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Georgia's Junior Day Makes Big Impression on Top Recruits

One of the epicenters of the college football recruiting universe last weekend was at the University of Georgia.

Head coach Mark Richt and his staff held their first junior day and had a laundry list of top prospects on campus.

While the Bulldogs have netted a verbal commitment from only 3-star corner Tyrique McGhee, the early returns from the event have been overwhelmingly positive.

One player who is quickly making a name for himself on the recruiting circuit is 2016 wide receiver Elijah Pankey.

Pankey was named the top receiver at the Adidas Georgia Showcase earlier this month and was also named one of the top five performers at the National Playmakers Academy 7-on-7 tryout last weekend, according to Barton Simmons of 247Sports.

Before the NPA event, which was held in his home state of Tennessee, Pankey made his way to Athens for UGA’s junior day.

The 6'1" 180-pounder was impressed with what he saw on campus.

"We took a tour around the stadium and then the locker room," Pankey said. "We also got to look at the dorms and check out the campus and stuff like that. I thought it went good and I really liked the campus."

One of the highlights was his initial interaction with new Bulldogs offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Pankey, who said this was a business trip for him, admitted that the team's new play-caller impressed him.

"I talked to the wide receivers coach [Bryan McClendon] and the offensive coordinator [Schottenheimer] down at Georgia," Pankey said. "We are just beginning that relationship now, but I like those guys. It was my first time speaking and interacting with him [Schottenheimer], and he seems like a nice guy and a coach that will be honest with me."

Another player in attendance who gave glowing reviews of the event was 2016 4-star corner Chad Clay.

Clay, who put the Bulldogs atop his list after returning from Athens, said Richt and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt have done a great job making in-state prospects feel like they are priorities in the 2016 cycle.

"Most of the top guys, we all know each other and we’re good friends because of this recruiting thing," Clay said. "We all had a good time just being around the guys. It was mostly a lot of kids from the Rising Seniors game. For all of us to be around each other, we all had a good time. The crazy thing is that Georgia seems to be in the top group with most of us."

As noted by Rusty Mansell of Dawgs247, top recruits such as 5-star defensive tackle Julian Rochester, 4-star linebacker Tre Lamar and 3-star defensive end Mykelle McDaniel were among the other studs who left with more favorable impressions of what the Bulldogs have to offer.

While the 2016 class is in its beginning stages for Richt and his staff, last weekend’s event laid the groundwork for the Dawgs to reel in another top-10 class when next February rolls around.

 

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

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

The Anatomy of a 400-Pound Man's Touchdown

When men weighing over 300 pounds touch a football, we hear music. And on those cherished occasions when they score touchdowns, we’re treated to glorious symphonies.

It’s the way their hands melt around the foreign object like butter on a sizzling frying pan. It’s the pitter-pattering of their gigantic bricks known as feet and the unfamiliar rhythm they attempt without practice. It’s when chaos and slow-motion meet for dinner and rack up a tremendous tab.

It’s why Shaun Rogers, B.J. Raji, Sam Adams and William “The Refrigerator” Perry—some tipping the scales at 350-ish pounds—will be celebrated for eternity. Each scored a touchdown despite playing at ponderous weights.

350 pounds? Is that all?

What about 6'7" and 390 pounds? And what happens when there is no melting butter or awkward large-man chaos? What happens when the entire sequence looks, well, natural?

“Well, first of all,” Kendal Briles said, uncorking his ear-pleasing Texan drawl while simultaneously laboring to hold back laughter. “You’re about 40 pounds off.”

The quest to understand how the largest touchdown came to be—the end-zone visit to end all end-zone visits—begins here, with a 32-year-old offensive coordinator and the son of a football necromancer sizing up LaQuan McGowan, Baylor’s no-longer-secret weapon.

On January 1, with a stocked cupboard of skill-position talent to move on his football chessboard and future NFL players at quarterback and running back, Art Briles and his son Kendal dialed up a play for a reserve offensive lineman, hoping to deliver an unanticipated deathblow to Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl.

It was not by chance or luck. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It took months of preparation and a player large enough—and freakishly gifted enough—to pull the whole thing off.

“It was the brainchild of Art Briles,” the younger Briles said of the play. “It was one of his babies.”

Before you can even comprehend the play itself, you must know how this baby was conceived.

There was Art Briles, maestro of the scheme and the poster child for offensive innovation and Texas football. There was his son, Kendal, his promising young assistant and the one responsible for pulling the appropriate cord at the appropriate time. There was Michigan State, one of the nation’s hottest programs, playing the role of piñata in this particular instance and then grabbing the bat shortly after.

And then, of course, there was LaQuan McGowan, the oversized guard from Amarillo, Texas, whose official Baylor bio begins with the word “enormous.”

That is not intended to be a joke. Look for yourself. It’s also not completely accurate.

It’s not false advertising. McGowan is indeed enormous. But categorizing his size doesn’t do justice to his incredible range as an athlete. With the script in place and the necessary details accounted for, behold the glory of it all.

And now, some greatest hits:

1. There was star Baylor wideout Antwan Goodley—listed at 220 lbs on his bio—attempting to lift McGowan in the air to celebrate only to abort this plan midair after considering how the laws of gravity would impact his football future.

2. There was Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh’s new head coach and Mark Dantonio’s longtime masterful defensive coordinator—the anti-Briles—having a football breakdown on national television, and understandably so.

3. There were the Baylor fans maximizing their celebrations, uncertain of what just transpired but thrilled by the three-score lead. Their faces radiated both joy and bewilderment.

4. And, best of all, there was confusion followed by deafening silence coming from the ESPN broadcast booth. Dave Pasch, an absolute pro, scrambled for the name of the colossus wearing a wideout’s uniform.

No one was prepared for this. Well, no one outside of the Baylor sideline was, at least.

“It was pretty incredible. It really was,” Briles added. “The ball looked like a TDY (Youth) football in his hands.”

The play, while simple in nature, took months to perfect. And before the dynamic Briles duo ever dreamed up the idea and pitched it to McGowan, the player first had to show something that told them he was up for the task.

As the nation’s No. 734-ranked player and No. 41-ranked guard in the class of 2011, according to 247Sports, McGowan was an all-district offensive and defensive lineman before arriving at Baylor. He was also an all-district placekicker, played basketball and was a state champion in shot put.

This, in many ways, starts to paint a fuller picture of the athlete. It’s easy to be dazzled by his sheer size—as I was as I began researching the piece—although I quickly realized that McGowan was more than just a vending machine with feet.

“You can come out here and play catch with him like you can with [Baylor wideout] Corey Coleman,” Briles said. “He’s just incredibly skilled, and we wanted to do something with him.”

Having recognized the athlete’s outsized talents long before the rest of us, Baylor crafted a package of plays with McGowan as the centerpiece. The idea really took shape in the second half of the regular season. Before each practice ended, the offense would run the play at least once to work on the execution.

Call it father-son bonding time or just dedicated offensive planning; regardless, it worked out brilliantly. They knew that if the right opportunity presented itself in an actual game, they might have a home run.

“We wanted to get him inside 30 yards,” Briles said. “We felt like if we could get him around that point of the field, if we caught it clean and had a chance to run, he wouldn’t get brought down.”

After living only through conversations and repetitions, the moment arrived. On second down from Michigan State’s 18-yard line, the younger Briles found his ideal situation with the third-quarter clock bleeding toward zero. Even though it was his first-ever game calling plays, he didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

“I wanted to make first downs and touchdowns,” Briles said. “I wanted to give us an opportunity to win. That was the main thing.” 

With Michigan State’s defense still wobbly after giving up a handful of deep balls already, McGowan entered the game—his No. 80 jersey looking painted on.

“I saw that everybody was set and that he was an eligible receiver,” Briles said. “So I knew we were good there. We got the snap clean, Bryce got it to him and I knew when he caught it he was going to score.”

There was an incredible smoothness to it all. Bryce Petty’s quick-pop pass hit McGowan’s hands, which gave the same comforting flex as many of the gifted wideouts on his team.

He looked comfortable in space, knowing precisely where he had to be, when he had to be there and when to look for the ball. And, perhaps most impressive about the score, McGowan looked shockingly quick—not just large-man quick, but quick—once he had possession and glided by.

Bleacher Report video analyst Michael Felder—a former collegiate defensive back and an Xs and Os scholar—was able to see beyond the euphoria of a large human being scoring. Here’s why it worked.

“Bryce Petty, the offensive line and the running back start the play with run action to the right side,” Felder said. "That draws in the Spartan linebackers and the safety to follow. Meanwhile, on the other side of the play Marcus Rush doesn't get a hand on McGowan, letting the big kid slip free. At the same time, Ed Davis is expanded too far outside and doesn't recognize that McGowan is an eligible receiver on the play.

"That mistake, coupled with Taiwan Jones being sucked into the play action, creates a huge space for Petty to hit McGowan. The big kid does the rest by getting into the end zone.”

Your eyes did not deceive you.

McGowan, incredible measurements in all, ran away from pretty much everyone once he caught the ball. This, again, was no surprise to those who have seen the reps unfold behind the curtain.

“He runs the 40 in five seconds flat,” Briles said. “He’s a massive individual but also very skilled.”

The expected success didn’t stop the Baylor sideline from losing its mind. Not only did the play go off as planned, but it came at a point in the matchup—and in the season—where it looked to be the final chapter written about a long, winding journey.

As a result, the players and coaches allowed their regimented programming to lapse, even for a short while. McGowan nearly joined them. In fact, this was the only part of the plan that wasn’t executed perfectly.

“OK, here’s the thing. I had a little celebration dance I was going to do,” McGowan told Brice Cherry and John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald. “I’m not a big dancer, but I’ve been working on this dance for probably two weeks. I was about to do it, and as soon as I turned around I saw Antwan Goodley right in my face. He told me to jump, he said, ‘Jump up,’ and I was like, ‘OK.’ I went for it. I jumped.”

“It was mayhem,” Briles recalled, viewing the moment from a far different perspective. “It sure felt like that should have catapulted us to victory, but unfortunately it didn’t.”

History followed history. Michigan State’s 21 fourth-quarter points ultimately gave the Spartans a 42-41 final edge in one of the finest games of the bowl season.

McGowan’s touchdown was toppled by a Connor Cook touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining. Mayhem gave way to agony, although it didn’t erase a moment that will be celebrated by hopeful linemen for ages.

Some hope to become Marcus Mariota. Others try to emulate Leonard Williams. And some playing in far less-discussed roles hope they can be the next LaQuan McGowan, even for only 15 seconds. The problem with this plan is most men of this size simply aren't blessed with these types of physical gifts.

“We were talking about it,” Briles said. “He may be the biggest guy to ever score a touchdown in college football.”

If there’s one larger, we’d love to see it.

Whatever the scale might have said—whether it was 390 pounds or something more—it’s going to require a truly gargantuan effort to knock McGowan off of his industrial-sized throne. And, significant to the general watching experience, his life as an offensive weapon might not be over.

When asked about McGowan’s future in the offense and whether this was only a one-time event, Briles couldn’t fight back the laughter any more.

“He’s got another year of eligibility,” he said, refusing to dive any further.

The laughter eventually gave way for silence, perhaps even thought, as the music sheets for the next great touchdown symphony were tucked away.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas Football: Realistic Expectations for the New Coaches in 2015

Charlie Strong made a name for himself this spring for his ability to recruit talent to the University of Texas. That effort has extended to his coaching staff, where he has made three significant additions since the end of the season.

Following the Texas Bowl fiasco, Strong let go of wide receivers coach Les Koenning and longtime tight ends coach Bruce Chambers. Both positions underachieved in 2014 outside of the 1,000-yard receiver John Harris, making their recruiting misses, as noted by SB Nation's Wescott Eberts, the final nails in the coffin.

The Horns also lost noted defensive line coach Chris Rumph to Florida, much to the chagrin of his incoming recruits, per Eberts.

But just as he replaced his 10 departed starters with a top-10 recruiting class, Strong got exactly what he needed to add to his staff.

Strong quickly went out and grabbed Jay Norvell, who brings play-calling experience from spread concepts, to coach the wide receivers.

Then, the head coach hit two home runs in one swing, bringing in defensive line coach Brick Haley and Jeff Traylor, one of the state's best high school coaches. Haley will fill in directly for Rumph, while Traylor will handle both the tight ends and a bulk of the special teams.

Realistically, Texas fans can expect these three guys to influence the direction of the offense and recruiting in the eastern part of state, while Traylor mends the holes on special teams. 

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CFB Future 100: Top 13 Offensive Linemen in Class of 2016

After thorough study using specific scoring criteria, Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analysts Damon Sayles, Sanjay Kirpalani and Tyler Donohue have graded the top 100 players in the 247Sports' composite rankings and provided in-depth analysis. Bleacher Report will run a position-by-position breakdown series of the best college football recruits in the class of 2016. Here we present the Top Offensive Linemen.

Other Positions 

The quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers get all the publicity and recognition, but the majority of them will be the first to give the offensive linemen all the credit when credit is due.

In college football recruiting, offensive linemen are often the first ones to get recognition. College coaches will say that an elite lineman is harder to find than an elite skill-position player. For example, an athlete like 5-star Greg Little, the nation's top-ranked offensive tackle according to multiple recruiting sites, is a needle in a haystack of sorts—and Texas A&M is happy to have him committed.

This section of Bleacher Report's CFB Future 100 series focuses on offensive linemen. Tackles are scored using the metrics of hands (25 points), power (15), lateral quickness (25), pass protection (25) and run-blocking (10). Interior linemen are scored using the metrics of strength (20 points), pass protection (30), run-blocking (40) and explosion (10).

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College Football Players Who Should Change Positions in 2015

Remember that time Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill started the 2010 season as a receiver and finished as the starting quarterback?

Tannehill came to A&M as a 3-star dual-threat prospect, switched to receiver and wound up back at quarterback.  He is now the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, where he landed as the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

The story illustrates how position changes in college football are driven by need.  Jerrod Johnson threw eight picks in two games at the beginning of the 2010 season, so the Aggies opted to move Tannehill (the No. 1 receiver in 2008 and the No. 2 guy in 2009) back to quarterback. 

Here’s a look at nine players who may have a shot at making a move based on need combined with size and experience.  All represent opportunities for coaching staffs to get creative.

 

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Nebraska Football: Realistic Expectations for Mike Riley in 2015

Nebraska football fans, like most fanbases, tend not to dwell on the reasonable. The word “fan,” derived from “fanatic,” suggests a tendency to demand the unreachable and expect glory regardless of the challenges facing their favored team.

But, of course, part of our job here is to curb that enthusiasm, or at least direct it. So as we approach spring practice, here are some reasonable expectations for Nebraska in 2015.

 

Nebraska will turn the ball over less

Interestingly, this observation came from data compiled by CFB Matrix’s Dave Bartoo, who was suggesting that turnover margin is not predictable (or at least that turnover margin tends to revert to the mean). But there are always outliers, of course.

In the last five years, out of 120 teams playing FBS football, only eight had a negative turnover margin in each of those five years. Guess which team was one of the eight?

Yes, that’s right. Nebraska was No. 108 overall, with turnover margins over the last five years of minus-two, minus-11, minus-12, minus-one and minus-one, respectively. Mike Riley’s Oregon State teams, on the other hand, were No. 39 nationally, with turnover margins of plus-four, plus-three, plus-eight, minus-eight and plus-four over the past five years.

Sure, past performance is no guarantee of future earnings, especially when it comes to turnovers. But given Nebraska’s remarkable (if distressing) consistency regarding ball security in the last five years under Pelini, it’s fair to assume that a coaching change can be expected to result in an improved turnover margin.

 

Nebraska will throw the ball more

This one may be a bit of connecting the dots, but hear me out. One of the first quarterbacks Nebraska offered for the 2016 class, according to 247 Sports, was Dwayne Haskins, a pro-style prospect. In and of itself, that would be little cause for notice.

But we really have little idea what type of offense Nebraska under Mike Riley will run. We know that his previous quarterback at Oregon State, Sean Mannion, broke the Pac-12 career passing record. So we know Riley is certainly not afraid to have his quarterback put the ball in the air.

Certainly we don’t know a lot about what Riley’s offense in Lincoln will be. And the fact that Nebraska has offers out to seven dual-threat quarterbacks suggests that Riley is not desperate to abandon the idea of a mobile quarterback.

But the fact that he is offering a pro-style quarterback like Haskins suggests at least the potential to look at throwing the ball more.

 

Nebraska will notch an upset

This may be another comparison that isn’t exactly fair, given where Oregon State is in the pecking order compared to Nebraska. But Riley’s Beavers in his tenure notched some impressive giant-killings, arguably more impressive than anything Bo Pelini logged in Lincoln.

As a smart and particularly handsome analyst observed, in the last seven years Nebraska has beaten two teams ranked in the Top 15 (No. 7 Missouri in 2010 and No. 9 Michigan State in 2011). Over that same period, Oregon State beat five teams ranked in the Top 15 (No. 1 USC in 2008, No. 2 Cal in 2007, No. 9 Arizona in 2010, No. 13 Wisconsin in 2012 and No. 6 Arizona State in 2014).

So Riley has shown that he can upset teams with better talent. If he can take that skill and apply it to the roster he will be inheriting and assembling in Lincoln, then Nebraska fans could be in store for some memorable experiences.

 

For a different look at Nebraska football, check out The Double Extra Point.

Or you can use the Twitter machine to follow @DblExtraPoint.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Shane Buechele to Texas: Longhorns Land 4-Star QB Prospect

The Texas Longhorns added a major piece to their 2016 recruiting class on Monday, securing the commitment of 4-star quarterback Shane Buechele.

The prep star confirmed his decision on Twitter:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he is ranked 184th overall and fourth among dual-threat quarterbacks in the 2016 recruiting class. ESPN.com's Max Olson believes the Longhorns got a great talent for the future:

Andrew King added that locking up a talented in-state player like Buechele is also a nice boost for head coach Charlie Strong:

In an interview with Horns247's Jeff Howe, Buechele spoke very highly of assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson and the job Watson did to sell him on Texas.

"He seems very real and to me, that's the big thing," he said of Watson. "Recruiting is a big deal and they might just be talking jibber jabber and telling me what I want to hear. Coach Watson's for real and tells me the truth. I really enjoy that."

Especially after the school failed to lure incoming Texas A&M recruit Kyler Murray to Austin, the need for Texas to add a quarterback was clear for all to see.

In Buechele, Strong and the Longhorns found their man.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon Football: Ducks with the Most to Gain in Spring Practices

For head coach Mark Helfrich and the rest of the Oregon football program, the 2014 season is a thing of the past. It’s time to kick off the 2015 season and put together another championship-caliber campaign.

The Ducks have lost their best player—2014 Heisman winner Marcus Mariota—and others to the NFL and graduation. However, Oregon still possesses the scariest offense in college football and some of the best skill position players in the nation.

Defensively, Oregon will need to replace the six starters it lost and continue to be one of the most prolific ball-hawking teams in America.

Making it back to another College Football Playoff will be challenging, especially considering the losses Oregon has incurred. If the Ducks are to make another run in 2015, numerous players are going to have to step up in a big way.

For those players wanting to make a significant leap in 2015, it all starts in spring practices, which kick off on March 31.

Here are five players who can help themselves in a big way during spring practices, which conclude on May 2 after Oregon’s spring game.

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Oregon Football: Ducks with the Most to Gain in Spring Practices

For head coach Mark Helfrich and the rest of the Oregon football program, the 2014 season is a thing of the past. It’s time to kick off the 2015 season and put together another championship-caliber campaign...

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Virginia Tech Football: 5 Players with the Most to Gain in Spring Practices

It may seem hard to believe, but spring practice is just around the corner. For college football fans, it's the best time of the year—outside of opening weekend. The Virginia Tech Hokies, coming off a 7-6 campaign, will look to get back among the ACC elite in 2015.

That march begins in just over a month when the Hokies report to spring practice. The annual spring game will be held on April 25 at 2 p.m. ET.

Fortunately for the Hokies, they only have to replace seven starters combined on both sides of the ball. 

Last season was a banner year for Tech freshmen. Players like Isaiah Ford, Bucky Hodges, Cam Phillips, Wyatt Teller, Greg Stroman and Andrew Motuapuaka all made significant impacts for Virginia Tech. That bodes well for Tech's hopes of returning to the top of the ACC.

Which Hokies player will step up in 2015? Here are five players with the most gain in spring practice. 

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Nebraska Football: 5 Players with the Most to Gain in Spring Practices

Spring practice officially begins for Nebraska football on Saturday, March 7. As head coach Mike Riley gears up for his first season with the Huskers, there are key players Nebraska fans will have their eyes on.

Plus, Husker fans are anxious to see what Riley and his staff can do with the current roster. That's what makes this spring even more intriguing. Whether it's the possibility of a quarterback controversy or the question marks on defense, there's plenty that spring practice needs to sort out.

Nebraska's annual spring game is April 11, which gives the Huskers a little over a month before fans get a firsthand look at what the 2015 team has to offer. What will fans see, especially from key players?

Let's take a look at the players who have the most to gain in spring practices.

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4-Star CB Chad Clay Names Georgia Favorite, Says He'd 'Love to Stay at Home'

One of the biggest names in attendance for Georgia’s junior day last weekend was 2016 4-star corner Chad Clay.

The 6’0”, 177-pounder, whose father, Willie Clay, was a standout defensive back at Georgia Tech and in the NFL, said that the Bulldogs made a strong impression on him during the weekend’s festivities.

“Coming out of this visit, I’m going to put Georgia at No. 1,” Clay told Bleacher Report. “They made a really big jump in my mind.”

But what is it about the Bulldogs that has them trending with one of the nation’s top corners in the 2016 class, and how did this weekend’s trip open his eyes up to the possibility of staying close to home?

For starters, Clay has developed a strong bond with Bulldogs defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

On this trip, Clay said that he got to interact more with the staff and Pruitt in particular.

“This time, it stuck out to me more because I got a lot more one-on-one time with the coaches because it wasn’t like a game atmosphere where they had to worry about a game,” Clay said. “Coach Pruitt and the defensive staff really seem like they have a plan in the future going forward to get Georgia in contending for a playoff spot every year. They really put a big emphasis on recruiting the Georgia kids.”

Clay was one of several in-state standouts in town over the weekend, as noted by Rusty Mansell of Dawgs247.

He also notes that he’s developed a strong bond with a number of top prospects he played with during the Rising Seniors game last December. The group of recruits had such a good time that he admits that he has pondered the thought of staying home and building something special in Athens.

“When I think about it, in the long run, I’d love to stay at home and play with some of my good friends and people I’ve grown up with since I’ve been playing football,” Clay said. “To stay at home and play college football and win, that would be a great thing.”

There’s another layer to Clay’s recruitment that makes the current direction of this process all the more intriguing.

Of course, Clay’s father starred for the rival Yellow Jackets, but his mom attended Georgia, which makes Chad’s recruitment quite the topic of interest in the Clay household. 

“The crazy thing is, my dad, he always tells me he will leave it up to me and he wants me to make the best decision for me and my life because he’s already lived his,” Chad said.

“She’s the one who came up with me for junior day because my dad was out of town and she really liked it. She was talking to Coach [Mark] Richt and Coach Pruitt and she really likes UGA from an academic standpoint. She said there’s a feeling of trust between her and the coaching staff at UGA.”

The Bulldogs are now in the driver’s seat with one of the many studs on a loaded squad at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia. However, Clay has visits lined up to a few SEC programs coming up in the near future—with a timeline for his decision also on the horizon. 

“I don’t have the exact dates, but I know I have trips to LSU, Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi State coming up,” Clay said. I want to make a decision by May or by the summer time. So these visits will be crucial coming up.”

 

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

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

12 Legacy College Football Recruits in Class of 2016

Remember the days of watching that stud athlete make play after play in college football in the 1980s or 1990s?

Some of those studs have grown up to become fathers of stud athletes, and those young studs are a year away from showing their skills on the college football scene.

Feel old yet?

Watching legacies of college football stars always brings out the water-cooler questions. Will the sons end up better than the fathers? Will the sons follow the fathers' footsteps by attending the same university? Can the sons finish with a better football resume?

The Class of 2015 had its share of sons looking for similar success that their fathers enjoyed in college. Kyler Murray, the nation's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback, signed with Texas A&M and hopes to have a career like his father Kevin, who was an All-American quarterback for the Aggies in the 1980s.

Here are 12 2016 prospects, in alphabetical order, with fathers who once shined in college football.

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Will Jim Harbaugh's Big Personality Overshadow Michigan Football in 2015?

This isn't exactly breaking news, but Jim Harbaugh has a big personality.

Need proof? Look no further than the new Michigan head coach's Twitter account.

Yes, while other head coaches use their Twitter accounts purely as a promotional tool—such as Harbaugh's Ohio State counterpart, Urban Meyer—the Wolverines head man has opted to put a personal twist on his return to Ann Arbor. Tweeting almost daily, it's not uncommon for Harbaugh to uniquely wish his players happy birthday, share his thoughts on historic anniversaries and post pictures of himself among other members of the Michigan elite.

He's even (allegedly) subtweeted Meyer. And Harbaugh's ability to create headlines hasn't been limited to 140 characters or fewer either.

Since accepting the Wolverines' head coaching job at the end of December, Harbaugh has become college football's most meme-worthy coach. Whether it's eating pizza courtside at a basketball game, tutoring NFL prospects Jameis Winston and Bryce Petty or unintentionally going face-to-face with Tom Izzo, the former 49ers head coach has shown an uncanny ability to go viral on a consistent basis.

Even his introductory press conference with the Wolverines made waves on the web.

“I don’t know if anyone saw me trip on the way in,” Harbaugh said as he laughed off his stumble. "A lesser athlete would've gone down."

Harbaugh's bold personality is apparent in everything he does and appears to be one of Michigan's greatest assets moving forward. But with his first spring football at the helm of his alma mater kicking off Tuesday, his Twitter presence will take a backseat, the happenings on the gridiron taking precedent.

Make no mistake, Harbaugh's personality isn't going anywhere—it's just as evident on the sideline as it is online. But once the Wolverines are finally on the football field, what kind of effect will it have?

For all of the positive public relations Michigan has enjoyed since Harbaugh's hiring—including a likely much-needed boost in ticket sales—the Wolverines are yet to prove they're anything more than a mediocre football team. Last season, Michigan endured a 5-7 campaign under Brady Hoke, and with only one month on the recruiting trail before signing day, Harbaugh only managed to add the nation's 38th-ranked recruiting class to his roster.

The revitalized Wolverines fanbase is embracing Harbaugh's tweets right now, but how will it receive them if Michigan's struggles continue in 2015?

One precedent worth examining is Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, another social media-active coach who has only accumulated a combined 10-15 record in his first two seasons in Fayetteville. Bielema seemingly racked up Twitter miscues as quickly as he did losses with the Razorbacks, which made him an easy target for the college football blogosphere.

Being the butt of jokes hasn't affected Bielema's job security, however, with Arkansas recently extending his contract through 2020. The former Wisconsin coach also doesn't have a track record that matches that of Harbaugh, who took the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl in his first three seasons in the NFL.

He may not have been on Twitter then, but the former Pro Bowl quarterback's personality was just as apparent during his time in the Bay Area. Even without a social media platform of his own, Harbaugh still managed to make viral headlines with stories about his wardrobe, facial expressions and offseason activities.

In fact, one could argue that Harbaugh's intensity and uniqueness have been the primary forces behind his success. And neither has prevented him from completing a turnaround as a head coach before.

When Harbaugh took over Stanford in 2007, the Cardinal were coming off a 1-11 season. In each of his four seasons at Stanford, Harbaugh managed to increase the team's win total, culminating with a 12-1 Orange Bowl-winning campaign in 2010.

That was the same year the 49ers went just 6-10 despite possessing one of the more talented rosters in the NFL. San Francisco opted to turn to Harbaugh when hiring a new head coach in the offseason, beating out the Miami Dolphins, who were also vying for his services.

The Toledo, Ohio, native's time in the pro ranks was hardly a disappointment, as he amassed back-to-back NFC West championships in his first two years on the job and a third straight trip to the conference title game in 2013. A clash of personalities with San Francisco management had more to do with his departure than performance, which shouldn't be an issue in his return to Ann Arbor.

Because for the first time since Lloyd Carr left the Wolverines following the 2007 season, Michigan is finally united behind a single leader. But with a roster still left with much to prove on the field, only time will tell whether Harbaugh's strong personality will be a uniting or dividing force in Ann Arbor.

But make no mistake, when the Wolverines take the field for their first spring practice under Harbaugh on Tuesday, his attitude will be evident.

 

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

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Tom Bradley Hired as UCLA DC: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Tom Bradley will reportedly leave his post as West Virginia senior associate head coach to become the defensive coordinator at UCLA.    

ESPN.com's Kevin Gammell reported the news on Monday:

Bradley was a longtime fixture on the Penn State coaching staff, where he played as a defensive back before rising to defensive play-caller from 2000 to 2011 (h/t WVUSports.com).

That experience gives Bradley plenty of credibility as the Bruins' new coordinator. Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports approved of Bradley's hiring:

The Bruins have a quarterback in Brett Hundley to replace as it is—increasing the need for a stout defense in 2015 to stay in Pac-12 contention.

But the concept of coaching two-way dynamo and linebacker Myles Jack had to be enticing when UCLA offered Bradley the position.

Mark Whicker of LA News Group highlighted one element of Bradley's raging success as a coach:

Penn State produced a lot of great players at Jack's position during Bradley's stint in University Park, keeping the Nittany Lions' heritage of "Linebacker U" intact. Now Jack may become even better under Bradley's tutelage.    

Bradley's years in the Big Ten should rub off on UCLA. He figures to bring a physical brand of football to the West Coast. With Jack leading the way and a promising 2015 recruiting class thanks to a solid national signing day haul, the future appears bright for head coach Jim Mora's Bruins.

Since he's had such a strong track record of developing future NFL players, Bradley should only help bring in superior talent to UCLA's program, too.

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Tom Bradley Hired as UCLA DC: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Tom Bradley will reportedly leave his post as West Virginia senior associate head coach to become the defensive coordinator at UCLA. ESPN...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Georgia Insider Buzz: 5-Star DT Julian Rochester Says Athens Feels 'Like Home'

Georgia had a rocky season, but it's looking to bounce back in recruiting. The Bulldogs are looking to return to the top of the SEC East. 

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson was joined by 247Sports' Georgia beat writer Rusty Mansell to discuss the Bulldogs' 2016 commits.

What kind of recruiting class can the Georgia Bulldogs have in 2016?

Watch the video and let us know!

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LSU Tigers' 2016 Dream Recruiting Class

LSU had a bumpy season on the field, but it is hot after it on the recruiting trail. The Tigers had a great recruiting season in 2015, and they are looking to continue that success with a stellar 2016 class. 

Bleacher Report college football analyst Barrett Sallee gives his picks for the dream recruiting class for LSU.

Who are the must-have recruits for LSU?

Watch the video, and let us know!

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Derrick Brown Tweets Top 8 Schools: Which Team Holds Edge for 5-Star DT?

Derrick Brown has everything a program wants in a defensive tackle. Strength. Size. Agility. A mean streak.

Brown has 25 offers, but on Monday, the 6'4", 309-pound brick wall trimmed his list to eight schools—all eight representing the SEC. He tweeted that Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and LSU made the cut.

We know the conference, but when looking at favorites, keep your eye on the first three schools he tweeted. And consider the last school one to watch, as well.

Georgia has to be considered an early favorite. Georgia was one of his first offers, and with the campus being less than an hour from his home of Buford, Georgia, proximity will have an advantage. In an interview last month with Jake Reuse of Rivals.com, Brown said he speaks frequently with head coach Mark Richt, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

Georgia is the leader according to the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, but Auburn, LSU and Alabama are three schools who could challenge the Bulldogs in the race. Auburn and Alabama both are within reasonable driving distance from home, and both are contenders for SEC championships each year. Brown has made multiple unofficial visits to both schools.

And then there's LSU, a school Brown wanted to visit for last week's junior day but, according to Justin Rowland of Rivals.com, couldn't make the trip because of a scheduled student council retreat. He told Rowland that he was a fan of the team's defense, and an unofficial visit could take place around spring break.

Since November, Brown has been to Mississippi State, Alabama and Vanderbilt. He also wants to make visits to the four aforementioned schools, per Rowland.

Player-coach relationships will be very important as Brown looks to trim his list from eight. Defensive line coach Rodney Garner has been his primary contact at Auburn. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and defensive line coach Bo Davis are Brown's contacts at Alabama.

LSU is a wild card because of his budding relationships there. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is Brown's recruiting contact, and he told Rowland that while everything is still new, he likes Orgeron's passion for the game.

The winning school gets someone who can be an immediate impact player on the defensive line. Brown could be an all-conference player early in his career.

Georgia is hoping he'll be that kind of player in Athens. The other schools are hoping to do enough to make Georgia a runner-up in the race.

 

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

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FSU Insider Buzz: What Are the Chances Seminoles Land No. 1 DE Shavar Manuel?

Florida State continues to have success on the recruiting trail, landing another top-five class in 2015. The Seminoles now set their sights on 2016, where they are looking to make a huge impact. 

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson sits down with 247Sports recruiting analyst Josh Newberg to discuss Florida State's 2016 recruiting class. 

What kind of class will FSU have in 2016?

Watch the video and let us know!

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