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USC TE Xavier Grimble Declares for 2014 NFL Draft

USC lost another underclassman on Tuesday night when tight end Xavier Grimble announced that he would forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2014 NFL draft...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

What I Loved and Hated from the College Football Bowl Season

Well done, college football. Well done by all.

This year’s bowl season proved to be quite the ride, although sadly it has come to a close. A magnificent run of performances culminated in one of the greatest national championships ever played—and the end of the BCS era.

Florida State and Auburn put on a show, and you needed to be reminded that breathing was acceptable and encouraged during the final five minutes of game time. Before the season shut down in thrilling fashion, however, there was bowl brilliance everywhere.

To celebrate it all, the weekly Love/Hate column has returned for a special bowl game edition. And it is special. There was Steve Spurrier exorcising his troll demons, Johnny Manziel testing football physics, an Alabama fan hoping to capture flight, a nasty stiff arm you wanted no part of and so much more.

Before we close the book on the season, here’s what I loved and hated about the college football bowl series.

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FSU Ball Boy 'Red Lightning' Is a BCS Champion Covered in Ladies

If you haven’t met Frank Grizzle-Malgrat, please allow me to make the introduction.

Known to fans in ‘Noles Nation as Red Lightning, Grizzle-Malgrat is a ball boy for the Florida State Seminoles and perhaps the most interesting man in college football who has never played a moment in any game.

While he may at first appear to be some sort of ageless wonder-elf, Grizzle-Malgrat is very much a college student. The 21-year-old is often spotted streaking up the sidelines like a greased bottle rocket, although a recent, post-BCS title game sighting has placed him in a new context—completely still, with female company in tow. 

Indeed, Red Lightning was seen popping buttons and letting his freak flag fly in the aftermath of FSU's win over Auburn in the final BCS title game. His entourage consisted of two female 'Noles fans, who seemingly wanted nothing more than to feel the rich, garnet carpeting of his manly physique. 

This singular moment in FSU history was noticed by Ty Duffy of The Big Lead, and it supports the idea that every member of Florida State’s football program had a hand in bringing home the Crystal on Monday night.

Red Lightning was also seen leading the Seminoles crowd in the Tomahawk Chop after the title game. Suffice to say, he gave the old tradition his own twist.

Despite Jameis Winston and other talents returning next season, questions remain to be answered regarding Florida State’s chances to repeat as national champions in 2015—a possibility highly contingent on the return of Red Lightning.

The future appears to remain up in the air for the young ball boy, considering members of the NFL have taken keen interest in the fleet-footed squire. 

While his early departure would stagger the program and leave ‘Noles Nation in shambles, it may be time for him to take his game to the next level.

I’m not entirely sure how ball boys are selected in the National Football League, but one can only hope there’s a combine or Billy Madison-esque decathlon involved. 

If there is such a contest, I project Red Lightning to perform at the top of his class and emerge a consensus first-round pick for the Houston Texans—a franchise in dire need of a difference maker who can hold onto the ball.


Red Lightning: The Red Baron of ball boys. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings: Final Standings from BCS Era

The BCS era as we know it came to a close on Jan. 6, when the Florida State Seminoles engineered an amazing comeback to topple the Auburn Tigers 34-31 in the BCS Championship game.

That result ended the SEC’s reign of dominance—a stretch that included seven straight national titles for the conference—and put the ACC (and FSU) back on top for the first time since 1999.

It certainly was a thrilling way to close out a highly controversial, oft-debated era and left almost zero debate as to who the rightful champion is of 2013. Regardless, the rest of the Top 25 is certainly up for discussion, and many are going to feel that the voters in the AP and USA Today Coaches polls made grave errors in their decisions.

Let’s take a look at how each of these final rankings looks and highlight a few teams that many fans believe deserve to be slotted higher. 

Complete AP and USA Today rankings can be found here.


Michigan State at No. 3

The Spartans finished the 2013 campaign with just a single loss and a solid 24-20 Rose Bowl victory against Stanford, which was ranked No. 5 at kickoff.

Instead of vaulting up to No. 2 behind the ‘Noles upon dispatching the Cardinal, MSU was placed at No. 3 in the final standings by both the AP and USA Today voters. Auburn faltered—albeit in the final moments as a major underdog—in the title game and was still given the runner-up distinction by both organizations, despite finishing the year with two blemishes on its record.

While SEC and Tiger fans may feel this is fair because of how Auburn hung tough against the nation’s best team on the biggest stage, many in East Lansing and around the country can’t help but feel that Michigan State was robbed.

It didn’t help Auburn’s case when Alabama, the Tigers’ bitter rival and opponent they vanquished in an epic Iron Bowl showing to make the SEC Championship Game, was handed an embarrassing 45-31 loss in the Sugar Bowl by a two-loss Oklahoma Sooners program.

This is exactly why a playoff will be beneficial to college football and allow the four best teams to duke it out against one another. The system surely won’t be perfect and is almost certainly going to be rife with controversy, but it should see the wheat separated from the chaff more often than not.

For now, MSU will have to settle with the No. 3 ranking and use it as motivation to improve in 2014.


UCF at No. 10 and Below

The Central Florida Knights are another one-loss team that isn’t getting enough respect from pollsters.

UCF finished the year being ranked No. 10 and No. 12 by the AP and USA Today voters, respectively, despite finishing the year with a single loss and a highly impressive Fiesta Bowl win against Baylor.

The Knights' status in the final standings is only a small rise from where they finished the regular season. Despite running away with the American Athletic Conference title, this team was viewed as a pretender and given a No. 15 ranking by both organizations.

While Baylor wasn’t the toughest opponent in the nation, it was definitely up there. The Bears were ranked No. 6 at the start of the contest, having dropped a single regular-season game against Oklahoma State.

As winners of the Big 12, this group was given a fair amount of respect—especially due to its high-powered offense that averaged 52.4 points per game, the most in the nation.

UCF came into the showdown as a major underdog and ran away with a 10-point victory in a shootout. Quarterback Blake Bortles established himself as a bona fide star, connecting on three touchdown passes and running in another.

Don’t be surprised if the Knights ride their nine-game winning streak into next season with a chip on their shoulder and repeat as conference champs.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arizona Football: How Will Cats Replace Ka'Deem Carey?

Though it hasn't happened yet, it is very likely that standout Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey will forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. The deadline is Jan. 15 for draft-eligible underclassmen to declare their intentions.

Assuming that Carey goes, it will leave the Wildcats with a huge hole to fill. Carey has led Arizona in rushing each of the past two seasons, rushing for 3,814 yards with 42 touchdowns during that span.

How, exactly, will Arizona replace such a potent producer? We've got some thoughts.

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Arizona Football: How Will Cats Replace Ka'Deem Carey?

Though it hasn't happened yet, it is very likely that standout Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey will forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. The deadline is Jan. 15 for draft-eligible underclassmen to declare their intentions...

Begin Slideshow

Auburn vs. FSU: Players Who Improved Their Draft Stock in BCS Title Game

The 2014 BCS title game was one of the most thrilling title games in history. The Florida State Seminoles emerged victorious, 34-31.

Along the way, we saw a few players with aspirations of playing in the NFL improve their draft stock. Both the Auburn Tigers and the Seminoles have a high volume of players headed to the next level. The following three really improved their chances of hearing their names called sooner rather than later.


Tre Mason

The Heisman Trophy finalist may have cemented his place as college football's best running back. In defeat, Tre Mason did everything he possibly could to lead his team to victory.

He caught a touchdown pass and ran for 195 yards—which included a 37-yard touchdown scamper with just 1:19 left in the game.

Mason showed excellent vision, power and heart the entire season. In Monday's loss, he broke Bo Jackson's single-season rushing record at Auburn.

Mason is only a junior, but he'd be wise to bolt for the NFL. He ran the ball 317 times this season. Durability is always a concern with any player but especially a running back.

It's about time Mason was paid for his next attempt.


Greg Robinson

Yes, Mason is a beast, but his offensive line is equally as beastly. Greg Robinson is the best of the bunch. His ability to move his large frame reminded me of a healthy Jason Peters.

Robinson obliterated Lamarcus Joyner on Mason's 12-yard touchdown on a screen play.

Match this type of athleticism with the strength and sturdiness the 6'5", 320-pounder provides and you have a potential stud at left tackle.

Robinson apparently knows his worth. He announced his intentions to enter the 2014 NFL draft Tuesday. 

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller said this Monday night about Robinson.


Mario Edwards Jr.

With a sack and several next-level plays around the ball, Mario Edwards Jr. proved himself to be worthy of consideration if he should choose to enter the NFL draft.

He showed great mobility and stamina as he defended the Tigers run game, and he chased down the fleet-footed Nick Marshall all game. Warchant.com recognized Edwards Jr.'s sack on Marshall.

BushidoNole talked about Edwards Jr.'s growth since he arrived in Tallahassee.

He hasn't made a public decision yet on his future, but this game could be a "payday" performance for the talented defensive lineman.


Follow me. Sports are what I do.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas A&M Football: What Texas' Charlie Strong Means for Aggies

For the first time in well over a decade, Texas A&M has gained the upper hand over long-time rival Texas. All the advantages sit with the Aggies—a nationally driven atmosphere, a magnetic star athlete and a young, charismatic head football coach—while the Longhorns flounder in what has seemed to be an inconsequential coaching search. 

Monday, just hours prior to the national championship, Texas concluded its musings with the official announcement of Louisville's Charlie Strong, a defensive-minded coach who led the Cardinals to a 23-3 record and Sugar Bowl victory the past two seasons. 

It was the safe hire. And what many are calling a "football" hire. 

Unfortunately for Texas, though, the Longhorns require more than just a head football coach. As Strong's predecessor Mack Brown has proved time and time again over the past 16 years, the position demands a political face off of the gridiron, one Strong may not be able to implement.

As Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples discussed in his column on the topic, Strong is simply about the internal workings of the program, ranging from the on-the-field strategy to relationships with the players. Spending time with the boosters looking for bonus points or corralling the media for a press conference just isn't part of Strong's demeanor. Period. 

And the Texas athletic department did a poor job moving Strong into the position from day one, as they sacrificed their new head coach's image by not even consulting the major donors beforehand, as Texas business school namesake Red McCombs pointed out during a radio interview

Not exactly a strong start (pun noted). 

Now, how does this immediate insecurity affect Texas A&M? One word: positively. 

The Aggies' football program has taken off the past two years under Kevin Sumlin, and for a multitude of reasons. First, for A&M's bold realignment into the Southeastern Conference. Second, for Sumlin's suave recruiting skills. And third, for Johnny Manziel's catalyst-esque boost to the program's direction, drawing national attention and distinction to College Station in a fraction of the time it may have taken without him. 

According to 247Sports.com, A&M ranks third overall for its recruiting class and second conference-wide (trailing only division rival Alabama). In the past week alone, the Aggies have secured commitments from the first- and 11th-ranked wide receivers nationally—Speedy Noil and Frank Iheanacho—despite losing top-flight All-American Mike Evans to the NFL Draft in the same time period. 

Basically, Sumlin and the Aggies have been unflappable on the recruiting trail and deadly on the football field. And while A&M and Texas have no plans on taking the field against one another any time soon, the Aggies are winning the in-state rivalry by a landslide. 

Strong's hire failed to do for the Longhorns what the program would have hoped: make a splash. It was safe. It was predictable. And worst of all, it looked—and felt—awkward. Middle school dance awkward. 

For A&M, Texas' lack of ability to take advantage leaves yet more room for the Aggies to add separation between them and the Longhorns, both on the field and the recruiting trail. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

UCLA Football: 4 Biggest Concerns Heading into the Offseason

The UCLA Bruins are entering a new phase as a program. 

With the 10-win season in 2013, the Bruins have the look of a team on the rise. A vast majority of the young roster will return next year, and the team got a major boost with the announcement that Brett Hundley will return for his redshirt junior season. 

The stage is set for a potentially huge upcoming season. However, there are some areas of concern as with every program. 

In particular, UCLA has to shore up four areas in order to reach its potential as a team contending for a national championship. Replacing three significant members on the defensive side of the ball tops the list. 

Here's a look at the four biggest concerns heading into the offseason for the UCLA Bruins.

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UCLA Football: 4 Biggest Concerns Heading into the Offseason

The UCLA Bruins are entering a new phase as a program. With the 10-win season in 2013, the Bruins have the look of a team on the rise...

Begin Slideshow

South Carolina Football Recruiting: Updates on 2014 Commits and Targets

The old ball coach Steve Spurrier is getting up there in age, but his age shouldn't shy players away from committing to South Carolina. 

South Carolina's recruiting is nothing amazing, yet it meets team needs and continues the spree of Spurrier's in-state recruiting work.  

The Gamecocks put together another 11-win season and have a promising future as they only lose a handful of players, though Spurrier and his staff need to revamp the depth of the roster to prepare for the future. 


Gamecock Nation, this is your spot for South Carolina recruiting updates. 

News, analysis and updates on targets and commits are right here and will be updated regularly. 

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Auburn Football: Fans Rally Around Team, Gus Malzahn Vows Return to Title Game

Despite Auburn's heartbreaking 34-31 loss to Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game on Monday, hundreds of Tigers fans were on hand Tuesday at Auburn's indoor practice facility to welcome back the team as it arrived from Pasadena.

Fans lined the indoor facility, making a tunnel stretching the length of the full-sized field, mimicking Auburn's usual "Tiger Walk" tradition—where fans cheer as the team enters the Jordan-Hare Stadium before a game.

This time, "Tiger Walk" wasn't before a game, but after it—and after a loss, no less.

Even after Auburn's last-minute loss to Florida State, the fans were still there to welcome the team back to the Plains—and still there to chant "It's great to be an Auburn Tiger."

"This is truly unbelievable," Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said.

"Hey guys," Jacobs continued, directing his attention to the Tigers players. "This is what being a part of the Auburn Family means. I know some of you are first-year guys, and some of you are fourth or fifth-year guys, but this is what it means, right here. Regardless of what happens out there, the Auburn Family sticks together."

Jacobs spoke at a podium arranged at the end of the Tiger Walk, then turned the microphone over to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn.

"You are truly the best fans in college football. It all started at A-Day with 84,000 fans," Malzahn said to the crowd, referencing the Tigers' record-setting spring game attendance. "I just want to say thank you."

Malzahn ended his words with a promise.

"We're disappointed we came up just a little bit short—13 seconds," Malzahn said. "But I'm just going to tell you, I've never been prouder of a team, and of what they've done and where they've come. We're all in this together. We're truly the Auburn Family. These guys right here laid the groundwork for great things to come in the future.

"I'm going to tell you right now: We're going to go back."


Justin Lee is Bleacher Report's lead Auburn writer. Follow him on Twitter @byjustinlee. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

LSU Football: Imagining Leonard Fournette & Jeremy Hill in Same Backfield

The best recruiting sometimes happens internally, and LSU head coach Les Miles may have landed a stud on Tuesday night—current Tigers running back Jeremy Hill.

The rising junior is three years removed from high school, but according to Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate, he will return to school instead of declaring for the NFL draft.

We reported y'day Hill leaning toward returning at #LSU. @LSUBeatTweet reporting Hill to announce Monday. I've heard Friday or Monday.

— Ross Dellenger (@DellengerAdv) January 8, 2014

That's huge news for the Tigers.

Hill rushed for 1,401 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Tigers in 2013, including 216 yards and two touchdowns in LSU's 21-14 win over Iowa in the Outback Bowl. While the stats pop off the page, something else is motivating Hill to stick around Baton Rouge, according to Luke Johnson of TigerRag.com.

It's his reputation.

He wants to prove to LSU fans, his teammates and head coach Les Miles that the guy who was caught on camera knocking someone out in the parking lot of a bar last spring isn't the man he is.

"I think doing that over the last seven months has completely changed the way people look at me and the perception of me," Hill told Johnson.

Hill's legacy is important to him, and he has the opportunity to write the final chapter of his legacy with a very talented running back—incoming freshman Leonard Fournette.

The 6'1", 226-pound Fournette committed to the Tigers earlier this month at the Under Armour All-American Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has the ability to step on any college field and become an immediate contributor.

The No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2014 in the 247Sports.com composite has the size and power of an upperclassman, speed to burn and has drawn comparisons to former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.

What could this duo do in Baton Rouge? 

Frustrate defensive coordinators, for one.

LSU will likely have to tweak its offense quite a bit with quarterback Zach Mettenberger and receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry gone. The two power backs can ensure that LSU has a fresh running back late in virtually every football game. That's a great asset for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to have in any circumstance but especially with a new quarterback and wide receiving corps.

Hill punishes people anyway, and now Fournette's presence will allow either to serve as that "closer" who pounds on worn-down front sevens.

LSU is going to be a contender in the SEC West anyway, and the combination of Hill and Fournette in the same backfield could elevate the Tigers to be the primary contender to Auburn's throne.


Follow @BarrettSallee

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State Football: 2015 Commit Eric-Glover Williams' Offer Could Be Pulled

Eric-Glover Williams, expected to be the crown jewel of Urban Meyer's 2015 recruiting class, could be on the verge of losing his scholarship offer from Ohio State.

Glover-Williams, a 4-star athlete from McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio, became the first verbal pledge for the Buckeyes' 2015 class. According to Todd Porter of The Canton Rep, the Buckeyes are investigating "off-the-field issues" that could jeopardize the scholarship offer he accepted last August.

Porter's report didn't specify the issues Ohio State is investigating, and even Todd Filtz—Glover-Williams' coach at McKinley—isn't clear on the details.

"I have received text messages and I hear things as well, but I don't know what's official and what's not," Filtz, who has been out of town since the birth of his daughter last month, told Porter. "I haven't been in town to really know, so I'm not going to comment."

Glover-Williams plays quarterback for the McKinley Bulldogs, but he's projecting as either a cornerback or all-purpose back—a la Dontre Wilson—at the collegiate level.

The 5'11", 165-pound standout is the No. 65 overall prospect in the 247 Sports Composite ranking, the No. 6 cornerback and the No. 3 prospect in the state of Ohio.

Glover-Williams' commitment is an important one for the Buckeyes. Meyer's recruiting strategy at Ohio State is to secure the best in-state talent while poaching top recruits from around the country. Glover-Williams, as the first 2015 prospect to commit to Ohio State, looked to be the start of another top-flight class for the Buckeyes.

Whether he gets to keep the commitment he made will be determined by Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff once they're done looking into the situation. Via Porter's article, Meyer talked about the challenges of monitoring students' off-the-field activity.

When I first started 20 years ago, you didn't know much. You know everything now. I have people where it's their full-time jobs ... that's what they do. They monitor Facebook and Twitter and tweets and all that stuff. We have to find out — I want to know because we're held responsible for all those guys.

This is certainly unwelcome news for Meyer and the Buckeyes, specifically at the start of a long offseason. Ohio State has one other commit for the 2015 class in 4-star cornerback Jamel Dean, but his pledge wouldn't mask the loss of pulling Glover-Williams' offer.


All recruit rankings per 247Sports.com.

David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. 
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Final AP Rankings Suggest Pac-12 Is Closing in on SEC

The Pac-12 was on the SEC's heels ahead of the college football conference pack throughout the 2013 season, and the final Associated Press Top 25 of the campaign promises to extend the race into 2014. 

With a combined 13 teams represented in the final AP poll, the Pac-12 and SEC comprise more than half the rankings. Half of each conference's total membership is represented, with additional teams from each receiving votes. 

The conferences' similar finishes in the poll is a fitting conclusion to a season in which their achievements were oh so close. The SEC finished with the best bowl record, 7-3. Right behind was the Pac-12 at 6-3. Even in failure, the two leagues were comparable, going a combined 0-3 in BCS bowls.  

But that more dubious of records should not obscure the fact that these were the nation's best conferences from top to bottom throughout the season. And pollsters recognized their respective prowess. 

All six Pac-12 teams ranked to end the campaign also were at some point ranked in the regular season. A seventh, Oregon State, broke into the poll twice. Nine different SEC teams were ranked at various points throughout 2013.  

This is nothing new for the SEC, which landed seven of its members in the final AP poll of 2012. But the Pac-12 is in uncharted territory. Its previous best seasons, 2005 and 2008, culminated with the then 10-member conference hosting four ranked teams. 

Bad news for the Pac-12: It could have been better. Oregon's stumble at Arizona late in the season bolstered the Wildcats' resume, but ended the conference's run of consecutive seasons with two BCS bowl participants at three.

Pac-12 teams were also favored in all nine bowl games, yet suffered two of the more confounding losses of the postseason: Washington State's blown 15-point lead against Colorado State and Arizona State's lifeless loss to two-touchdown underdog Texas Tech. 

Good news: The conference looks to be loaded for an even stronger 2014, and just might catch the SEC both in prestige and on-field performance. Plenty can change in the nearly eight months between now and the kickoff of next season, but early projections are favorable. 

Initial USA Today 2014 rankings tab five Pac-12 teams, just behind the SEC with six. Three of those Pac-12 teams are projected in the Top 10, the same as the SEC. The two conferences also have the No. 12 and No. 13 preseason teams, per USA Today. 

The SEC remains the sport's pacesetter, but this offseason should have it hearing the Pac-12's footsteps.


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Final AP Rankings Suggest Pac-12 Is Closing in on SEC

The Pac-12 was on the SEC's heels ahead of the college football conference pack throughout the 2013 season, and the final Associated Press Top 25 of the campaign promises to extend the race into 2014...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Nebraska Football: What Losing Terry Joseph Means for Husker Program

Nebraska football fans learned this week that defensive backs coach Terry Joseph has left the program to accept the same position at Texas A&M. According to Jon Nyatawa of the Omaha World-Herald, Joseph is expected to earn more than the $245,000 per year he made at Nebraska, which in part would explain the move. Joseph, a Louisiana native, would also return to SEC country and be able to work in the fertile Texas recruiting bed.

So what does Nebraska losing Joseph and (once again) having to replace a defensive backs coach mean for the NU program?


It’s Certainly A Loss

Under Joseph, Nebraska’s secondary has been a source of strength. According to cfbstats.com, Nebraska was No. 6 nationally in opponent’s third-down conversion percentage in 2013. A large part of that credit must go to players like Ciante Evans and Stanley Jean-Baptiste under Joseph’s tutelage.

But it is on the recruiting trail that Nebraska will most likely feel the sting of Joseph’s departure. According to 247Sports.com, Joseph had a hand in five of the 19 players currently committed to Nebraska’s 2014 class. His ties to the South have been crucial for Nebraska to make inroads to that wealth of talent, and his departure will definitely leave a hole that needs filling.


It’s A Sign of Success

SEC schools with national ambitions and rabid fanbases don’t come and pluck coaches from other programs without good reason. Joseph’s departure to Texas A&M is in some way a validation of Nebraska’s recruiting prowess—or at least of Nebraska’s ability to lure high-quality recruiters to Lincoln.

It's never good for the ego to feel like Nebraska is a feeder program for schools like Texas A&M to provide assistants. But Nebraska will always struggle to compete with a school like Texas A&M for assistants, both in money and in recruiting areas offered. Losing Joseph to College Station certainly is disappointing, but it is also a validation that some things are being done well in Lincoln.


It’s The Way Things Are

Nebraska fans in the Devaney and Osborne eras became used to a coaching staff that never changed. But like many things, those days of college football are long gone. Assistant coaches, while certainly well-rewarded, have little job security. The specter of Bo Pelini being fired during this season had to be on the minds of all Nebraska’s assistant coaches, and a move to Texas A&M for more money for Joseph is hard to criticize.

While continuity in a staff certainly can be valuable, the fact remains that college football in 2014 is much more dynamic, volatile, and in some ways cut-throat than it was in decades past. An entire coaching staff can be let go with little more than a thank you note in the midst of a coaching change, so it should surprise no one when assistants make moves to further themselves and their careers.


So Where Does Nebraska Go Now?

The recruiting "dead period," when coaches are prohibited from interacting with recruits, ends on Jan. 15. National signing day is Feb. 5. That means Nebraska has precious little time to find a replacement for Joseph and complete a 2014 class that 247Sports.com has ranked No. 38 nationally and No. 6 in the Big Ten.

The natural replacement would be a return of Marvin Sanders, who had been a defensive backs coach at Nebraska on two separate occasions and who resigned with a cloud of questions chasing him in 2011. Sanders is now the head coach at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, a local and national powerhouse on the high school level.

But Pelini knows Sanders very well, and Sanders knows Pelini’s system. Sanders had great success under Pelini the last time, both on the field and recruiting, and bringing Sanders on board would be NU’s best shot to seamlessly replace Joseph.

Even if Sanders doesn't return, however, Pelini’s connections within the coaching community should mean he can get a replacement for Joseph quickly. Make no mistake, though, Joseph’s departure is a big challenge for Nebraska, one that Pelini must get right to help maintain the forward progress the Nebraska program feels like it is currently enjoying.


If you'd like to contact Patrick, send an email to patrickrunge@gmail.com.

Or, you could always use the Twitter machine to follow @patrickrunge.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Scouting Report, Video Highlights and Predictions for Alabama's Bo Scarbrough

 Bo Scarbrough is among the nation's best high school football players. The 4-star athlete spent his senior season playing in Florida, but he's actually not from the Sunshine State.

Scarbrough is one of the headliners in Alabama's recruiting class; however, there's still some uncertainty on where he will play in Tuscaloosa. His size, speed and versatility make him an interesting recruit to project.

It's time to take a closer look at Scarbrough.

Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

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Miami Football: 5 Recruits Hurricanes Must Land on NSD 2014

The Miami Hurricanes' coaching staff has assembled a very talented class during the 2014 recruiting cycle, and landing those players on national signing day is essential.

Currently, the 'Canes class has 27 verbal commitments and one signee, but some of these prospects will officially become student-athletes very soon. Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post notes big-name Miami commits are enrolling early and will arrive on campus during the first week of January.

But for those players who must wait until signing day on Feb. 5, opposing coaching staffs—like Miami's will do as well—utilize the "open season," even on committed recruits.

Remember, a prospect's commitment is only official when the national letter of intent slowly comes through the fax machine.


The '100 Percent Committed' Crew

Recent buzz in the recruiting realm does not have many top-tier prospects trending the Hurricanes' way.

However, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Miami already has pledges from a collection of 4-stars who will enroll this summer, including defensive end Chad Thomas, safety Kiy Hester and quarterback Brad Kaaya.

Thomas, who is expected to be an immediate contributor, was expected to take visits to Alabama, Florida State and LSU, but he may no longer take the trips.

Might as well end the process, I'm good with the 🙌.

— TouchMoney99 (@F5_Chad) January 2, 2014

Hester also took to Twitter, attempting to calm down an oft-raucous Miami crowd on the popular social media site.

100% committed to the U stop asking me lol

— #⃣2⃣ (@Hester_2k) January 5, 2014

Kaaya, a 6'4" pro-style gunslinger from California, is expected to compete with redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen as the 'Canes quarterback of the future.

Though just one of the 11 predictors on the 247Sports' Crystal Ball expect Kaaya to make the trek to Coral Gables, Fla., he recently affirmed his commitment via Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel.

Again, verbal commitments are great, and it's not accusing the kids of being dishonest, but nothing is official until the LOI is signed and submitted. Beyond the early enrollments, the three players are among the most important Golden must land on signing day. 


David Njoku


The Hurricanes do hold commitments from Braxton Berrios, Darrell Langham, Tyre Brady and Trayone Gray, but Miami needs to add more depth at receiver.

Following the 2014 season, Phillip Dorsett and Rashawn Scott will graduate, and the top pass-catchers remaining will be Stacy Coley, Malcolm Lewis and Herb Waters. But after the trio, the 'Canes will be reliant on this class for production.

David Njoku, a 3-star wideout from new Jersey, caught 70 passes for 1,692 yards and 18 touchdowns during his final two high school seasons.

Njoku has already taken his official visit to Miami, and according to Nate Adelson of 247Sports (subscription required), current linebacker commit Juwon Young was trying to persuade Njoku.

He may not be the highest-profile recruit, but Njoku would already be the second-tallest receiver, providing the 'Canes with a red-zone threat.


Travonte Valentine


Amid the Golden to Penn State discussions, 4-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine decommitted from Miami.

Considering the lack of production of the D-line in important games, losing the 6'3", 338-pound behemoth was a significant loss to the 'Canes.

With that being said, the door is not closed on Valentine shunning LSU, his new leader, and re-committing to Miami.

Per Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald, Valentine and his coach would like to sit down with Golden to "make sure everyone is on the same page."

Barring a completely unforeseen commitment, getting Valentine back into the fold will be the 'Canes biggest win of the recruiting season.


Recruiting information via 247Sports.com.

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Football: What Are Realistic Expectations in 2014?

The college football season has come to an end, and that means it’s now time to take an early look at the 2014 season.

When it comes to the Georgia Bulldogs in 2014, college football expert Mark Schlabach has them ranked No. 11 in his 2014 preseason poll. He said that despite the disappointment of the 2013 season, a lot of the injured players will return, as well as 10 starters on defense.

So if the Bulldogs do stay healthy and the defense does improve, how good can they really be in 2014?

Here are some realistic expectations for the Bulldogs for this upcoming season.

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