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Tray Bishop to Auburn: Tigers Land 4-Star Athlete Prospect

Tray Bishop is the proverbial jack-of-all-trades, and he'll be taking his diverse skill set to Auburn after committing to the Tigers on Monday, per Chad Simmons of Scout.com. 

"My final decision was made last week, and it came down to the relationship with the coaches and the atmosphere at Auburn," Bishop said to Simmons. "The offense they run made it easier for me to make my decision because it is similar to ours."

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Bishop is the No. 3 athlete and the No. 148 player overall in the 2017 recruiting class. He's also the 18th-best player in Georgia.

The scholarship offers have been pouring in for Bishop, with seven SEC schools and a variety of other major programs taking the step, per 247Sports. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn attempted to go the extra mile, both figuratively and literally, driving Bishop around in his BMW, per Wesley Sinor of AL.com:

Bishop may be listed as an athlete, but he might already have a position in mind for when he eventually heads to Auburn.

"Right now, how they're talking, it's [to play] the quarterback position," he said of the Tigers coaching staff in February, per Drew Champlin of AL.com. "Most schools have offered me as an athlete, but with Auburn, I can see myself playing quarterback at their school for the simple fact that the offense they run is similar to the offense we run."

Not only has Malzahn showed an affinity for mobile quarterbacks, but he has also used them to great success at the school. He was Auburn's offensive coordinator when the team won the national championship with Cam Newton in the 2010 season, and he helped get the Tigers to a national title game with Nick Marshall at quarterback in the 2013 season.

While watching highlights of Bishop, one could easily see him moving seamlessly into the Auburn offense:

At most schools, Bishop probably wouldn't work as a quarterback. Malzahn did a great job of masking Marshall's failings as a passer, and he could easily do the same for Bishop. Accuracy will obviously be a key factor in his potential success, but Marshall was a 60.2 percent passer in his two years with the Tigers.

Positioning Bishop at quarterback in the depth chart would also make sense, given Sean White is heading into his sophomore season. White was the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the 2014 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He also threw for 1,167 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions as a freshman.

By the time White is preparing to leave Auburn, Bishop will have had time to work on some of his issues as a passer and ideally improved to an extent he can help the Tigers.

Having White will also be a nice luxury in that the staff will have time to determine whether Bishop's future lies at quarterback. Considering his combination of speed and athleticism, he could easily transition to wide receiver or a role in the secondary.

As long as Auburn can settle on one position for Bishop relatively early, thus ensuring he gets the coaching specialization he needs as soon as possible, he should become an impact player for the Tigers in a few years.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Multiple Washington State Football Players Accused of Assault

Several Washington State football players are at the center of an assault investigation after one student suffered a fractured jaw and another was knocked unconscious at a party early Saturday morning.

Chad Sokol of the Spokesman-Review reported on the incident, which allegedly featured an undisclosed number of football players. None of the players involved have been identified.

Alex Rodriguez, a 21-year-old student at WSU, needed surgery to repair his jaw after the melee.

The student who was knocked unconscious, who did not publicly identify himself, said the players were being destructive and shooting fireworks among the crowd. He then asked them to leave, at which point he was allegedly attacked.

"All I remember is telling them to leave multiple times," the student told Sokol. "I came to on the ground with police and EMTs over me."

Video of the altercation, captured on Snapchat by an attendee of the party, has made its way online:

Washington State Associate Director of Athletics Bill Stevens said the school was aware of the incident. However, coaches did not comment, and Stevens called it "a team matter."

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B/R Recruiting Notebook: 4-Star DB Talks Busy Week; New LSU Commit Eyeing 5-Star

The weekend was productive for North Carolina State, TroyMississippi State and Virginia Tech. Collectively, the four schools landed 14 commitments between Friday and Sunday.

It's that time of year where we see commitments in bunches around the country. As we prepare for the month of August, more athletes are looking to solidify their college futures before the start of their senior seasons. Look for several big names to make verbal commitments in the near future.

Recruiting is hot, and here are a few updates from the 2017 class.


Busy week of traveling for 4-star JKP

Ohio State increased its lead in the 247Sports recruiting composite team rankings after landing 4-star defensive end Chase Young during its Friday Night Lights camp and 4-star cornerback Amir Riep the day after.

The Buckeyes have 16 commits and are hoping to add to the class with Detroit 4-star safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell. The Cass Technical High School standout was in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend for the Friday event and gave the trip high marks.

"It was great. I spent time with all the coaches and all my [Cass Tech] alumni brothers like Mike Weber, Damon Webb and Josh Alabi," Kelly-Powell said. "We watched some film, played games and watched the camp. The stands were filled with a bunch of fans wanting all the recruits to commit."

The Ohio State trip capped a busy week for Kelly-Powell, a top-20 safety and top-300 player overall in the 2017 class. He visited Kentucky last Sunday, Alabama on Monday, Auburn on Tuesday, Tennessee on Wednesday and Thursday and Missouri on Saturday.

In addition to Ohio State, the trip to Auburn, Kelly-Powell said, was one that impressed. The 6'0", 175-pound defensive back described the visit as "amazing."

"I'd never got a chance to really see the campus," Kelly-Powell said. "The campus is pretty cool. The Heisman statues on campus was real cool. The dorm rooms there are like apartments. I had a lot of fun, and I got to talk to the coaches and see the team in a relaxed environment."

Kelly-Powell has 42 reported offers and said he's still "taking everything day by day" with his process. He doesn't plan on making any major decisions soon and added he's using this time to start weeding out schools.


New LSU cornerback commit targeting 5-star

LSU won a big recruiting battle Sunday when Port Arthur, Texas, 4-star cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. gave the Tigers his verbal commitment. A Texas A&M legacy, Vincent chose LSU over offers from the Aggies, TCU, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn and others.

Vincent was in Baton Rouge over the weekend for an LSU picnic catered to some of the program's top targets. He made the trip as a silent LSU pledge and later made his commitment public Sunday evening by way of a Campus Insiders video.

Vincent said the "home feeling" received on the visits played a role in his decision. He also credited LSU's history of producing solid defensive backs. Lastly, Vincent said his decision was a "gut feeling."

"It was really tough but really fun knowing you can go wherever you want in the country," said Vincent, a 5'11", 170-pound cornerback who has 32 reported offers.

Combined with the commitment of 3-star offensive tackle Seth Stewart on Saturday, LSU now has 17 commitments in its 2017 class. Vincent said he hopes to bring in pledge No. 18 in a fellow Texan who would be a huge get for the LSU secondary.

"Jeffrey Okudah," Vincent said, referring to the 5-star defensive back with 34 reported offers. "I feel that we have the same mindset. He's a leader and is focused on the bigger picture, and that's winning and making the people around him better."


Time it takes for Jeudy to impress: 70 seconds

Pompano Beach, Florida, 4-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy gave the 32 schools that reportedly offered him scholarships yet another reason why his every move in recruiting is important.

Over the weekend, Jeudy posted a 70-second video on Twitter showcasing his speed, acceleration, pass-catching ability and, perhaps most importantly, his route running. Entering Monday morning, the video had more than 1,400 retweets and more than 1,900 likes.

Alabama is the school to watch for Jeudy. Per his 247Sports Crystal Ball, Alabama is a heavy favorite in the recruiting race, but in-state schools Florida, Miami and Florida State will be doing their parts to sell Jeudy before national signing day. On Friday, Jeudy dominated at Florida's Friday Night Lights camp, according to 247Sports' Luke Stampini.

At 6'1", 177 pounds, Jeudy is ranked the No. 6 receiver and No. 35 overall player in the 2017 class. He was a major contributor for Vapor Speed, the team that won the seven-on-seven championship at The Opening.


16 to choose from for 4-star offensive lineman Banks

It's game-on for 4-star offensive lineman Aaron Banks.

The El Cerrito, California, standout—who, at 6'7" and 344 pounds, can play tackle or guard at the next level—nearly trimmed his list of schools in half Sunday evening. Banks, who has 29 reported offers, announced a top 16 on Twitter.

Of the 16 schools, half of them represent the Pac-12: Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Washington. The SEC is represented by Arkansas, Florida and Vanderbilt, and the Big Ten is represented by Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Miami and Notre Dame also made Banks' cut.

Banks' 247Sports profile has USC, Michigan and Oregon as three schools "warm" on his list. Notre Dame is the latest school to offer.


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

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Big 12 2016 Betting Preview: Sooners Odds Favorites to Win Weaker Conference

Still playing without a conference championship game, the Oklahoma Sooners head into the 2016 season looking to build off their first College Football Playoff appearance in school history.

The Sooners will do so as strong -140 betting favorites (bet $140 to win $100) to win the Big 12 again at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark, while some of the conference’s top title contenders from the recent past are expected to take a step back.

Led by one of the Heisman Trophy odds favorites in quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma should be primed for another strong year, especially with teams like the TCU Horned Frogs and Baylor Bears losing key personnel from a year ago.

While he was not a Heisman finalist last season, Mayfield still finished fourth in the voting after throwing for 3,700 yards with 36 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his first year at the school. Mayfield started his college career as a freshman with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are tied as the +500 second choice to win the Big 12 on the college football futures and tied TCU for second place in the conference last season. The Cowboys started last year at 10-0 before losing their last three games by double digits to the Bears and Sooners in Big 12 play, then the Ole Miss Rebels in the Sugar Bowl to close out the campaign.

The Horned Frogs are also +500 and no longer have electric quarterback Trevone Boykin under center, leaving head coach Gary Patterson with a tough decision to make before their season opener. Either transfer Kenny Hill from the Texas A&M Aggies or sophomore Foster Sawyer is expected to take over for the departed Boykin.

The Texas Longhorns (+750) are a team to watch in head coach Charlie Strong’s third year at the helm. Strong has yet to post a winning record in his first two years in Austin, but the talent aggregated from his recent recruiting classes should be as good as any team in the conference.

Meanwhile, Baylor (+800) has gone through some major turmoil this offseason following the firing of head coach Art Briles due to player misconduct. The Bears would likely be among the favorites to win the Big 12 this year if not for the scandal that also saw school president Ken Starr and athletics director Ian McCaw lose their jobs.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

SEC Football: Bold Predictions for 2016 Fall Camp

College football fall camp is just around the corner, which means many of the position battles around the SEC will begin to come into focus before we know it.

Which position battles will be settled? Which will linger? What other storylines will emerge during fall camp?

Based on history, talent, scheme and trajectory, let's walk through some bold predictions for SEC fall camp.

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B/R Recruiting CFB 200: Top Athletes of 2017 Class

After thorough study using specific scoring criteria, Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analysts Damon SaylesSanjay Kirpalani and Tyler Donohue have graded the top 200 players in the 247Sports composite rankings and provided in-depth analysis on each young athlete. Bleacher Report will run a position-by-position breakdown series of the best college football recruits in the class of 2017. Here we present the Top Athletes.


The success of two-way standouts such as UCLA's Myles Jack and USC's Adoree' Jackson in recent years continues to cast a light on prospects who can provide options across the field. Position-versatile prospects are perennially among the most prized players of each recruiting cycle.

That remains the case in this push toward national signing day 2017, as coaches across college football haven't shied away from targeting athletes who've yet to land a specific positional label. Some may arrive on campus working with receivers before stepping into the spotlight at defensive back and vice versa.

An impressive collection of 2017 playmakers remain in the "athletes" mix, not quite relegated to a singular segment of recruiting rankings. Though that could change as things progress—three such top-200 prospects recently received a position tag—this stretch of summer presents an opportune time to analyze each talent.

Our review included an assessment of athletes based on criteria of the position we believe they project strongest among collegiate competition. Here's a glimpse at these promising players, including the latest developments in their respective recruiting process.


Player order and star ratings based on 247Sports' composite rankings through July 21. Unless otherwise noted, player stats are courtesy of 247Sports. Quotes and information acquired firsthand by the authors. 

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Tennessee Football: Biggest Storylines Heading into Fall Camp

The three players who represented the Tennessee football program at SEC media days a couple of weeks back handled the questions from the media contingent like old pros.

By now, quarterback Joshua Dobbs, outside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and cornerback Cameron Sutton are that. They're seasoned veterans, not only in front of the cameras, but also comfortable in the second skin of the orange and white uniforms.

Yes, they said, they know about the expectations and embrace them. No, they didn't want to respond to Florida's annual trash-talking games. Yes, they're more comfortable as leaders in this program because they know what to expect from each other and the coaching staff. No, they don't anticipate a letdown.

There were few surprises when the Vols spoke. Will there be any once they get on the field?

For the first time in nearly a decade, it'll be a stunner if UT isn't good. With so much talent, depth and experience—not to mention potentially dynamic players in important positions—the Vols should contend this year, at least for the SEC East title.

If they don't, they'll fall short of the buzz brewing on Rocky Top that is flowing like Jack Daniel's on a Neyland Stadium football Saturday.

With fall drills less than a week away now, expected to start on Aug. 1, there are several storylines UT fans need to pay close attention to once the players hit the field. Let's take a look at some of the important pressure points that need addressing in order for the Vols to meet their massive expectations.

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Kary Vincent to LSU: Tigers Land 4-Star CB Prospect

The LSU Tigers bolstered their future secondary Sunday, securing a commitment from highly touted cornerback recruit Kary Vincent Jr.

Vincent announced his decision in a video on Campus Insiders:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, the 4-star prospect is the No. 17 cornerback, No. 18 player from Texas and No. 122 prospect in the 2017 recruiting class.

Vincent was pursued heavily by in-state schools such as TCU, Texas A&M and Texas throughout his recruitment but also received interest from other high-profile programs across the nation such as Oregon, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida, per 247Sports.

The Port Arthur, Texas, native had no shortage of options, and he took a methodical approach when deciding, according to Andrew Nemec of the Oregonian:

I research and analyze things so when it comes down to it I'll be in a great position with who I visit. I won't waste any coaches' time, just like I wouldn't want them to waste mine. I'm very grateful for the offers I have. This summer, I plan on putting everything out and continuing my analysis of the schools I want to look into further.

After doing his homework on all the schools that courted him over the past year, Vincent came to the decision that LSU represents the best fit for him.

Vincent has the physical tools to be a star at the collegiate level. It starts with his bloodline, as his father was a wide receiver at Texas A&M.

Although the younger Vincent decided to become a force on the defensive side, he is still dangerous with the ball in his hands, as he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a high school junior in addition to intercepting three passes, per MaxPreps.

Vincent also has decent size for a defensive back at 5'11" and 170 pounds, which should allow him to avoid getting pushed around by big, physical receivers in the college game.

In addition, Vincent will enter the college ranks with the benefit of having played against a high level of competition in Texas.

There figures to be an adjustment period, especially since corners have to deal with some uptempo, prolific passing attacks in the SEC, but Vincent should be prepared to make the leap.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Adarius Lemons to Florida: Gators Land 4-Star RB Prospect

The Florida Gators reportedly added some firepower to their future backfield on Sunday when running back recruit Adarius Lemons joined their 2017 class.     

Derek Tyson of ESPN and Blake Alderman of Rivals reported the news.

Lemons is a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and the No. 139 overall player, No. 8 running back and No. 27 recruit from the state of Florida in the 2017 class.

The 6’0 ½” and 195-pound back hails from Clearwater, Florida, and mentioned playing close to home as one reason he chose the Gators, per Tyson: “I want them to see me, and the transportation, with the condition my family is now, it would probably be hard for them to come out and watch me perform if I am far away.”

Lemons committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels in March, but he flipped to the SEC’s Florida a mere two days after he visited the program for its Friday Night Lights camp, per Tyson.

Lemons took to Twitter to discuss his decision:

Florida wasn’t the only blue-chip program interested in Lemons. Schools such as Ohio State, Michigan, Miami (Florida), Tennessee, LSU and Auburn were all on 247Sports' college list for the youngster, and Hudl.com shared some highlights that captured why so many top-notch teams were pursuing him:

Lemons’ speed will help him make a difference at the next level. Scout.com said observers “see a track guy playing football” when the running back is streaking downfield, and that acceleration will allow him to burst through openings up front and turn small gains into game-changing plays. He is also physical enough to run through arm tackles. 

As of Sunday, there are no other running backs in Florida’s 2017 class on 247Sports. That means Lemons could have the opportunity to use that speed to challenge for early playing time once he arrives on campus.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Jonathan Sutherland to Penn State: Nittany Lions Land 4-Star Safety Prospect

Talented safety Jonathan Sutherland announced Sunday he's committing to the Penn State Nittany Lions. 

"I'm so excited to be committed to Penn State," Sutherland said, per Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. "It's an absolute honor to be part of this program."

Sutherland also tweeted about his decision:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Sutherland is the No. 23 safety and No. 266 player overall in the 2017 recruiting class.

PennLive.com's Greg Pickel wrote Penn State had been the heavy favorite to earn his commitment:

Penn State has been hosting the safety for camps since he was in eighth grade, and while the Lions have missed out on Sutherland's other training mates in Canada like corner Patrice Rene (who picked North Carolina) and Luiji Villian (an end verbally committed to Michigan), it is expected to land him after he visited campus for two days last weekend. It marked his first stop on campus in some time, and according to those close to Sutherland, the trip blew him away.

He's the second safety to commit to the school, joining 3-star recruit Brelin Faison-Walden, who ranks 31st at his position and 447th overall, per 247Sports. The Nittany Lions will further supplement the secondary with the arrival of 3-star D.J. Brown, who's the 115th-best cornerback in 2017.

Getting Sutherland on board is big for Penn State since head coach James Franklin hasn't enjoyed a ton of success on the recruiting trail. After ranking second in the Big Ten in 2015 and then fourth in 2016, the Nittany Lions are ninth in the conference for 2017, per 247Sports' composite team rankings.

Sutherland should become a reliable member of Penn State's secondary over the course of his college career, but he's unlikely to be an immediate hit.

He doesn't lack ideal size (6'0", 195 lbs) for his position, and he ran a 4.84-second 40-yard dash at The Opening Washington, D.C. in April, per StudentSportsEvents.com. Safeties don't often line up in man coverage against wideouts, but Sutherland's lack of speed could hinder his potential.

Sutherland is a good run defender, though, and Bleacher Report's Tyler Donahue shared a clip of Sutherland at The Opening showing off his agility in pass coverage:

The Alexandria, Virginia, native has a relatively high floor since he can contribute against both the run and pass. Even if he doesn't become an All-American-caliber safety, Sutherland should grow into a steady starter for Penn State.


Note: Recruit info is courtesy of 247Sports.

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Sam Foltz, Mike Sadler Die in Car Accident Following Football Camp

Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were killed in a car accident Sunday morning.

Kevin Cole of the Omaha World-Herald reported Foltz's death, with Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green confirming the accident occurred while he "was on his way home from a football camp at the University of Wisconsin."

Jon Johnston of Corn Nation reported that Sadler was killed in the same accident. SB Nation shared the police report, which noted LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was also involved in the crash:

Per Ross Dellenger of the Advocate, an LSU spokesman said Delahoussaye was hospitalized after the crash. He needed stitches and suffered burns to his legs.

Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio offered condolences to his former player's loved ones on Twitter:

"All of the University of Nebraska is heartbroken," Green said, according to Cole. "I don't know what else to say."

The Nebraska athletic department shared its thoughts on Twitter:

Kohl's Kicking Camps issued a release following the news of Foltz and Sadler's deaths:

Cornhuskers head football coach Mike Riley released a statement, via ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg: "Sam was universally loved and respected by everyone he touched and on whom he had a positive influence."

Foltz, 22, was entering his senior season with the Cornhuskers. He was named the Big Ten Punter of the Year in 2015 and was on the recently released preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the nation's top punter.

Sadler, 24, was a four-year starter at Michigan State from 2011-14 and a member of the 2013 team that won the school's first Rose Bowl since 1988. He had a key play in a 2013 win against Iowa, running a fake punt 25 yards for a first down on 4th-and-seven to set up a field goal that put the Spartans up 23-14.

According to Sadler's page on the Michigan State athletics website, he was a four-time Academic All-American and a semifinalist for the Guy Award in 2013.

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Iowa DL Faith Ekakitie Held at Gunpoint by Police While Playing 'Pokemon Go'

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie was stopped and searched by Iowa City Police on Wednesday, with four officers holding him at gunpoint.

Ekakitie wrote about the situation on Facebook, and his account of the events began getting attention over the weekend.

Ekakitie said he fit a suspect profile for a recent armed robbery but was simply playing Pokemon Go, had his headphones on and didn't realize cops were approaching him:

Today was the first time that I've ever truly feared for my life, and I have the media to thank for that.

Today I was surrounded and searched by approximately five Iowa City Police Officers. My pockets were checked, my backpack was opened up and searched carefully, and I was asked to lift up my shirt while they searched my waistband. Not once did they identify themselves to me as Iowa City Police officers, but with four gun barrels staring me in the face, I wouldn't dare question the authority of the men and woman in front of me. This is what happened from my point of view.

From the police officers['] point of view, all they knew was that a bank had just been robbed less than ten minutes ago. The suspect was a large black male, wearing all black, with something on top of his head and the suspect is armed. As they drive past an Iowa City park that was less than 3 minutes away from the bank that was just robbed, they notice a large black man, dressed in all black, with black goggles on his head. They quickly move to action and identify themselves as the Iowa City police and ask me to turn around and place my hands up. I do not comply, they ask again, and again no response from me. So they all draw their guns and begin to slowly approach the suspect. In this situation, what the media would fail to let people know is that the suspect had his headphones in the entire time the Police Officers approached him initially. The suspect had actually just pulled up to the park because he was playing a newly popular Game called Pokemon Go. The suspect didn't realize that there were four cops behind him because his music was blaring in his ears. The suspect had reached into his pockets, for something which was his phone, but for all the cops could have known, he was reaching for a gun. The suspect could very well become another statistic on this day.

I am not one to usually rant on Facebook or anywhere else, but with all of the crazy things that have been happening in our world these past couple of weeks it is hard to stay silent. I am thankful to be alive, and I do now realize that it very well could have been me, a friend of mine, my brother, your cousin, your nephew etc. Misunderstandings happen all the time and just like that things can go south very quickly. It is extremely sad that our society has brainwashed us all to the point where we can't feel safe being approached by the police officers in our respective communities. Not all police officers are out to get you, but at the same time, not all people who fit a criminal profile are criminals.

To close his post, Ekakitie thanked the Iowa City Police for being professional and handling the situation well after the initially aggressive approach.

He also implored others to pay more attention to their surroundings and "at least to attempt to unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our minds and our society."

As Marc Morehouse of the Gazette reported, police responded to the robbery at 1:53 p.m. local time Wednesday. According to the release Morehouse cited, the investigation into the case is ongoing.

Ekakitie is a senior-to-be who appeared in 12 games last season and tallied 13 total tackles and 0.5 sacks, per CFBStats.com.

Many athletes have recently spoken out about violence involving police officers.

NBA players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul opened the ESPY Awards with an introduction that called for a stop to gun violence.

The WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty and Indiana Fever wore black warm-up shirts to raise awareness of the issue. All three teams and the participating players were initially fined, but WNBA President Lisa Borders announced Saturday that the league had withdrawn the fines, per ESPN.com.

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Ranking the Best 5th-Year Seniors in College Football in 2016

College football scholarships provide the opportunity for four seasons of competition spread over five years, which allows players who aren't ready or needed as freshmen to get a chance to ease into the college game. Even with more and more freshmen getting thrown into the fire right away, there are still quite a few who wear a redshirt that first season.

That means if they stick around until the end, they become fifth-year seniors, the highest level of experience in college.

The top fifth-year seniors tend to be a mixture of late bloomers and those who put academics over athletics, forgoing any dreams of playing football professionally until their college days are complete. Some also had to sit out a year somewhere in the middle, either because of injury or a change in schools. These are the 12 best, ranked in order of their individual abilities and what they will mean to their respective teams in the 2016 season.

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Jhavonte Dean to Alabama: Crimson Tide Land JUCO CB Prospect

The Alabama Crimson Tide reportedly bolstered their future defense on Saturday with a junior college recruit.

According to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, cornerback Jhavonte Dean “verbally committed” to head coach Nick Saban’s program. The 6’2”, 180-pounder is a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports’ composite rankings.

More to follow.   

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Amir Riep to Ohio State: Buckeyes Land 4-Star CB Prospect

Coveted cornerback Amir Riep announced Saturday that he's going to play college football at Ohio State, providing a sizable boost to the Buckeyes' 2017 recruiting class.

Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com confirmed the defender's school choice.

Riep is a 4-star prospect from Cincinnati who rates as the No. 119 overall recruit in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He also checks in as the No. 15 corner in the country and the third-best incoming player from the football-rich state of Ohio.

While those are rock-solid rankings, the amount of interest he generated is usually reserved for players somewhere around the top 10. 247Sports noted he received more than three dozen offers, including interest from the nation's top programs.

He told Wasserman back in March that the sheer volume of interest came as a surprise, but he enjoyed going through the process.

"It's a lot of fun," Riep said. "It's kind of crazy. I never thought it would be like this. I knew I would get offers, but I didn't realize it would get [to this extent]."

The Colerain High School standout still needs more polish, especially in terms of being placed on an island in man coverage, but his raw tools are impressive. His combination of athleticism and football IQ is among the best in the class.

TOSU Recruiting showcased his read-and-react ability against both the pass and the run:

TriStateFootball.com also came away impressed with the corner's all-around upside:

He's probably best served playing a depth role at the outset and possibly gaining some experience on special teams at the same time. But if his development continues on its current trajectory, he should be a high-impact defender by some point in his second season.

Ultimately, Riep decided to stay in-state and join the Buckeyes. Being able to defend their home turf is important for head coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff. Given the wide-ranging interest in the intriguing corner, this represents an important get for Ohio State.

It's always difficult to project how a recruit will fit into the puzzle this far in advance. That said, the Buckeyes have a young secondary that should play itself out by the time Riep arrives on campus. It wouldn't be a surprise if he can work his way into select packages early in his college career.

Regardless of his role as a freshman, this signing is more about the long term for Ohio State. A couple of seasons of coaching and getting a chance to play against top-flight competition should put Riep in position to succeed in a major way as an upperclassman. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Every Power 5 Conference Team's Biggest Concern Heading into Fall Camp

It’s almost time. Across the nation, college football conference media days are in full swing. Watch lists are being populated with, well, let’s be honest, too many players from every league. And we’re not far away from players strapping on pads and helmets and beginning serious preparation for the 2016 college football season.

Graduation, attrition and the NFL draft mean that change is the only constant, and every team, from returning College Football Playoff qualifiers to a Kansas team that finished 0-12 in 2015, has questions. Some have more than others, of course, but all coaches will spend the next month trying to answer their most pressing queries before the regular season kicks off.

Here’s a look at the biggest concern for every Power Five team entering fall camp.


Note: All recruiting rankings are courtesy 247Sports.

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Hunter Echols Decommits from UCLA: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Hunter Echols, a 4-star prospect from the 2017 recruiting class, announced Friday he is no longer committed to the UCLA Bruins.

Echols took to Twitter to break the bad news for Bruins fans:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Echols is the seventh-best weak-side defensive end, 14th-best recruit from California and 97th-best overall prospect in the 2017 class. He hails from Cathedral High School in Los Angeles.

More to follow.


Star rating and rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Hunter Echols Decommits from UCLA: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Hunter Echols, a 4-star prospect from the 2017 recruiting class, announced Friday he is no longer committed to the UCLA Bruins...

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Oklahoma Sooners 2016 College Football Betting Preview, Championship Odds

Two years ago, the Oklahoma Sooners ended their season with a 40-6 bowl blowout loss to Clemson, and last January they lost the rematch against the Tigers in a national semifinal bout. The Sooners rate among the favorites to return to the College Football Playoff this season, but so does Clemson.


2015 Oklahoma record: 11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS

2016 regular-season wins over/under: 10

2016 odds to win Big 12: -140 (bet $140 to win $100)

Odds to win national championship: +1200


Last Year in Review

Helped by a late rally at Tennessee, the Sooners started 4-0 last year. But they then lost a real puzzler to Texas as 16-point favorites on the college football betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. Oklahoma then beat up on the rest of the Big 12, winning its last seven games by an average score of 52-19 and going 6-1 against the spread in the process.

So the Big 12 got its CFP berth, but unfortunately the Sooners only carried that banner for about two quarters in the Orange Bowl before fading late in a 37-17 loss to Clemson. Oklahoma had better hope that showing doesn't affect its CFP chances later this season.


This Year in Preview

Oklahoma returns 13 starters this season, the same number it had for last season. Seven are back on offense, including Heisman-candidate quarterback Baker Mayfield (68 percent completions last year, 36/7 touchdowns/interceptions), record-setting running back Samaje Perine (3,000 rushing yards in two seasons), dual threat Joe Mixon (1,100 yards from scrimmage, 11 touchdowns last year) and three along the line. And six starters are back from a defense that held foes to 22 points per game last year.


Oklahoma 2016 Schedule

The Sooners open this season with a neutral-site match against a dangerous Houston outfit, and a couple of weeks later they host fellow national championship contender Ohio State. From there, OU visits TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia, hosts Baylor and Oklahoma State and, of course, plays the Shootout with Texas in Dallas. Oklahoma can afford one loss along the way and still have a shot at the CFP, but two would be too many.


Betting on the Sooners

OU has big expectations but little room for error. To reach the CFP they have to beat Houston and Ohio State and win the Big 12, and their futures odds don't provide enough value on a proposition like that. Week-to-week, the best value on the Sooners comes when they play on the road, where they're 13-6 ATS over the last four seasons.

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Winners and Losers of 2016 ACC Media Days

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — College football's "talking season" got into full swing this week for the ACC, and the conference found itself having more reasons to speak loudly and proudly for this year's edition of its media days kickoff.

All 14 members of the ACC, which kicked things off with a major announcement for its future in the college football landscape, had their time in the spotlight at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.

With the continued greatness of defending conference titleholder Clemson and recent national champion Florida State combining with the excitement generated by high-profile hires throughout the league, the ACC is heading into what could be its best college football season in recent memory.

The topics of discussion in the Queen City ranged from the typical preseason depth chart chatter to the bigger-picture issues that are dominating offseason coverage across the country. Some players and coaches stood out with their comments to the media, including one player who had an outfit one has to see to believe.

Here's a recap from the best and the worst from the interview sessions in Charlotte, featuring several winners and losers from the 2016 ACC Football Kickoff.

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