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Where Will Monster RB Soso Jamabo Have Most Success in Big 12?

Soso Jamabo is one of the most sought-after recruits out of the state of Texas. His vision and breakout speed provide him with a great set of skills to build upon at the collegiate level. 

Jamabo is still uncommitted, but he has narrowed down his interests to just a few Big 12 programs. Which offense do you think he would have most success in?

Watch College Football Analyst Michael Felder discuss his predictions.


Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

Rankings from 247Sports' composite rankingse.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Watch Viral Sensation Emmanuel Greene Break Down His Insane Juke Moves

Emmanuel Greene has become the talk of the recruiting world over the past week. This wide receiver from the 2017 class made some jaw-dropping juke moves during a seven-on-seven scrimmage.

Greene has several offers from some big-time programs and has chosen his top five. Which program do you think might receive his talents?

Watch the video to see Greene's insane athletic ability.


Highlights Courtesy of SouthFloridaHighSchoolSports.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pat Fitzgerald's Northwestern Team Closer to Top of Big Ten Than Fans Think

Given everything it has been through, one would only assume that Northwestern would take a match to the football blueprint and start fresh. You wouldn’t blame the Wildcats if they did.

Not after all the injuries—stressing the plural—which altered spring games, Hail Mary defeats, unorthodox game-tying field goals and a locker room union movement the likes of which the sport has never seen.

Through it all, however, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s demeanor has not wavered. His optimism—beyond his golf game, which remains a work in progress—is as inviting and palpable as ever. Despite the turbulent stretch, he has confidence in the plan.

“We believe in the process of getting yourself ready for the opportunities that you have,” Fitzgerald said. “And I’m not sure there’s another team in the country that is closer than ours right now because of everything we’ve been through.”

He won’t say it, so I will: No team over the past 15 months has been toyed with by the Football Gods more than this one. 

The “everything” Fitzgerald referred to actually stretches back well beyond last season. The Wildcats were forced to revise their 2013 spring plans because of significant injuries to an already inexperienced offensive line.

Running back Venric Mark—coming off a year in which he eclipsed 1,300 yards rushing—was never right after undergoing offseason ankle surgery. This spring theme marched on throughout the year as Mark carried the ball just 31 times.

Despite these troubles, Northwestern still managed to start 4-0 (albeit against weaker competition). When ESPN’s College GameDay came to town for the Ohio State game, however, the avalanche began as the Bristol trucks departed Evanston.

The game against the Buckeyes was within reach—much more so than anticipated—but former Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde bulldozed his way through the Wildcats in the second half, leading the Buckeyes to victory.

This wasn’t a necessarily a shocking result at the time. But it was the first brick to fall in a heartbreaking string of dominos.

After losing to Minnesota by three points and then Iowa in overtime the following week, Northwestern lost to Nebraska on an implausible Hail Mary. Cornhusker head coach Bo Pelini’s frozen response—one not of joy, but rather disbelief—said everything that needed to be said. The reaction of the Northwestern players accurately encompassed the full range of football emotions.

Two weeks later—with a bye sprinkled in—Northwestern again lost in freakish fashion. The Wildcats fell at home to Michigan in triple overtime, thanks in large part to a remarkable, 44-yard, game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.

It was frantic—perhaps more rushed than any field goal you’ve ever seen—and the conditions were not optimal for a kicker. And yet, despite the low trajectory, it went right in.

Northwestern went on to lose seven of its final eight games, four of which were by less than three points or in overtime. It’s worth pointing out that the Wildcats' 10-point loss to Ohio State was actually much tighter. The final desperation offensive play for Northwestern resulted in a meaningless Ohio State touchdown. Well, it was meaningless to everyone but the gamblers.

“The last two years have been incredibly similar but very different,” Fitzgerald said. “The year prior, the eight to 10 plays that we needed to go our way did. Last year we won five games and very easily could have won 10.”

The offseason could not have come soon enough—and it was necessary—only the typical offseason itinerary was abandoned early on as former starting quarterback Kain Colter spearheaded the player union movement.

For the infant stages of the offseason, this was the story. It also hovered around Northwestern’s spring practice, an integral time for a team in need of reps and a reboot.

Trevor Siemian, the team’s current starting quarterback, spoke out publicly against the union. As the months progressed and the union vote approached, momentum in favor of the movement seemed to dissipate. It was a distraction, certainly, but it came at a school fit to handle it.

“It was definitely something else we had to deal with, but I think our guys did an excellent job of handling it,” Siemian said. “We go to Northwestern, so we’re accustomed to balancing academics and football. It was just another thing we had to balance.”

While the unionization will likely serve as the cover of Northwestern’s offseason yearbook, it won’t be the most significant page, at least not for the 2014 team. Injuries again have extensively altered the Wildcats’ plans, forcing the team to cut down on hitting for the second consecutive offseason.

Last year the offensive line was impacted; this year it was the defensive line, a position Fitzgerald referred to as the “hardest position in all of sports.” As a former All-American linebacker, he would know.

The development path was clearly impacted, and yet, he refuses to lean on it as an excuse.

“I’m not sure that’s unique to us,” Fitzgerald said on the injuries. “Like most teams, you’re going to come out of the season with some surgeries, and you just have to deal with it accordingly. You’ve got to tweak your plan.”

And they have. Northwestern hit much less in spring, leaving the team roughly 240 to 300 scrimmage reps behind where it normally would be. In the age of limited contact, this is a wealth of opportunities lost.

There’s urgency to get these reps back, of course, but there’s also an understanding that it can’t be done overnight.

“You could really make a mistake by trying to make up all those plays at once,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve got to get those reps in, but we’ve got to get them in smart to keep our guys as healthy as we can. We’re a little bit behind, but we’ll get caught up.”

There’s that optimism again, oozing with unmistakable charm. Part of it is simply his makeup and the prospects of coaching at the only school he's ever loved. The other part stretches beyond his natural upbeat approach and to the pieces in place.

It’s the health of his playmaking running back, a defense that will return key parts (when healthy again), and the development of his country-music-star QB.

“I don’t think he loves the comparison, but he’s a lot like Luke Bryan,” Fitzgerald said about Siemian, fighting off laughter. “He looks like Luke, has a calm demeanor and everybody likes being around him. It’s definitely his football team.”

Siemian has a much different makeup than Colter, the former QB with whom he once shared reps. He concedes that he’s not the kind of athlete that Colter was, and his mentality is more deliberate. Perhaps his coach can create a more accurate picture of the player.

“He never met a throw he didn’t like,” Fitzgerald said.

That certainly was the case in Northwestern’s final game of the 2013 season. After battling injuries much of the year, Siemian threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-34 win over Illinois. For Siemian, he’s hoping this was simply a sign of things to come.

“I feel as good as I have since I’ve been here,” Siemian said. “I’ve been able to focus on getting stronger, faster and developing some timing with our receivers and running backs. As a competitor, I’m looking forward to embracing a leadership role.”

Joining Siemian in the “feeling good” department is Mark, perhaps the most important piece to Fitzgerald’s optimism puzzle. Mark applied for a fifth year of eligibility after his abbreviated run last year, and it was granted.

Although it’s been a slow, contact-free grind back to good health, Fitzgerald expects his star running back to be without limitations for the start of the season. Siemian, the man hoping to be putting the ball right on his numbers as much as possible, agrees.

“He looks as good as he has in the past,” Siemian said about Mark in workouts. “He’s moving well, and I’m just excited for him. When he’s healthy, it definitely adds a different element to our offense.”

The prospects on the other side of the football aren’t as sanguine, but there’s potential with this group when you look beyond the injuries up front.

Northwestern ranked No. 68 against the run last year, giving up more than four yards per carry. This was far removed from the 2012 season in which Fitzgerald’s group allowed just 3.77 yards per rush, good for No. 22 in nation.

“Just because we’re older, that doesn’t mean we’ll be better,” Fitzgerald said. “I think we have a chance to be pretty good on defense, but we’ve got to work our butts off to get there.”

His outlook for the defense could be the same for the entire season ahead. There are only so many things a coach can control beyond ensuring that the players are as prepared as they can possibly be.

Put in the work, follow the appropriate steps—through a familiar approach and a few necessary tweaks when necessary—and see where the chips may fall.

What happens next is another story; no team knows that more than this one.

At some point, however, the fortunes will turn, the injury list will shrink, and the Hail Marys and unorthodox field goals will fall short or wide.

The Football Gods giveth, the Football Gods taketh away. For the Wildcats, the giving season approaches.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Why Ohio State and Urban Meyer Will Keep Momentum on Recruiting Trail

Urban Meyer and Ohio State got off to an unusually slow recruiting start this year, but after a flurry of June commitments, the Buckeyes are primed to make a run at another top-five class in 2015.

Like any other year, momentum is key.

Just one month ago, the possibility of a top class seemed distant. The Buckeyes only had commitments from a pair of 4-star cornerbacks as May wound down. Their class ranking dipped to No. 57 as top targets such as Brandon Wimbush and Elijah Taylor committed elsewhere. 

Then, the pledges started rolling in.

A commitment from 4-star quarterback Joe Burrow started an avalanche of activity. The Buckeyes gained eight commitments for their 2015 class (and two for 2016) in a 26-day span. Four-star prospects Nick Conner and Dre'Mont Jones, the seventh- and eighth-rated recruits in the state of Ohio, highlighted the group.

Truly, though, Meyer is just getting started. 

Justin Hilliard, Ohio's No. 1 prospect and one of the Buckeyes' top targets, is close to making his decision. 

Rated as a 5-star recruit and the nation's top outside linebacker, Hilliard has offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma and USC.

A desire to stay in the Midwest, however, has him deciding between Ohio State, Notre Dame, Iowa and Michigan, with Alabama rounding out his top five. He's set to make his decision from his high school on July 2.

According to 247Sports' crystal ball predictions, Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite to land Hilliard. If those predictions hold, Ohio State's recruiting momentum would spike dramatically.

Hilliard isn't just one of the country's top prospects—he's also one of the most well-connected.

In an interview with Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors, Hilliard said he's ready to flip his role from recruit to recruiter: "I'm glad the process is ending because it's time for me to be a recruiter. I'm excited to go out and get a class together that will hopefully be a top-three class nationally. I've been thinking about that since I got my first offer. I want to win."

That could mean big things for Ohio State. Hilliard is close with Jashon Cornell, a 5-star defensive end who sees himself joining forces with Ohio's top player.

Hilliard is also very close with 5-star running back Damien Harris and 4-star offensive tackle Matthew Burrell. If Hilliard chooses Ohio State, a wave of 5-star talent could be making its way to Columbus.

"Where ever I end up I believe we'll have the number one class in the country," Hilliard said, via Birmingham. 

Meyer has to like the sound of that.


All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @davidreg412.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

LSU Football: Will Tigers RB Kenny Hilliard Finally Live Up to the Hype?

Before Jeremy Hill and Leonard Fournette, LSU head coach Les Miles' most beloved running back was the bruising Kenny Hilliard.

Hilliard was supposed to be the next great LSU running back after an emphatic end to his freshman season in 2011. There is still time for him to live up to his potential, but things are looking bleak.

Hilliard will enter his senior season with little buzz and little fanfare. Three years ago, some would have expected him to be in an NFL training camp right now.

Can Hilliard regain top form? 



Hilliard bursted onto the scene midway through LSU's run to the national championship game. He only registered five carries in the first seven games of the season, but he got his chance to shine against Auburn after running back Spencer Ware was suspended for the game, according to Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune.

Auburn struggled stopping Hilliard's pace and power, and the then-true freshman ran for 65 yards and two touchdowns on only 10 carries. He became LSU's most feared back for the rest of the season, finishing the season with 336 yards and eight touchdowns. He even popularized his "No Ceilings" celebration.

Hilliard had a fantastic start to the 2012 season, rushing for 303 yards and six touchdowns in three games.

Miles called him one of the most physical backs in college football, per The Associated Press: "That is probably as devastating to a would-be tackler as there is," Miles said. "A would-be tackler gets down low and Kenny has the ability to lower his pads into that guy and still bounce off. That's a great way to break a tackle."

But then things went stale.

The level of competition was subpar in those three games, and Hilliard would not score another touchdown for the rest of the season. He, along with Michael Ford, Spencer Ware and an injured Alfred Blue, eventually gave way to the surging Jeremy Hill. After Hill's spectacular performance against South Carolina, Hilliard would only register 14 carries for 47 yards in the final six games.

Hilliard was a non-factor last season despite an average of 4.6 yards per carry. He never rushed for more than 60 yards in a single game and rarely made defenders miss in the open field. Some expected him to be Hill's backup, but he was surpassed as the No. 2 back by Terrence Magee. 


Role Next Season 

Hilliard will get carries in 2014. Questions remain about whether he will make the most of them. 

Magee was the No. 1 back during the spring, but he is not the rusher Hilliard should be worried about. The player expected to phase him out of the offense has yet to play a down of college football. 

The previously mentioned Fournette is the best recruit Miles has ever had. Fournette is expected to make plays right away and eventually become the workhorse in the Tigers backfield. 

Hilliard was used primarily as a goal-line back last season. Look for him to do the same thing in 2014.



Hilliard will post an impressive yards-per-carry number in 2014 thanks to runs against worn-down defenses or inferior opposition. LSU will also trust him in short-yardage situations, particularly in the red zone. 

Hilliard has proved to be a vicious runner who can burst through arm tackles. It is not out of the question for him to regain that form, especially with the NFL draft around the corner. He is champing at the bit to get back on the field. 

But after two seasons of pedestrian play, expect more of the same from Hilliard. He will finish, barring injury to Fournette or Magee, the third-leading rusher for the Tigers.   

Final Stat Projection: 65 carries, 330 yards and five touchdowns 


Recruiting rankings, stats and additional information provided by 247SportsCFBStats.com and LSU Sports Information. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

SEC Football Q&A: Will Alabama's Defense Play Better Against Spread Offenses?

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached single digits.

Only nine weeks remain before the first college football weekend of 2014. But before toe meets leather, there's still plenty of time to discuss what could happen in the first season under the College Football Playoff system.

As is the case every Friday, it's time for a little SEC Q&A to hold you over in the offseason.


@BarrettSallee With the coaching changes and another year to study it, do you think Bama will have better luck against the spread in 2014?

— cfb_poindexter (@cfb_poindexter) June 27, 2014

Yes, without a doubt.

A big reason will be because of defensive ends who are extremely athletic and can chase down running quarterbacks. In Alabama's 3-4 scheme, often times defensive ends take up blocks and let those athletic linebackers clean up.

Guys like A'Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen can do that, but they're also athletic enough to get off those blocks and go track down the quarterback. Allen had a solid game against Auburn last year with three tackles and a half sack, and he showed off his athleticism (2:24 mark) tracking down Tre Mason from behind downfield in the second quarter.

Plus, there are guys up front who are versatile. Robinson has All-SEC written all over him, Jarran Reed is a bigger defensive end but can move and junior college transfer D.J. Pettway is light on his feet.

On top of that, Alabama has made a point to recruit smaller, more fast-twitch outside linebackers like Rashaan Evans. He'll likely play behind Denzel Devall, who's also quick and able to get off and around blocks. The staff recognizes that there's a slight issue and is working to fix it.

The big question is, can they be consistent against spread offenses? Up to seven of Alabama's eight SEC opponents in 2014 could start a mobile quarterback and employ some variation of the spread offense. They have the personnel to do it, and I think they'll have success against spread teams in 2014.


@BarrettSallee Which game that nobody is talking about should put a big boy on upset alert? #VeryRandomQuestion Lol

— Stuart Davis (@stu623) June 27, 2014

Auburn better be careful on Oct. 11 at Mississippi State. Very, very careful.

That game comes after the Tigers host LSU in Jordan-Hare Stadium, and that game usually leaves both teams worn out out. The very next week, Auburn has to go play a Mississippi State team that's either beat them or played them close every year since 2010.

Plus, this will be a veteran Bulldog defense with a small village of returning contributors that slowed Auburn last year (granted, before Auburn's offense took off) to just 120 rushing yards in a 24-20 last-minute win for the Tigers.

With all of the experience coming back on defense, a full offseason of work in the offense for quarterback Dak Prescott and head coach Dan Mullen's ability to design an offense around a quarterback who can be a bruiser between-the-tackles and be efficient in the passing game, Mississippi State can be competitive against the SEC West's big boys.

Can the Bulldogs spring an upset? Auburn better watch out.


@BarrettSallee may have already answered it but sec assistants or any assistants likely to get a SEC job if one is open next yr.

— Brandon (@bc4_bc) June 27, 2014

Unless a coach leaves on his own, I don't think there will be any jobs open in the SEC this offseason. So clearly, I think Florida is going to be competitive this year and head coach Will Muschamp will keep his job. If I'm wrong, and Florida makes a change, Florida could stay in the SEC and hire a coordinator.

It'd be easy to say that Florida would go with the hottest coordinator on the block and hire Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. But once upon a time, Muschamp was a hot shot defensive coordinator waiting for "the big one," so I doubt the Gators would go in that direction.

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee would be a much more appropriate choice for the Gators if they make a change.

He has learned under current Tiger head coach Gus Malzahn, is flexible enough to call games that play into the strength of his quarterbacks and won't put a square peg in a round hole like former Gator coordinator Brent Pease did with quarterback Jeff Driskel.

But with that said, unless a coach chooses to leave on his own, I don't see any openings in the SEC after this season.


Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC Lead Writer Barrett Sallee on Twitter at @BarrettSallee. If your question wasn't answered this week, it has been saved and could be used in the future.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting rankings are courtesy of 247Sports.com, and all stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com.


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Nebraska Football: Over/Under Stat Projections for Ameer Abdullah in 2014

Nebraska fans traveling to Las Vegas may be looking for a prudent investment to follow during the course of the 2014 season, and one option could be to make over/under selections on the performance of I-back Ameer Abdullah. For those unfamiliar with gambling investment vocabulary, an over/under bet investment is where a number is selected, and you choose whether the ultimate result will be over or under that number. For game show fans, think Card Sharks (and you have to see this video, just for Alex Trebek as a game show contestant and with the most epic lapel, 'stache, and hair in the history of ever).

So forget the stock market. You don’t need to talk with Chuck. Just read a certain smart and particularly handsome analyst to help guide your investment future.

Disclaimer: Advice given is solely for informational and recreational purposes, and should not be used in any manner to determine your retirement funds, children’s college education or any other source of revenue that your spouse would be upset if you lost.

Statistics from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.

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Florida Football: Is Dante Fowler the Next Jadeveon Clowney of College Football?

Last season, the entire football world marveled at the talent of Jadeveon Clowney. Few had ever seen anybody as big, strong and fast as the former South Carolina defensive end. He was like the LeBron James of college football—an insanely gifted athlete who had the best of everything rolled into one.

Some believe it’ll be another 10 years before anybody comes close to that skill set.

But Dante Fowler Jr., who is likely playing his last year at Florida, is a pretty good defensive end. He doesn’t have a play that was shown on SportsCenter every 42 seconds. He isn’t being covered the way Clowney was entering his junior season. And no, he certainly isn’t on any Heisman lists.

However, Fowler has the potential to be this year’s Clowney—an athletic freak who takes over college football and rapidly climbs to the top of NFL draft boards.

Let’s take a quick glance at the measurements for the sake of argument:

There's no question that Clowney is bigger and faster than Fowler. After all, we’re talking about possibly a once-in-a-generation talent with Clowney. That doesn’t mean Fowler can’t have the same impact on his team, though. Here are last year’s numbers, just to keep the argument going:

Sure, Clowney faced a ton of double-teams last season, and some people say he took plays off to save himself from injury for the next level. But at the end of the day, the numbers are what they are, and there’s no denying that Fowler had a similar impact, if not more of an impact, on his team last season. 

But it’s going to take more than numbers to do the job. After all, 29 players in the SEC finished with more sacks than Clowney last season.

That’s where we can look at the overall skill set of Fowler. We know he isn’t as fast or big as Clowney, but some of the top players in the world were considered too small and ended up proving critics wrong (Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Barry Sanders, etc.).

Fowler makes up for his smaller frame with a nonstop motor and old-school effort. He flies off the football, is very aggressive and uses his hands extremely well to break free.

Remind you of anybody?

While the two players share common traits, Fowler is actually much more versatile, as he can play defensive end or linebacker. South Carolina played Clowney at linebacker in certain packages, but Fowler is truly comfortable wherever you put him, while Clowney appears to be more of a traditional defensive end.

That makes Fowler even more effective, as defenses never quite know where he’s going to line up.

Fowler had a field day against Antonio Richardson in the video above. Keep in mind that Richardson is 6’6” and 336 pounds and was high on NFL draft boards at one point. The Florida defensive specialist dominated the big boy throughout the game and proved just how overwhelming he can be.

Imagine that effort and consistency for an entire season. Unfortunately for SEC quarterbacks, that's exactly what's expected.

Fowler cut back on the fast food and feels like he's in the best shape of his life, according to Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel. Of course, better shape equates to better play, which usually results in better numbers. Better numbers result in more coverage, and that usually builds a player's draft stock.

Oh, speaking of draft status, that doesn't seem to be a problem at the moment for Fowler.

ESPN Insider Todd McShay (subscription required) listed Fowler as a top-five pick in his first 2015 mock draft: "Fowler plays with an edge and a high-revving motor, and he has maintained his speed to this point in his career even while adding bulk. He has good explosiveness and closing burst, as well as violent hands. The Gators have played him all along the defensive line and at outside linebacker."

Now, imagine if he plays with a little more consistency and has a season anywhere close to the year Clowney had as a sophomore (13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss.) We could be talking about the first overall pick in next year’s draft.

Clowney set the bar extremely high in three short seasons—a bar Fowler may never actually reach. But don’t be surprised if he’s the most talked-about defensive player in college football this season and if he racks up off-the-wall stats and makes a case for the top pick in the NFL draft.

That’s close enough to be Clowney-like.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

6 Most Obscure College Football Rules

It’s happened to us all. You’re watching a college football game and a game-changing play happens. You look to the officials for an explanation, and the result is flummoxing.

It happens. College football fans are known for their intensity and depth of knowledge, but they aren’t paid to know the voluminous NCAA rulebook. Officials are, which leads to some obscure rules being pulled out as explanations.

It happens every year, and it’ll happen again this fall. Here’s a look at some of the most obscure rules in the college football rule book, some of which will pop up again in the 2014 season—and some of which will not.

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5 Reasons SEC Football Will Dominate College Football Playoff Era

Out with the old, and in with the new. The 2014 season marks the inaugural four-team college football playoff system that will replace the BCS National Championship Game.

It's going to be a major change for everybody, but one thing that won't be altered is the Southeastern Conference's reign over the past decade.

Until Auburn's narrow, 34-31 loss to Florida State in January, the league had won seven consecutive BCS National Championships and nine of 16 since the system began in 1998. In 10 of those seasons, the SEC put a representative in the game.

The reasons for that dominance are many. But SEC commissioner Mike Slive told CBS Sports' Tony Barnhart, "no one will ever equal it." Because of the competition week-in and week-out, Slive said the league has an advantage:

"The BCS championship is a big game, obviously. But every week in our conference is such a struggle. To win a championship you have to be at your best every week and then find ways to win when you don't play your best. Once our teams get to this game, they know they can pretty much handle anything."

Here are the five biggest reasons why the SEC will rebound from the hiccup of Auburn's loss to Florida State and continue its run of dominance in the playoff era.

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Tennessee Football: Over, Under Stat Projections for Justin Worley in 2014

As the 2014 college football season approaches, Tennessee senior Justin Worley is in position to improve his play across the board and lead the team back to its first bowl game since 2010. 

Although he struggled at times during the first few games of the 2013 season, Worley was beginning to come into his own by midseason. The Georgia and South Carolina games proved that while he doesn't have a cannon for an arm, the former South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year performs well under pressure. 

Unfortunately, the momentum he was building was lost when he injured his thumb against the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the eighth game of the season and was forced to the sidelines for the rest of the year. 

His stats through two-thirds of the 2013 season included a 55.6 percent completion rate, 1,239 yards passing, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

For an SEC quarterback, it's fair to label those numbers as below average. However, Worley didn't have many experienced targets to throw to in 2013—a situation that should be remedied this season.

Although Worley is unlikely to emerge as a top quarterback in the SEC, he will undoubtedly show marked improvement in just about every category as the Volunteers' starting quarterback in 2014. 

Here are the over/under stat projections for Worley through Tennessee's gauntlet of a schedule this fall. 

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5 Burning Questions in 5-Star LB John Houston's Recruitment

John Houston is a 5-star linebacker from California with a great skill set. He's an athletic second-level defender who has a game that is based on speed and explosiveness.

At 6'3" and 211 pounds, Houston has solid instincts and ball-location skills to flash to the football versus running plays. He also is more than capable of flipping his hips and transitioning in space while out in coverage.

Many schools are in the mix for Houston, which is why he has a few burning questions regarding his recruitment.

All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings.Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.


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2015 Committed Recruits Who Continue to Flirt with Other Schools

Often, a recruit makes a commitment and shuts down his recruitment. He's given his word to a coach that he'll be joining the program, so there's no need to continue dialogue with other schools.

However, some recruits continue flirting with other schools after pledging to a program. Looking across the landscape in the 2015 class, several committed prospects are still showing attention to other schools.

A 4-star defensive lineman and Alabama commitment still likes Georgia, while the Bulldogs are hoping a 5-star athlete's affection for Auburn doesn't result in him decommitting. Also, a 4-star running back who is earmarked for Florida Atlantic has several other schools in his ear.

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Georgia Football: Over, Under Stat Projections for Todd Gurley in 2014

It’s understood that Todd Gurley will come into the 2014 season as one of the best, if not the best running back in the country. He has proven the last two seasons that he can run off the edge, run between the tackles, block and catch the ball out of the backfield.

But how good will Gurley be in 2014? Will he have another monster season like he did in 2012, or will he take a minor step back and have only 1,000 yards rushing because of the players who are behind him?

The SEC's top running backs: 1 Todd Gurley, 2 T.J. Yeldon, 3 Mike Davis, 4. Derrick Henry. Full list: http://t.co/8WpaTywtMe

— Athlon Sports (@AthlonSports) June 26, 2014

Based on what he has done the last two seasons and where he is right now with his health, the over/under for his stat projections has to be set high. For yards, the over/under line should be set at 1,350. For rushes, 210 is a fair mark and touchdowns should be set at 15.

Gurley rushed for 1,385 yards on 222 carries and 17 touchdowns his freshman year. He played in every game that season and rushed for 100 yards in eight of the 14 games. Gurley also scored in 11 of the 14 games he played in that season. And there was only one time he only had less than 10 carries, and that was against Buffalo in the home opener where he rushed for 100 yards on eight carries.

2013 was a different story for Gurley. He suffered an ankle injury in the LSU game and could never fully recover. In fact, he did not play in three of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, and two of those games resulted in a loss. Gurley still finished with modest numbers, rushing for 989 yards on 165 carries and 10 touchdowns.

But he really came into his own as a receiver. Last year, Gurley finished with 37 receptions for 441 yards and six touchdowns. The six touchdowns he scored through the air led the team, and his receptions and yards placed him third behind Chris Conley and Michael Bennett.

So what would be the over/under on Gurley’s receiving stats? Based on what he’s done the last two seasons, it would have to be set at 30 receptions, 400 yards and five touchdowns.

But will Gurley be able to go over or under his projected stats? If he’s able to stay healthy, there is no reason he can’t go over. Remember, Gurley was on pace to have another 1,300-yard season last year, but he did not play in nearly four games and still rushed for almost 1,000 yards.

That being said, players like Keith Marshall, A.J. Turman, Brendan Douglas and possibly Nick Chubb and Sony Michel could get in on the action. Marshall will see his share of carries as well as Turman and Chubb. But when push comes to shove, Gurley is the No. 1 guy, and the Bulldogs are a better team when he is at full strength. And if he is able to have a monster season stat-wise, then the Bulldogs will be back in the Georgia Dome in December.

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Clemson Football: Freshmen Most Likely to Start This Season

With the way Clemson has been recruiting the past few years, it comes as no surprise that freshmen will compete for starting spots. Last year, the Tigers concluded with the No. 13-ranked recruiting class, according to ESPN.com.

While predicting that freshmen will have a chance to start comes as a bit of a stretch to some, there is a realistic opportunity for a handful of freshmen to be named starters for the Tigers.


Mackensie Alexander, CB (Redshirt Freshman)

Alexander is becoming one of the most talked-about young defenders in college football. Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee recently mentioned him as a potential breakout star for 2014.

Clemson's depth chart heading into the summer lists Alexander as one of the starters at cornerback, showing how well he performed in the spring. Head coach Dabo Swinney said Alexander looked "tremendous" in a tweet from Orange and White back in March.

The talented cornerback is very likely to start and should be one of the top players in Clemson's secondary this season.


Dorian O'Daniel, LB (Redshirt Freshman)

The summer depth chart listed a four-way tie at the nickelback position between O'Daniel, T.J. Burrell, Travis Blanks and Korrin Wiggins, so O'Daniel is another guy who has a very good chance of starting.

Before the spring, I would have predicted that Blanks would have ran away with the job, but the four-way tie shows that Swinney isn't ready to exclude anyone just yet.

O'Daniel was one of the top linebackers in the 2013 class and is super athletic.


Deshaun Watson, QB (True Freshman)

Watson may have the talent to start, but experience is what will keep him on the sideline in year one. I still wanted to mention him because he will be the guy if Cole Stoudt struggles this season. He is listed as the backup and would be called upon if something happens to Stoudt.

Chances are very slim that Watson takes the job away from Stoudt in the summer just because of the experience factor, but anything could happen during the season. He is talented enough that I will include him as someone with a chance to start.


Tyrone Crowder, OG (Redshirt Freshman)

Crowder is another guy who was a big-time recruit, listed as the No. 5 offensive guard by ESPN.com in the 2013 recruiting class.

Going into the summer, he and senior Reid Webster are listed as backups for right guard Kalon Davis. Crowder is in a similar position as Watson with playing time.

While he may have the talent, Davis is a senior who has more experience. Davis has started eight games in his career, and seven of those came last season.

Crowder would have to blow Coach Swinney away during the summer practices to jump Davis, but with his talent, I still give him a chance.


Wayne Gallman, RB (Redshirt Freshman)

Depending on how Tyshon Dye's injury plays out this summer, he and Gallman could both have a shot at a starting position. Right now, the edge has to go to Gallman because of the two injuries Dye has faced in his time at Clemson.

Gallman, Zac Brooks or C.J. Davidson could be the potential No. 2 guy behind D.J. Howard.

Howard had a strong showing in the spring game with 59 yards, but Gallman led all rushers with 61 yards.

Howard, the senior, may be tough to jump because of his experience—he has played in 36 games for the Tigers in his career—but I give Gallman a very realistic chance of winning the starting job.


Any Freshman Wide Receiver

This section could not be narrowed down to one player. Trevion Thompson, Artavis Scott, Demarre Kitt and Kyrin Priester all will have a chance to compete for a starting job.

Charone Peake, Adam Humphries and Mike Williams are the starters at wide receiver, with Priester, Scott and Kitt listed as the backups.

All but Thompson were early enrollees, so he will have some catching up to do this summer. I don't see any of those guys having a great chance to jump into the starting lineup, but with the possibility of injuries, one or more could have a shot.



Out of all the players mentioned, Alexander has the best chance at starting in the opener against Georgia. Gallman and O'Daniel have very realistic opportunities, but the other guys would have to play especially well to jump into the starting lineup.

There are more talented freshmen on Clemson's roster such as Richard Yeargin, Korie Rogers, Chris Register and Adrian Baker, but the depth on defense will make it tough for those young guys to jump in immediately.

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Miami Football: Recent Commits Proof 'Canes Are Trending Upward

News on the recruitment front slowed tremendously for the Miami Hurricanes. And tremendously was not a good thing.

Significant updates included a pair of relatively unknown players—3-star defensive end Jamie Gordinier and 2016 linebacker Michael Pinckney—committing to "The U." Solid pickups, sure, but not glamorous, program-changing players by any means.

Then, 2016 athlete Chauncey Gardner flipped from Miami to the University of Florida and 2015 offensive lineman Kevin Feder switched to Ohio State. Rather quickly, "Hey, at least the 'Canes are pulling someone" morphed into "Oh. There goes another."

But then Jack Allison happened.

Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe caught up with David Lake of 247Sports and asked if Allison was the program's quarterback of the future.

A simple verbal pledge from the 4-star unleashed a fury of momentum for Al Golden and his coaching staff. While the commitments may not have been directly connected, a handful of prospects then announced their collegiate intentions.

The following day, Shaquille Quarterman, who is 247Sports' No. 1 linebacker in the 2016 class, immediately became the key defensive recruit for the next cycle. Quarterman attends the same school, Oakleaf, that the Hurricanes entered to snag Darrion Owens during the 2013 cycle.

The 6'1", 237-pound linebacker told InsideTheU (subscription required), "I had been thinking about committing for a little while and Miami was always one of my favorite schools. It was easy to make them my choice."

Per Rivals' Matt Shodell (subscription required), Quarterman said his pledge is "very solid. I don't think any person should commit and decommit later. When I make a commitment I really want to stick with it."

Stranger things have happened, but Miami has been a long-time favorite and he wants to remain loyal. Quarterman is the type of player who becomes a cornerstone in a recruiting class—heavily pursued, commits early and never wavers.

In-state offensive tackle Geron Christian essentially replaced what Miami lost when Feder flipped. Dual-sport athlete Therell Gosier completed a Tuesday trifecta, giving the 'Canes four new commitments in just two days.

But it didn't stop there.

Linebacker Claude George visited the school and returned home before pledging to Miami, rounding out the five new commits in just three days. Last season, he racked up 51 tackles, including 15.5 for loss with 9.0 sacks, five pass breakups and one interception.

According to Nate Adelson of 247Sports (subscription required), George said, "I like where the program is headed and it just felt like the right place for me. We're going to have a great season and I'm proud to join the Hurricane family."

Plus, he attends JUCO powerhouse Hutchinson and plays alongside several highly ranked prospects. If Miami manage to grab another player from the school, such as defensive end Marquavius Lewis or D-tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter, George is even more valuable.

The 'Canes had not received a signature commit for a couple months, but Allison and Quarterman highlighted an outstanding recruiting week for Golden and his staff.

"[Miami coaches] want to compete for national championships again," the Oakleaf linebacker told InsideTheU. "They said 2016 will be the class that puts them over the top."

Of course, the pair of high-profile commitments doesn't mean Miami can sit back, relax and wait for a group of elite prospects to flock to Coral Gables. But the 'Canes are off to a fantastic start.

With an offensive standout like Allison and eventual defensive cornerstone in Quarterman on board, the Hurricanes are most definitely on an upward trend.


Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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The 25 Strongest College Football Positional Units Heading into 2014 Season

Some chains are only as strong as their weakest link, but others are only as weak as their strongest.

Every team that appears on this list, however, does not have to worry about that coming back to nip them in the bud.

In searching for the 25 strongest position groups in college football, a combination of talent and experience was considered. 

Alabama, for example, has had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country every cycle since 2011, per the 247Sports team rankings. Pedigree such as that was taken into account—heavily—but unless it was matched with at least a modicum of experience, it didn't win out.

As far as quarterback groupings are concerned, it was difficult to judge. Only one QB unit appears on the proper list, with one other joining it in the honorable mention section.

This was done largely for reasons of depth. Jameis Winston is one of the best players in the country, but who outside of Tallahassee, Florida, would trust Sean McGuire should Winston get hurt? The position groups that don't rely on only one player to be dominant were given slight preference, which explains the lack of QBs mentioned.

If you disagree with the decision to rank the list this way, that's fine. Both sides of the argument are valid; it just seemed to make more sense the way I did it. I am not necessarily saying this was the only way to do it.

Sound good? Great.

Sound off below in the comments, and let me know whom I missed.


Note: Unless otherwise cited, all recruiting information courtesy of the 247Sports composite rankings in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

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4-Star TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr. Announces His Top 5 Favorites

Tight end prospect Tyrone Wheatley Jr., son of the former star Michigan running back, trimmed his list from nearly 20 offers to five options—with the Wolverines among them—per Sam Webb of The Detroit News:

Wheatley could still follow in his father's footsteps to Ann Arbor, but Alabama, USC, UCLA and Miami also remain in the mix. The 4-star prospect is rated 10th nationally at tight end in 247Sports' composite rankings.

He eliminated a large collection of programs by focusing on five teams. Penn State, Syracuse, Florida State and Wisconsin are among those that didn't make the cut.

Wheatley, a 6'6", 260-pound standout at Canisius High School in New York, is rated the state's top 2015 prospect. He has a lot to live up to on the football field, given his father's successes.

Wheatley Sr. was the Big Ten rushing champion in 1992 at Michigan, earning conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. He capped off the dominant campaign with Rose Bowl MVP honors and went on to rush for nearly 5,000 yards in the NFL with the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders.

Now his son steps into the spotlight.

Michigan already holds a commitment from 4-star tight end Chris Clark, who is rated second at the position in 247Sports' composite rankings. The Wolverines would boast two impressive incoming weapons at tight end if Wheatley joins the class.

UCLA landed top-ranked tight end recruit Aliz'e Jones last November, so it's another choice that would come with serious competition within his own class. Alabama added 4-star tight end Hale Hentges last month, while Miami holds a pledge from 3-star in-state prospect Bowman Archibald at the position.

USC is still searching for a tight end in this recruiting cycle.

Wheatley caught 16 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns as a junior. He also lined up at defensive end, recording 41 tackles and two interceptions.

Michigan is projected to land him in 100 percent of expert predictions in 247Sports' Crystal Ball.


Recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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8 Assistant Coaches Quietly Dominating College Football Recruiting Trail

Head college football coaches command constant attention as the faces of high-profile programs, handling the pressures of public relations while game-planning and recruiting all year. They can't do it alone, making the role of assistant coaches paramount on and off the field.

Assistants who can effectively motivate players while securing commitments from high school prospects consistently climb the coaching ladder toward national notoriety and a bigger payday. Here's a look at eight coaches—esteemed veterans and relative newcomers alike—who've excelled on the recruiting trail during the 2015 cycle.

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Texas A&M Football: Incoming Freshmen Most Likely to Start This Season

The Texas A&M football team is going to need some freshmen to come in and help out immediately in 2014. Luckily for Aggie fans, head coach Kevin Sumlin has signed a number of freshmen who will be capable of becoming major players for the Aggies this season. 

Sumlin has earned a reputation for not caring about time spent in the program and playing the best player at the position. He started two true freshmen in 2012, and five true freshmen started games in 2013. 

The Aggies had 14 total true freshmen play in 2013. Most of those freshmen are back with a year of experience under their belt and will form the nucleus of the 2014 team as sophomores. 

The 2014 freshmen are going to help fill in the gaps on the 2014 squad. This is a look at the true freshmen who will start for the Aggies in 2014. 

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