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Bowl Win Shows Jim McElwain Will Have Talent to Turn Florida Offense Around

In spite of struggles that saw Florida finish with the third-worst offense in the SEC (370.2 yards per game), several stars did emerge in 2014, including running back Kelvin Taylor and wide receiver Demarcus Robinson. They'll be around next season for new head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, as the duo looks to turn around a program that has been offensively challenged since 2010.

What McElwain saw in the 28-20 Birmingham Bowl win over East Carolina, though, were several other under-utilized Gators impress on offense and announce to the new coaching staff that the future is bright.

Freshman Adam Lane was the most notable of those players, as he finished the afternoon with 16 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown, while earning Birmingham Bowl MVP honors. As Zach Abolverdi of The Gainesville Sun noted, that was part of the plan:

McElwain and Nussmeier now know that, in addition to Taylor, Lane can carry the load. That's huge for an offense that will still be struggling to find a way to stretch the field in the passing game this offseason under the new regime.

How exactly will they do that?

Rising junior Ahmad Fulwood could help.

Fulwood, a former 4-star prospect from Jacksonville, caught one pass Saturday and made it count, as he turned on the jets for an 86-yard touchdown on a screen pass. It was Florida's longest offensive play of the season. Fulwood only had 11 catches this season, but the 6'5" monster showed that he's more than just a big body. 

As Jeff Barlis noted, it was about time he made his presence felt.

Add in freshman running back Brandon Powell, who made a tremendous touchdown catch on an under-thown pass from Treon Harris, and the story of the Birmingham Bowl evolved into the show for players who have been missing for the majority of the season.

Is that an indictment of former head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper? Absolutely.

But it also should give Florida fans hope for 2015 and beyond.

Is everything rosy in Gainesville? Of course not.

Harris left the game with an injury, and interim head coach D.J. Durkin was forced to turn to much-maligned former starter Jeff Driskel. Driskel did ice the game away with a quarterback keeper on third down with less than a minute to go, but he could be moving on elsewhere. According to Greg Ostendorf of ESPN.com, McElwain has granted Driskel a release to transfer if he chooses to do so.

When Harris was healthy this season, it's not like he was setting the world on fire. He only completed 49.5 percent of his passes (55-of-111) this year, and needs some work in order to solidify the starting spot. One player who could challenge him is redshirt freshman Will Grier, who was a 4-star prospect in last year's recruiting class.

Is the offensive future bright in Gainesville? That'd be a stretch, but at least more options emerged in Birmingham on Saturday afternoon.

That, at the very least, should give McElwain, Nussmeier and Florida fans hope, which is a step in the right direction.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays, 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Army All-American Bowl 2015: Score, Recruit Commitments and Twitter Reaction

In a wildly exciting 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the West held off a frantic comeback by the East to win 39-36 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

The West led by as many as 27 points, but the East made things interesting in the fourth quarter. The deficit was ultimately too much to overcome, however, thanks to the contributions of running back Derrius Guice.

The LSU commit had a monster game as a pass-catcher, which resulted in him being named MVP, according to Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue:

Here is a full recap of how the U.S. Army All-American Bowl played out, along with a rundown of the recruits who announced commitments throughout the game.

 

Game Recap

The game got off to an unassuming start, as Georgia commit Rodrigo Blankenship gave the East a 3-0 lead with a 34-yard field goal, but the action truly started to pick up on subsequent drives.

Guice is a running back by trade, but the future LSU Tiger showed his receiving chops by burning the East secondary and securing a 92-yard touchdown reception to put the West ahead 6-3.

The West didn't convert on the extra point, but it was able to build upon that lead when quarterback and Arizona State commit Brady White fired a 25-yard scoring strike to soon-to-be Florida Gator Derrick Dillon.

White looked extremely smooth on the touchdown drive, and Doug Kimmel of Scout.com believes he has an extremely bright future with the Sun Devils:

With the West offense firing on all cylinders, the defense decided to get in on the act as well. Utah commit Porter Gustin read future USC quarterback Sam Darnold like a book and returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown.

While it was an excellent play by Gustin, Josh Helmholdt of Rivals.com placed the blame on Darnold for a poor read:

That put the West up 20-3, but it was far from done. On the ensuing drive, the East was intercepted again when Missouri commit Drew Lock had his pass tipped into the hands of Duke linebacker commit Ben Humphreys.

The California native took the interception to the house, which prompted Greg Biggins of Scout.com to comment on Humphreys' uncanny nose for the ball:

It appeared as though the rout was on, with the West leading 27-3, and it continued to pour it on, as USC commit Ricky Town threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Guice. That marked the second touchdown reception of the day for the electric running back, and he had a simple explanation for why he was able to burn the defense, per Chris Kamrani of The Salt Lake Tribune:

The West hoped to enter the locker room with a commanding 33-3 advantage, but the East found the end zone late in the opening half. Wide receiver Lawrence Cager caught a deep touchdown shortly after announcing his commitment to the University of Miami (Florida), according to InsideTheU.com:

That made the score 33-9 in favor of the West at halftime. The West's lead grew a bit more late in the third quarter when a field goal made it 36-9.

A scary moment occurred late in the third quarter, as East offensive tackle and Ohio State commit Matthew Burrell went down with an injury. As pointed out by Helmholdt, he appeared to be favoring his leg:

Burrell's status is unclear, although he did manage to leave the field under his own power, per Andrew Lopez of NOLA.com:

The East made things interesting in the fourth quarter when Darnold found future Duke wide receiver T.J. Rahming for a 63-yard touchdown to cut the West's lead to 36-15.

Rahming is diminutive at 5'8", according to 247Sports, but that didn't stop him from making a big play, per Helmholdt:

The East then managed to recover an onside kick, and Rahming struck again soon after. The East ran an exciting trick play that featured a reverse, a handoff back to Lock and an across-field screen to Rahming before he finished the play off with a long run down the sideline for a touchdown.

Rahming's touchdown drew heavy praise from Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com:

That cut the deficit to 36-22 with just under eight minutes remaining, but the East wasn't lucky enough to recover a second onside kick.

Its fortunes changed quickly, though, as Town threw an interception while under pressure on the first play of the West's drive. The East wasted no time taking advantage, as Lock found a wide-open Deon Cain for a 50-yard touchdown to suddenly make it 36-29 in favor of the West.

With the momentum firmly in its favor, the East attempted another onside kick, but the West was once again able to secure it.

The West tacked on another field goal with less than two minutes remaining to take a 10-point lead. That seemingly iced the game, but the East showed its resiliency once again on the ensuing kickoff.

Florida State commit Tarvarus McFadden took the kick to the house by virtue of his blazing speed and the West's terrible coverage.

The East still had life and appeared to recover another onside kick when 247Sports' No. 1 overall recruit, offensive tackle Martez Ivey, pounced on the ball.

The ball didn't go 10 yards, though, so the East was whistled for illegal touching, according to Helmholdt:

That gave the West an opportunity to run out the clock, but it was stopped on fourth down with 36 seconds remaining, which gave the East one last chance to complete the comeback.

The East could not move into field-goal position, though, and the West preserved the victory.

 

Recruit Commitments

One of the most exciting aspects of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the fact that so many top recruits announce their commitments during the game. That was once again the case this year, as nine prospects made their collegiate decisions.

It started with defensive end Kyle Phillips, who decided to remain in state. The Nashville, Tennessee, native committed to the University of Tennessee, according to Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee:

Phillips is the 110th-ranked recruit, per 247Sports, and staying close to home was an important part of his choice, according to Teran Johnson of 1180 AM VLZ:

Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore also made his announcement during the first quarter. The Canadian defensive tackle was a highly sought-after recruit, as he is ranked as the No. 10 player at his position, per 247Sports.

In the end, it was Oklahoma that managed to land the 6'3", 300-pound lineman, according to ESPN.com's Tom VanHaaren:

One of the most versatile players in the class of 2015, Devonaire Clarington from Miami, Florida, announced his choice as well. He has played both tight end and defensive end, although he projects primarily at the former position.

He is listed as the No. 4 tight end recruit in the nation by 247Sports, and he committed to the University of Texas, per Ryan Autullo of the Austin American-Statesman:

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports gave Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong a great deal of credit for branching out beyond the Texas area to land a big prospect:

Stanley Norman is a 4-star athlete from Gardena, California, but rather than remaining in the Golden State, he committed to Arizona State, according to Doug Haller of AZCentral.com:

Norman is a speedster who excels at both wide receiver and cornerback, and while it is unclear what role he will play for the Sun Devils, he certainly has the ability to thrive on either side of the ball.

Lawrence Cager was the only pure wide receiver set to make an announcement Saturday, and he certainly made a big splash.

The 6'5", 202-pound wideout is ranked No. 42 at his position by 247Sports, and he intends to play at the University of Miami (Florida), per Radi Nabulsi of UGASports.com:

Nabbing the Maryland native was a major coup for the Hurricanes, as they beat out Alabama and seemingly came from out of nowhere to secure the big pass-catcher, according to Donohue:

The versatile Ykili Ross was the first player to announce his commitment in the second half. He is rated highly as both a wide receiver and cornerback by 247Sports, and he decided that he will play for USC, per Jason Howell of Rivals.com:

He also may have revealed that he doesn't intend to spend all four years with the Trojans, according to Feldman:

It could have been a slip of the tongue, but USC fans are undoubtedly happy to have him regardless of how long he stays in school.

After securing Clarington earlier in the day, Strong and Texas struck again when 4-star athlete Tim Irvin from Miami committed to the Longhorns, according to Corey Bender of Scout.com:

Irvin is the nephew of Dallas Cowboys legendary wide receiver Michael Irvin, and while he could follow in the footsteps of his uncle as a wide receiver, he is also skilled at running back and safety.

USC entered the day with an already impressive recruiting class, but it continued to build upon something special. 

Shortly after Ross announced that he would play for the Trojans, safety Marvell Tell did the same, per Howell:

Tell is the No. 4 safety recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports, and he could help form an elite secondary at USC down the line if Ross is utilized as a defensive back as well.

The final commitment of the day was made by defensive end D'Andre Walker, whom 247Sports rates as the No. 10 player at his position.

While the Fairburn, Georgia, native had no shortage of options, he decided to stay close to home by committing to the University of Georgia, per Nabulsi:

Although plenty can happen between now and national signing day, several college football fanbases are extremely excited about what the future holds for their favorite teams.

USC and Texas were clearly among the biggest winners, but since many of the players who competed in Saturday's game are still undecided, there will be plenty of opportunities for other programs to beef up their recruiting classes in the coming weeks.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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ECU vs. Florida: Score and Twitter Reaction for 2015 Birmingham Bowl

Despite a tumultuous year, Florida had no trouble finding motivation in its season finale. 

The fired-up Gators, playing under interim head coach D.J. Durkin, put together a gutsy effort and beat East Carolina, 28-20, in the Birmingham Bowl Saturday afternoon, finishing with a 7-5 overall record.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy noted an unexpected stat from the bowl season: 

Before the game, Florida center Max Garcia talked about the Gators' unyielding disposition, via the Associated Press:

We just decided we wanted to play for each other, no matter what the circumstances were. That's really what it's all about, just playing for the guy next to you and just being unselfish. Just locking arms and circling the wagon. That's what we talked about when Muschamp was here and that's what we're talking about now.

It wasn't a perfect outing from Florida, which was on the field for 101 defensive plays, allowed 536 total yards and turned the ball over three times. But the Gators showed their toughness. Adam Lane ran for 109 tough yards and his first career touchdown, Dante Fowler had three sacks and the defense made a number of game-changing plays at critical moments.  

Two of those plays came in the opening half. 

Late in the first quarter, Brian Poole picked off Shane Carden and returned it 29 yards to the end zone, tying the score at seven. SportsCenter's Twitter feed gave a look at the crucial play:

After the Gators added touchdowns on their next two drives, the Pirates would march 68 yards down the field to the Florida 1-yard line, only for running back Kurt Benkert to cough the ball up. Once again, it was Poole finding himself with the ball in his hands, as he recovered the fumble forced by true freshman Gerald Willis. 

Despite gaining nearly 300 yards of total offense in the opening half, East Carolina had dug itself into a 21-7 hole at the break. 

But it took barely two minutes to cut that deficit in half. After an interception from Treon Harris, Carden tossed a quick-hitter to Justin Hardy, who 66 yards down the sideline to set up a four-yard fade to Cam Worthy in the back of the end zone. 

It was an impressive exhibition of explosion from Hardy and size from Worthy, and as Bleacher Report's Jeff Risdon noted, each wideout has the talent to be playing on Sundays: 

Carden finished with 427 yards, two touchdowns and a two interceptions, while Hardy (11 catches, 160 yards, one touchdown) and Worthy (eight catches, 130 yards, one touchdown) each proved extremely difficult to cover. 

East Carolina seemed ready to take the game over, but then Ahmad Fulwood happened. The sophomore took a screen on 3rd-and-5, passed the first-down line and sped away from the entire Pirates defense for a 86-yard touchdown. 

As the Orlando Sentinel's Edgar Thompson pointed out, it was new territory for Florida's inconsistent offense:

However, when Harris, who was dealing with discomfort in his right elbow, was replaced by Jeff Driskel, the Gators became completely stagnant on that side of the ball. They went three-and-out on four consecutive drives, leaving it up to the defense. 

Florida responded with a bend-but-don't-break strategy. The Gators stopped two East Carolina drives inside their own 10-yard line, holding the Pirates to a pair of 24-yard field goals to keep an eight-point lead. 

East Carolina had several opportunities to tie the game, but Florida's stars rose to the occasion. Fowler came up with a couple of crucial sacks and Vernon Hargreaves picked off Carden in the end zone with less than two minutes remaining. 

USA Today's Dan Wolken put it simply, applauding Florida's electrifying defense, which has been terrific all season:

Florida still has work to do, and no one should be boasting about a win in the Birmingham Bowl. But for the Gators to endure such a turbulent season and still finish with eight wins is promising. 

With an intriguing core of talented young players, especially on defense, and a new coaching staff led by Jim McElwain, it shouldn't take long for the Gators to erase a run of disappointing campaigns. 

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D'Andre Walker to Georgia: Bulldogs Land 4-Star DE Prospect

Georgia just bolstered their defense on the edge for years to come, signing defensive end D'Andre Walker to join the program.

Gentry Estes of 247 Sports notes the announcement:

His choice of schools isn't a huge surprise, as in December he had a little fun on Twitter and YouTube announcing that his final three schools were Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn:

Walker is ranked as a 4-star weak-side defensive end in 247 Sports' composite rankings. He's considered the 10th-ranked player at his position, the No. 17 player in the state of Georgia and the 161st-ranked player in the country. 

Per his profile page at 247 Sports, Walker was a 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection, the 3-A Player of the Year and a first team all-state pick. So he'll certainly be heading to the next level with plenty of plaudits.

Walker stands at 6'2" and weighs 209 pounds, so he'll need to bulk up and add some muscle at the next level. He's likely to an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, where his combination of athleticism, physicality and a nose for the football will help him flourish.

Walker is an excellent speed rusher, which shouldn't come as much surprise, but he also sets the edge well in the running game. That will be trickier at the next level, where the athletes are bigger and stronger, but if Walker dedicates himself to hitting the weight room he'll be fine.

There's no doubt that he has the potential to be something special if he continues to develop and improve his craft.

And he's got some pretty sweet YouTube skills, too.

 

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Ohio City of Oregon to Change Its Name on Day of National Championship

The Ohio State Buckeyes are thrilled to be playing the Oregon Ducks on January 12 for this year's national championship, and one city in Ohio has decided to change its name to show its loyalty.

Matt Squibb and Mark Rabbitt, two natives of Oregon, Ohio, created a petition to change the name of the city for the day of the national championship. The petition also calls for the high school to change its colors on game day, as their athletic teams wear green and gold, just like the Ducks. 

Here is the official statement from the petition, via Sarah Ottney from the Toledo Free Press:

I grew up in Oregon, Ohio and love the city, but for the day of the ‘Big Game’ I am asking the city council to make a proclamation to change the name of the city for one day. Call it Buckeye Town, Ohio City, Brutusville, whatever, you get the point. Let’s not leave anything to chance here! Change the name and support the Buckeyes!

The town of Oregon took notice of the petition and will apparently announce the name of the city for the big game on January 5.

[Toledo Free Press, h/t College Football Talk]

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Nelson Agholor Declares for 2015 NFL Draft: Latest Details and Reaction

Nelson Agholor is striking while the iron is out.

After the best season of his college career, the USC Trojans wide receiver declared for the 2015 NFL draft, USC announced:

Agholor entered the 2014 as one of the top wideouts in the country, and his final numbers backed up that reputation. He caught 104 passes for 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns. According to USC, he's only the fourth WR in school history to crack the century mark in receptions:

He also became the first USC WR to have back-to-back 200-yard receiving games, going for 220 and 216 yards, respectively against Washington State and California back in November, per Arash Markazi of ESPN.com:

Of course, being a productive collegiate wide receiver isn't always a guarantee that a player will receive a high draft grade. It certainly helps, though, and Agholor's stock only rose as the season went on.

Bleacher Report's NFL draft expert Matt Miller spoke with an NFL scout who called Agholor "the cleanest route-runner in the draft right now" and also labeled him a "year one impact player."

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times also interviewed NFL scouts before USC's game with UCLA. When asked about Agholor, one argued that he'd be a nice No. 3 wide receiver at the next level because he can create space and do the dirty work over the middle. Another, however, questioned whether Agholor can be a home-run threat after the catch.

USC receivers coach Tee Martin was unequivocal in his praise upon the young star before USC took on Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, per Michael Lev of the Orange County Register:

I didn't know how he would pan out early on because he was so raw, but the thing that Nelson does, every play is like his last play. When you see him have success in games it's not surprising because he's probably done it 100 times at practice. He's very serious all the time. I've never had to force him to get it going. He's not one of those guys.

When he gets between the lines, he’s there. He’s there 100 percent. I appreciate his effort, his concentration, his focus for all the years that he’s been here. Hopefully we’ll get one more.

It will be interesting to see how Agholor is evaluated as the draft gets closer. This year's crop of potential WRs is extremely deep.

Jaelen Strong and Devin Funchess are among the top underclassmen to declare, and they join seniors like Rashad Greene, DeVante Parker and Kevin White. Dorial Green-Beckham is a potential wild card as well if he decides to skip his senior year.

No matter where he's drafted, Agholor should be very productive once he hits the NFL. Many of the knocks on Agholor were said about Jordy Nelson, and look where Nelson is now. With the right fit, the USC star could be a 1,000-yard guy year in and year out.

He'll have USC's pro day and the scouting combine to prove that he's worth a first-round pick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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USC Lands 4-Star DB Duo: Will Add Great Depth to Trojans' Secondary

The USC Trojans continued their strong recruiting season by landing a pair of 4-star defenders, per 247 Sports Composite Rankings. Defensive backs Marvell Tell and Ykili Ross will boost the Trojans' already loaded secondary.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down the dynamic duo and how they'll fare in Southern California.

Will these two defenders bolster USC's roster? Check out the video and let us know!

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Marvell Tell to USC: Trojans Land 4-Star Safety Prospect

USC added a critical piece to its 2015 recruiting class, as 4-star safety Marvell Tell pledged his commitment to Steve Sarkisian and the Trojans.

Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com notes the announcement:

Tell joins fellow US Army All-American Ykili Ross, who will accompany him at USC. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down the dynamic duo how they'll fare in Southern California.

The athletic safety is a product of Crespi High School (Encino, California) and is ranked as the No. 61 player in the country, No. 4 safety in the country and No. 9 player in the state of California, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

He checks in at 6’2” and 175 pounds and has a listed 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds, per his 247Sports profile.

Tell uses his size and quickness to burst through any open lanes on the offensive line and attack the opposing rushing game. He covers plenty of ground, even from deep in the backfield, which helps him get to the line of scrimmage quicker than his opponents can react at the high school level.

Once he gets to the ball-carrier, Tell rarely misses a tackle in the open field.

In terms of pass coverage, those same athleticism traits that allow him to provide run support come into play. Tell possesses impressive lateral quickness, which helps him range from the middle of the field where he is positioned to either sideline. When the ball is in the air, he uses that speed to get in prime position when defending passes.

Brandon Huffman of Scout and Fox Sports was there to alert fans when Tell got in perfect position during the season at a critical moment:

Perhaps Tell's best trait is his reaction time and instincts from the safety position. He can be an enforcer for the Trojans' defense because he seems to have a nose for the football and breaks up critical passes when the game is on the line.

Thanks to this skill set, virtually the entire Pac-12 showed interest at one point or another. Per 247Sports, UCLA, USC, Washington State, Arizona State, California and Colorado, among others, offered scholarships while national powers such as Notre Dame, Nebraska, Louisville and Miami offered scholarships as well.

Given his versatility as both a run-stuffer and a coverage safety, his speed and his ability to stop routes and wrap up on tackles in the open field, look for Tell to contribute right away as a freshman.

He has the height of a prototypical safety, and will likely add muscle in his early days inside an elite collegiate weight-training program. From a physical standpoint, he will be fine as a freshman. 

Once he gets enough mental and physical reps on the actual field in games and practices, he will develop into a star at the back end of the Trojans' defense.

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USC Lands 4-Star DB Duo: Will Add Great Depth to Trojans' Secondary

The USC Trojans continued their strong recruiting season by landing a pair of 4-star defenders, per 247 Sports Composite Rankings. Defensive backs Marvell Tell and Ykili Ross will boost the Trojans' already loaded secondary...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Stefon Diggs Declares for NFL Draft: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Maryland's star wide receiver Stefon Diggs will reportedly skip his senior season with the Terps to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. 

According to Matt Zenitz of The Baltimore Sun, who spoke with the wideout, Diggs is taking his talents to the professional rank:

Diggs has been a steady playmaker for Maryland during his three years with the school. He does come with some injury history, having missed three games in 2014, but the junior led the team with 62 receptions, 792 receiving yards and five touchdowns. 

Draft expert Dion Caputi of NationalFootballPost.com thinks Diggs can perform at the next level with better quarterback play thanks to his natural speed:

Charles Davis of NFL.com listed Diggs as one of 10 underclassmen who should declare for the 2015 draft in December:

Diggs has been well-hyped since his high school days, but he's not yet had the breakout year we've been waiting to see from him. He's battled injuries, and another year with the Terrapins would give him a chance to have that big year that has eluded him. Diggs could prove his durability and give his stock a big boost.

His last game with the Terps was also one of his best. It came on December 30 against Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl, in which Diggs finished with 10 catches for 138 yards in a 45-21 loss. 

Due to Diggs' injury problems, he's not likely to be a Day 1 pick. Given his speed and ability to create plays deep down the field, it won't be a surprise to see him go sometime in the second or third round. This looks like another deep class for receivers, so a player like Diggs could represent good value for his future team. 

Diggs isn't the biggest player at 6'0" and 195 pounds, so he will have to prove capable of getting off the jam at the line of scrimmage, but that speed is something no one can teach. The worst he should turn out to be is a slot receiver or as a utility player similar to what Tavon Austin does in St. Louis. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


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Ykili Ross Commits to USC, Says He'll Be There for 'Next 3 Years'

The USC Trojans were able to add another promising player to their 2015 recruiting class on Saturday, but it looks like the young man doesn't plan on staying through his senior year.

Cornerback/wide receiver recruit Ykili Ross announced his decision to commit to USC, but according to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, the 4-star recruit only plans on staying for three years.

After three seasons with the Trojans, Ross would have a chance to declare for the NFL draft, so he's already setting his sights on the pros despite not playing a single down in college.

We'll see if Ross can live up to his own expectations in the coming years.

[YouTube, h/t Twitter]

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Charlie Strong's Recruiting Streak Continues: Texas Lands Pair of 4-Stars

Devonaire Clarington, the No. 4 TE and Tim Irvin, the No. 23 ATH are two 4-Star recruits, as pre 247Sports composite rankings, who have both committed to the University of Texas.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder discusses the impact of these two recruits for the Longhorns.

What kind of impact can Clarington and Irvin have for Texas next season?

Watch the video and let us know!

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Tim Irvin to Texas: Longhorns Land 4-Star ATH Prospect

Michael Irvin carved the path to a Hall of Fame career at the University of Miami. His nephew, 4-star athlete Tim Irvin, has decided a path of his own, heading out of state to Texas.

Irvin committed to the University of Texas on Saturday, as noted by 247 Sports' Justin Hokanson. The 5'9" speedster chose Texas over Florida, Miami and West Virginia.

Heading into his announcement, most had predicted Irvin would choose Florida or Miami. His interest in the Gators had been trending upward, though Miami had an obvious pull. 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions gave Irvin a 65 percent chance of being a Hurricane.

As for Irvin himself, he did a nice job of keeping his decision a secret. In a recent interview with SB Nation's Wescott Eberts, Irvin was complimentary of all four schools and said he hadn't made up his mind.

"Not yet, I'm still talking to my family, friends, and my coaches about what I'll decide," Irvin said.

Now that Texas has landed Irvin, its next task will be finding his long-term position. He's listed as a running back, wide receiver and safety on his 247Sports profile and could potentially play any of the three at the collegiate level

Running back may be the most difficult given his size limitations. At 5'9" and 186 pounds, it's unlikely his frame can withstand the punishment of high-level college football. As a sophomore and junior, Irvin rushed for over 1,000 yards but moved away from the running back position for the most part as a senior, receiving only 11 carries.

Wide receiver comes with the family lineage, but it's likely Irvin tops out as a slot receiver. He's quick and has above-average hands, a combination that has turned many smaller players into pros. It'll just be interesting to see how he develops as a route-runner if that's the path Texas chooses to take. Irvin's versatility is an asset on the surface, but it also makes him raw regardless of his long-term position.

If head coach Charlie Strong and Texas are looking to make Irvin's transition the smoothest it possibly can be, Irvin might wind up at safety. His lack of size won't be as big of an issue on defense, and he's a polished run-stopper and has the quickness to become elite against the pass as well.

Finding the right spot for Irvin will probably take work. He's unlikely to find the field as a freshman and may need to become an upperclassman before becoming a star. But the potential here is immense.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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Ykili Ross to USC: Trojans Land 4-Star WR Prospect

USC has landed coveted recruit Ykili Ross, an athlete capable of playing on either side of the ball as a wide receiver or cornerback. Wherever he ultimately lands, his playmaking ability should help him make an impact for the Trojans.

As Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports indicates, Ross announced he'll be headed to USC for the "next three years":

Ross is a 4-star recruit that's listed with the wide receiver group in 247Sports' composite rankings. He rates inside the top 200 nationally. The outlet's own rankings view him even more favorably, placing him inside the top 90.

Normally when a recruit is able to play on both sides of the ball, one position is noticeably stronger. The other position is more of a fallback plan should things not work out, thus giving the player a chance to reboot their efforts.

In Ross' case, he's showcased serious potential at both wideout and corner. It opens up more possibilities as he gets ready to begin his collegiate career.

Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans are turning a corner. With sanctions in their rearview mirror, they have become a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-12 South once again. Taking back the power in Los Angeles from rival UCLA begins with adding more talented recruits like Ross. 

Eventually he, along with the coaching staff, will have to pick a position for him to focus most of his attention. He sports an impressive combination of size and athleticism that's made him a matchup nightmare at the high school level.

It's that talent that allowed him to get chosen for the Army All-American Bowl, an honor he discussed with Scott Schrader of 247Sports.

"I was blown away when I learned I was being invited to such an incredible game with the best players in the country," Ross said. "It's the biggest bowl game in America and only a select few get this amazing opportunity. And to have all of these people show up and support me made this a day I will never forget. A lot of great players are playing in this game and I can't wait for it to get here."

On offense, he projects as a player who's going to run a lot of intermediate routes that will allow him to use that 6'2'' frame to his advantage. That equates to a lot of looks on third down to move the chains and in the red zone. But he also has enough speed to break a big play.

Defensively, he has the skill set necessary to become an imposing physical corner. Those types of players are really starting to gain traction, especially at the NFL level. So in terms of his future outlook, that probably presents the most upside.

That said, Jamie Uyeyama from SonofaCoach.com is confident he'll succeed on either side of the ball:

Poly High (Riverside) athlete Ykili Ross is going to have to eventually choose between wide receiver or cornerback at the next level. Right now it has to be a toss up as to what he will choose because he is very good at both. All I know is that someone is going to get an excellent football player to come to their school no matter what side of the ball he ends up on.

There will be a learning curve. When a terrific athlete, who's used that natural ability to thrive in high school, is forced to focus on one area, it's a transition. Things like technique and reads will come with time, but the potential is clearly there.

Even if Ross doesn't make an immediate impact, it's a solid signing. The long-term outlook is positive despite there likely being some short-term growing pains along the way.

 

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