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Ludacris Concert at G-Day a Home Run for Georgia Football and Kirby Smart

From the moment Kirby Smart took the job as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, he's been asking 93,000 fans to show up for the annual G-Day Game, which is slated for Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET.

He might get his wish—with a little help, of course.

After several musical acts fell through, according to Chip Towers of DawgNation.com, Georgia announced on Thursday that Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris will perform at Sanford Stadium 15 minutes before kickoff.

"Coach Smart wants 93,000 and we want 93,000," junior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter said in the release. "We look forward to seeing a great crowd and going out there and competing in a game-like atmosphere."

It's safe to say that—even though Georgia scrambled and, according to Seth Emerson of DawgNation.com, was approached by Ludacris' representatives on Wednesday—that this is a home run for Georgia and Smart. 

As Radi Nabulsi of UGASports.com notes, it gets the fans excited about a scrimmage that, after the first half, typically includes third-stringers and walk-ons getting work. What's more, the fact that Ludacris approached Georgia and will play in that setting with prospects in attendance will certainly leave a positive impression.

That list of prospects, according to Bob Miller of BulldawgIllustrated.com, includes an all-star list of visitors that includes 5-star corner Deangelo Gibbs, 5-star athlete JaCoby Stevens, 4-star quarterback commit Jake Fromm, 4-star wide receivers Nico CollinsTrey Blount, 4-star tackles Andrew Thomas and Tony Gray, 4-star defensive end Malik Herring, 4-star linebacker Jaden Hunter and 4-star corner William Poole, among many others. 

Not every prospect will like Ludacris. Some might like other genres of music, and that's fine.

But all of them like to have a good time and feel the enthusiasm of a fanbase that has been re-energized with the arrival of Smart and a recruiting class in 2016 that included 5-star pro-style quarterback and early enrollee Jacob Eason.

Plus, it creates good vibes for the fanbase and the athletic department going into the summer portion of the offseason. 

Fair or not, Smart has become a bit of a lighting rod during his first four months on the job.

The minor dust-up involving the transfer restrictions he put on former running back A.J. Turman blew up into a national controversy (for some reason) in March, and the new Freedom of Information Act law in the state of Georgia that will allow athletics department 90 days to respond to FOIA requests that Smart discussed with lawmakers hasn't exactly gone over well either.

Ludacris' appearance at Sanford Stadium on G-Day will tie a nice bow on a spring session that has been littered with quarterback questions, depth issues at running back, defensive line attrition and the arrests of Julian Rochester, Chad Clay and Jonathan Ledbetter.

The pregame concert might not erase all of that controversy, but it will leave a big impression on recruits, the college football world and should help Smart get much closer to the 93,000 fans he expects for G-Day. 

It's a home run in every aspect.

 

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.

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Big Ten Q&A: Has the B1G Topped the SEC in Recruiting?

It's the biggest spring game weekend of the offseason in the Big Ten, with six schools from the conference—including Illinois' open practice—holding their annual exhibitions on Saturday.

But while the Fighting Illini, Ohio State, Maryland, Penn State, Nebraska and Purdue will each bring an end to their respective spring practices this weekend, Michigan continues to steal this headlines, this time thanks to the NCAA's decision to bring an end to satellite camps.

With the league so prominent at the moment, what better time to run a Big Ten Q&A? This week we'll tackle the state of the conference's recruiting, the Buckeyes' wide receiver targets, the league's new starting quarterbacks and, of course, the battle over satellite camps.

As always, you can tweet your questions to me each week @BenAxelrod. Let's get started.

 

So you're asking which conference is a bigger draw on the recruiting trail?

Even with the recent surge by the Big Ten—mostly thanks to Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh—it's still tough to make an argument against the SEC as the nation's top recruiting conference.

Just going off of the 2016 rankings alone—since the 2017 cycle isn't even halfway over yet—the SEC laid claim to half of the nation's top 10 classes. That includes two classes ranked above the Big Ten's only two top-10 classes (No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan) in No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 LSU.

Extend your standard out to the top 25, and the SEC held a 9-5 advantage over the Big Ten in the most recent recruiting cycle.

Factor in that Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have signed the nation's top-ranked class in each of the past six years, and it's going to be even harder to make a convincing case for the Big Ten as football's most prominent conference on the recruiting trail.

I will say this though: While Saban is still king, there's not a duo in the SEC I would take over the Meyer-Harbaugh Big Ten tag team. Les Miles' job at LSU seems far from secure, Hugh Freeze, Butch Jones and Gus Malzahn may each lack staying power and neither Kirby Smart nor Jim McElwain are proven entities as head coaches.

Meyer, meanwhile, is the nation's second-best recruiter behind Saban and, satellite camps or not, Harbaugh likely isn't far behind. The problem, however, is neither Michigan State, Penn State, Nebraska nor Wisconsin have taken their respective recruiting to the next level, creating a top-heavy dichotomy in the conference, at least as far as recruiting's concerned.

Even with the addition of a coach like Lovie Smith at Illinois, the Big Ten still trails the SEC—by a significant margin—when it comes to recruiting prowess. On-field performance and recruiting are inevitably—and correctly—linked, and while the Big Ten has improved plenty when it comes to the former, it's time to catch up in the latter as well.

 

Admittedly, I'm not the guy to ask recruiting questions to—at least not in the "Which player is Team X going to land?" or "What school is Player X going to choose?" variety. There are plenty of people who get paid to follow that stuff and actually talk to recruits on a daily basis; I'm just not one of them.

From all of the recruiting reporters I talk to who I do trust, however, all seem to believe that 5-star wideout Trevon Grimes becoming a Buckeye is not a matter of "if," but "when." That would obviously be good news for Ohio State, considering the 6'4", 195-pound Grimes is the 22nd-ranked player overall in the 2017 class.

But what I find even more interesting about the seeming inevitability that Grimes will wind up a Buckeye is that Ohio State put in some work with him on the recruiting trail last season when it hosted its first—and apparently only—satellite camp. Then just a high school junior-to-be, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native made the short trip to FAU's campus in Boca Raton, where he could be seen chatting with Buckeyes wide receivers coach Zach Smith.

Sure, Grimes' high school, St. Thomas Aquinas—the former home of both Joey and Nick Bosa—has been an Ohio State pipeline since Meyer came to Columbus, and the Buckeyes still likely would have had a strong chance at landing the blue-chip receiver with or without the satellite camp. But any advantage one can potentially gain on the recruiting trail is definitely worth exploring, especially for a recruiter as aggressive as Meyer.

It also makes one wonder whether or not there's more to the Ohio State head coach being in favor of the existence of satellite camps than his desire to have MAC schools be able to attend the Buckeyes' camp. Ohio State had a satellite camp planned in Georgia this offseason before last weekend's announcement of the ban, and it's probably a safe bet the Buckeyes will still be making the trek to the Peach State if the recent ruling somehow winds up repealed.

 

When it comes to the Big Ten's quarterbacks in 2016, the makeup of the league's stable of signal-callers is certainly interesting.

The presumed favorites in each division—Ohio State and Iowa—each have established quarterbacks in J.T. Barrett and C.J. Beathard, respectively. And then there are other programs like Maryland and Penn State with jobs up for grabs on teams not expected to be contenders.

But in between, there are some ongoing quarterback competitions that could go a long way toward determining the championship races in both of the Big Ten's divisions. With that in mind, here are three conference quarterbacks to get to know before September.

 

Wilton Speight

Although John O'Korn was expected to take over for Jake Rudock entering Harbaugh's second season in Ann Arbor, redshirt sophomore Wilton Speight may have emerged from the spring as the front-runner to be Michigan's next starting signal-caller. At an open practice in Detroit during the Wolverines' final week of spring practice, it was the 6'6", 239-pounder who could be seen taking reps with Michigan's first-team offense, according to the Detroit Free Press' Mark Snyder.

If Speight can hold on through the rest of the offseason, he'll become the biggest wild card on a Wolverines team that is expected to contend for a national title in 2016. His experience may be lacking, but if Speight can beat out both O'Korn and Shane Morris, Harbaugh's faith in the third-year player will speak volumes.

 

Bart Houston

With Joel Stave being a four-year starter, quality reps in Madison have been hard to come by for Bart Houston. But when the Wisconsin quarterback did get on the field, he sure was impressive, leading the Badgers to a 24-13 win over Illinois last season while subbing in for an injured Stave.

Houston's 22-for-33, 232-yard, two-touchdown performance even led some to call for him to take over for Stave in Wisconsin's starting lineup. A fifth-year senior, the 6'4", 224-pounder will now get his chance, albeit against the toughest schedule in all the Big Ten in 2016.

 

Tyler O'Connor

Of all the new starting quarterbacks in the Big Ten, Michigan State's Tyler O'Connor already has the most impressive win on his resume. After all, it was O'Connor who quarterbacked the Spartans to last season's 17-14 win over Ohio State in Columbus in Connor Cook's absence, a game that helped propel Michigan State to the College Football Playoff.

With Cook now headed to the NFL, the fifth-year senior appears to be the front-runner in the battle to replace the Spartans' most accomplished quarterback in program history. Starting for a whole season is a lot different than doing so for just one game, but at the very least, O'Connor has some semblance of experience on his side.

 

I gotta admit, even though I'm a big pro wrestling fan, the tag team questions I get each week are a little played out.

Plus, at this point, Harbaugh's chief SEC rival wouldn't be Bret "Bert" Bielema, but rather Ole Miss' Huge Hugh Freeze.

I'm not going to get in a hypothetical fight between the two coaches/conferences, but I will say this: I think there's an easy solution to this whole satellite camp mess. Because on the one hand, Harbaugh's use of the practice was somewhat excessive, but on the other, the solution definitely shouldn't have been banning satellite camps as a whole.

At least in this sportswriter's opinion, the easiest fix would be to allow satellite camps to exist, but either limit the miles coaches are allowed to travel to attend them or the number of camps each coach is allowed to attend each offseason.

Ideally, you'd limit the number of off-campus camps coaches are allowed to attend, so smaller schools—for example, Bowling Green—could still benefit from being present for a bigger school's camp—like Ohio State's. Then the bigger schools—like Michigan—can hold either one or two (or whatever you decide the number is) camps in either the South or out West, limiting them from turning the practice into the traveling circus Harbaugh did last offseason.

If the SEC doesn't want to participate in it—or in Freeze's case, use his vacation time instead—so be it. It wouldn't be an absurd advantage, but it still would allow schools up north to set up shop off-campus once or twice each year.

Most importantly, it'd allow the smaller schools to attend the camps at the bigger schools, something many people—including Meyer—didn't realize would be outlawed with the banning of satellite camps. If the NCAA is truly about providing as many opportunities for student-athletes as possible, then there's certainly a compromise that can be reached in this instance.

 

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

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Kyle Smith, Portland State Football Player, Dies at Age 22

Portland State University offensive tackle Kyle Smith died at his apartment Wednesday at the age of 22, according to PSU spokesman Mike Lund, per the Oregonian's Ken Goe

A cause of death has yet to be announced.   

"I feel we have the most united, close-knit football team in America, and we just lost a major piece of that team in Kyle. Right now we have two concerns, Kyle's family and our football players," PSU coach Bruce Barnum said in a statement, per Goe. "The program is being tested, but we will come out of this on top."

According to the school's official release, Smith earned second-team All-Big Sky Conference honors for his strong performance during the 2015 season. 

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Kyle Smith," Director of Athletics Mark Rountree said, per the release. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. I would ask the Viking family to support our student-athletes and coaches with love and caring during this difficult time. We must all must show resolve to cope with this tragedy as best we can."

Smith's death is the second time the Portland State football program has been struck by tragedy this offseason.

According to the Oregonian's Scott Sepich, redshirt freshman linebacker AJ Schlatter died on Jan. 17 because of complications from a minor surgery to remove his tonsils after a blood clot formed and he fell unconscious. 

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4-Star Brothers Tre Swilling, Bruce Jordan-Swilling Talk Bond, Recruitment Plans

NEW ORLEANS — The recruiting process can be a stressful endeavor for most teenage athletes.

However, in the case of 4-star linebacker Bruce Jordan-Swilling and 4-star corner Tre Swilling, they are in rarefied territory in having a sibling along for the ride to help navigate through the ups and downs of the process.

The sons of former NFL linebacker Pat Swilling are two of the main attractions for college coaches at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans.

“It’s crazy. We get tons of mail everyday. We hear from a lot of coaches,” Tre told Bleacher Report. “There’s a lot of talks late nights and when we’re coming home from practice. We both have just talked about our future and laying out our goals for each other and as a family.”

Bruce, who is the older of the two, admits the competition between he and Tre can be fierce at times. However, the brothers serve as each other’s main support system as well.

“Just being out here with Tre, it’s a great feeling,” Bruce said. “He motivates me when I’m going through something on the field or off it, and I do the same for him.”

While they have enjoyed the journey that has led them to becoming coveted recruits on the gridiron, they both acknowledge that they don’t know whether or not they will play together at the next level.

Tre released a Top 9 list while Bruce announced his Top 10 earlier this week.

Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, LSU Tigers and UCLA Bruins are the programs that made the cut for both brothers.

Tre has Ole Miss Rebels, Michigan Wolverines and Mississippi State Bulldogs added onto his list while Bruce has Arkansas Razorbacks, Georgia Bulldogs, Oklahoma Sooners and USC Trojans in the running for his pledge.

Both brothers insist that they are not a package deal—at least not as things stand currently.

“We’re not a package deal right now,” Tre said. “But further down the line, it would be kind of ideal [for us to play together.] I’m sure he wouldn’t want to play against me on Saturdays, and I wouldn’t want to play against him. It would be cool to play together at the next level.”

Bruce agreed, noting that he and Tre could end up together if one school happens to be the best individual fit for both.

“We could end up at different schools, definitely,” Bruce said. “We are going to pick the school that is best for us individually. If there’s one school that we both feel is best for us individually, then we will go there.”

While neither is in a rush to decide, they are preparing for either possibility.

Their family, particularly their father, has also made it clear that whatever each decides will be good as long as each brother is happy with his individual choice.

“[He tells us] just to enjoy it. If we need anything, he’s definitely there to help us out,” Tre explained. “But for the most part, he just kind of tells us to enjoy the process and do what we have to do. He wants us to make the best decision for us and not for him. That’s the biggest thing. He doesn’t want it to feel like I have to make him the happiest.”

 

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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4-Star Jaelan Phillips on UCLA Commitment: 'I Want to Be Part of a Revolution'

Followers of Pac-12 football patiently—and impatiently—waited for the verbal commitment of Redlands, California, standout Jaelan Phillips to hit social media Thursday afternoon. And when it was time for the 4-star defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid to announce, he said he simply went with his heart.

Advantage: UCLA

Phillips, the nation's No. 5 weak-side defensive end in the 2017 class, committed to UCLA and became the Bruins' fifth overall pledge and the top-ranked pledge of the class. He joins fellow 4-star defensive end Hunter Echols in the class.

In short, Phillips said he's been a Bruin at heart for a long time. His father went to UCLA, as did his aunt and grandmother. His grandmother received a postgraduate degree there. Additionally, his grandfather was the head of the music department at UCLA.

"We've been talking about it a lot," said Phillips, who had a top five of UCLA, USC, Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington, with UCLA and Stanford as his top two schools. "I went back and forth with UCLA and Stanford. It was a tough decision, but my family's extremely excited for me.

"My dad's overwhelmed that I'm going to his alma mater, and my mom loves UCLA and that I'm comfortable with where I'm going. I'm excited; I'm ready."

Recruited by defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Angus McClure and defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin, among others, Phillips said the combination of UCLA having a respectable athletic program, having a solid academic reputation and being close to home won him over. He's got an interest in earning a communications degree as an undergraduate and a business degree in graduate school. Phillips added that going pre-med is still a possibility, as well.

On the field, Phillips was a force for Redlands East Valley High School. As a junior, he finished with 87 tackles and 13.5 sacks. He also showed his ball skills by recording three interceptions.

Phillips said the UCLA coaching staff have talked to him about playing a hybrid role in a 3-4 setting. He can be equally effective as a rush defensive end as he could be as an outside linebacker.

"They want to me play kind of like how they used Anthony Barr," Phillips said, referring to the Minnesota Vikings' first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft—an outside linebacker who displayed versatility throughout his career at UCLA.

At 6'5" and 240 pounds, Phillips can be a similar athlete. He showed his versatility at The Opening Los Angeles regional and ultimately earned an invitation to compete in The Opening finals this summer in Beaverton, Oregon.

Phillips said choosing between UCLA and Stanford was tougher than some may assume. He's built a great relationship with the Stanford coaching staff, and the idea of having a Stanford degree was something he weighed heavily.

"A Stanford degree is one of the most prestigious degrees around," he said. "I loved the campus, the coaches and the players. I've had a place in my heart for Stanford since I was 10 years old. I never thought I'd play college football, so the goal was to get a degree from Stanford."

Choosing Stanford also would have meant Phillips starting his own legacy. He took that into account, but when it was time to make a final decision, nothing could sway Phillips from UCLA, a program he said "simply is the right place for me."

"It was a big decision for me, and nothing was cut-and-dry," he said. "With UCLA, I want to be part of a revolution and part of something that's getting better."

 

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

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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...

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.

 

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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.

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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. 

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