NCAA Football News

If Alabama Loses Cam Robinson, the Tide's Chances to Repeat Will Greatly Suffer

When the phone of a head football coach rings at 3:37 a.m. in the offseason, it's the college football equivalent of fingernails across a chalkboard or that cryptic sound from Jaws when a shark is approaching.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban's phone rang twice Tuesday morning.

According to the Ouachita Parish (Louisiana) Sherriff's Office, Alabama All-SEC left tackle Cam Robinson and reserve defensive back Laurence "Hootie" Jones were arrested in Monroe on weapons and drugs charges. The most serious charge for the two is Robinson's felony charge of possession of a stolen firearm.

Head coach Nick Saban addressed the arrests Wednesday morning, courtesy of Alex Byington of the Decatur Daily.

As Michael Casagrande of notes, the penalty under Louisiana law for felony possession of a stolen weapon is "not less than one year nor more than five years" in prison.

It's safe to say any potential punishment from the school might be a nonissue because, if convicted, Robinson might not be available to play for Alabama in 2016.

Robinson has started every game of his career over his first two seasons in Tuscaloosa despite several nagging injuries.

Without him in the lineup, it would be very hard to pick Alabama to repeat as national champs.

Robinson was the anchor.

The rock.

The stabilizing force on an offensive line that already has to navigate through a massive overhaul without three-year starter and 2016 first-round draft pick Ryan Kelly at center.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry and the rest of the Crimson Tide running backs did their best work outside of Robinson.

That was with Henry and a center who had three years of experience adjusting the blocking scheme at the line of scrimmage under his belt.

That offensive line won the inaugural Joe Moore Award in 2015, which is given to the nation's best unit. But it struggled at times, including in the first half of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Clemson. Now, it will be without its two best players from a year ago and has a new running back and quarterback behind it.

Alabama's offensive identity is as a power rushing attack that dominates the line of scrimmage, establishes the run and works off play action downfield.

Every single part of that equation is a question this offseason, and Robinson's arrest makes it even more difficult to answer.

As Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News noted on Twitter, Robinson's backups aren't exactly household names.

Korren Kirven started one game at right tackle in place of Dominick Jackson last year, according to his bio, and moved over from the defensive line after the 2014 season. Lester Cotton didn't record any stats as a freshman last year, and Jonah Williams is a freshman.

Think of the defensive fronts Alabama has to face early in the season.

Southern California is short on experience but loaded with talent, like rising sophomore linemen Rasheem Green and Noah Jefferson. Then in Week 3, that road trip to Ole Miss and the fearsome Rebel defensive front that features tackle Breeland Speaks and end Marquis Haynes looms large.

Robinson can deal with the speed Haynes brings off the edge. I'm not sure anybody else on the Alabama roster can at this point of their careers.

Later on down the road? Maybe. Three games into the season? Not likely.

Arkansas in Week 6 should be stout up front with Deatrich Wise Jr. off the edge, Tennessee the following week is loaded with stars in the trenches like Derek Barnett, LSU has an NFL draft's worth of monsters in its front seven, and Auburn's defensive line with end Carl Lawson and tackle Montravius Adams should be stellar if everybody can stay healthy.

It's unlikely Alabama can run that gauntlet with Robinson off an offensive line that already is undergoing some significant changes, a new feature back and new quarterback without at least a couple of losses, which makes a second straight title seem more like fantasy than reality.

Nothing good happens after 2 a.m. As a result, Alabama will be fighting an uphill battle in 2016.


Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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College Football Teams with Worst National Championship Droughts

Every season brings renewed hope for college football teams that once won a national championship but haven't hoisted the trophy recently.

But in some cases, the drought has reached multiple decades and might not have a realistic end in sight.

The list focuses on programs that have claimed at least one title and is limited to power-conference schools. A current "Group of Five" team such as Army (1946) or Navy (1926) simply gets a mention here.

Remember, only since 1998 has college football had a championship game. Before then, polls decided the No. 1 team, and programs could claim a title—which is recorded in the NCAA record book or a respective program's media guide.

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Predicting First Loss for Every Projected 2016 Top 25 College Football Team

College football, at its highest levels, can be a highly unforgiving game. The combination of only 12 regular-season games and ever-increasing amounts of television dollars and attention create an environment where winning, winning big and winning quickly are paramount. The pressure is intense, and there is little margin for error.

The College Football Playoff has created an exclusive club that only four teams can join per year. It also fosters intense scrutiny that centers around the weekly CFP Top 25 polls that begin midway through the season and run through the national title game. A loss makes the road to the playoff difficult but not impossible to traverse. In its brief two-year history, only two teams (Florida State in 2014 and Clemson in 2015) have finished the regular season unbeaten.

So for almost everyone, losses can and do occur. We’ve taken our best shot at predicting when they’ll happen for each preseason Top 25 team. This ranking was compiled by using a consensus of current preseason Top 25 polls. Losses were predicted by considering opponents and the difficulty of games as they appear on an individual team’s schedule.

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Predicting Who Will Lead Major College Football Stat Categories in 2016

College football is a great sport for stat heads. Nearly everything that happens on a field can be tracked, and some of the best analytics minds in sports are constantly finding new ways to more accurately explain all the action.

The game's collective obsession with stats extends into everything from game predictions to awards races to smack talk between rivals fans. People want to dig into box scores after a game or keep an eye on the final numbers that stand out on the TV networks' bottom lines.

So as the offseason continues, let's take a look at some players who could be leading their respective positions in statistical categories this fall.

Here are 10 major stat categories from and predictions on who will top those charts this season. These picks are based on past performances and potential for the upcoming season, with factors such as fellow returning starters—or the lack of them—playing into the projections. 

Who do you think will lead the way in these stat categories this fall? Shout out your picks in the comments below.

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College Football's Most Important Offers of the Week

Thus far in his first full cycle, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has struck gold recruiting in his home territory.

However, the Bulldogs staff is still scouring the nation in search of the nation’s top talent.

Last week, Smart and his staff tendered a set of twins and Virginia defensive tackle duo in 4-star Breyon Gaddy and 3-star Brandon Gaddy:

The brothers from Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, have more than 10 offers to their credit.

As Ryan Callahan of GoVols247 reported, the brothers recently named SEC East program Tennessee their leaders. 

The two visited Knoxville in March, and that visit helped move the Vols up the list for both prospects.

Among the other schools mutually involved with the duo include Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech.

The Bulldogs are hoping to get involved with the brothers, who have made it clear that they want to attend the same school, as detailed by Callahan.

The next step for Smart and his staff will be getting the duo to make a visit to Athens.


Penn State Offers 5-Star WR

Dating back to his days at Vanderbilt, Penn State head coach James Franklin is no stranger to recruiting the state of Tennessee.

Last week, the Nittany Lions offered 5-star receiver Tee Higgins—who rates as the top overall prospect from the Volunteer State in the 2017 cycle:

The 6’4 ½”, 188-pounder was once committed to Tennessee early in the process before reopening his recruitment.

Now the Nittany Lions join programs such as Alabama, Clemson and Florida State as schools hoping to lure the nation’s No. 3 receiver and the No. 16 prospect overall in the current cycle.


Louisville After 4-Star ATH

With more than 50 offers to his credit, 4-star athlete Malcolm Askew figures to have a busy recruitment until he makes his commitment.

Last week, his offer list grew as the Louisville Cardinals tendered the McAdory High School (Alabama) product:

The 5’10 ½”, 183-pounder, who rates as the nation’s No. 10 athlete and the No. 202 player overall in the 2017 class, is high on programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Ole Miss.

Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff have had success recruiting in the Yellowhammer State recently. Last year, Louisville signed three Alabama natives and have one currently committed in the 2017 class

Petrino and Co. will hope to repeat that feat with Askew in the coming months.


2018 DE Nets Six New Offers

Arguably the nation’s hottest prospect last week was 2018 defensive end Dorian Hardy.

The 6’5”, 245-pounder collected offers from six schools: Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Illinois, LSU and Miami. 

In particular, Hardy admitted that the tender from the Crimson Tide stood out since he grew up rooting for them as a youngster.

“I was just surprised because I never expected to get an Alabama offer this early at this point in my high school football career," Hardy said. "It meant a lot to me. I was very excited and humbled, but I have a lot of work left to do. My family has always been huge Alabama fans. My dad has a lot of family in Alabama. With all of them being fans and him being a fan, it kind of made me become one growing up.”

However, he’s in no rush to decide anything soon. Given his expanding offer list, the New Jersey product figures to gain more attention moving forward.


Best of the Rest




  • Ryan Bartow of 247Sports reported that Michigan offered running back and Florida State commit James Cook.




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

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Has Jim Harbaugh Taken Satellite Camps Too Far?

As of Monday, the number of publicly announced satellite camps Michigan had planned for next month sat at a robust 34, according to a list compiled by Mark Snyder of The Detroit Free Press.

For those keeping track at home, there are only 30 days in the month of June.

If the NCAA couldn't stop Jim Harbaugh from recruiting how he wanted, with its banning of the practice lasting a mere three weeks, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that a calendar hasn't been able to limit the Wolverines' reach either. The logistics of Harbaugh's second satellite camp tour, which will include not only stops across the country but in Australia and America Samoa as well, remain unclear, but at this point, Michigan's June plans are already unlike anything ever seen in college football before.

"I haven't decided yet," Harbaugh told reporters earlier this month of possible self-imposed limit on his camps.

Considering how much Harbaugh has expanded his use of the already controversial practice, this may be his last chance to take this sort of approach on an unlimited basis.

With the NCAA having already announced a "holistic review of the football recruiting environment" in its rescinding of the satellite camp ban, it's hard to imagine Harbaugh's excessive summer tour will sit well with the Division I Council and NCAA rules-makers. While another outright ban is probably unlikely, a restriction on either miles traveled or number of camps held could be a reality as soon as next summer.

There's also a good chance that Harbaugh knows exactly what he's doing.

"I don't think this is his goal, but by doing this, by having 30-plus camps, he's making sure there will be a limitation. He's 100 percent assuring that," National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell told Bleacher Report. "When the NCAA meets, they're going to have to put some restrictions on this ... there is no way the NCAA can control hundreds of camps in a one-and-a-half month period."

The matter may not be as simple as Harbaugh more than tripling his satellite camp output from a year ago—although that probably won't help his cause. In fact, Farrell went as far as to say that one of the second-year Wolverines head coach's motivations in his extravagant June tour may be "thumbing his nose at the NCAA for telling him what he can't do."

"They saw what happened last year," he said. "They know his personality is to take something and put it on steroids."

But the sheer mass of Harbaugh's sequel to last year's 10-camp "Summer Swarm Tour" is only a piece of the puzzle.

Perhaps more troubling to the NCAA will be the locations of this year's stops. With more dates to fill, the Michigan staff will find itself at significantly more high schools than it did a year ago, which isn't necessarily the ideal—or intended—use of the loophole in the NCAA rulebook that permits schools from hosting such camps.

While it may be more transparent to go directly to the high schools, the NCAA would prefer the Wolverines staff serve as guest instructors at the camps of other colleges, as it will during a June 12 stop at Baylor's camp in Waco, Texas.

The reasoning? By hosting a college for a satellite camp, high schools can potentially gain power the NCAA can't regulate.

"That's a whole other slippery slope that they don't want," Farrell said. "They don't want high schools dictating who's holding camps where and holding that over the heads of colleges."

For example, if a high school is approached by Michigan about hosting a camp, what's to stop that school from inviting Ohio State and Michigan State to host their own camps at the same school? The implied—or perhaps explicit—threat would be that if those schools say, 'No,' that school's loyalties would then lie with the Wolverines.

In certain ways, satellite camp-inspired turf wars have already begun to play out heading into the summer. Unsurprisingly, Michigan finds itself in the middle of many of them.

It started mere hours after the NCAA lifted its satellite camp ban, with Georgia head coach Kirby Smart opting to join the Wolverines at a June 2 camp in Atlanta, sponsored by Cedar Grove High School. A week later, it was revealed Michigan will be working a camp at traditional Ohio State pipeline St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 3—two weeks before the Buckeyes' June 16 camp at the South Florida prep powerhouse.

Most recently, Harbaugh has been further implanting his recruiting footprint in the Garden State. And after it was revealed Michigan will be working a camp at New Jersey's Paramus Catholic High School, Ohio State, Rutgers and Temple opted to team up for a camp just six miles away on the same day and at the same time.

What a coincidence.

Their newness having worn off and their novelty no longer unique to Michigan, most seem to have become desensitized to satellite camps news, but Harbaugh has still found a way to keep his name in the headlines with his unique approach. Of course, that's all a part of Harbaugh's strategy, which has seen him become one of college football's most prominent head coaches in the 16 months since he returned to Ann Arbor.

"The publicity is something he's obviously gaining from this for sure," said Farrell. "From a marketing and publicity standpoint, he is an absolute genius. This is going to play out very very well for him."

A year ago, Farrell thought the reaction to Harbaugh's camps was overblown as they only directly led to a few of Michigan's lower-ranked commitments in its 2016 class. This year, all bets are off. With the increase in volume of camps not only featuring the Wolverines, but programs across the country, the reality is that satellite camps could ultimately go a long way toward shaping this summer's recruiting landscape.

"It's an arms race," said Farrell. "Just like we used to have to worry about facilities being an arms race and all that, it's an arms race with satellite camps."

As a result, the Wolverines find themselves with a sizable lead, but for how much longer there will even be a race remains unclear as possible restrictions loom.

"It's now gone from a topic of controversy to out of control," said Farrell.

But as far as this year is concerned, Harbaugh remains intent on making the most of his unlimited allotment of satellite camps.

And there's nothing anyone—or any calendar—can do about it.


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. Recruit rankings and info courtesy of 247Sports.

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Elite 2018 QB Phil Jurkovec Commits to Notre Dame: 'He Can Make All the Throws'

Despite previous plans for a busy summer of campus visits across America, coveted 2018 quarterback prospect Phil Jurkovec opted to conclude his widespread recruitment Monday night.

The 6'5", 202-pound Pennsylvania product announced intentions to attend Notre Dame:

Jurkovec, rated No. 1 nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks and No. 9 overall in 247Sports' 2018 recruit rankings, chose the Fighting Irish over 15 alternative scholarship offers, all of which arrived in the past eight moths. The verbal commitment occurred during his third visit to South Bend since October.

"I came up here with the intent of committing," Jurkovec told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. "It's the right fit for me. The whole education of Notre Dame from the books to the spirituality, the whole university and everything that it offers. I just fell in love with it."

The Pine-Richland High School sophomore certainly could have stretched this process deep into his prep career with several suitors in the mix. Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, UCLA and Alabama are among programs that also extended offers.

Jurkovec told Bleacher Report on May 7 he anticipated a pledge would take place at some point during his junior year but likely not before he attended summer camps at schools such as Pittsburgh, Penn State and Ohio State. Instead, he's suddenly become the face of head coach Brian Kelly's latest recruiting haul.

Notre Dame, known for its selectivity when it comes to recruiting quarterbacks, identified Jurkovec as a priority target last fall. The Fighting Irish made him offer No. 1 among 2018 passers in November, according to Tyler James of the South Bend Tribune.

“To me, recruiting the quarterback position in particular, which is typically a one recruit type of position per class, I want to develop a great relationship with that potential prospect," Irish offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said last national signing day, per James. "What we don’t want to do is offer 10-15 quarterbacks, get to know very few of them and then all of a sudden we’re out there trying to grab bag at the end or during camp.”

Notre Dame no longer needs to worry about a late scramble at the quarterback position in a cycle that still lasts another 21 months. If Jurkovec remains on board for the duration, Sanford and Kelly have quite a talent to build around.

"He's still learning, but he can make all the throws downfield," Elite 11 instructor Matt James observed after watching Jurkovec compete at The Opening's Columbus regional earlier this month.

At 16 years old, there's a lot to love about the trajectory of this Keystone State playmaker.

"He's got a frame that gives him a lot of room to grow," James said. "He has big hands. The ball comes slinging out of his hands. Once he kind of gets some of the drills down and becomes more polished with his footwork, that's going to help his arm. He's got a lot of room to improve, and I think that ceiling is what makes him so high on people's boards."

Jurkovec comes off as a kid who embraces the grind, which bodes well for his development before enrollment at Notre Dame.

"Every weakness I have, I try to make that a strength," he said.

His sophomore season served as a showcase for Jurkovec's unique skill set. He torched opponents for 2,560 yards through the air, 1,250 yards on the ground and 31 total touchdowns, tossing just four interceptions.

Those statistics aren't typically produced by an athlete of his physical stature.

"He's 6'5" and a dual-threat quarterback, which is something you don't see very often," 5-star Ohio State offensive tackle commit Josh Myers noted in Columbus. "Most taller quarterbacks don't have that mobility."

Notre Dame secures its highest-rated quarterback recruit since Elite 11 national finalist Brandon Wimbush signed in 2015. The Fighting Irish landed 3-star California passer Ian Book in the 2016 cycle and picked up a 2017 verbal pledge from 4-star Texas talent Avery Davis earlier this year.


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

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SEC Football Q&A: Who Will Be the Breakout Player in 2016?

You already know the stars of the SEC this year who are destined to shine bright, like LSU running back Leonard Fournette, Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly and Florida cornerback Jalen Tabor.

But "the unexpected" is what makes the season great, and there are several unknown players waiting to burst out and become household names in the SEC in 2016.

Which player will be the breakout star in 2016? That question and more are answered in this week's edition of SEC Q&A.


Jacob Eason will be a starter and look like a star at times at quarterback for Georgia, Mark Thompson will be the primary back in the Florida running back committee and several newcomers could make an impact.

But for the unknown player who will make a name for himself in 2016, I'm going to go with Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams.

The 5'10", 224-pounder from Dallas had 254 yards and a touchdown in seven games as a freshman in 2015, earning freshman All-SEC honors from the coaching staff. But a scary neck injury suffered against Auburn knocked him out for the season in October, and kept him in a noncontact jersey during the spring game in Fayetteville.

Despite the injury, head coach Bret Bielema is confident that Williams can return to 100 percent and be a star for the Hogs.

"I think Rawleigh Williams looked as improved as I could have imagined," Bielema said on the spring teleconference. "A very versatile player. Last year before he was injured, he was well on his way to being a 1,000-yard rusher. I picture him as a guy who can be a 1,000-yard rusher."

The former 3-star prospect wasn't as highly touted as some other running backs in the SEC coming out of Bishop Lynch High School, but in Bielema's system that always seems to churn out running backs whether it's at Arkansas or Wisconsin, Williams is set up to be the next in line.

"I think back to my first year in coaching [at Wisconsin in 2006], I lost a running back by the name of Brian Calhoun who ended up being a third-round pick," Bielema said. "He left early as a junior. We had this kid come in, P.J. Hill, who nobody ever heard of, and he was freshman player of the year, ran for 1,500 yards and everybody was worried when he left."

Arkansas will find its next running back, and the smart money is on Williams as long as he's healthy.


Georgia will always run to set up the pass, even a few years from now when Eason is solidified as the starter and has experience under his belt.

With that said, though, Nick Chubb's status could make things a bit interesting early on in 2016.

Sony Michel proved last year that he can handle the load when he rushed for 1,161 yards, eight touchdowns and an average of 5.3 yards per carry. He can be a workhorse, even though the 5'11", 212-pounder isn't as much of a bruiser as the 220-pound Chubb.

Elijah Holyfield can provide a quality 1B option in the Bulldog backfield, and do enough as the primary back if he's pressed into that role.

The 5'10", 204-pound former 4-star prospect out of Atlanta rushed for 1,735 yards as a senior at Woodward Academy and is the next in line to be a star in Athens once Chubb and Michel move on.

New offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is a bit more flexible and versatile than previous offensive coordinators under former head coach Mark Richt at Georgia, but Smart saw firsthand at Alabama that establishing the run and working off of play action is the best path to success in the SEC when you have a pro-style quarterback like Eason.

That won't change, even when Eason is playing at his best. 


Not to dodge the question totally, but I don't think there is a true "dark horse" in the SEC East this year because the only three teams that have a legitimate chance to win it are Tennessee, Florida and Georgia. 

With that said, though, I do think that a few of the second-tier teams in the division could have a big say in which team actually does win the division if they can spring an upset or two.

Specifically, Vanderbilt.

I know, I know. "Vandy is Vandy," and the punchline to a bad and depressing football joke. Except that it isn't. The Commodores produced the nation's fourth-best red-zone-touchdown defense (38.78 percent) and sixth-best third-down defense (28.16 percent).

Couple that with 1,000-yard running back Ralph Webb, and the Commodores have the traditional recipe for football success nailed—they can run the ball and they can play defense.

The lack of a downfield passing attack—or any semblance of a passing attack in general—makes it impossible to legitimately call head coach Derek Mason's crew "a contender." But the fact that they do play great—and I don't use that word often—situational defense and have a proven, every-down stud at running back makes them incredibly dangerous.

Get used to talking about Vanderbilt. You might not talk about it in the division-title race, but you will talk about the Commodores as more than a joke in 2016.


It's important for both, but more important for Florida State. 

Fair or not, the ACC is viewed as inferior to the SEC, so a loss by the Seminoles to Ole Miss—which could be in the playoff mix itself—would be a huge blow to head coach Jimbo Fisher's crew. Even if they won out after that, claimed the ACC title and had an 12-game winning streak to show the selection committee, it would depend on what other teams in other conferences did.

For Ole Miss, it isn't as important.

If Ole Miss falls to Florida State and then wins out in the brutal SEC West, beats Alabama for the third straight season and claims the SEC title, it'd be hard for the College Football Playoff selection committee to keep the Rebels out of the four-team tournament.

Sure, they could fall victim to circumstances as well—especially if Florida State is undefeated and in, and three other teams from Power Five conferences (and/or Notre Dame) are unblemished as well. 

Make no mistake, though, it's as close to a national quarterfinal as you can get in Week 1.


Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics courtesy of unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Cam Robinson, Hootie Jones Arrested: Latest Details, Mugshots on Alabama Players

Alabama football players Cam Robinson and Hootie Jones were arrested on Tuesday morning in their hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana for possession of a controlled substance and weapons charges, per Michael Casagrande of  

B/R's Barrett Sallee tweeted the police report and mugshots for Robinson and Jones:

Casagrande noted that Robinson was "charged with felony illegal possession of stolen firearms" and "misdemeanor possession." He added that "Robinson remains in jail as of Tuesday morning with a $750 bond, according to the Ouachita Parish Sheriff Office." Casagrande provided more details from the police report:

The arrest occurred early Tuesday morning in a parking lot of a local park. According to the police report, officers pulled up to Robinson's car [at] 2:33 a.m. smelling marijuana. 

When approaching the vehicle, officers spotted a handgun on the lap of the passenger. A bag of marijuana was also observed on the driver's side floorboard. The stolen handgun was located under Robinson's seat. Jones was also charged with possessing a handgun in the presence of narcotics. 

Robinson attended West Monroe High School and Jones came out of Neville High School. They were both part of the Crimson Tide's 2014 recruiting class. 

In 2014, Robinson became the first true freshman to start for Alabama since Julio Jones in 2008 and first to do so at left tackle since Andre Smith in 2006. He was named to the Freshman All-America team by the Football Writers Association of America. 

As a sophomore last season, Robinson was named to the All-SEC first team and helped lead Alabama to a victory in the College Football Playoff National Championship over Clemson.

Jones has played sparingly in his two seasons at Alabama. He appeared in a career-high nine games during the 2015 season, recording two total tackles. 

Robinson is regarded as a top prospect for next year's NFL draft, with B/R's Matt Miller having the Crimson Tide star ranked sixth on his initial big board for 2017 and listing him as the best run- and pass-blocker among offensive tackles. 

Offensive line was one of Alabama's biggest strengths last season, with the entire unit winning the inaugural Joe Moore award for the best offensive line in the nation. Ryan Kelly and Dominick Jackson departed, leaving head coach Nick Saban with two holes to fill before the season starts in September. 

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Mason Rudolph Could Emerge as 2017 Draft's Best Quarterback After Deshaun Watson

After finishing as a Heisman Trophy finalist and vaulting Clemson into national prominence, Deshaun Watson is deservedly the favorite to be the 2017 NFL draft's top quarterback prospect. But after Watson, there's far from a consensus next man up.

Washington State's Luke Falk and Miami (Florida)'s Brad Kaaya are expected to assume the spot as preseason quarterbacks worth getting excited about, but Oklahoma State's rising junior Mason Rudolph has my vote as the quarterback to get most excited about as a potentially still-developing first-round prospect.

Despite hailing from a screen and swing pass-heavy offense and not really getting a chance to let it fly downfield with as much regularity as prior top quarterbacks (yet), Rudolph's flashes of pocket navigation, developing downfield throw placement and confidence as a perimeter passer all give reason for excitement as a potential rising quarterback prospect worth getting to know.


Vision and Pocket Movement

A majority of Rudolph's throws are running back swing passes or screen throws of multiple varieties, which has frustratingly (in terms of evaluation) become commonplace for spread offenses. While Rudolph has shown consistency and plus placement on these easy throws, which is still important, it's his flashes of eye progression and pocket navigation when he's asked to do more than just quick throws that is most intriguing in his development.

Not asked to make multiple reads frequently based on the offense, the play below clearly illustrates how he's capable of play progressions at a more frequent level and can finish these throws with confidence. Rudolph, who has ample time in the pocket, works his reads left to right, focusing on the deep perimeter throw, checking to the underneath route before moving to his third read of the deep dig route. Notice the resetting of his lower half as he progresses through his reads, staying balanced and maintaining strong mechanics throughout.

Along with showing poise and resetting ability as a pocket thrower, it's Rudolph's overall pocket maneuverability and composure with bodies flying around him that should really get NFL teams excited. He's not one to be flustered with pass rush around him, frequently showing confidence to evade tacklers and push up in the pocket or out to the perimeter. While he's still improving in his anticipation of the pass rush and could be more sudden to continue on play progressions when his play breaks down, Rudolph has the mental makeup and composure to give teams reason to expect immediate improvement as a junior or into his first NFL season.

Rudolph is a poised pocket maneuverer, including working up into the penetrating pocket and keeping his vision downfield. As in the play below, Rudolph doesn't appear flustered or overly skittish when the pocket breaks down. He's willing to stick in a muddled pocket and finish downfield, something he flashed as a sophomore, though not in the play below. Notice how Rudolph stands tall and navigates up in a collapsing pocket. He evades multiple tacklers, adjusts laterally and upfield and then shows off his athleticism and running upside as a quarterback, picking up the first down. Coupling his pocket confidence and vertical throwing capabilities with his running ability and body type (6'3", 200 pounds) fits him into the desired quarterback prototype to continue to develop.


Still Improving Deep Ball Placement

Possessing a high, compact release, Rudolph finishes his midfield throws with great velocity and placement. From dig routes to post routes to seam-stretching opportunities, Rudolph thrives in the midfield. However, he still needs to reel in his velocity on those interior throws, as he can miss midfield opportunities by fastballing too often or rushing his delivery.

On the downfield perimeter throws, Rudolph is a nearly effortless vertical thrower. He's confident as he sets up and drives the ball downfield, but his touch passes leave much to be desired. As in the play below, Rudolph has ample time to finish downfield, but simply gets overexcited in his velocity and misses a bucket throw that could have led his receiver to a huge gain. It's a frequent occurrence on film that, while it improved as the year went on, remains the biggest inhibiting factor to Rudolph's first-round excitement, as of now.

These outside-the-hashmark downfield throws and bucket throws in general are ones that Rudolph still has plenty of work to develop. But as we've seen with Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill at the pro level, it's a skill set that can be slowly addressed and developed as he grows in comfortability as a perimeter thrower. With confidence and mechanics not an issue across all throws, velocity control being something he can easily grow into and his short-area perimeter throws frequently on point, Rudolph's issues as a placement passer appear poised for substantial development, maybe even by the time the 2016 season begins.


Confidence and Perimeter Finishing

Rudolph possesses ample arm talent to effortlessly attack the defense across the field, including and especially as a perimeter thrower. He uses his upper-half torque really well to spin a clean ball, reset his footwork and finish on the edge, both in screen and swing passes and as a comeback, an out pattern or delayed cross-field route thrower.

While velocity control has been mentioned as an issue for Rudolph previously, it's more of a rushed throw issue rather than a skill set that he doesn't possess. In the play below, Rudolph reads a man defense coverage that should allow for his slot receiver, running a corner route and against off-coverage, to have ample room to work with. Rudolph doesn't tip his hat on where he's looking post-snap, keeping a firm base focused in the middle of the field, but then turns his entire body, resets his feet and finishes with a highly catchable, perfectly placed perimeter throw that allows for his receiver to pick up the first down.

That ability to finish with plus velocity and corner and out-routes is a hugely important part of the Oklahoma State offense, as he's able to threaten secondaries at the two primary levels that an intermediate, horizontally stretching offense needs to open up the occasional midfield target. But it's the confidence he possesses in his mechanics and finishing ability on these underneath and non-touch perimeter throws that allows him to combine his composure in the pocket, movement as an athlete and finishing ability to make plays like the one below not all that surprising. Despite bobbling the ball and playing catch-up on his route timing post-snap, Rudolph regathers the ball and finishes on the perimeter with a strike on a comeback route with defenders draped all around.


Reason for Optimism

Reminding of Tannehill in terms of body type, movement ability and composure, release point and velocity and issues in downfield throw placement, Rudolph has the potential to see the same sudden rise during the draft process should he enter the 2017 NFL draft.

While there’s obviously a long way before the 2017 draft class is finalized in terms of underclassmen like Rudolph, there’s already reason for excitement in Rudolph’s throwing and athletic upside and what he can grow into. Oklahoma State’s coaching has clearly brought him along slowly, working him with J.W. Walsh as a two-quarterback offense at times and really limiting the types of complex reads and play designs he’s likely capable of.

But 2016 will be Rudolph’s golden opportunity to have full control over the offense, have the confidence instilled within him that they’ve given to Zac Robinson and Brandon Weeden of years past and allow him to flourish as a quarterback prospect.

It’s a bit of a projection and a leap of faith in his offseason development and growth to consider Rudolph potentially one of the best 2017 draft class passers, but he’s flashed reason to be optimistic. And after a 2016 draft class that saw two players rise from intriguing upside quarterbacks to the top two picks in the draft, Rudolph can potentially enter 2016 with little fanfare and every reason to exceed expectations.

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2017 NFL Draft Prospects with Most to Prove This Season

Early big boards and mock drafts have already been released for the 2017 NFL draft, but many of the highly touted prospects appear on these lists based on projections. 

College athletes are still developing well into their junior and senior years, so we assume, based on past trends, that certain players will take the next step and elevate their game to an elite level. However, there are a few players that still have a lot to prove during the 2016 college football season. 

Here's a look at eight top draft prospects who will be highly scrutinized during the 2016 season for various reasons. These prospects all have first-round potential, but they must first answer various questions regarding their health or their ability to continue to produce in new roles or with changes in their supporting cast. 

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Ryan Finley Transfers to NC State: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Ryan Finley is heading to the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

The former Boise State Broncos quarterback is reportedly transferring to the Wolfpack to play under offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz, who coached Finley at Boise State, according to Jared Shanker of

Shanker noted Finley, a graduate transfer, will be able to play immediately and has two years of eligibility remaining.

The former 3-star recruit from Phoenix, per 247Sports, didn't see much playing time after joining Boise State as part of the 2013 class, appearing in only seven games in two seasons while throwing three touchdowns and five interceptions.

On April 12, Boise State announced Finley intended to transfer after quarterback Brett Rypien, last year's Mountain West Freshman of the Year, established himself as Boise State's starter at the conclusion of spring practices, according to Dave Southorn of the Idaho Statesman.

North Carolina State's starting quarterback last year, Jacoby Brissett, landed with the New England Patriot in the third round of this year's NFL draft. Only one quarterback on the Wolfpack's current roster, redshirt sophomore Jalan McClendon, threw a pass last season.

Due to North Carolina State's lack of depth at the position, Finley should have a chance to be the starting quarterback in 2016.

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Utah State Defensive Lineman Brady Holt in Critical Condition After Car Accident

Utah State Aggies defensive end Brady Holt was involved in a one-car accident Saturday afternoon near Willard, Utah, per Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune.

"Brady has been unconscious since they found him," Holt's mother Christy wrote on social media Monday (via Luhm). "This is what is most concerning to the doctors. They need him to wake up. We are praying for miracles for Brady. Thank you to all who have reached out to us, his sisters and our family. He is in the biggest fight of his life."

The Aggies released a statement on Twitter:

The Utah Highway Patrol said Holt's SUV struck large wooden spools in a construction zone before it went back across the road and rolled in the median, per Mark Green of Fox 13 in Salt Lake City. Holt wasn't wearing a seat belt, and he was ejected from the vehicle. Paramedics flew him to Ogden Regional Hospital after reporting to the scene.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

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Phil Jurkovec to Notre Dame: Fighting Irish Land 5-Star QB Prospect

Notre Dame picked up a huge commitment on Monday when quarterback Phil Jurkovec announced his intentions to play college football for the Fighting Irish.

Jurkovec is a 5-star prospect and the class of 2018's top dual-threat quarterback, per 247Sports' composite rankings. According to 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong, Jurkovec committed during a visit to South Bend, Indiana.  

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Kevin Williams Transfers to Michigan St.: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

The Michigan State Spartans added some depth to their defensive line with the announcement Monday that former Nebraska defensive tackle Kevin Williams will be joining the program.  

Williams will be a graduate transfer with one season of eligibility. He will be able to play immediately.

In an official press release from MSU, Williams noted he has a solid relationship with the Michigan State coaching staff and that he became impressed with the team after competing against the Spartans in the Big Ten:

It was a little bit of everything on why I wanted to come to Michigan State. I had a previous relationship with the coaching staff during the recruiting process in high school. I also got a good idea of how the program was run by being in the same conference.

I knew that even after coming to Nebraska, Michigan State would have been a good route to go as well out of high school. I’m excited to be a part of a championship level program.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio added that he expects Williams to contribute right away for the defending Big Ten champions.

Williams will certainly be a welcome addition to the Spartans defense. According to the Lansing State Journal's Chris Solari (via the Detroit Free Press), Michigan State will be without six defensive linemen from a year ago, including three-time All-Big Ten selection Shilique Calhoun, who is now with the Oakland Raiders. 

Per his Nebraska biography, Williams started four games for the Cornhuskers, totaling three sacks and 10 tackles for loss. 

Per Mike Griffith of, Michigan State wants to move junior defensive tackle Malik McDowell to end. McDowell, who has played in all 27 career games for the Spartans, would help alleviate the loss of Calhoun. The addition of Williams makes it easier for the team to possibly execute such a move. 

Williams should not be expected to become a star for Michigan State, but he brings plenty of experience and will be a key rotation player on the defensive line. The Spartans will want to improve a defense that finished 53rd last season in total yards allowed, per, and adding Williams will help in that regard.  

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Michigan Football: Early Grades for 2017 Recruiting Class

Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football coaching staff are off to a respectable start in the 2017 recruiting cycle, holding 12 verbal commitments.

The Wolverines own the No. 8 ranking nationally, largely thanks to a 5-star highlighting a slightly larger offensive haul. To date, the group has seven pledges compared to five on defense.

Michigan has secured a handful of prospects it must view as underrated, however, because its class lacks top-rated talents. That's certain to change eventually, but 3-stars dominate the current group.

Note: Special teams would receive its own section, but the Wolverines have no specialists committed at this point. After reeling in No. 1 prospect Quinn Nordin last year, that's not a surprise.



Taking a quarterback in every class is the smart route. Not every prospect pans out, and depth is a necessity because the roster must be ready to replace its starter.

Michigan signed Brandon Peters in the 2016 class, and he's often referred to as the quarterback of the future. But Peters will have excellent competition in Dylan McCaffrey, the No. 1 pro-style gunslinger.

A 6'5", 200-pounder, McCaffrey has thrown for 5,178 yards and 49 touchdowns during two seasons as a starter in high school.

The Wolverines added five receivers in February, so they can focus on elite targets—like Donovan Peoples-Jones, Joseph Lewis and Nico Collins—to join McCaffrey.

Running back, however, is a different story.

Michigan needs depth, since De'Veon Smith and Drake Johnson will use up their eligibility in 2016. O'maury Samuels (little "M") and A.J. Dillon are the No. 1 prospects in New Mexico and Massachusetts, respectively. Kurt Taylor rounds out the trio of commits.

They'll run behind mostly new faces on the offensive line, which could lose four starters if Mason Cole declares for the NFL draft. The Wolverines must continue building usable depth, and JaRaymond Hall is a quality first pledge.

Now, Michigan is far from finished up front because of that depth concern. Fortunately, the 2017 class is absolutely loaded with linemen. Isaiah Wilson, Tedarrell Slaton, Robert Hainsey and Cesar Ruiz are just four of several names worth tracking.

Longtime commit Carter Dunaway and No. 1 fullback Chase Lasater are the final members of the class.

Less than five months after signing day, Michigan has a stud quarterback, fast-riser in Samuels and 4-star lineman in Hall. Key targets remain undecided, so this is a commendable yet unfinished group.

Grade: A-



Of the five defensive pledges, only Josh Ross carries a 4-star billing. It's safe to say the Wolverines aren't done here, and it's important to remember attrition is always a factor.

Among other standouts, Michigan is pursuing Drew SingletonAmbry Thomas, Jordan AnthonyCorey Malone-Hatcher, Luiji Vilain and Jay Tufele.

The Wolverines are also favored to land local 4-star safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and he's not only getting recruited by the coaches. Current commit J'Marick Woods is talking to Kelly-Powell, too.

"When I met Jaylen we just became cool at that moment," Woods said, according to Brice Marich of Scout. "I would love to play with him. I want to play with him, so I'm going to be on him."

Woods is the nation's 20th-best 3-star, so he's on the verge of earning 4-star status.

If D-tackle Phillip Paea's rise continues, he might grab another star, too. Though Paea is Michigan's only commit in the trenches, the defensive line should be a focal point in 2017.

Ben Mason (6'2", 247 lbs) and Benjamin St-Juste (6'3", 190 lbs) are projects, but they both possess a frame suitable for the Big Ten. Those are the type of developmental players to take.

While Michigan needs a few highly rated defensive recruits in this class, finishing strong as expected would make the current commits adequate complements.

Grade: B-

All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.

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25 Most Epic College Football Games of All Time

Fandom aside, all we ask for from our college football games is that they're entertaining, competitive and provide a little drama along the way.

Those that manage to do this more than others are the ones we remember forever.

More than 100 years of college football has provided plenty of epic games—so many that it might seem impossible to come up with a list of the 25 best of all time. But we're bored, knowing the 2016 season is still more than three months away, so we had a little time on our hands.

The following list was compiled and ranked based on three factors: the game's importance on a national stage, whether it came down to the final moments and the plays that decided it.

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Nick Saban's Biggest Challenges for Alabama in 2016

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — One gets the feeling that Nick Saban hates this time of year.

This used to be when he would hit the road to meet with high school coaches and evaluate potential recruits firsthand. That is until the NCAA banned college coaches from doing so to prevent what was called “bump-ins” during the spring evaluation period.

To compensate, the University of Alabama created the Crimson Caravan, by which Saban and other coaches travelled around the region and spoke to fans. However, this is the first year since he arrived in 2007 that the tour isn’t happening.

Instead, Saban’s been doing his usual events like the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge, a charity golf tournament in partnership with former Crimson Tide punter Chris Mohr to raise money for his Nick’s Kids foundation and the university. 

He also recently picked up the National Football Foundation’s national championship trophy, the MacArthur Bowl, at the College Football Hall of Fame, and this week, he will play in the Regions Traditional Pro-Am at Greystone Golf & Country Club just outside of nearby Birmingham.

Don’t for a moment think that Saban isn’t busy, though. This is when Alabama does a lot of its preliminary work for the upcoming season and the coaches get together with the program's other staffs to swap information.

Moreover, recruiting never ends, and the NCAA has decided to allow college football programs to host and participate in satellite camps over the summer.

“We’re going to participate on a limited basis,” Saban said during the Southeastern Conference’s spring media teleconference.

Maybe the camps and a little vacation will help him get through what some call the "stupid time of the year," when all the headlines are seemingly negative, especially because of all the things that seem to happen when players are away from football and school.

Alabama isn’t exempt.

For example, starting linebacker Reuben Foster was at an Auburn nightclub when a shooting took place that left three dead on April 23. 

That’s not to suggest that Foster did anything wrong during one of his trips home, but one can’t help but think what could have potentially occurred. They’re the kinds of things that can cause coaches (and parents) to lose sleep.

In the bigger picture, avoiding distractions and keeping his players focused on the tasks at hand are probably Saban’s greatest challenges this year, especially since Alabama’s the reigning national champion and back-to-back Southeastern Conference champion.

He knows better than anyone how hard it is to repeat, having won five national titles but only once pulled off back-to-back championships. Too much can go wrong, and there’s always that ugly "C" word: complacency.

Go back to 2010. The Crimson Tide had no shortage of talent, including 11 first-round selections in the next three NFL drafts, but ended up losing three games.

This might be Saban’s most talented team to date, but the roster is full of players who lack starting experience; it’s one thing to think that Bo Scarbrough can be a standout running back, quite another to actually see him being one consistently over the course of a season.

There’s also been a lot of turnover on the coaching staff, beginning with Saban’s right-hand man Kirby Smart, who left to become Georgia’s head coach. That alone changed the dynamic of the program, even though Saban rehired Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator.

“Jeremy did a great job here the five or six years that he was with us before, and certainly when he went out on his own, proved at Florida State and at Georgia that he’s a very capable coordinator,” Saban said. “There’s always new energy and ideas when you bring somebody in, but he was here for so long and understood the scheme and how we do things that it made the transition much easier for our staff and our players.”

However, the coaching staff took a hit with Bo Davis’ recent resignation, which was largely overshadowed by the NFL draft. It could have been a huge distraction, but Alabama has already hired his replacement, longtime NFL assistant coach Karl Dunbar, and moved on.

Meanwhile, the school is awaiting word from the NCAA about defensive back Tony Brown’s looming suspension, although his transgression has yet to be revealed and he’s currently running for the Crimson Tide's track and field team.

Junior college transfer Charles Baldwin was also dismissed from the program for a violation of team rules as soon as the spring semester ended. The coaches had hoped he would have challenged to be the starting right tackle, only to see him struggle during the spring.

Saban has two more weeks before summer school starts, when the players are all due to report back to campus, and strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran resumes asking players the question that will ultimately define this team: “How bad do you want it?”

It’s then another two months until training camp opens and Alabama really begins to build on what appeared to be a successful spring.

“I was really pleased and excited about the kind of spring practice that we had, lots of opportunity for a lot of young players to develop, and really pleased with the kind of progress that we were able to make,” Saban said. “I’m not quite satisfied with where we are. So it’s a time, and I think it’s a little bit of a work in progress, for us to develop the kind of chemistry and leadership on your team that we all look for.”

If Saban had his way, it would probably already be August, with everyone’s attention turning toward the high-profile season opener against Southern California at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 3.

But a lot can happen between now and then.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

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B/R Recruiting Notebook: SEC Visits for No. 2 JUCO; 4-Stars Weighing Options

Power Five schools are gearing up for what are anticipated to be productive recruiting summers. Summer unofficial visits are being planned by several athletes, and some athletes are in the process of setting up official visits for the fall.

With the month of May halfway over, look for more and more athletes to make recruiting headlines with their upcoming decisions. Here are a few updates from some of the top uncommitted targets in the 2017 class.


No. 2 JUCO player eyeing SEC summer visits

City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Elliot Baker is the No. 2-ranked overall junior college player in the 2017 class. The idea of passing Pima Community College offensive tackle Jordan Agasiva for the No. 1 spot isn't as much of a priority as some may assume.

For Baker, playing to become a better player each day holds more weight. If he does that, he believes the rankings will become more a source of entertainment and less an actual gauge for talent.

"I feel like I'm No. 1," Baker said. "I don't like to compete on the rankings. People can turn on the tape and compare or whatever. It doesn't really matter to me. I just try to be the best player I can be."

Baker, at 6'7" and 295 pounds, claims 20 offers nationwide, including the most recent offer from Oregon State. He said he's planning on taking all five official visits before making a final decision. Baker said he visited Mississippi State during the spring and has summer plans to take in a few SEC schools.

"I'll unofficially visit Alabama and Mississippi State this summer," Baker said. "I'll visit Auburn this summer, as well."

Baker said he's looking for a good relationship with his position coach and team camaraderie with his final decision. One major X-factor in choosing an FBS program, Baker said, involves the overall college atmosphere.

"It's one of the key factors in my decision," he said. "I want to be a part of a college town."


With 46 offers, CB Riep taking things slowly

The objective on the field for Cincinnati 4-star cornerback Amir Riep is simple.

"Win. Win every time I'm out," Riep said. "I want to make sure the ball is going the other way."

Riep's role as a shutdown cornerback was seen clearly on Saturday at The Opening Chicago regional, as he earned an invitation to The Opening finals in July in Beaverton, Oregon. His trip to Oregon will be another opportunity for him to shine in an effort to add new offers to his list.

It's not like he needs new offers, though. Riep has 46 reported offers and said he's taking his recruitment at a slow pace.

"I'm just enjoying the process, to be honest. I'm going to wait it out as long as I can," Riep said. "All of the schools have been showing interest. I can't say anything bad about them."

Ohio State and Michigan State are two schools believed to be front-runners for Riep, the nation's No. 13-ranked cornerback and the No. 3-ranked player from the state of Ohio. Michigan and Notre Dame also are legitimate contenders.

Riep said he'll focus on setting up summer visits soon. He'll now have to plan The Opening around his upcoming summer schedule.

For now, Riep is all about reveling in the moment recruiting-wise.

"I'll probably think about everything more this summer, once I'm out of school," he said. "A lot of people want to be in this position, so this is just a time to enjoy it all."


Versatile athlete Potts ready to show talents

The state of Indiana is known for its basketball roots. Fishers, Indiana, 4-star athlete R.J. Potts wants to modify that stereotype with his football play.

He'll have the chance to do so at the next level at a few positions. Potts, at 6'3" and 195 pounds, can play cornerback, safety, outside linebacker and wide receiver. In addition to being ranked the No. 3 player from the state of Indiana, he currently is ranked as the nation's No. 24 safety.

"Right now, a lot of different coaches are saying I can play linebacker," Potts said. "I'm really an athlete who can play DB, corner, receiver, anything. I don't have a preference at all. I just want to play."

Potts, following Saturday's The Opening Chicago regional, said he has offers from Notre Dame, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa State, Missouri and Tulane. He's hoping the summer generates additional offers, but if not, he likes the half-dozen offers on his list.

Potts added that he's hoping to take a few summer visits to SEC and Big Ten country.

"I'm trying to see Missouri, Tennessee and maybe Michigan this summer," he said. "Recruiting's kind of light right now. I've got my offers, but I'm trying to go visit more colleges."


Spring heavy, summer light for LB Phillips

Nashville, Tennessee, 3-star linebacker Jacob Phillips doesn't have many plans for college visits during the summer. If you check his spring travel log, you'll understand why.

Phillips said he's made a trip somewhere nearly every weekend this spring. Spring visits have included Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Auburn, Memphis and Vanderbilt, among others.

It's been a hectic spring for the nation's No. 12-ranked inside linebacker, but Phillips said he's enjoying the trips and learning a lot about all the schools that have offered him. Phillips claims 23 offers, the latest coming on May 5 from Alabama.

"My family and I have been traveling every weekend, and this summer, I'm going to just get ready for the season," Phillips said. "It's a huge blessing. When you're a kid and the recruiting process first starts, you always wish and wonder if you'll ever pick up the biggest offers. I've been fortunate to have success in my journey so far."

Phillips admitted he was excited about the offer from Alabama and potentially playing for the reigning national champion. He added, however, that he's still wide open with his process and is considering every offer.

"I have some schools in mind that separated from the pack, but if other schools come around, I'll definitely be open," he said. "Obviously, I want to go somewhere where I'll feel comfortable and my parents will feel comfortable. I want to go somewhere I feel I'll have a bond with the coaches."


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

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Michigan Targets Tarik Black and CJ Holmes Excited to Host UM Staff for Camp

The Michigan Wolverines satellite camp tour rolls into New England on Saturday, June 4, when Jim Harbaugh's staff joins forces with coaches from Boston College and UConn for a session at Connecticut prep powerhouse Cheshire Academy.

It's a region the Wolverines haven't shied away from under Harbaugh, as Michigan heavily pursued Connecticut tight end Chris Clark in the 2015 cycle, signed Massachusetts tight end Sean McKeon in its 2016 class and currently holds 2017 verbal commitments from Connecticut linebacker Ben Mason and Massachusetts running back A.J. Dillon.

An area that often goes overlooked when compared to nearby recruiting territories in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes landscape will enjoy an enhanced spotlight during the event.

"We're excited to provide this to not only our players, but kids from all over over New England who might not have a chance to see all these great schools." Cheshire Academy head coach David Dykeman told Bleacher Report.

A pair of his junior players haven't had much trouble attracting national attention. Wide receiver Tarik Black and two-way standout CJ Holmes, rated Nos. 1 and 2 respectively in 247Sports' composite Connecticut recruit rankings, have each collected several offers, including Michigan.

"It's definitely a big deal to have them come here so I can get a better feeling for them, and they can get a better feeling for me as well," Black said. "I can get a good feel for the type of coach [Wolverines passing game coordinator/receivers coach Jedd Fisch] is and how he can develop me in the future."

Dykeman said it remains undetermined whether Harbaugh will be in attendance, but at least 12 members of the Wolverines staff are expected at Cheshire Academy. Defensive coordinator Don Brown has recruiting roots in the region after previous tenures at Yale, Northeastern, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Boston College.

The development of this camp was a collaboration among each party, as Dykeman described a "mix" of conversations between the three FBS programs and Cheshire Academy.

"With Michigan, we obviously began to develop a relationship with that staff when Tarik got offered [in May 2015], and CJ now with his offer [earlier this month]," he said. "I've known Coach Brown probably 10 years. It became an opportunity where they called and had an interest, and we thought it was a great fit for our school. It's been exciting to get this thing going."

The Wolverines are prepared to embark on a whirlwind satellite camp tour that will take staff members to California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas and even Australia. These efforts have become a hot-button topic among college coaches and administration but the stage is set for Michigan to make major inroads across an international recruiting scene.

Plenty of eyes will be on Black and Holmes when Wolverines coaches set up shop at Cheshire Academy alongside Boston College and UConn staff, though the camp (scheduled for 5-8 p.m. ET) will include several other intriguing players.

At the host school alone, defensive back Brandon Sebastian (Boston College commit), offensive tackle Samuel Vretman (Rutgers commit), quarterback/athlete CJ Lewis (UConn offer) and 2019 athlete Bryce Sebastian (Syracuse offer) are among prospects worth noting.

"I think the level of football [in New England] is getting better and better," Dykeman said. "It's a credit to [Tarik and CJ] and some of the others who've come before them. We've got guys leaving New England to compete on a national stage. This is a chance to not only be coached by some of the best coaches in the country, but evaluated by them as well."

For Holmes, who landed a Wolverines offer less than two weeks ago, the camp presents a unique up-close glimpse at a coaching staff that resides more than 600 miles away from Cheshire Academy.

"I'm really pumped up about the opportunity to get a chance to start to form a relationship with the entire coaching staff," Holmes said. "Hopefully Coach Harbaugh can make it. This is just a great opportunity for me and my family—because they'll be there as well—to meet coaches and not necessarily have to travel all the way up to Michigan. We'll have them right here 10 minutes from my home and I'll be able to be coached by them, interact and see if maybe Michigan is a place for me in the future."

Holmes plans to repay the visit with his first trip to Ann Arbor this summer. He also expects to spend time at UCLA, Syracuse and Penn State in upcoming months.

The 6'0", 200-pound playmaker, who received an invitation to The Opening on May 1, is targeted by collegiate coaches at a variety of positions. Michigan aims to line him up in the defensive backfield at safety, while other programs prefer his skill set on offense.

Black, a 6'4", 208-pound pass-catcher, is rated No. 15 nationally among receivers in 247Sports' composite rankings. He told B/R his top-five list revealed in April—featuring Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford and UCLA—remains the same, though he's leaving the door open for other universities.

Black aims to make a West Coast journey this summer, with stops at Stanford and UCLA. He will also attempt return trips to Tuscaloosa and Ann Arbor.

This Cheshire Academy duo will have an opportunity June 4 to further solidify their respective rapports with Michigan, a key common interest between the two. 

"We've pretty much been best friends since second grade," Holmes said. "We talk a lot about recruiting and things that are going on with each other. The conversation [of playing together in college] has always popped up but I wouldn't say that it would sway either of our decisions. We've talked about it, but it's not necessarily a priority."


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

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