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Offseason Transfers, Dismissals That Will Have Biggest Impact on 2015 Season

This is the time of year college football coaches tend to dread. Spring practice is over. Their recruits are largely all on campus and preparing for the upcoming season through “voluntary” workouts, but they have little control over their teams. They aren’t allowed to have contact with their players, operating via proxy through strength coaches.

This is the time of year that the 3 a.m. phone call is feared the most. An arrest, a situation or something worse that alters their team’s composition negatively. There’s nothing they can do to control it except to offer sage words of advice for their players. However, an offseason dismissal or transfer can really change a season for the worse before it even begins. Here’s a look at the offseason events that will shape the 2015 season.

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Georgia Football: Incoming Freshmen Most Likely to Start This Season

Once again, the Georgia Bulldogs will bring in a top-10 recruiting class this fall (via 247Sports), and a handful of the new recruits will have a chance to play right away. For the most part, the Bulldogs are set with their starting positions, and it's unlikely a true freshman will break into the starting lineup when the Bulldogs open the season in September.

But there will be a time when a few of the young players will rise to the top of the depth chart due to injuries to veterans or their own progress during the season. But which freshmen have the best chance to do more than just be part of the rotation?

Here’s a look at the incoming freshmen likely to start this season.

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Texas Football: Incoming Freshmen Most Likely to Start This Season

It's pretty obvious that freshmen will be the bright spot for the Longhorns this season.

As 10 starters depart for either the NFL or a life after football, the nation's No. 9 class arrives to replenish the ranks. There will be a drop off in on-field production, but the trade-off is a tremendous group of talent that can be developed to carry this program into the future.

Before the season reaches its end, many of these players should see their first college action. The lack of returning talent almost demands it.

But who will start in his first year out of high school? Malik Jefferson and Connor Williams busted through this spring to fill spots that needed talents like theirs. Now, it's their classmates' turn to show Charlie Strong and the rest of this coaching staff that they're ready to go right away.

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Ohio State Football: 5 Recruits Urban Meyer Wishes He Had Landed

Ohio State is absolutely loaded with superstars for another title run in 2015, but imagine a parallel universe where guys such as Nick Chubb, Kendall Fuller and Myles Garrett are also suiting up in scarlet and gray this fall.

That possibility was almost a reality for the Buckeyes. 

Urban Meyer has shifted Ohio State's recruiting into a higher gear since taking over in 2012, signing the Big Ten's top class in each of his first four recruiting cycles in Columbus. But the Buckeyes have missed on some of their top targets during that span—guys who would have taken Ohio State's roster from "this is unfair" levels to "how is this even possible" status.

Which targets in particular? 

These five players would fill holes in Ohio State's two-deep, upgrade a particular unit or take away one of the opposition's biggest weapons.


Nick Chubb, Georgia Running Back

Ohio State is set at running back with Ezekiel Elliott, who will enter the season as a Heisman Trophy front-runner, but what if he was backed up by another Heisman contender in Georgia running back Nick Chubb?

The Buckeyes were in the thick of Chubb's recruitment two years ago. 

As a 5-star running back for the class of 2014, Chubb boasted offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Texas and a host of others. The Buckeyes were nearing the reality of life without Carlos Hyde in their backfield, so they were trying to build up their depth to complement the unproven Elliott.

Chubb was a Georgia lean throughout the entire process and committed to join Mark Richt eight months before signing day. He went on to have a fantastic freshman season for the Bulldogs, running for an incredible 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns filling in for the injured Todd Gurley.

Imagine that kind of playmaking ability coming off the bench to spell Elliott.

Meyer tried to make that happen. According to Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionOhio State's head man advised Chubb to tell the Georgia coaches he was off the market.

“I remember Coach (Urban) Meyer from Ohio State told me to tell the Georgia coaches that I’m ‘all his.’ I just laughed," Chubb said, via Carvell. "He was just recruiting me, and he knew I was big on Georgia. And no, I never passed the message to the Georgia coaches.”


Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame Linebacker

With Darron Lee, Raekwon McMillan and Joshua Perry in the fold, Ohio State's linebacker unit should be one of the best in the Big Ten this year.

But if Meyer had landed Jaylon Smith back in 2013, the Buckeyes would likely have the best linebacker unit in the country. 

That's no slight toward Perry, who led Ohio State with 124 tackles in 2014. But pairing Smith with Ohio State's sophomore dynamos in Lee and McMillan would give the Buckeyes a younger, more athletic group for the middle of their defense. 

Smith emerged as one of Notre Dame's most disruptive defenders as a true sophomore last season, leading the team in tackles, solo tackles and tackles for loss. He earned second-team All-American honors from the Associated Press and was a semifinalist for the Bednarik and Butkus awards.

But Smith committed to the Irish over the Buckeyes in June 2012, forcing Meyer to pursue heralded linebackers Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson. Both eventually signed with Ohio State, but three years later, neither are suiting up for the Buckeyes. Mitchell transferred to Texas Tech to be closer to his ailing father, and Johnson walked away from football due to arthritis. 


Speedy Noil, Texas A&M Wide Receiver

Ohio State has spent the offseason searching for a replacement for Devin Smith, the blazing deep threat who led the country in average yards per reception by a wide margin in 2014.

That process would have been a lot easier had Meyer landed Speedy Noil for his '14 class.

True to his name, Noil is a speedy wideout for the Texas A&M Aggies, whom he chose over the Buckeyes before enrolling early for his freshman season last year. Boasting 4.4 speed, he thrived in Kevin Sumlin's system, hauling in 46 passes for 583 yards and five touchdowns. He consistently got behind defenses and made the tough catches—the two traits that made Devin Smith so special.

If Ohio State had earned his commitment, Meyer would have a wide receiver unit that features Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson and Corey Smith along with Noil.

That's a whole lot of speed and playmaking ability to defend. 


Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech Cornerback

The loss of Doran Grant would be a lot easier to handle if Ohio State had Kendall Fuller in its secondary.

Rated a 5-star cornerback and the No. 17 overall recruit for the class of 2013, Fuller had offers from most of the major programs in the country, including Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Ohio State was among his suitors, but Meyer couldn't pull him away from Virginia Tech, where he became an instant star. 

The Buckeyes saw firsthand how good he was last year, when the Hokies upset the Buckeyes 35-21 in the home opener. 

Now, instead of having Fuller anchor a secondary that also features 5-star safety Vonn Bell, Ohio State will have to figure out a way to overcome his otherworldly talents when it travels to Blacksburg, Virginia, to open the '15 season.


Myles Garrett, Texas A&M Defensive End

Ohio State already has one of the country's most dangerous pass-rushers in Joey Bosa, who became the first unanimous first-team All-American for Ohio State since James Laurinaitis in 2007. He was dominant for the Buckeyes last year, notching 13.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss—marks that ranked fifth nationally.

But how much more dangerous would Bosa be if he had an elite counterpunch like Myles Garrett on the other side of the line?

Garrett was the No. 2 overall recruit for the '14 class and the top-ranked weak-side defensive end who chose Texas A&M over Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State and others. He thrived for the Aggies as a true freshman last season, notching an impressive 11.5 sacks in just 12 games. 

Having that kind of pressure on the opposite side of Bosa would be next to impossible to block.

Garrett seriously considered the Buckeyes. The Arlington, Texas, native told Scout (h/t Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue) that if he chose a college outside of the Lone Star State, Ohio State was at the top of his list.

"If I want to get away from home, that’s the best place to go," Garrett said of Ohio State.

The Buckeyes feel good about Tyquan Lewis, who emerged this spring and will likely start at weak-side defensive end. But Lewis doesn't have the upside or the pass-rushing ability that Garrett possesses. 


All recruiting rankings and information via 247Sports.

David Regimbal covers Ohio State football for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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Power Ranking Tennessee's 2015 Schedule from Easiest to Toughest

We still have to wait more than two months for Tennessee to take the field in what has to be the most highly anticipated football season in more than a decade on Rocky Top.

A schedule rife with stumbling blocks awaits, but a lot of the toughest games on the Vols' slate will be played in the friendly confines of Neyland Stadium. UT will try to make the venerable old stadium a terror for opponents once again.

Though the Vols rotate a defensively stingy Ole Miss team off the board, they welcome Arkansas to Knoxville just in time for the Razorbacks to be a trendy dark-horse pick to win the SEC West.

Oklahoma, Georgia and South Carolina also must travel to Neyland.

Road games against Florida and Missouri await, as does a trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium to take on the hated rival Alabama Crimson Tide. A Halloween jaunt up the interstate to play Kentucky also could be a trap for a team that must play difficult games before and afterward.

There are plenty of difficult games ahead, and it's hard rating which ones are going to be the toughest. But there's no fun in abstaining.

Taking into consideration where (and when) the games are played, what's expected in 2015 of the opponent and how the Vols match up, let's take a shot at ranking UT's opponents on this year's schedule.

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Recruiting Insider Buzz: Jim Harbaugh Can Lead Michigan to Top-3 Class in 2016

Michigan is looking to claw its way back to the top of the Big Ten, but the Wolverines and Jim Harbaugh have quite the steep hill to climb. 

Stephen Nelson is joined by Bleacher Report Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue to discuss Michigan's recruiting class. 

How far can Jim Harbaugh take the Michigan Wolverines? Check out the video and let us know!

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UCLA Football: Recruiting Update and Other Musings for the Bruins

What a whirlwind last few weeks it's been for Jim Mora and the UCLA football program. 

Since the conclusion of the season, the program has been in the spotlight nationally on a number of fronts—and not always depicted in the best light. As a journalist, it's made for an interesting time. As a football coach and supporter of the program, there's been some shaky moments. 

However, some of those unfortunate events have recently found clarity. 

This piece will speak about the latest musings from within the program. This includes personnel news, a coaching update and a bizarre situation involving a prominent rap mogul. 

It will also speak about the recent influx of commitments UCLA has garnered recently. 


Welcome, Adrian Klemm and Soso Jamabo

UCLA got some very positive news with the reinstatement of offensive line coach Adrian Klemm and the enrollment of elite running back talent Soso Jamabo. 

As has been reported, Klemm was serving a suspension over alleged NCAA recruiting violations. This three-month suspension was recently lifted, and it enabled Klemm to return to his acting duties as a coach. 

This is significant on many levels. Obviously, Klemm will now be able to work with his personnel. UCLA had an amalgam of coaches and graduate assistants handling Klemm's duties in his absence. 

Perhaps most importantly, Klemm is now able to recruit—something he does exceptionally well. 

The enrollment of Jamabo is also a major boon for the Bruins. After battling multiple legal issues in April, Jamabo joined his fellow freshmen on campus this past Sunday. 

The Texas native should instantly impact UCLA's depth chart at the skill positions. His versatility enables him to be lined up at multiple spots across the field. 


A Look at the Recent Commitments

In the last few weeks, UCLA has garnered the pledges of five high school prospects. 

High school teammates Marcus Moore and Jalen Starks both committed to the Bruins within days of each other. 

Starks is one of the top fullback prospects in the country—and is exactly the type of big back running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu loves. Not only can he carry the ball and block, but he can also catch passes out of backfield well. 

Moore is a tough, physical player. He plays with a tremendous motor along the defensive front. Although a bit undersized, he figures to potentially put on enough weight to play as a 3-4 defensive end—or even move inside to tackle down the line. 

Scout.com 4-star athlete Dymond Lee chose UCLA over a host of schools—including Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Nebraska and Washington. 

Although regarded as a wide receiver by virtually every publication, Lee will enter UCLA initially as a quarterback. He joins Matt Lynch as the second signal-caller within the Bruins' class. It will be interesting to see which position he'll ultimately perform at once he gets on campus. 

The last two recent commitments both hail from the special teams department. 

Kicker JJ Molson out of Montreal committed to UCLA last week. Ranked as the No. 2 kicker in the country by Chris Sailer Kicking, he has a powerful leg. Interestingly enough, his family owns Molson Brewery and the Montreal Canadiens. 

Not to be outdone, UCLA also secured a commitment from the No. 2 punter in the class of 2016 in Bailey Raborn out of Lafayette, Louisiana. 

Molson and Raborn add to an already impressive special teams haul for UCLA—whom also has a pledge from the No. 1 long snapper in the country in Johnny Den Bleyker. 

The commitments of the aforementioned three are significant. Starting kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn, starting long snapper Christopher Longo and starting punter Matt Mengel will all graduate after this year.

As a result, the high school troika mentioned above will all likely start as true freshmen in 2016. 


The P. Diddy Saga

In case you were living under a rock, famed rapper Sean Combs (also known as Diddy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and a host of other monikers) was arrested on UCLA's campus Monday afternoon for allegedly getting into an altercation with UCLA strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi. 

BruinReportOnline.com was the first to report on the ordeal, which is detailed here. Combs was arrested on these charges, courtesy of UCPD. 

Suffice it to say, it's a strange situation all the way around. Combs' son—Justin—is a defensive back on the team. There's no telling what fallout will come. 

At this point, everyone is in a wait-and-see mode. 

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UCLA Football: Recruiting Update and Other Musings for the Bruins

What a whirlwind last few weeks it's been for Jim Mora and the UCLA football program. Since the conclusion of the season, the program has been in the spotlight nationally on a number of fronts —and not always depicted in the best light...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Former Vanderbilt Football Players Granted Mistrial After Rape Conviction

Former Vanderbilt football players Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were granted a mistrial by Nashville Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins after one juror failed to reveal that he was a victim in a statutory rape case, per Stacey Barchenger of the Tennessean.  

Vandenburg, 22, and Batey, 21, were convicted of multiple counts of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery, among other charges, in January. Their defense attorneys, however, maintained that the juror in question failed to disclose that he was the victim of a statutory rape in the hope that he would be put on the jury and that his history in such a case affected his ability to be impartial.

Despite protestations from the prosecution, Judge Watkins sided with the defense.

"The defendants have a right to a fair and impartial trial, a right that was violated by juror No. 9's conduct," the judge's order read, per Barchenger.

The defense is expected to request that both men be granted bonds after the judge's ruling.


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Ranking the Top SEC Quarterbacks of the 21st Century

The SEC conference has produced some of the best football players over the years, and the quarterback position has yielded some real stars. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Barrett Sallee joined Stephen Nelson to rank the best SEC quarterbacks of the 21st century. 

Who deserves to be at the top of this list? Check out the video and let us know! 


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Miami Hurricanes Fact or Fiction: Is Brad Kaaya a Legitimate Heisman Contender?

The Miami Hurricanes enter the 2015 season with high hopes after coming off a disappointing 2014 campaign. How will they fare next season in the ACC? 

CanesInSight.com's Peter Ariz joined Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson as they played a game of fact or fiction.

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Ohio State vs. The Field: Who Would You Take to Win CFB National Championship?

The Ohio State Buckeyes surprised many people last season by winning the CFP National Championship, but OSU won't be sneaking up on anyone this year. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Adam Kramer and Barrett Sallee debate whether they would take Ohio State or the field. 

Can anyone stop the Buckeyes from winning the national championship? Check out the video and let us know!

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