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Why Hutson Mason, Not Jacob Coker, Will Be the QB to Surprise the SEC in 2014

All eyes are on Tuscaloosa this August, as the Alabama Crimson Tide—winners of three of the last five national titles—are looking for their first quarterback since AJ McCarron beat out Phillip Sims early in the 2011 season.

Whoever wins that battle—either senior Blake Sims or Florida State transfer Jacob Coker—will take a backseat to a bigger breakout star in the SEC in 2014—Georgia's Hutson Mason.

After spending four years behind Aaron Murray, Mason stepped in for Murray after Murray tore his ACL versus Kentucky last season, throwing for 189 yards and a touchdown while finishing off the Wildcats. He then led his team to a thrilling double overtime win over Georgia Tech in his first career start and threw for 320 yards, one touchdown and one pick in the Gator Bowl loss to Nebraska.

Sure, he lost to the Cornhuskers. But four key drops on the final two drives of the game deep in Nebraska territory negated what could have been game-winning drives.

He completed 68.9 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and no picks in three spring scrimmages, according to Marc Weiszer of the Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald, and completed 10 of 13 passes for 104 yards and zero interceptions in the first spring scrimmage of the fall, according to Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In quotes released by the university, Mason said:

It felt good to be back playing in Sanford Stadium. You get a different excitement, different atmosphere as opposed to the practice fields and the Butts-Mehre building in the background. I thought the scrimmage was kind of a draw. The offense did good things, and the defense did some good things.

Four scrimmages. No interceptions. That'll work.

Yes, they're scrimmage statistics and, yes, they could reflect more on Georgia's maligned defense than Mason and the offense. That's not the case, though.

He's making smart decisions with the football, and that's what's important.

It really doesn't matter who the quarterback is, Georgia's offense is going to stay the same. Head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo use the run to set up the pass, and they've got a stable of running backs behind Mason to accomplish that. Todd Gurley returns as one of the top players in all of college football, Keith Marshall is back from an ACL injury and incoming freshmen Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have been all the rage during fall camp.

That's similar to Alabama's backfield, sure.

In fact, Georgia's and Alabama's offenses are nearly mirror images of each other. Each has a deep running backs corps, veteran wide receivers and some questions along the offensive line. 

What sets the teams apart is the defenses.

Whoever wins the quarterback job in Tuscaloosa will have the pressure cut down a bit by the Crimson Tide defense, which really only has one hole—cornerback. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, have a new coordinator—Jeremy Pruitt—and were as lost as the characters of the famed television series at times. 

Pruitt is the right guy for the job, and the defense should turn around in a hurry in 2014. But if I'm wrong, that means more responsibilities for Mason through the air. If I'm right, it's unrealistic to expect it to be up to par with Bama's defense, which means Mason will still have to do more than Coker or Sims.

Mason is making decisions like a veteran, has weapons all around him and is more likely to be forced into being a difference-maker rather than a caretaker.

When you look at passing stats at the end of the year, don't be surprised if Mason's name is at or near the top in most categories.

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

 

Follow @BarrettSallee

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Is Oklahoma's Defense Playoff-Caliber Without LB Frank Shannon?

Oklahoma became an even more intriguing playoff-caliber team when the team added former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham this summer. However, the Sooners could head into the 2014 season without one of their top playmakers from a year ago. 

In an email statement on Monday, Oklahoma president David Boren said that linebacker Frank Shannon had been suspended for the year. The suspension was handed down on June 18 due to the findings of a Title IX investigation linked to an alleged sexual assault in January. However, Shannon appealed the suspension six days later and was awarded a stay, allowing him to remain enrolled at Oklahoma and participate with the team. 

Jason Kersey of The Oklahomanhas more details of the process, but essentially, the university is asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to prohibit the stay issued two months ago. From Boren's statement: 

The University is unable to enforce its process at this time. The University has and is taking every legal step possible to move this process forward. The University is currently seeking to enforce its decision so that it may be in compliance with federal law requiring responses by institutions to such matters in a timely manner.  With the fall semester beginning August 18, time is of the essence. 

As the No. 3 preseason team in the country, according to theUSA Today Amway coaches poll, there are lofty expectations for the Sooners. While those expectations are rooted in part by the potential of quarterback Trevor Knight, the defense is also returning its entire front seven. Geneo Grissom, Eric Striker, Charles Tapper—they're all back. That plays a role in Oklahoma being picked, per the Big 12's official website, as the preseason favorites to win the Big 12 in the conference's preseason media poll, too. 

If the Sooners play without Shannon, though, they'll be losing their top defender from a statistics standpoint. The redshirt junior was the team's leading tackler in 2013 (92) and finished third with seven tackles for loss. It's difficult to replace that kind of production—but not impossible. 

Oklahoma's coaching staff has been preparing for life without Shannon. Sophomore Jordan Evans has been practicing as the No. 1 middle linebacker since the spring. According to Kersey, following the program's spring game, "Shannon’s return is highly questionable after a recent sexual assault allegation, likely leaving Evans as the Sooners’ starting middle linebacker."

"Jordan has really improved and is much more sound and disciplined in schemes and where he needs to be," head coach Bob Stoops said after the spring game, via Brandon Chatmon of ESPN.com. "He has got great range and great athleticism." 

Evans also filled in for Shannon in OU's 38-30 win over Texas Tech, recording eight tackles. 

Oklahoma has dealt with this kind of situation before. Last year, freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander moved up to a starting role after Corey Nelson tore a pectoral muscle that sidelined him for the year. Alexander finished as the team's second-leading tackler. 

The talent among the backups has been there when Oklahoma needed it, so the Sooners' playoff chances shouldn't ride on Evans alone. The problem, rather, is the linebacker depth behind Evans, as documented by Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman

After Evans, though, things would get awfully thin at his inside linebacker spot.

The likely backups there would be either freshman Tay Evans or senior Aaron Franklin, who had six tackles last season and has just 31 in his three seasons at Norman.

This could force Oklahoma's defensive staff to move players around and get creative with the team's personnel packages. Junior college transfer Devante Bond could move in from outside linebacker, as could Striker if the situation desperately called for it. 

Oklahoma primarily ran a defense with only three down linemen last year to offset depth concerns at defensive line. This time around, depth concerns are at middle linebacker. Given that Oklahoma's biggest weakness on defense in '13 was stopping downhill running attacks, a thin middle raises legitimate concerns. 

Overall, Oklahoma should be OK provided it stays healthy on defense. Of course, that's asking an awful lot for football players. If health becomes a problem during the year, the Sooners' playoff hopes could be in greater jeopardy. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All stats courtesy of Oklahoma athletics. 

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James Franklin, Penn State Putting Together the Surprise Star Class of 2015

James Franklin established himself as one of the coaching industry’s top rising stars after his successful stint at Vanderbilt over the last three years. 

However, since taking over at Penn State in January, Franklin has wasted little time in turning the Nittany Lions into a force on the recruiting trail. 

After 4-star corner John Reid became PSU’s 19th verbal commitment last weekend, the Nittany Lions are sitting in the No. 6 spot in 247Sports' 2015 class rankings—good enough to make PSU’s group the class of the Big Ten by a comfortable margin.

After the turbulent years following the NCAA sanctions resulting from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Franklin has blasted off the solid foundation built by predecessor Bill O’Brien and has the Lions poised to land their first top-10 recruiting class since 2006.

Perhaps more impressive than the results Franklin has gotten is how he’s built this class. 

As Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports detailed, Franklin’s fast start began with a strong push to lock up the best talent in the Keystone State. Reid became the seventh in-state standout to announce his intentions to head to Happy Valley—with all seven of those pledges ranked among the top 10 players in Pennsylvania.

Aside from locking up the home-state borders, Franklin has struck gold in fertile East Coast hotbeds such as New Jersey (six commitments) and Maryland (three commitments).

Franklin has already landed a pair of cornerstones and top-100 recruits in 4-star offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins and 4-star quarterback Brandon Wimbush. Additionally, PSU is squarely in the mix to land studs such as 4-star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and 4-star corner Jordan Whitehead.

If that isn’t enough, Franklin made headlines in the spring after serving as a guest coach at satellite camps on the campuses of Georgia State and Stetson—which are conveniently located in the Southeastern recruiting hotbeds of Atlanta and Central Florida, respectively.

“It's our job to do everything in our power within the rules to give Penn State a competitive advantage,” Franklin said at Big Ten media days, via AL.com’s Mike Herndon. “And whatever that may be, whether it's recruiting certain parts of the country, whatever it may be, whether it's the satellite camps, we're going to look into all those things."

It’s bold moves such as those that magnify Franklin's growing reputation as one of the nation’s elite recruiters. 

Franklin has already proven to be a worthy successor for O’Brien by building a class that sends a message to rivals in the Big Ten and shows that the Lions are a force to be reckoned with nationally. With a pledge last month from Shane Simmons, a 5-star defensive end in the 2016 class, the Lions' momentum is only picking up steam.

With Franklin’s ability to quickly create a surge on the recruiting trail, it’s only a matter of time before Penn State's fortunes on the field follow the same path.

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. 

 

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23 College Football Coaches Who Flopped After Changing Jobs

Here’s a question that wasn’t on the SAT this year: Rick Neuheisel is to UCLA as Rich Rodriguez is to _____?

The answer? Well, obviously, it’s Michigan.

Where Neuheisel blazed a trail of success at Washington only to suffer disappointment at UCLA, Rodriguez cashed in on his winning ways at West Virginia to secure what turned out to be an ugly three-season run at Michigan.

It is the age-old story of a successful coach making the monumental decision to change jobs, a move that is considered to be another rung up the career ladder, only to fall tragically to the ground with a loud thud.

Since the possibilities are endless, here’s a look at a sampling of the top coaching flops from the past decade. These are the stories that make us wonder how guys like Chris Petersen, James Franklin, Steve Sarkisian and Charlie Strong will do this season and beyond.

 

As a note, not included are coaches like Arkansas’ Bret Bielema and Cal’s Sonny Dykes, examples of guys who have only been at their new job for one season. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, for now.

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Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking Top 10 Players Heading into 2014 Season

With the college football season now less than three weeks away (!!), it's time for something we can all agree on without any arguments: the top 10 players in the Pac-12 heading into the 2014 campaign.

We kid, of course, about everyone being in agreement following the final slide, because fans have passion and always want to see their favorite players get the credit they feel they deserve. And really, there's no perfect formula for coming up with the 10 best players in the conference.

What we're looking at is a combination of both statistics and how important a player is to his team. The latter is the main criteria, and in other words, looks at what kind of impact a player has had in wins and losses regardless of stats.

Check out our power rankings on the top 10 players in the Pac-12 and feel free to share who you feel deserves a spot (while remembering that you have to remove someone to make room) or who might climb into this elite group come December.

 

All stats via cfbstats.com. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.

Just missed the cut: Washington CB Marcus Peters, USC WR Nelson Agholor, Oregon C Hroniss Grasu, Stanford WR Ty Montgomery

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Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking Top 10 Players Heading into 2014 Season

With the college football season now less than three weeks away (!!), it's time for something we can all agree on without any arguments: the top 10 players in the Pac -12 heading into the 2014 campaign...

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Nebraska Football: This Fall's Injury Bug Isn't as Bad as You Think

Last week I was ruminating on a few things Nebraska would need to have happen in order for the Cornhuskers to have success in 2014. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong staying poised in the pocket and avoiding mistakes was there, as was a young but athletic defense holding steady in key situations. I even considered Nebraska's inability to perform well against top teams when it mattered the most.

At the top of the list, though: avoid injuries.

This is not a new mantra for this Cornhusker team. For the final play against Northwestern last year, Nebraska was without the services of six offensive starters, including offensive guards Spencer Long and Jake Cotton, receivers Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner and, of course, four-year starting quarterback Taylor Martinez.

It was the ultimate Hail Mary. It worked, but Nebraska fans would rather have seen the familiar faces racing down the sideline as time expired.

Many of those faces return for the 2014 season, but the injury bug has already struck one week into fall camp.

First there was the report of junior defensive back Charles Jackson, lost for the season when he sustained ligament damage to his left knee the second day of fall camp. Jackson, a confident player who looked to replace departed senior Ciante Evans as the nickelback in head coach Bo Pelini's complex defensive system, displayed great athleticism in the first two days of practice before his injury.

Three days later, sophomore linebacker Michael Rose tore his ACL in a non-contact injury. Rose was looking to build on a freshman season that ended on a high note, as he totaled 25 tackles in Nebraska's final two games, including 16 in a loss to Iowa.

On Monday, the Associated Press (via Fox News) reported that redshirt freshman running back Adam Taylor broke his ankle on Saturday and would miss a significant amount of time. 

Add in the season-long suspension of sophomore safety LeRoy Alexander, and you've got yourself some Nebraska fans needing some heart medicine. 

Fear not, Children of the Corn. There is no need to despair. While injuries are never good news, the positions could have been worse. 

Adam Taylor would have been fighting for carries behind All-Big Ten running back Ameer Abdullah, junior wrecking ball Imani Cross and sophomore speedster Terrell Newby. This is a position stocked with talent, and incoming freshman Mikale Wilbon (Chicago) only adds more depth. It is another setback for the talented back, but the cupboard is far from bare.

Michael Rose was looking to pick up where he left off, leading the way as the starting middle linebacker. It appears on the surface as though this injury could hurt badly, but this is another position where Nebraska has depth. Sophomore Josh Banderas split time with Rose in the spring and the first week of fall camp, and senior Trevor Roach, who missed 2013 with an injury, has had playing time at the position. David Santos and Zaire Anderson return as the starters at the other linebacker positions.

Losing Charles Jackson and LeRoy Alexander does leave the biggest dent, but Nebraska has the depth to fill both positions. Pelini has always stocked up on talent in the defensive secondary, and it will be used in 2014.

Sophomore Nathan Gerry, who excelled at the safety spot in high school, has moved from linebacker to fill the void and will likely start alongside senior Corey Cooper. Junior-college transfer Byerson Cockrell, who has played the nickelback position since enrolling at Nebraska in January, appears likely to stake claim on the starting spot. While this is not ideal and leaves an apparent vacancy at corner, the depth is there. 

Juniors Jonathan Rose and Daniel Davie, along with redshirt freshman Boaz Joseph, will vie for the spot opposite junior returning starter Josh Mitchell. None have notable experience, but their athleticism and knowledge of Pelini's defensive schemes will allow the loss of prospective starters to be minimized. 

It is also important to remember that, as of now, there are no significant injuries to any players in the trenches. As mentioned, Nebraska was cycling players through the offensive line much of the 2013 season, and it showed against teams with healthier bodies. The defensive line, thought to be the strength of the team heading into the 2014 season, is healthy.

The quarterbacks are healthy. Probable starter Tommy Armstrong Jr. did wear a green non-contact jersey on Monday after getting dinged pretty hard Saturday, but it's a safe bet he'll be at full strength for Nebraska's August 30 opener against Florida Atlantic. That's huge news for the Cornhuskers, a team that doesn't want to rotate quarterbacks like last season.

So take heart, Nebraska fans. Injuries happen. It's never fun to hear about them, but they happen. Contrary to popular belief, not every one is the end of the world. The players, and the depth, are there. This is the deepest and most athletic Nebraska has been at multiple positions since Pelini arrived in Lincoln. 

This also provides depth moving forward. The young players with an opportunity to move up and practice with the starters or even start now will have gained so much moving forward. They will then compete with those who were injured this season.

That should put a smile on the faces of prognosticators. After all, the "key" players lost now will be around for another year to wreak havoc on opposing teams.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

5 Things We've Learned About Georgia Through Fall Camp so Far

The first week of fall camp is in the books and the Georgia Bulldogs are inching closer to August 30, which is when they host the Clemson Tigers in the season opener.

After the first week, there have been a lot of good things when it comes to players executing, and there are some areas where the Bulldogs still need more work.

Regardless, the Bulldogs still have a long ways to go to get to where they want to be, and this week will be another long one, as they will continue two-a-days to get physically and mentally ready.

Here are five things we learned from the Bulldogs through fall camp so far.

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Nebraska Football: Ranking Huskers' Top 10 Players Heading into 2014 Season

Nebraska football fans know how close the 2014 season is, and fans are already looking forward to seeing their heroes on the field.

While the roster is full, there are some players who stand above the others as players to watch. When combining athletic ability with opportunity to play, here are the top 10 Huskers for 2014.

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Breaking Down Texas' Latest Depth-Chart Moves Midway Through Fall Camp

Texas football is entering only Week 2 of fall camp, but there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered for the Longhorns in head coach Charlie Strong's inaugural season in Austin. 

Strong and his staff are diligently working to figure out which rotations will work for the Longhorns, and it's a task that has not been solved in just one week.

 

Offensive Line

Offensive line coach Joe Wickline is often regarded as one of the best O-line coaches in college football. And he has his work cut out for him this season.

Aside from center Dominic Espinosa, all of the positions are still being battled for on the line. But that is just the way Wickline likes it.

"There's going to be a lot of shuffling in camp, especially if you're trying to develop a new offense and trying to put in new schemes, new techniques and fundamentals and you're trying to figure out what you have on hand," Wickline said. "We're going to move guys pretty often until we find the right combination."

The tackle position seems to be in better shape than guards, but nothing is set in stone just yet.

"Particularly at the tackle position, we have some things that we think are good and some things that we need to work on," Wickline said. "We have some young players and some guys who have some experience, but as a whole, we're not ready to call practice off yet."

Junior Kennedy Estelle and senior Desmond Harrison have been discussed as potential starting tackles. Sophomore Kent Perkins is a guy who can play both tackle or guard but is still trying to learn the offense and the fundamentals. And guard Sedrick Flowers has shown the talent to possibly nab a starting role.

But with all things considered, Wickline has remained consistent in saying each linemen's job is up in the air with every practice.

"This is kind of a different deal for some, but there are no permanent spots on the line until well into the season," Wickline said. "There are some ideas. I understand about chemistry, I understand about continuity and I also understand that we would like to know who's going to be playing at right guard and what jersey number he's going to be in every game. But at the end of the day, that's not important. What's important is did you get your best five on the field and did you block the opponents."

 

Wide Receiver

The Longhorns have two of the receiver roles secured with senior Jaxon Shipley and junior Marcus Johnson. But Shipley's recent hamstring injury and the loss of Montrel Meander and Kendall Sanders has allowed for other players to show what they can do for the Longhorns young receiving core.

Wide receivers coach Les Koenning knows he has two starters in Shipley and Johnson, but he is watching for the younger players to step up and take some meaningful reps in fall camp.

"We have got to get the number of reps for those kids so they can be successful," Koenning said. "It's not really a first- or second-team thing. We know Marcus is first. We know Shipley's first. We know that. But we're going to move those kids around so they can get an ample amount of reps, so they can be successful."

Sophomore Jacorey Warrick is one receiver who has made a name for himself among Strong and the coaching staff. Warrick saw limited playing time during his true freshman season, but he has caught the attention of his coaches and team throughout spring and fall practice.

"Jacorey Warrick has done a really good job now," Strong said. "He has been working really hard at the wide receiver position."

The Longhorns also have junior Daje Johnson as an option at receiver. At times, Johnson has proven he can be one of the most explosive players on the field. But he has also been in Strong's doghouse and will be suspended for at least the season opener, if not more, for violating team rules.

"We're playing him at the inside receiver and the outside receiver," Koenning said of Johnson. "He's really made a big difference. He's always been the type of guy who would move from the inside slot to tailback. Now we have the ability to play him in the outside lane as an outside receiver. We've been direct with Daje. We have told him what we want and what we expect, and if he cannot do it, we will find somebody else."

Strong signed five talented freshmen wide receivers in the 2014 class. Although they are gradually learning the system, the transition to college has not been easy for some.

"The transition from high school to college has been tough for some of them," Koenning said. "In high school, they're the stud, they're the guy. Now they come to us and there are a bunch of guys there. So you really have to show what you can do because you're competing for a position."

There are a lot of ifs that follow the wide receiver's this season, but the positive note for Texas fans is the Longhorns have the numbers to fill the position.

 

Safety

Safety could be a position of concern for the Longhorns. Senior Mykkele Thompson will likely get a starting nod due to his amount of experience, but who will play opposite of him may still be up for debate.

The Longhorns have two viable options in junior Josh Turner and sophomore Adrian Colbert. However, Turner was one of three players who will be suspended for at least one game this season for violating team rules. And Colbert saw limited playing time last season.

One player who has been making a name for himself is walk-on defensive back Dylan Haines, who is also the son of former Texas and NFL defensive tackle John Haines.

Haines first caught the public's attention during the Longhorns spring game when he picked off Tyrone Swoopes in the first-team offense's first drive of the game. But Haines caught the eye of the coaches before the spring game.

"He has done a good job. He came out in spring ball and really showed up," defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn said. "We didn't know much about him prior to spring ball, but he made some plays and showed he could be tough. He runs well; he is accountable. So, all of those things kind of spilled over. We have some young guys who are trying to learn, and here is a guy who kind of came out of nowhere."

Vaughn also made it a point to say if he was a starter, he would take Haines' progress as a challenge to step up his game.

"If I was a scholarship guy, I would [take it as a challenge]. The one thing about our staff is it doesn't matter where you are or what you play. If you are a good player, you are going to play."

As it stands, the safety position is probably still up for grabs. But it would not be a surprise if the position gets shuffled around a bit before the season begins.

There are a few positions that are filled and will likely stay that way until the start of the season. It has been clear that the quarterback position is David Ash's to lose, and his backups are nowhere close to taking the gig from Ash.

The same could be said for the running backs. Senior Malcolm Brown and junior Johnathan Gray have secured the No. 1 and No. 2 roles for the Longhorns, respectively. However, how they will split the reps is to be determined.

One thing is for sure: Strong and his staff have their work cut out for them and not a lot of time to figure out how to once again make the Longhorns a college football contender.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.

Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow her on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.

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Missouri Tigers Linemen Twerk to 'Wiggle' During Practice

Here's something you probably never expected to see: football players twerking during practice.

Missouri's offensive linemen broke it down to Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg's hit "Wiggle." Even some of the staff got in on the action.

The rest of the Tigers appeared to get a big kick out of the dancing.

[Mizzou Football, h/t Lost Lettermen]

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Oklahoma LB Frank Shannon Suspended for 1 Year by School

After an internal investigation stemming from sexual assault allegations, Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Frank Shannon has been suspended by the school for one year.   

Bryan Fischer of NFL.com tweeted the news Monday:

University president David L. Boren released this official statement on Monday afternoon, via Fischer:

The University of Oklahoma has been asked repeatedly by the media about the outcome of the internal disciplinary proceedings relating to Frank Shannon. As permitted by Federal privacy laws in matters such as these, the University is allowed to disclose its institutional processes and its final decisions. This process includes the Title IX Office inquiry, a hearing panel comprised of faculty and staff, and an appeal to the chief student affairs officer. This process was completed on June 18th. The final decision of the internal disciplinary process was suspension of the student for one year. Federal privacy law and other legal considerations prohibit me from discussing the case further.

The Sooners have taken the case to the Supreme Court according to Jason Kersey of The Oklahoman

The first is that Shannon’s appeal is based on Oklahoma’s Administrative Procedures Act, which was amended by the state legislature 13 days before his suspension to exclude OU and all public universities from its purview.

The second is that the district court’s stay “was an unconstitutional invasion of the University’s powers” to self-govern, and the third is that Shannon wasn’t expelled; he was suspended, meaning it doesn’t fall under the district court’s purview.

Shannon was initially accused of assaulting a female at an off-campus apartment in January, according to Jason Kersey of The Oklahoman. Kersey added, "Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn declined to prosecute the case, but the university is obligated by federal law to conduct its own investigation."

During the process, Kersey reported Shannon's ability to appeal the university's ultimate decision, according to an interview with open records officer Michael Purcell:

The University followed a very stringent process with both sides, and under the Administrative Procedure Act both sides have an ability to appeal any decision reached by the University to a district court. The University takes very seriously its obligation in cases like this. Under federal law, since this matter is still pending, the University cannot release further information.

While all parties involved wait for the situation to unfold completely, Shannon is still allowed to practice with the team, via Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World:

Shannon's expected absence this season will impact the No. 3-ranked Sooners in a big way. Last season, he recorded two sacks and one interception while his 92 total tackles led the team, according to Chris Level of RedRaiderSports.com:

The 6'1", 238-pound linebacker will be difficult to replace, and Oklahoma may have to rely on Eric Striker at the middle linebacker position. Last season, Striker accumulated 50 tackles and was very disruptive in the backfield, accumulating 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

The Sooners are expected to take a nice step forward defensively this season due to the expanded level of experience on that side of the ball. Last season, the team finished 22nd in the nation in scoring defense and 20th in total defense. Without Shannon in the lineup, improving on those numbers becomes increasingly difficult.

Head coach Bob Stoops isn't afforded a large amount of time to make adjustments, as the team begins its regular season on Saturday, Aug. 30, against Louisiana Tech.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4 Things We've Learned About Nebraska Through Fall Camp so Far

With Week 1 of fall camp in the books, a few storylines have begun to take shape for head coach Bo Pelini and the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Unfortunately, injuries plagued most of the practice talk during Week 1. Thankfully, that's not all Nebraska had to show, though. From the quarterback position to the offensive line that will protect the starter, there has been plenty to watch. So, what did fans see during the first week?

Here are the four things we have learned about the Huskers during fall camp so far.

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LSU Football 2014: Schedule Breakdown and Predictions

After a strong 10-3 season, ending in a 21-14 win over Iowa in the Outback Bowl, the LSU Tigers are looking to take the next step in the SEC.

Watch as B/R's experts break down the 2014 campaign and predict where the Tigers will finish.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan Football 2014: Schedule Breakdown and Predictions

It was a rough 2013 season for Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines, as the team struggled to a 7-6 record.

Michigan will want to get back to its winning ways in 2014, so watch as Bleacher Report's experts break down the Wolverines heading into the season.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida Football 2014: Schedule Breakdown and Predictions

After a 2013 season that saw the Florida Gators go 4-8 and 3-5 in the SEC, head coach Will Muschamp is hoping for better results in 2014.

Watch as B/R's experts discuss the Gators and their upcoming campaign.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Johnny Frasier to Florida State: Seminoles Land 4-Star RB Prospect

Florida State landed one of the most dynamic players in the class of 2015 today as it received an official commitment from running back Johnny Frasier, the running back confirmed on his Twitter account:

Frasier is a four-star prospect from Princeton, North Carolina, per 247Sports, and he increased his stock significantly with an incredible 2013 season.  

As a junior, the 5'11", 200-pound back rushed for over 3,000 yards and racked up 50 total touchdowns, according to 247Sports. That put him on the radar of most top collegiate programs and gave him an opportunity to choose from a multitude of great options.

While major college interest might make some players nervous and adversely affect their performance, that wasn't the case with Frasier last year. Per D. Clay Best of the Smithfield Herald, Princeton High School head coach Derrick Minor believes it caused Frasier to rise to the occasion even more.

"He's taken it the way you'd want any potential Division I athlete to take it," Minor said. "He's using it to motivate him more. He wants to prove to them that he’s the real deal. ... He's not going to let those coaches or anybody else down. He wants to impress people with his results."

To say that he impressed would be a gross understatement. Frasier's numbers in 2013 were out of this world and one can only assume that he will be even better in 2014, which is an extremely scary thought for his opponents.

In fact, putting this decision behind him could conceivably allow him to play more freely. Despite using the recruiting situation as motivation in 2013, Frasier even admitted that all of the college talk was starting to weigh on him to some degree:

Knowing that Frasier will be attending a marquee college in 2015 and knowing what he did in 2013, however, it can be argued that Frasier will feel the need to put the entire team on his back and prove his worth.

Leading up to the 2014 campaign he received a major honor as he was named the North Carolina Preseason Player of the Year, according to Tim Stevens of The News & Observer.

With so many accolades to his credit, the expectation will likely be for Frasier to immediately make the jump to the college ranks and be productive in 2015. That is far from guaranteed, but running back seems to be the easiest position to make the transition from high school to college.

A number of freshman backs put up big numbers on a yearly basis and Frasier is as talented as any of them. He also undoubtedly has the speed needed to thrive in major college football as he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, per 247Sports.

If Frasier can continue to build upon his other skills such as power, vision and elusiveness, then the sky is the limit for him. Even if he isn't an instant star in college, it is difficult to imagine him failing when he ultimately receives the chance to carry the load.

He has been a true bell-cow back throughout his high school career and would likely welcome that role at the next level as well. He may have to adjust to being part of a committee at first, which could be difficult, but there is every reason to believe that he will be great.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon Football 2014: Schedule Breakdown and Predictions

Last season, a campaign that began with national championship hopes fizzled out and ended with a victory in the Alamo Bowl.

This year, Marcus Mariota and company are back and looking to finish what they started. Watch as B/R's experts examine the Ducks ahead of the 2014 season. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon Football 2014: Schedule Breakdown and Predictions

Last season, a campaign that began with national championship hopes fizzled out and ended with a victory in the Alamo Bowl. This year, Marcus Mariota and company are back and looking to finish what they started...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

UCLA Football: Ranking Bruins' Top 10 Players Heading into the Season

Jim Mora and his staff have done a wonderful job of building up the UCLA football team over the past few years. The depth on this team has not been seen in quite a long time. 

There's considerable star power at the top, not to mention an impressive collection of talent littered throughout the defense. 

This piece will detail the top 10 players on the roster heading into this season. The piece will gradually narrow down to the best football player on the team.

Honorable mentions: Ishmael Adams, Devin Lucien, Devin Fuller, Jordan Payton, Randall Goforth, Alex Redmond.

 

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