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Michigan Football: How Jedd Fisch Can Perfect Wolverines' Passing Attack

Someone has to get production from the Michigan Wolverines’ wide receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks. Evidently, one offensive coordinator—Tim Drevno—wasn’t enough, so head coach Jim Harbaugh decided to bring along Jedd Fisch to handle the finer points of the aerial game.

Tabbing Fisch as the passing game coordinator was the correct move.

With collegiate experience dating back to 1999, Fisch has accumulated quite the resume while working with some of the game’s most respected coaches and coordinators.

Prior to joining Harbaugh in Ann Arbor, Fisch handled offensive coordinator duties with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite the team’s struggles, he found ways to improve quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Chad Henne and Denard Robinson.

And, really, he didn’t only “improve” Robinson—he flipped “Shoelace” from a quarterback into a running back/receiver. That proved to be another correct move. Robinson, who missed three games due to injury in 2014, rushed for 582 yards and two scores. He also caught 23 of 31 intended passes for 124 yards.

Small adjustments can make a difference.

Fisch's resume could stand up to any comparable coach's track record in the game.

And, yes, he’s done great things on both sides of the ball with a few players, teams and high-profile coaches, such as Seattle's Pete Carroll (QB), then-Houston's Dom Capers (assistant to the coach) and then-Denver's Mike Shanahan (WR). His knowledge of offense and defense has been enriched at every stop of his career.

Part of having success is knowing and exploiting the opponents' weakness(es). It's safe to say that Fisch is well-versed in that regard.

But none of that will matter if he can’t squeeze every ounce of potential from—and form genuine relationships with—Jake Rudock, the assumed starting quarterback, and a stable of pass-catching options which include but aren’t limited to receivers Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Freddy Canteen, Brian Cole and Maurice Ways, and tight ends Jake Butt, Ian Bunting and A.J. Williams.


Cruise with Rudock

As the situation stands today, Rudock seems to be Michigan’s most obvious game-ready option for Sept. 3 against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

Of course, the circumstances could change during camp, but Rudock has certainly cemented himself as the Wolverines’ mid- to late-June starter.

In 2010 and 2011, Fisch, then the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator, recruited Rudock, who was then a star at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A wise man would assume that Fisch and Harbaugh surveyed the situation at hand—the lack of a seasoned signal-caller—and viewed Rudock as the ideal game manager, prompting them to lure the graduated senior from Iowa to Ann Arbor this past spring.

As a guy who does a lot of things at a satisfactory level but not many in exemplary fashion, the 25-game starter has enough poise to serve as a base for Fisch.

Although most Michigan fans probably want to see Fisch air out the ball each Saturday, keeping things simple with Rudock and the receivers may be the best call.

For example, remember the game plan devised by Al Borges for Shane Morris during the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: It was the one that allowed Morris, then a freshman, to play at a relatively comfortable pace without having to do too much.

It may sound odd to cite Borges at this time, but there is a method to the madness.

In terms of how to insert a quarterback into a shaky situation, Borges nailed it. While different at its core, this year’s quarterback situation is also shaky.

With that said, using a slightly revised, more energetic approach based on the same principles may do the trick with Rudock, who would rely on pass-catchers to make plays rather than playing the role of hero.

Again, the term “game manager” certainly applies. Just check out the supporting numbers provided by Chad Leistikow of Hawk Central:

Rudock leaves Iowa as its No. 8 all-time passer with 4,819 yards in 25 career games, all as a starter while compiling a 14-11 record. He was intercepted just 18 times, or on 2.6 percent of his 691 career attempts—a ball-security stat that Harbaugh was known for as a player and now as a coach.

Rudock's five interceptions last fall (on 345 attempts) were the fewest by any Big Ten starter.

Should Michigan's No. 1-ranked experience, per Phil Steele, show up on the offensive line, Rudock could end up having a career year with Fisch.

For the sake of space, the following is a breakdown of situations in which Rudock thrives, per his ESPN.com splits from the 2014 season:

  • Manageable third/fourth downs: He threw seven of 16 touchdowns when the Hawkeyes needed three to eight yards to move the sticks.
  • Playing vs. the Big Ten: He threw 11 touchdowns with just three picks and completed 60 percent of his passes against conference foes.
  • The second half: Although his yards per attempt was nearly two yards lower than in the first half, he threw 10 touchdowns during the third and fourth quarters this past season.
  • Get going in the first: Rudock completed 66.3 percent of his passes in the first half (8.06 YPA).
  • Goal-line stands: He was sacked zero times and rushed for three touchdowns in goal-to-go situations, demonstrating the ability to remain cool during crunch time. He also threw eight touchdowns compared to one interception (costly red-zone pick in loss to Nebraska).

Now to balance the equation, the following is a list of what stalled Rudock in 2014:

  • Red zone: He threw 12 touchdowns while inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, but he also completed just 51 percent of his passes.
  • On 3rd-and-long (8-10 yards): Rudock completed just 48.3 percent of his passes and had zero touchdown passes.
  • Third-down picks: Rudock threw three of five interceptions on third downs.

As always, stats are open to interpretation and can be skewed to make a point. What happened with Rudock at Iowa won’t necessarily transpire in Ann Arbor.

Meanwhile, Fisch likely knows all about Rudock’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as when and how to utilize him. It’s also likely that some of these examples have been discussed between them.


Recognize Weaponry

If all goes well, Butt could end up having a monstrous junior year. That'd be one way to kick the passing game into gear right from the start.

Previously hampered by a pair of ACL injuries, the 6'6", 248-pounder is Michigan's largest target. And since Rudock is decent in goal-to-go situations, Butt could become a powerful force with the game on the line.

Whether as the red-zone safety net or the go-to option on third downs, Butt could become Rudock's Michigan version of Jake Duzey, a similarly sized tight end who caught 36 passes for 392 yards and three touchdowns for Iowa in 2014 (10.9 yards per catch).

Together, Darboh and Chesson have made 46 appearances for the Wolverines. There's no need to do the math—that's a lot more than anyone else on the roster, times two or three.

Due to their experience, they need to be main features of the offense. At 6'2" and 216 pounds, a chiseled Darboh is designed for securing the deep ball, but he's a reliable inside option, too. At 6'3" and 207 pounds, Chesson works best while flashing inside and outside. During spring availability, he said that the receivers were picking up on Fisch's teachings and getting comfortable with quarterbacks.

That was said prior to Rudock's arrival, so it'd be fair to assume that the addition of a more experienced arm would help expedite the learning process.

With guidance from Fisch, Darboh and Chesson could avoid fizzling out in the second half. Per ESPN.com, Darboh caught 18 passes in each half this past season. However, he averaged 16.9 YPC prior to halftime and just 9.3 afterward. Chesson caught 10 passes in the first half compared to four in the second.

In the not-so-distant past, Michigan actually had a viable one-two punch. That was Devin Funchess, the big-play guy, and Jeremy Gallon, the speedy slasher.

Butt looks like the big-play guy, but the Wolverines remain in search of a slot threat. Developing Canteen, Cole or even Drake Harris for the job is imperative.

Things don't have to be perfect for Fisch, but he needs at least one serviceable athlete at each position in order to implement his system. A coach can't install it if he doesn't have the players.


On the Same Page

As mentioned above, relationships will be for Fisch, the staff and the players. It's a buzz-phrase, sure, but "getting on the same page" pretty much covers the bases, which in turn should tie together the loose ends.

For the past three years, Michigan's offensive line has been one of the worst in all of college football. Considering the levels of perceived talent and experience, that shouldn't have been the case.

Drevno is known for crafting O-lines. His 11-year relationship with Harbaugh should pay dividends this season. Harbaugh likes power football, and power football needs an O-line. Fisch needs an O-line to set the course for Rudock and beyond.

The sooner Fisch and Drevno become buddy-buddy, the better for the program. It's all about continuity, and establishing an open line of communication with Jay Harbaugh wouldn't hurt, either.

Transitions don't happen overnight. Typically, they don't happen within a year, either. But just like he did in Jacksonville, per John Oehser of Jaguars.com, Fisch is constantly assessing the who, what, when, where and why with his personnel in Ann Arbor.

The who, when, where and why will fall together in time. But as of now, Fisch absolutely knows what he must do, and that's rekindle the fire of a passing offense that finished No. 14 in the Big Ten and No. 112 among FBS programs.

"It's not the easiest thing in the world, obviously, it's something you have to work at," Fisch told MGoBlue.com (h/t MLive.com's Nick Baumgardner). "It starts with the quarterback, and then pass protection. We'll constantly emphasize precision, that's where it starts and stops.

"Everyone has to be on the same page, and we'll be very detailed."


Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and references were obtained firsthand by the writer via press conference, press release or other media availability.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ranking the Top 50 Must-Watch College Football Games of 2015

It's never too early to plan your weekends for this fall, is it?

If those plans happen to involve camping out in front of the TV to watch college football, then you're in luck. While many kickoff times and channel slots haven't been set yet, we do have the full rundown available for the 2015 college football season. And with that, we can start blocking out chunks of time that will be occupied with tracking all the action.

The 2015 campaign has one fewer week during the regular season, but that just means the action is more packed in. Every week from early September until early December has at least one big game on the schedule, and some are just overflowing with potentially big matchups.

These are the 50 must-see games of 2015 (regular season only), ranked in order of their national appeal as well as how much they should impact the playoff race.

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Why Offensive Improvement Is Texas Coach Charlie Strong's Biggest Goal in 2015

Defense is what got the Texas Longhorns to a bowl game in head coach Charlie Strong's first year in 2014. Offense is what might have to do the job this time around. Considering the Longhorns could barely move the ball at times last season, improving the offense dramatically is Strong's biggest goal for 2015. 

His own job security likely depends upon it, as if you needed any more proof that being the head coach at Texas is that demanding. 

Let's start at the beginning. On national signing day in early February, Strong promised Longhorn fans a more wide-open offense going forward, noting that it behooved the program to run something similar to what high schools across the state did. That made sense; Texas is a recruiting hotbed, and the flagship program no longer had a kung-fu grip on the best in-state talent. Promising more excitement on offense is one way to fix that. 

At the very least, though, Texas needed a change after finishing last in the Big 12 in passing offense and ninth in points per game. 

There's no doubt the offense had to be shaken up—Les Koenning and Bruce Chambers, two offensive assistants, were shown the door as well—but now the question remains whether the changes will spark any, um, change. 

Preseason magazines are around for entertainment purposes first and foremost. Their job is to bide the time until real football begins. That said, it's telling that well-known sources such as Phil Steele and Athlon Sports have one offensive Longhorns player—offensive lineman Sedrick Flowers—as a first-team Preseason All-Big 12 selection.


Running back Johnathan Gray, who might be Texas' most well-known offensive player, was a third-team preseason selection by both publications. (Gray, of course, suffered an Achilles injury late in 2013 and was never quite the same last year.) 

These types of preseason all-conference teams are put together with last year's production and offseason rumblings/reports in mind. What they tell us about Texas is that few Longhorns are getting attention on offense. 

Long gone are the days of Vince Young, Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley and Jamaal Charles. This year, Strong's checklist includes: sorting out the quarterback competition between Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard; developing the offensive line, which was crushed by attrition last year; and finding a reliable receiving corps after losing their top two wide receivers from 2014—John Harris and Jaxon Shipley. 

It's going to be up to Strong and this offensive coaching staff to develop a lot of under-the-radar talent. That's not a line you expect to write about Texas. Ever. 

But at least there's some experience returning on offense. That's important because the Horns might not be able to rely on their defense like they did a year ago. There are a couple of staples in place—defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway and cornerback Duke Thomas, for example—but there will be a lot of new starters and new players being broken in on that side of the ball. 

"This is probably going to be one of those years where we’re going to have to go coach, and we’ll just see how good of coaches we really are," Strong said, per Rod Babers of 247Sports

Strong and his staff are good coaches. One look at the players Louisville has put into the NFL draft over the past few years is a reflection of that. In time, Texas' defense will be stout again (at the very least, the defensive line should lead the way). But if you want to know if Strong is going to make it as Texas' coach, let's see what he can do with the offense.  

Strong is regarded as one of the brightest defensive minds in college football, and his assistant coaching staff reflects that expertise. As such, changing the tune and putting a priority on offense in '15 is going to test Strong's flexibility as a head coach. 

It brings to mind what Gary Patterson did at TCU. Patterson, another defensive-minded coach, went outside of his comfort zone and hired two co-offensive coordinators, Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham, for the '14 season. As it turned out, there may not have been a better set of hires than that all year. 

That's not to compare TCU to Texas, but it does show that great coaches are willing to change things up and go in a direction that's different for them. Strong has already started down that path by promising to modify the offense.

Will he get the results to go along with it? That will be his biggest test. If he doesn't, people could get anxious heading into year three.  

Put it this way: Strong was listed at "3" on Dennis Dodd's recent hot seat-o-meter. A "3," means "Starting to feel the pressure." Spinning off that rating, Max Olson of ESPN.com recently wrote "Strong's status on this list is debatable, I guess, but I get it: If you're the head coach of Texas and you're coming off a losing season, you're going to feel at least a little pressure."

That little bit of pressure will be a lot of pressure if Texas has two straight losing seasons. If the offense doesn't take a major step forward, that could very well be the case.


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. All stats courtesy of cfbstats.  

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Odds on Which 2016 QB Recruit Will Win Elite 11 Competition

College football's next crop of star quarterbacks embark on an annual mission for Elite 11 national MVP honors next month in Beaverton, Oregon.

The competition, featuring 18 rising high school seniors from across America, commences July 5 at Nike's world headquarters. A few days of highly concentrated positional drills and fundamental studies are followed by team-oriented activities at The Opening, a star-studded showcase that features more than 160 of the nation's premier prospects.

A whirlwind spring of individual assessment and the inaugural Elite 11 semifinals—held June 5-7 in Los Angeles—helped event coaches whittle down a large collection of talent. It surely wasn't an easy decision for those in charge, but Penn State commit Jake Zembiec rounded out the list of finalists June 15:

The group of golden-armed athletes includes 16 competitors committed to programs in Power Five conferences, along with two quarterbacks who remain uncommitted. They represent 12 states and could eventually challenge each other for championships and awards at the collegiate level.

Elite 11 alumni include Heisman Trophy winners (Jameis Winston, Tim Tebow, Troy Smith and Matt Leinart) and No. 1 overall NFL draft picks (Winston, JaMarcus Russell, Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck).

While patience is required to see how this class' quarterbacks turn out, the event includes plenty of promising passers.

Elite 11 finals test several traits that ultimately add up to create a quarterback who can lead his team on and off the field. Players are pushed to improve—physically and mentally—throughout the week, while exhibiting quality decision-making habits and a desire to be coached.

Last summer, we witnessed California product Blake Barnett take top honors in Oregon. He is now approaching his first season at Alabama.

Based on what this latest crop of quarterback has accomplished in game action and camp settings, here's a look at how we believe the contenders stack up, with odds for each prospect claiming top honors in Beaverton.


The Favorites

Jacob Eason: 3-to-1

The 6'5", 205-pound passer continues to maintain his spot atop positional composite rankings for a reason. We compare him favorably to top-rated 2015 quarterback Josh Rosen, and he continues to validate the hype in Elite 11 settings.

Eason, who has thrown for 6,228 yards and 59 touchdowns through 25 high school games, per MaxPreps, displays outstanding precision. His detailed footwork and effortless release is exactly what coaches want to see from a top college prospect.


Shea Patterson: 7-to-2

Patterson separated himself from the pack—and just about everyone not named Jacob Eason—during a dominant junior campaign. He completed 65 percent of passes for 2,428 yards and 38 touchdowns, adding another three scores on the ground.

Ball security is among his most admirable traits, and expect that to shine throughout finals action. Patterson has thrown just seven interceptions on his past 422 attempts.

"Shea I would have invited last year as a sophomore," Elite 11 leader Trent Dilfer told Barton Simmons of 247Sports. "I was trying to break the rules last year and bring him as a sophomore."


Dwayne Haskins: 5-to-1

Some may view this as a slightly high placement for the New Jersey native, but he is tailor-made for this competition. Haskins, who stands 6'3", 198 pounds, is technically sound and maintains consistency in his approach, with little sign of drop-off during a day's work.

He also exudes leadership qualities, which should come in handy when Haskins attempts to lead a seven-on-seven squad of blue-chip recruits. His past two seasons featured 36 touchdown tosses and just 11 interceptions.

"I'm a game-changer whenever I have the ball in my hands, whether it's first down or third down," Haskins told Bleacher Report. "I'm going to get the job done. I don't make too many mistakes, and if I do make a mistake, there won't be one the next play. It's about making sure I capitalize on everything around me."


K.J. Costello: 11-to-2

The Southern California standout handled a significantly expanded role in 2014, when he nearly doubled his sophomore pass attempts. Costello completed 60 percent of his attempts for 3,123 yards (nearly 300 per game) and 23 touchdowns, per MaxPreps.

His ability to read defenses across different levels helps put him in solid position each rep. Costello might throw the prettiest deep ball in this class, and he'll have a chance to prove it in Beaverton.


Malik Henry: 6-to-1

Henry has some doubters to silence in the wake of news that he's transferring schools for the third straight season, especially amid rumors that there may have been some disconnect between him and members of the coaching staff. That's an aspect of the game that means a lot to Dilfer and Elite 11 folks, so you can bet they'll keep a close eye on his "coachability" at every turn.

Putting that aside, Henry has all the physical tools you look for from a stud quarterback recruit. Few can rival his pocket presence, and he grades out among the most accurate passers in this class.


Jarrett Guarantano: 7-to-1

Yet to spend a full high school season behind center, Guarantano lacks the game credibility that many fellow competitors bring into this event. However, a few looks at him provide the impression that this young man is special.

We scouted a 2014 game in which Guarantano was sacked nearly 10 times and under duress throughout, but he managed to keep his composure and make a few highlight plays despite a touch setting. That speaks volumes about his resolve, and Guarantano is a candidate for the strongest arm in camp.

"In terms of impressive workouts we've seen this year, from start to finish, he's probably at the top. He's always had the big arm and the physical build you look for at the position." Elite 11 coach Brian Stumpf told Bleacher Report at the New Jersey/New York Elite 11 regional camp.


Feleipe Franks: 15-to-2

The 6'5", 220-pound passer was the first player to pick up an invitation to the Elite 11 finals. Franks, who threw for 2,249 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior, is one of the strongest quarterbacks in this class.

His powerful arm is further enhanced by well-timed dimes that he delivers with frequency. Franks relies on his legs quite often against high school competition and is often on the move, so we're curious to see how he handles things in the pocket.


Brandon Peters: 8-to-1

His national recognition has steadily increased since an April pledge to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. Peters warrants the high profile, as he appears to be the Midwest's top passer in this class. 

He turned a lot of heads in Elite 11 preliminaries and carries some momentum into the finals, where Peters will match up quite well with his contemporaries in most categories. He drew comparisons from Harbaugh to a former Elite 11 finalist.

"He compared me to Andrew Luck," Peters told Bleacher Report. "It's a similar situation to what he had at Stanford, with Luck being the first quarterback recruit he brought in [with a full cycle]. He thinks I'm a really good fit for him at Michigan like Luck was for him there."


Brandon McIlwain: 9-to-1

McIlwain won't blow people away with his measurables, standing 6'0", but Elite 11 coaches continue to rave about his dedication. He dropped close to 20 pounds of extra weight since last year, transforming his physique in time for a strong 2015 stretch.

McIlwain collected 3,200 total yards and 38 touchdowns last season, and he looks very comfortable in the pocket despite a 2014 campaign that featured 1,100 rushing yards. His attitude could ultimately give him an edge over competitors with more impressive physical traits.

"Every meeting he was so locked in taking copious notes. He was so invested in the process," Dilfer told Simmons after Elite 11 semifinals. "We've had kids do that before and then stink it up on the field. And he was awesome on the field. So the combination of that, he's everything we're looking for in a kid."


Rest of the Pack

Shane Buechele: 10-to-1

Jake Zembiec: 11-to-1

Messiah deWeaver: 13-to-1

Nick Starkel: 14-to-1

Jawon Pass: 15-to-1

Dillon Sterling-Cole: 16-to-1

Patrick O'Brien: 18-to-1

Anthony Russo: 20-to-1

Jett Duffey: 22-to-1


Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Who Will Be Florida State's Breakout Offensive Star in 2015?

The Florida State Seminoles have sported some of the best offensive talent in college football over the course of their storied program's history. 

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson was joined by 247Sports' Josh Newberg to predict who will be FSU's breakout offensive star in 2015. 

Who will emerge on the Seminoles offense? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Richard Mullaney Transferring to Alabama a Superb Pickup for Tide's WR Depth

Transfer season is upon us, and Alabama landed one of college football's top free agents.

No, not Braxton Miller. Calm down, Alabama fans.

According to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, the Crimson Tide have landed former Oregon State wide receiver Richard Mullaney.

Mullaney confirmed the news on Twitter a short time after the report surfaced.

As a graduate transfer, Mullaney is eligible to play for head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin right away.

He finished second on the Beavers in receiving behind star Brandin Cooks as a sophomore, hauling in 52 passes for 788 yards and three touchdowns. He was limited by elbow injury last year but still managed to catch 18 passes for 216 yards and a score.

He's a tremendous pickup for the Crimson Tide.

Kiffin must replace his top three receivers from a year ago, including Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper. Is Mullaney capable of replicating Cooper's season that included 124 catches, 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns? 

No, but that's not what he's being asked to do.

After playing FBS football for three years in former head coach Mike Riley's system, Mullaney is—by far—the most experienced wide receiver on Alabama's roster. While most of the Crimson Tide wide receivers are comfortable with the speed of practice and have some snaps under their belts, nothing that comes Mullaney's way is going to surprise him.

At 6'3", 197 pounds, he towers over opposing defensive backs and can win his fair share of 50-50 balls. That's important, because Alabama's new quarterback—whoever wins the job—might need a reliable target such as Mullaney to bail him out when pressure gets in the backfield.

As Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated points out, he's as reliable as they come.

Plus, he's a solid insurance policy.

ArDarius Stewart and Robert Foster were tremendous in Alabama's spring game. Stewart had seven catches for 118 yards and a touchdown, while Foster reeled in six passes for 125 yards, according to stats released by Alabama.

Both of those players look like potential stars, but the absence of consistent big-time experience makes that far from a certainty.

Mullaney provides another option—one that Kiffin can especially use early in the season as that new quarterback acclimates to the starting role.

He doesn't have the track record of a superstar receiver, but that's not what Alabama is asking him to be. 

Under Kiffin, he'll be asked to be a reliable weapon the new quarterback can count on and help the younger wide receivers evolve into bigger roles in the program.

For that, he's a perfect fit.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Buy or Sell: Who Are the Legitimate Contenders for the 2015 Heisman Trophy?

University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won the 2015 Heisman Trophy, but he has now moved onto the NFL. The road to the trophy is wide-open with many great players in contention. 

Watch as Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer buy and sell possible Heisman contenders.

Who will win the Heisman this season? Check out the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 College Football Teams with Most Upside on Their Roster

The single defining thing about the offseason is that it breeds optimism. Everyone is undefeated, and there's potential in every player. For teams with great recruiting track records, the term "upside" is a popular buzz word. With that in mind, let's look at which programs are in great shape beyond the 2015 season. 

Of course, "upside" doesn't necessarily mean results. There's a big difference there. This isn't a list of teams that are guaranteed to win a national championship in the next three or four years. There are so many other factors beyond roster talent that go into a run like that. Rather, this is purely a group of teams whose recruiting efforts and early returns indicate the future is bright. 

Teams were compiled based on their average 247Sports composite recruiting rankings from 2013, '14 and '15. (Before going any further—yes, recruiting rankings matter. They may not be an exact science, but they do correlate with winning national championships and producing high draft picks.) Surprise—you're about to see a lot of college football blue bloods in the following slides. 

Additionally, the number of freshmen—redshirt and first-year players—who contributed in 2014 (courtesy of cfbstats.com and Ourlads) is taken into consideration, as well.

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How 300-Pound, 14-Year-Old Tru Thompson Earned 1st College Football Scholarship

There are cases where when a first name fits, it truly fits.

Introducing Tru Thompson. The next big thing. Literally, at 300 pounds and only 14 years old.

And the name, phonetically similar to his game, is true.

Last week, the young athlete from Griffin, Georgia, quickly made believers out of all of those older than him at a three-day Florida State camp. Thompson, a defensive tackle, competed with other defensive linemen and outshone a few offensive linemen in one-on-one drills—so much so that he left the camp with his first scholarship offer.

Never mind the fact that Thompson is a 2019 recruit. Forget that the babyfaced bruiser just finished his eighth-grade year a few days ago.

You should forget it, because the Florida State coaching staff did. It didn't take long for head coach Jimbo Fisher, defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins and the rest of the Seminoles' staff to realize Thompson wasn't the typical incoming freshman.

"To me, it was all about having fun, but you do what you've got to do," Thompson said. "I kept that in mind: It was a business trip. I was there to work hard and show what I had."

"Odell asked me how old he was, and I told him 14. Then he asked what grade [Tru] was going into, and I said ninth," added Alton Thompson, Tru's father. "They continued working him in and having him go against guards, then centers, then guards again."

Florida State assistant coaches later told the Thompsons to make sure not to leave camp without meeting with Fisher first—always a good sign in the recruiting world.



The name Tru: Different yet intriguing. Uncommon yet loaded with an aura of power. Alton Thompson said the idea of giving his son a unique name was always in his original plan.

"I wanted a unique name for him when he was in his mother's belly," Alton said. "I saw 'True' and said, 'Let's just drop the E.' My thoughts were if he ever became famous, he'd have a unique name."

As the rising freshman continues to get better and becomes more established as a name in college football recruiting, the elder Thompson's idea is working itself out. Few will forget the first name, and if all works as planned, few will forget how well he plays as a defensive tackle, too.

Tru measured in at Florida State at 6'0" and 300 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds—faster than many linemen and some linebackers older than him. He had the measurables, particularly with his massive feet. Tru wears size 18 shoes.

"Jimbo made a comment about his feet," Alton said. "He asked if he went skiing with those things."

Testing often reveals a player's athleticism. Tru killed any skepticism when he lined up in drills against offensive linemen. Originally, he lined up against players his age, but when Haggins and Seminoles offensive line coach Rick Trickett watched him dominate, they decided to promote him to the older group.

"When he got put in with the big guys, Odell was impressed with what he saw," Alton Thompson said. "He would get his helmet knocked off and would still keep going. It didn't matter that his helmet was knocked off. I think they were impressed with his motor going against kids going to the 11th and 12th grade."

There was more to it, though. Tru showed explosiveness, quickness and athleticism for a guy his size. He offered a Jekyll-and-Hyde approach where he'd be the mild-mannered athlete away from drills but the overly determined competitor with ice in his veins during the action. Not once did the spotlight get too big for him, something the coaches loved to see.

"I really wasn't that nervous," Tru said. "If anything, I was amazed at the indoor facility. I was just looking at it. I'd never been there before, and [Florida State] is one of my favorite schools.

"I just kept saying that I've done this before; it's just football. It doesn't matter what age you are. I know I'll be playing against seniors next year. I know some of those guys are really tough."

And Tru showed he was just as tough. He also received an unforgettable compliment.

"Odell told me, 'I'm not retiring until I get to coach him,'" Alton said.


Improving with YouTube

When he's not playing football, Thompson likes to read, play video games and hang out with friends. At 14 years old, however, he may have found the secret to success for the good of his future.

He's the kind of player who is a learn-on-the-job type of individual, but when he's away from the field, he uses social media to his advantage.

While players his age are using YouTube to watch funny videos or post video selfies, Thompson is finding videos of professional athletes and using those as instructional videos for improving his technique and speed. Thompson said he's viewed videos of some of the best NFL defensive tackles, including Ndamukong Suh (Miami Dolphins), Gerald McCoy (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Geno Atkins (Cincinnati Bengals) and others.

"If I really want to get in extra study time or if a coach taught me something in practice that I'm not getting, I'll try to find the videos so I can slow it down for myself," Thompson said. "I look at a lot of D-tackles. Sometimes, passing drills are good to look at with D-ends, too. You learn quickness off the ball; a lot of D-ends are good pass rushers."

Using social media for personal improvement may come off as refreshing to some, but for Alton Thompson, it isn't anything new. As the son of educators, Tru has been taught to use his resources to better himself. Academically, he's an A-B student who is outstanding at math. Tru will enter high school studying math from the 10th-grade level, as he already has a high school credit in the subject.

It also helps that Tru is a fast learner. And because of it, he's not only going to benefit academically but athletically, as well.

"I knew myself being a previous coach of football that he was good," Alton said. "But I didn't know how good he was. I know he's always wanting to get better, and he's always studying."


The immediate future

Thompson comes from a football background. His dad was an all-purpose back in high school, and he played during his stint in the Marines. 

Thompson always has been decent against rec-league competition, but the Florida State camp proved to be the ultimate gauge of just how good he was.

He passed. With flying colors. But now what?

"I'm happy I got the offer," he said, "but now, it's back to working out. Nothing much has changed. All I wanted to do when I left the camp was work out when I got back to Griffin."

At 14, Thompson bench presses his weight and squats 515. He holds a school record in the squat—and he's yet to play a down in a high school uniform.

Thompson has the Florida State offer, but the question now is which school will be the second to offer. And the third. And the fourth and fifth.

The idea of having multiple offers from which to choose hasn't hit Thompson yet, and it's something he's not yet thinking about. Right now, he's just enjoying the game of football.

Everything else that comes with it happens to be a luxury.

"I let him go because he grew up a Florida State fan, and I wanted to let him be seen," Alton said. "If he had something, I thought maybe they'd feel he'd be worth looking at later. I wasn't expecting any of this."

The elder Thompson continued: "He's the truth. When he's out there, he's as humble a kid as there is, a 'yes, sir' or 'no, sir' kind of kid. But when he gets on the field, he's a totally different animal. It's like he's a transformed person."

And the best part about it all: He still has four years of high school to get even better.

"I can't wait for college," Tru said.


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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Should Florida Fans Worry About Outside the Lines' Discipline Report?

It's the offseason, and that means it's time for scandal.

Florida and Florida State were the subjects of a mini-scandal on Sunday morning, when ESPN's Outside the Lines featured the two schools as the two centerpieces of its larger investigation into the correlation of player discipline and how local law enforcement treats athletes.

In Florida's case, author and investigative reporter Paula Lavigne discovered that 80 Florida football and men's basketball players were named as suspects in more than 100 crimes between 2009-2014, which amounts to 24 percent of the rosters of those sports during the six-year span.

Is that concerning?


But most of these incidents were already known by the public, and those discipline issues were addressed by former head coach Will Muschamp

It was widely known that Florida was the poster child of bad behavior under former head coach Urban Meyer. As Matt Hayes of Sporting News pointed out in his 2012 feature on how Meyer "broke" the Gators, at least 30 football players were arrested under Meyer's watch from 2005-2010.

Janoris Jenkins' second run-in with the law came in January 2011 shortly after Muschamp was hired as Meyer's replacement in Gainesville. Since that time, Muschamp cleaned up the program.  

When quarterback Treon Harris was implicated in a sexual assault claim (which was later withdrawn) in October of last year, player discipline no longer was synonymous with the Florida program. As Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel pointed out, at the time the Harris new broke, only one Gator had been arrested in the prior 15 months.

When you're running an organization of 85 scholarship 18-22-year-olds, not including walk-ons, 15 months with only one incident is a pretty solid record.

Cleaning up the program is something that Muschamp was particularly proud of, and he mentioned it specifically in the press conference that announced his dismissal in November 2014.

I think that goes back to recruiting, you know, when you make decisions in the recruiting process, the type of young men you want in your locker room and the type of person you want on your football team and the type of individuals you want to represent the University of Florida. That it's an inexact science from the standpoint of the limited amount of contacts we have off campus, but doing your due diligence as a coach and assistant coach to make sure you have outlined for your assistants the type of young man you want in the program and a type of guy ‑‑ if a guy has issues as a 10th and 11th grader, he's probably going to have them as a freshman in college. We have tried to steer clear of that and move forward with the right kind of guy and I think this locker room has got that.

His boss, athletics director Jeremy Foley, even commented on Muschamp's ability to build a culture off the field while he was firing him.

"On a personal level I will miss working with Will every day," Foley said during the dismissal press conference. "He represents everything that is right about college athletics. That's not lip service; that's the flat-out truth. The environment inside our building is the best it's ever been because of Will."

Muschamp may have left new head coach Jim McElwain some offensive line issues to deal with—which early departures compounded—but the new man in charge of the program knows and appreciates the work Muschamp did off the field.

"Will and his staff did an outstanding job building the culture while getting some really good players," McElwain said at SEC spring meetings last month in Destin, Florida.

Florida has nothing to worry about regarding player discipline. 

From a public-perception standpoint, it's never a good thing to have one of the preeminent sports investigative outlets featuring the program in a negative light. And surely, fans and perhaps even coaches on the recruiting trail will use it against the Gators. 

But this has already been combed over time and time again.

The report from Outside the Lines meant to illustrate how some schools do have lingering discipline problems that are either overlooked by local law enforcement or cleverly defended by a local lawyer who's cozy with the athletic department.

That's not ideal because people who break the law—whether they're athletes or not—should be subject to the same legal process that applies to everybody else.

It's not exactly breaking news either.

Florida had—past tense—had a discipline problem and was borderline out of control. The report that aired on Sunday and the subsequent story that appeared online are nothing to worry about. Muschamp didn't produce on the field, but he cleaned up the program off of it.

Florida is better off because of him.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football: 10 Best Players in Crimson Tide's History

With a championship legacy that stretches all the way back to the early days of college football, the Alabama Crimson Tide have fielded superstar players for more than a century.

Few programs can compare their All-American totals to the one enjoyed by Alabama, which has also had plenty of players who took home individual awards for excellence at their respective positions. 

As much as overall team success has been the ultimate goal for the Tide's program, it can boast some of the best players in the sport's history.

That's what makes distilling all the decades of Alabama history into one top-10 list of all-time best players so difficult. Different eras yield different kinds of stats. Narrowing down a group of more than 100 All-Americans means plenty of great players aren't going to make the cut.

School records, All-American selections, championships and individual awards are what determined the following top-10 list. It's far from an exact science, so there is plenty of room for debate and your own personal rankings in the comments below.

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What the Big Ten's Recruiting Rise Means for College Football

Three years ago, Urban Meyer took the podium at Big Ten media day for the first time as Ohio State's head coach.

In retrospect, his words might wind up being prophetic.

Meyer was both a stranger and expected savior—not just for a Buckeyes team coming off its first losing season in 23 years, but a conference that was struggling to maintain national relevance. A two-time national champion at Florida, Meyer had played a key role in turning the SEC into the country's premier conference.

And on that July 2012 afternoon in Chicago, reporters wanted to know how Meyer's new league could do the same.

"The SEC, the last few years, is kind of the kingpin with the success they've had in the BCS," Meyer said in response to a question about the perception of the Big Ten. "The one thing about college football, it's very cyclical. And the Big Ten for many, many years was without question the No. 1 conference in America. Right now, we're not, but there's a lot of coaches and players right now very intent on making it the best conference in America."

Some of the coaches have since changed and the Big Ten isn't quite there yet, but if the past six months have shown anything, it's that Meyer was offering more than just coachspeak at the time.

As first pointed out by Rivals.com recruiting analyst Marc Givler on Twitter, recent recruiting rankings prove as much, with the Big Ten laying claim to eight of the top 30 classes in Rivals' team rankings for the 2016 class.

The Big Ten's big showing holds true for the 247Sports.com composite rankings as well, where eight teams are also ranked in the top 30, including four in the top 14.

For comparison's sake, the Big Ten possessed just three top-30 classes in 2015, four in 2014, three in 2013 and two in 2012. In 2011, Ohio State's last pre-Meyer recruiting class, four Big Ten teams ranked in 247Sports' top 30, three of which were ranked 16th or lower with the Buckeyes touting the highest-ranked class in the league at No. 7.

There's still more than seven months to go until national signing day, but should the Big Ten maintain its momentum, 2016 could mark the conference's most impressive recruiting haul since 247Sports began keeping track of recruiting rankings in 1999.

Recruiting and on-field performance have always shared a reciprocal relationship, as it's hard to win without recruiting quality players and it's hard to recruit quality players without winning.

It's not quite like asking whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first, as wins on the field don't always result in victories on the recruiting trail, but it's hard to ignore the success that a strong recruiting showing can bring.

For proof, one must look no further than the Buckeyes, who bounced back from their losing campaign in 2011 to reel off a 38-3 record in their first three years under Meyer, including last season's run to the national championship.

It's not a coincidence that Ohio State's first three classes under Meyer each ranked in the nation's top five, something that the three-time national champion head coach admitted he takes note of on a yearly basis.

"We do pay attention to that," Meyer said in 2013. "There is a correlation between how teams do, where your team is ranked, recruiting class is ranked."

If that's true—and further evidence presented by AthlonSports' Braden Gall would suggest it is—then the Big Ten could be in line for a historic run.

Not only are Ohio State (No. 2), Michigan State (No. 6), Penn State (No. 12), Michigan (No. 14), Minnesota (No. 26), Maryland (No. 27), Nebraska (No. 28) and Northwestern (No. 30) all on pace to add significant talent to their respective rosters next winter, but the reputation of the once-downtrodden league has already begun to shift.

The Buckeyes' run through the College Football Playoff has obviously played a big role in that process, which has also been aided by the Wolverines' hiring of Jim Harbaugh and major bowl wins for both the Spartans and Wisconsin in the past year.

Add in bowl wins for Rutgers and Penn State in 2014, and it appears the Big Ten's recent recruiting rise could help create a perfect storm of sustained success.

"There was a perception out there," Meyer said this past spring. "I’m a believer that there’s only one way to eliminate perception, and that’s to get better. I think Michigan State has done a lot to help the Big Ten Conference. They won the Rose Bowl the year before and then they won a big bowl game this year.

"I think Ohio State’s done our share. We did not win a bowl game [in 2013]. Wisconsin beating Auburn. Obviously it’s a one-year cycle and we've got to do this for a while, where the SEC had a seven-year cycle going. So there’s a lot of pressure on the Big Ten to keep it rolling because it certainly did help change the perception."

As Meyer mentioned, his new conference has still yet to recreate the magic that his old one did, when four SEC programs won every national title from 2006-2012.

But 2014 was certainly a start, and if the recruiting rankings are any indication, it could be the start of something special as the Big Ten continues to close the gap on the league that is still considered the country's best.

The Big Ten and the SEC? Comparisons between the two don't seem as laughable as they did just three years ago—especially not to the head coach who may have helped jump-start a dynasty in each.

"Oh, very comparable," Meyer said this spring of the Big Ten and SEC. "I think [the Big Ten East Division] is kind of ridiculous right now as far as the quality of teams in it. And you can see how they did in bowl games.

"And the future too, I see a bunch of good recruiting going on on our side of the conference as well."

In more ways than one, Meyer's not alone.


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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Opening 2015: Breaking Down Each Top-25 Class' Commits, Targets in Beaverton

An expansive collection of elite college football recruits invade Beaverton, Oregon, in July for The Opening, an annual prospect showcase held at Nike's world headquarters. The action, which begins July 5 with Elite 11 finals, features one-on-one showdowns, battles between linemen and a star-studded seven-on-seven tournament.

Plenty of collegiate programs will follow the competition closely, as many committed players are set to test their skills. Meanwhile, recruits who remain undecided have an opportunity to further entice teams seven months shy of national signing day.

Here's a look at athletes on the radar for each squad currently listed among the top 25 in 247Sports' composite class rankings.

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Auburn vs. Alabama: Who Will Have a Better 2015 Season?

The 2015 Iron Bowl may be months away, but that doesn't mean the speculation can't begin. Alabama and Auburn will square off, and one team will earn the state's bragging rights. 

Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee joined Stephen Nelson to discuss which team is primed to win the big game.

Who will win the 2015 Iron Bowl? Check out the video and let us know!    

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Auburn Football: How Tigers Can Win with a Running Back-by-Committee Approach

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn might not know that old Black Eyed Peas song "Let's Get It Started," but make no mistake, he lives it.

During the first two years of his tenure as Auburn's head coach, his Tigers have kept runnin' and runnin', runnin' and runnin'.

Tre Mason won the No. 1 tailback spot early in the 2013 season and ripped off 1,816 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns en route to the SEC rushing crown and a trip to New York City as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. 

A year later, the man he beat out—Cameron Artis-Payne—dashed for 1,608 yards and 13 touchdowns, also leading the SEC in rushing.

During his nine years as a college head or assistant coach, Malzahn has produced 12, 1,000-yard rushers.

Who's next?

It could be a combination of talented rushers.

Junior college transfer Jovon Robinson, sophomore "Roc" Thomas, redshirt sophomore Peyton Barber and true freshman Kerryon Johnson will all compete for the top spot on the depth chart during fall camp.

Does one running back need to emerge? 

In a perfect world for Auburn, yes, because Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee would ideally like to keep one No. 1 tailback in for entire drives so that the Tigers don't have to substitute and can operate at a high tempo.

It's not a requirement for Auburn to have a true No. 1, though.

At 6'0", 230 pounds, Robinson has everything Malzahn wants in an inside running back—something that Mason and Artis-Payne both were. He was an absolute monster two years ago at Georgia Military College, rushing for 2,387 yards and 34 touchdowns, setting national junior college rushing records in the process. 

He's already getting a considerable amount of hype. He landed on Phil Steele's preseason fourth-team All-SEC team without having so much as one FBS carry under his belt. Who's alongside Robinson? Missouri's Russell Hansbrough, who rushed for 1,084 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago.

Not bad company to keep.

What's more, he proved this spring that he has picked up his pass-protection responsibilities well.

"If he knows who he's getting, he does a really nice job there," running backs coach Tim Horton said, according to Joel A. Erickson of AL.com. "From a pass protection standpoint, I think Jovon's been the most efficient and effective."

From a pure running perspective, though, Thomas might have an edge heading into fall camp. 

The 5'10", 203-pound former "Mr. Football" in the state of Alabama was known primarily as a slasher and changeup back as a true freshman. A funny thing happened in the spring game, though—he went north/south much more than he did as a true freshman and finished the day with 69 yards and two scores, according to stats released by the school.

"I know Coach (Tim) Horton's been working real hard about those guys just making one cut and getting their pads low and get some extra yards. I think they've improved throughout the spring in that area," Malzahn said, according to Auburn's postgame quotes.

That's huge for Thomas and enormous for the Tigers, because if Thomas can anticipate and hit those holes on time, his speed and shiftiness will allow him to turn those three-yard gains into eight-yard gains and more.

So what should Auburn do?

Play both of them at the same time if Malzahn can use them both to his advantage.

Thomas can be used in a variety of ways, including as an edge threat on inverse veer plays and read-option plays where quarterback Jeremy Johnson adds another element to rushing attack, can be a very dangerous slot receiver and go inside when needed.

Robinson can line up as the true tailback with Thomas motioning in at times or providing the option on jet sweeps.

The two primary contenders for the running back job at Auburn are vastly different players, much like Mason and Artis-Payne differed from former Tiger and jet sweep specialist Corey Grant. So use them both—give Thomas more true No. 1 running back responsibilities than Grant got.

If that happens, Barber and Johnson can battle it out for backup roles behind the duo, everybody can stay fresh and Auburn's rushing attack won't miss a beat.

In an ideal world, sure, Auburn would like to have a true No. 1 running back; but since both Thomas and Robinson are capable of handling the load while excelling in slightly different roles, the Tigers could benefit from both being on the field at the same time.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tale of the Tape: Will Treon Harris or Will Grier Win Florida's Starting QB Job?

The Florida Gators have been searching for a solid quarterback for the past few years, and the search rages on as Treon Harris and Will Grier are battling it out for the starting nod. 

Bleacher Report's College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee joins Stephen Nelson as they discuss who will win the starting QB position. 

Who will win the job? Check out the video and let us know! 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Mississippi State's Dan Mullen Calls out Jim Harbaugh and Satellite Camps

Several SEC coaches have already voiced their displeasure with satellite camps this offseason, but Mississippi State's Dan Mullen took it a step further on Monday night by directly calling out the man responsible for the conference's frustrations—Michigan's Jim Harbaugh.

Mullen was asked to share his thoughts on the satellite camp debate during an interview on SuperTalk Mississippi, and the Mississippi State coach didn't hold back in his criticisms of Harbaugh:

"The satellite camps, they're recruiting camps," Mullen said. "Basically it's a recruiting thing and a recruiting fair that they're doing. I'd imagine, Jim Harbaugh, if he's going to have a camp, would want to coach the kids in Michigan—the young kids in Michigan—maybe how to be better football players."

The Bulldogs head coach, whose team beat Michigan by a score of 52-14 in the 2011 Gator Bowl, said he was a fan of bringing young players onto the Mississippi State campus and teaching them football instead of the satellite camps.

"I'm sure they have [a camp on Michigan's campus]," Mullen said. "So why do they need one all over the place? The only purpose for it is recruiting. I don't think it's the right purpose for camps.

"We've probably had 1,000 kids on campus in camps. There's probably a couple guys who will be SEC players out of that group. There's a lot of guys learning a lot of football. That's our job as coaches to promote the game and help people be better football players, not just to go out and go recruit."

According to MLive.com's Brendan F. Quinn, Michigan is holding two such camps in Ann Arbor this week—"Exposure U" and the "Aerial Assault" quarterback camp.

Harbaugh received plenty of attention earlier this year, during the early stages of this year's satellite camp debate, by "cordially" inviting every college coach in the country to Michigan's "Exposure U."

The SEC has banned coaches from hosting camps outside of a 50-mile radius from their campuses.

According to Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee, the conference announced last month it would introduce national legislation that mirrors its own rule on satellite camps. If the legislation is not adopted, the SEC will lift its ban on satellite camps for next season.

SEC coaches' complaints over satellite camps are nothing new, as schools such as Notre Dame and Penn State have entered the conference's footprint to hold camps over the last few seasons. 

But the new Michigan coach has become the face of the frustration for the SEC because of his quick success with the camps—and perhaps that not-so-subtle jab in the invitation to attend "Exposure U."

Harbaugh hosted satellite camps in Prattville, Alabama, and Tampa, Florida, as part of Michigan's "Summer Swarm" Tour earlier this month, which netted several new commitments for the Wolverines.

Prattville, which is also home to 3-star Michigan fullback commitment Kingston Davis, is 176 miles from Mississippi State's campus and much closer to those of Alabama's Nick Saban and Auburn's Gus Malzahn. Both coaches have also stated their concerns with satellite camps.

But no one from the SEC had directly called out Harbaugh by name until Monday night, when Mullen added even more fuel to what has been a nationwide fire this offseason.

And like Michigan's recent hot streak in recruiting, this fire doesn't look like it's cooling down anytime soon.


Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

Justin Ferguson is an on-call college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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Who Is the Most Versatile Player on LSU's Roster in 2015?

LSU has an incredible amount of talent on their roster heading into next season, and the Tigers are looking to contend for an SEC title with this deep group in 2015. 

Watch as Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder predicts who will be the most versatile player for LSU next season.

Who do you think will be the do-it-all player for the Tigers next year? Check out the video and let us know!

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