Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/why-lsu-will-or-wont-make-college-football-playoff-2015
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LSU TigersLSU’s win total in SEC play has declined for three straight seasons, and the Tigers are coming off an 8-5 campaign, which was the lowest overall victory total for the program since 2008. However, there’s no shortage of optimism for coach Les Miles’ team.

 

The Tigers are loaded with promising young talent, starting on offense with running back Leonard Fournette and receivers Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre. On defense, LSU is anchored by sophomore tackle Davon Godchaux, junior linebacker Kendell Beckwith and defensive backs Tre’Davious White and Jamal Adams.

 

While the talent is there, LSU must adapt to a new defensive coordinator and generate more production from the passing attack.

 

The first season of the college football playoff was a huge success. With less than 50 days until kickoff, it’s time to evaluate some of the top contenders for the 2015 playoffs.

 

Related: College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

 

Here’s a look at three reasons why LSU will make the playoff, followed by its schedule and three reasons the Tigers won’t finish in the top four.

 

Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

 

Three Reasons Why LSU Will Make the CFB Playoff in 2015

 

1. Roster Talent

Recruiting rankings aren’t 100 percent accurate or the most effective way to evaluate a college football team. However, according to the final class rankings from the last five years, LSU ranks No. 4 in the nation in overall talent. The only teams ahead of the Tigers? Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State – the last three national champions. Assembling elite talent is only half of the battle for college coaches, as development and building successful schemes also come into play. LSU has the necessary talent in place to win a national title. Can the coaching staff squeeze big contributions out of the young players on this roster?

 

2. Best Secondary in College Football?

It’s a close call between Florida and LSU for the No. 1 spot as the best defensive backfield in college football in 2015. Even if the Gators edge the Tigers in most preseason ranks for best secondary, new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has an elite group. Two starters – cornerback Tre’Davious White and safety Jalen Mills – return from a unit that held opposing quarterbacks to just 10 touchdown passes last year. The two open spots in the secondary could go to elite recruits (safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Kevin Toliver II). And there’s no shortage of depth with Ed Paris, Donte Jackson, Rickey Jefferson and Dwayne Thomas competing for snaps.

 

3. Leonard Fournette

Fournette showed why he was arguably the best recruit in the 2014 signing class last season, rushing for 1,034 yards and 10 scores in 13 games. However, 187 carries simply isn’t enough work for the sophomore. Expect coordinator Cam Cameron to have Fournette more involved this year, and the New Orleans native will be running behind a line that returns three starters and should be among the best in the SEC. There’s no doubt Fournette has elite talent and will challenge for the Heisman if he has enough opportunities. Even with the question marks at quarterback, Fournette can carry LSU’s offense into SEC West title contention. 

 

LSU's 2015 Schedule

DateOpponent Athlon Projected Rank
for 2015
Projected Record
Sept. 5McNeese State--
Sept. 12at Mississippi State217-5
Sept. 19Auburn410-2
Sept. 26at Syracuse853-9
Oct. 3Eastern Michigan1271-11
Oct. 10at South Carolina377-5
Oct. 17Florida268-4
Oct. 24WKU699-4
Nov. 7at Alabama212-1
Nov. 14Arkansas168-4
Nov. 21at Ole Miss119-3
Nov. 28Texas A&M207-5

Three Reasons Why LSU Won’t Make the College Football Playoff in 2015

 

1. Quarterback Play

LSU’s quarterback position might be the biggest wild card in the SEC. In conference-only matchups last season, the Tigers averaged only 19.1 points per game. The passing attack ranked 13th in the SEC by averaging a paltry 140.6 yards a game in conference action. Additionally, LSU quarterbacks tossed only seven touchdowns in SEC games. While the Tigers don’t have to pass for 300 yards each week, improvement is a must here. Anthony Jennings had an off-field incident in the summer but is expected to be available for the opener. However, Jennings will be pushed by talented sophomore Brandon Harris. With a strong rushing attack and solid defense in place, the passing attack is the missing piece on a LSU roster built with enough talent to challenge for the SEC West title.

 

2. Discovering a Pass Rush

Athletic edge rushers with the ability to get to the quarterback seemed to be in abundance in Baton Rouge just a few years ago. The Tigers led the SEC with 38 sacks in 2011, but that number has declined significantly over the last few seasons. LSU recorded only 27 in 2013 and then dropped to 13th in the SEC by generating just 19 sacks in 2014. New coordinator Kevin Steele plans on utilizing more 3-4 looks this season, and this unit will be a work in progress with players adjusting to new positions and schemes. Tashawn Bower and Lewis Neal are considered the favorites to start at end but combined for zero sacks in 2014. Could true freshman Arden Key push for snaps in the fall?

 

3. The November Schedule

Every schedule in the SEC is difficult. However, LSU’s slate in September and October is relatively manageable. Catching Mississippi State in Week 2 is ideal with the Bulldogs’ personnel losses, and Auburn has to visit Death Valley the following Saturday. However, take a look at the November stretch. LSU has to play at Alabama, followed by a physical affair against Arkansas the next Saturday, a road trip to Ole Miss on Nov. 21 and the regular season finale against Texas A&M (and former defensive coordinator John Chavis). That’s a tough four-game stretch for any team, especially without a bye week after physical affairs against Alabama and Arkansas. 

 

Final Verdict

 

On paper, it seems LSU has too much talent to finish 8-5 once again. However, it’s also fair to consider this team the biggest wild card in the SEC. The Tigers have the talent to win the SEC and earn a playoff spot. But there’s also enough question marks to finish 8-5. How high LSU climbs in the SEC West will depend on two factors: Quarterback play and the defensive line. In a brutal division, there’s little margin for error. Will those two areas emerge as a strength for Les Miles? Or will quarterback concerns hinder this offense once again?

 

Athlon’s Projected Final Ranking: 15

Athlon’s Projected Final Record: 8-4 (4-4 SEC)

Bovada Projected Over/Under Odds: 8.5

CG Technology Over/Under Odds: 8.5

5 Dimes Over/Under Odds: 8

Teaser:
Why LSU Will or Won't Make the College Football Playoff in 2015
Post date: Monday, July 20, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-unveils-new-adidas-uniforms-2015-season
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Miami officially joined forces with Adidas on Saturday night at the Fontainebleau’s LIV nightclub. The Hurricanes unveiled their new uniforms under the Adidas banner, and the new designs aren’t a drastic switch from the color scheme the program has used in previous years. Miami will have orange, white and green uniforms and alternate looks are expected during the year.

 

Even though the Hurricanes have made a few alterations to their uniforms in recent years, the “U” is still one of college football’s most recognizable helmets. While the color scheme didn't change much, these uniforms are much closer to the design the top Miami teams wore in the 1980s and 1990s.

 

Here’s an overview of Miami’s new uniforms with Adidas for 2015:

Teaser:
Miami Unveils New Adidas Uniforms for 2015 Season
Post date: Saturday, July 18, 2015 - 21:29
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Clemson Tigers, College Football, News
Path: /college-football/why-clemson-will-or-wont-make-college-football-playoff-2015
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Clemson enters 2015 looking to reload after the departure of several key players from last year’s team. However, momentum in Death Valley remains strong, as the Tigers have won at least 10 games in four consecutive seasons. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is a Heisman contender, and there’s no shortage of young talent in the mix for a breakout season on both sides of the ball. Even with five returning starters for 2015, Clemson is one of the favorites to win the ACC

 

The first season of the college football playoff was a huge success. With less than 50 days until kickoff, it’s time to evaluate some of the top contenders for the 2015 playoffs.

 

Related: College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

 

Here’s a look at three reasons why Clemson will make the playoff, followed by its schedule and three reasons the Tigers won’t finish in the top four.

 

Three Reasons Why Clemson Will Make the CFB Playoff in 2015

 

1. Deshaun Watson and a Loaded Group of Skill Players

It’s not far-fetched to suggest Deshaun Watson could be the nation’s best quarterback by the end of 2015. The No. 41 overall recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite lived up to the hype as a true freshman, completing 93 of 167 passes for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Watson also added 200 rushing yards and five scores. An ACL injury from November will be healed in time for the opener, and the sophomore is Athlon’s pick to be the first-team All-ACC quarterback in December. But it’s not just Watson leading the way on offense for Clemson. Sophomore running back Wayne Gallman is back after rushing for 769 yards last year, and the Tigers are loaded at receiver. Sophomore Artavis Scott and junior Mike Williams are the top targets for Watson, but freshman Deon Cain is too talented to sit on the sidelines. The offense should be explosive once again in 2015.

 

Related: ACC 2015 All-Conference Team

 

2. Talent Waiting in the Wings

Similar to Florida State, Clemson has a promising core of young talent waiting to emerge. But here’s the million-dollar question: How quickly will the young talent mesh? Can everything come together before the road trip to Louisville on Sept. 17? Or is the Oct. 3 date against Notre Dame more realistic? Using team recruiting rankings over the last five years, Clemson ranks as the No. 2 roster in the ACC. The five-year average among all 128 teams is 13.2, while Florida State has a 4.4 mark. The Tigers won’t have many senior starters this season, but that’s not a bad thing considering all of the talent in the freshman, sophomore and junior ranks.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

3. Schedule

It’s unfair to say Clemson’s schedule is easy, but the Tigers did catch a few breaks. Florida State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech all visit Death Valley this year, and coach Dabo Swinney’s team should be favored in its other crossover game with the Coastal (Miami). A road trip to Louisville in mid-September will be tough, and the rivalry matchup at South Carolina certainly won’t be easy. Clemson is 0-3 in its last three trips to Columbia and has won just one out of the last six meetings against the Gamecocks. 

 

Clemson's 2015 Schedule

DateOpponent Athlon Projected Rank for 2015Projected Record
Sept. 5Wofford--
Sept. 12Appalachian State908-4
Sept. 17at Louisville387-5
Oct. 3Notre Dame129-3
Oct. 10Georgia Tech188-5
Oct. 17Boston College566-6
Oct. 24at Miami437-5
Oct. 31at NC State399-3
Nov. 7Florida State911-2
Nov. 14at Syracuse853-9
Nov. 21Wake Forest824-8
Nov. 28at South Carolina377-5

Three Reasons Why Clemson Won't Make the College Football Playoff in 2015

 

1. The Offensive Line

The Tigers had question marks up front at the conclusion of spring practice, and the concerns grew after Isaiah Battle declared for the NFL supplemental draft. With Battle leaving, Clemson returns only one starter (center Ryan Norton) and true freshman Mitch Hyatt will likely start at left tackle. Additionally, this unit wasn’t necessarily a strength in 2014. The Tigers allowed 27 sacks last season, while rushers only generated 3.5 yards per carry. With Deshaun Watson coming off a torn ACL, protecting the quarterback is even more essential for Clemson’s offense in 2015. This unit will be under the spotlight early in the year.

 

Related: Position Groups on the Hot Seat in the ACC

 

2. Too Many Holes to Fill on Defense

As mentioned above, it’s no secret Clemson has a plethora of promising young talent. However, will the personnel losses on defense be too much to overcome? The Tigers were hit hard with departures at each level. End Vic Beasley and tackle Grady Jarrett will be missed up front, the linebacking corps must replace Stephone Anthony, and the secondary lost second-team All-ACC cornerback Garry Peters. On the positive side for Clemson, coordinator Brent Venables is one of the best in college football. Junior end Shaq Lawson is a good place to start the rebuilding effort up front, and sophomore cornerback Mackensie Alexander is already one of the best in the ACC. However, can this unit count on bring contributions from true freshmen like Albert Huggins, Mark Fields and Christian Wilkins?

 

3. Departure of Chad Morris

This is the biggest x-factor surrounding Clemson in 2015. Chad Morris was one of the premier play-callers in college football and will be missed. Swinney promoted from within to fill Morris’ position, tapping Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott as co-coordinators. Elliott is expected to call the plays, and his first audition in the Russell Athletic Bowl (40 points against Oklahoma) was a huge success. However, developing a gameplan for a bowl with weeks to prepare is a different task than the grind of the regular season. How much will Morris be missed in Death Valley this year? If Elliott and Scott continue to keep this offense performing at a high level, Clemson will push Florida State for the ACC title. 

 

Final Verdict

 

The Sept. 17 game at Louisville will be a huge chance for Clemson to show its offensive line and rebuilt defense is up to the task of winning the ACC title. With Watson under center, combined with one of the best sets of skill talent in the nation, scoring points shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, Morris’ departure is something to watch. Athlon Sports picked Florida State to win the ACC in 2015 but little separates these two teams. The oddsmakers like Clemson around the nine-win mark this year. If that scenario plays out, the Tigers’ losses could look something like this: at South Carolina, Florida State and at Louisville. That’s reasonable. However, it’s also reasonable to expect Clemson to win all three of those games but lose against Georgia Tech or at NC State. The Tigers will be entertaining and explosive on offense. However, there’s just enough personnel concerns to miss out on a playoff spot.

 

Athlon’s Projected Final Ranking: 14

Athlon’s Projected Final Record: (9-3, 6-2 ACC)

Bovada Projected Over/Under Odds: 9

CG Technology Over/Under Odds: 9

5 Dimes Over/Under Odds: 8.5

Teaser:
Why Clemson Will or Won't Make the College Football Playoff in 2015
Post date: Friday, July 17, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Arkansas Razorbacks, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/bret-bielema-calls-play-against-texas-borderline-erotic
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College football’s media days are usually filled with a bunch of coach speak or comments that aren’t bulletin board material for other teams in its conference.

 

However, that wasn’t the case for Arkansas coach Bret Bielema.

 

Arkansas finished its 2014 season with a blowout win over Texas in the Texas Bowl. But that’s not the highlight of Bielema’s comments about the game from SEC Media Days.  

 

That's certainly an interesting way to describe the ending of a huge victory for Arkansas. 

 

But should we surprised? Here's a comment from Bielema last year on one of his defensive tackles:

And after putting its offensive line on the media guide, Bielema had this to say about this group:

Teaser:
Bret Bielema Calls a Play Against Texas 'Borderline Erotic'
Post date: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 16:45
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Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-50-players-2015
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Kickoff for the 2015 college football season is just around the corner. With media days underway and players reporting to camps in August, it won’t be long before teams are officially preparing for the opening week.

 

With the season countdown under 50 days until kickoff, it’s time to take a look at the best 50 players in college football for the upcoming year.

 

Ranking the best 50 players in college football is no easy assignment. Every aspect of a player was weighed in this evaluation: Pro potential, positional importance, college statistics and awards, projections for 2015 and coaching changes or personnel losses.

 

Related: College Football's Bowl Projections for 2015

 

Just missed the top 50: Michigan State C Jack Allen, Virginia Tech DE Dadi Nicolas, Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander, Ohio State DT Adolphus Washington, Ohio State OG Pat Elflein, Arkansas TE Hunter Henry, Oklahoma LB Eric Striker, Ohio State S Vonn Bell

 

* Florida State RB Dalvin Cook was removed due to the uncertainty of his status for 2015.

 

College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

 

50. Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska

In his first full season as a starter, Collins was a force on the interior for the Cornhuskers. He recorded 14 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries in 13 games.

 

49. Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State

Higgins was one of the top players from the Group of 5 ranks last season, catching 96 passes for 1,750 yards and 17 scores. New coaching staff and quarterback could have an impact on his statistics in 2015.

 

48. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Buckner is a physically imposing lineman at 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds, and the Hawaii native is starting to scratch the surface of his potential. He earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors last season after recording 81 tackles (13 for a loss), four sacks and one forced fumble.

 

47. Jared Goff, QB, California

Goff had a breakout campaign last season directing coach Sonny Dykes’ Bear Raid offense. In 12 games in 2014, Goff threw for 35 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. Here’s a scary thought for the Pac-12: He’s only going to get better in 2015.

 

46. Taysom Hill, QB, BYU

Hill is recovering from a season-ending leg injury sustained in the 35-20 loss to Utah State. When healthy, Hill is one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks. Hill threw for 2,938 yards and 19 scores in 2013 and also rushed for 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns.

 

Related: College Football's Bowl Projections for 2015

 

45. Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

300-pound tackle developed into one of the Big 12’s most underrated players last season. Billings recorded 37 stops (11.5 for a loss) and one forced fumble in 2014. The Texas native will team with end Shawn Oakman to form one of the nation’s top defensive lines. 

 

44. Anthony Zettel, DT, Penn State

When he’s not tackling trees, Zettel is attacking opposing Big Ten quarterbacks. In 13 games in 2014, Zettel recorded 42 tackles (17 for a loss), eight sacks and three interceptions. The senior was a big reason why Penn State held opponents to just 18.6 points a game last year.

 

43. Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn

All signs point to Johnson as college football’s breakout star for 2015. Johnson completed 28 of 37 passes for 436 yards and three touchdowns in limited action last year.

 

Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

 

42. Duke Williams, WR, Auburn

Williams could easily rank much higher on this list by December. In his first year with the Tigers, he averaged 16.2 yards per catch and grabbed 45 receptions in 10 games. Will be the go-to target for quarterback Jeremy Johnson. 

 

41. Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina

Cooper is arguably the top all-purpose threat in college football. He averaged 108.5 total yards per game last season and needs to be South Carolina’s top playmaker once again in 2015.

 

40. Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

In addition to setting the FBS single-game rushing record (427 yards), Perine finished 2014 with 1,713 yards and 21 scores as a true freshman. Even with Oklahoma changing offensive schemes and coordinators, Perine and the rushing attack is still a major focal point for the Sooners.

 

Related: Big 12 Predictions for 2015

 

39. Su’a Cravens, LB/S, USC

With the high-powered offenses in the Pac-12, having a player with the versatility of Cravens is huge for USC. The hybrid linebacker/safety has recorded 120 stops and seven interceptions in two years with the Trojans. Cravens was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last season.

 

38. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

Hackenberg struggled behind an inconsistent offensive line last season. However, the junior has all of the necessary talent to be a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

 

37. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

Starting as a true freshman in the SEC at left tackle is no easy assignment, but Robinson anchored the line for Alabama for all 14 games in 2014. The Louisiana native is already one of the top offensive linemen in the nation.

 

Related: College Football's All-Sophomore Team for 2015

 

36. Adoree’ Jackson, CB/WR, USC

Expect to see plenty of Jackson in 2015. The sophomore will line up on both sides of the ball and is a dynamic threat on special teams. Jackson recorded 49 tackles and caught 10 passes for 138 yards and three scores. He also averaged 29.7 yards per kickoff return and took two for a touchdown.

 

35. Max Tuerk, C, USC

Tuerk is a versatile lineman for USC and was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2014. Over the last three years, Tuerk has started games at guard, tackle and center. The senior is considered one of the top draft prospects in the trenches for the 2016 NFL Draft.

 

34. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh

Conner was the ACC’s Player of the Year last season after rushing for 1,765 yards and 26 scores in 13 games. In conference-only matchups, Conner averaged 6.2 yards per carry and posted 16 rushing touchdowns.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

33. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

2015 will be Henry’s time to shine. After working in a backup/No. 2 role to T.J. Yeldon over the last two seasons, Henry will be Alabama’s go-to option. He led the Alabama offense with 990 yards and 11 rushing scores last year.

 

32. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Lee was one of the top freshmen in the nation last season. In 15 starts for Ohio State, he recorded 81 tackles (16.5 for a loss) and 7.5 sacks. Lee was also a key cog in the playoff run, recording two tackles for a loss and two sacks against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

 

31. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

Decker enters 2015 with 29 consecutive starts and is regarded as one of the NFL’s best tackle prospects for 2016. Over the last three games of 2014, the Buckeyes averaged 292.7 rushing yards per game – a clear sign of just how dominant the offensive line can be for Ohio State.

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-America Team

 

30. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

From walk-on to one of the Big Ten’s top offensive linemen. That’s Conklin’s story entering 2015, as he’s started 26 games over the last two years for the Spartans. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2014 and will be the anchor for Michigan State’s line this season.

 

Related: Big Ten Predictions for 2015

 

29. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

Treadwell’s 2014 season was cut short by injury, but all signs point to the junior returning to full strength this fall. After catching 72 passes for 608 yards and five scores as a freshman in 2013, Treadwell grabbed 48 receptions for 632 yards and five touchdowns last season.

 

28. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh

Boyd has been Pittsburgh’s No. 1 receiver since stepping onto campus in 2014. Over the last two seasons, Boyd has recorded 163 catches for 2,435 yards and 15 touchdown catches. With quarterback Chad Voytik returning, along with new coordinator Jim Chaney calling the plays, Boyd should be a lock for his third consecutive 1,000-yard season.

 

27. Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s defense has to improve if the Fighting Irish want to make a run at a playoff spot in 2014. Smith is one of the impact defenders for coach Brian Kelly, starting all 26 games in his career. In 13 contests last season, Smith recorded 112 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

 

26. Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

Is Ragland the next first-round pick at linebacker for the Crimson Tide? It’s certainly possible. The senior was steady as the leader for Alabama’s linebacker corps in 2014, recording 95 tackles (10.5 for a loss) and one forced fumble.

 

25. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

The No. 2 recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite lived up to the hype as a freshman. In 13 games, Garrett recorded 53 tackles (14 for a loss) and 11.5 sacks. He’s only going to get better as a sophomore in 2015.

 

24. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

Ogbah was underrated nationally last season, but Big 12 offenses know just how good this junior is for Oklahoma State. The Texas native won the Big 12’s defensive lineman of the year award in 2014 after recording 49 tackles (17 for a loss) and 11 sacks.

 

Related: Big 12 Predictions for 2015

 

23. Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor

Drango is the anchor for Baylor’s offensive line, which is one of the best in college football. The senior has 35 career starts and is a first-team Athlon Sports All-American for 2015.

 

22. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Tennessee is a team on the rise entering 2015, and coach Butch Jones is starting to put all of the pieces together to build one of the SEC’s top defenses. Barnett was an impact freshman in 2014, recording 72 tackles (20.5 for a loss) and 10 sacks. The Nashville native was at his best in SEC games, recording all 10 of his sacks in conference action.

 

21. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

With Eric Kendricks off to the NFL, Jack is now the unquestioned leader of UCLA’s defense. And in addition to his production on defense, Jack remains a threat to steal a few carries on offense and continue as a two-way threat. In 13 games last season, Jack recorded 88 tackles and rushed for 113 yards and three scores.

 

Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

 

20. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State

Calhoun has been a consistent force off the edge for coach Mark Dantonio. After recording only six stops in 2012, Calhoun has posted back-to-back seasons of at least 37 tackles and has 15.5 sacks in that span. The senior is a big reason why Michigan State should have one of the nation’s top defensive lines in 2015.

 

19. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor

Oakman is physically one of college football’s most impressive players. At 6-foot-9 and 280 pounds, Oakman has all of the tools to be a top selection in next year’s draft. And Oakman’s talent is starting to match his production. In 13 games last season, Oakman recorded 51 tackles, three forced fumbles and 11 sacks.

 

Related: Big 12 Predictions for 2015

 

18. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Even though play-caller Chad Morris left Clemson to be the head coach at SMU, the Tigers hope the offense won’t miss a beat behind Watson. Before suffering a torn ACL against Georgia Tech, Watson threw for 1,466 yards and 14 scores. Assuming Watson stays healthy, he should make a push for All-American honors this year.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

17. Cody Kessler, QB, USC

USC is loaded for a run at the playoffs this year, and if the Trojans are going to reach the top four, they will have to do it on the strength of an offense that averaged 35.8 points per game in 2014. Kessler threw for 3,826 yards and 39 scores in 13 games last season.

 

16. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

Fournette might have the most overall talent of any running back in college football. After rushing for 1,034 yards and 10 scores on 187 attempts last year, the sophomore should easily exceed those totals with more opportunities in 2015.

 

15. Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Stanley has blossomed into the one of the nation’s top tackle prospects over the last two years. After starting 13 games on the right side in 2013, Stanley shifted to the left tackle spot and started every contest (13) for Notre Dame in 2014. He’s an Athlon Sports All-American for 2015.

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-America Team

 

14. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

Cook won’t post the monster statistical numbers of some quarterbacks on this list, but the senior has developed into a top NFL prospect and is 23-3 as a starter in East Lansing. Over the last two seasons, Cook has passed for 46 touchdowns to just 14 interceptions.

 

13. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

It’s a close call between Chubb and Elliott for the No. 1 spot among running backs on this list. After Todd Gurley was lost to a suspension and ACL tear last season, Chubb kept Georgia’s rushing attack among the best in the SEC. He finished 2014 with 1,547 yards and 14 scores, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt.

 

12. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

No running back in college football was performing at a higher level than Elliott at the end of 2014. Elliott delivered in some of Ohio State’s biggest games, including 154 yards against Michigan State, 220 against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, 230 against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and 246 in the national title win over Oregon.

 

11. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

Tunsil is recovering from a leg injury suffered in the Peach Bowl loss against TCU. However, all signs point to Tunsil returning to full strength by the fall. The junior has 20 career starts and earned first-team All-SEC honors last year.

 

Related: The SEC's Top Players Returning from Injury in 2015

 

10. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

Prescott was a big reason why Mississippi State reached double-digit victories for the third time in program history in 2014. In addition to earning first-team All-SEC honors, Prescott threw for 3,449 yards and 27 scores, while rushing for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns.

 

Related: SEC's 2015 All-Conference Team

 

9. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

Boykin was one of college football’s most improved players in 2014, and the senior has TCU among the favorites to earn a playoff spot in 2015. Under the guidance of new co-coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, Boykin led all Big 12 quarterbacks with 3,901 passing yards and 33 scores. He also added 707 yards and eight scores on the ground.

 

Related: Big 12 2015 Predictions

 

8. A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Robinson’s contributions to the Alabama defense go beyond the box score. As a nose tackle/end in the Crimson Tide’s 3-4 alignment, the Texas native isn’t going to produce huge numbers in the defensive scheme. However, Robinson anchors one of the nation’s top defenses up front and recorded 49 tackles last season.

 

Related: SEC 2015 Predictions
 

7. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

Nkemdiche helped to anchor the defensive line for the “Landshark” defense, as Ole Miss limited opponents to 16 points a game in 2014. The Georgia native has recorded 69 tackles and four sacks over the last two years and earned first-team All-SEC honors last season.

 

6. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Fuller is a lockdown corner for coordinator Bud Foster and is an Athlon Sports first-team All-American for 2015. The Baltimore native started all 13 games and earned second-team all-conference honors as a true freshman in 2013. Fuller started all 13 games again in 2014 and was a third-team All-American by Athlon Sports. With Brandon Facyson returning, Virginia Tech should have one of the nation’s top cornerback tandems.

 

Related: College Football's Best Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

5. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Just like Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Hargreaves III has been an impact defender since the first day on campus. The Tampa native started the final 10 games in 2013 and earned All-SEC honors as a true freshman. Hargreaves III elevated his game even higher in 2014, earned Associated Press All-America honors and leading the SEC with 13 pass breakups.

 

Related: SEC 2015 All-Conference Team

 

4. Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona

Wright wasn’t a huge prospect on the recruiting trail, but the California native has blossomed into one of college football’s best defenders. The 6-foot-1 linebacker started 12 games as a freshman in 2013 and recorded 83 stops. Wright was even more dominant in 2014, posting a whopping 163 tackles (29 for a loss), 14 sacks and six forced fumbles.

 

3. Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

A strong case could be made for Ramsey to rank No. 1 on this list. After a standout debut in 2013 (49 tackles, one interception), the Tennessee native was a versatile and prolific defender for coordinator Charles Kelly. In 14 games, Ramsey recorded 79 stops (9.5 for a loss), three sacks, two interceptions and 12 pass breakups. With the departure of cornerbacks P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby, Ramsey is expected to play cornerback in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Bowl Projections for 2015

 

2. Ohio State Quarterbacks

Yes, we are cheating just a bit here. Instead of ranking all three quarterbacks from the Buckeyes within the list, let’s just group them in one spot. All three – Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller – are worthy of Heisman consideration if any can start a full season of games. But here’s the big question: Who will coach Urban Meyer pick?

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-America Team

 

1. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Dominant. That’s the best way to describe Bosa’s play for Ohio State over the last two years. As a true freshman in 2013, Bosa recorded 44 tackles (13.5 for a loss) and 7.5 sacks. The Florida native continued to wreak havoc against offensive lines as a sophomore, recording 21 tackles for a loss, 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Bosa’s play in the trenches sets the tone for Ohio State’s defense, and the junior has been projected by some as the top overall draft prospect for 2016.

Teaser:
College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/secs-top-players-returning-injury-2015
Body:

Injuries are a big part of any college football season. Whether it’s a starting quarterback, a No. 2 receiver or a defensive lineman part of a deep rotation, injuries will always have an impact on a team.

 

To help preview the season, Athlon is taking a look at some of the injured players from 2014 and their return in 2015.

 

Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

 

Players with a season-ending injury or ones that missed a major chunk of the 2014 campaign were considered for the article. Players that just missed a few games because of injuries and returned were not considered for this article.

 

Here’s a look at a handful of key players returning from injuries from the SEC in 2015:

 

SEC's Top Players Returning from Injury

 

Jeff Badet/Alexander Montgomery, WR, Kentucky

Badet and Montgomery combined for 38 receptions in 2013 but finished 2014 with zero catches due to injuries. Getting both players back will help improve the overall talent and depth at receiver for quarterback Patrick Towles.

 

Harold Brantley, DT, Missouri

Brantley’s status for 2015 is uncertain, as the standout tackle suffered serious injuries in a June car crash. How quickly Brantley recovers from leg and knee injuries suffered in the accident will determine if he is able to play in the opener this year. With Missouri losing Shane Ray and Markus Golden departing at end, having Brantley dominate the interior is critical for new coordinator Barry Odom.

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-America Team

 

Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

Davis is expected to push for a starting job under new coordinator Geoff Collins, but the Georgia native is recovering from a knee injury suffered against South Carolina. Prior to his injury, Davis made one start and recorded 23 tackles last year.

 

Related: College Football's Best Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama

Drake suffered a season-ending leg injury in Alabama’s 23-17 loss to Ole Miss. Prior to the injury, Drake recorded 112 yards and four rushing scores and caught five passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Even though Derrick Henry is expected to be a workhorse and one of the nation’s top running backs, there’s plenty of carries for Drake as Alabama’s No. 2 option.

 

Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

 

A.J. Hilliard, LB, Texas A&M

The linebackers are under the spotlight in College Station this year, as last season’s group had its share of ups and downs. Hilliard was a starter for the Aggies in 2014 but missed 12 games after suffering a broken ankle in the opener against South Carolina. He’s expected to start in 2015.

 

Jonathan Jones, CB, Auburn

Jones emerged as one of the SEC’s top cornerbacks in 2014. In 13 games last season, Jones recorded 36 tackles, 11 pass breakups and six interceptions. The senior had offseason foot surgery and is expected to be at full strength by the opener. 

 

Related: SEC 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Alex Kozan, OG, Auburn

A back injury forced Kozan to miss all of the 2014 season, and the Colorado native’s return will be a huge addition to a solid offensive line. Kozan started all 14 games for Auburn in 2013 and earned freshman All-SEC honors. He should be among the nation’s best at guard this season.

 

Davonte Lambert, DL, Auburn

Lambert was a key pickup in the junior college ranks for coach Gus Malzahn, as the Georgia native played in 11 games and recorded 3.5 sacks last year. However, Lambert suffered a torn ACL late in the season and did not participate in the spring.

 

Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

 

Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn

Auburn’s defense has struggled under coach Gus Malzahn, but there’s plenty of optimism entering 2015. New coordinator Will Muschamp was a one of the top hires of the offseason, and Lawson’s return should bolster a pass rush that managed only 10 sacks in SEC games. The Georgia native recorded four sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss in 2013 and is expected to be at full strength from a knee injury by the fall.

 

Related: College Football's All-Sophomore Team for 2015

 

Kendrick Market, S, Mississippi State

The Bulldogs are set at cornerback with Will Redmond and Taveze Calhoun, but concerns remain at safety for coordinator Manny Diaz. Talented freshman Jamal Peters is expected to see significant snaps, but Market’s status for the upcoming year is uncertain after a torn Achilles in the Egg Bowl. In 12 games last season, Market recorded 49 tackles and one pass breakup.

 

Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia

After a promising freshman season (759 yards and eight scores), Marshall has been limited by injuries in each of his last two years. The North Carolina native has only played in eight games since 2013 and has 270 yards and one score in that span. If he can stay healthy, Georgia will find opportunities for Marshall as a backup to Nick Chubb.

 

Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

 

Mike Matulis, OG, South Carolina

The Gamecocks have to retool their offensive line after the departures of guard A.J. Cann and tackle Corey Robinson. Matulis is expected to push for a starting job at guard, and the senior has missed a majority of snaps the last two years due to injuries. Matulis has 10 career starts.

 

Jake McGee, TE, Florida

McGee was a graduate transfer pickup from Virginia, but his 2014 season never got on track. The senior suffered a broken leg in the opener and missed the rest of the year. McGee caught 71 passes in his career with the Cavaliers.

 

Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia

After catching 85 passes through his first two years, Mitchell has played in just 10 games and caught 31 passes over the last two seasons. A knee injury has limited Mitchell since 2013, but the senior hopes to finish out his career on a high note. If healthy, Mitchell is an All-SEC receiver and needs to have a big season with the departures of Chris Conley and Michael Bennett.

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-America Team

 

Antonio Morrison, LB, Florida

Morrison was an All-SEC linebacker last season, finishing 2014 with 101 stops, one interception and one sack. However, Morrison suffered a significant knee injury in the bowl win over East Carolina. Will Morrison return to full strength by the opener?

 

Denzel Nkemdiche, LB, Ole Miss

The injury bug hit Ole Miss hard on both sides of the ball last season. Nkemdiche suffered a broken ankle in the loss at LSU and finished 2014 with 28 tackles and one sack. Getting Nkemdiche back to full strength will be a huge boost for coordinator Dave Wommack, as the senior can push for All-SEC honors in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Top Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

Marquez North, WR, Tennessee

A shoulder injury derailed North’s hopes of building off a solid freshman campaign. In 2013, North caught 38 passes for 496 yards and one score. However, in 10 games in 2014, North grabbed 30 receptions for 320 yards and four touchdowns. The junior is expected to be the No. 1 target for quarterback Joshua Dobbs.

 

Related: SEC 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Tee Shepard, CB, Ole Miss

Shepard has bounced around a lot in his collegiate career, signing with Notre Dame in 2012 and later playing one season with Holmes Community College. Shepard was poised to push for a starting job in the secondary last year. However, a toe injury in fall camp prevented Shepard from playing in 2014. He’s expected to start in 2015.

 

Related: SEC 2015 Predictions

 

Steven Scheu, TE, Vanderbilt

Scheu was one of Vanderbilt’s top offensive players last season, catching 39 passes for 525 yards and four scores. The Commodores need Scheu at full strength this year, but the senior suffered a leg injury in the spring and is questionable to play in the first game of 2015.

 

Dwayne Thomas/Corey Thompson, DB, LSU

Defensive backs coach Corey Raymond is getting a few reinforcements for 2015. Thomas played in only five games in 2014 due to a knee injury and finished the year with 24 tackles and one pass breakup. Thompson missed all of 2014 with a knee injury and was not at full strength in the spring. Thompson has played in 23 career games and made five starts from 2012-13.

 

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

The backstory on Treadwell’s leg injury has been well documented, and it was no secret the Rebels struggled without their No. 1 option. In the last three games against FBS opponents, Ole Miss scored only 34 points and was shutout against Arkansas. Treadwell’s recovery is on track, and the junior is expected to be at full strength by the opener. In nine games last season, Treadwell caught 48 passes for 632 yards and five scores.

 

Related: College Football 2015 All-America Team

 

Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

The development of Ole Miss’ offensive line is critical after this unit allowed 31 sacks in 2014. Tunsil is the key cog in the trenches, as the junior is the SEC’s top offensive lineman. However, Tunsil is recovering from a leg injury suffered in the Peach Bowl loss against TCU. All signs point to Tunsil making a full recovery by the opener, and he will have two non-conference games to prepare before the showdown against Alabama in Week 3.

Teaser:
SEC's Top Players Returning from Injury in 2015
Post date: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-breakout-players-2015
Body:

Projecting college football’s breakout players for any given season is no easy assignment. After all, each person has a different take on what a “breakout player” is, and college football is always home to several new faces throughout the season. While it’s difficult to label breakout players, the new stars of any season can have a huge impact on conference championship or national title races.

 

Related: Big 12 Predictions for 2015

 

The Big 12 has several names waiting to emerge as breakout players for 2015, including three quarterbacks in Baylor’s Seth Russell, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes. There’s no shortage of talent on defense, as Oklahoma State’s Vincent Taylor and Texas’ Malik Jefferson are names to watch in the fall.

 

Predicting the Big 12's Breakout Players for 2015

 

Mike Freeze, LB, TCU

The back seven of TCU’s defense must be retooled this offseason. The Horned Frogs lost standout linebackers Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallet, and the secondary lost three all-conference performers. The linebacker position was a work in progress for coach Gary Patterson in the spring, but Freeze made a push for a starting job after enrolling early in spring practice. The three-star recruit is penciled in as one of TCU’s starting linebackers. 

 

Related: Big 12 Predictions for 2015

 

Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia

Dana Holgorsen’s high-powered offense is looking for new playmakers at receiver after the departure of Kevin White (109 catches in 2014) and Mario Alford (65 receptions). Jordan Thompson is the team’s leading option at receiver, but the Mountaineers have a collection of young receivers pushing for snaps. Gibson redshirted in his first season with the Mountaineers and caught four passes for 60 yards in 2014. The Ohio native took a step forward in the spring and caught four passes for 84 yards in the final scrimmage. Gibson should be one of the go-to targets for quarterback Skyler Howard in 2015.

 

Related: The Big 12's Most Underrated Players for 2015

 

Dravon Henry, S, West Virginia

High expectations followed Henry in 2014, and the true freshman turned in a solid debut for coordinator Tony Gibson. In 13 games, Henry recorded 45 tackles (one for a loss), two interceptions and two pass breakups. With cornerback Daryl Worley and safety Karl Joseph established as stars, combined with Henry’s development, the Mountaineers should have one of the nation’s top defensive backfields. 

 

Related: College Football 2015 All-America Team

 

Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

Jefferson is only a true freshman, but high expectations surround the Mesquite, Texas native in 2015. Jefferson ranked as the No. 10 overall player in the 247Sports Composite and enrolled in time to compete in spring ball. Jefferson recorded five stops (one for a loss) in the Orange-White scrimmage and is expected to start at linebacker this season.

 

Related: Big 12's 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State

With the departures of quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett, Kansas State has to lean on its defense in 2015. With six starters back, there’s plenty of talent for coordinator Tom Hayes to rely on. Lee is another impact defender to watch for Hayes, as he impressed in 13 games as a freshman last season. Lee recorded 19 tackles and 4.5 sacks in limited action and should push for all-conference honors in his first full year as a starter.

 

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

Mahomes isn’t guaranteed the starting job yet, as he will compete with Davis Webb in the fall for the No. 1 spot. However, Mahomes showcased his upside as a true freshman and his case for the starting spot in seven games last season. He completed 105 of 185 passes for 1,547 yards and 16 scores and tossed only four picks. In the season finale against Baylor, Mahomes threw for 598 yards.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

Mike Mitchell, LB, Texas Tech

After giving up 41.3 points per game last season, Texas Tech’s defense will be under the microscope in 2015. New coordinator David Gibbs should help this unit improve, and seven returning starters certainly helps the rebuilding process. Mitchell was a five-star recruit in the 2013 signing class and redshirted in his only year at Ohio State. The Texas native sat out 2014 due to transfer rules but is expected to be a key cog in Gibbs’ defense this season.

 

Steven Parker, S, Oklahoma

The Sooners certainly have room to improve in the defensive secondary after giving up 24 plays of 30 yards or more last season. Cornerback Zack Sanchez is one of the best in the nation, but new secondary coach Kerry Cooks is looking for players to step up at the other positions. Parker is expected to take on a bigger role this season after playing in 13 games in 2014. The sophomore recorded 31 tackles, one sack and six pass breakups in limited action. 

 

Related: College Football 2015 All-Freshman Team

 

Dalton Risner, C, Kansas State

B.J. Finney leaves big shoes to fill on Kansas State’s offensive line. The All-Big 12 center started 52 consecutive games in his career and was a Rimington Trophy semifinalist in 2014. Risner redshirted in his first year on campus and is expected to anchor the center position for coach Bill Snyder in 2015.

 

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Rudolph’s emergence in the final three games of 2014 is one of the biggest reasons for optimism in Stillwater this season. Rudolph closed out last season by passing for 853 yards and six passing scores on 49 completions and guided Oklahoma State to a 2-1 mark in the final three games of the year. In the bowl win over Washington, Rudolph passed for 299 yards and two touchdowns. With an improving offensive line and a deep corps of receivers at his disposal, Rudolph should be able to build off a solid finish to 2014 and emerge as one of the Big 12’s top quarterbacks.

 

Related: Ranking the Big 12's Stadiums for 2015

 

Seth Russell, QB, Baylor

Robert Griffin III, Nick Florence and Bryce Petty each produced big seasons in coach Art Briles’ offense at Baylor. And Russell has been handed the keys to the high-powered attack after completing 48 of 85 passes for 804 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014. In each of the last four years, Baylor’s starting quarterback has surpassed 3,850 passing yards and 29 scores. Expect Russell to easily eclipse those marks in 2015.

 

Kent Taylor, TE, Kansas

Quarterback play is a big question mark for new coach David Beaty after Michael Cummings was injured in the spring game. It’s uncertain if Cummings will make it back by the opener, but if he doesn’t play in 2015, Beaty is expected to turn to Montell Cozart or true freshmen Carter Stanley or Ryan Willis. In addition to the quarterback concerns, the Jayhawks also lack proven options at receiver. Taylor should alleviate some of the concerns from this group, as the Florida transfer is eligible after sitting out 2014 due to NCAA rules. Taylor ranked as the No. 79 recruit in the 2012 signing class.

 

Vincent Taylor, DT, Oklahoma State

Coordinator Glenn Spencer should have one of the most improved defenses in the Big 12 in 2015. The Cowboys return seven starters, and the overall depth and experience for this unit should be better this season. The defensive tackle position is one of the few positions of concern for Spencer, as last year’s starters – James Castleman and Ofa Hautau – expired their eligibility. Taylor played in 10 games in 2014 and recorded 13 tackles and continued his development with a strong spring performance. 

 

Related: Big 12 Predictions for 2015

 

Ranthony Texada, CB, TCU

The secondary is usually a strength under Gary Patterson’s watch at TCU, but this unit will be a work in progress in 2015. The Horned Frogs must replace standout cornerback Kevin White, as well as All-Big 12 safeties Sam Carter and Chris Hackett. Texada joins Derrick Kindred as the returning starters for Patterson, and both players will have to anchor the unit early in the year. Texada started all 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and recorded seven pass breakups and 31 tackles. Texada should be even better as a sophomore.

 

Demond Tucker, DT, Iowa State

After the Cyclones allowed 246.3 rushing yards per game last season, coach Paul Rhoads wasted no time searching for upgrades. Tucker is one of two junior college recruits brought to Ames to play immediately on the defensive line. The No. 38 recruit in the 247Sports Composite of junior college recruits and was a NJCAA first-team All-American in both years at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Tucker has to adjust to the Big 12 level, but he could be a difference-maker for the defense.

 

Mike Warren, RB, Iowa State

Iowa State ranked ninth in the Big 12 by averaging only 124.1 rushing yards per game last season. Assuming the Cyclones have better luck in the health department up front, there should be more consistency and production from the ground attack. Of course, coordinator Mark Mangino also needs a go-to running back to emerge. Last season’s top two running backs (Aaron Wimberly and DeVondrick Nealy), leaving Warren and sophomore Tyler Brown as the leading candidates. Warren was a three-star recruit and redshirted in his first season in Ames.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

It’s no secret Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard is one of the Big 12’s best receivers. But coordinator Lincoln Riley needs to find other options to take some of the pressure off of Shepard in 2015. Westbrook only recorded two touches in the spring game but finished with 50 yards. The junior college product has big-play potential for the Sooners and his explosiveness should help the passing attack stretch the field.

 

Connor Williams, OT, Texas

Joe Wickline is one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation, and the Longhorns will be looking for improvement up front after inconsistent play in 2014. Four starters are back, but the lineup and starters may change with added competition through the recruiting ranks. Williams enrolled in time to compete in spring practice, and the true freshman is pushing for a starting spot. If Williams continues to develop in the fall, he should start at one of the tackle positions for Wickline.

Teaser:
Big 12 Football Breakout Players for 2015
Post date: Monday, July 13, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/florida-state-rb-dalvin-cook-facing-battery-charge
Body:

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook is considered one of the rising stars in the ACC, but the sophomore is facing some serious allegations after an incident on June 23.

 

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Cook was allegedly involved in the battery of a woman outside of a bar. The article from the Tallahassee Democrat indicates the police report was heavily redacted and noted the victim was intoxicated and suffered minor bruises.

 

Charges have yet to be filed, but ESPN reports Cook will be charged with misdemeanor battery. An arrest warrant is expected to be issued.

 

Additionally, the ESPN report indicates Cook allegedly punched the woman in the face several times.

 

Earlier this week, Florida State dismissed quarterback De’Andre Johnson after video was released of an incident at a bar, which the freshman punched a woman in the face.

 

Cook was a key part of the Seminoles’ playoff run last season and was considered one of the top running backs in the nation.

 

Needless to say, Cook’s future at Florida State will depend heavily on how this case plays out in the next few months.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, July 10, 2015 - 15:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/accs-10-most-underrated-players-2015
Body:

Every college football team has players most would consider underrated. However, defining underrated players is no easy assignment, as that term varies in meaning between fans and experts.

 

Florida State hopes to win its fourth consecutive ACC title in 2015. However, the Seminoles are reloading – just like the rest of the conference. Clemson suffered heavy losses on defense, but the offense should be solid despite the departure of coordinator Chad Morris and the concerns up front. Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech are the frontrunners to win the ACC, but the personnel departures from each of those programs could open the door for a surprise team to emerge.

 

With the 2015 season approaching, Athlon Sports wanted to take a look at some players deserving of more preseason accolades or discussion. In an effort to get to 10 names, we tried to stick to players that had yet to earn all-conference honors in their career. However, a few exceptions were made.

 

ACC's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015

 

Sherman Alston, WR, Boston College

Alston quietly emerged as a promising all-purpose threat in 2014, and the New York native is only going to see his snap count increase in 2015. In 12 games, Alston rushed for 352 yards and two scores and caught 15 passes for 169 yards. Alston isn’t the biggest receiver (5-foot-6), but his speed and quickness will be an asset for taking handoffs in the spread or making plays in space as a receiver.

 

Related: ACC 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Artie Burns, CB, Miami

Burns is coming off his first full season as a starter for the Hurricanes and registered 40 tackles and six pass breakups. The Miami native was considered a four-star recruit coming out of Miami Northwestern and played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2013. Burns was a key cog in a secondary that limited ACC quarterbacks to just six touchdown passes in 2014. The junior is not only a breakout candidate, but he’s also one of the ACC’s underrated cover men.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

David Dean, DT, Virginia

Run-stuffing defensive tackles are often overlooked because they won’t produce huge tackle or sack totals. Dean fits that mold, as the 295-pound senior recorded only 40 stops in 12 games last year. Eight of Dean’s tackles went for a loss, and he also recorded a forced fumble. The senior should be the anchor for Virginia’s front seven in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-Sophomore Team

 

DeVon Edwards, S, Duke

Duke’s secondary returns all five starters from a unit that held ACC opponents to 12 passing scores in 2014. Safety Jeremy Cash is the headliner for coach David Cutcliffe, but Edwards and cornerbacks Breon Borders and Bryon Fields are also under-the-radar performers. Edwards recorded 133 tackles (7.5 for a loss), 4.5 sacks and nine pass breakups last season. The junior is also a weapon for Duke on special teams, and his active all-around ability on defense is a huge asset.

 

Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

Most of the offseason attention for Clemson’s offense has revolved around the health of quarterback Deshaun Watson and the new co-coordinator setup (Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott) to replace Chad Morris. While Watson and the Tigers’ receiving corps should have no trouble moving the ball in 2015, the rushing attack has been overlooked. Gallman finished 2014 with 769 yards and four touchdowns on 161 attempts, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He also closed out the season playing at a high level, gashing South Carolina for 191 yards and Wake Forest for 106 yards.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

Keith Kelsey, LB, Louisville

The clear strength of Louisville’s defense will be its front seven in 2015. End Sheldon Rankins – a second-team All-ACC selection by Athlon Sports for 2015 – anchors the 3-4 line for coordinator Todd Grantham. And the Cardinals should have the best linebacker unit in the ACC this season, as Kelsey and James Burgess could both finish 2015 with first-team all-conference honors. Kelsey started all 13 games for the Cardinals last year and recorded with 87 tackles. 

 

Nile Lawrence-Stample, DT, Florida State

Lawrence-Stample was also mentioned in this list of key ACC players returning from injury. The Florida native was expected to be a key cog on the interior of Florida State’s defense last season, but a pectoral injury in September sidelined him until the Rose Bowl. The four-star recruit recorded six starts and played in 13 games in 2013, finishing the year with 15 tackles (1.5 for a loss). The Seminoles will miss Eddie Goldman’s presence on the interior, but Lawrence-Stample’s return should be a boost for coordinator Charles Kelly.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

Marquel Lee, LB, Wake Forest

Either Lee or fellow linebacker Brandon Chubb deserves a mention in this space. The Demon Deacons quietly have one of the ACC’s top linebacker groups, as Lee, Chubb and Hunter Williams are in the mix for all-conference honors in 2015. In 12 games last season, Lee recorded 101 stops (12 for a loss), four sacks and one forced fumble. The Maryland native was a third-team All-ACC selection for 2015 by Athlon Sports.

 

Jack Tocho, CB, NC State

Tocho has been a key defender in coach Dave Doeren’s rebuilding effort in Raleigh. The North Carolina native played in 12 games as a true freshman in 2013 and recorded 25 tackles and two interceptions. Tocho played even better as a sophomore, starting all 13 games for the Wolfpack and recording with 41 tackles and 11 pass breakups. The ACC has three potential All-Americans returning at cornerback with Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander, Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey and Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller. However, Tocho should not be overlooked when filling out preseason all-conference ballots.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

Chad Voytik, QB, Pittsburgh

The ACC has a solid group of quarterbacks returning, headlined by Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Florida State’s Everett Golson, Miami’s Brad Kaaya and two passers from the state of North Carolina in Marquise Williams (UNC) and Jacoby Brissett (NC State). Could Voytik join that tier as one of the top quarterbacks in 2015? In 13 games last year, Voytik threw for 2,233 yards and 16 scores and added 466 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Tennessee native closed 2014 by playing his best ball of the season, throwing only one interception over the last six games. New coordinator Jim Chaney is tasked with elevating Voytik’s performance, and the veteran play-caller should make a difference for Pittsburgh’s offense in 2015.

Teaser:
The ACC's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015
Post date: Friday, July 10, 2015 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-qb-braxton-miller-ends-rumors-and-speculation-plans-competing-qb-job
Body:

The rumors and speculation about Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller’s future are officially over. Somewhat.

 

On Thursday, the Columbus Dispatch released an interview with the senior quarterback, and Miller states his intention is to return to Columbus in 2015 and not transfer to another school.

 

“I’m from Ohio, this is my home state,” Miller told the newspaper. “This is where I started and this is where I’m going to finish it.”

 

While Miller has officially declared he will be back at Ohio State, there’s still the other question to settle. Who will start for the Buckeyes in 2015 at quarterback?

 

Here’s Miller’s take from the article:

 

“As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football. If any competition wants to come my way, I’ve just got to be smart about things and just stay looking forward.”

 

Although Miller plans on competing at quarterback, his future in the NFL is likely as a receiver or running back. Considering his recent shoulder surgeries, a move to running back or receiver could accelerate his learning curve and allow J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones the opportunity to start a full season of snaps.

 

Regardless of which quarterback starts for Ohio State, all three are expected to be key cogs in the offense for coach Urban Meyer.

 

With Miller officially announcing his intention to remain in Columbus, the focus can shift to the three quarterbacks and the upcoming battle for the starting job in fall practice.

Teaser:
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller Ends Rumors and Speculation, Plans on Competing for QB Job
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 15:51
Path: /college-football/accs-top-players-returning-injury-2015
Body:

Injuries are a big part of any college football season. Whether it’s a starting quarterback, a No. 2 receiver or a defensive lineman part of a deep rotation, injuries will always have an impact on a team.

 

To help preview the season, Athlon is taking a look at some of the injured players from 2014 and their return in 2015.

 

Players with a season-ending injury or ones that missed a major chunk of the 2014 campaign were considered for the article. Players that just missed a few games because of injuries and returned were not considered for this article.

 

Here’s a look at a handful of key players returning from injuries from the ACC in 2015:

 

ACC's Top Players Returning from Injury

 

Braxton Deaver, TE, Duke

Deaver was one of the ACC’s top tight ends in 2013 and is a key weapon back in the mix for new quarterback Thomas Sirk. The Charlotte native caught 46 passes for 600 yards and four touchdowns in 2013 and is expected to be at full strength from a torn ACL by the fall.

 

Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech

After a standout freshman campaign in 2013, big things were expected from Facyson in 2014. However, a shin injury suffered in the spring was aggravated in September, and the Georgia native sat out the rest of the season. Facyson was considered one of college football’s top freshmen in 2013, as he recorded 27 tackles and five interceptions in 12 games. If Facyson is at full strength, the Hokies could have the best secondary in the nation.

 

Related: College Football's Top Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

Terrel Hunt, QB, Syracuse

The return of Hunt should provide a boost for a Syracuse offense that managed just 17.1 points per game in 2014. The Orange never got their offense on track last season and switched coordinators five games into the year. In five appearances last season, Hunt completed 83 of 145 passes for 983 yards and one score. However, the numbers for Hunt were better in 2013, as he completed 61.2 percent of his throws for 1,632 yards and 10 scores.

 

Related: ACC All-Conference Team for 2015

 

Nile Lawrence-Stample, DT, Florida State

Lawrence-Stample was expected to be a key piece of Florida State’s defensive line, but the Fort Lauderdale native suffered a pectoral muscle injury against Clemson and played in only four games. In limited action, Lawrence-Stample finished the year with 10 tackles. With Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Goldman off to the NFL, Lawrence-Stample needs to be a force on the interior for coordinator Charles Kelly.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

Luther Maddy, DT, Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s defense should be among the nation’s best in 2015. Eight starters are back for coordinator Bud Foster, and two key players – Maddy and cornerback Brandon Facyson – are back from injury. Maddy started all 13 games for the Hokies in 2013 and earned All-ACC honors after recording 13.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. Maddy suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fourth game of 2014 and finished the year with nine tackles. He could be a candidate for All-America honors this season.

 

Kc McDermott, OT, Miami

The development of Miami’s offensive line is critical to its hopes of contending for the Coastal Division title. The Hurricanes return only one starter (Danny Isidora) and Taylor Gadbois (a projected starter) was dismissed in June. McDermott suffered a season-ending knee injury against Duke on Sept. 27 in 2014 but is expected to anchor one of the tackle positions for coach Al Golden.

 

Related: College Football's Bowl Projections for 2015

 

Demetrious Nicholson, CB, Virginia

When healthy, Nicholson is among the ACC’s top cornerbacks. However, the Virginia Beach native has played in only six games over the last two seasons. As a freshman in 2011, Nicholson recorded 60 tackles and two interceptions. In 2012, Nicholson picked up 56 tackles and 15 pass breakups. The senior played in only one game last season and missed 11 contests with a toe injury. If Nicholson can stay healthy, Virginia should have a solid cornerback tandem with fellow senior Maurice Canady returning in 2015.

 

Ejuan Price, DE, Pittsburgh

Price has bounced between linebacker and defensive end during his four seasons with the Panthers. Additionally, Price has experienced some bad luck with injuries, as he’s played in only one full year (2011) and has only six appearances in the last three seasons. In 2011, Price recorded 27 tackles (6.5 for a loss) and four sacks. New coach Pat Narduzzi needs difference makers on defense. Having Price’s ability off the edge should help the Panthers in 2015.

 

Artie Rowell, C/G, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s line was critical in clearing the way for running back James Conner to rush for 1,765 yards last season, and this unit should be a strength for new coach Pat Narduzzi in 2015. Three starters are back, but this unit suffered a setback when projected right tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith was ruled out for 2015 with a season-ending knee injury. But the offensive line should receive a boost with Rowell returning to the lineup. The Pennsylvania native started all 13 games for the Panthers in 2013 and the first two contests in 2014 before a season-ending knee injury.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

Broderick Snoddy, RB, Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech’s rushing attack was hit hard by departures in the backfield, as only three of the top 10 statistical rushers are back in 2015. And two of those players – Justin Thomas and Tim Byerly – are quarterbacks. Snoddy is Georgia Tech’s top returner at running back after suffering a season-ending leg injury against Clemson in 2014. In 10 games last year, Snoddy recorded 283 yards and three scores on 28 attempts.

 

Related: 14 Position Groups on the Hot Seat in the ACC

 

Matthew Thomas, LB, Florida State

Thomas was a big-time, five-star pickup for Florida State on the recruiting trail, but the Miami native has been limited by injuries and served a six-game suspension to start 2014. Thomas played in eight games last year and recorded 26 tackles (2.5 for a loss). However, the sophomore had shoulder surgery in the spring and may not be ready by the opener. Getting Thomas back to full strength is critical for Florida State, as depth and proven options in the linebacking corps are a concern.

 

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Watson made only eight appearances as a true freshman last season, but the touted quarterback showed why he is already among the nation’s best at quarterback. Watson threw for 1,466 yards and 14 scores and completed 67.9 percent of his passes. The Georgia native torched North Carolina for 435 yards and six touchdowns and led Clemson to a 35-17 win over rival South Carolina by completing 14 of 19 passes for 269 yards. Watson’s ACL injury is expected to be fully healed by the opener. And the sophomore is Athlon’s pick to be the ACC’s top quarterback in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's All-Sophomore Team for 2015

 

Harris Williams, C, Boston College

Offensive line play has been a strength for Boston College under coach Steve Addazio, but the Eagles are essentially starting from scratch in the trenches. All five starters from last season are gone, including standout center Andy Gallik and tackle Seth Betancourt. Williams was expected to anchor one of the guard spots in 2014 but suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the opener against UMass. His return should give Addazio a potential All-ACC building block to starting the rebuilding effort in 2015.

 

Others to Watch

 

Travis Blanks, S, Clemson

Blanks missed 2014 due to a knee injury and did not participate in spring practice after aggravating the injury in bowl workouts. Can Blanks return to full strength by fall camp?

 

Ashton Broyld, WR, Syracuse
In addition to missing quarterback Terrel Hunt, Syracuse played most of 2014 without one of its top receivers. Broyld played in only five games and caught 15 passes for 174 yards. Coordinator Tim Lester plans on using Broyld in a hybrid H-back role in 2015.

 

Will Gardner, QB, Louisville

Gardner opened 2014 as Louisville’s starter and finished with 1,669 passing yards and 12 scores after a season-ending knee injury against Boston College. The junior has some ground to make up in the fall, as Reggie Bonnafon is considered the favorite to start under center.

 

Rayshawn Jenkins, S, Miami

Jenkins started 12 games for the Hurricanes in 2013 and recorded 46 stops and five pass breakups. The St. Petersburg native missed all of 2014 due to a back injury and is expected to push for one of the starting jobs at safety this fall.

 

Shai McKenzie, RB, Virginia Tech

McKenzie played in five games as a true freshman before suffering a torn ACL against Western Michigan. The knee injury was McKenzie’s second in two years, so the Hokies will be cautious with his return.

 

Marshawn Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

Williams was off to a promising start as a true freshman last season, recording 475 yards and four scores on 124 attempts. However, a season-ending knee injury against Duke sidelined him for the remainder of 2014. 

Teaser:
ACC's Top Players Returning from Injury in 2015
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/big-tens-10-most-underrated-players-2015
Body:

Every college football team has players most would consider underrated. However, defining underrated players is no easy assignment, as that term varies in meaning between fans and experts.

 

The Big Ten is home to college football’s defending national champions (Ohio State), but the conference is full of intrigue, especially as Jim Harbaugh returns to Michigan, and Penn State should improve in coach James Franklin’s second season. Additionally, Nebraska hopes new coach Mike Riley will elevate the program into Big Ten title contention. 

 

Related: Big Ten 2015 Predictions

 

With the 2015 season approaching, Athlon Sports wanted to take a look at some players deserving of more preseason accolades or discussion. In an effort to get to 10 names, we tried to stick to players that had yet to earn all-conference honors in their career. However, a few exceptions were made.

 

Big Ten's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015

 

Jacoby Boren, C, Ohio State

Most of the attention on Ohio State’s offensive line revolves around standout left tackle Taylor Decker or guard Pat Elflein. But the play of Boren should not be overlooked, as the Buckeyes have one of the nation’s best offensive lines entering the 2015 campaign. Boren played in 16 games as a backup prior to 2014 and started all 15 games for Ohio State last season.

 

Related: Big Ten 2015 Predictions

 

De’Vondre Campbell, LB, Minnesota

Minnesota’s defense held opponents to 24.2 points per game last season, and with seven starters back, the Golden Gophers could be even better on that side of the ball in 2015. Campbell was a key find for coordinator Tracy Claeys in the junior college ranks, as the Florida native has played in 26 games in his two years in Minneapolis. Campbell started all 13 games in 2014 and finished the year with 75 tackles and 2.5 sacks. With Damien Wilson departing, Campbell is now the leader of Minnesota’s linebacker corps.

 

Related: College Football's Best Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois

Ferguson led the Illinois’ offense in rushing in each of the last two seasons, finishing 2014 with 735 yards and eight scores on 146 attempts. In addition to his production on the ground, the Illinois native has 100 receptions over the last two years. And despite inconsistent offensive line play, Ferguson managed to average at least five yards per carry in back-to-back seasons. Look for Ferguson to have his best statistical performance of his career in 2015. 

 

Darius Hamilton, DT, Rutgers

As Rutgers enters its second season in the Big Ten, improving the play in the trenches will be a priority for coach Kyle Flood. The defensive front allowed 212.3 rushing yards per game last season, and the coaching staff hopes Hamilton and sophomore end Kemoko Turay can elevate the performance of this group in 2015. Hamilton has been a productive force for Rutgers over the last three seasons, recording 11.5 tackles for a loss in back-to-back years. Additionally, Hamilton generated 10.5 sacks from 2013-14 and recorded two forced fumbles in his career.

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-America Team

 

Desmond King, CB, Iowa

The Hawkeyes had a stingy secondary in 2014, as this unit allowed only 12 touchdown passes in Big Ten play and held quarterbacks to a 48.7 completion percentage. King was one of the leaders for coordinator Phil Parker’s defense, recording 64 tackles and three interceptions in 2014. The Detroit native didn’t redshirt as a freshman and has played in 26 consecutive games to start his career at Iowa. After earning honorable mention all-conference honors in 2014, King should breakthrough with an all-conference season in 2015.

 

Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska

In his first year with the Cornhuskers, Lewis was a key cog in a ground attack that averaged 240.2 rushing yards per game. The Colorado transfer started all 13 games in 2014 and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. In addition to being one of the Big Ten’s most underrated linemen, Lewis is arguably one of Nebraska’s most valuable players. The Cornhuskers return just two starters on the offensive line and need Lewis to stay healthy in 2015.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State

The Nittany Lions boast one of the nation’s best defensive tackle combinations with Johnson and Anthony Zettel anchoring the interior for coordinator Bob Shoop. Zettel was among the nation’s best at the position last year, but Johnson’s contributions shouldn’t be overlooked. In 13 games, Johnson recorded 49 tackles (six for a loss), one sack and two fumble recoveries. At 325 pounds, the New Jersey native has the size and ability to dominate the line of scrimmage, as well as command double teams to free up Zettel or Penn State’s defensive ends.

 

Sojourn Shelton, CB, Wisconsin

With Shelton, Darius Hillary and Michael Caputo returning, Wisconsin’s secondary is quietly one of the best in the nation. Shelton was thrown into the fire as a true freshman in 2013, starting 12 games for the Badgers and recording 36 tackles and seven pass breakups. The Florida native continued the strong start to his career with 12 starts and 33 tackles in 2014.

 

Related: Big Ten Predictions for 2015

 

Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

Either Spriggs or fellow lineman Dan Feeney deserves a mention in this space. Indiana’s offensive line has developed into a strength under coach Kevin Wilson, as this unit led the way for running back Tevin Coleman to eclipse 2,000 yards in 2014. Spriggs started every game in his first two years on campus and played in 11 games (with 10 starts) last season. Spriggs should push for All-Big Ten honors in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Top Transfers for 2015

 

Lawrence Thomas, DL, Michigan State

The strength of Michigan State’s defense is in the trenches. End Shilique Calhoun is among the nation’s best, and there’s talent on the interior with Joel Heath, Damon Knox and Malik McDowell. Thomas has bounced between end and tackle during his Michigan State tenure and started all 13 games in 2014. The Detroit native has only recorded 34 stops and three sacks in his career, but that’s largely a product of playing on the interior and plugging the gaps up front. Thomas is expected to shift to defensive end in 2015, and his versatility is a huge asset for new co-coordinators Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel.

Teaser:
The Big Ten's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015
Post date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/big-12s-10-most-underrated-players-2015
Body:

Every college football team has players most would consider underrated. However, defining underrated players is no easy assignment, as that term varies in meaning between fans and experts.

 

The Big 12 has two potential playoff teams in place for 2015, as Baylor and TCU should once again rank near the top of contenders for a spot in the four-team postseason. Both teams have starpower and All-American candidates, but underrated players could make a big difference in key games. Additionally, under-the-radar players at other programs in the Big 12 are critical to improvement for a specific unit or the development of the team for the upcoming year.

 

Related: Big 12 2015 Predictions

 

With the 2015 season approaching, Athlon Sports wanted to take a look at some players deserving of more preseason accolades or discussion. In an effort to get to 10 names, we tried to stick to players that had yet to earn all-conference honors in their career. However, a few exceptions were made.

 

Big 12's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015

 

Beau Blackshear, DT, Baylor

Blackshear won’t get the preseason accolades of fellow linemen Shawn Oakman and Andrew Billings, but the senior should push for All-Big 12 honors in 2015. Blackshear enters 2015 with 38 career appearances and started all 13 games for the Bears last season. In 2014, Blackshear recorded 44 tackles and 4.5 sacks. With Oakman, Billings and Blackshear leading the way, Baylor’s defensive line will be among the best in the nation in 2015.

 

Related: College Football Bowl Projections for 2015

 

Travis Britz, DT, Kansas State

Britz has earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors in each of the last two seasons and is due for his most productive year in Manhattan in 2015. The Missouri native played in 10 games in 2014 and recorded 27 stops (five for a loss), three sacks and two pass breakups. Britz started all 13 games for the Wildcats in 2013 and played in 11 contests as a true freshman in 2012. Interior linemen aren’t going to post monster statistics, which often pushes players like Britz out of the spotlight. The 293-pound senior is a key piece in Kansas State’s defense this year.

 

Related: Big 12 All-Conference Team for 2015

 

Daniel Burton, OG, Iowa State

Iowa State’s line allowed 30 sacks last year, but with three starters back, expect that total to decline in 2015. Burton started all 12 games for the Cyclones last season and started the first eight contests of 2013. An injury ended Burton’s 2013 campaign after the eighth game, but the Oklahoma native has been a mainstay on Iowa State’s offensive line the last two years. Burton should push for All-Big 12 honors this season.

 

Ty Darlington, C, Oklahoma

The Sooners have four new starters slated to step into the lineup up front this year. Darlington is the lone returning starter on the offensive line for new coordinator Lincoln Riley, and it’s critical for the senior to anchor a unit in transition with a change in scheme coming to Norman. Darlington started all 13 games last season and played in three games in 2013. Although the Florida native still has to be more consistent as a player, all of the necessary skills are in place for the senior to finish 2015 as one of the Big 12’s best centers.

 

Related: College Football's 2015 All-America Team

 

Ben Goodman, DE, Kansas

It’s hard to pinpoint an underrated player for a team that returns just five starters for 2015. However, Goodman has been a steady performer for the Jayhawks over the last three years and enters 2015 with 24 consecutive starts. The Texas native recorded 21 tackles (two for a loss) and one sack last season. With a new coaching staff and a ton of roster turnover, Goodman will be one of the few senior leaders for David Beaty in 2015.

 

Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU

Josh Doctson headlined TCU’s receiving corps last season, catching 65 passes for 1,108 yards and 11 scores. While Doctson led the way for the Horned Frogs in the three main statistical categories for receivers, Listenbee averaged a healthy 18.4 yards per reception. The 18.4 average on catches ranked fourth among Big 12 receivers, and Listenbee tied for second in the conference by recording seven receptions of 40 yards or more. With another year to develop in TCU’s offense, look for Listenbee to be an even bigger piece of the attack for quarterback Trevone Boykin.

 

Related: Big 12 2015 Predictions

 

Kevin Peterson, CB, Oklahoma State

With 14 returning starters, Oklahoma State should be one of the Big 12’s most improved teams this season. The Cowboys will show marked improvement on defense after giving up 31.2 points per game in 2014, as each level on that side of the ball has the returning talent to rank near the top of the league. Peterson is coming off his best statistical season in Stillwater, as he recorded 59 stops, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups in 2014. The Oklahoma native should be among the Big 12’s top cornerbacks in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Most Improved Teams for 2015

 

Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas

Even with Malcom Brown leaving early for the NFL Draft, Texas is still in good shape up front. Desmond Jackson is back from injury at tackle, and the Longhorns have a good collection of depth and talent in place. Coach Charlie Strong and coordinator Vance Bedford will use a rotation of players to keep everyone fresh, but Ridgeway could be the unit’s top all-conference candidate. Ridgeway started 10 games in 2014 and recorded 43 tackles (11 for a loss) and six sacks.

 

Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia

Rushel Shell is West Virginia’s No. 1 back, but the Pittsburgh transfer isn’t the only option in the backfield for coach Dana Holgorsen. Smallwood finished 2014 with 722 rushing yards and two scores and caught 31 passes for 326 yards. With West Virginia losing top receivers Kevin White and Mario Alford, reinforcements are needed at receiver. Don’t be surprised if Smallwood fills the role as an all-purpose threat in 2015.

 

Related: College Football All-America Team for 2015

 

Justin Stockton, RB, Texas Tech

Texas Tech’s passing game usually grabs all of the attention in Lubbock. But don’t overlook the rushing attack from coach Kliff Kingsbury’s team in 2015. Running back DeAndre Washington rushed for 1,103 yards last season, and Stockton provided another big-play element by averaging 8.3 yards per attempt on 48 carries. Stockton is a big play waiting to happen and should see more than the 60 offensive touches he accumulated in 2014.

Teaser:
The Big 12's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/bovada-releases-updated-heisman-odds-july
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The 2015 college football season is just over 50 days away, and media days are just around the corner. And once August hits, teams will report to camp and start the official preparations for the upcoming season.

 

Bovada released Heisman odds earlier this offseason, but the sportsbook has updated its list on Wednesday.

 

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is now the favorite by Bovada, with Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott a close second.

 

Here’s the full list of odds:

 

Player/Position/TeamOdds
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU6/1
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State7/1
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State10/1
Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn10/1
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia10/1
Cody Kessler, QB, USC12/1
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State12/1
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU14/1
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama16/1
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson16/1
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State20/1
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA20/1
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma20/1
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State25/1
Everett Golson, QB, Florida State251
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State25/1
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon33/1
Seth Russell, QB, Baylor33/1
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami40/1
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin40/1
D.J. Foster, WR, Arizona State40/1
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State40/1
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh40/1
Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech40/1
Jared Goff, QB, California50/1
Malik Zaire, QB, Notre Dame50/1
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State50/1
Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona50/1
Taysom Hill, QB, BYU50/1
Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State100/1
Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee100/1
Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina100/1
Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona100/1
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh100/1

 

Teaser:
Bovada Releases Updated Heisman Odds for July
Post date: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 16:56
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-lb-darron-lee-takes-few-jabs-michigan
Body:

The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry never stops - even in the offseason. With Jim Harbaugh coming to Ann Arbor, the annual battle between the Buckeyes and Wolverines is only going to increase in intensity and intrigue. Needless to say, the war or words between the two programs will never stop in the offseason.

 

Michigan announced on Monday its intention to switch apparel providers from Adidas to Nike in the 2016 season.

 

Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee took the opportunity to poke a few jabs in Michigan’s direction after the announcement:  

Teaser:
Ohio State LB Darron Lee Takes a Few Jabs at Michigan
Post date: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 12:28
Path: /college-football/pac-12s-10-most-underrated-players-2015
Body:

Every college football team has players most would consider underrated. However, defining underrated players is no easy assignment, as that term varies in meaning between fans and experts.

 

The Pac-12 should be an intriguing league once again in 2015. Oregon and USC top the list of favorites, but Arizona State, Stanford, Arizona and UCLA will be in the mix. And the depth of this conference extends to teams like Utah, California and Washington. Offense is usually the strength for the Pac-12, but this league has a good core of defensive talent in place for 2015.

 

Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

 

With the 2015 season approaching, Athlon Sports wanted to take a look at some players deserving of more preseason accolades or discussion. In an effort to get to 10 names, we tried to stick to players that had yet to earn all-conference honors in their career. However, a few exceptions were made.

 

Pac-12's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015

 

Chidobe Awuzie, DB, Colorado

Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, Colorado has never finished higher than 11th in scoring defense. Improving that side of the ball is a priority for new coordinator Jim Leavitt, and the Buffaloes return nine starters for 2015. Awuzie is slated to start in the nickel role for Leavitt, and the California native should thrive after recording 64 tackles in nine appearances last year. Awuzie also broke up eight passes in 2014. With Awuzie and cornerback Kenneth Crawley returning, Colorado’s secondary should take a step forward this season.

 

Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon

Starting as a true freshman in the trenches is no easy assignment. After all, most offensive linemen could use a full year in the weight room to develop to match the physical strength of opposing defensive ends or tackles. But Crosby was an underrated piece of Oregon’s offensive line last year. The Ducks were hit hard by injuries up front in 2014, yet this unit tied for fifth in the Pac-12 in fewest sacks allowed. Crosby finished last season with nine starts, including six consecutive to close out the year.

 

Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

 

Joe Dahl, OT, Washington State

It’s no secret Washington State’s offensive line has to improve after allowing 68 sacks over the last two seasons. But improvement should be expected in 2015, as the Cougars return five starters, including an all-conference candidate in Dahl. The Montana transfer started all 13 games in 2013 and anchored the line with 12 starts at left tackle in 2014. Having solid protection on the blindside is critical in Washington State’s Air Raid attack, and all signs point to Dahl having a standout senior season.

 

Daniel Lasco, RB, California

The Pac-12 is loaded with talented running backs, as six players eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2014. While Utah’s Devontae Booker and UCLA’s Paul Perkins usually grab the spotlight, Lasco quietly rushed for 1,115 yards and 12 scores on 210 attempts in 2014. Additionally, Lasco caught 33 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns. California’s Bear Raid offense should have no trouble scoring points in 2015. While quarterback Jared Goff and the explosive passing attack generate most of the attention in Berkeley, Lasco should hit the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season.

 

Related: Pac-12 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Blake Martinez, LB, Stanford

Despite leading one of the nation’s stingiest defenses in tackles last year, Martinez only earned honorable mention all-conference honors in 2014. Expect the senior to be an even bigger focal point of the defense in 2015 though, as Stanford returns just four starters on this side of the ball. Not only did Martinez lead the defense in tackles, he also recorded seven for a loss, generated 4.5 sacks, picked off three passes and forced two fumbles in 2014.

 

Related: College Football's Top Transfers to Watch in 2015

 

Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA

UCLA’s offensive line had its share of ups and downs last season, as this unit gave up 40 sacks in 13 games. But there was noticeable improvement late in the year, as McDermott started the last seven games at left tackle. During McDermott’s stint anchoring the left side, UCLA went 6-1 and scored at least 30 points five times. In the 38-20 win over USC, the Bruins gave up only two sacks. With a true freshman taking over at quarterback (Josh Rosen), the offensive line has to step up in 2015.

 

Viliami Moeakiola, LB, Arizona State

Arizona State should have one of the Pac-12’s top linebacker groups in 2015, as Moeakiola, DJ Calhoun, Salamo Fiso, Antonio Longino and Christian Sam provide plenty of depth and talent for coordinator Keith Patterson. Moeakiola finished fourth on the team with 72 stops (10.5 for a loss), generated five sacks and one forced fumble last year. After earning honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors in 2014, expect Moeakiola to push for all-conference accolades in 2015.

 

Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

 

Jared Norris, LB, Utah

Norris or fellow linebacker Gionni Paul deserves a mention in this space. Norris led the team in 2014 with 116 tackles and finished third on the team with 13 tackles for a loss. The California native also recorded four sacks and one pass breakup. Norris posted three consecutive double-digit tackle performances early in the year and finished with eight stops in the 45-10 blowout victory over Colorado State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

 

Will Parks, S, Arizona

Arizona’s defense has room to improve after allowing 451 yards per game last season, but there were a few bright spots for coordinator Jeff Casteel. Linebacker Scooby Wright is arguably the top defender in college football, and Parks had a breakout campaign in his first year as a full-time starter. Parks started all 14 games for the Wildcats and recorded 81 stops (13 for a loss), one sack, two interceptions and eight pass breakups. With some new faces stepping into the starting lineup around Parks, the senior should be the leader for Arizona’s secondary this season.

 

Related: Pac-12 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Kevon Seymour, CB, USC

With the emergence of star of sophomore Adoree’ Jackson, along with Seymour’s development, USC’s cornerback tandem could be among the nation’s best this season. Seymour started 11 games in 2014 and finished the year with 49 tackles, one interception and 13 pass breakups. The California native also started 11 games in 2013 and recorded 48 tackles and one interception. Seymour should push for All-Pac-12 honors this year. 

Teaser:
The Pac-12's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 12:00
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Path: /college-football/college-football-bowl-projections-2015
Body:

College football’s new playoff format was a huge success. The four-team playoff generated huge ratings and provided what the fans wanted in a postseason: A chance to settle it on the field.

 

As the second season of the playoff approaches, the bowl schedule has expanded to 41 overall games including the national championship. Additionally, the semifinals will be on Dec. 31 instead of Jan. 1. The Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl will host the semifinals, while the national championship will be held in Glendale, Ariz.

 

With the 2015 season less than 60 days away, it’s never too early to project how the bowl games and playoff pairings may look by December. 

 

2015 College Football Conference Predictions
 

Power 5: ACC Big 12 Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC
 

Group of 5: American | C-USAMACMountain WestSun Belt

 

College Football 2015 Bowl Projections
BowlDateTie-InProjection
AutoNation CureDec. 19Sun Belt vs.
American
Georgia Southern vs.
UCF 
Gildan New MexicoDec. 19C-USA vs.
MW
 Louisiana Tech vs.
San Diego State 
Royal Purple
Las Vegas
Dec. 19MW/BYU vs.
Pac-12
 California vs.
Utah State 
Raycom Media
Camellia
Dec. 19MAC vs.
Sun Belt
 Appalachian State vs.
Akron 
R+L Carriers
New Orleans
Dec. 19MW vs.
Sun Belt
 UTEP vs. 
UL Lafayette 
Miami BeachDec. 21American vs.
C-USA
 WKU vs. 
Cincinnati 
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 22MAC vs.
MW
 Bowling Green vs.
Nevada 
Boca RatonDec. 22American vs.
MAC
 East Carolina vs.
Toledo 
SDCCU PoinsettiaDec. 23Mountain West vs.
Army
 Colorado State vs.
Washington* 
GoDaddyDec. 23MAC vs. Sun Belt Arkansas State vs.
Western Michigan 
Popeyes BahamasDec. 24C-USA vs. MAC MTSU vs. 
Northern Illinois 
HawaiiDec. 24American vs.
BYU/MW
 Temple vs.
BYU 
St. PetersburgDec. 26C-USA vs. 
American
 Houston vs.
Marshall 
Hyundai SunDec. 26ACC/ND vs.
Pac-12
 Georgia Tech vs.
Arizona 
Zaxby's Heart of
Dallas
Dec. 26Big 12 vs.
C-USA
 Texas Tech vs.
Rice 
New Era PinstripeDec. 26ACC/ND vs.
Big Ten
 Virginia Tech vs.
Michigan 
IndependenceDec. 26ACC/ND vs.
SEC
 North Carolina vs.
Kentucky 
Foster FarmsDec. 26Big Ten vs.
Pac-12
 Minnesota vs.
UCLA 
MilitaryDec. 28ACC/ND vs.
American
 Louisville vs.
Navy 
Quick LaneDec. 28ACC/ND vs.
Big Ten
 Northwestern vs.
Pittsburgh 
Lockheed Martin
Armed Forces
Dec. 29MW vs.
Big Ten
 Maryland vs.
Air Force 
Russell AthleticDec. 29ACC/ND vs.
Big 12
 Notre Dame vs.
West Virginia 
AdvoCare V100
Texas
Dec. 29Big 12 vs.
SEC
 LSU vs.
Oklahoma State 
BirminghamDec. 30American vs.
SEC
 South Carolina vs.
Memphis 
BelkDec. 30ACC/ND vs.
SEC
 NC State vs.
Florida 
Franklin American
Music City
Dec. 30ACC/ND/Big Ten vs.
SEC
 Iowa vs.
Missouri 
National University
Holiday
Dec. 30Big Ten vs.
Pac-12
 Stanford vs. 
Penn State 
OutbackJan. 1Big Ten vs. 
SEC
 Arkansas vs.
Nebraska 
Buffalo Wild Wings
Citrus
Jan. 1Big Ten vs.
SEC
 Wisconsin vs.
Tennessee 
TaxSlayerJan. 2ACC/ND/Big Ten vs.
SEC
 Clemson vs.
Texas A&M 
AutoZone LibertyJan. 2Big 12 vs. 
SEC
 Mississippi State vs.
Texas 
Valero AlamoJan. 2Big 12 vs.
Pac-12
Arizona State vs.
Oklahoma 
CactusJan. 2Big 12 vs. 
Pac-12
 Kansas State vs.
Utah 
ArizonaTBAMW vs.
C-USA
 Miami* vs.
Indiana* 
    
Chick-fil-A PeachDec. 31At-large vs.
At-large

 Florida State vs.
Georgia 

FiestaJan. 1At-large vs.
At-large
 Boise State vs.
Oregon 
RoseJan. 1Big Ten vs.
Pac-12
 Michigan State vs.
USC 
SugarJan. 1SEC vs.
Big 12
 Ole Miss vs. 
TCU 
    
CottonDec. 31Playoff
Semifinal
 Ohio State vs.
Auburn 
OrangeDec. 31Playoff
Semifinal
 Alabama vs.
Baylor 
National ChampionshipJan. 11Cotton Bowl Winner vs.
Orange Bowl Winner
 Ohio State over
Alabama  

* According to our projections, these teams will fill at-large selections as some conferences will fail to fill their allotted slots.

Teaser:
College Football Bowl Projections for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-position-groups-under-pressure-2015
Body:

The terms “on the hot seat” or “under pressure” usually apply to quarterbacks and head coaches. After all, there’s an enormous amount of pressure on quarterbacks and coaches for any college football team. And needless to say, it’s difficult to challenge for a conference championship or national title if the quarterback play is an issue all year or if the coaching staff’s status is uncertain after a slow start.

 

Despite most of the preseason focus on other positions, the battles in the trenches, at linebacker, cornerback or in the receiving corps are just as important to any team’s success in 2015.

 

Related: College Football 2015 All-America Team

 

With that in mind, let’s set aside the quarterbacks and head coaches for a moment and examine some of the other positions that must produce from Power 5 teams in 2015.

 

Groups Under Pressure by Conference:

ACCBig 12Big TenPac-12SEC

 

College Football's Top 25 Position Groups Under Pressure in 2015

 

Alabama Defensive Backs

The receiving corps also deserves a mention here, but Alabama’s defense has to do a better job against the pass if this team wants to win the national title in 2015. Two starters return in the secondary in senior Cyrus Jones and junior Eddie Jackson. However, there’s a glaring void at safety with Landon Collins off to the NFL. Replacing Collins is expected to be senior Geno Smith or sophomore Hootie Jones, while sophomore Tony Brown and redshirt freshman Marlon Humphrey need to step up in the battle to start opposite of Cyrus Jones at cornerback. True freshmen Kendall Sheffield or Minkah Fitzpatrick may also factor in the mix. After giving up 19 pass plays of 30 yards or more last year, the Crimson Tide need better play from this unit.

 

Arizona State Wide Receivers

Jaelen Strong’s physical presence and big-play ability will be missed. To help alleviate the departure of Strong, along with Cameron Smith’s knee injury in the spring, the Sun Devils plan to shift D.J. Foster from running back to receiver on a full-time basis. Foster caught 62 passes in 2014 and should be the leading receiver for quarterback Mike Bercovici. Coordinator Mike Norvell is also counting on contributions from Gary Chambers, Eric Lauderdale and Ellis Jefferson. UCLA transfer Devin Lucien was a key pickup on the recruiting trail and should push for immediate playing time this fall.

 

Related: College Football's Top Transfers to Watch for 2015

 

Auburn Defensive Backs

With Will Muschamp calling the defensive signals, and end Carl Lawson back from injury, Auburn should show improvement after giving up 26.7 points per game in 2014. Getting Lawson and the performance of the defensive line on track is a key priority for Muschamp, but the secondary also needs attention after giving up 22 passing scores last year. Senior corner Jonathan Jones and junior safety Johnathan Ford are candidates for All-SEC honors, while additional help is expected to come in the form of transfers Tray Matthews (Georgia) and Blake Countess (Michigan). Depth is a concern here.

 

Related: Ranking All 128 College Football Coaches for 2015

 

Baylor Defensive Backs

The Bears return four starters from a secondary ranked 70th nationally in pass efficiency defense. Junior corner Xavien Howard and safety Orion Stewart are the group’s headliners and should perform at an All-Big 12 level in 2015. But coordinator Phil Bennett needs better overall play from this unit, with Howard and Stewart elevating their performance even higher. The Bears allowed 17 passing plays of 40 yards or more last season and 24 scores through the air. Those numbers have to decrease if Baylor is to earn a spot in the four-team playoff.

 

Related: Big 12 2015 Predictions

 

Clemson Offensive Line

Protecting quarterback Deshaun Watson is priority No. 1 for coach Dabo Swinney in 2015. The line was the biggest issue following spring practice, and the concerns about this unit only increased after Isaiah Battle left for the NFL supplemental draft. The Tigers allowed 27 sacks in 13 games last year and return only one starter (center Ryan Norton). The projected starting five have just 29 career starts, and true freshman Mitch Hyatt is expected to start at left tackle.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

Florida Offensive Line

While the uncertainty at quarterback is a concern for Jim McElwain, the offensive line is probably the group keeping the first-year coach up at night. The Gators return only one starter (Trip Thurman), and depth is a major issue. This unit showed improvement under the direction of Mike Summers last season, and the veteran coach was retained by McElwain. Summers does have talent to build around, including sophomore David Sharpe at left tackle and five-star recruit Martez Ivey. Fordham graduate transfer Mason Halter is also expected to factor in the mix.

 

Related: College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2015

 

Florida State Linebackers

The offensive and defensive lines are also worth mentioning here, but the linebacker position has been depleted by departures and injuries. Senior Terrance Smith was injured off and on in 2014 and finished the year with 87 stops and two interceptions. He should be an all-conference performer (if healthy) in 2015. After Smith is where the questions begin for coordinator Charles Kelly. Senior Reggie Northrup is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the Rose Bowl, and sophomore Matthew Thomas is questionable to start the opener after offseason shoulder surgery. If Thomas and Northrup aren’t ready by September, the pressure builds on junior college recruit Lorenzo Phillips, sophomore Ro’Derrick Hoskins and redshirt freshman Delvin Purifoy.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

Georgia Wide Receivers

As we mentioned above, there’s no doubt quarterback play is the No. 1 concern on any roster. Georgia enters fall camp with uncertainty under center, as Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta are locked into a tight battle for the top spot. But regardless of which player starts, the Bulldogs will be looking for improved play at receiver. Chris Conley and Michael Bennett expired their eligibility, leaving tight end Jeb Blazevich and receiver Malcolm Mitchell as the top targets. Will Mitchell stay healthy? And who steps up outside of Mitchell this year? Those are two key questions to watch in Athens.

 

Related: SEC Football 2015 Predictions

 

LSU Defensive Ends

Make no mistake: Talent is not an issue for LSU in the trenches. The Tigers are anchored on the interior by junior Christian LaCouture and rising star in sophomore Davon Godchaux. But the pass rush is a concern for new coordinator Kevin Steele. Since LSU led the SEC with 38 sacks in 2011, the Tigers have watched their sack total decline for three consecutive seasons. Last year, LSU managed only 19 sacks in 13 games, with Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter (combined for 5.5 sacks) off to the NFL. Steele plans on incorporating more 3-4 looks, which adds to the uncertainty of the end/linebacker position. Juniors Tashawn Bower and Lewis Neal and sophomore Deondre Clark are three names to watch off the edge, along with true freshman Arden Key.

 

Related: SEC Football 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Michigan Offensive Line

In addition to quarterback play, this unit is the biggest concern for new coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines have struggled to get steady play from this group over the last two years and allowed 17 sacks in Big Ten play last season. Not only are tweaks and improvements coming to the offense under Harbaugh, the offensive line also has a new coach in Tim Drevno. With four starters back, Harbaugh and Drevno should be able to squeeze some improvement out of this group. Left tackle Mason Cole is a name to watch in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Top Transfers for 2015

 

Michigan State Defensive Backs

Michigan State’s “No Fly Zone” is looking a little vulnerable headed into fall camp. The Spartans lost safety Kurtis Drummond and cornerback Trae Waynes from a unit that allowed only six passing scores in Big Ten play in 2014. Junior Darian Hicks is a returning starter in the secondary, but both cornerback spots are up for grabs. Senior Arjen Colquhoun and freshman Vayante Copeland will compete with Hicks, one starting job at safety is in good hands with senior RJ Williamson, while sophomore Montae Nicholson is a breakout candidate in the secondary. The Spartans have one of the best defensive fronts in college football. Will the secondary quickly reload under new co-defensive coordinators Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel?

 

Missouri Wide Receivers

Defensive end also deserves a mention in this space after Missouri loses Shane Ray and Markus Golden, but the Tigers have reloaded there in recent years without much trouble. The same could be said for Missouri’s recent history at receiver, and there is talent to work with for quarterback Maty Mauk. However, the Tigers must replace their top four leading receivers from last season, with Nate Brown (five) and Wesley Leftwich (three) returning as the top options on the outside. 

 

Notre Dame Defensive Line

Scoring points won’t be a problem for the Fighting Irish, but the defense has to improve for Notre Dame to push for a playoff spot. In Brian VanGorder’s first season as the coordinator, the defense allowed 29.2 points per game and struggled to stop the run (171.2 yards allowed per game). Improving the defense starts up front, and four starters are back for VanGorder, including standout senior Sheldon Day. The depth and talent for this unit has improved in recent years. Will Notre Dame take a step forward on the defensive stat sheet in 2015?

 

Related: College Football's Top Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

Ohio State Defensive Line

As the defending national champs, combined with 14 returning starters, there’s very little in the way of personnel concerns that should concern coach Urban Meyer. Considering the overall depth and roster talent, it seems odd to even list a position here. However, the Buckeyes lost a couple of key contributors up front, including standout tackle Michael Bennett. While Joey Bosa (DE) and Adolphus Washington (DT) are All-Americans, who will step up at the other spots and develop as key contributors for depth?

 

Related: 2015 All-America Team

 

Oklahoma Defensive Backs

A couple of position groups could be listed here for Oklahoma, including the offensive or defensive lines or the receiving corps. But the secondary deserves a mention in this space, as the Sooners fell from 29th nationally in pass efficiency defense (2013) to 55th last year. Oklahoma also allowed 24 passing plays of 30 yards or more (tied for sixth in the conference). Junior Zack Sanchez should be a candidate for All-America honors, but who will step up around him? Sophomores Jordan Thomas (CB) and Steven Parker (S) are two names to watch.

 

Related: Ranking the Big 12's Coaches for 2015

 

Ole Miss Offensive Line

There are few areas of concern for coach Hugh Freeze in 2015. However, the two biggest problem spots – quarterback and offensive line – are enough to prevent this team from winning the SEC West. In 13 games last season, the Rebels allowed 31 sacks and generated just 3.9 yards per carry in conference play. With all five starters back in the trenches, Freeze should expect better play up front. The anchor is junior Laremy Tunsil, but he is recovering from a leg injury suffered in the Peach Bowl loss against TCU. Depth and overall talent in this group has improved. Will the performance and improvement show on the field this year?

 

Related: Ranking All 128 College Football Coaches for 2015

 

Oregon Defensive Line

There’s no question quarterback play will be under the microscope with Marcus Mariota off to the NFL. But the Ducks are loaded with skill talent and may not drop too much in terms of offensive production with Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams under center. The defense is a bigger concern for coach Mark Helfrich. Oregon allowed 21 rushing plays of 20 yards or more, which tied for 10th among Pac-12 defenses. DeForest Buckner opted to return to Eugene for his senior year, but Arik Armstead left for the NFL and Sam Kamp retired at the end of 2014. Buckner and fellow seniors Alex Balducci and Tui Talia is a good core to build around. Sophomore Henry Mondeaux is another name to watch at defensive end. And it certainly doesn’t hurt the coaching staff reeled in top recruit Canton Kaumatule in the offseason.

 

Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

 

Penn State Offensive Line

Much has been made of the performance of Penn State’s offensive line last year. The Nittany Lions couldn’t generate much of a push in the rushing attack and allowed 44 sacks. And headed into the 2015 season, this unit is still the team’s biggest question mark. Line coach Herb Hand is one of the best in the nation, and there’s reason to believe improvement will be noticeable with four starters back. Junior college recruit Paris Palmer could be a huge addition on the left side of the line, as this group has to do a better job of giving quarterback Christian Hackenberg time to throw.

 

Stanford Defensive Line

Even though the Cardinal loses a handful of key contributors from last year’s defense, coordinator Lance Anderson could keep this unit among the best in the Pac-12. Reaching that level will require a quick rebuild up front. All three starters from a productive 2014 group are gone and depth is an issue. Senior Aziz Shittu and sophomore Harrison Phillips will be counted on for major contributions, while Cal transfer Brennan Scarlett is likely to push for a starting job at end. Redshirt freshman Solomon Thomas is also a name to remember.

 

Related: Quarterback Kevin Hogan Rides Momentum into Senior Year

 

TCU Linebackers

There are few areas of concern for coach Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs finished 2014 at 12-1 overall, and Patterson’s team is in good shape to push for a playoff bid once again. Although defense is usually a strength for TCU, this unit does have a few critical areas of concern. The secondary loses three All-Big 12 performers, and the linebacking corps must replace standouts Marcus Mallet and first-team All-Big 12 selection in Pawl Dawson. Proven experience is thin here, and true freshman Mike Freeze and junior Sammy Douglas finished spring as the favorites to start.

 

Related: Big 12 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Tennessee Offensive Line

The Volunteers had to replace all five starters from its 2013 unit last season. And it was no surprise this group had its share of struggles, allowing 43 sacks in 13 games and generating only 3.6 yards per carry. The inconsistency and development of this group last year should pay dividends for 2015. Tennessee returns four starters this season, and the depth has improved with the addition of talented freshmen Drew Richmond and Jack Jones. If this group takes a step forward in its development, the Volunteers should have one of the SEC’s top offenses.

 

Related: SEC Football 2015 Predictions

 

UCLA Offensive Line

This unit was under attack last year, as the Bruins gave up 40 sacks in 13 contests. While the sack total was high, this unit played better in the second half of the season, and there’s optimism for 2015. With all five starters returning, the offensive line could be a strength for UCLA. Left tackle Conor McDermott stabilized this unit after he started the last eight games of 2014 and is expected to anchor the blindside for quarterback Josh Rosen. Center Jake Brendel is also one of the best in the nation. With a true freshman taking over at quarterback, UCLA needs its supporting cast to step up in a big way with key games against Arizona, Arizona State and BYU early in the year.

 

USC Defensive Line

With Leonard Williams off to the NFL, USC has to reload in the trenches and find a new player to disrupt opposing offenses. In Pac-12-only matchups last year, the Trojans allowed the fewest yards per game (97.4) but also faced the fewest attempts (298). Additionally, Williams and departed senior J.R. Tavai accounted for 14 of the team’s 33 sacks last season. It’s up to seniors Delvon Simmons, Antwaun Woods and Claude Pelon to keep this unit performing at a high level. Depth is a concern for coordinator Justin Wilcox.

 

Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

 

Virginia Tech Offensive Line

This unit has been a question mark in recent years, and the Hokies need better play in the trenches on offense to get back to the ACC Championship. This unit allowed 34 sacks last season, and the rushing attack averaged only 3.2 yards per carry in ACC games. Improvement for this group rests on the development of junior left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin and sophomore guard Wyatt Teller. Both players should be in the mix for All-ACC honors and could develop into one of the ACC’s top pairings on the left side of the line. Promising pieces are in place for line coach Stacy Searels. How much will this unit improve by the fall?
 

Related: Ranking the ACC Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

West Virginia Wide Receivers

It’s safe to assume a Dana Holgorsen-coached offense will continue to rank among the Big 12’s best even with a few personnel question marks. But in order for Holgorsen to elevate West Virginia in the conference standings, the play of the receiving corps will be under the spotlight. No. 1 target Kevin White (109 catches) and Mario Alford (65) have expired their eligibility, leaving Jordan Thompson, Daikiel Shorts and Shelton Gibson as the top returning options at wide receiver. Running back Wendell Smallwood may also see time on the outside to help alleviate the losses of Alford and White. Incoming freshmen Gary Jennings and Jovon Durante, along with junior college recruit Ka’Raun White (Kevin’s brother) may also crack the rotation. 

Teaser:
College Football's Top 25 Position Groups Under Pressure in 2015
Post date: Monday, July 6, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/secs-10-most-underrated-players-2015
Body:

Every college football team has players most would consider underrated. However, defining underrated players is no easy assignment, as that term varies in meaning between fans and experts.

 

The SEC is home to college football’s best talent, and with this conference always in the spotlight, it’s hard for players to be under the radar each preseason.

 

With the 2015 season approaching, Athlon Sports wanted to take a look at some players deserving of more preseason accolades or discussion. In an effort to get to 10 names, we tried to stick to players that had yet to earn all-conference honors in their career. However, a few exceptions were made.

 

SEC’s 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015

 

Otaro Alaka, LB, Texas A&M

Alaka is definitely a breakout candidate for 2015, but the Texas native is an underrated piece to the rebuilding effort on defense for new coordinator John Chavis. Alaka recorded 33 tackles in 12 games last year, including a season high of seven in the Liberty Bowl win over West Virginia. Even though Alaka has yet to take a full season of snaps as a starter, his development will be critical to Texas A&M’s defense in 2015. And if Alaka picks up where he left off in the Liberty Bowl, the Aggies linebacking corps should show big improvement.

 

Related: Ranking the SEC's Wide Receiving Corps for 2015

 

Kendell Beckwith, LB, LSU

Talent has never been an issue for Beckwith. The top 100 high school recruit played in 12 games as a true freshman in 2013, but everything started to fall into place for the Louisiana native last year. Beckwith started the final seven games and finished 2014 with 77 tackles (7.5 for a loss), two sacks and one interception. With Beckwith entrenched in the starting lineup, LSU allowed only one team (Notre Dame) over the final seven contests to surpass 140 rushing yards. Beckwith clearly had a huge impact on this defense last year and will be an even bigger part of the scheme as new coordinator Kevin Steele hopes to utilize more 3-4 looks.

 

Related: No Pressure: LSU's 2015 Season Will Hinge on its Quarterbacks

 

Kenya Dennis, CB, Missouri

Dennis or fellow Missouri corner Aarion Penton deserve a mention in this space. This duo anchored a secondary ranked 39th nationally in pass efficiency defense, and no opponent in 2014 recorded more than 270 yards through the air in a game last season. In his first season from the junior college ranks, Dennis recorded 61 stops, one interception and nine pass breakups.

 

Related: Ranking the SEC's Coaches for 2015

 

Marquis Haynes, DE, Ole Miss

Haynes was surprisingly a key piece of the Ole Miss defensive front as a true freshman last year. The Florida native recorded 31 tackles (nine for a loss) and led the team with 7.5 sacks. Haynes also forced three fumbles and broke up two passes. After a standout freshman campaign, Haynes will only get better with another year to develop in the weight room and within the scheme. Look for Haynes to push for All-SEC honors in 2015.

 

Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

 

Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee

Sutton has started all 25 games in his Tennessee career, and the Georgia native has quietly emerged as one of the SEC’s top defenders. Yet, headed into the 2015 campaign, Sutton has yet to earn All-SEC honors. In two seasons with the Volunteers, Sutton has recorded 76 tackles, 20 pass breakups and five interceptions. He’s also a key cog in a pass defense that held SEC opponents to just 11 passing scores last year.

 

Related: SEC 2015 All-Conference Team

 

John Theus, OT, Georgia

Georgia’s offensive line could be the nation’s best in 2015. This unit allowed only 12 sacks in SEC games last season and cleared the way for the Bulldogs to average 257.9 rushing yards per contest. Theus and guard Greg Pyke are the anchors for Georgia’s offensive line, and both players could earn All-America consideration in 2015. Theus enters his senior year with 35 career starts and is regarded as one of the top offensive linemen for the 2016 NFL Draft.

 

Related: College Football 2015 All-America Team

 

Jon Toth, C, Kentucky

Kentucky’s offensive line should show marked improvement with the return of four starters for 2015. Toth and seniors Zach West and Jordan Swindle anchor the line for coach Mark Stoops, and any of the players in that trio could earn All-SEC honors this season. Toth enters 2015 with 23 consecutive starts and earned a place on the SEC’s All-Freshman team in 2014. Toth could emerge as one of the league’s top centers by the end of this year.

 

Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State

Despite having zero career starts, Redmond is regarded as one of the top defensive backs for the 2016 NFL Draft. Why? It’s a bit of a technicality on the starts, as Redmond has excelled as the team’s nickel back over the last two seasons. The Memphis native played in 12 games last year and recorded 51 tackles and three interceptions. Redmond should team with Taveze Calhoun to form one of the nation’s top cornerback tandems in 2015.

 

Related: Ranking College Football's Top Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

Stephen Weatherly, LB, Vanderbilt

With Derek Mason taking over the defensive signals, the Commodores should show improvement after allowing 33.3 points per game in 2014. And in Vanderbilt’s 3-4 attack, Mason needs the outside linebackers to generate a pass rush on opposing quarterbacks to reduce some of the pressure on the secondary. Weatherly tied for second among SEC defenders in conference games with 12 tackles for a loss and finished 2014 with 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Entering his second full season as a starter, Weatherly is a defender just scratching the surface of his upside.

 

Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas

Yes, Williams earned second-team All-SEC honors last year, but it’s still fair to say the Texas native is still an underrated player. Williams shared carries with Alex Collins for the second consecutive season and finished 2014 with 1,190 yards and 12 rushing scores. In the Razorbacks’ seven victories last year, Williams averaged 6.3 yards per carry and averaged 107.3 yards in that span. Considering Arkansas uses two running backs and one player doesn’t get 275-300 carries, Williams or Collins won’t match the production by Georgia’s Nick Chubb or LSU’s Leonard Fournette this year. However, don’t overlook Williams as a potential All-America back in 2015.

 

Related: College Football's Top Coordinators on the Rise for 2015

Teaser:
The SEC's 10 Most Underrated Players for 2015
Post date: Monday, July 6, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/bovada-releases-2015-college-football-overunder-win-totals
Body:

Preseason win totals and projections are an interesting part of any college football season. In addition to Athlon’s projected 128 for 2015, a few sportsbooks have released their projected over/under win totals for the upcoming year.

 

On Thursday, Bovada jumped into the mix with their win total projections for the coming year.

 

Needless to say, a few things jump out about the odds. Auburn at 8.5 over/under on the win totals seems a little low. Also, TCU and Baylor are both listed at 10 for the over/under on victories. From the Group of 5 ranks, Bowling Green at 5.5 seems very low for a team projected by most to win the MAC East.

 

Here’s a look at the full over/under odds for the season.

 

TeamBovada Win Over/Under
Air Force6
Akron7
Alabama9.5
Arizona7.5
Arizona State8.5
Arkansas8.5
Arkansas State7
Army3.5
Appalachian State8.5
Auburn8.5
Ball State7
Baylor10
Boise State9.5
Boston College5.5
Bowling Green5.5
Buffalo5
BYU8.5
California5
Central Michigan4
Charlotte2.5
Cincinnati7.5
Clemson8.5
Colorado4.5
Colorado State7.5
UConn3
Duke7
East Carolina7
Eastern Michigan1.5
Florida7.5
FAU5
FIU5.5
Florida State9.5
Fresno State4
Georgia9
Georgia Southern7.5
Georgia State2.5
Georgia Tech7.5
Hawaii5.5
Houston8
Idaho3.5
Illinois3.5
Indiana6
Iowa7.5
Iowa State3
Kansas1.5
Kansas State7
Kentucky6
Kent State4.5
UL Lafayette8
ULM4.5
Louisiana Tech8
Louisville7.5
LSU8.5
Marshall10
Maryland4.5
UMass4.5
Memphis8.5
Miami6
Miami, Ohio3.5
Michigan7.5
Michigan State9.5
MTSU6.5
Minnesota5.5
Ole Miss8.5
Miss. State7
Missouri7.5
Navy7.5
Nebraska8
Nevada6.5
New Mexico4.5
NMSU3
North Carolina8
NC State7.5
North Texas4.5
Northern Illinois8.5
Northwestern6.5
Notre Dame9
Ohio5
Ohio State11
Oklahoma9
Oklahoma State7.5
Old Dominion4.5
Oregon9.5
Oregon State4
Penn State7.5
Pittsburgh6
Purdue4
Rice7.5
Rutgers5
San Diego State7.5
San Jose State4
South Alabama3.5
South Carolina7
South Florida4
SMU2.5
Southern Miss4.5
Stanford9
Syracuse4.5
Temple7
Tennessee7.5
Texas6.5
Texas A&M7.5
TCU10
UTSA7
Texas State7
Texas Tech6
Toledo7
Troy4
Tulane4.5
Tulsa5
UCF7
UCLA9.5
UNLV2.5
USC8.5
Utah7.5
Utah State7.5
UTEP6
Vanderbilt3
Virginia4.5
Virginia Tech8
Wake Forest3.5
Washington4
Washington State5
West Virginia8
WKU7.5
Western Michigan7.5
Wisconsin10
Wyoming5
Teaser:
Bovada Releases 2015 College Football Over/Under Win Totals
Post date: Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 15:39
Path: /college-football/14-position-groups-under-pressure-acc-2015
Body:

The terms “on the hot seat” or “under pressure” usually apply to quarterbacks and head coaches. After all, there’s an enormous amount of pressure on quarterbacks and coaches for any college football team. And needless to say, it’s difficult to challenge for a conference championship or national title if the quarterback play is an issue all year or if the coaching staff’s status is uncertain after a slow start.

 

Despite most of the preseason focus on other positions, the battles in the trenches, at linebacker, cornerback or in the receiving corps are just as important to any team’s success in 2015.

 

With that in mind, let’s set aside the quarterbacks and head coaches for a moment and examine some of the other positions that must produce in 2015.

 

14 ACC Position Groups Under Pressure in 2015

 

Boston College Offensive Line

This unit has been a strength in coach Steve Addazio’s two-year tenure. But the Eagles lost all five starters off last season’s unit, and there’s very little returning in the way of starting experience. Senior Harris Williams is back after missing nearly all of 2014 with an ankle injury and returns in 2015 as the leader for this group. With a talented backfield returning, Boston College needs this unit to mesh early in the year to exceed last season’s seven wins.

 

Related: College Football's All-Sophomore Team for 2015

 

Clemson Offensive Line

Protecting quarterback Deshaun Watson is priority No. 1 for coach Dabo Swinney in 2015. The line was the biggest issue following spring practice, and the concerns about this unit only increased after Isaiah Battle left for the NFL supplemental draft. The Tigers allowed 27 sacks in 13 games last year and return only one starter (center Ryan Norton). The projected starting five have just 29 career starts, and true freshman Mitch Hyatt is expected to start at left tackle.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

Duke Defensive Line

With five returning starters in the secondary, stopping the pass shouldn’t be an issue for co-defensive coordinators Jim Collins and Jim Knowles. But the Blue Devils have to be better against the run. Duke allowed 192.9 rushing yards per game in 2014 and only one starter – tackle Carlos Wray – is back up front. Converted linebackers Kyler Brown and Britton Grier are expected to play a hybrid linebacker/end role, and junior A.J. Wolf replaces Jamal Bruce on the interior. The development of the offensive line is also something to watch in 2015.

 

Related: Ranking the ACC Coaches for 2015

 

Florida State Linebackers

The offensive and defensive lines are also worth mentioning here, but the linebacker position has been depleted by departures and injuries. Senior Terrance Smith was injured off and on in 2014 and finished the year with 87 stops and two interceptions. He should be an all-conference performer (if healthy) in 2015. After Smith is where the questions begin for coordinator Charles Kelly. Senior Reggie Northrup is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the Rose Bowl, and sophomore Matthew Thomas is questionable to start the opener after offseason shoulder surgery. If Thomas and Northrup aren’t ready by September, the pressure builds on junior college recruit Lorenzo Phillips, sophomore Ro’Derrick Hoskins and redshirt freshman Delvin Purifoy.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

Georgia Tech Wide Receivers

It seems odd to mention this position for a team that averages only 14.5 pass attempts a game. However, even though Georgia Tech will have one of the nation’s top rushing attacks, the threat of the pass is still needed. DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller accounted for 61 of the Yellow Jackets’ 106 receptions last year. Will coach Paul Johnson find a couple of targets for quarterback Justin Thomas?

 

Related: ACC 2015 All-Conference Team

 

Louisville Offensive Line

While Louisville must replace all four starters in its secondary, there is plenty of talent waiting to step in for coordinator Todd Grantham. The offensive line had its share of ups and downs in 2014, allowing 40 sacks and clearing the way for rushers to average just 3.7 yards per rush in ACC games. Adding to the concerns about this group was the departure of three key seniors. Junior Tobijah Hughley and senior Aaron Epps are back as returning starters, but this unit is a position of concern for coach Bobby Petrino headed into fall practice.

 

Related: College Football's Top Transfers for 2015

 

Miami Offensive Line

The defensive line and linebacker units are also worth a mention here, but Miami’s offense won’t take off unless quarterback Brad Kaaya has enough time to throw. The Hurricanes return just one starter up front (guard Danny Isidora) and projected starter Taylor Gadbois was recently dismissed from the team. Even though there’s new faces stepping into the lineup, this group has potential and talent with sophomores Kc McDermott, Trevor Darling and Nick Linder competing for starting spots.

 

Related: Miami Hurricanes 2015 Preview and Prediction

 

NC State Wide Receivers

With 14 returning starters, along with another year for quarterback Jacoby Brissett to develop, NC State is a sleeper team to watch in the Atlantic Division. Brissett threw for 2,606 yards and 23 scores in his Wolfpack debut, but the senior quarterback needs help from his supporting cast to elevate this team into division title contention. The receiving corps lost leading target Bo Hines (45 catches) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (22 receptions), leaving tight end David Grinnage (27 catches) as the top returning option. This unit isn’t totally depleted, as Bra’Lon Cherry, Johnathan Alston and all-purpose threat Nyheim Hines should give Brissett options in the passing attack.

 

Related: NC State Wolfpack 2015 Preview and Prediction

 

North Carolina Defensive Line

The Tar Heels need better play from their offensive line, but improving the defense was the top priority for coach Larry Fedora in the spring. Hiring Gene Chizik as the team’s new coordinator was a step in the right direction, and the former Auburn coach inherits six returning starters. Getting better play from the defense starts up front, as this unit has to stop the run better after giving up 240.5 yards per game in 2014. Additionally, generating a better pass rush is a must after recording only 22 sacks in 13 games. Sophomores Nazair Jones and Dajaun Drennon are good building blocks for Chizik in 2015.

 

Pittsburgh Defensive Backs

Pittsburgh finished 2014 ranked fourth in the ACC in pass defense, but a deeper look at the numbers shows why coach Pat Narduzzi wants to improve this unit for the 2015 season. The Panthers allowed 12 plays of 40 yards or more and six of 50 yards or more. Both of those totals were near the bottom of the ACC. Eliminating some of the big plays allowed by the defensive backs could be helped by a better pass rush, which is where the influence of Narduzzi and coordinator Josh Conklin should pay off. Pittsburgh has to improve on defense to win the Coastal, and there’s reason to be optimistic in the Steel City going into the 2015 season.

 

Related: All-America Team for 2015

 

Syracuse Defensive Line

A couple of positions deserve a mention here, but Syracuse’s defensive line has been depleted by departures since last season. Junior Ron Thompson is a candidate for All-ACC honors, but how will the rest of this group look by the season opener? Converted linebacker Luke Arciniega could help at defensive end, and Thompson may have to play inside with the concerns on the interior. Senior Wayne Williams recently left the team, leaving redshirt freshmen Kayton Samuels and Chris Slayton has two of the top three options at tackle. Coach Scott Shafer will have a use a few incoming freshmen just to build a rotation up front.

 

Virginia Linebackers

The Cavaliers were hit hard by departures on defense, as end Eli Harold and linebacker Max Valles left early for the NFL Draft. Additionally, senior linebackers Henry Coley and Daquan Romero expired their eligibility, leaving just two returning starters up front. Linebacker is generally one of the easier positions to reload each year, but this will be an inexperienced group for coach Mike London. True freshmen C.J. Stalker and Jahvoni Simmons could start, while Zach Bradshaw, Mark Hall and Micah Kiser are also pushing for snaps.

 

Related: All-Freshman Team for 2015

 

Virginia Tech Offensive Line

This unit has been a question mark in recent years, and the Hokies need better play in the trenches on offense to get back to the ACC Championship. This unit allowed 34 sacks last season, and the rushing attack averaged only 3.2 yards per carry in ACC games. Improvement for this group rests on the development of junior left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin and sophomore guard Wyatt Teller. Both players should be in the mix for All-ACC honors and could develop into one of the ACC’s top pairings on the left side of the line. Promising pieces are in place for line coach Stacy Searels. How much will this unit improve by the fall?
 

Related: Ranking the ACC Cornerback Tandems for 2015

 

Wake Forest Offensive Line

It’s no secret the offensive line was Wake Forest’s biggest weakness last year. The Demon Deacons allowed the most sacks in the nation (48), and rushers generated only 1.3 yards per rush. Coach Dave Clawson hopes another offseason helps this unit improve, and three freshmen – Phil Haynes, Ryan Anderson and Justin Herron – could crack the starting lineup. This unit won’t be as bad as it was in 2014. But how much can it improve?

Teaser:
14 Position Groups Under Pressure in the ACC for 2015
Post date: Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/tennessee-releases-new-uniforms-program-joins-forces-nike
Body:

Tennessee released a new uniform design on Wednesday, as the program officially joined forces with Nike as its apparel supplier.  

 

The Volunteers were under the Adidas brand since the mid-1990s, but as of July 1, the program will be sporting Nike apparel for the next eight years.

 

Nike isn’t making any drastic changes to the Tennessee uniform. Here’s a look at the Volunteers’ Nike uniforms for the upcoming year:

 

Tennessee's 2015 uniforms with Nike:

 

Home Uniform:

 

Alternate Helmet for Tennessee:

 

Alternate Uniform for Tennessee:

 

 

Here's Tennessee's uniforms from 2014 with Adidas:

 

Teaser:
Tennessee Releases New Uniforms as Program Joins Forces With Nike
Post date: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 12:45
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-cornerback-tandems-2015
Body:

Cornerback is one of the toughest positions to play in college football. Quarterbacks, spread attacks and skill players aren’t getting any easier to defend and the rules certainly favor the offensive side of the ball.

 

While the success of the secondary doesn’t necessarily depend on the two starting cornerbacks for any team, having a standout tandem helps to defend the prolific offenses in college football.

 

It’s never too early to think about the upcoming year, so Athlon Sports is taking a look at ranking the top cornerback tandems for the 2015 season. A couple of notes: Only Power 5 programs were considered for the top 25 and there was projection for the upcoming year. Previous stats and awards matter, but it is important to look at what’s ahead for the 2015 season. Additionally, it’s not easy to weigh the tandems when there is one clear standout (Florida State and Clemson) and question marks at other spot.

 

Top 25 CB Tandems from Power 5 Teams

 

1. Virginia Tech: Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson

 

Fuller is one of the top cover corners in the nation and a first-team Athlon Sports All-America selection for 2015. Facyson was limited to three games due to injury last year and recorded six stops. When healthy, Facyson is one of the top defensive backs in the ACC, recording third-team all-conference honors in 2013.

 

Related: All-ACC Team for 2015

 

2. Florida: Vernon Hargreaves III and Jalen Tabor

 

Hargreaves III is arguably the best cornerback in college football. Over the last two seasons, Hargreaves III intercepted six passes and broke up 24 throws to his side of the field. Tabor was a member of the Athlon Sports All-Freshman Team last year after recording 22 tackles and one interception in 12 appearances.

 

Related: 2015 All-America Team

 

3. LSU: Tre’Davious White and Kevin Toliver II

 

New LSU coordinator Kevin Steele inherits one of the top defensive backfields in the nation. The Tigers ranked third nationally in pass efficiency defense last season and plenty of experience and talent returns in 2015. White has started 24 games over the last two years and recorded four interceptions in that span. Toliver II was a five-star recruit in the 2015 signing class and will battle with Ed Paris for the starting spot opposite of White.

 

4. USC: Adoree’ Jackson and Kevon Seymour

 

The Trojans have question marks up front with the departure of Leonard Williams, but there’s little concern in the secondary for coordinator Justin Wilcox. Jackson is one of the top all-purpose players in the nation and will see time on offense in 2015. Seymour broke up 13 passes last season and has made steady improvement over the last three years.

 

Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

 

5. Notre Dame: Cole Luke and KeiVarae Russell

 

The Fighting Irish ranked 84th nationally in pass efficiency defense last season but expect to see big improvement out of this unit. Russell recorded 109 tackles and 10 pass breakups from 2012-13 and ranked as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks prior to last year. However, Russell was suspended for all of 2014, forcing Notre Dame to shuffle its secondary. Cole Luke started all 13 games as a sophomore last year and recorded 48 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions. He should be even better in his second season as the starter.

 

Related: 2015 All-America Team

 

6. Minnesota: Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Eric Murray

 

Most around the Big Ten know how good this duo was in 2014, but it’s time for the rest of the nation to take notice. Boddy-Calhoun was one of Minnesota’s top playmakers on defense last season, breaking up nine passes and intercepting five in 13 games. Murray only intercepted one pass, but opposing quarterbacks also avoided his side of the field. This duo was a key reason why Minnesota only allowed 12 passing scores in Big Ten play in 2014. 

 

Related: Ranking All 128 College Football Coaches for 2015

 

7. Wisconsin: Darius Hillary and Sojourn Shelton

 

Behind the leadership of rising star coordinator Dave Aranda, Wisconsin limited opponents to just 20.8 points per game in 2014. The secondary was a key piece of Aranda’s defensive success last year, as the Badgers allowed just 11 touchdown passes in Big Ten play and held opposing quarterbacks to a 47.4 completion percentage. Hillary started all 14 games last season, while Shelton followed up a solid freshman debut with 33 tackles and six passes defended.

 

8. Florida State: Jalen Ramsey and Marquez White

 

Coordinator Charles Kelly should feel great about one of Florida State’s cornerback spots. The other spot? Wait and see. Ramsey could be college football’s best defensive player in 2015, as the Tennessee native has started all 28 games in his career and will move from safety to cornerback this year. Marquez White is locked into a tight battle for the other job, as converted running back Ryan Green or talented freshmen Tarvarus McFadden or Marcus Lewis could start opposite of Ramsey.

 

Related: ACC Predictions for 2015

 

9. Ohio State: Eli Apple and Gareon Conley

 

The Buckeyes ranked 13th nationally in pass efficiency defense last season and eliminated some of the big plays that hindered this unit in 2013. Doran Grant must be replaced at one corner spot, but Eli Apple is one of the nation’s rising stars on defense after starting 14 games in 2014. Apple is one of the Big Ten’s top corners, while Conley left spring with the edge over Damon Webb and Marshon Lattimore for the other spot.

 

Related: 2015 All-America Team

 

10. Clemson: Mackensie Alexander and Cordrea Tankersley

 

Clemson suffered significant losses to its front seven for 2015, but Alexander gives coordinator Brent Venables a solid piece to build around in the secondary. The Florida native is coming off an impressive freshman season, recording 22 tackles and six pass breakups in 13 games. Uncertainty surrounds the spot opposite of Alexander, which is expected to go to Cordrea Tankersley.

 

11. Tennessee: Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley

 

Sutton has been underrated throughout his career, but the Georgia native won’t fly under the radar in 2015 as one of the SEC’s top defensive backs. He has 20 pass breakups and five interceptions over the last two years. Moseley played in 13 games as a true freshman in 2014 and recorded 19 tackles and six pass breakups. 

 

Related: College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2015

 

12. Mississippi State: Will Redmond and Taveze Calhoun

 

The Bulldogs finished No. 14 in the SEC in pass defense last season, but that number was a little deceiving. Mississippi State ranked No. 25 nationally in pass efficiency defense and limited opposing quarterbacks to a 53.4 completion percentage. Redmond has never started a game in his career, but the Memphis native has thrived as a nickel back. Calhoun ranked fourth on the team with 53 stops in 2014 and also recorded nine pass breakups. 

 

Related: SEC 2015 All-Conference Team

 

13. Maryland: William Likely and Sean Davis

 

Likely isn’t the biggest cornerback (5-foot-7), but the Florida native is one of the Big Ten’s top returning defenders. In 13 games last season, Likely earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after recording 83 tackles and six interceptions. Davis started all 13 games last season and will move to cornerback from safety on a full-time basis in 2015. He recorded 115 tackles and eight pass breakups last year.

 

14. Virginia: Maurice Canady and Demetrious Nicholson

 

Health is a huge question for this trio, as Nicholson has played in only six games over the last two years due to injury. Assuming Nicholson is healthy and regains his pre-injury form, Virginia should be one of the ACC’s best against the pass. Canady earned second-team All-ACC honors after recording 37 tackles, one forced fumble and three picks in 2014.

 

15. Ole Miss: Tony Bridges and Tee Shepard

 

Ole Miss fielded one of the stingiest defensive units in the nation in 2014, and this unit shouldn’t miss a beat despite losing cornerback Senquez Golson to the NFL. The Rebels allowed only seven passing scores in SEC games in 2014 and limited opponents to a 59.1 completion percentage. Matching those totals in 2015 is on the shoulders of juniors Tony Bridges and Tee Shepard. Bridges ranked as the No. 7 junior college recruit in the 2015 247Sports Composite. Shepard returns to action after missing 2014 due to injury.

 

16. Kansas State: Danzel McDaniel and Morgan Burns

 

McDaniel and Burns are an underrated duo and a big reason why Kansas State allowed only 11 passes of 30 yards or more last season – the fewest in the Big 12. In his first year from the junior college ranks, McDaniel earned second-team All-Big 12 honors and recorded 59 tackles. Burns is a weapon on special teams and started 12 games for the Wildcats last season.

 

17. Auburn: Jonathan Jones and Blake Countess

 

With Will Muschamp calling the signals in 2015, Auburn could have one of the nation’s most improved defenses. The front seven is set with the return of end Carl Lawson, but the secondary has room to improve after allowing 44 plays of 20 yards or more last year. Jonathan Jones had a breakout year in 2014, recording 11 pass breakups and six interceptions en route to earning second-team All-SEC honors. Countess is a graduate transfer from Michigan eligible immediately. He appeared in 38 games with the Wolverines. 

 

Related: College Football's Top Transfers to Watch for 2015

 

18. Oklahoma: Zack Sanchez and Jordan Thomas

 

Much like a few teams ahead of the Sooners, one spot is secure and the other spot has uncertainty entering 2015. The pass defense has to improve for coach Bob Stoops, but junior Zack Sanchez should be one of the Big 12’s top cover options. The Texas native has 21 pass breakups in the last two years. Sophomore Jordan Thomas is the favorite to start opposite of Sanchez. 

 

19. Missouri: Kenya Dennis and Aarion Penton

 

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see both Dennis and Penton earn All-SEC consideration this year. This duo anchored the Missouri secondary in 2014, guiding the Tigers to a No. 39 finish in pass efficiency defense. Penton broke up 10 passes and intercepted three balls, while Dennis made 61 stops and defended 10 passes. 

 

20. UCLA: Fabian Moreau and Ishmael Adams

 

With four starters back in the secondary, UCLA should be able to improve off last year’s No. 60 rank in pass efficiency defense. Moreau earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2014 after recording 53 tackles and one interception. In addition to his success on special teams, Adams started all 13 games on defense and picked off two passes and recorded 41 tackles.

 

Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2015

 

21. Arizona State: Lloyd Carrington and Kweishi Brown

 

The Sun Devils are going to be aggressive with their front seven on defense, so a few big plays are going to be allowed by the secondary if the pass rush doesn’t get to the quarterback. Arizona State allowed 27 passing plays (No. 12 in the Pac-12) of 30 yards or more last year. Coordinator Keith Patterson and coach Todd Graham hope that number drops in 2015, especially with Carrington and Brown returning after combining for four interceptions and 11 pass breakups in 2014.

 

22. Arkansas: Henre’ Toliver and Jared Collins

 

The Razorbacks showed big improvement under coordinator Robb Smith last year, holding opponents to just 5.1 yards per play after allowing 6.1 in 2013. The secondary limited opposing SEC quarterbacks to 12 passing scores last season, and Smith has three solid options to choose from at cornerback. Juniors Jared Collins and D.J. Dean are competing to start on one side, while Henre’ Toliver left spring with the edge at the other spot.

 

Related: College Football's Top Running Back Tandems for 2015

 

23. Penn State: Trevor Williams and Grant Haley

 

Penn State plans on shuffling its secondary a bit in 2015, but coordinator Bob Shoop should feel confident in this group. Senior Jordan Lucas will shift from cornerback to safety, opening the door for Williams and Haley to take over as the new tandem in Happy Valley. Haley played well as a true freshman last season and recorded 18 tackles and one interception in 13 games. Williams made a smooth transition from receiver to cornerback prior to 2013 and started 12 contests last year.

 

24. Duke: Bryon Fields and Breon Borders

 

The Blue Devils quietly ranked 23rd nationally in pass efficiency defense last season. And with five starters returning in the secondary for 2015, matching that total or climbing even higher could be possible for coach David Cutcliffe’s defensive backs. Safety Jeremy Cash is this unit’s headliner, but Fields and Borders combined to intercept four passes and limited ACC opponents to just 12 passing scores in league play.

 

25. NC State: Juston Burris and Jack Tocho

 

The Wolfpack are a sleeper team to watch in the ACC Atlantic this year, as the Wolfpack return 14 starters from a team that won four out of their final five games in 2014. NC State’s defense has to retool up front, but the secondary is a strength with all five starters returning. This unit ranked 42nd nationally in pass efficiency defense and allowed 12 passing scores in league play. Tocho is only getting better with each snap, and the junior anchors the secondary after recording 40 tackles, one interception and 11 pass breakups last year.

 

Other Power 5 CB Tandems to Watch

 

Alabama: Cyrus Jones and Tony Brown

Georgia: Malkom Parrish and Devin Bowman

Georgia Tech: Chris Milton and D.J. White

Iowa: Desmond King and Greg Mabin

Michigan: Wayne Lyons and Jourdan Lewis

Northwestern: Nick VanHoose and Matthew Harris

Oklahoma StateKevin Peterson and Ramon Richards

Oregon: Charles Nelson and Chris Seisay

West VirginiaDaryl Worley and Terrell Chestnut

 

Top Group of 5 Cornerback Tandems

 

Boise State: Donte Deayon and Jonathan Moxey

FIU: Richard Leonard and Jeremiah McKinnon

Houston: Brandon Wilson and William Jackson

Louisiana Tech: Adairius Barnes and Bryson Abraham

Northern Illinois: Paris Logan and Anthony Brooks

San Diego State: J.J. Whittaker and Damontae Kazee

San Jose State: Jimmy Pruitt and Cleveland Wallace

Temple: Tavon Young and Sean Chandler

Teaser:
College Football's Top Cornerback Tandems for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/jim-harbaugh-throws-first-pitch-detroit-tigers-game-tuesday-night
Body:

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been a busy man this offseason. Whether it’s satellite recruiting camps, providing entertainment through Twitter or a trip to Peru, Harbaugh always seems to be in the news.

 

And Harbaugh’s busy offseason made a stop in Detroit on Tuesday night, as the Tigers hosted the Pirates for an interleague matchup.

 

Harbaugh threw out the first pitch for the first game of this series and also chipped in on the Tigers’ all-star campaign.

 

Check out the video and a few photos from Tuesday night: 

Teaser:
Jim Harbaugh Throws First Pitch at Detroit Tigers Game on Tuesday Night
Post date: Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - 08:30
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Path: /college-football/college-footballs-all-sophomore-team-2015
Body:

Awards are a big part of any college football season. Whether it’s preseason accolades or awards after the year has finished, All-America, all-conference teams or even a list of the best freshmen, these are an entertaining and informative way to get prepared for the next season or look back at the year that was.

 

Looking ahead to 2015, college football isn’t hurting for talent in the sophomore ranks. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett was a Heisman contender before a leg injury against Michigan, and the sophomore could be among the nation’s top quarterbacks – if he wins the job over Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller.

 

Related: All-America Team for 2015 | All-Freshman Team for 2015

 

But the strength of the sophomore class has to be at running back. LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Georgia’s Nick Chubb, Florida State’s Darvin Cook and Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine are among the nation’s top rushers – and all four are entering their sophomore camaign.   

 

College Football's All-Sophomore Team for 2015

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBDeshaun Watson
Clemson 
J.T. Barrett
Ohio State 
Brad Kaaya
Miami 
Anu Solomon
Arizona 
RBLeonard Fournette
LSU 
Jarvion Franklin
WMU 
Justin Jackson
Northwestern 
Jalen Hurd
Tennessee 
RBNick Chubb
Georgia 
Samaje Perine
Oklahoma 
Marlon Mack
USF 
Demario Richard
Arizona State 
RBDalvin Cook
Florida State 
Royce Freeman
Oregon 
Nick Wilson
Arizona 
Jon Hilliman
Boston College 
WRJuJu Smith
USC 
Artavis Scott
Clemson 
Isaiah Ford
Va. Tech 
Jalin Marshall
Ohio State 
WRKD Cannon
Baylor 
DaeSean Hamilton
Penn State 
Speedy Noil
Texas A&M 
Travis Rudolph
Florida State 
APDe'Mornay Pierson-El
Nebraska 
Christian McCaffrey
Stanford 
Boom Williams
Kentucky 
Allen Lazard
Iowa State 
TEBucky Hodges
Virginia Tech 
Cam Serigne
Wake Forest 
Austin Hooper
Stanford 
Roger Lewis (WR)
BGSU 
OLCam Robinson
Alabama 
Tejan Koroma
BYU 
Billy Price
Ohio State 
Reggie Bain
FAU 
OLWyatt Teller
Va. Tech 
Tyrell Crosby
Oregon 
Mason Cole
Michigan 
Cole Madison
Wazzu 
OLRod Johnson
Florida State 
Conor McDermott
UCLA 
Ramsey Meyers
Kentucky 
Will Hernandez
UTEP 
OLToa Lobendahn
USC 
Brian Allen
Michigan State 
Jashon Robertson
Tennessee 
Alex Officer
Pittsburgh 
OLViane Talamaivao
USC 
Andrew Nelson
Penn State 
Jake Campos
Iowa State 
Sean Welsh
Iowa 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DLDerek Barnett
Tennessee 
Malik McDowell
Michigan State 
Steven Richardson
Minnesota 
Bijhon Jackson
Arkansas 
DLMyles Garrett
Texas A&M 
Lowell Lotulelei
Utah 
Nazair Jones
North Carolina 

Tyquan Lewis

Ohio State 

DLDavon Godchaux
LSU 
Marquis Haynes
Ole Miss 
Kemoko Turay
Rutgers 
Charles Harris
Missouri 
DLKeShun Freeman
Georgia Tech 
Tashon Smallwood
Arizona State 
Ja'Von Rolland-Jones
Arkansas State 
 
Bryan Mone
Michigan 
LBDarron Lee
Ohio State 
Lorenzo Carter
Georgia 
Ja'Whaun Bentley
Purdue 
Nigel Bowden
Vanderbilt 
LBTaylor Young
Baylor 
Peter Kalambayi
Stanford 
D.J. Calhoun
Arizona State 
Tegray Scales
Indiana 
LBRaekwon McMillan
Ohio State 
Quentin Poling
Ohio 
Otaro Alaka
Texas A&M 
Jerod Fernandez
NC State 
LBEli Apple (CB)
Ohio State 
Elijah Lee
Kansas State 
Steven Parker (S)
Oklahoma 
Armani Watts (S)
Texas A&M 
DBMackensie Alexander
Clemson 
Marcus Allen
Penn State 
Parry Nickerson
Tulane 
Dravon Henry
WVU 
DBAdoree' Jackson
USC 
Ranthony Texada
TCU 
Kamari Cotton-Moya
Iowa State 
Josh Jones
NC State 
DBBudda Baker
Washington 
Jamal Adams
LSU 
Trey Marshall
Florida State 
Jalen Davis
Utah State 
DBQuin Blanding
Virginia 
Brandon Facyson
Va. Tech 

Jalen Tabor

Florida 

Charles Nelson

Oregon 

 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists

Fourth-Team

Specialists

K

Matthew McCrane

Kansas State 

Rafael Gaglianone

Wisconsin 

Austin MacGinnis

Kentucky 

Trevor Moore

North Texas 

P

JK Scott

Alabama 

Joe Davidson

BGSU 

Will Gleeson

Ole Miss 

Johnny Townsend

Florida 

 

Teaser:
College Football's All-Sophomore Team for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 11:30

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