, telling CBS Sports' Jon Solomon that the way the graduate transfer rule is being used "sort of smacks of 'hired gun.'"

He's right. It's not about academics. It's about football. Most people have accepted that by now. The players and coaches already know it, and most administrators do, too.

Bowden said when he coached Division II football, he found the players were all holding on to their dreams of playing in the NFL—same as when he coached Auburn. College football is the minor leagues, and that's what players like Golson are after: the best path to the big leagues.

Golson's decision to transfer to college football superpower Florida State is not the first one of these moves of this offseason. Eastern Washington star quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., who earned his degree, decided to transfer to Oregon. It was a move to the big time, where he'll get more exposure and a better shot at making it to the NFL.

This creates a situation where coaches have to worry they might lose their best player and big-time programs might start recruiting off of smaller programs' rosters. In fact, even dominant programs could lose players to other powerhouses with a better offer.

Look, this is about the professionalizing of college sports. That's where some panic comes in, and it's why the NCAA is looking at changing the rules, according to Dan Wolken of USA Today.

"It's a shame that happened at Eastern Washington," Bowden said of Adams' decision to play at Oregon. "You hate to see a team lose its quarterback. A school gives a kid a scholarship and all this time, and then he ups and leaves. But it usually isn't the team's best player that leaves. It's a kid who's not having success and is trying to have a great college experience.

Bowden has a perfect grasp on the reality here. He also noted coaches don't have any problem switching schools for better jobs, so it's hypocritical to demand players not be able to do the same thing.

The panic from most college coaches doesn't come from reality, though. It comes from a place of power.

Coaches like to have it over players. They make a player sit out a year as a freshman. They keep them around in the summers to work out. Sure, it's an investment for coaches. But it's also an investment for players, who are mostly on one-year renewable scholarships. Typically, coaches think that means they get to choose about renewing.

For nearly a week, everyone expected Golson to announce he was transferring to Florida State. But FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said they were still "negotiating," and then the decision didn't come off Monday as expected. Whispers leaked to the media that Golson might visit a few more schools before deciding.

You can bet the delay and the whispers were all part of the negotiation.

Bowden said that's fine with him. He's quickly rebuilding his own team on transfers from big-time colleges, getting players who aren't getting the field time they want.

But things might be different if a star player walked into Bowden's office this afternoon, degree in hand, and said, "Coach, I'm leaving for Notre Dame."

"I'd feel terrible about that," Bowden said. "And I'd say, 'Son, let me get this right. Notre Dame is trying to win a national championship, and they're coming to Akron to find the players to do it? Are you sure they've promised you a starting job? You're going to start here.'

"It'd be my job to sell him on staying."      

Recruiting your own players. It's the new reality.

 

Greg Couch covers college football for Bleacher Report.

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4-Star 2017 DT Fred Hansard's 'Explosiveness' Commanding National Attention

Fred Hansard fights the grip of sleep to wake up at 5 a.m. twice a week for speed and agility training. The 6'4", 310-pound lineman admits it isn't always an easy process.

"I really wasn't digging those workouts too much at first," he told Bleacher Report.

Then college coaches began showing up to see him at The Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey, and it became a bit less difficult to answer his morning alarm.

"When I saw these coaches showing up, I understood how important every morning run can be," Hansard said.

The sophomore defensive tackle doesn't need to search for proof. It arrived earlier this month in the form of several scholarship offers.

Hansard, who entered last season with just one offer from nearby Temple University, witnessed his recruiting process accelerate in a hurry. He received six offers from Power Five programs during a scintillating stretch that spanned May 6-12, altering his outlook about future possibilities. 

"It feels like my life pretty much changed in about a week," Hansard said.

Ohio State, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Michigan and Arizona State each extended scholarships. His head coach, Todd Smith, warned him that a whirlwind was coming.

"Coach told me to be ready for a busy spring evaluation period," Hansard said. "I wasn't sure if that would turn out to be true, but the offers started rolling in and I knew he was right."

Smith recalls the first time he caught a glimpse of his eventual two-way starter. Hansard was considering a transfer from Camden Catholic High School, a move he eventually made.

"I've been doing this for a pretty long time, and I remember already seeing all the tools when I was watching his freshman film," Smith said of Hansard. "His violent first step, the natural strength and just God-given talent. It was all there."

Rated 12th nationally among class-of-2017 defensive tackles in 247Sports' composite rankings, Hansard's recruiting eruption was only a matter of time.

He recorded 34 tackles, including 23 for loss, and five sacks last fall, helping his squad secure a Mid-Atlantic Prep League title. A school that once produced top overall recruit and Florida State star Myron Rolle now has a new big man on campus.

That became apparent on May 6, when Hansard momentarily stepped out of chemistry class to receive some good news. Ohio State wanted him and wasn't willing to wait any longer to pull the trigger on an offer.

"The first thing that came to my mind was, 'That's the national champion,' and then I didn't know what to think. I'm just glad there were only about 10 minutes left in chemistry, because I was too excited to focus," Hansard said. "When the national champs offer you early, it makes you feel blessed. It's an opportunity to play for one of the best coaches ever."

By the end of the next day, Iowa had also offered. That Sunday—Mother's Day—it was Arizona State's turn to join the party.

"I was pretty psyched about that offer because I really liked Arizona when I visited before," he said. "It's my first Pac-12 offer, so it kind of shows that teams in different parts of the country want to recruit me."

Hansard returned to school Monday, May 11 with news that Virginia Tech offered.

The next morning—one of those especially early ones that await him each Tuesday—the avalanche of collegiate interest gained even more momentum. 

Michigan and Boston College both extended offers. The Wolverines actually sent an assistant coach to one of his bright-and-early training sessions, presenting the opportunity in person.

"I think Michigan is going to have some big seasons coming up," Hansard said. "[Head coach] Jim Harbaugh went to a Super Bowl, and there aren't many coaches who can say they've done that. I think he's going to be really successful at Michigan."

An offer list that featured five teams (North Carolina, Miami, Temple, Syracuse and Rutgers) just one week before had suddenly more than doubled in size.

"To be honest, most of those offers were a surprise," Hansard said. "It was the first time I really communicated with some of the schools."

That communication continues to expand.

Alabama assistant and ace recruiter Mario Cristobal met the fast-rising defender on the morning Hansard spoke with B/R.

"Hopefully, I can start to get some opportunities at SEC schools," he said. "Auburn and Alabama have both stopped by, and it feels like I have a pretty good relationship with them." 

It turns out those pre-dawn speed and agility drills are paying off in a big way.

"A lot of coaches like how I'm able to move well at my size," Hansard said. "They like the way I fire through my hips with my hands shooting up. I think my explosiveness stands out."

He's in good company as a coveted defensive tackle in New Jersey, home of top-rated 2016 recruit Rashan Gary.

"I got to talk to Rashan at a recent camp. He's a cool guy and told me all about some of his recruiting experiences and visits so far," Hansard said. "He told me stay humble with every offer that I get."

If this month is any indication, those offers will continue to stack up as his upperclassman career nears.

"Fred moves like a 220-pound kid, so he has that rare blend of size, speed and athleticism that every college coach is looking for," Smith said. "At this point, I don't think he needs to do the camp circuit. We're going to let his film speak for itself for right now."

Hansard will fill just about every role along the defensive front in 2015 while serving as the team's left offensive tackle. Smith said the focus is on developing a well-balanced repertoire of moves, particularly in pass-rush situations.

"He won't be just a bull-rush guy," the coach said.

Hansard hopes to visit multiple campuses this summer. His previous college trips include Syracuse, Temple, Virginia Tech and Rutgers.

He is in no rush to make a decision and will let upcoming offers dictate how this recruitment progresses.

"I'm definitely enjoying the process, and I'm very excited to see what happens next," Hansard said.

 

All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue.

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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ACC Football: Updated QB Rankings After Everett Golson's Transfer to FSU

In the end, the one-day delay in Everett Golson's transfer announcement only prolonged the inevitable. The former Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback is indeed heading to the Florida State Seminoles for his final year of eligibility, according to a statement obtained by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports

How does Golson's arrival shake up the ACC's quarterback picture? It's not clear yet, as it could have a huge impact or barely one at all. That depends on whether Golson is even named the starter for the Seminoles. He'll battle with Sean Maguire during preseason practice for that job. 

Golson's career to date has been marked by extreme highs and lows. When he's on, he can be a prolific and entertaining passer. When he's off, he's a turnover machine getting benched. 

As we try to make sense of Golson's future in Tallahassee, here are the updated power rankings for the ACC's quarterbacks based on last year's results along with possible 2015 outcomes. 

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100 Days from Kickoff: Bold Predictions Heading into 2015 Season

With summer right around the corner, the college football season is quickly approaching. If this season is anything like the last, fans should be in for a year filled with ups and downs and crazy endings. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer break down and predict what will transpire this season. 

What is your bold prediction? Check out the video and let us know! 

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Tennessee Titans' Plan for Unleashing Deep Threat Dorial Green-Beckham

The Tennessee Titans selected 6'5", 237-pound wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft.

What will Green-Beckham's role be in his rookie year? Will he be a big red-zone threat?

Watch as Stephen Nelson and Bleacher Report NFL Analyst Chris Simms discuss Green-Beckham's role with the Titans in the video above.

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Shawn Oakman Performs 40-Inch Box Jump While Holding 70-Pound Dumbbells

Baylor's Shawn Oakman is truly a special athlete.

The 6'9", 280-pound Bears defensive end became an Internet sensation during his team's bowl game due to his massive frame. As this video shows, he can put his size to good use.

In the video, Oakman manages a 40-inch box jump while holding 70-pound dumbbells. What an incredible display of athleticism.

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Which Team Is Challenging Ohio State for Big Ten Recruiting Title?

The Michigan State Spartans have been enjoying great success under head coach Mark Dantonio. In order to keep the wins coming, his staff must go out and recruit some of the best talent in the country.

Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Sanjay Kirpalani joined Stephen Nelson to offer an update on Michigan State's current class of recruits as well as potential additions.

Who else do the Spartans need to scoop up? Check out the video and let us know!

 

Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Alabama Football: Predicting the Crimson Tide's 2015 Win-Loss Record

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — We have a pretty good idea of where Alabama stands as a team after spring practice—where its strengths and weaknesses are, who will be key players and who could be breakout candidates.

There are still a handful of summer enrollees from the Crimson Tide's 2015 recruiting class to get in the system, some of whom could be contributors, but otherwise, the roster and makeup is all but set in stone.

So let's take a look ahead at Alabama's 2015 schedule and go through some win-loss predictions for the season.

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Best- and Worst-Case 2015 Scenarios for Each Top 25 College Football Team

Let's start this countdown with a disclaimer.

The best-case 2015 scenario for each team in college football, from Ohio State to Miami (Ohio), is a perfect season that ends with a national championship in the second edition of the College Football Playoff.

The worst-case 2015 scenario for each team in college football is a winless season. (Though losing football altogether sounds like it might be a worse fate. Sorry, UAB.)

But those two groups are the best and worst possible scenarios in college football. What this list will do is provide the best and worst probable scenarios for each Top 25 team. Look at these scenarios as a range of what could realistically happen, given the team's overall strength and schedule for the upcoming season.

With that in mind, here are the feasts and famines for every school in Bleacher Report's Post-Spring Practice Top 25 from late last month. What would happen if everything clicked for your team—or if it became one of the biggest disappointments of the season?

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Who Will Be Texas' Offensive MVP for the 2015 Season?

The Texas Longhorns are doing everything they can to turn the tide and return the prestige back to their storied program. Running backs such as Johnathan Gray are helping lead the charge.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder joined Stephen Nelson as they discussed who could lead the offense for the Longhorns. 

Where will Texas finish next season? Check out the video and let us know!

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Everett Golson Has Skills to Be 'Lead Dog' for FSU, but Will He Win QB Battle?

Everett Golson has officially found a new home. According to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, Golson will transfer to Florida State University.

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down the news and what it means for all the parties involved.

What is the ceiling for FSU with Everett Golson as its quarterback? Will he win the quarterback battle? Check out the video and let us know!

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Why Jim Harbaugh Has a Leg Up in Recruitment of Auburn Transfer Derrick Moncrief

In Sports Illustrated's recent cover story on Jim Harbaugh, the new Michigan head coach takes great pride in accurately quoting Sir Winston Churchill.

"You have enemies? Good," Harbaugh says, siphoning a quote from the former British prime minister on the May 18 Sports Illustrated cover. "That means you've stood for something some time in your life."

But for a moment on Monday, it appeared Harbaugh may have made one too many enemies too early in his return to Ann Arbor.

When Derrick Moncrief announced his intentions to transfer from Auburn late last week, Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn complied, granting the junior his release to spend his remaining season of eligibility elsewhere, save for a handful of schools.

According to Scout's Sam Webb, Malzahn wouldn't allow Moncrief to transfer to any other SEC school and two of Auburn's upcoming opponents in Clemson and Louisville—standard practice in a transfer situation. But it was another school on Malzahn's no-transfer list that caught the attention of the college football world.

“I didn’t get released to Michigan," Moncrief told Webb. "I don’t know why.”

And while according to both Scout and AL.com, Malzahn eventually relented and granted Moncrief his release to the Wolverines on Monday, it's not difficult to connect the dots on Auburn's initial hesitation.

When Harbaugh first made waves earlier this spring with the announcement of his "Summer Swarm Tour" of satellite camps, Malzahn was one of his most outspoken critics. With the SEC unable to hold such camps more than 50 miles away from their respective campuses, Malzahn understandably took issue with the Big Ten's ability to increase its presence in the South.

"I think the SEC coaches last year made it clear that we'd like it to be that way throughout the country," Malzahn said of satellite camps, via Brandon Marcello of AL.com. "That was a stance after our last spring meetings and I still feel the same."

As he has yet to speak about Moncrief's specific situation, it's impossible to tell if this is what Malzahn had in mind when he publicly griped about Harbaugh setting up camp—literally—in the South. But it certainly couldn't have helped the Tigers' problem with the practice, especially when you consider the evidence it shows of the Michigan pipeline's effectiveness.

While Penn State's initial foray into satellite camps drew no direct commitments for the Nittany Lions a year ago, Harbaugh already appears to be having more success.

Despite the fact that he hasn't held his first camp, Harbaugh has already received a commitment from 2016 prospect Kingston Davis, a 3-star fullback from Prattville (Alabama) High School, where Michigan will hold its second satellite camp of the summer on June 5.

It's also no coincidence that Moncrief is a Prattville alum.

And while the former 4-star safety is yet to announce where he'll spend the remainder of his college career—he'll have one year of eligibility remaining in 2016 after sitting out 2015 due to NCAA transfer rules—it's clear that Moncrief has an interest in capitalizing on the Prattville-Michigan connection.

“I’m open to the Big Ten,” Moncrief told Webb. “I’m just taking the process in as a whole. I’ve been through the recruiting process, so it’s the same thing as last time. I’m open to everyone.”

That hardly guarantees the 6'2", 221-pound safety will end up in Ann Arbor, but the fact that he adamantly fought for his release to the Wolverines bodes well for their chances of signing him. Harbaugh hasn't been shy in bringing in transfers to aid his efforts in his first season at Michigan, and a player of Moncrief's caliber would certainly be welcomed, even if he's unable to play until 2016.

Because even if Moncrief made a minimal impact at Michigan, it never hurts to strengthen a budding pipeline to a talent-rich state like Alabama. Since arriving at his alma mater, Harbaugh has made it clear that he's open to alternative recruiting methods, whether it be capitalizing on his NFL connections or setting up shop in the South—even if it means making a few enemies along the way.

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Family-Driven Devin Asiasi Using Football to Chase a College Degree

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — As good as he is on the football field, Concord (California) De La Salle standout Devin Asiasi isn't the NFL dream chaser that many of his peers are. There's understandable irony with Asiasi as a 4-star prospect and someone who can excel on both sides of the football for a program with tons of national prestige.

Ask Asiasi what's the most important objective for him, and get a simple yet mature answer.

"I just want to be a better Devin," Asiasi said, his eyes behind sunglasses worn on a cloudy day to cover a minor eye issue. "Better for me, better for my family."

When you look at Asiasi on the field, the measurables are there. He measured at Nike's The Opening Oakland regional at 6'4" and 270 pounds. He's a muscular mold of a player who could play as many as five positions on the field. Watching him perform makes it easy to comprehend why he's a top-50 national prospect and the nation's No. 2 athlete overall.

But when it's Asiasi's turn to answer why he does the things he does on the field, you get somebody who has his own mission. An NFL contract would be great, but a better life for his family—led by his hard work after earning a college degree—trumps all.

"I'll be the first one in my family to go to college," Asiasi said. "That's my inspiration. That's what drives me every morning. Every time I see my cousins, they'll say, 'You're the one.' They say I'll be the one to show that you can do way more than what's being done."

Family means everything to Asiasi, the son of Dave Asiasi and Malia Pita Mapa, and making sure that family name is seen in a positive light is something the 2016 prospect focuses on daily. As a football player, he rarely disappoints, whether he's lined up as a tight end, defensive end, H-back, linebacker or any other position.

And at The Opening Oakland, he lined up at tight end and was one of the athletes who turned the most heads. For starters, he's a streamlined 270 pounds. To add, he has great hands as a tight end, the position he said many schools are recruiting him to play.

Currently, Asiasi has more than 20 offers from all of the Power Five conferences. USC is believed to be a favorite, but he said he is wide open with the process and is listening to a few schools.

"I've been talking to Miami a lot, actually," Asiasi said. "I'm talking to Washington a lot. I'm talking to USC, UCLA. They're all trying to reach out to me, so that's a good thing."

Asiasi said he's been to Cal the most, but he's recently visited Oregon, Washington and Washington State. He also went to Alabama during his spring break. He said that while he is open, Washington and Alabama have been his favorite visits so far.

"Washington is like San Francisco's field. I don't know why, but I got that vibe over there," he said. "The people out there are good people. With Alabama, it's just crazy out there. The people know all about the football team. They're all bought in. It's crazy."

The process humbles Asiasi, and he values the attention given from the multiple coaches across the country. While the coaches see him as an instant contributor at the next level of football, Asiasi sees football as an opportunity for growth—physically and mentally.

He has aspirations of one day earning a business degree and never having to worry about financial issues. He wants to buy his mother and father whatever they desire. He wants to be the breadwinner; there's tons of pride with that.

"God willing, I'll make it to the NFL and make all of that money," he said, "but for me, it's all about getting my education and going to college. Football is going to provide opportunities and open doors for me. I'll get my degree, get a great job and take care of my family.

"I'm all about family. I don't want my last name to be put to shame. I've got to hold my family's name up high and show we can do a lot. With me doing [football] and going as far as I can with it, I know it'll help me out and help my family out."

Before any of that, Asiasi said he has some things to work on. He wants to get faster and stronger, and he wants to become even more versatile on the field. Last season, he caught 16 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns as a tight end and also recorded 33 tackles and five sacks as a defensive end, according to 247Sports.

To further show his versatility, Asiasi also rushed nine times for 65 yards and a touchdown. He is an athlete who can be used all over the field and is expecting to see his versatility utilized more during his upcoming senior season.

From a recruiting standpoint, Asiasi said he's seen almost every school he wants to see. Miami is one of the few schools still on his list to visit. He added that he will take visits to both USC and UCLA in June.

Asiasi doesn't have a set date of when he'll make a decision, but he said the winning program will have a great environment where he's surrounded by good people.

That, and academics, of course. Consider that his ticket to personal success, something that is beyond important to him for the good of his family.

"They say you don't go to a college for the coaches; you go to the college you want to go to," he said. "If football was not there, I would still want to go there. Plus, I'm all about academics. You always have to have a plan B, and I know if [football] doesn't work out, I'll have something to fall back on.

"I'm doing all this for my family. I'm going to take care of them."

 

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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Should Florida State Worry 4-Star Josh Brown Plans to Take All 5 Visits?

One of the pillars of the Florida State Seminoles' top-rated 2016 class is 4-star linebacker Josh Brown—who has been committed to the Seminoles since September 2014.

However, it appears as if Jimbo Fisher and his staff will have to sweat it out until the 6’3”, 220-pounder ends his recruitment as an early enrollee.

According to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, Brown intends to take all five of his official visits, despite his standing as a 'Noles pledge.

Should Brown's plans on giving other schools, such as the Oregon Ducks and the Tennessee Volunteers, a chance worry Seminoles fans?

At the very least, Brown is leaving the door open for other programs to woo him.

"I'll try and go to any place that invites me," Brown told Bartow earlier this month.

Since the beginning of the year, he's been on the move to visit campuses across the country. Brown has taken trips to programs like the Duke Blue Devils, Oregon, Tennessee, the Virginia Tech Hokies and the West Virginia Mountaineers.

In particular, the Volunteers appear to be a team that poses a threat to the Seminoles with Brown.

The North Carolina product took a visit to Knoxville back in February and returned two months later for the spring game.

He also told Bartow that head coach Butch Jones and his staff have been the most aggressive in coming after him.

"Tennessee recruits me the hardest," Brown said. "Along with Oregon and Florida State. (I like) just the tradition, (and it's) SEC football."

A recent trek to Oregon earlier this month also made an impression on Brown.

"It was wild," Brown told Bartow. "They treated us amazing. They treated us like we were part of the family. The facilities were amazing. Amazing people, as well. You can tell that just by talking to them. It was a great trip overall. You don't just talk to one player; you talk to them all."

However, the fact that he has consistently stated he is solid in his commitment is a positive for Florida State holding on to his pledge. 

"I'm still committed," Brown told Bartow on Sunday. "(Those are) still my guys."

In the middle of his visit spree, he did make it to Tallahassee, Florida, for the spring game, and he already has plans on returning to FSU's campus during the summer, per Bartow.

He also told Bartow that Florida State is sure to get one of his five official visits, and he's yet to identify who will get the other four.

Factoring in that linebacker is possibly the biggest need for Fisher and his staff in the 2016 cycle, and it's clear that retaining Brown's commitment is a top priority for FSU's 2016 class.

For Brown to change his mind and attend another school, that program will have to convince him that he can have a better opportunity elsewhere than the one that awaits him in Tallahassee.

While he remains open to that possibility, Florida State still appears to be in the driver's seat to land Brown in the end.

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Everett Golson to Florida State: Seminoles Land Former Notre Dame QB

Everett Golson will finish his collegiate career in Tallahassee. The former Notre Dame quarterback will transfer to Florida State, according to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, ending a short process that began earlier this month.   

Feldman passed along a statement Tuesday from Golson discussing the move:

This past weekend has been a defining moment in my life as I am proud to say I am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. The support I've received there over the past four years has helped strengthen my integrity, wisdom and character. I would like to thank all of the coaches who spent time speaking with me these past few weeks and considered adding me to their football programs. Their interest and sincerity was truly humbling. After much thought and careful consideration, I will utilize my fifth year of eligibility to join the Florida State University Seminoles. To coach Jimbo Fisher, the Florida State football team, staff, alumni and fans, thank you for allowing me to become part of the Seminoles family. I can't wait to get started.

Golson, who will be eligible to play immediately, released a statement (via Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com) on May 7 declaring his intent to transfer from South Bend:

I would like to thank everyone at Notre Dame for the opportunity to compete at the highest level of college football but most importantly to obtain my degree from one of the finest universities in the country. To all the Fighting Irish fans I want to thank you for the support over the past four years and let you know I truly love Notre Dame! To my former teammates, who I will miss tremendously, I wish much success in the future and will be your biggest fan from afar.

Wide receiver Ermon Lane and linebacker Jake Pugh were both excited to see Golson join the Seminoles:

Golson's stint at Notre Dame had its ups and downs. As a redshirt freshman, he led the Irish to an undefeated regular season before losing in the national championship game to Alabama. Expected to return a better, more mature player as a sophomore, Golson's career was put on hold for a year after he used "poor judgment on a test," violating the honor code.

He returned in 2014 and recaptured the starting job, throwing for 3,445 yards and 29 touchdowns; however, Golson also struggled all season with turnovers, throwing 14 interceptions and losing eight fumbles. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly benched him for stretches in favor of Malik Zaire, a talented sophomore who is expected to win the starting job in 2015.

Despite his struggles, Golson was not lacking for potential suitors. McMurphy listed Alabama, Texas, Florida, Florida State and LSU among the early contenders for his services. Each of those programs needs an influx of talent following the departure of former stars or due to the lack of development of the current depth chart.

Golson choosing the Seminoles likely comes with assurances he'll at least get to compete for the starting job in camp. 

ESPN's David Hale pointed out that the quarterback will face a struggle to be ready for the start of the season in Jimbo Fisher's offense:

With time running out on Golson's college career, a lot will be riding on that battle. 

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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Javon McKinley Reveals Top 6: Odds on Where 4-Star WR Lands

Javon McKinley, one of the West Coast's premier offensive prospects, put his focus on six favorites Monday evening. 

The 4-star wide receiver remains open to new opportunities, but a recruitment that includes nearly 30 scholarship offers is beginning to take shape. His list of top options spans America, from the Pacific Northwest to South Florida:

McKinley, rated 13th nationally among wide receivers, is coming off a monstrous junior campaign at Centennial High School in Corona, California. He caught 97 passes for 2,062 and 25 touchdowns in 2014, emerging as an elite threat for the Los Angeles-area powerhouse.

The 6'2", 185-pound prospect has visited several universities this spring, including Stanford, Miami, UCLA, Cal and Notre Dame. Now that we know which programs presently stand out, here's a look at odds of where he lands at the next level. 

 

Miami: 12-to-1

The Hurricanes are off to a strong start in the 2016 cycle, claiming a nation-high 21 commitments. Though only nine members of the class are rated as more than 3-star prospects, it's still quite a collection for a team that finished 6-7 last season.

Miami offered McKinley last month during his campus visit. The Hurricanes already hold pledges from a trio of 4-star pass-catchers, though some believe the commitment of Sam Bruce may be tenuous. Head coach Al Golden can collect all the recruits he wants right now, but if his squad doesn't show serious strides on the field this fall, it could be his final campaign in Coral Gables.

The coaching situation at Miami is more unpredictable than any of McKinley's other top choices. That element, plus the fact Miami hasn't secured a single out-of-state player in the class, leads us to believe this is a serious long shot.

 

Notre Dame: 4-to-1

If McKinley leaves the West Coast, the smart money is on Notre Dame as his destination. The Fighting Irish are the only program to lock in an official visit with him to this point, as he is set to attend the team's October matchup with USC.

"Notre Dame was a big offer for me," he told Greg Biggins of Scout.com. "They have a great program and a great combination of football, tradition and academics."

Centennial teammate Chacho Ulloa, a Fighting Irish target at safety, is also set to make the trip. They visited South Bend together in April. 

Notre Dame landed coveted Southern California wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown last signing day.

 

Ohio State: 7-to-1

Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer hasn't hosted McKinley in Columbus yet, but an April offer was enough for the defending national champions to secure a spot on his list. It can be difficult to tell at times if high school players include specific programs among favorites as a result of sincere mutual interest or the level of pedigree a team brings to that recruitment.

Until we hear more about an evolving relationship between McKinley and Buckeyes coaches, the jury is still out. Given Ohio State's wealth of talent at quarterback and overall offensive success, it shouldn't come as a surprise anytime a wide receiver expresses interest.

However, unless McKinley makes a trip to campus this summer, it would need to wait until an official visit during the fall or winter. There's a lot of development needed here for us to view the Buckeyes as a top-level contender.

 

Oregon: 3-to-1

The Ducks annually do significant damage on the California recruiting trail. With program popularity at an all-time high, Oregon has gone from targeting underrated 3-stars in the state to poaching away premier prospects with increased regularity (2014 running back Royce Freeman and 2015 quarterback Travis Waller are prime examples).

McKinley's only known summer visit is set for Eugene, where the team will work to line up a return trip for an official visit. 

"I know one (official visit) will be to Oregon," he told Biggins. "After that, I'm not sure where I'll go. I've never been to Oregon before but I love that offense, it's a lot like what we do at Centennial."

We've seen Centennial's attack operate in person, and that's a legitimate comparison. A positive visit in the coming months could push the Ducks to the top of his list.

 

USC: 2-to-1

The Trojans are building quite a passing attack through recent recruiting cycles under head coach Steve Sarkisian. USC signed a pair of 4-star passers last signing day and recently landed 4-star 2016 quarterback Matt Fink

If McKinley is looking to stay close to home, no program on this list can compete with the Trojans. USC is likely to line up multiple in-season visits and will be on the field when he travels to Notre Dame this fall, presenting another opportunity for Sarkisian to showcase his attack in front of McKinley.

USC produced three wide receivers who were top-50 picks in the past two NFL drafts. The Trojans are likely to sign at least four players at the position in this cycle and just landed 4-star Georgia prospect Josh Imatorbhebhe.

 

Tennessee: 10-to-1

Few teams are in the mix for as many top-tier wide receivers as the Volunteers, who've also drawn strong interest from 4-star recruits Diondre OvertonKyle Davis and Austin Mack. McKinley secured an offer from head coach Butch Jones in January, though he's yet to spend time in Knoxville.

Tennessee is among the hottest teams on the recruiting trail since 2014 and could make a significant leap in SEC action this season. Top Volunteers quarterback target Jarrett Guarantano committed last month, and now Jones aims to solidify a strong supporting cast in the 2016 class.

It remains to be seen whether Tennessee coaches are able to line up a crucial campus visit, and that could make or break things here. We also anticipate the Volunteers will land at least one or two high-profile recruits at the position before McKinley begins to embark on officials in the fall.

 

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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