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Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke Cancels Senior Retreat

During the summers of 2012 and 2013, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke gathered his rising seniors for a short trip to San Diego, where they met with a group of Navy SEALs to learn leadership tactics and bond with one another.

Hoke is doing away with that tradition in the summer of 2014, however, because he does not like how it affected his previous two classes.

"To me, it was just something (that) had run its course a little bit, and maybe (created) some entitlement (for the older players)," said Hoke, according to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com. "We need to stay here, and stay together. I think guys just thought that was part of being a senior. They've got to earn it."

Hoke is hoping the focus on team—not class—leadership and bonding will help do away with the slog of the past two seasons.

After going 11-2 and winning the Sugar Bowl in his first year with the Wolverines, Hoke lost 11 games in 2012 and 2013. No Michigan coach besides Rich Rodriguez has had such poor back-to-back seasons since Bump Elliott in in the mid-1960s.

After former offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, a senior in 2013, questioned Devin Gardner's leadership skills on the radio Tuesday morning, Baumgardner reminded us that Hoke thinks last year's team suffered from veteran entitlement issues:

Lewan's claim that the team "got comfortable" after beating Notre Dame in Week 2, per Baumgardner, helps validate that notion.

That is why Hoke's decision to cancel the retreat makes sense. His attempts to foster cohesion and leadership the past two years have resulted in entitlement, which many would argue is the opposite of leadership. And he is not too proud to admit when he's erred.

Whether things will improve is a different story. Plenty of ideas look good on paper but don't pan out on the field.

This change will send minor shock waves through the Michigan program, and it will humble the seniors and embolden the younger players. But only time will tell if those things will result in victories.

Hoke cannot afford for them not to.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Why Sheriron Jones Is the Future of the Florida Gators Program

Four-star dual-threat quarterback Sheriron Jones has committed to play his college football with the Florida Gators.

The 6'3", 192-pound stud is just the kind of QB new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is looking for. Jeff Driskel will helm the Gators offense in 2014, but look for Jones to take over the starting role when he arrives on campus in 2015. 

Watch as Michael Felder breaks down what Sheriron Jones means to the Florida Gators. 

 

Highlights courtesy XOS Digital. All recruit rankings from 247Sports

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Predicting College Football's Top Stat Leaders for 2014 Season

Though football is a team sport, individual stats matter, especially in a league of 128 teams with full rosters.

Predicting which single guy will lead an individual statistical category is a bit like forecasting the weather for next November, but history and current trends can give us a decent idea in both cases.

Here’s a look at seven major stats and the guys with the best chance of being at the top of the heap.

 

Passing Yards

The No. 2 passer in yards last season—Oregon State’s Sean Mannion—is on pace to eclipse the 5,000-yard mark in 2014.

Though the Beavers bid farewell to Brandin Cooks—their top receiver from a year ago—the No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 targets are all back this season.  This, along with three starters from the offensive line, bodes well for Mannion to be the No. 1 passer in yards in 2014.   

 

Rushing Yards

The last time Alabama had a back rush for more than 1,600 yards was in 2011 when Trent Richardson racked up 1,679 yards as the offensive cornerstone of the Tide’s national championship run.

It’s no coincidence that Richardson’s prolific season coincided with quarterback AJ McCarron’s first year as the starter.  The same scenario played out in 2009, when Mark Ingram rushed for 1,658 yards—and a Heisman—during quarterback Greg McElroy’s first season as the starter.

With Alabama debuting a new quarterback in 2014, look for T.J. Yeldon to build on his 1,235 yards from last season and perhaps lead the nation in rushing yards.

 

Receiving Yards

The top receiver from the No. 5 passing offense in 2013, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley is set for a huge senior season in 2014. The biggest plus for Goodley is the return of quarterback Bryce Petty, the No. 2-rated passer in the nation last season. 

Goodley caught 71 passes for 1,339 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013, making him the No. 13 receiver in yards and the No. 8 guy in scoring. Watch for Baylor coach Art Briles to put his foot on the gas this season and Goodley’s numbers to explode.

 

Tackles

As a sophomore last season, Temple’s Tyler Matakevich finished No. 6 in the nation in total tackles with 134 and No. 1 in solo tackles with 106.

This is all the more remarkable given that the Owls went 2-10 last season and ranked No. 81 in scoring defense.

In 2014, Matakevich will lead a unit that returns a whopping seven starters, including five of the front seven.  Look for him to improve on his huge numbers from last season.

 

Tackles for a Loss

What will new head coach Charlie Strong mean to Texas’ No. 57-ranked scoring defense from last season?  Well, hopefully he’ll take talented athletes like defensive end Cedric Reed and help them reach their full potential.

Reed registered 16.5 tackles for a loss as a junior last season, earning him the No. 24 slot in the FBS.  What he’ll accumulate under the maestro that engineered Louisville’s No. 2-ranked scoring defense in 2013 is unknown. We’ll assume it will be big time, especially given the seven Longhorn starters due back on D.

 

Sacks

Hidden somewhere in all those delicious layers of Clemson’s No. 8-ranked scoring offense from last season is a defense that ranked No. 24 in scoring.

Leading the way in sacks and tackles for a loss was junior defensive end Vic Beasley with 23 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown.  This was enough for a No. 3 finish in the FBS in sacks, second to only Stanford’s Trent Murphy and Louisville’s Marcus Smith.

In 2014, Beasley will have six other starters to help him launch a stellar senior season.

 

Interceptions

Though TCU’s safety Sam Carter finished tied for No. 18 in the FBS in interceptions last season, only three picks separated him and national leader Anthony Harris of Virginia with eight.

In 2014 Carter will be a senior, a leader on a defense that returns eight starters and plays in the most pass-happy league in big-time college football, the Big 12.

Can he lead the nation in interceptions?  Absolutely. This is a guy who will have more chances than virtually any other defensive back in the nation, and he’s got the skills to go along with the volume.

 

Statistics courtesy of CFB Stats, returning starter data courtesy of Phil Steele.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

5 Most Likely Matchups for the 2014 Pac-12 Championship Game

The college football postseason is going to be something special in 2014, especially with the addition of a new four-team playoff. However, winning your own conference should still be the primary goal, as higher goals aren't usually attainable without the league belt.

In the Pac-12, all of your regulars are sitting at the table hoping for more than just a piece of the pie. The past two years have seen Stanford take home the prize while the three years before that, it was all Oregon. UCLA is also a strong contender, and there's a growing buzz about Washington with Chris Petersen at the helm.

The rules are pretty simple, and you're likely returning from a four-year expedition with no cell service or Internet if you're just now hearing about the Pac-12 title game. The winner of each division, the North and the South, will meet up in Santa Clara at Levi's Stadium (this part's new) for the right to be called conference champion.

So which teams will face off on that special December day? Will it be a surprising newcomer unfamiliar with competing for titles in recent years? Or will it be a matchup so obvious that we can predict it six months ahead of time?

Here are the five most likely matchups for the 2014 Pac-12 championship game.

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5 Most Likely Matchups for the 2014 Pac-12 Championship Game

The college football postseason is going to be something special in 2014, especially with the addition of a new four-team playoff...

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Quinten Dormady Commits to Tennessee: What 4-Star QB Brings to Vols

With one Tennessee-themed tweet Monday, Texas high school quarterback Quinten Dormady sent a sigh of relief across Rocky Top.

Suddenly, head coach Butch Jones and the Volunteers went from watching quarterback dominoes fall off their board to landing a significant target with a high ceiling.

Dormady's pledge fills a massive need in Knoxville.

After the surprising decision by UT redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson to transfer, the Vols have just three scholarship quarterbacks. One of them is senior Justin Worley, so getting more arms on campus was a necessity not only for competition but depth.

Dormady ultimately chose UT over Alabama following a three-day visit to Knoxville that ended Saturday. It probably didn't hurt that Jon Gruden (a former UT assistant) was on campus to speak and teach at the coinciding camp.

"It is hard to overstate the importance of this commitment for Tennessee," GoVols247 recruiting analyst Ryan Callahan told Bleacher Report. 

"Tennessee's coaches already were high on Dormady before his visit last week, but they really liked what they saw from him at their camp over the weekend. And Jon Gruden apparently spoke highly of him, too, after seeing him work out.

"He's a really talented kid who should have a bright future at Tennessee."

UT coaches didn't mask their enthusiasm, taking to Twitter with not-so-subtle responses to Dormady's announcement.

After Zach Gentry committed to Texas and Sheriron Jones pledged to Florida, the Vols were down to just a handful of viable targets with UT offers remaining on the board.

With Torrance Gibson and Deondre Francois not expected to decide soon, Dormady represented Tennessee's best chance to secure a high priority early in the process. 

Here's a deeper look at what the impact of Dormady's commitment means for the Vols.

 

Untapped Potential Is the Biggest Upside

The 6'4", 208-pound signal-caller from Boerne, Texas, is still a somewhat unknown commodity in recruiting circles.

Tearing a labrum and missing your entire junior season will do that to a prospect's stock, and that's exactly what happened to Dormady.

Once 247Sports analysts watched him throw at the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp, however, they elevated him to a 4-star prospect and the nation's fifth-ranked pro-style quarterback.

Dormady is a strong-armed slinger who is ideally sized for the position. Though he's primarily a dropback passer, he does have athleticism necessary to move the pocket, evidenced by him commandeering a spread offense in high school. 

Tennessee offered Dormady on May 28, soon after watching him throw in person. Six days later, Dormady traveled to Alabama where he worked out for Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin and was offered.

Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, TCU, Indiana, Houston and Texas-San Antonio also had extended offers.

The nation's elite teams were beginning to take notice, and UT offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian deserves credit for securing his commitment.

With a strong senior showing, Dormady could wind up one of the most coveted quarterbacks in the class.

 

Another Huge Recruiting (and PR) Win

Tennessee was nowhere near panic mode when Dormady pulled the trigger, but his commitment was important for other reasons besides his on-field impact.

The Vols hadn't received a verbal commitment since April 12 when running back Rocky Reid pledged after the spring game. For a fanbase spoiled by Jones' consistent success on the recruiting trail, two months was a long time to wait.

After UT failed to sign a quarterback during the 2014 cycle, there were legitimate concerns about whether Bajakian could lure a top-shelf gunslinger to Knoxville.

Dormady's commitment puts those worries to rest.

Also, any time UT can beat Bama at anything, it makes the fans happy.

With the Vols failing to best UA on the field since 2006, winning a head-to-head recruiting battle against Saban for a crucial commit (not to mention offensive coordinator Kiffin, who has a bit of history with UT, if you haven't heard) is huge.

"They needed a quarterback pretty badly," Callahan said, "and for the Vols to get one of the top guys on their board—and to beat out Alabama to do it—at this point in the summer is pretty impressive."

 

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Following Ferguson's transfer, there was no way Jones could wait on 5-star top quarterback target Gibson to make a decision that could drag all the way to national signing day.

Especially considering UT is currently neck and neck with Auburn for his signature, according to AL.com's Wesley Sinor.

If the Vols put all their eggs in Gibson's basket and he chose somebody else, the egg would wind up on Jones' face.

Waiting wasn't an option.

Whether Dormady's commitment hurts UT's chances with Gibson or not doesn't matter. The dual-threat quarterback was actually visiting Knoxville on the day Dormady announced he was committing, so he remains interested in the Vols.

Gibson's other co-leader, Auburn, has a QB committed already as well in Tyler Queen. For that matter, so do the Vols.

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, athlete Jauan Jennings may project to various positions on the next level, but his progression at quarterback has been lauded. Barton Simmons of GoVols247 praised Jennings' film recently (subscription required).

This past weekend, Jennings participated in UT's quarterback camp alongside Dormady and was critiqued by Gruden. He told GoVols247's Callahan (subscription required):

"I felt like I did good," Jennings said. "They felt the same way."

Teaming Dormady with Jennings gives UT a nice one-two punch with diverse skill sets. If their commitments stick, the duo can provide Joshua Dobbs with some strong competition to be the future leader of Tennessee's talented offense.

The importance of Dormady's decision could be felt in Knoxville for years to come and may be one of the biggest puzzle pieces to Jones putting Tennessee football back on the map.

 

All recruiting rankings and statistics courtesy of 247Sports.

Brad Shepard is the Tennessee Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow Brad on Twitter here: 

@Brad_Shepard

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Clemson Football: Projecting Who Will Win Tigers' Open Starting Positions

The Clemson Tigers released their first depth chart of the offseason just two weeks ago. The updated depth chart features 13 players atop the two-deep who were either starters or co-starters from last season's Orange Bowl-winning team.

Clemson's biggest test will be who replaces record-setting quarterback Tajh Boyd and All-American receiver Sammy Watkins.

At quarterback, senior Cole Stoudt takes the reins. Stoudt's position atop the depth chart is not in question, as head coach Dabo Swinney has emphatically stated the senior will be the starting quarterback in 2014. 

While quarterback and left tackle—where Isaiah Battle has the position locked up—are settled, competition remains strong at several positions. 

Who will replace Watkins? Or who will replace Bashaud Breeland at cornerback?

Here is a look at five positions that remain hotly contested even with the updated depth chart.

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4-Star QB Travis Waller Tweets Out His Top 4 Schools

Travis Waller took to Twitter on Monday night to narrow down his list of potential suitors. The 4-star quarterback announced that Alabama, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State remain:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Waller is the 79th-best player in the country and fourth-best dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2015.

Jimmy Hyams of The Sports Animal in Knoxville, Tennessee, thinks the Crimson Tide sit in pole position at the moment:

The Fighting Irish are also considered top contenders to secure the 4-star quarterback. Their interest was renewed after Blake Barnett decommitted last week. With Notre Dame also pursuing Waller's high school teammate, Equanimeous St. Brown, the two could join up in South Bend, per Irish Illustrated:

Waller tweeted out back on June 5 that he officially received an offer from Notre Dame:

It's easy to see what all the fuss is about for the star signal-caller. 247Sports rates his pocket presence and intangibles a nine out of 10, and his accuracy and delivery are both at eight. While labeled as a dual-threat QB, Waller can fit into any offensive scheme. His underrated passing ability would allow him to thrive in even a more pro-style system.

You can see a Vine of Waller in action below at the 2014 Air Strike passing tournament, courtesy of ESPN's Blair Angulo:

The competition to land the Servite High School star will only heat up now that he's shrunken down his list of schools. The Fighting Irish, Buckeyes, Wildcats and Crimson Tide will go the extra mile to ensure he commits.

Whatever team does land Waller will be getting one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the 2015 class. He should take little time blossoming into a star.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Virginia Tech Football: Recapping the Biggest 2014 Offseason News so Far

Between the hiring of a new position coach, the commitments of some prominent 2015 recruits and the developing intrigue at the quarterback position, it’s been quite the 2014 offseason for the Virginia Tech football team. 

This offseason might not have been quite as eventful as last year’s when the team replaced the bulk of its offensive coaching staff, but it’s still been a busy one.

In particular, the search for Logan Thomas’ replacement has captured national headlines, even if the staff says it won’t name a new starter for another couple of months.

Even still, the last few months have been eventful for the program. Read on for a quick recap of the news that’s captivated Hokie fans recently.

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Michigan Football: Projecting Who Will Win Wolverines' Open Starting Positions

Pretty soon, that 80-something-day countdown is going to dwindle down to about 10 days. 

And then there'll be three. And then, next thing you know, it'll be time for Michigan's season opener versus Appalachian State at The Big House. 

But right now, it's only early June—so there's plenty of time to analyze, discuss, think about, ponder and pontificate all things Wolverines football. Of course, one of the hottest topics is always one about starters—as in, who'll be the No. 1s heading into 2014. 

By breaking down position groups, this slideshow will present a look at potential starters. 

Fall can't get here soon enough, can it?

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5 2015 College Football Recruits Who Are Better with Pads on

Some of the nation's best players do not look impressive at offseason events, as they are better when helmets and pads are on in real games.

Looking at the 2015 class, several recruits likely can't wait until summer is over and fall is here.

A 5-star dual-threat quarterback will not be able to fully show off his entire skill set for another few months, while a pair of rugged linebackers can't hit anybody in seven-on-seven games. Plus, a powerful running back looks bored during passing league games.

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10 Best Recruits Nick Saban Has Lured from Alabama's Bordering States

If you look at a map, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida all border the state of Alabama. While Nick Saban has the ability to recruit exceptionally inside his state and anywhere else in the country, he also has done a great job of luring talent from the states around his borders.

Since arriving in Tuscaloosa as head coach in 2007, Saban has arguably put together the greatest recruiting run in college football history. Alabama has signed countless talented prospects, plus it has put many players into the NFL.

A great deal of the Crimson Tide's top players in the Saban era are from nearby bordering states. Here are 10 recruits from just outside of the state of Alabama who standout.

 

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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10 Most Wide-Open 2015 College Football Recruits Right Now

When a recruit is said to be wide open, it means he is still considering a big group of schools. This time of year usually is when prospects start to narrow their lists, but several players in the 2015 class still do not have any favorites.

A 4-star outside linebacker doesn't seem to be leaning in any direction, while a 5-star cornerback maintains he is totally open to everyone.

Plus, a 4-star offensive tackle just recently cut his list down to a modest 15 schools.

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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Auburn Ball Boy's Football Field Wedding Cake Includes Him Running Down Sideline

Give the Auburn ball boy some credit for being creative. He loved his job, so he found a way to include it in his big day.

The ball boy's cake includes him running along the sideline at what is supposed to be Jordan–Hare Stadium—although the logo and end zone appear to be black, not navy blue. The Tigers end zone doesn't have background paint, so it could just be a personal preference.

In case you haven't seen him in action, there is video of him running down the sideline during a game.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Miami Hurricanes Football: Recapping the Biggest 2014 Offseason News So Far

Team-related news is released nearly every week, so it's easy to forget the memorable stories surrounding Miami Hurricanes football.

Remember when head coach Al Golden was discussing the head coaching position at Penn State? That feels like years ago.

As we kick the dirt waiting for the offseason to finally end, let's take a trip down a six-month Memory Lane to recap what has happened since the 2013 campaign finished in less-than-glorious fashion.

 

Note: All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Rankings reflect 247Sports Composite.

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Nebraska Football: Recapping the Biggest 2014 Offseason News so Far

The offseason is typically a quieter time. With only an annual spring game to point to, the news is often scarce during this time of the year. Not in Nebraska, though.

In fact, the 2014 offseason has been filled with breaking news. From I-Back Ameer Abdullah's decision about his future to a cat hoisted in the air, there hasn't been a dull moment for Bo Pelini and Nebraska fans.

And not all of the news has been serious either. That's provided Nebraska fans with a little fun. With under three months still to go, it's those out-of-the-box stories that have kept the offseason interesting.

What are the biggest 2014 offseason news stories so far? Read on to find out.

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Star RB Duke Johnson and Miami Mascot Surprise Groom at Wedding

The Miami Hurricanes are looking to give back to the community as part of their "RENEWED" campaign, and they found a great way to give a season ticket holder a lasting memory on his special day.

Miami fan Pedro Lopez was set to marry his fiance, Susana, on Saturday. Little did he know, his bride-to-be had a big surprise in store for him. Actually, she didn't even know just how big the surprise would be.

Susana arranged for Sebastian the Ibis—Miami's mascot—to show up at their wedding. According to The Palm Beach Post's Matt Porter, Sebastian charges $250-300 to show up for a few hours. Because it was such a special day for the couple, the Hurricanes thought they'd sweeten the deal.

Star running back Duke Johnson, who has made the second-team All-ACC in each of his first two seasons and was named the 2012 ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year, surprised everyone by showing up to the South Florida wedding. Not even the bride knew that Pedro's favorite player would be making an appearance.

Luckily, there is video that caught the groom's reaction:

The groom loved the surprise:

There were plenty of pictures of Johnson and Sebastian at the wedding:

Although the mascot was able to get paid for the appearance, NCAA rules prohibited Johnson from receiving any money.

[Canes All Access, Twitter; h/t Dr. Saturday]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 Burning Summer Camp Questions for 2014 College Football Season

The summer is a difficult time for college football fans. Questions that are "burning" during June and July might be warm during August and tepid by the beginning of the fall. They might even be downright cold.

Still, the NCAA has allowed schools to make summer workouts mandatory—or at least less not-mandatory than before—which should give us a few morsels to chew on during the dead period.

Per NCAA.com, the newly mandatory workouts "can include eight hours per week of required weight training and conditioning. Up to two of the eight hours can consist of film review." Which is to say, decisively, that the workouts will be limited.

But that doesn't mean they can't shed some insight.

With transfers and freshmen who didn't enroll early arriving on campus, freshmen who did arrive early continuing to progress and general air-tight position battles continuing to be fought, these offseason drills and film sessions might determine the course of next season. So might some of the off-field storylines worth monitoring.

Here are 10 burning questions to keep an eye on.

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Penn State Football: Recapping the Biggest 2014 Offseason News so Far

It seems like the 2013 football season ended an eternity ago. Enough has changed in and around Happy Valley in the last six months to fill a calendar year and in a place not particularly accustomed to change, State College is looking at a much different program than the one that upset Wisconsin in late November.

Welcome to big time football and the constant change that involves.

Here's a recap of the evolution Penn State has encountered so far this off season.

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15 SEC Football Players You Need to Know More About

Increased coverage of SEC football means big stars shine brighter than ever.

Just because a player opens on Labor Day weekend as an unknown, though, doesn't mean he will stay one.

All it takes is one game—in some instances, one play—for the first chapter of a history or a legacy to be written.

For every Nick Marshall and Dak Prescott in the SEC—players most SEC fans know—there are scores of talented players waiting to leave lasting marks on this season.

Today, we examine SEC players who might otherwise fly under the radar during the preseason and discuss what significance they carry heading into 2014.

Some of these names will be familiar to SEC fans who pay attention, but few will be household names to open the year.

To that end, players who made All-SEC teams or earned honorable mention honors last year won't be considered. (Players named to the All-Freshman team, however, will warrant consideration if they didn't make the first- or second-team All-SEC.)

Other players—like Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk, Arkansas tailback Alex Collins or Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones—are well-known enough commodities that they won’t make this list either.

Uber-prospects such as Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Ole Miss defensive end Robert Nkemdiche and Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil similarly made enough of a name for themselves that they don't belong here.

The idea is to spotlight under-the-radar players who could be the difference in one or two critical games this season—who could be the difference between going 9-3 and 11-1, or 5-7 and 7-5.

Here is our list.

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