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College Football Players Who Haven't Scratched the Surface of Their Talent

You haven't seen anything yet. In some cases, almost nothing, but you will. Just wait.

Cryptic enough for you? This is the way the college football careers of some highly regarded players have gone to this point, ones who possess a tremendous amount of skill and talent yet haven't been able to showcase it.

It could be because of injury, or maybe they've been stuck behind established stars who have finally moved on. Whatever the case, the opportunities to this point have been limited, but the promise is still there. Once their path is clear of obstacles, the sky is the limit.

We've put together a list of players who haven't begun to scratch the surface of their potential, but the 2016 season is shaping up to be when that should happen. No true freshmen or junior college transfers are included since those players are effectively new to FBS and haven't been held back yet.

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Make-or-Break Games for Every Top 25 College Football Team

Every college football team can look back on a previous campaign and point toward a specific game that changed the course of the season.

However, a majority of those contests were losses that essentially ended a program's aspirations. Only a handful of teams exit a respective year able to forget the "what-if" scenarios.

The list of the 2016 season's make-or-break games is ordered using Bleacher Report's most recent preseason top 25.

Each contest could ruin national championship hopes, conference title dreams or—in cases in which neither of those achievements are likely—chances at a meaningful victory in a rivalry matchup.

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Cal Football Player Ted Agu's Family Reaches Settlement in Wrongful Death Suit

The University of California and the family of former football player Ted Agu, who died during a February 2014 offseason team drill, reached a $4.75 million settlement on a pending wrongful death lawsuit. 

Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the news Thursday. The university admitted liability in the case in January.

Agu, 21, died after collapsing while on a run with teammates. The lawsuit claimed negligence on the university's part, saying coaches and trainers ignored signs Agu was struggling during the drill. 

"During the course of the conditioning drill, Agu experienced dizziness, shortness of breath, loss of balance, and other signs of extreme fatigue that were clearly symptomatic of the sickling process," a release said, per Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.com.

The settlement also brings forth a series of changes to Cal's athletic program. Coaches will no longer be permitted to use “high-risk physical activity” to punish players. A definition has not been provided for what that entails, but Cal's programs will now need approval from others within the university.

“We were never going to accept just money,” said Steve Yerrid, an attorney for the Agu family, per Veklerov. “The most unnatural act in the world is for a parent to bury their child.”

There will also be a permanent display in Agu's honor in Cal's locker room. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 Sleeper Heisman Trophy Candidates in 2016

There's no shortage of recognizable names for even the most casual of college football fans in the preseason projections of the 2016 Heisman Trophy race.

The second- and third-place finishers from last year, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, are back. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who some thought deserved a finalist invite last year, will get another crack at the trophy. LSU running back Leonard Fournette and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook are some of the best bets in the field.

But, right now, let's go away from those well-known superstars and their front-runner statuses in the early predictions. What about the sleepers, the dark horses, the undervalued playmakers who could explode onto the scene with a huge game or two in 2016?

Here are 10 sleeper picks for this year's Heisman Trophy race, which are largely based on the potential of the players in their individual systems and the returning talent they have around them. 

For a reference point, "sleepers" are defined here as anyone who has Heisman Trophy odds at or below the 40-1 mark in the most recent list from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, which came out late last month. This is a good cutoff point between the more talked-about contenders (ending with Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs and Oregon's Royce Freeman) and those who are largely viewed as long shots.

Which sleeper picks for the 2016 Heisman Trophy race are you valuing this offseason? Let us know in the comments below.

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Bobby Petrino, Louisville Agree to New Contract: Latest Details and Reaction

Two years after the start of his second stint as Louisville's head football coach, Bobby Petrino was rewarded with a new, seven-year contract Thursday. 

Louisville made the move official at a press conference involving Petrino and athletic director Tom Jurich, per CN/2 Sports in Kentucky:

According to ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy, the deal is worth $30.625 million, which averages out to $4.35 million per season.

The new contract is a two-year extension of his existing contract, and Jurich is excited to have Petrino in the fold over the long haul, per Rocco Gasparro of GoCards.com:

I'm thrilled with the job that Bobby has done here, and it's been great to have his wife Becky, their children and three grandchildren back in the city of Louisville. Their commitment to the community through the Petrino Family Foundation has been extremely successful in raising charitable funds and assisting our community. Bobby has done an excellent job reinforcing our commitment to academics and career development. He has exceeded my expectations on the field, especially closing last year with a win in the Music City Bowl over a talented Texas A&M team. I think the future of this program is extremely bright, and I'm excited that with this extension, Bobby has reinforced his commitment to the University of Louisville.

As reported by Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com, that contract puts Petrino in elite company with regard to highly paid coaches in the ACC:

Petrino and the Cardinals are coming off an 8-5 season that concluded with a Music City Bowl victory over Texas A&M. That came on the heels of a 9-4 year in 2014 after Petrino returned to Louisville from Western Kentucky.

The 55-year-old Montana native's collegiate head coaching career began at Louisville in 2003, and he enjoyed a great deal of success with a record of 41-9 in four seasons before jumping ship to the Atlanta Falcons.

Petrino lasted just 13 games in the NFL before taking over as head coach at Arkansas.

He boasts a career mark of 100-39 in the college ranks, and he is 58-18 overall during his six seasons at the helm for the Cardinals.

While Petrino has yet to firmly establish Louisville as an ACC title contender over the past two years, his track record is an impressive one. In his quest to return the school to a national power, he can now be confident he has Louisville's full support.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star Keldrick Carper Talks Recruitment, Wants to Be a Professor After Career

NEW ORLEANS — The recruiting process usually makes prospects such as 4-star athlete Keldrick Carper learn the background of the various coaches who are recruiting him.

However, Carper—who reports a 4.0 GPA with plans to major in African Studies—has designs on a career in academia when his playing career ends.

That means his research will extend further and deeper into the academic staff of each of the institutions he is considering.

“I want to be a professor when my career is over. That’s why I want to graduate early and get a head start on it a little bit,” Carper told Bleacher Report. “I want to do a little background research on the professors wherever I go. I will be looking them up just like I study the history of the coaches who are recruiting me."

The 6’3”, 185-pounder from Plain Dealing High School (Louisiana) could excel on the next level playing either receiver or defensive back.

While he does have a preference on which side of the ball he wants to play on, he’s flexible if the school he chooses wishes to experiment with him a little bit.

“I have more offers on defense than I do at receiver. It doesn’t really matter to me,” Carper said. “I just want to go to a place that is the best school for me where I can make an impact on the field as soon as possible. Those are big factors. I prefer playing defense, but if it came down to it and I need to play receiver that first year and then move to defense, I’m all for it.”

The most recent power to enter the mix for Carper is Notre Dame, which is an offer that definitely caught his attention.

“That was huge. They are instantly in the discussion among the top of my list,” Carper said. “[Fighting Irish defensive backs coach] Todd Lyght gave me the offer and they are recruiting me as a DB.”

He noted that he plans to visit South Bend, Indiana, in the summer, but he’s spent the last few weeks visiting a few programs in SEC country: Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

He briefly spoke on what stood out during those visits:

  • Georgia: “Georgia blew me away on that visit. It really stood out to me. Talking to [head] Coach [Kirby] Smart and [defensive coordinator] Coach [Mel] Tucker, I was excited to get over there.”
  • Tennessee: “I’ve been there before. I’m really good with [receivers] Coach [Zach Azzanni] and [running backs] Coach [Robert] Gillespie. I’ve developed some good relationships with them. And Knoxville is beautiful. There’s nothing like it. When the sun goes down, it’s a beautiful sight.”
  • Vanderbilt: “It was a nice visit. Nashville is a beautiful city. I already know Vanderbilt is a prestigious academic school. I got to sit down with [head] Coach [Derek] Mason and talk about the future they have there. I think they will shock some people this year. I think so.”

Carper singled out LSU, Texas and USC as schools that he would want to hear more from in the future. Of the schools that have offered him, he stated that three programs are recruiting him the hardest.

“Notre Dame and Texas A&M and Georgia. Those are the three coming after me the hardest,” Carper said.

The No. 11 overall prospect from the Pelican State noted the importance that academics will play in his decision.

“A lot of schools don’t have [my] major. If they do—the schools that I like do—they are automatically in there with me,” he said.

With his plans to enroll at the school of his choice in January, he stated that a decision could come as soon as June. If he’s not ready at that point, he would make a decision in December.

Aside from academics, he will also be looking at a few other factors that will be pivotal in his decision-making process.

“I would say the demographics of the school. The racial demographics. I want to go to a diverse school,” Carper explained. “The comfort level on campus is a big thing for me. Sports will take care of itself. Being able to live there is important and I feel a lot of athletes don’t look at that. Those are the main things I will consider.”

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

SEC Extra Points: Nothing Good Comes from Coaches Discussing Satellite Camps

Finally, after two years of debate, we can stop talking about satellite camps.

No, really, we can.

The NCAA announced on Friday that it has put an immediate halt to satellite camps—the guest-coaching practice that became popular a couple of years ago thanks to Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and Penn State's James Franklin, and then exploded last summer thanks to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. 

Predictably, that has caused quite a reaction around the country. 

"The incompetence of the NCAA has reared its ugly head yet again," Harbaugh told Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated.

SEC coaches—who were unified in favor of the ban—have also chimed in.

"I will never apologize for wanting to be a good father. I miss enough volleyball games. That is a priority for me," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on nationally syndicated ESPN Radio show Mike & Mike (via CoachingSearch.com's Chris Vannini). "But in all reality, schools that are coming down to do camps way outside of their region, they’re really coming for one or two kids. That’s the truth."

Unsolicited advice to SEC head coaches: don't say things like this. It only makes you sound more petty. 

While it's partly true—Freeze probably does want to spend time with his family, as does virtually every other parent in the country (myself included)—work is work, and the crux of the objection by SEC and ACC head coaches stems from their desire to protect their recruiting turf for their own benefit.

That's fine. Disproportionate rules that prevented SEC and ACC head coaches from guest-coaching outside of their own state borders and a 50-mile radius from campus needed to be changed.

It's called a compromise, head coaches and athletics directors, and those of you on both sides flat out refused to try to find one. 

Proponents of the ban have come up with a variety of different reasons to justify the simple fact that they wanted to protect their turf, while advocates of satellite camps, like Washington State's Mike Leach, have played the sympathy card.

"OK, so we're going to elevate those over the interests of, in particular, low-income student-athletes and providing them an opportunity? It's by far one of the most absurd things ever," he told SiriusXM College Sports Nation.

Like Freeze, Leach has a point too. Lower income student-athletes won't have the same kind of exposure as they did when satellite camps were allowed, and kids of all skill levels won't have the ability to get top-tier college coaching near their homes. 

That stance is disingenuous too, though.

Let's not pretend there wasn't a selfish aspect to guest-coaching too. High-profile coaches participated in these camps to raise program awareness in fertile recruiting grounds, not just to help out kids who might benefit from their presence (which is fine, and something I would have done in their shoes). 

Both sides could have met in the middle and, say, developed a three-week window in June in which guest-coaching is allowed. The problem isn't that one side won and the other lost, it's that neither tried and the adults flat out refused to try to act like adults. 

So stop talking about it, head coaches. 

You just sound petty at this point. 

 

Auburn On The Move?

Now that we've put the satellite camp discussion to bed, what will be the new offseason storyline around the South?

How about (gasp) realignment?

According to ESPN's Chris Low, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn echoed the sentiments of school president Jay Gouge, and suggested that the Tigers are open to moving to the SEC East.

How seriously is Auburn about this? We'll find out the week after Memorial Day at SEC spring meetings in Destin, Florida, when issues like this are discussed and voted on.

Geographically, it makes sense. Auburn is located on the Georgia border and is further East than Missouri and Vanderbilt. 

For it to be realistic, though, the SEC will have to alter its scheduling format.

As it stands right now, Auburn's permanent cross-division rival is Georgia, which would become an intradivision game if Auburn moves. The obvious new cross-division rival for Auburn if it moves would be the Iron Bowl, because there's no way that game disappears. 

So what will happen with Alabama's cross-division rivalry with Tennessee, which is traditionally called the "Third Saturday in October?"

College football needs that rivalry too, and it would certainly throw a wrench in the works if division realignment becomes a serious possibility.

 

Minor Setback For A Major Comeback

The running game has been the identity of the Arkansas Razorbacks under head coach Bret Bielema

The duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams were monsters for Bielema in 2013 and 2014, and Collins capped off his junior year in 2015 with his third straight 1,000-yard season. 

Kody Walker is slated to be the next in line to the Hogs' running back throne, but he will have to overcome adversity to get there.

The 6'2", 251-pound sixth-year senior suffered a broken right foot during Tuesday's practice, and will be out for a few months.

"It required surgery that went well [Wednesday] and doctors expect a full recovery," Bielema said in a statement. "It’s a pretty standard foot injury that we’ve dealt with in the past and we expect him to be full-go by June. If anyone knows how to battle adversity it’s Kody Walker."

He played in three games in 2011 and two in 2012 before suffering season-ending injuries. The NCAA granted him a medical hardship last year, reclassifying him as a junior in 2015 which allowed him a sixth year.

The Hogs are counting on Walker to make a full recovery, because there's a lot of uncertainty at running back heading into 2016. 

Walker rushed for 394 yards and six touchdowns as Collins' primary backup a year ago, and he is backed up by Rawleigh Williams—who's coming off of a scary neck injury suffered in October in the quadruple overtime win over Auburn. Newcomer Devwah Whaley, who will enroll this summer, comes from a spread attack in Texas and has all of the talent to be a star. But pass blocking is even more important in Arkansas' system than others, and the former 4-star prospect will have to pick that aspect of the game up quickly to truly be a factor.

Simply put, Arkansas needs Walker—especially early. 

The Hogs play at TCU in Week 2, Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, in Week 4 and have gotten off to slow starts in each of Bielema's three seasons in Fayetteville. That needs to change if they're going to contend for the SEC West title.

 

Big Losses

It's no secret that Tennessee needs help in its passing game.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs finished eighth in the conference in passer rating (127.01) and completions of 20 or more yards (30) last year. No wide receiver had more than 409 yards in 2015, and it was clear early on that head coach Butch Jones didn't trust his downfield passing attack.

The woeful passing game is a receiver problem as much of a Dobbs problem (if not more), and the Vols have become razor-thin in that department as spring practice has progressed.

According to Grant Ramey of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, sophomore Jauan Jennings and redshirt freshman Vincent Perry are both out for the rest of spring with undisclosed injuries, and redshirt junior Josh Malone missed Tuesday's practice. 

That left Tennessee with just three healthy scholarship receivers leading up to Saturday's spring game.

This is last thing Jones needed.

The door is wide-open for Tennessee to not only win the SEC East for the first time since 2007, but make a legitimate run to the College Football Playoff. The roster is set at offensive line, running back, quarterback, defensive line, linebacker and even in the secondary, where Cam Sutton returns at corner.

The passing game is literally the last piece of the puzzle Jones needs to put in place, and instead, he's just searching for healthy bodies late in spring.

Not the way you want to close the session.

 

Opportunity Knocking

Georgia's depth issues at running back are well-chronicled. Nick Chubb is still recovering from his knee injury, Brendan Douglas has missed all of the spring practice session, A.J. Turman decided to transfer and the duo of Sony Michel and Tae Crowder have been left to absorb the majority of the carries.

Enter: Shaquery Wilson.

The former receiver has been getting reps at tailback late in spring practice, and has impressed head coach Kirby Smart during his short time at the position.

"Well we didn’t think we could get through G-Day without enough backs and Shaquery did a pretty good job Saturday," Smart said, according to Jake Rowe of 247Sports. "We had him back there Saturday sparingly. We ahead and said, 'hey, we’ve got two practices. Let’s make it a full-time move.'"

While it is only "full-time" while depth issues persist, it's a great chance for the 6'1", 190-pound freshman to add a different element to offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's offense. Chaney loves players who can play a variety of roles, and knows how to get the ball in the hands of playmakers in space. 

Wilson will get the chance to prove that he's one of those playmakers during Georgia's G-Day, and could become a factor in the fall if things go well.

 

Quick Outs

  • Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez spilled the beans and told ESPN Radio in Milwaukee that ESPN College GameDay will be at Lambeau Field during Week 1 for Wisconsin vs. LSU. That's not exactly surprising, but also probably not how ESPN wanted that news to get out. Either way, that's going to be a fantastic setting to open the season.
  • John Infante, formerly of the Bylaw Blog, noted on Twitter that the NCAA has approved new social media rules that will allow coaches to retweet, repost and favorite the posts of potential student-athletes. So get ready for recruits to comment on which programs give the biggest boost to follower count, because that's going to be a thing—a really annoying thing—in the future.
  • Former South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was on Wake Up Zone 104.5 in Nashville on Thursday morning, and doesn't think highly of the talent he left for Will Muschamp in Columbia. "I told Will, 'This is not a loaded team you're stepping into,'" he said, according to Matt Smith of SouthernPigskin.com. Don't sugarcoat it, Head Ball Coach.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted, and recruiting information is 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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan RB Drake Johnson Hospitalized After Being Hit by Forklift at Practice

The Michigan Wolverines announced on Thursday that senior running back Drake Johnson was hospitalized for a freak accident that reportedly involved a forklift.

Per Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News, the university confirmed that Johnson was involved in an accident at an indoor track building, although it didn't provide an update on his status.  

According to Derick Hutchinson of Local 4 WDIV in Detroit, a source reported that Johnson was hit by a forklift while stretching at practice.

The incident reportedly occurred Wednesday, and a tweet from Johnson may have been in reference to his hospitalization:

Johnson is an Ann Arbor, Michigan, native who is currently slotted as the Wolverines' No. 2 running back behind De'Veon Smith.

After gaining a career-high 361 yards on the ground in 2014, Johnson rushed for 271 yards and four touchdowns on 54 carries last season. He also caught six passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns, including a pair of scores in a 41-7 thrashing of Florida in the Citrus Bowl.

Johnson figures to be a key member of Michigan's offense in 2016 and could be in for his best statistical season yet if healthy.

Details surrounding any potential injuries he may have suffered remain scarce, but if they do force him to miss any or all of the 2016 campaign, it will be a huge blow to head coach Jim Harbaugh's backfield depth.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee Football: 5 Injured Vols We'll Miss Watching in Saturday's Spring Game

The old cliche says teams with bad luck are snake-bit, but that's seemingly about the only injury the Tennessee football team hasn't suffered since last season.

For the second spring in a row, multiple Volunteers have fallen victim to the injury bugaboo, and when head coach Butch Jones' team heads onto the field at Neyland Stadium on Saturday for the annual Orange and White Game, it's going to be a veritable skeleton crew dressed out.

Nearly 20 players either didn't participate in spring drills or have been lost since the start of them nearly a month ago. Though, thankfully for the Vols, none of the setbacks are expected to last into the season, they'll be a hindrance to a program seeking big things in 2016.

The biggest (and most bizarre) injury has been a rash of bum shoulders, some of which have led to surgeries.

According to VolQuest's Brent Hubbs and John Brice

The Vols entered spring camp with a bevy of players held out, largely due to offseason shoulder surgeries such as Derek Barnett, Josh Malone, Kendal Vickers, Chance Hall, Jashon Robertson and others. Since spring camp opened, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Austin Smith also suffered shoulder injuries after the onset of practice while Perry, Jennings and Stephen Griffin (hand/wrist that required surgery) also have endured spring-ending injuries.

That's a who's who among UT star players. About the only big-time players on Tennessee's roster who haven't dealt with their share of setbacks are quarterback Joshua Dobbs, running backs Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara, and cornerback Cameron Sutton.

Numerous hurt players means the Vols won't be able to do a full-fledged, all-out scrimmage Saturday in front of the Neyland crowd and thousands more watching at home on the SEC Network. Instead, they'll do some of the classic format, followed by individual drills and skills competitions.

The challenge will be to get out of that game unscathed and get to fall camp with enough players to make a championship run.

There are a bunch of players out, but let's take a look at the five Vols we'd most like to watch perform on Saturday who'll instead be standing on the sideline.

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Terrell Bynum to Washington: Huskies Land 4-Star WR Prospect

Terrell Bynum emerged as a 4-star wide receiver recruit at St. John Bosco and Servite High Schools in California, and he parlayed that status into a future at Washington on Wednesday when he made his college commitment official. 

Bynum took to Twitter to announce his decision:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Bynum is the 137th-ranked player overall and the 19th-ranked receiver in the class of 2017. Among California recruits in his class, Bynum grades out 16th overall.

All along, Bynum said he intended to make his commitment official before the start of his senior season. 

"I want to make an early decision, sometime in the spring," he said, per Scout.com's Greg Biggins. "I want to get through signing day first and see what coaches are still with their programs to make sure it's a stable, secure situation for me."

Now that he's committed to the Huskies, Bynum can focus on fine-tuning his skill set to mask the fact he's not the class of 2017's most physically imposing pass-catcher. 

Although he flashed terrific speed and change-of-pace capabilities, Bynum is still just 6'1" and 175 pounds—making him more of a viable long-term option in the slot thanks to his ability to create yards after the catch. 

A speedy weapon who gets out of his breaks in a flash, Bynum is the sort of playmaker capable of breaking a game wide-open with his open-field acumen.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Terrell Bynum to Washington: Huskies Land 4-Star WR Prospect

Terrell Bynum emerged as a 4-star wide receiver recruit at St. John Bosco and Servite High Schools in California, and he parlayed that status into a future at Washington on Wednesday when he made his college commitment official...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

4-Star Todd Harris Talks Favorites, Visit Plans and Key Factors in Decision

NEW ORLEANS — Entering Sunday’s New Orleans Nike Regional, 4-star safety Todd Harris was one of a handful of in-state stars looking to make a statement.

For the 6’0”, 180-pounder out of Plaquemine High School, the event gave him a chance to showcase why he and other stars from “the boot” deserve to be rated among the nation’s elite.

“It’s a privilege to be born in Louisiana. We’re basically off the radar so a lot of guys sleep on us,” Harris told Bleacher Report. “That’s a good thing because it just motivates us more to compete.”

His day started off with a couple of personal bests in the testing portion of the event.

“I broke some of my records today. I ran a 4.51 [in the 40-yard dash],” Harris said. “I increased my vertical jump, but my power ball went down.” 

The event concluded with him being the only defensive back to earn an invitation to The Opening in July.

Harris was able to display the range and athleticism needed to play corner or safety at the next level—which is why he’s earned more than 15 offers to date.

A trio of SEC West powers are among the schools that are standing out to Harris at the moment.

“As of right now, I don’t really have a definite top school. A top 3 right now would be LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. But that is indefinite,” Harris stated. “It’s more of the three schools I’ve been speaking with.”

He elaborated on why those schools are in a good spot early with him.

LSU Tigers: "They are basically in my backyard. It’s probably going to be tough to pull me away from them. After I take more visits throughout the summer and during my senior year, maybe that could change."

Ole Miss Rebels: "I haven’t really been to Ole Miss yet. I was planning to go a week or two ago, but we ended up having to go to Georgia to play in a seven-on-seven tournament. So I will probably end up going to Ole Miss in the summertime, probably for their summer camp. But, I like how they use their defensive backs in their scheme."

Mississippi State Bulldogs: "I was up there like a month or two ago. I enjoyed my time up there. We got to watch a basketball game, meet some players and meet the coaches. We got to tour the school and the field and learn about the academic program there. It was pretty nice."

Additionally, he took a recent visit to see another heavyweight out of the SEC.

“I took a visit to Georgia last weekend. Georgia was nice. The coaching staff was nice,” Harris said. “The campus is amazing. Their players were getting after it. It’s just something about Athens.”

Harris notes that out-of-state trips are random occurrences, which complicates his attempts to map out visit plans in the coming months. Still, he has an idea on the schools he wants to see soon, and he has an immediate trip lined up for this weekend.

“I want to go back to visit Alabama again,” Harris said. “I want to go visit Ole Miss, TCU, Tennessee. Me and [defensive backs] coach [Willie] Martinez have been talking, so I want to check them out. Obviously, I want to go to LSU. It’s like I stay over there. It’s my second home, so I can always go to LSU. I’ll be there next week for the spring game.”

He singled out Clemson, Kentucky, UCLA and USC as schools he wants to hear from more. Of the schools who have offered him, LSU and Ole Miss are the two he said are coming after him the hardest.

He also hasn’t identified when he wants to make his decision, although he has flirted with two events as possibilities.

“Maybe at the Under Armour game or on signing day. I haven’t really decided. I’m going to talk it over with my parents and see what they think about it first,” Harris said.

The nation’s No. 4 safety and the No. 57 player overall reports a 3.5 GPA with tentative plans to major in either law or sports medicine. There are a few factors that will weigh heavily on him when it’s time to pick his home at the college level.

“It’s going to be a tough one. I want to make sure I have a good relationship with the coaches and that I’m comfortable with the school,” Harris said. “I want the school to have a great education background. I will just leave everything else in God’s hands.”

 

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

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ranking the Top 25 Juniors Heading into the 2016 College Football Season

College football wasn't intended to become a breeding ground for future NFL stars, but there's no doubt it's become this over the years. And nowhere do pro teams spend more time evaluating prospective talent than among the junior class.

With few exceptions, the best juniors in the country tend to make that their last year at the college level. Because they're eligible for the NFL draft after that season, and with the window to make it at the next level growing smaller by the year, the best of the best in college often jump at the chance to get their pro clock started.

Because of this, our list of the 25 best juniors in college football heading into the 2016 season could almost serve as an unofficial 2017 NFL draft big board. Though seniors and even some draft-eligible sophomores will end up getting picked very high next spring, by and large the bulk of those top picks will come from the current junior class.

Scroll our list to see who made the cut, and give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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Texas A&M's Aggies Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Football

One has the feeling that Kevin Sumlin is sleeping a little better this week.

Spring practices have already concluded at Texas A&M, which on Saturday held its first Maroon & White Game in three years due to the massive rebuilding of Kyle Field.

It wasn’t perfect—spring games never are—yet it was obvious that the biggest concern from last year has been successfully addressed to the point that Aggies fans can start feeling pretty good about the team’s chances in 2016.

Yes, there is a quarterback in College Station.

In case you missed it, Texas A&M’s 2015 season essentially fell apart after a 5-0 start, with former 5-star quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray both leaving the program.

The departures were seen as giving the Aggies not one black eye but two, and Sumlin’s name subsequently started being mentioned as being on the hot seat.

He has a six-year, $30 million contract and the renovation of Kyle Field cost more than $450 million. Yet the Aggies are coming off back-to-back 8-5 seasons and haven’t been above .500 in Southeastern Conference play since 2012. 

Things weren’t adding up in College Station, and Sumlin had to act quickly to turn them around. 

It began when the school announced that it and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital had “mutually decided to part ways,” and offensive line coach Dave Christensen, who also served as the running game coordinator, was dismissed. 

Two additions started to turn the momentum. Noel Mazzone was lured away from UCLA to be the offensive coordinator, and quarterback Trevor Knight transferred from Oklahoma.

The graduate senior has done nothing but impress during this first three months at Texas A&M, including Saturday. While Jake Hubenak, who started in the Music City Bowl (a 27-21 loss to Louisville), was trying to play while under the weather, Knight was 25-for-36 for 282 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.

More importantly he showed poise, confidence and command. Recognizing he had someone to build the offense around, Sumlin named him the starter on Monday.

That shifted the head coaches’ biggest post-spring concern to making sure that nothing happens to Knight.

With a veteran quarterback running the offense, there’s a lot to like about the Aggies.

The collection of big, talented wide receivers will be a major problem for every opponent. Christian Kirk finished his freshman season with 1,009 receiving yards, and there’s also Ricky Seals-Jones, Damion Ratley, Josh Reynolds and Speedy Noll—if he can curtail his string of off-field issues (Noil was suspended for the Music City Bowl and will miss the opener against UCLA on September 3).

With early enrollee Trayveon Williams having an impressive spring, there’s some depth at running back and players who can be a bigger part of the passing game.

That’ll give Mazzone a lot to play with, and he didn’t give away anything during the final spring scrimmage, as he and Sumlin had the other offensive coaches call the plays.  

“The tempo was not at the point we want it to be, but we were able to change speeds two or three times today,” Sumlin said during the post-scrimmage press conference. “When we’re going to be most effective is being able to dictate the speed of the game, and not just go fast. Be able to change our speeds.”

Meanwhile, the defense is clearly better under second-year year coordinator John Chavis, and the tackling has improved. Led by the likes of Myles Garrett, Daeshon Hall and Daylon Mack, the line should be nothing short of outstanding.

“We’ve all come together, gotten older and had more time to jell,” Garrett said during the presser. “We all know we’re going to get the job done."

“Without a doubt we have more experienced players on defense, and probably a number of NFL players on the defense,” Sumlin said.

That doesn’t mean the Aggies are completely set. A&M will have two new starting cornerbacks, there’s not much depth at linebacker and special teams lost a lot. 

But the season might boil down to the offensive line.

With guard Keaton Sutherland held out due to an injury, Texas A&M had just one returning starter playing during the Maroon & White Game, Avery Gennesy. The coaches are high on right tackle Koda Martin, but check out the overall defensive numbers: six sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles (one recovered) and two interceptions.

Some of that’s going to happen while facing Garrett and Co., but if the Aggies allow that in the fall, it won’t matter who’s playing quarterback.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Baylor Allegedly Took 2 Years to Look into Sexual Assault Claim Against Players

Baylor University reportedly didn't investigate sexual assault claims against two football players for more than two years.  

According to Paula Lavigne of ESPN's Outside the Lines, despite being required under federal law to immediately investigate any allegation of sexual violence, Baylor waited over two years to look into claims made against former tight end Tre'Von Armstead and former practice squad player Myke Chatman. 

Included in Lavigne's report is the police report written by the Waco Police Department from April 20, 2013, in which the officers stated they notified university officials about "an off-campus incident" involving Armstead and Chatman. The university didn’t begin an investigation until September 2015.

Lavigne's report also noted the alleged victim in the case "told Waco police she was too drunk to remember exactly what occurred that night and that she didn't wish to pursue charges against the players, given her state of mind."

As a result of the alleged victim's statement, Armstead and Chatman were not charged in the case. Armstead was dismissed from the Baylor program in September 2015, with head coach Art Briles saying the decision was made for an unspecified violation of team rules, per the Associated Press (via USA Today). 

Per Lavigne's report, the Waco police investigation into the allegations against Armstead and Chatman was suspended in May 2013 without either player being interviewed, and no school officials contacted the alleged victim in the case. 

This is not the first time Baylor has been in the news for problems involving alleged sexual assault. In August, former defensive end Sam Ukwuachu, who transferred to the program from Boise State, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a female student and former Baylor soccer player. 

In September, the university hired the Pepper Hamilton law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the school's handling of its investigation into rape allegations made against Ukwuachu. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Big Ten Football: Ranking Every Team by 2016 Coaching Staff

Between Urban Meyer's arrival in 2012 and Jim Harbaugh's return to Ann Arbor, Michigan, just over a year ago, the Big Ten possessed one of the more interesting coaching stables in all of college football in 2015.

And after a trio off offseason head coaching hires that included two in-conference coordinators and a former NFL headman, the conference's coaching roster has only become even more fascinating in 2016.

It's not just the head coaches who matter but also each team's respective coaching staff. A lot of times, a program will get out what it puts into its coaching salary pool, a line of thinking the Big Ten has wrestled with in recent years.

Even if every team isn't on equal footing as far as compensation is concerned, each program's staff will inevitably continue to be measured against its competition in the league.

With that in mind, here's how we rank each Big Ten staff entering 2016, based on its top-to-bottom ability to maximize its program.

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SEC Football: Ranking Every Team by 2016 Coaching Staff

A good head coach is only as good as his staff, and the SEC boasts some of the best coaching staffs in the country.

From Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, the conference is loaded with experienced assistants who either have been head coaches before or are on the fast track to running a program.

Which staffs are the best? We rank them based on production, recruiting and success in this slideshow.

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Michigan Football: Summer Arrivals with Best Chance to Earn Playing Time in 2016

Devin Bush Jr. and Ahmir Mitchell have started their push for immediate playing time at Michigan, but several summer arrivals should also make an impact in Ann Arbor in 2016.

Headlined by Rashan Gary, the nation's No. 1 overall recruit, a collection of non-early enrollees have a chance to break into the Wolverines lineup.

The following signees aren't the only incoming freshmen who will see the field, but the depth chart is more favorable for the players mentioned. For example, Michigan is loaded with experience at cornerback, so prospects at that position are less likely to play than linebackers.

While starring roles shouldn't be expected, notable production in limited action has already provided a reasonable amount of hope.

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Notre Dame Football: Players to Watch in Fighting Irish's 2016 Spring Game

The 2016 Blue-Gold game is a chance for Notre Dame supporters—and perhaps detractors—to check out some potential under-the-radar contributors for the coming season.

Although the Irish's quarterback situation is the overwhelming topic of discussion, seeing which players will replenish departed depth is a major storyline to watch.

And it's not limited to one side of the football.

On both offense and defense, Notre Dame has a true freshman already challenging for a starting role—or at least significant playing time. Plus, a few veterans are pushing for additional responsibilities and the right to replace previous team leaders.  

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Complete Previews for Top College Football Spring Games This Weekend

If the jam-packed opening weekend of the 2016 college football season is an all-you-can-eat buffet, consider this Friday and Saturday as snacks to help hold everyone over until then.

They might not be the most substantial items on the football menu, but spring games are tastes of what's to come later. And this weekend, college football fans can sample from a large list of televised scrimmages featuring some of the biggest brand names in the sport.

This upcoming weekend will be one of quarterback battles and depth chart dissections all over the country, from some strongholds down in the SEC all the way to a powerhouse in the Pac-12. There will be unofficial debuts for new head coaches at possible contenders. New schemes will be put on full display for the first time.

Here are the full FBS schedules for the busiest spring game weekend of the year—which features the last two national champions—and complete previews for a dozen of the biggest names on the slate.

What is the biggest offseason storyline for each big-name program in action this weekend? Which position battles deserve the closest attention? Who will stand out as the stars of the spring? Let's span the college football landscape and take a look.

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