Articles By Steven Lassan

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-all-freshman-team-2015
Body:

fans and coaches already know about the established stars, Heisman contenders and proven players entering 2015. However, there’s no shortage of new faces ready to emerge onto the scene as key contributors for all 128 teams this year.

 

Since freshmen need more time to develop physically or within a system, it’s tough to count on every newcomer in a signing class to make an immediate impact. However, more freshmen are enrolling early and redshirt seasons help newcomers close the gap with the upperclassmen.

 

Related:

 

With the season just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the top freshmen for 2015. True and redshirt freshmen were considered for this article, with an emphasis on talent and playing time for the spots.

 

College Football's 2015 All-Freshman Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
QBJosh Rosen
UCLA 
Seth Collins
Oregon State 
Will Grier
Florida 
RB

Jacques Patrick

Florida State 

Ronald Jones
USC 
Dalvin Warmack
Kansas State  
RB

LJ Scott/M. London
Michigan State 

Markell Jones
Purdue 
Aeris Williams
Mississippi State 
APDonte Jackson
LSU 
Jeff Jones
Minnesota 
Nyheim Hines
NC State 
WRCalvin Ridley
Alabama 
George Campbell
Florida State 
Tre'Quan Smith
UCF 
WRChristian Kirk
Texas A&M 
Deebo Samuel
South Carolina 
Terry Godwin
Georgia 
TEMark Andrews
Oklahoma 
Deon Cain
Clemson 
DaMarkus Lodge
Ole Miss 
OLMitch Hyatt
Clemson 
Derwin Gray
Maryland 
Jacob Bragg
Kansas 
OLMartez Ivey
Florida 
Michael Dieter
Wisconsin 
Sam Jones
Arizona State 
OLDalton Risner
Kansas State 
Will Clapp
LSU 
Tyler Jones
NC State 
OLDamian Prince
Maryland 
Connor Williams
Texas  
Dennis Edwards
WKU  
OL

Ross Pierschbacher

Alabama 

Quenton Nelson
Notre Dame 
Javon Patterson
Ole Miss 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
DLKahlil McKenzie
Tennessee 
Daylon Mack
Texas A&M 
Terry Beckner
Missouri  
DLTrent Thompson
Georgia 
CeCe Jefferson
Florida 
Breiden Fehoko
Texas Tech 
DLByron Cowart
Auburn 
Neville Gallimore
Oklahoma 
Christian Wilkins
Clemson  
DLSolomon Thomas
Stanford 
Dexter Wideman
South Carolina 
Victor Evans
Ole Miss 
LBMalik Jefferson
Texas 
Mike Freeze
TCU 
Canton Kaumatule (DL)
Oregon 
LBGerri Green
Miss. State 
Edwin Freeman
Texas  

Arden Key (DL)

LSU 

LBDillon Bates
Tennessee  
Jeff Holland
Auburn 

I. Murphy-Richardson

Arizona State 

DBJabrill Peppers
Michigan 
Iman Marshall
USC 

C.J. Stalker (LB)

Virginia 

DBDerwin James
Florida State 
Ronnie Harrison
Alabama   

T.J. Edwards (LB)

Wisconsin 

DBJamal Peters
Miss. State 
Marlon Humphrey
Alabama  

Cornelius Sturghill

Louisville 

DBKevin Toliver II
LSU 
Holton Hill
Texas 

Vayante Copeland

Michigan State 

 First-Team 
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
KJustin Yoon
Notre Dame 
Austin Seibert
Oklahoma 
Andrew David
Michigan 
PAlex Kinney
Colorado 
Jake Hartbarger
Michigan State 
Ian Shannon
Auburn 

 

Teaser:
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2015
Post date: Monday, June 29, 2015 - 11:00
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/golden-nugget-releases-lines-2015-college-football-games-year
Body:

The 2015 college football season is still a ways off, but the preview and look ahead to the upcoming year never stops.

 

On Friday, Golden Nugget sportsbook released odds on several key games for the upcoming year.

 

According to , Alabama, Auburn, LSU and USC are favored in nine of the games listed by the Golden Nugget.

 

Check out the full list of first odds for the 2015 season: 

 

Golden Nugget Sportsbook 2015 CFB Games of the Year Lines:
DATE/TEAMSOPEN
September 3 
MICHIGAN 
UTAH-4
  
TCU-18
MINNESOTA 
  
September 4 
WASHINGTON 
BOISE ST.-13
  
September 5 
WISCONSIN (Arlington) 
ALABAMA-10
  
LOUISVILLE (Atlanta) 
AUBURN-11½
  
ARIZONA ST. (Houston) 
TEXAS A&M-3
  
TEXAS 
NOTRE DAME-7½
  
VIRGINIA 
UCLA-17
  
BYU 
NEBRASKA-6
  
September 7 
OHIO ST.-16
VIRGINIA TECH 
  
September 12 
LSU-3
MISSISSIPPI ST. 
  
UCLA-32
UNLV 
  
OKLAHOMA 
TENNESSEE-3
  
NOTRE DAME-9
VIRGINIA 
  
OREGON ST. 
MICHIGAN-14
  
IOWA-4½
IOWA ST. 
  
MARSHALL-3½
OHIO U. 
  
BOISE ST.-6
BYU 
  
OREGON 
MICHIGAN ST.-1
  
September 17 
CLEMSON-3
LOUISVILLE 
  
September 19 
AUBURN 
LSU-4
  
UNLV 
MICHIGAN-33
  
OLE MISS 
ALABAMA-9½
  
S. CAROLINA 
GEORGIA-11
  
GEORGIA TECH 
NOTRE DAME-2
  
NEBRASKA 
MIAMI (FL)PICK
  
STANFORD 
USC-4
  
BYU 
UCLA-14
  
COLORADO (Denver)-1½
COLO. ST. 
  
September 24 
  
CINCINNATI 
MEMPHIS-2
  
September 25 
  
BOISE ST.-9
VIRGINIA 
  
September 26 
LSU-20
SYRACUSE 
  
UCLA 
ARIZONAPICK
  
USC-1
ARIZONA ST. 
  
UTAH 
OREGON-14
  
OKLAHOMA ST. 
TEXAS-2½
  
BYU 
MICHIGAN-7
  
TEXAS A&M (Arlington) 
ARKANSAS-6½
  
MISSISSIPPI ST. 
AUBURN-8
  
TENNESSEE-2½
FLORIDA 
  
October 1 
MIAMI (FL) 
CINCINNATI-2½
  
October 3 
UNLV 
NEVADA-14
  
OLE MISS-6
FLORIDA 
  
ALABAMA 
GEORGIAPICK
  
S. CAROLINA 
MISSOURI-11
  
ARKANSAS 
TENNESSEE-1
  
MISSISSIPPI ST. 
TEXAS A&M-6½
  
PITTSBURGH 
VIRGINIA TECH-9
  
ARIZONA 
STANFORD-7½
  
ARIZONA ST. 
UCLA-6
  
OREGON-16
COLORADO 
  
ARMY 
PENN ST.-28
  
W. VIRGINIA 
OKLAHOMA-10
  
KANSAS ST. 
OKLAHOMA ST.-4
  
TEXAS 
TCU-21
  
NOTRE DAME 
CLEMSON-3½
  
October 8 
WASHINGTON 
USC-19
  
October 10 
  
LSU-8
S. CAROLINA 
  
GEORGIA TECH 
CLEMSON-3
  
ARKANSAS 
ALABAMA-7½
  
FLORIDA 
MISSOURI-10
  
GEORGIA 
TENNESSEEPICK
  
MIAMI (FL) 
FLORIDA ST.-14½
  
VIRGINIA 
PITTSBURGH-6
  
BOISE ST.-12
COLORADO ST. 
  
TCU-11
KANSAS ST. 
  
OKLAHOMA-6½
TEXAS 
  
OKLAHOMA ST. 
W. VIRGINIA-5
  
WISCONSIN-1
NEBRASKA 
  
NAVY 
NOTRE DAME-14
  
October 15 
UCLA 
STANFORD-4½
  
AUBURN-9
KENTUCKY 
  
October 16 
UNLV 
FRESNO ST.-12
  
BOISE ST.-9½
UTAH ST. 
  
October 17 
FLORIDA 
LSU-14
  
ARIZONA ST. 
UTAH-2
  
USC 
NOTRE DAMEPICK
  
OREGON-15
WASHINGTON 
  
LOUISVILLE 
FLORIDA ST.-12
  
PITTSBURGH 
GEORGIA TECH-14
  
VIRGINIA TECH 
MIAMI (FL)-6
  
MISSOURI 
GEORGIA-8½
  
ALABAMA-7
TEXAS A&M 
  
W. VIRGINIA 
BAYLOR-17
  
TCU-29
IOWA ST. 
  
OKLAHOMA-3
KANSAS ST. 
  
MICHIGAN ST.-4½
MICHIGAN 
  
PENN ST. 
OHIO ST.-19
  
October 24 
UTAH 
USC-7
  
KANSAS ST. 
TEXAS-2
  
TENNESSEE 
ALABAMA-10
  
AUBURN 
ARKANSAS-6½
  
TEXAS A&M 
OLE MISS-4
  
CLEMSON-4½
MIAMI (FL) 
  
FLORIDA ST. 
GEORGIA TECHPICK
  
October 29 
  
OREGON-5
ARIZONA ST. 
  
W. VIRGINIA 
TCU-20
  
October 31 
  
BOISE ST.-28½
UNLV 
  
C. FLORIDA 
CINCINNATI-6
  
GEORGIA TECH-10
VIRGINIA 
  
OLE MISS 
AUBURN-4
  
FLORIDA (Jacksonville)JACKSONVILLE
GEORGIA-12
  
S. CAROLINA 
TEXAS A&M-10
  
OREGON ST. 
UTAH-16
  
November 3 
  
N. ILLINOIS 
TOLEDO-3
  
November 5 
MISSISSIPPI ST. 
MISSOURI-6
  
BAYLOR-12
KANSAS ST. 
  
November 7 
LSU 
ALABAMA-9
  
ARKANSAS 
OLE MISS-1
  
AUBURN-1½
TEXAS A&M 
  
TCU-11
OKLAHOMA ST. 
  
MICHIGAN ST.-6
NEBRASKA 
  
FLORIDA ST. 
CLEMSON-2
  
VIRGINIA 
MIAMI (FL)-6½
  
NOTRE DAME-3
PITTSBURGH 
  
ARIZONA 
USC-7½
  
November 12 
VIRGINIA TECH 
GEORGIA TECH-9½
  
November 13 
  
USC-12
COLORADO 
  
November 14 
ARKANSAS 
LSU-1½
  
UTAH 
ARIZONA-3
  
OREGON 
STANFORDPICK
  
GEORGIA 
AUBURNPICK
  
ALABAMA-9
MISSISSIPPI ST. 
  
FLORIDA 
S. CAROLINA-2½
  
OKLAHOMA 
BAYLOR-13
  
BYU (Kansas City)KANSAS CITY
MISSOURI-12
  
November 21 
  
SAN DIEGO ST.-16
UNLV 
  
LSU 
OLE MISSPICK
  
FRESNO ST. 
BYU-18
  
TCU-5
OKLAHOMA 
  
BAYLOR-10
OKLAHOMA ST. 
  
MICHIGAN ST. 
OHIO ST.-14
  
MICHIGAN 
PENN ST.-3½
  
MISSISSIPPI ST. 
ARKANSAS-10
  
TENNESSEE 
MISSOURI-2½
  
GEORGIA TECH-6
MIAMI (FL) 
  
ARIZONA 
ARIZONA ST.-3
  
USC 
OREGON-6½
  
UCLA-1
UTAH 
  
CALIFORNIA 
STANFORD-13
  
November 27 
  
BAYLOR 
TCU-6
  
OREGON ST. 
OREGON-22½
  
WASHINGTON ST. 
WASHINGTON-4½
  
IOWA 
NEBRASKA-7
  
November 28 
  
TEXAS A&M 
LSU-7½
  
KANSAS ST.-24
KANSAS 
  
OKLAHOMA-3
OKLAHOMA ST. 
  
BYU 
UTAH ST.PICK
  
OHIO ST.-16
MICHIGAN 
  
PENN ST. 
MICHIGAN ST.-12
  
UCLA 
USC-3
  
COLORADO 
UTAH-13½
  
NOTRE DAME 
STANFORD-3
  
N. CAROLINA 
NC STATE-6
  
VIRGINIA TECH-4
VIRGINIA 
  
MISSOURI 
ARKANSAS-7
  
ALABAMA-3½
AUBURN 
  
FLORIDA ST.-4
FLORIDA 
  
GEORGIA-1
GEORGIA TECH 
  
LOUISVILLE-2½
KENTUCKY 
  
OLE MISS-2
MISSISSIPPI ST. 
  
CLEMSON-3
S. CAROLINA 
  
VANDERBILT 
TENNESSEE-17
  
December 5 
  
TEXAS 
BAYLOR-18
  
W. VIRGINIA 
KANSAS ST.-5
  
December 12 
  
NAVY (Philadelphia)-13
ARMY 
Teaser:
Golden Nugget Releases Lines for 2015 College Football Games of Year
Post date: Friday, June 26, 2015 - 15:36
Path: /college-football/tommy-armstrong-must-deliver-nebraska-win-big-ten-west
Body:

The West Division is considered Wisconsin’s to lose in 2015. But just how big is the gap between the Badgers and ?

 

Last season, the Cornhuskers finished two games behind Wisconsin in the Big Ten West standings and were defeated 59-24 by the Badgers in mid-November.

 

What will it take for to close the gap in 2015? Quarterback play.

 

Adjusting to a new scheme or coaching staff is never an easy task for a quarterback. New coach Mike Riley plans on shifting Nebraska’s offense to more of a pro-style attack in this season, and the first-year coach inherits some talented pieces to work with.

 

Related:

 

The receiving corps could be among the best in the Big Ten, and the offensive line returns two seniors at the tackle positions. At running back, Terrell Newby and Imani Cross should anchor a productive ground game.

 

Considering the strength of Nebraska’s supporting cast, returning starting quarterback Tommy Armstrong will be under the microscope in 2015.

 

The junior has showed plenty of promise in his career, but there’s work for coordinator Danny Langsdorf and Riley to do this offseason.

 

Here’s a quick snapshot of Armstrong’s numbers in 2014 (all games):

 GCompAttComp %Pass YdsTDsINTsQB RatingYPCYPG
Tommy Armstrong1318434553.32,6952212133.0314.6207.3

In Big Ten-only games:

 GCompAttComp %Pass YdsTDsINTsQB RatingYPCYPG
Tommy Armstrong810020050.01,428109117.4814.3178.5

Against Ranked Opponents:

 GCompAttComp %Pass YdsTDsINTsQB RatingYPCYPG
Tommy Armstrong35811251.871644110.112.3238.7

Armstrong has showed the ability to make plays on the ground, as he ranked second among Big Ten quarterbacks with 705 yards rushing. Although Armstrong's playmaking ability on the ground will be utilized, Langsdorf needs Armstrong to develop as a passer. A 53.3 completion percentage in all games needs to go up, and the interceptions — especially in conference play — need to be cut. 

 

Related:

 

To get a look at how critical Armstrong's development is to Nebraska's 2015 season, let's take a look at Oregon State's offenses under Danny Langsdorf from 2005-13. 

 

 Points Per GameYards Per PlayPass Att. Per GamePassing Yards Per Game
200526.65.341.7296.5
200627.85.630.4242.4
200727.94.933.7196.7
200830.55.734.5249.0
200931.55.836.8270.8
201024.45.231.1205.4
201121.85.541.9286.8
201232.55.938.8307.1
201334.86.248.1372.6

For comparison, since 2008 the Cornhuskers have averaged less than 30 passing attempts per game. Under Riley and Langsdorf at Oregon State from 2005-13, the Beavers never dipped below 30 per game.  

 

There’s no doubt Riley and Langsdorf will adapt to the personnel in place to win games in 2015. However, there’s definitely a shift coming for Nebraska’s offense. How quickly will Armstrong develop in this offense? The career trajectory of quarterbacks shows rushing attempts and yards decrease as the player becomes more comfortable as a passer.

 

Entering his junior season, Armstrong has 21 career starts. Increasing the efficiency and reducing the turnovers are two areas to watch in 2015. If Armstrong accomplishes both of those goals and adjusts to the new scheme, Nebraska could close the gap on Wisconsin in the West. 

Teaser:
Tommy Armstrong is Nebraska's Key Player for the 2015 Season
Post date: Friday, June 26, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/auburns-2015-football-seniors-sign-beam-college-footballs-biggest-scoreboard
Body:

is planning to have a massive scoreboard in place by the start of the 2015 season. The video scoreboard measures 190 x 57 feet and is going to be the biggest in the nation.

 

And the program is celebrating the new scoreboard by having the 2015 football seniors sign the top beam for the frame.

 

Needless to say, this is a neat way to commemorate the new video board, along with a hat tip to the seniors that helped the program over the last few seasons. (Photos from ( and )

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
Auburn's 2015 Football Seniors Sign Beam for College Football's Biggest Scoreboard
Post date: Friday, June 26, 2015 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Clemson Tigers, College Football, News
Path: /college-football/inexperience-clemsons-offensive-line-could-derail-acc-title-hopes
Body:

Offensive lines are often one of the most overlooked groups during the season or with preseason predictions. While the five players in the trenches aren’t going to be on many highlight reels, offensive lines are the key to any team's offensive attack.

 

’s offensive line was already far from settled by the end of spring practice. The Tigers had only two returning starters and depth was a concern. And the uncertainty surrounding this unit was increased on Thursday, as left tackle Isaiah Battle entered the NFL’s supplemental draft.

 

Although Battle had his share of inconsistencies at Clemson, the New York native entered 2014 with 15 starts and was considered a top 10 prospect at tackle for the 2016 NFL Draft.  

 

Without Battle, center Ryan Norton is the only returning starter for coach Dabo Swinney.

 

Related:

 

A returning starter count isn’t necessarily the best way to judge any position, but it’s no secret Clemson’s offensive line is going to hold the key to the 2015 season. Much of the offseason focus at Clemson has been on new offensive co-coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott, who are tasked with replacing Chad Morris.

 

However, even if the offense takes a small step back without Morris calling the plays, this group won’t get on track without productive play up front. And adding to Swinney’s concerns: quarterback Deshaun Watson is coming off of a torn ACL.

 

And it's not as if the offensive line didn't have its own issues in 2014 either. Clemson allowed 27 sacks, and rushers averaged only 3.3 yards per carry in ACC games. The Tigers also ranked No. 101 in Football Outsiders' adjusted line yards measure and No. 126 in power success rate. 

 

On the positive side for Swinney, Clemson’s offensive line has talent ready to emerge in the form of freshmen Mitch Hyatt and Jake Fruhmorgen. Hyatt was a five-star recruit by 247Sports Composite and was the No. 22 overall recruit in the 2015 signing class. Fruhmorgen was graded as a four-star prospect and the No. 119 recruit.

 

How long will it take for this group to mesh? As fast as possible will be the hope for Swinney. The schedule won’t do the Tigers any favors. Louisville, which has one of the ACC’s top defensive fronts, hosts Clemson in Week 3. And the Tigers play Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Boston College in the first three weeks of October. All three defenses have enough talent to disrupt Clemson’s offense if the line struggles.

 

Improvement from the offensive line was needed in order for Clemson to win 10 games for the fifth consecutive season. With the uncertainty up front and new play-callers in place, there’s even more pressure on the shoulders of Watson, who is just a sophomore himself.

 

Talent certainly isn’t an issue for Swinney. But the question marks for the 2015 team are significant. With Florida State also dealing with similar concerns, Louisville reloading on its offensive line and at quarterback, the ACC Atlantic is going to be an interesting race to watch this fall. 

 

Here’s a look at the projected starting offensive line, with the career starts and recruiting rank:

 

Position/PlayerCareer StartsRecruiting Rank
LT Mitch Hyatt (True Freshman)05 Stars, No. 22 Overall
LG Eric Mac Lain (Senior)14 Stars, No. 182 Overall
C Ryan Norton (Senior)243 Stars, No. 690 Overall
RG Tyrone Crowder (Sophomore)14 Stars, No. 117 Overall
RT Joe Gore (Senior)33 Stars, No. 408 Overall

 

Teaser:
Inexperience on Clemson's Offensive Line Could Derail ACC Title Hopes
Post date: Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 13:21
Path: /college-football/12-position-groups-under-pressure-pac-12-2015
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  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:

 

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.

 

12 Position Groups Under Pressure in 2015

 

Offensive Line

Yes, Arizona’s defense also deserves a mention here, but the Wildcats’ best shot at winning the South once again hinges on an explosive offense. With quarterback Anu Solomon, running back Nick Wilson and receiver Cayleb Jones returning, Arizona features one of the top offensive trios in the nation. But there’s concern up front entering fall practice. The Wildcats lost three starters, with Cayman Bundage and Jacob Alsadek back as proven options. Cal transfer Freddie Tagaloa is expected to anchor the left tackle position, leaving two jobs up for grabs. There is experience in place – seniors Carter Wood and Lene Maiava – to step into the vacant jobs. But how quickly can this group mesh in 2015?

 

Related:

 

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:

 

Defensive Backs

Any unit on California’s defense is worth a mention in this space. The Golden Bears allowed 39.8 points per game in 2014 and surrendered 42 touchdown passes. Coordinator Art Kaufman returns five starters, but the overall depth and talent level is improving. Sophomore – and converted quarterback – Luke Rubenzer shifted to safety to earn playing time in 2015. Rubenzer is just part of the hope for improvement in pass defense, as junior college recruit Antoine Albert is also expected to push for snaps. Experience certainly isn’t an issue among the potential starters. Seniors Stefan McClure (safety) and Darius White (cornerback) have to elevate their performance for California to take a step forward in pass defense this year.

 

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Defensive Line

The Buffaloes enter coach Mike MacIntyre’s third season poised to make a jump in the win column. Making a bowl won’t be easy, but Colorado could push for five victories this year. The offense averaged 28.5 points per game in 2014 and is the strength of the team once again. But for the Buffaloes to push for a postseason bid, the defense must improve. This unit allowed 39 points per game last year and is under the direction of new coordinator Jim Leavitt. There is proven depth with eight starters returning, but standout nose tackle Josh Tupou was suspended for the 2015 season. How much improvement can Leavitt get out of a defensive line that allowed 204.8 rushing yards per game last year?

 

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. And it certainly doesn’t hurt the coaching staff reeled in top recruit Canton Kaumatule in the offseason.

 

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Linebackers

New coach Gary Andersen has plenty of work to do this offseason. The Beavers return just nine starters and only two of those are back on defense. With the switch to a 3-4 scheme, Andersen and coordinator Kalani Sitake need to find the right pieces for this group to fit the new gameplan. This is a big offseason for players like Rommel Mageo and Kyle Haley, along with sophomore Darrell Songy, who returns to the team after missing 2014 due to a suspension.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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Wide Receivers

The quick synopsis of Utah for 2015 is very similar to the 2014 version: Great defense and rushing attack but a questionable passing game. Quarterback Travis Wilson returns after throwing for 2,170 yards and 18 scores last season, and he will have a new co-coordinator setup with Jim Harding and Aaron Roderick taking over for Dave Christensen. The Utes connected on 19 passing plays of 30 yards or more last season, which ranked No. 8 among Pac-12 teams. Adding to the uncertainty for Wilson is a receiving corps that lost Kaelin Clay, tight end Westlee Tonga and Dres Anderson. Kenneth Scott is a good No. 1 option. But the Utes need to find capable No. 2 and No. 3 targets in fall camp.

 

Defensive Line

Chris Petersen has some major roster remodeling to do in his second year in Seattle. The Huskies return only nine starters, with quarterback play a huge question mark entering this fall. But the defense also needs attention, as five key members of last year’s front seven are gone: Linebackers Shaq Thompson and John Timu and defensive linemen Andrew Hudson, Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha. Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski and Petersen will feature a young defensive line in 2015, as a handful of freshmen could be counted on for significant snaps. Sophomore Elijah Qualls is a breakout candidate after recording 13 tackles in limited action last year.

 

Defensive Backs

All three defensive units deserve a mention here, but new coordinator Alex Grinch plans on implementing a 4-2-5 approach, adding extra pressure to a secondary that allowed 33 passing scores last season. The Cougars finished the spring with uncertainty surrounding this group, as help is on the way in the form of junior college recruits Treshon Broughton and Shalom Luani and freshman Sean Harper. All three newcomers could play a huge role in filling out the depth chart, while the coaching staff is counting on increased contributions from sophomores Charleston White, Darius Lemora and Isaac Dotson.

Teaser:
12 Position Groups Under Pressure in the Pac-12 for 2015
Post date: Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/big-12-expansion-isnt-necessary
Body:

expansion is the story that won’t go away. On Wednesday, Oklahoma president David Boren said, “.” And previously this summer, West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons also .

 

It’s only two athletic directors out of 10, but it’s no secret expansion has been and will continue to be an ongoing source of debate for the Big 12.

 

But here’s the million-dollar question. Does it actually make sense for the conference to expand?

 

Currently, the Big 12 splits its television revenue among 10 teams. If the conference expands, does the available money pie get bigger or stay the same? Adding additional revenue is always a priority for conference commissioners, athletic directors and school presidents. Losing money is not something that appeals to any school in this case.

 

Expanding to 12 or 14 teams would certainly help with a conference championship game, which is another stream of revenue for the Big 12. But as we mentioned before, a championship game also comes with its own share of problems. Just because a team is ranked in the top four for the College Football Playoff doesn’t mean that a league championship game will help its case. A loss or close win could hurt its case.

 

If the Big 12 decides the money works out and wants to expand, it has to believe there are enough candidates to add value. But is that the case?

 

Let’s propose a few possible additions and decide for yourself:

 

Revamped 12-Team Big 12 - Proposal 1
Division 1Division 2
Cincinnati Baylor 
Kansas BYU 
Kansas State Iowa State 
Oklahoma TCU 
Oklahoma State Texas 
West Virginia Texas Tech 

This 12-team league definitely has some intrigue. Cincinnati and BYU are good additions and each team would be competitive right away. UCF, Memphis, Boise State or Tulane also make sense. The divisions are a bit imbalanced. The power is clearly in Division 2 right now, with TCU, Texas and Baylor. But college football is cyclical and that will change.

 

Or, let’s split the teams up a bit to balance out the divisions

 

Revamped 12-Team Big 12 - Proposal 2
Division 1Division 2
Baylor BYU 
Cincinnati Kansas State 
Iowa State Oklahoma State 
Kansas TCU  
Oklahoma Texas 
Texas Tech West Virginia 

How about a 14-team proposal?

 

Revamped 14-Team Big 12 
Division 1Division 2
Baylor BYU 
Cincinnati Kansas State 
Iowa State Memphis 
Kansas Oklahoma State 
Oklahoma TCU 
Texas Tech Texas 
UCF West Virginia 

While the Big 12 would prefer to have new teams from Power 5 leagues, the options are small. The rumor mill churned a few years ago about Clemson, Florida State or other ACC teams leaving to join the Big 12. Barring a complete shift or change of heart, it’s unlikely any team will choose to leave the ACC any time soon.

 

Without Power 5 teams willing to leave, the Big 12’s candidates to expand would seem to be these schools:

  
Air Force  Northern Illinois  
Boise State  San Diego State 
BYU SMU 
Cincinnati  Tulane  
Colorado State  UCF 
Houston  UConn  
Memphis   

While none of those options are Florida State and Clemson, there are some quality programs available. BYU is the best option on the board, but programs in fertile recruiting areas (Cincinnati, Memphis and UCF) are intriguing.

 

The Big 12 doesn’t need to expand to remain viable or make the playoffs on a consistent basis. But it does seem expansion is inevitable at some point.

 

While getting to 12 and bringing back a conference title game is critical to some, the Big 12 should be in no rush. Let programs like UCF, Memphis and Cincinnati continue to develop and monitor in a few years (after giving the conference more data on the playoff).

 

There’s potential in a 12- or 14-team Big 12. But expansion anytime soon just doesn’t make sense.

Teaser:
Big 12 Expansion Isn't Necessary
Post date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 17:51
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten, News
Path: /college-football/14-position-groups-under-pressure-big-ten-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  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:

 

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 Big Ten Position Groups Under Pressure in 2015

 

Offensive Line

Keeping quarterback Wes Lunt healthy is priority No. 1 for Illinois in 2015. With Lunt in the lineup, the Fighting Illini can push for a bowl appearance. Without Lunt, Illinois could struggle just to reach two wins in Big Ten play. The offensive line had its share of issues last year, giving up 37 sacks and only clearing the way for rushers to average 3.6 yards per carry (Big Ten-only games). Three starters are back in 2015, including standout senior Ted Karras. Will all of the pieces mesh up front for Illinois this year?

 

Defensive Backs

Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem for coach Kevin Wilson’s team in 2015. Even though running back Tevin Coleman left for the NFL, the Hoosiers landed UAB transfer Jordan Howard, and quarterback Nate Sudfeld is back from a season-ending shoulder injury. Defense has been an issue for Indiana in recent years, ranking near the bottom of the Big Ten in points allowed in each of the last seven seasons. The Hoosiers gave up 18 passing plays of 30 yards or more in 2014 and will have four new starters in the secondary with the dismissal of safety Antonio Allen.

 

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Linebackers

Reloading at linebacker usually doesn’t present much trouble for coach Kirk Ferentz. But the Hawkeyes head into 2015 with uncertainty at this position, as Iowa needs to replace Quinton Alston and Reggie Spearman. The projected starting trio at the end of spring featured all sophomores, including Josey Jewell (51 stops in 2014) and Bo Bower (38 tackles, two sacks last year). With two defensive tackles stepping into the lineup, the linebackers will have to take on a bigger role in stopping the run and an overall presence in the front seven.

 

Wide Receivers

A couple of positions – defensive line, linebacker or offensive line – are worth a mention for Maryland here. But the receiving corps is the pick, as the Terrapins have been hit hard by player departures since 2014. Stefon Diggs left for the NFL, Deon Long expired his eligibility, while Marcus Leak and Juwann Winfree departed the team over the summer. The Terrapins need big contributions from senior Levern Jacobs, junior Amba Etta-Tawo and sophomore Taivon Jacobs.

 

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.

 

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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?

 

Wide Receivers

Quarterback Mitch Leidner has to play better, but the Golden Gophers also have to get more production out of their receiving corps to upgrade the passing attack. Minnesota’s receiving corps featured only one player with more than 18 catches last year (tight end Maxx Williams). With Williams off to the NFL, which receivers will step up to give Leidner a big-play threat or consistent possession option? Senior KJ Maye is the veteran of the receiving corps, while freshmen Isaiah Gentry, Desmond Gant, Melvin Holland and Jeff Jones are expected to play a large role.

 

Linebackers

New coordinator Mark Banker will spend a lot of time watching over this group in the fall. The Cornhuskers are thin on depth and proven options, and the overall outlook for the linebacking corps changed even more when David Santos left the team in June. Junior Michael Rose-Ivey is projected to start but is also coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss all of 2014. Josh Banderas has to be the anchor for this unit in 2015, and the junior is back after recording 50 tackles in 12 games last year. This fall will be a critical one for sophomore Marcus Newby and freshmen Dedrick Young and Luke Gifford.

 

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Wide Receivers

Northwestern is looking to generate more production out of its passing attack after connecting only six plays of 30 yards or more. Quarterback play is still a concern after three players were locked into a tight battle at the end of spring practice. But who steps up as big-play targets for the quarterbacks? Christian Jones is back after missing 2014 due to a knee injury, and fellow seniors Miles Shuler and Cameron Dickerson combined for 47 catches last year. The senior trio needs to step up in 2015, while getting help from the next group of receivers to help the passing game grow behind the new starting quarterback.

 

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?

 

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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.

 

Running Backs

The Boilermakers head into coach Darrell Hazell’s third season looking to take a significant step forward after a 4-20 record over the last two years. Improving the quarterback play is a priority for Hazell, but the rushing attack is also under the spotlight after the departures of Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert. That duo rushed for 1,478 yards of Purdue’s 1,886 yards on the ground last season, leaving sophomore Keyante Green and freshman Markell Jones as the top options for Hazell. Will this duo match or exceed the production from Mostert and Hunt?

 

Offensive Line

The Scarlet Knights have more concerns than just the offensive line, but this unit is replacing three starters off a group that allowed only 19 sacks in 2014. Senior left tackle Keith Lumpkin and junior guard Chris Muller are two solid building blocks for new coordinator Ben McDaniels and line coach Mitch Browning. But filling the other three spots up front will be critical with a new quarterback stepping in, as well as the talent returning at running back.

 

Wide Receivers

New coach Paul Chryst has to get better play from his quarterback Joel Stave, but the supporting cast at receiver also has to provide more help. Last year, no Badger receiver with at least 10 catches averaged more than 14 yards per reception. More big plays are needed from this group, along with a second option to help Alex Erickson (55 catches in 2014).  

 

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Teaser:
14 Position Groups Under Pressure in the Big Ten for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-most-improved-teams-2015
Body:

The overall unpredictability of a season is one of the main reasons to tune in each Saturday during the fall. While preseason predictions and rankings are often accurate and correctly project the amount of wins for specific teams, each season always brings a surprise or two in the top 25.

 

2015 will be no different, as there will be a handful of teams that jump into the top 25 that weren’t ranked there in the preseason. And who knows, maybe there is a program poised to emerge as a national title contender.

 

So whether it’s a team finishing in the top 10 that no one expected in the preseason or another program struggling to reach .500 after a successful stretch, each year presents many different case studies when trying to project teams for the upcoming season. And some teams quickly rebound after a disappointing year to contend for a conference title or crack the top 25 once again.

 

When it comes to judging improvement in college football, it doesn’t always come in the form of wins and losses. Improvement can simply come as a result of a team being more competitive within its conference and reducing the margin of defeat.

 

Kickoff for college football’s 2015 season is just over 70 days away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about which teams will be some of the most improved in the nation.

 

College Football's Most Improved Teams for 2015

 

Power 5 Teams

 

 

Auburn could go from a .500 team in play to a playoff contender. The Tigers are explosive on offense and feature rising star Jeremy Johnson at quarterback to replace Nick Marshall. The defense has to improve after giving up 6.4 yards per play in SEC games last season. With six starters back, Will Muschamp calling the signals and end Carl Lawson back from injury, this group should show marked improvement. And it certainly doesn’t hurt Auburn’s national title hopes that Georgia and Alabama must visit Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2015.

 

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Thanks to a brutal schedule, major improvement in the win column seems unlikely for California. However, a one or two-game jump in victories is certainly within reach. The Golden Bears improved from 1-11 in 2013 to 5-7 last year and return 13 starters for 2015. The offense averaged 38.3 points per game last season, and there’s little reason to expect this unit to slow its performance. Quarterback Jared Goff continues to develop entering his junior campaign, running back Daniel Lasco quietly rushed for 1,115 yards last year, and the receiving corps is deep with proven options. The defense was the biggest concern for coach Sonny Dykes last year and is an issue once again. But with Washington taking a step back and question marks at Stanford and Oregon, California could pull an upset (or two) and should reach the postseason for the first time since 2011.

 

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Indiana’s bowl hopes ended shortly after quarterback Nate Sudfeld suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last year. The Hoosiers were never able to find consistent production at quarterback the rest of the year, as the offense never eclipsed more than 179 passing yards over the final seven games. With Sudfeld back in the mix, Indiana has a good shot at getting to a bowl in 2015. Of course, replacing running back Tevin Coleman and finding receivers for Sudfeld are two key question marks to address, but the Hoosiers have a favorable non-conference slate and play three key swing games at home. UAB transfer Jordan Howard should be a capable replacement for Coleman, and talented sophomore J-Shun Harris is a breakout candidates at receiver. Improving the defense is another priority for coach Kevin Wilson, as this unit gave up 32.8 points per game and allowed too many big plays. Making matters worse, star safety Antonio Allen was dismissed after an offseason arrest.

 

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Jim Harbaugh is one of the nation’s top coaches, and it won’t be long before Michigan is back in contention for the title. The Wolverines may not have elite talent right now, but there’s more in place than the recent on-field performance would suggest. Defense is the strength of Harbaugh’s first team, as six starters return from a unit that limited opponents to 4.8 yards per play in 2014. Offense is Harbaugh’s specialty, and this unit needs a lot of attention after averaging 20.9 points per game last year. Iowa transfer Jake Rudock could start at quarterback but expect to see plenty of running backs Derrick Green and Ty Isaac in the gameplan.

 

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The Fighting Irish’s 2014 season took a huge hit before the first game was played. Defensive standouts in cornerback KeiVarae Russell and defensive end Ishaq Williams were suspended for the entire year, leaving a massive void on a defense breaking in a new scheme under coordinator Brian VanGorder. Russell is slated to return in 2015, and Williams appears to be on track as well. In addition to suspensions, Notre Dame was hit hard by the injury bug and struggled on defense in the second half of 2014. With Everett Golson transferring to Florida State, the starting quarterback job clearly belongs to Malik Zaire. The sophomore showcased his talents in the Music City Bowl win over LSU and will have plenty of help from a standout receiving corps and offensive line. The schedule isn’t easy, but Notre Dame also has enough talent to push for a 10-2 record. 

 

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A projected one-game jump in the win column isn’t necessarily the best indicator of how Oklahoma State should improve in 2015. The Cowboys were headed to a 5-7 finish last year, until a late punt return by Tyreek Hill against Oklahoma gave Oklahoma State an opportunity to score a win over its in-state rival in overtime. Hill’s punt return propelled the Cowboys to a bowl game, which coach Mike Gundy’s team responded with a solid 30-22 win over Washington in the Cactus Bowl. Oklahoma State should go from a fringe bowl team to a contender for a spot in the top 25 in 2015. Quarterback Mason Rudolph is a rising star, and the sophomore is anchored by an improving offensive line and deep receiving corps. The defense is also expected to improve with seven starters returning. And how’s this for scheduling: Oklahoma State plays three home games in November – TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma. That’s a good recipe for a team on the rebound as the Cowboys will be peaking in the second half of 2015.

 

 

There’s not much separating the teams in the Coastal Division. While Georgia Tech is the favorite, the Panthers could surprise in coach Pat Narduzzi’s first year. The offense scored at least 30 points in each of the last five games of 2014, and eight starters are back for 2015. Running back James Conner and receiver Tyler Boyd are two of the top skill players in the nation, and the offensive line could be the best in the . Narduzzi and new coordinator Josh Conklin should make a big impact on defense, as this unit has to play better after giving up 26.3 points per game in 2014. With a favorable schedule – no Florida State, Clemson or NC State in crossover play – Pittsburgh could push for a finish among the top three in the Coastal.

 

 

The East is Georgia’s division to lose in 2015. But what happens if the Bulldogs struggle to find a quarterback? Tennessee is positioned for a run at the division title if that happens, and the Volunteers should post their best record under coach Butch Jones. Tennessee returns 17 starters and additional help is on the way in the form of another stellar recruiting class. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs is poised to push for All-SEC honors after an impressive second half of 2014. The junior has help in the form of a talented duo at running back, an experienced receiving corps and four returning starters on the offensive line. Tennessee should take a big step forward in Jones’ third year on Rocky Top.

 

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Kliff Kingsbury’s tenure at Texas Tech started fast. The Red Raiders opened 7-0 in 2013 but lost their final five regular season games. However, since the 7-0 start in 2013, Texas Tech is just 5-13 and is coming off a disappointing 2-7 mark in play last year. While this team underachieved in 2014, a rebound is in store for 2015. As usual, the offense will be explosive. Running back DeAndre Washington is an underrated player, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes showed promise in a late-season stint. But for the Red Raiders to get back to the postseason, improving the defense is a must. Hiring David Gibbs as coordinator will pay immediate dividends for this unit, and there’s only one way to go after giving up 41.3 points per game last year. After posting a -13 in the turnover margin in 2014, Texas Tech is due for better luck in this department in 2015.

 

 

Virginia Tech recorded eight consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins from 2004-11, but the Hokies have not won more than eight in each of the last three years. Can coach Frank Beamer return this program to national prominence? The pieces are in place for improvement in 2015. The defense is one of the best in college football with the return of eight starters, along with two players – cornerback Brandon Facyson and tackle Luther Maddy – back from injury. While the defense will be salty, the offense has to improve for the Hokies to win the Coastal. There’s optimism on that side of the ball, as quarterback Michael Brewer has a full offseason to work as the No. 1 signal-caller, and there’s good skill talent in place at running back and receiver. The offensive line remains a concern after giving up 34 sacks in 2014. With no Florida State, Clemson or Louisville on the schedule, Virginia Tech has a favorable path to the Coastal title. Is this the year Beamer gets the Hokies back to being a top 25 team?

 

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Others to Watch

 

Mike MacIntyre has Colorado trending in the right direction. However, it’s going to take some time before the Buffaloes are ready to move up in the South Division.

 

Since a 10-3 mark in 2012, the Wildcats are just 10-14 in their last two years. This team has experienced some bad luck in close games in that two-year window, but 15 returning starters should give coach Pat Fitzgerald reason to expect improvement. If the Wildcats find a quarterback, a bowl game should be within reach.

 

The Nittany Lions will be better in coach James Franklin's second season. How much? That depends on an offensive line that struggled last season. 

 

The Cardinal is coming off its first season of fewer than 11 wins under coach David Shaw. The defense loses several key contributors from 2014, but the offense is poised to take a step forward in quarterback Kevin Hogan’s senior year. Can Stanford push Oregon in the North?

 

Offense certainly isn’t a concern for the Aggies. How much will the defense improve under new coordinator John Chavis? 

 

Group of 5 Teams

 

 

Akron is still looking for a breakthrough year under coach Terry Bowden. The Zips have won five games in back-to-back seasons and just missed a .500 mark in league play for the second consecutive year after a three-point loss to Kent State in late November. Akron needs more from Kyle Pohl or Pittsburgh transfer Tra’Von Chapman at quarterback, but the defense should be among the best in the MAC. With no Northern Illinois, Toledo or Western Michigan on the schedule in crossover play, Akron has one of the MAC’s most favorable slates. Getting to six wins is a very reasonable goal for the Zips.

 

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Scott Satterfield’s squad finished 2014 as one of the hottest teams in the Sun Belt. The Mountaineers won six in a row to close out last year, including victories over bowl teams UL Lafayette and Arkansas State. With 20 starters back, Appalachian State should push for the Sun Belt title. Quarterback Taylor Lamb and running back Marcus Cox will be two of the league’s best players, and the defense will show improvement after allowing 27.3 points per game in 2014.

 

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Last season's 5-7 mark was only the second losing record of Pete Lembo’s coaching career. With 17 returning starters, don’t expect a repeat of last year’s record. The Cardinals found their quarterback late last season in Jack Milas, and the sophomore has a solid group of receivers to lean on and all five starters up front. The defense has room to improve after giving up 27.2 points per game in 2014. The front seven is solid, but the secondary will have three new starters. Expect to see Ball State back in the mix for a spot in college football’s postseason in 2015.

 

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New coach Lance Leipold was one of the offseason’s top hires, and the Bulls return nine starters from a team that won five games in 2014. While the defense and offensive line have plenty of holes to plug, the offense should be explosive behind quarterback Joe Licata and running back Anthone Taylor. Buffalo has three winnable games in September, and a 3-1 start would give Leipold’s team a chance to reach bowl eligibility. Leipold went 109-6 in eight years at Wisconsin-Whitewater, and it won’t be long before the Wisconsin native has Buffalo in contention for the MAC East title.

 

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It seems odd to suggest a team that has won eight games in back-to-back years could be on the most-improved list. However, the Cougars are a team on the rise headed into 2015. New coach Tom Herman is a rising star, and the former Ohio State play-caller should transform Greg Ward Jr. into one of the American Athletic’s top quarterbacks. With Cincinnati, Navy and Memphis all visiting TDECU Stadium in 2015, Houston has a chance to push for double-digit wins in 2015.

 

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The Lobos have won 11 games in coach Bob Davie’s three years, but progress has been noticeable. New Mexico won two games in Mountain West play last season and was competitive in losses against Boise State (11 points) and Utah State (seven). With 11 starters back, combined with a favorable schedule, the Lobos may have enough to push for bowl eligibility. Getting to six wins will largely depend on the development of Lamar Jordan or Austin Apodaca at quarterback, along with a defense that has struggled mightily in recent years.

 

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The Mustangs made one of the offseason’s top hires by bringing in Chad Morris as the program’s new head coach. Morris has strong recruiting ties to the state of Texas from his experience as a high school coach, and his offense should have no trouble attracting talent to Dallas. Junior quarterback Matt Davis is a breakout candidate and a good fit for Morris’ spread attack. Despite last year’s 1-11 record, SMU has talent in the program. An immediate boost in the win column is coming for the Mustangs in 2015.

 

Related: 

 

 

Cincinnati is the heavy favorite to win the American Athletic’s East Division in 2015, but keep a close watch on the development of Temple. The Owls return 17 starters from a team that made a four-game improvement in the win column last year. Quarterback P.J. Walker needs more help from the supporting cast for the offense to improve off last year’s totals. The good news for Walker: Running back Zaire Williams is healthy, and receiver Robby Anderson (17.9 ypc average in 2013) are expected to return to the team. The defense could be the best in the American Athletic this season, as linebacker Tyler Matakevich anchors a unit that held opponents to 17.5 points per game last year.

 

Related:

 

 

The Minutemen showed significant progress in Mark Whipple’s return to Amherst. UMass won three games, which was more than it won in two years (2012-13) under Charley Molnar. But the Minutemen were much closer to .500 than some may realize, as this team lost by three points to Colorado and Vanderbilt and fell by a touchdown or less in MAC games against Bowling Green, Miami (Ohio) and Toledo. With 18 starters back, Whipple should have UMass in the mix to play in a bowl in 2015. Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel is one of the best in the Group of 5 ranks, and receiver Tajae Sharpe (85 catches) is back as his top target.

 

Related:

Teaser:
College Football's Most Improved Teams for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 10:30
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-football-2015-all-america-team
Body:

The 2015 season is just around the corner, and it’s time to honor the best of the best for the upcoming year. Several of the nation’s top players from 2014 are in the NFL ranks, but there’s no shortage of talent returning to the FBS level.

 

Athlon Sports released its 2015 all-conference teams earlier this offseason, and now the focus shifts to the All-America team. Whether it’s quarterback, defensive end or a spot on the special teams, picking the best of the best is no easy task.

 

And it should be no surprise - the defending national champion and - leads the All-America team with 11 selections. Alabama is second with seven selections, followed by USC (six) and then four teams tied with five (full table of team selections at the bottom of page). The SEC leads the way with 27 overall selections, and the BIg Ten checks in at No. 2 with 24 picks. 

 

An important note on the All-America teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and previous awards matter in player evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 All-America team and all-conference teams are largely based on predicting and projecting the upcoming year.

 

2015 Athlon Sports All-Conference Teams

 

Power 5: |  |  |  | 

 

Group of 5: |  |  |  | 

 

Athlon Sports 2015 All-America Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBTrevone Boykin
TCU 
Dak Prescott
Miss. State 
Cody Kessler
USC 
Cardale Jones
Ohio State 
RBNick Chubb
Georgia 
James Conner
Pittsburgh 
Dalvin Cook
Florida State 
Samaje Perine
Oklahoma 
RBEzekiel Elliott
Ohio State 
Leonard Fournette
LSU 
Derrick Henry
Alabama 
Devontae Booker
Utah 
APPharoh Cooper
South Carolina 
Adoree' Jackson
USC 
D.J. Foster
Arizona State 
De'Mornay Pierson-El
Nebraska  
WRTyler Boyd
Pittsburgh 
JuJu Smith
USC 
Corey Coleman
Baylor 
Will Fuller
Notre Dame 
WRLaquon Treadwell
Ole Miss 
D'haquille Williams
Auburn 
Rashard Higgins
Colorado State 
Sterling Shepard
Oklahoma 
TEHunter Henry
Arkansas 
Evan Engram
Ole Miss 

O.J. Howard

Alabama 

Bucky Hodges
Virginia Tech 
CMax Tuerk 
USC 
Ryan Kelly
Alabama 
Jack Allen
Michigan State 

Jake Brendel
UCLA 

GPat Elflein 
Ohio State 
Sebastian Tretola
Arkansas 
Greg Pyke
Georgia 
Joshua Garnett
Stanford  
GTaylor Decker (OT)
Ohio State 
Landon Turner
North Carolina 
Le'Raven Clark (OT)
Texas Tech 
Denver Kirkland (OT)
Arkansas 
TLaremy Tunsil
Ole Miss 
Cam Robinson
Alabama  
Ronnie Stanley
Notre Dame 
Kyle Murphy
Stanford 
TSpencer Drango
Baylor 
Jack Conklin
Michigan State 
Cody Whitehair
Kansas State 
John Theus
Georgia 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEJoey Bosa
Ohio State 
Derek Barnett
Tennessee 
Myles Garrett
Texas A&M 
DeForest Buckner
Oregon 
DEShilique Calhoun
Michigan State 
Shawn Oakman
Baylor 
Emmanuel Ogbah
Oklahoma State 
Dadi Nicolas
Virginia Tech 
DTRobert Nkemdiche
Ole Miss 
Andrew Billings
Baylor 
Maliek Collins
Nebraska 

Kenny Clark
UCLA  

DTA'Shawn Robinson
Alabama 
Anthony Zettel
Penn State 
Adolphus Washington
Ohio State 
Sheldon Day
Notre Dame  
LBMyles Jack
UCLA 
Darron Lee
Ohio State 

Su'a Cravens
USC 

Tyler Matakevich
Temple 
LBReggie Ragland
Alabama 
Jaylon Smith
Notre Dame 
Joshua Perry
Ohio State 
Vince Biegel
Wisconsin 
LBScooby Wright
Arizona 
Eric Striker
Oklahoma 
Jordan Jenkins
Georgia 
Darian Thompson (S)
Boise State 
CBKendall Fuller
Virginia Tech 
Eli Apple
Ohio State 
Mackensie Alexander
Clemson 
B. Boddy-Calhoun
Minnesota 
CBVernon Hargreaves III
Florida 
Zack Sanchez
Oklahoma 
William Likely
Maryland 
KeiVarae Russell
Notre Dame 
SJalen Ramsey (CB)
Florida State 
Jeremy Cash
Duke 
Karl Joseph
West Virginia 
Dante Barnett
Kansas State 
STony Conner
Ole Miss 
Vonn Bell
Ohio State 
Quin Blanding
Virginia 
Budda Baker
Washington  
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KRoberto Aguayo
Florida State 
Brad Craddock
Maryland 
Andy Phillips
Utah 
Josh Lambert
West Virginia 
PTom Hackett
Utah 
JK Scott
Alabama 
Austin Rehkow
Idaho 
Peter Mortell
Minnesota 
KRAlex Ross
Oklahoma 
Adoree' Jackson
USC 
Myles Willis
Boston College 
Janarion Grant
Rutgers 
PR

De'Mornay Pierson-El

Nebraska 

Charles Nelson
Oregon 
Jalin Marshall
Ohio State 
Isaiah McKenzie
Georgia 

 

Conference Breakdown of All-America Selections
 FirstSecondThirdFourthTotal
434213
345416
666624
444719
1095327
01135
00011
00112
00101

 

Team Breakdown of All-America Selections
TeamNumber of Selections
Ohio State11
Alabama7
USC6
Oklahoma5
Georgia5
Ole Miss5
Notre Dame5
Baylor4
Florida State3
Virginia Tech3
Michigan State3
Nebraska3
UCLA3
Utah3
Arkansas3
Pittsburgh2
Kansas State2
West Virginia2
Maryland2
Minnesota2
Oregon2
Stanford2
Boston College1
Clemson1
Duke1
North Carolina1
Virginia1
Oklahoma State1
TCU1
Texas Tech1
Penn State1
Rutgers1
Wisconsin1
Arizona1
Arizona State1
Washington1
Florida1
LSU1
Mississippi State1
South Carolina1
Texas A&M1
Tennessee1
Auburn1
Boise State1
Temple1
Idaho1
Colorado State1
Teaser:
College Football 2015 All-America Team
Post date: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/10-position-groups-under-pressure-big-12-2015
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  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.

 

10 Position Groups Under Pressure in 2015

 

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- 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:

 

Defensive Line

The Cyclones have several position groups in need of attention after a 2-10 campaign in 2014. While running back is a position with plenty of inexperience, the defensive line is an even bigger concern for coach Paul Rhoads. Iowa State allowed 246.3 rushing yards per game last year and generated only 15 sacks – the fewest in the Big 12. That’s the bad news. The good news? This group has experienced bodies returning, and two junior college recruits – Demond Tucker and Bobby Leath – should contribute in 2015.

 

Wide Receivers

Improving one unit isn’t going to be enough for Kansas to reach a bowl in 2015. There’s just too many holes for coach David Beaty to address in his first year in Lawrence. With the status of quarterback Michael Cummings uncertain after a spring game knee injury, the supporting cast on offense is even more critical to the development of this group. Senior Rodriguez Coleman was dismissed from the team in June, which leaves only two out of last year’s top 10 statistical receivers. Senior Tre’ Parmalee, sophomores Bobby Hartzog and Derrick Neal will be pressed to emerge as targets for Cummings, Montell Cozart or true freshman Carter Stanley or Ryan Willis in 2015.

 

Wide Receivers

Kansas State returns six starters on offense, but this unit lost its top players from last year in quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett. In addition to Lockett, the receiving corps also has to replace Curry Sexton and Zach Trujillo. There’s experience returning in the way of Kody Cook (20 catches last year), Deante Burton and Kyle Klein. But is one of these players capable of replacing the big-play ability that Lockett brought to the offense?

 

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:

 

Offensive Line

Flip a coin between running backs and offensive line here. Considering it’s easier to reload at running back than in the trenches, we’ll go with the five guys up front in this space. Oklahoma State’s offensive line struggled last year, allowing 40 sacks in 13 contests. But there’s hope for quick improvement in 2015. UAB transfer Victor Salako is penciled in at left tackle, and sophomore Zachary Crabtree is a rising star on the right side. This group should be better with a full offseason to mesh, and will have plenty of time during the regular season to grow before three critical games in November.

 

Related:

 

 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:

 

Wide Receivers

It’s no secret quarterback play is still the biggest concern for Texas headed into its second year under Charlie Strong. But quarterbacks also need a good supporting cast to succeed. Running back Johnathan Gray is a good place to start the ground attack, and the offensive line should improve with four starters back and better depth. But the receiving corps is a concern for Strong, as John Harris and Jaxon Shipley both expired their eligibility. Senior Marcus Johnson (27 catches) is the top returning target, and there’s promising youngsters in the mix, including sophomore Lorenzo Joe, junior Jacorey Warrick and true freshman John Burt.

 

Defensive Line

Fixing the defense was the top priority for coach Kliff Kingsbury this offseason. The first step was hiring David Gibbs to work as the team’s coordinator. Now, Gibbs has to find the right pieces to run his scheme and improve a defense that allowed a whopping 41.3 points per game in 2014. Winning the defensive battle starts up front, and the Red Raiders have a key senior returning in standout Pete Robertson. But outside of Robertson, who will step up? Seniors Rika Levi and Keland McElrath need to plug the interior better, while Branden Jackson should anchor the other end spot. Developing depth and better overall play is a must.

 

Related:

 

Wide Receivers

It’s safe to assume a Dana Holgorsen-coached offense will continue to rank among the ’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:
10 Position Groups Under Pressure in the Big 12 for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/florida-state-makes-slight-change-helmets-2015
Body:

Florida State unveiled new uniforms, an updated logo and helmet design last season. And after one year, the Seminoles are making a slight tweak to the helmets for 2015.

 

Last year’s helmets featured crossing spears at the back. However, the Seminoles plan on altering the helmets to not have the spears cross paths.

 

Check out last year’s helmets, followed by the 2015 update: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
Florida State Makes Slight Change to Helmets for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/14-position-groups-under-pressure-sec-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 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 Position Groups Under Pressure in 2015

 

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.

 

Related:

 

Wide Receivers

It’s a tossup between wide receiver or defensive end for Arkansas. The Razorbacks may not have a standout end like Trey Flowers, but the overall depth has improved to alleviate some of the pass rush concerns. At receiver, Keon Hatcher is back after catching 43 passes for 558 yards and six scores last year. And tight end Hunter Henry is poised for another solid season after grabbing 37 passes for 513 yards in 2014. But who will emerge as consistent No. 3 or No. 4 options for quarterback Brandon Allen? Is it sophomore Jared Cornelius? Or will juniors Cody Hollister or Drew Morgan fill that void?

 

Related:

 

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- 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:

 

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.

 

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:

 

Defensive End/Rush Linebackers

There’s no doubt Kentucky will miss Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith as the defense’s top edge rushers. Dupree played the hybrid rush end position under coach Mark Stoops, while Smith was the Wildcats’ top defensive end. This duo combined for 12 of Kentucky’s 27 sacks last year. Who will replace that production off a defense that struggled (31.3 points per game) in 2014? Junior Jason Hatcher is one answer at edge rusher, while seniors Farrington Huguenin and Cory Johnson will be tasked with replacing Smith’s production.

 

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 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 (assuming he makes it to campus).

 

Related:

 

Offensive Line

A number of positions could be listed here for the Bulldogs. But on the bright side, coach Dan Mullen has upgraded the talent through recruiting in recent years. Only two starters return up front for Mississippi State, with left tackle Blaine Clausell, center Dillon Day and guard Ben Beckwith expiring their eligibility. Junior Justin Senior may switch to left tackle to replace Clausell or that job could fall to senior Rufus Warren. Guard Justin Malone should be among the best in the . How quickly will the Bulldogs find the right mix at the other three spots? Will junior college recruit Martinas Rankin claim a starting job this fall?

 

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. 

 

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:

 

Defensive Line

After giving up 30.4 points per game last year, it’s fair to say every unit on South Carolina’s defense must improve. Getting the defense back on track has to start up front. The Gamecocks addressed this unit through recruiting, adding junior college recruit Marquavius Lewis and talented freshman Dexter Wideman. Both players, along with Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Jr. are critical pieces for a unit that generated only 14 sacks and gave up 212.2 rushing yards per game in 2014.

 

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:

 

Linebackers

With John Chavis calling the defensive signals for Texas A&M, improvement should be noticeable in 2015. Personnel concerns still exist at each level, including linebacker where the Aggies struggled with injuries and overall performance last year. But there’s hope for quick improvement in 2015, as sophomore Otaro Alaka is one of the ’s breakout players this year, and junior A.J. Hilliard is back from a leg injury that sidelined him nearly all of 2014. Junior college recruit Claude George is also pushing for snaps, while the Aggies expect sophomore (and former four-star prospect) Josh Walker to take a step forward this season.

 

Related:

 

Offensive Line

Quarterback play is easily the biggest concern for new coordinator Andy Ludwig. But regardless of which player takes the first snap, the offensive line has to improve its protection and run blocking. The Commodores featured four returning starters last season, yet this unit allowed 21 sacks and rushers averaged only 3.4 yards per carry. A year later, the same storyline is set to unfold. Four starters are back, and the starting group is expected to feature three juniors and one senior. That’s the type of experience that usually translates to improved production. 

Teaser:
14 Position Groups Under Pressure in the SEC for 2015
Post date: Monday, June 22, 2015 - 11:00
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/college-footballs-top-transfers-watch-2015
Body:

Transfers are a huge part of any season. Whether it’s a graduate transfer eligible right away or a player that sat out the previous year due to NCAA rules, impact players are available in the transfer ranks every year.

 

Quarterbacks are always under the microscope in the transfer ranks, and there’s no shortage of intriguing moves for 2015. Everett Golson left Notre Dame for Florida State, and Vernon Adams is transferring from Eastern Washington to Oregon.

 

Related:

 

Every position has an impact transfer for 2015, including running back with ’s Jordan Howard, safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and center Austin Golson.

 

Here’s a look at 25 key transfers to watch this year:

 

25 Impact College Football Transfers for 2015

 

1. The Quarterbacks

Several quarterbacks are slated to make an impact at a new program in 2015. Vernon Adams (Oregon), Everett Golson (Florida State), Jake Rudock (Michigan), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Jeff Driskel (Louisiana Tech) and Max Wittek (Hawaii) are just a few of the key quarterback transfers to watch this year.

 

.

 

2. Jordan Howard, RB, (from UAB)

Howard is eligible immediately after UAB disbanded its football program in December. The junior rushed for 2,468 yards and 15 scores in two years with the Blazers. Tevin Coleman leaves big shoes to fill, but Howard is capable of being an All-Big Ten running back.

 

Related:

 

3. Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, (from Georgia)

Even though Louisville’s secondary must replace all four starters from last season, the pass defense won’t suffer too big of a drop with two Georgia transfers stepping into the lineup. Harvey-Clemons was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and made 11 starts for the Bulldogs in 2013.

 

Related:

 

4. Blake Countess, CB, (from Michigan)

Auburn’s secondary has to improve after giving up 44 pass plays of 20 yards or more last year. The Tigers have lost a few players here via transfer, but the addition of Countess should help at corner. The Maryland native played in 38 games for the Wolverines, recorded 114 tackles and six interceptions. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2013.

 

Related:

 

5. Austin Golson, C, (from Ole Miss)

Golson is making the rare move of transferring within the SEC West, as the Alabama native left Ole Miss after playing in 12 games with the Rebels in 2013. Golson is considered the frontrunner to start at center and replace Reese Dismukes for a talented Auburn offensive line.

 

6. Matt Hegarty, OL, (from Notre Dame)

Oregon’s offensive line loses stalwarts in left tackle Jake Fisher and center Hroniss Grasu, but a solid foundation remains intact with three other returning starters. Hegarty started 11 games for the Fighting Irish last season and will push for starting spot at guard or center.

 

Related:

 

7. Devin Lucien, WR, (from UCLA)

With the departure of Jaelen Strong to the NFL, Arizona State’s offense is in need of a receiver (or two) to emerge. But the answers are falling into place for coach Todd Graham, as running back D.J. Foster is shifting to receiver, and Lucien is eligible immediately after transferring from UCLA. The California native averaged 12.9 yards per catch in three years with the Bruins.

 

Related:

 

8. Wayne Lyons, CB, (from Stanford)

Michigan lost cornerback Blake Countess in a transfer to Auburn but gained a starter in Lyons. The Florida native is a good fit for the Wolverines’ defensive scheme in press coverage and was recruited to Stanford by Jim Harbaugh. Lyons recorded 30 tackles in 13 games with the Cardinal in 2014.

 

9. Tray Matthews, S, (from Georgia)

Auburn’s defense should be among the most improved groups in the SEC this season. The addition of Will Muschamp at coordinator will help to turn around a unit that allowed 26.7 points per game in 2014. Matthews is the second defensive back transfer for Auburn to make this list, as the sophomore is likely to start at safety after transferring from Georgia. The sophomore played in eight games for the Bulldogs in 2013 and recorded 36 tackles.

 

10. Ty Isaac, RB, (from USC)

Jim Harbaugh loves to establish the run, and the Wolverines are due for improvement in this area after generating only 162.8 yards per game in 2014. Getting junior Derrick Green back to full strength after a broken clavicle last year will help, and Isaac is ready to contribute after sitting out a season due to transfer rules. Isaac was a five-star recruit out of high school and rushed for 236 yards and two scores in 14 games with the Trojans in 2013.

 

11. Freddie Tagaloa, OT, (from California)

Rich Rodriguez’s high-powered Arizona offense will be breaking in three new starters on the line this season. Tagaloa should help to ease some of the transition up front, as the California native has starting experience from his two-year stint in Berkeley. The junior is expected to start at left tackle in 2015.

 

Related:

 

12. Victor Salako, OT, (from UAB)

Oklahoma State’s offensive line struggled last season, but this unit showed improvement late in the year. Salako transferred to Stillwater after UAB disbanded its football program in December, and the Alabama native is expected to start at left tackle after making 23 starts with the Blazers.

 

Related:

 

13. Mike Mitchell, LB, (from Ohio State)

It’s no secret Texas Tech’s defense is in need of repair. Coach Kliff Kingsbury took a major step forward in addressing the defensive woes by hiring David Gibbs away from Houston, while the talent on the field is bolstered by the addition of Mitchell. The five-star recruit never played at Ohio State and redshirted in his only season with the Buckeyes.

 

Related:

 

14. Shaq Wiggins, CB, (from Georgia)

Wiggins is the second Georgia transfer to Louisville in this article. Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons is expected to join Wiggins as starters in the secondary for coordinator Todd Grantham. Wiggins started eight games for the Bulldogs in 2013, recording 19 tackles and two interceptions. 

 

15. Brennan Scarlett, DE, (from California)

Scarlett’s decision to transfer from California to Stanford certainly raised some eyebrows around the Pac-12, but the senior is a solid pickup for the Cardinal defense. Injuries marred Scarlett’s tenure at California, as he never played in a full season and was limited to 17 appearances in four years. Stanford is thin on depth up front, which should allow Scarlett to carve out a role in the trenches this season.

 

16. Ja’Quay Savage, WR, (from Texas A&M)

Louisville has some big shoes to fill in the receiving corps with the departure of receivers DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers and tight end Gerald Christian. But the Cardinals aren’t hurting for talent on the outside, as UAB transfer Jamari Staples, junior James Quick and Savage will be a trio of capable targets. Savage (formerly Ja’Quay Williams) transferred to Louisville after one year at Texas A&M. The Georgia native caught four passes with the Aggies in 2013.

 

17. Isaiah Johnson, S, (from Kansas)

South Carolina’s defense struggled mightily last year, giving up 30.4 points per game and 6.2 yards per play. Coach Steve Spurrier hopes the addition of new co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke helps to turn around this unit, along with addition of a few new faces and more experience from the underclassmen. Johnson was one of the few bright spots on a struggling Kansas team last year, recording 75 tackles and one interception. Johnson should push for a starting spot at safety.

 

Related:

 

18. Richard Mullaney, WR, (from Oregon State)

Amari Cooper leaves big shoes to fill after catching 124 of Alabama’s 290 passes last year. And Cooper isn’t the only loss for coordinator Lane Kiffin as No. 2 target DeAndrew White and No. 3 receiver Christion Jones have expired their eligibility. Mullaney is a post-spring pickup for coach Nick Saban, and the Oregon State graduate transfer should be a valuable pickup for an inexperienced receiving corps. Mullaney caught 52 passes in 2013 but was limited by injury in 2014.

 

19. Rodney Coe, DT, (from Iowa State)

Akron’s starting defense could feature five transfers from Power 5 programs. Linebacker Darryl Monroe is a name to watch, but Coe could be the biggest impact transfer for coach Terry Bowden. The 305-pound tackle recorded 37 tackles at Iowa State in 2013 and will anchor the interior of Akron’s defensive front this year.

 

Related:

 

20. Kelsey Young, RB, (from Stanford)

With Jay Ajayi moving onto the NFL, uncertainty surrounds the Boise State backfield. Jeremy McNichols and Cory Young are the favorites to replace Ajayi’s production, but Kelsey Young (Cory’s brother) adds to the competition after transferring to Boise for his final year. He rushed for 331 yards on 66 attempts with Stanford in 2014.

 

21. Kaiwan Lewis, LB, (from South Carolina)

Rutgers’ Big Ten debut was a success, but coach Kyle Flood has some work to do in order to get the Scarlet Knights back in the postseason in 2015. Upgrading the performance on defense is a must, and Lewis – a graduate transfer from South Carolina – is slated to compete for the starting job at middle linebacker. Lewis regarded 20 tackles for the Gamecocks last year but made 10 starts in 2013.

 

22. Mason Halter, OL, (from Fordham)

Florida taking a graduate transfer from Fordham isn’t going to be a common occurrence, but the Gators desperately need offensive line help, and Halter is a good pickup to bolster the available talent. The senior started 33 games at Fordham and was one of the top linemen at the FCS level. With the Gators short on talent and depth, Halter figures to make an impact in his only year in Gainesville.

 

23. Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR, (from Washington)

Stringfellow certainly has the talent to be an impact receiver for Ole Miss, but coach Hugh Freeze indicated the Washington transfer needs to show more consistency to earn playing time in 2015. In his only season with the Huskies, Stringfellow caught 20 passes for 259 yards and one score.

 

24. Jake Ganus, LB, (from UAB)

The Bulldogs are loaded with talent on the outside in the linebacking corps, featuring All-SEC candidates in Lorenzo Carter, Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd. The interior spots in this group are up for grabs, and Ganus could push Reggie Carter or Tim Kimbrough for a starting job. Ganus led UAB in tackles in 2013-14 and was a second-team All-Conference USA selection last year.

 

25. Kyle Bosch, OL, (from Michigan)

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen received good news in late May when Bosch was declared eligible for the 2015 season. The Illinois native played in one game for Michigan in 2014 but started three in 2013. He should push for time at guard in 2015.

 

Other Transfers to Watch

 

 

RB Ralph David Abernathy IV, Cincinnati to Tennessee

RB Andrew Buie, West Virginia to Charlotte

RB Donnell Alexander, Colorado State to Akron

RB Dalyn Dawkins, Purdue to Colorado State

RB Justice Hayes, Michigan to Southern Miss

RB Malin Jones, Northwestern to Louisville

RB Demarcus Kirk, UAB to Georgia State

RB Albert Reid, Maryland to Virginia

RB Patrick Skov, Stanford to Georgia Tech
RB Donovan Wilson, Georgia Tech to Bowling Green

RB/WR D.J. Vinson, UAB to South Alabama

 

WR Chance Allen, Oregon to Houston

WR K.J. Brent, South Carolina to Wake Forest

WR Dylan Collie, BYU to Hawaii

WR Kenny Golladay, North Dakota to Northern ILlinois

WR Marqui Hawkins, UAB to Indiana

WR Nyiakki Height, UAB to Georgia State

WR A.J. Legree, Kentucky to South Florida

WR Uriah Lemay, Georgia to Charlotte

WR Collin Lisa, UAB to Buffalo

WR Quincy Perdue, UAB to Kansas

WR Robbie Rhodes, Baylor to Bowling Green

WR Jamari Staples, UAB to Louisville

WR T.J. Thorpe, North Carolina to Virginia

WR Andrew Rodriguez, Houston to Utah State

 

TE Gerald Everett, UAB to South Alabama

TE M.J. McFarland, Texas to UTEP

TE Taylor McNamara, Oklahoma to USC

TE Mitch Parsons, Vanderbilt to Colorado State

TE Kent Taylor, Florida to Kansas

 

OL Cameron Blankenship, UAB to South Alabama

OL Roscoe Byrd, UAB to Georgia Southern

OL Ruben Carter, Florida State to Toledo

OL Lee Dufour, UAB to South Alabama

OL Derek Edinburgh Jr., LSU to Louisiana Tech

OL Kelepi Folau, UAB to Georgia State

OL Tim Gardner, Ohio State to Indiana

OL Reilly Gibbons, Stanford to USF

OL Rami Hammad, Texas to Baylor

OL Taylor Hindy, Washington to Syracuse

OL Ryan Mack, Louisville to Memphis

OL Kyle Marrs, Oklahoma to Houston

OL T.J. McCoy, NC State to Florida

OL Emeka Okafor, Houston to Texas Tech

OL Kevin Reihner, Stanford to Penn State

OL Sam Rice, SMU to North Texas

OL Ben Wysocki, UCLA to Utah State

 

DL Justin Akins, Georgia Tech to MTSU

DL Aaron Curry, Nebraska to TCU

DL Kylie Fitts, UCLA to Utah

DL Nick Internicola, Rutgers to FAU

DT Mickey Johnson, LSU to Louisiana Tech

DL Evan Kelly, Richmond to Boston College

DL James Looney, Wake Forest to California

DE Jamal Marcus, Ohio State to Akron

DT Suleiman Masumbuko, Baylor to Tulsa

DL Kevin McReynolds, UCLA to Nevada

DL Robert Mondie, UAB to Arkansas State

DT Jontavious Morris, UAB to WKU

DL Joshua Posley, Cincinnati to Ball State

DL Mark Scarpinto, Michigan State to Pittsburgh

 

LB Jefferson Ashiru, UConn to Maryland

LB Blake Dees, Texas Tech to South Alabama

LB Samson Faifili, Kansas to Utah State

LB Anthony Harrell, Georgia Tech to Florida

LB Davonte James, West Virginia to Kent State

LB Makani Kema-Kaleiwahe, Arizona to Hawaii

LB TJ McCollum, UAB to WKU

LB Alonzo McGee, UAB to Georgia State

LB Daryl Monroe, Washington State to Akron

LB Otha Peters, Arkansas to UL Lafayette

LB Shawn Petty, Maryland to Marshall

LB Marquise Roberts, South Carolina to Kansas

LB Chad Whitener, California to Oklahoma State

 

CB Derek Babiash, Arizona to San Diego State

DB Bobby Baker, UAB to Georgia State

DB Kelton Brackett, UAB to UMass

CB Ahmad Christian, South Carolina to Utah

DB Jordan Collier, UAB to Buffalo

DB Zach Dancel, Maryland to Wake Forest

CB Demarco Davis, UAB to Georgia State

CB Lamarcus Farmer, UAB to Troy

DB Travis Green, Kansas State to New Mexico

DB Bryant Gross-Armiento, Rutgers to Wake Forest

DB Eilar Hardy, Notre Dame to Bowling Green

DB Kiy Hester, Miami to Rutgers

CB Larry Hope, Miami to Akron

CB Michael Hunter, Indiana to Oklahoma State

DB Kalen Jackson, UAB to South Alabama

DB Rashad Jackson, New Mexico to North Texas

DB Vershad Jackson, New Mexico to North Texas

DB Rolan Milligan, UAB to Toledo

CB Chris Murphy, Arkansas to Cincinnati

S Avery Sebastian, California to Notre Dame

CB Trenton Trammell, BYU to UTEP

 

P Blake O’Neill, Weber State to Michigan

P Nathan Renfro, Maryland to Tennessee

Teaser:
College Football's Top Transfers to Watch in 2015
Post date: Monday, June 22, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/what-if-nfl-logos-were-canadian
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Logos for any sports franchise or league are a critical part of identification and merchandise. And tweaking a logo is one way to drive up a little revenue.

 

But the internet has succeeded in creating awesome redesigned or tweaked logos. At , the question was posed: What if NFL logos were Canadian.

 

As you can imagine, the results were terrific.

 

A few of our favorites are below. .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
What if NFL Logos Were Canadian?
Post date: Friday, June 19, 2015 - 12:27
Path: /college-football/alabama-unveils-2014-sec-championship-rings
Body:

has won plenty of hardware since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide missed out on an opportunity to play for the national championship last year after a loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, but the 2014 team recorded an impressive 42-13 win over Missouri for the SEC title.

 

And it should be no surprise that Alabama is celebrating the SEC Championship with some fancy hardware.

 

Check out the Crimson Tide’s 2014 SEC title rings:

 

 

on

Teaser:
Alabama Unveils 2014 SEC Championship Rings
Post date: Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 15:09
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-running-back-tandems-2015
Body:

Having two running backs is almost essential for every team. While some teams have workhorse options that can handle 275 or 300 carries, most programs want to have at least two (and sometimes three) running backs to split up the workload. The thought process is pretty simple: Take the workload off one player and spread it around to keep everyone fresh.

 

has mastered that philosophy under coach Bret Bielema, as the Razorbacks boast the nation’s best tandem in Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. Both players eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2014 and should reach that level in 2015.

 

But Arkansas isn’t the only program with two solid running backs, as Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon and Alabama are the next teams in the mix.

 

Which teams have the best No. 1 and No. 2 running backs? Here’s the top 20 in college football, with an emphasis on talent, production so far in their career and projection for 2015. 

 

College Football's Top 20 Running Back Tandems for 2015

 

1.

 

The Razorbacks have the best one-two punch at running back for 2015. Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins return after each eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark last season and combined for 24 rushing scores. This duo will also have one of the nation’s top offensive lines at their disposal, which includes three All-America candidates in guard Sebastian Tretola and tackles Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland.

 

Related:

 

2.

 

Georgia’s rushing attack didn’t skip a beat despite losing Todd Gurley to a suspension, then a torn ACL in the win over Auburn. Nick Chubb emerged as one of the ’s top running backs in the second half of 2014, averaging 165.4 rushing yards per game over the final eight contests. Sony Michel – a five-star recruit in 2014 – is the No. 2 back after averaging 6.4 yards per carry last year.

 

Related:

 

3.

 

Even though Oklahoma has a new play-caller (Lincoln Riley) and a few tweaks to its offensive scheme, the rushing attack is still going to be a huge part of the gameplan. Samaje Perine headlines the backfield after rushing for 1,713 yards and 21 scores as a true freshman, while the No. 2 spot is up for grabs between Joe Mixon and Alex Ross.

 

Related:

 

4.

 

Having a deep stable of running backs and receivers should help to ease the transition of Eastern Washington transfer quarterback Vernon Adams into the starting lineup. Royce Freeman had a huge freshman campaign in 2014, rushing for 1,365 yards and 18 scores. Thomas Tyner missed four games due to injury, but the junior has rushed for 1,284 yards over the last two years.

 

Related:

 

5.

 

In every season since 2008, Alabama has posted two running backs to reach the 600-yard mark. That streak should extend to eight consecutive years in 2015, as the Crimson Tide can lean on Derrick Henry as the No. 1 option, with Kenyan Drake the No. 2 rusher after returning from a leg injury. Henry shared carries with T.J. Yeldon last season and rushed for 990 yards and 11 scores. 

 

Related:

 

6.

 

Ezekiel Elliott opens 2015 as one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, and the junior closed 2014 playing as well as any running back in the nation. In Ohio State’s run to the national championship, Elliott rushed for 220 yards against Wisconsin, 230 versus Alabama and 246 in the 42-20 win over Oregon. Curtis Samuel (6.6 ypc in 2014) should see a bigger role in 2015.

 

7.

 

With the departure of quarterback Jameis Winston to the NFL, the focus in the Florida State offense shifts to Dalvin Cook and the rushing attack. The Miami native rushed for 1,008 yards and eight scores as a true freshman in 2014 and should push for All-America honors in 2015. Cook won’t have to carry the entire workload, as Florida State also has Mario Pender and four-star recruit Jacques Patrick.

 

Related:

 

8.

 

Pittsburgh has the ’s No. 1 running back in James Conner, and sophomore Chris James is a solid No. 2 option for new coach Pat Narduzzi. Conner rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 scores last year, while James averaged five yards a carry on 87 attempts. 

 

9.

 

Since we are projecting ahead to 2015, this backfield is one on the rise for 2015. Jalen Hurd led the team with 899 yards as a true freshman in 2014, and he will have help from junior college recruit (and former Alabama back) Alvin Kamara. The stats don’t back up this ranking in June. But the Volunteers are primed to take a step forward on the ground in 2015.

 

10.

 

Although coach Dana Holgorsen likes to throw the ball around, don’t overlook the Mountaineers’ rushing attack. Rushel Shell recorded 788 yards and seven scores in his first season of playing time at West Virginia, while Wendell Smallwood is one of the Big 12’s top all-around backs after recording 1,057 total yards last year. Redshirt freshman Donte Thomas-Williams is a name to remember.

 

11.

 

Art Briles’ high-powered offense isn’t limited to only the aerial assault. The Bears averaged 215.5 rushing yards per game last year, headlined by Shock Linwood (1,252 yards) and Devin Chafin (4.8 ypc on 80 attempts).

 

12.

 

The Rockets must replace all five starters on the offensive line, but coach Matt Campbell can still rely on his ground attack with the return of Kareem Hunt (1,631 yards and 16 touchdowns). Hunt’s 1,631 yards and 16 scores is even more impressive when you consider he only played in 10 games last year. The Rockets are overflowing with depth at running back, starting with Terry Swanson (6.5 ypc in 2014), Damion Jones-Moore and Marc Remy.

 

13.

 

Behind running back Donnel Pumphrey, the Aztecs are the favorite to win the Mountain West’s West Division in 2015. Pumphrey finished fourth nationally with 1,873 yards in 2014. Chase Price should be the top backup after recording 674 yards and five touchdowns last year.

 

Related:

 

14.

 

With quarterback Rakeem Cato expiring his eligibility, the Thundering Herd may lean more on its rushing attack in 2015. That’s no problem for Marshall, as Devon Johnson (1,767 yards) and Remi Watson (546 yards) return.

 

15.

 

D.J. Foster is moving to receiver, which means Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage will handle the bulk of the carries for coach Todd Graham. Both players are due for a breakout season after combining for 604 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014.

 

16.

 

The Hilltoppers have one of the nation’s top offenses for the 2015 season. Quarterback Brandon Doughty returns, and the ground attack is bolstered by Leon Allen (1,542 yards in 2014). Allen is among the top running backs in Conference USA. Anthony Wales (518 yards last year) is Allen’s primary backup.

 

Related:

 

17.

 

Potential. That’s the word to remember when examining Miami’s backfield for 2015. Sophomore Joseph Yearby is a breakout candidate after rushing for 509 yards and one score in a backup role to Duke Johnson last year. Gus Edwards is the No. 2 back but could earn a split of the carries (349 yards, six touchdowns in 2014).

 

18.

 

Georgia Southern had a successful debut on the FBS level by finishing 9-3 overall and a perfect 8-0 mark in conference play. The offense led the way for coach Willie Fritz, as two players – running back Matt Breida and quarterback Kevin Ellison – each eclipsed 1,000 yards. Breida averaged 8.7 yards per carry and recorded 14 rushing plays of 30 yards or more. Alfred Ramsby (4.5 yards per carry and 12 scores in 2014) is Georgia Southern’s No. 2 back.

 

Related:

 

19.

 

Texas Tech had the fewest rushing attempts of any Big 12 team in 2014, but the Red Raiders maximized their opportunities by averaging 5.2 yards per carry. DeAndre Washington is one of the Big 12’s most underrated players after leading the team with 1,103 yards last year. Justin Stockton is a big-play threat, averaging 8.3 yards per carry in 2014.

 

20.

 

Similar to its conference comrade Georgia Southern, Appalachian State made a splash in its first year of FBS play. The Mountaineers finished 2014 on a six-game winning streak and enter 2015 as one of the favorites. Marcus Cox is the headliner at running back (1,415 yards), and coach Scott Satterfield plans on utilizing Terrence Upshaw (573 yards) more in 2015.

 

Other Backfield Tandems to Watch in 2015

 

Power 5

 

Auburn: Jovon Robinson and Roc Thomas/Peyton Barber

 

Boston College: Jon Hilliman and Myles Willis

 

California: Daniel Lasco and Vic Enwere/Khalfani Muhammad

 

LSU: Leonard Fournette and Darrel Williams

 

Michigan: Derrick Green and Ty Isaac

 

NC State: Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes

 

Nebraska: Terrell Newby and Imani Cross

 

Notre Dame: Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant

 

Rutgers: Paul James and Josh Hicks/Robert Martin

 

TCU: Aaron Green and Shaun Nixon

 

UCLA: Paul Perkins and Nate Starks

 

Group of 5

 

Buffalo: Anthone Taylor and Devin Campbell

 

Cincinnati: Hosey Williams and Mike Boone

 

Houston: Kenneth Farrow and Ryan Jackson

 

Louisiana Tech: Kenneth Dixon and Jarred Craft

 

New Mexico: Teriyon Gipson and Jhurell Pressley

 

Nevada: Don Jackson and James Butler

 

Wyoming: Brian Hill and Shaun Wick

Teaser:
College Football's Top 20 Running Back Tandems for 2015
Post date: Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/15-world-cities-need-host-college-football-game
Body:

Baylor’s non-conference scheduling has been criticized frequently over the last few years. But the Bears are doing their best to upgrade the schedule and are on talks to appear in Australia (Sydney or Melbourne) against a Pac-12 opponent to open the 2016 season.

 

So that news got us thinking. What overseas cities need to have a college football game for an opener?

 

Here are a few cities or foreign destinations we think need to host a college football game in the future: 

 

Aircraft Carrier

Location to be determined and it would take some creativity to fit the football field on the top deck. But if college basketball can do it, then let’s make it happen for college football. The military's newest supercarrier, the USS Gerald Ford (not pictured at right), is scheduled for deployment in 2019. Let’s go with an Air Force vs. Navy matchup.

 

Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the top travel destinations and is known for that other kind of football. And in tandem with the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, we could position a USF versus Buffalo matchup.

 

Bermuda

This is actually not an unrealistic trip or a location for a bowl. Since we are still trying to figure out the Bermuda Triangle, let’s go with an all-Hurricane matchup between Miami and Tulsa. Or since Bermuda is just off the coast of the Carolinas, we could propose a South Carolina-North Carolina pairing. Bermuda has to have good golf courses for Steve Spurrier, right?

 

Bora Bora

This small Pacific Ocean island nation has some awesome views. Squeezing in a field will be a challenge. But let’s just say the fanbase for any team would appreciate a game in this location.

 

Dubai

Dubai has been mentioned as a possible spot for a bowl or a game for Texas. Seems like it’s only a matter of time before a college football game ends up in the Middle East.

 

Havana

Relations between the United Stats and Cuba are thawing and what better way to continue that deicing than a game in Havana? After all, that’s where the Bacardi Bowl was played in the early 1900s to the mid-1940s.

 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s picturesque skyline would be a good backdrop for the opening of the telecast. And the bright lights of the city would be a great place for Oregon to unveil another awesome uniform combination.

 

London

London already gets a few NFL games, but bringing a college matchup might have more spice than just a Jaguars contest. Let’s see: How about Michigan versus Alabama?

 

Mexico City

One of the world’s largest cities has a 95,500-seat stadium just waiting for a game. The 49ers-Cardinals played a NFL preseason game here in 2005. How about an Arizona-Texas Tech game?

 

Paris

There’s no shortage of stadiums in Paris. Let’s take LSU and the French Quarter overseas in the future to take on UL Lafayette.

 

Rio

The Olympics are coming to Rio in 2016, with the games scheduled to last from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21. That’s perfect timing to host a college football opener in late August/early September.

 

Rome

This would be even better if the game could take place in the old Colosseum. And for our modern day gridiron gladiators, how about Notre Dame and Florida State?

 

Seoul

Asia is a region the Pac-12 wants to tap into, and Seoul is a good place to stage a game in the coming years. 

 

Siberia

I know. It’s cold and unrealistic. But Washington vs. Northern Illinois in a Huskies showdown has a good sound to it.

 

Tokyo

The Tokyo Dome has hosted MLB and NFL preseason games. Why not a college football matchup between two West Coast teams or a West Coast squad and team from the Midwest? Let’s say UCLA and Texas?

 

Other Locations Considered

 

Amsterdam

An F1 racetrack (Don't forget that Virginia Tech and Tennessee are set to tangle at Bristol Motor Speeday in 2016)

Beijing

Dubai

Easter Island

Frankfurt

Greenland

Istanbul

Madrid

Moscow

Shanghai

Singapore

South Africa

Taipei

 

(Sydney photo at top by , USS George Washington photo courtesy of the , Hong Kong photo by )

Teaser:
15 World Cities That Need to Host a College Football Game
Post date: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 16:11
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-impact-quarterback-transfers-2015
Body:

Finding a dependable and productive starting quarterback is a huge challenge for all 128 coaches each season. While recruiting and developing a player is the easiest and preferred route, sometimes that plan doesn’t work. Transfers are a huge part of any offseason and can help the coaching staff bridge the gap to the next prospect or fill a void after a player didn’t develop as expected.

 

There are several players expected to make an impact as a transfer quarterback in 2015, including Everett Golson at Florida State and Vernon Adams at Oregon. Outside of the Power 5 ranks, Jeff Driskel at Louisiana Tech and Max Wittek at Hawaii are two names to watch among Group of 5 teams.

 

Power 5 Quarterback Transfers

 

Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington to

Adams is one of the most interesting quarterback transfers to hit the FBS level in recent years. The California native was one of the top players in the FCS ranks over the last three seasons, throwing for 10,438 yards and 110 touchdowns and rushing for 1,232 yards and 11 scores. While Adams has been an elite quarterback for Eastern Washington, he has to translate that production to the Pac-12 and a level of play with more talent. The Ducks certainly aren’t hurting for options or talent at the skill positions. If Adams quickly settles into the starting job, Oregon should be in the mix for a playoff spot once again.

 

Related:

 

Connor Brewer, to

Virginia has been a busy place for quarterback transactions this offseason. David Watford departed to Hampton, and Greyson Lambert left for Georgia after spring practice. Adding Brewer as a graduate transfer makes a lot of sense for Virginia, as more depth is needed behind starter Matt Johns. The junior has two years of eligibility left and was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. Brewer has yet to throw a pass on the FBS level.

 

Tyler Ferguson, to

Ferguson left Penn State after one season in Happy Valley. In his only year with the Nittany Lions, the California native played in five games and completed 10 of 15 passes for 155 yards and one score. Louisville’s quarterback competition is a crowded one, as Reggie Bonnafon, Will Gardner, Kyle Bolin and Ferguson are all competing for the first snap. Bonnafon has the edge to start in 2015.

 

Related:

 

Daxx Garman, to

Garman was a late addition to Maryland’s 2015 roster, joining the team in late May as a graduate transfer. Caleb Rowe is expected to be the Terrapins’ quarterback this year, but the junior is recovering from a torn ACL. Garman completed only 54.9 percent of his passes (277) at Oklahoma State in 2014. However, he also has a knack for producing big plays, completing 19 passes of 30 yards or more.

 

Everett Golson, to

Golson transferred from Notre Dame following spring practice and was brought in to compete with Sean Maguire for the starting job. Replacing Jameis Winston is no easy task, but Golson – 3,445 passing yards and 29 passing touchdowns in 2014 – should be one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC if he beats out Maguire.

 

Greyson Lambert, to

Lambert started nine games for Virginia in 2014 but was edged by Matt Johns at the end of spring practice for the starting job. The Georgia native is eligible to compete immediately as a graduate transfer and will open fall practices at No. 3 after Jacob Park announced his intentions to transfer in June. Lambert is a good addition for a team with an uncertain quarterback situation, but it’s unlikely he wins the job with Faton Bauta and Brice Ramsey ahead on the depth chart.

 

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Baker Mayfield, to

Mayfield has traveled an interesting path to Oklahoma. The Texas native was a walk-on recruit to Texas Tech and started the season opener for the Red Raiders in 2013. Mayfield finished 2013 with 2,315 passing yards and 12 touchdowns but decided to transfer at the end of the regular season. And after sitting out 2014 due to transfer rules, the junior is the frontrunner to take the first snap for Oklahoma in 2015. New play-caller Lincoln Riley is tweaking the Sooners’ offensive scheme, and Mayfield should benefit by the shift to more of an Air Raid style.

 

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Nathan Peterman, to

Chad Voytik returns as Pittsburgh’s starter after throwing for 2,233 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2014. But with a new coaching staff and offensive scheme, Peterman will have an opportunity to push for time in the fall. Peterman was recruited to Tennessee by current Pittsburgh play-caller Jim Chaney. The familiarity should help Peterman quickly acclimate to his new surroundings.

 

Hayden Rettig, to

Rettig – a former four-star prospect out of high school – is locked into a tight battle with Chris Laviano for the starting job. Rettig redshirted in his only year at LSU but threw for 3,424 yards and 40 touchdowns in his senior year at Cathedral High School. While Laviano won the job in the spring, Rettig will have an opportunity to claim the starting spot in the fall.

 

Jake Rudock, to

Rudock left Iowa for a chance to start at Michigan and learn under Jim Harbaugh for one season. In four seasons with the Hawkeyes, Rudock completed 417 of 691 passes for 4,819 yards and 34 scores. The senior is expected to edge Shane Morris for the starting job in the fall.

 

Other Power 5 Quarterback Transfers to Watch

 

Josh Grady, Vanderbilt to Florida

Ty Griffin, Georgia Tech to Oregon

Nic Shimonek, Iowa to Texas Tech

 

Group of 5 Quarterback Transfers

 

Trey Anderson, to

FIU has a promising sophomore in Alex McGough, but it never hurts to add competition for a team that finished 4-8 and averaged only 23 points per game in 2014. Anderson completed 25 of 53 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown in three seasons of playing time at Pittsburgh.

 

Russell Bellomy, to UTSA

Bellomy was buried on the Michigan depth chart and transferred to UTSA as a graduate transfer for 2015. The Texas native played in six career game with the Wolverines and will push Blake Bogenschutz and Austin Robinson for snaps.

 

Michael Birdsong, James Madison to

Birdsong started for James Madison in 2013, throwing for 2,728 yards and 22 scores and adding 310 yards and three scores on the ground. Marshall’s offense is one of the best among the Group of 5 ranks, and Birdsong is inheriting plenty of talent to work with in 2015. The junior finished spring at the top of the depth chart.

 

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Tra'Von Chapman, to

The Zips are looking for a spark in their passing attack after throwing only seven touchdown passes in MAC play last year. Chapman – a former four-star recruit – is expected to push returning starter Kyle Pohl for the starting job.

 

Cody Clements, to South Alabama

Clements was a good find for UAB on the recruiting trail last season, as the Cerritos College transfer threw for 2,227 yards and 14 touchdowns in 11 games. The California native transferred to South Alabama after UAB disbanded its football team for 2015 and is expected to start for coach Joey Jones.

 

Cameron Coffman, to

Wyoming averaged 227.8 passing yards per game last season, but this offense should have an upgrade at quarterback with the addition of Coffman. The Indiana transfer threw for 2,734 yards and 15 scores in 2012 with the Hoosiers.

 

Jeff Driskel, to

Driskel was a four-star prospect coming out of high school, but the Florida native had his share of ups and downs in Gainesville. With one year of eligibility left and a new offensive scheme for the Gators, Driskel decided to transfer to Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs had good success with a graduate transfer last year (Cody Sokol), and Driskel will have plenty of talent to work with, including star running back Kenneth Dixon. Driskel threw for 3,411 yards and 23 touchdowns to 20 interceptions in his Florida career.

 

Adam Schulz, to

Greg Ward is a rising star at quarterback for new Houston coach Tom Herman, but depth behind the junior was an issue. Schulz is a graduate transfer from Utah and threw for 1,091 yards and six touchdowns in three years with the Utes.

 

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Maxwell Smith, to

Smith battled shoulder injuries at Kentucky and used the 2014 season as a redshirt year. But when he’s healthy, Smith has proven he can be a solid FBS quarterback. The senior threw for 21 touchdowns and 3,070 yards in three seasons with the Wildcats.

 

Tyler Matthews, to

Southern Miss has a returning starter at quarterback in junior Nick Mullens (12 TDs, 9 INTs in 2014), but Matthews – a four-star recruit in the 2012 signing class – will have an opportunity to win the starting job. The Kansas native was also recruited to Oklahoma State by current Southern Miss coach Todd Monken.

 

Bryant Shirreffs, to

UConn is desperately looking for a spark on offense after averaging only 169.3 passing yards per game in 2014. Shirreffs had success in a limited role at NC State in 2013, completing 4 of 5 passes for 17 yards and one score, along with 158 yards on the ground. Shirreffs has an edge over Tim Boyle and Garrett Anderson to start.

 

Max Wittek, to

With an 8-29 mark in three years at Hawaii, Norm Chow is squarely on the hot seat entering 2015. But Chow has reason for optimism this year, as Wittek was a former top 100 recruit in the 2011 signing class and a four-star prospect. Wittek only completed 50 of 95 passes for 600 yards and three scores in two seasons of playing time with the Trojans. However, he’s a talented passer and is an upgrade for the Rainbow Warriors at quarterback.

 

Other Quarterback Transfers to Watch

 

Damion Hobbs, Oregon to Utah State

Jake Rodrigues, Oregon to San Diego State

Blaire Sullivan, UTEP to Texas State

Teaser:
College Football's Impact Quarterback Transfers for 2015
Post date: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-secs-offensive-lines-2015
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The success of any offense starts in the trenches. Although the skill positions and quarterbacks get all of the attention, it’s the five players up front that set the tone for the rest of the offense.

 

The is never short on talent in the trenches, and 2015 features two teams – and – that could have the nation’s best overall group. The Bulldogs have a slight edge over the Razorbacks in Athlon’s offensive line rankings, but there’s very little separating these groups.

 

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Ranking the SEC’s Offensive Lines for 2015

 

1.

Returning Starters: 4

 

It’s a close call for the No. 1 spot between Georgia and Arkansas. A slight edge goes to the Bulldogs over the Razorbacks, as new Georgia line coach Rob Sale inherits four starters from a unit that led the way for rushers to average 5.5 yards per carry in 2014. This group also allowed only 12 sacks in eight SEC contests. Guard Greg Pyke is a first-team All-SEC selection by Athlon Sports for 2015, while the tackle spots are anchored by seniors John Theus and Kolton Houston.

 

2.

Returning Starters: 4

 

As mentioned with Georgia, very little separates Georgia and Arkansas in SEC offensive line rankings for 2015. The Razorbacks return four starters, including All-America candidates in guard Sebastian Tretola and tackles Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland. In SEC games last season, Arkansas averaged four yards per carry and allowed only 12 sacks. In just three years in Fayetteville, coach Bret Bielema has already assembled one of the nation’s top offensive lines.

 

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3.

Returning Starters: 3

 

Center Reese Dismukes will be missed, but coach Gus Malzahn should feel confident in the offensive line’s ability for 2015. The Tigers return three starters, with right tackle Avery Young the best of the bunch. But this group should receive a huge boost with the return of guard Alex Kozan from injury, along with the emergence of Ole Miss transfer Austin Golson at center. Sophomore Braden Smith is another promising player for this unit.

 

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4.

Returning Starters: 3

 

With question marks about the quarterbacks, the strength of LSU’s offense will be its rushing attack once again. Standout left tackle La’el Collins will be missed, but three starters are back, including guard Vadal Alexander and right tackle Jerald Hawkins. Both players should be in the mix for All-SEC honors.

 

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5.

Returning Starters: 2

 

Alabama’s offense returns only two starters. That’s the bad news. But the good news is the two returning starters – center Ryan Kelly and left tackle Cam Robinson – are among the nation’s top offensive linemen. Even though this unit will have three new starters in 2015, it’s safe to assume the Crimson Tide will have one of the nation’s best offensive lines. Redshirt freshman Ross Pierschbacher is a breakout candidate at guard, while senior Dominick Jackson is slated to take over at right tackle after playing in eight games last year.

 

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6.

Returning Starters: 4

 

Missouri’s offensive line played better throughout the course of 2014, and this group should be in the top half of the SEC with four returning starters. Center Evan Boehm is the unit’s best player, and senior guard Conner McGovern was critical in the second-half improvement after switching from right tackle. The addition of junior college recruits Tyler Howell and Malik Cuellar bolster the depth.

 

7.

Returning Starters: 3

 

Will the Aggies make it four years in a row with a lineman going in the first round of the NFL Draft? Maybe not, but there’s a solid group for new line coach Dave Christensen to develop. Center Mike Matthews is the best of the group, while senior Joseph Cheek and guard Germain Ifedi return as starters. The development of the left side – Avery Gennesy and Jermaine Eluemunor are the early favorites to start – will be critical for the Aggies in 2015.

 

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8.

Returning Starters: 5

 

This unit could be among the most-improved lines in the SEC in 2015. All five starters are back for coach Hugh Freeze, including standout left tackle Laremy Tunsil and four seniors with experience in the SEC. Tunsil is recovering from a leg injury suffered in the Peach Bowl but is expected to be at full strength by the opener. True freshman guard Javon Patterson is a name to watch in 2015.

 

9.

Returning Starters: 3

 

The left side of South Carolina’s line must be revamped after stalwarts Corey Robinson (left tackle) and A.J. Cann (guard) expired their eligibility. There’s a good core to build around in 2015 with the return of right tackle Brandon Shell and guard Will Sport. But who will step up to replace Cann and Robinson? With a new starter at quarterback, having a steady offensive line would be a huge plus for coach Steve Spurrier.

 

10.

Returning Starters: 4

 

If Tennessee wants to challenge for the SEC East title, this group must take a step forward in its development. The Volunteers had zero returning starters going into 2014 and this unit struggled to get on track. In eight SEC games, the line allowed 28 sacks (most in the conference), and Tennessee rushers averaged only 3.5 yards per carry. Improvement is expected with four starters back, and the overall depth is better with another stellar recruiting class.

 

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11.

Returning Starters: 2

 

Rebuilding the offensive line is the top challenge for coach Dan Mullen this offseason. Last year’s group helped rushers average five yards per carry and allowed just 15 sacks in league play. Gone are three standouts, including All-SEC guard Ben Beckwith, left tackle Blaine Clausell and center Dillon Day. The good news is Mullen and this staff have recruited well, so there’s capable replacements waiting to emerge. Senior Justin Malone is the anchor, but junior college recruit Martinas Rankin is a player to watch.

 

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12.

Returning Starters: 4

 

The Wildcats gave up 36 sacks in 2014, but with four starters back, improvement is expected in 2015. Center Jon Toth is the anchor for coach Mark Stoops, while guard Zach West should be in the mix for all-conference honors this season.

 

13.

Returning Starters: 4

 

Despite four returning starters last season, Vanderbilt’s offensive line struggled. The Commodores averaged only 3.3 yards per carry in SEC games and allowed 21 sacks in 12 overall contests. With four starters back once again for 2015, there’s hope for improvement for new coordinator Andy Ludwig. Junior Andrew Jelks and center Spencer Pulley need to be the anchors for this group.

 

14.

Returning Starters: 1

 

This is the biggest concern for new coach Jim McElwain. Only one starter returns (Trip Thurman), and overall depth and proven bodies are in short supply. FCS transfer Mason Halter and true freshman Martez Ivey are likely to play a huge roles this season. The Gators showed improvement here under line coach Mike Summers last year, but he will have his hands full in 2015.

Teaser:
Ranking the SEC's Offensive Lines for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-coordinators-rise-2015
Body:

coordinators have a huge impact on their team in any season. And it’s no secret that hiring good coordinators and retaining them is critical to the long-term success of any head coach. Changing coordinators or a promotion of an assistant into the play-calling role can also provide a boost for any team or provide a fix for a struggling unit.

 

Every year there’s a new crop of coordinators emerging into the national spotlight or primed for a promotion. Which coordinators are on the rise or which ones could be in the mix to be a head coach in the coming years?

 

Here’s a few names to watch from the Power 5 ranks and a couple of coordinators from the Group of 5 teams to monitor in 2015.

 

(Photo of Arkansas' Robb Smith courtesy of Razorbacks Communications)

 

Power 5 Coordinators on the Rise

 

Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator,

In just two years at Wisconsin, Aranda has established himself as one of the Big Ten’s top assistants. Under Aranda’s direction, the Badgers have finished No. 2 in the conference in scoring defense in back-to-back years. Additionally, Wisconsin ranked No. 8 nationally in fewest yards per play in 2013 and gave up only 4.9 yards per play in 2014. Prior to the last two years in Madison, Aranda was a defensive coordinator for one year at Utah State and two seasons at Hawaii.

 

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Chris Ash, Co-Defensive Coordinator,

Ash was hired by coach Urban Meyer to work as the co-defensive coordinator with Luke Fickell last season. And the hire paid dividends for the Buckeyes’ defense, as this unit allowed only 22 points per game en route to a national championship. Ash also coordinated defenses at Arkansas and Wisconsin and is known for his work with defensive backs. Ohio State’s secondary showed significant progress under Ash, giving up only 17 touchdown passes after allowing 31 in 2013. Additionally, the Buckeyes cut down on some of the big plays that plagued this unit in 2013. 

 

Kendal Briles, Offensive Coordinator,

With Philip Montgomery departing to be the head coach at Tulsa, Briles will assume the controls of Baylor’s high-powered offense. The former Houston receiver has worked on his father's (Art) coaching staff in Waco since 2008 and called the plays in the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State. Although the Bears came up short on the scoreboard, the offense averaged 7.9 yards per play against a rugged Michigan State defense.

 

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Geoff Collins, Defensive Coordinator,

Collins is known as the “Minister of Mayhem,” and the Georgia native left Starkville to coordinate Florida’s defense under new coach Jim McElwain. Under Collins’ watch, Mississippi State held opponents to 23 points per game in 2013 and 21.7 in 2014. The Bulldogs also ranked second in the SEC with 37 sacks last year. Prior to his stint with Mississippi State (2011-14), Collins also worked at FIU (2010), UCF (2008-09) and Alabama (2006).

 

Josh Conklin, Defensive Coordinator,

Conklin has been on a fast rise through the coaching ranks, and the Wyoming native was picked by defensive guru Pat Narduzzi to run Pittsburgh’s defense in 2015. Prior to his hire with the Panthers, Conklin spent two years at FIU and guided the 2014 defense to a No. 3 finish in points allowed in Conference USA and 33 forced turnovers.

 

D.J. Durkin, Defensive Coordinator,

Jim Harbaugh is one of the nation’s top coaches and offensive minds, but the former Michigan quarterback will have plenty of help from a standout defensive staff. Veteran assistant Greg Mattison remained in Ann Arbor, while Durkin was hired from Florida to coordinate the defense. Durkin worked closely with Will Muschamp from 2010-14 in developing a Gators’ defense that was consistently among the best in the SEC. Prior to the four-year stint at Florida, Durkin worked for three years at Stanford under Harbaugh.

 

Mike Elko, Defensive Coordinator,

The Demon Deacons are in rebuild mode under second-year coach Dave Clawson. The defense was a bright spot for Clawson last season, as despite a non-existent offense, Wake Forest gave up 26.4 points per game and held opponents to 5.2 yards per play. Elko followed Clawson from Bowling Green and coordinated the Falcons’ defense to a No. 1 rank among MAC defenses in fewest points allowed in 2013.

 

Related:

 

Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator,

Oregon’s offense hasn’t missed a beat since Chip Kelly left for the NFL. Having a quarterback like Marcus Mariota certainly helps, but Frost has emerged as one of the nation’s top play-callers. The Ducks averaged 45.4 points per game in 2014 and have recorded back-to-back seasons of at least seven yards per play.

 

David Gibbs, Defensive Coordinator,

Texas Tech is consistently among the Big 12’s best on offense, but the defense has experienced its share of struggles and gave up 41.3 points per game in 2014. However, coach Kliff Kingsbury took a big step in addressing the defensive needs by hiring David Gibbs from Houston. In Gibbs’ tenure with the Cougars, the defense ranked among the best in the American Athletic Conference in fewest points allowed and generated 73 turnovers from 2013-14. Gibbs should be the right hire to get Texas Tech’s defense on the right track.

 

Doug Meacham, Co-Offensive Coordinator,

Meacham was one of the nation’s top coordinator hires in 2014 and made a huge impact on TCU’s push for a playoff spot. The Horned Frogs offense struggled in 2013 by averaging only 25.1 points per game. But Meacham’s hire immediately paid big dividends for coach Gary Patterson, as TCU ranked second in the Big 12 by averaging 46.5 points per game last year. Additionally, the Horned Frogs averaged 6.7 yards per play in 2014. Meacham also improved Houston’s offense in his one year with the Cougars, guiding the 2013 attack to an average of 33.2 points per game.

 

Related:

 

Scottie Montgomery, Offensive Coordinator,

David Cutcliffe is the mastermind behind Duke’s offense, but Montgomery was promoted to the offensive coordinator role after a one-year stint as receivers coach in 2013. Prior to the 2013 season, Montgomery spent three years with the Steelers and worked from 2006-09 as an assistant at Duke.

 

Mike Norvell, Offensive Coordinator,

It’s only a matter of time before Norvell gets a chance to run a Power 5 program. The 33-year-old offensive coordinator has been a key cog in Arizona State’s rise under coach Todd Graham. Norvell has worked for the last three years as the Sun Devils’ play-caller and previously spent time with Graham at Pittsburgh and Tulsa. Arizona State has averaged at least 38 points per game in each of Norvell’s three years in Tempe.

 

Barry Odom, Defensive Coordinator,

After three years at Memphis, Odom is returning to a familiar place: Missouri. The Oklahoma native played with the Tigers from 1996-99 and later coached under Gary Pinkel in Columbia from 2003-11. Memphis showed dramatic improvement under Odom and limited opponents to 19.5 points per game in 2014. Odom has big shoes to fill after Dave Steckel left to be the head coach at Missouri State. However, Odom is a top-notch hire and should keep Missouri’s defense performing at a high level in 2015 and beyond.

 

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Jeremy Pruitt, Defensive Coordinator,

In just two years, Pruitt has already moved into the conversation as one of the top defensive coordinators in the nation. Pruitt coordinated Florida State’s defense in its 2013 national championship season and led the nation by holding opponents to just 12.1 points per game. In Pruitt’s first year at Georgia, the Bulldogs held opponents to 4.8 yards per play and 20.7 points per game. Pruitt is also regarded as an excellent recruiter.

 

Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator,

Bob Stoops overhauled his staff after a disappointing 8-5 season last year, and Riley was handed the keys to the Sooners’ offense. Riley’s background is in the Air Raid offense, as he worked under Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2003-09 and joined Ruffin McNeill’s staff at East Carolina as the play-caller from 2010-14. Under Riley’s direction, the Pirates averaged 40.2 points per game in 2013 and led the American Athletic Conference in passing yards per contest in 2014.

 

Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator,

Sanford has only been an offensive coordinator for just one season (2014), but the Virginia native is highly regarded assistant. Under Sanford’s watch last year, Boise State led the Mountain West by averaging 39.7 points per game. Additionally, the Broncos averaged 6.5 yards per play and ranked among the nation’s best in red zone offense. Prior to Boise State, Sanford spent three years at Stanford (2011-13) and also worked one year (2010) at WKU.

 

Kalani Sitake, Defensive Coordinator,

When Gary Andersen was hired at Oregon State this offseason, he turned to a familiar name to coordinate the defense. Sitake worked with Andersen at Southern Utah in 2003 and at Utah from 2005-08. The Hawaii native comes to Corvallis after spending six years as the Utes’ defensive coordinator. Utah led the nation with 55 sacks in 2014 and led the Pac-12 in scoring defense (20.2 ppg) in 2011. The combination of Andersen and Sitake should be a huge addition for an Oregon State defense in rebuild mode in 2015.

 

Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator,

Shoop was regarded as one of the nation’s top assistant hires last season, and the Pennsylvania native helped Penn State lead the Big Ten in scoring defense and rank No. 3 nationally in yards per play allowed. Shoop also worked under Penn State coach James Franklin at Vanderbilt, and the Commodores held opponents under 25 points per game in all three seasons (2011-13). Shoop also has stops on his resume at William & Mary, UMass, Columbia, Boston College and Army. The Pennsylvania native is one of the top defensive coordinators in the nation.

 

Robb Smith, Defensive Coordinator,

Bret Bielema has a good track record of hiring assistants. And it’s no surprise Bielema hit a home run when he hired Smith to coordinate Arkansas’ defense last season. After a one-year stint in the NFL with the Buccaneers, Smith returned to the collegiate level and transformed the defense into one of the best in the SEC. The Razorbacks allowed only 19.2 points per game and gave up only 28 points over the final four contests. Prior to his 2014 season at Arkansas, Smith also worked from 2009-12 at Rutgers and from 2002-08 at Maine.

 

Group of 5 Coordinators on the Rise

 

Kevin Clune, Defensive Coordinator,

Clune is back at Utah State after a one-year stint at Hawaii. He replaces Todd Orlando, who left Logan for a chance to coordinate Houston’s defense. Clune’s one year with the Rainbow Warriors brought marked improvement to their defense. Hawaii allowed 38.8 points per game in 2013 but gave up only 26.8 under Clune. Prior to the one-year stint at Hawaii and working from 2009-13 at Utah State, Clune also spent time as the defensive coordinator at Weber State and Southern Utah.

 

Tyson Helton, Offensive Coordinator,

Helton assumed controls of WKU’s offense in 2014, and the Florida native’s first opportunity to call plays at a FBS program was a huge success. The Hilltoppers averaged 44.4 points per game in 2014 and ranked second nationally by averaging 374.3 passing yards per game.

 

Related:

 

Brent Key, Offensive Coordinator,

Key is regarded for his work on the recruiting trail, and the Birmingham native will take over play-calling duties for the Knights in 2015. Key has worked on UCF’s staff since 2005 and played at Georgia Tech under coach George O’Leary.

 

Todd Orlando, Co-Defensive Coordinator,

Orlando was hired by Tom Herman to coordinate Houston’s defense after a successful two-year run at Utah State. Under Orlando’s watch, the Aggies led the Mountain West in scoring defense and fewest yards per play allowed in back-to-back years. The Pittsburgh native also has stops in his career as a defensive coordinator at FIU and UConn.

 

Related:

 

Nick Rolovich, Offensive Coordinator,

Rolovich – the former Hawaii quarterback – is in his four season coordinating the Wolf Pack offense. Nevada’s best season under Rolovich’s watch took place in 2012, as the Wolf Pack averaged 37.8 points per game and 6.2 yards per play. The California native will be tested in 2015 with the departure of quarterback Cody Fajardo.

 

Related:

 

Tyson Summers, Defensive Coordinator,

After spending one season as the defensive coordinator at UCF, Summers headed out west to work with Mike Bobo at Colorado State. The Knights’ defense held opponents to just 19.2 points per game last year and limited American Athletic Conference teams to just 3.9 yards per play.

 

Bryant Vincent, Offensive Coordinator, South Alabama

Vincent is back at South Alabama after a one-year stop at UAB. The Kentucky native guided the Blazers to a No. 4 finish in Conference USA scoring offense last season, and a 5.5 mark in yards per play. Vincent will be working with a few familiar faces from UAB, as quarterback Cody Clements and standout offensive lineman Cameron Blankenship transferred to Mobile for their senior year.

Teaser:
College Football's Top Coordinators on the Rise for 2015
Post date: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/parking-urban-meyers-spot-really-bad-idea
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Parking in spaces that are marked or designated for certain individuals is never a good idea.

 

And it’s always a bad idea to block a college football coach in his parking spot. After all, most coaches work long hours and burn the midnight oil.

 

Thanks to running back Warren Ball, we are finding out Urban Meyer likes to block in anyone who parks in his space. Planning on leaving? Looks like this person will be waiting a while. And it's safe to say they won't be in Meyer's spot again. 

Teaser:
Parking in Urban Meyer's Spot is a Really Bad Idea
Post date: Monday, June 15, 2015 - 13:27
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-15-coaches-rise-2015
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Coaching in the ranks is no easy task. The pressure to win and produce at a high level is higher than ever before. And as a result of the pressure, programs can’t wait for five seasons to give a coach time to produce a winning record. Getting the hire right is critical to any college football program.

 

Change in any college football offseason is inevitable. There will be coaching changes after the 2015 season. So what names might intrigue athletic directors when jobs open up?

 

Let’s take a look at 15 college football coaches on the rise, followed by a few other names to know this year.

 

Related:

 

15 College Football Coaches on the Rise for 2015

 

Craig Bohl,

2014 was a rebuilding year for Wyoming, so it was no surprise Bohl and the Cowboys struggled last season. But the long-term outlook in Laramie is promising for this coaching staff. Bohl went 104-32 in 11 years at North Dakota State, which included three consecutive FCS national championships from 2011-13. With nine starters returning in 2015, progress could be slow for Bohl this year. However, there’s a strong track record of success, and Wyoming hit a home run when it lured Bohl away from North Dakota State.

 

Related:

 

Matt Campbell,

The Rockets are still looking for their first MAC West title under Campbell, but there’s no doubt the 35-year-old coach has this program headed in the right direction. Toledo is 26-13 under Campbell’s watch and is coming off its best record in MAC play over the last three years. The Rockets are in 2015, and Campbell should have Toledo positioned to win at least eight games for the fifth time in six seasons.

 

Related:

 

P.J. Fleck,

Fleck was hired to energize Western Michigan’s program and get the Broncos back into contention for MAC championships. So far, it’s safe to say Fleck has succeeded in both of those areas, as Western Michigan is among the favorites to win the MAC in 2015. The Broncos went 1-11 in Fleck’s debut, but were one of the most improved teams in college football last season. Western Michigan went 8-5 and made its first bowl appearance since 2011. Fleck is known as an ace recruiter, as this program has reeled in the No. 1 recruiting class in the MAC in back-to-back years.

 

Willie Fritz,

Transitioning from the FCS to FBS ranks with a new coach is supposed to be difficult. However, Georgia Southern crushed that narrative last season. In Fritz’s first season, the Eagles went 9-3 and recorded a perfect 8-0 mark in Sun Belt play. And Georgia Southern was much closer to double-digit wins than some may realize, as the Eagles lost to NC State and Georgia Tech by a combined five points. Prior to taking over at Georgia Southern, Fritz was a successful coach at Sam Houston State (40-14) and Central Missouri (97-47).

 

Related:

 

Justin Fuente,

Memphis hit rock bottom after a dismal two-year stint under Larry Porter from 2010-11. But thanks to Fuente, the Tigers needed just one season to match Porter’s two-year win total, as Memphis improved to 4-8 in his debut.The Tigers followed up with a 3-9 showing in 2013, albeit in the tougher American Athletic Conference after leaving Conference USA. Memphis then had a breakthrough 2014 campaign in Fuente’s third year, as the Tigers went 10-3 and finished No. 25 in the final Associated Press poll. Memphis has a few holes to fill going into 2015, but the Tigers will remain a factor in the American Athletic Conference with Fuente at the helm.

 

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Bryan Harsin,

It’s hard to find a coach that’s better suited to guide the Boise State program than Harsin. The Boise native also played quarterback for the Broncos and was an assistant with the program from 2001-10. After Chris Petersen left for Washington, Harsin returned to Boise State after one year as Arkansas State’s head coach. The Broncos went 12-2 in Harsin’s debut, won the Fiesta Bowl over Arizona and finished No. 16 in the final Associated Press poll. With a strong core of talent in place for 2015, Boise State should be the top Group of 5 program this season.

 

Related:

 

Mark Hudspeth,

Hudspeth was the in Athlon’s 128 coach rankings for 2015. Over the last four years at UL Lafayette, Hudspeth has recorded a 36-16 record and four consecutive bowl wins. The Ragin’ Cajuns have won exactly nine games in each of Hudspeth’s four years and went 7-1 in conference play last season. Prior to UL Lafayette, Hudspeth made stops as an assistant at Mississippi State, Navy and Delta State and went 66-21 as North Alabama’s head coach from 2002-08.

 

Related:

 

Lance Leipold,

Jim Harbaugh grabbed the offseason attention as college football’s best coaching hire, but Buffalo’s decision to hire Leipold shouldn’t be overlooked. Leipold was ultra-successful in a stint at Wisconsin-Whitewater, guiding the Warhawks to 109 wins from 2007-14. Additionally Wisconsin-Whitewater won six Division III Championships under Leipold’s watch. The Wisconsin native also has stops in his career as an assistant at Nebraska and Wisconsin (graduate assistant).

 

Related:

 

Pete Lembo,

The seven losses suffered by Ball State in 2014 were the most in Lembo’s coaching tenure, but the New York native is still one of the top coaches in the Group of 5 ranks. Lembo is 30-20 in four years with the Cardinals, including a 10-3 mark in 2013. Ball State also has two bowl appearances under Lembo. Prior to coming to Muncie, Lembo went 35-22 at Elon and 44-14 at Lehigh, with three combined FCS playoff appearances among the two programs.

 

Tom Herman,

Herman has been on a fast track through the coaching ranks and was a key cog in Ohio State’s run to the national championship last season. The story for the Buckeyes in 2014 was no secret, as the offense never missed a beat despite losing its top two quarterbacks. Herman did a good job of preparing Cardale Jones over the last three games of the season, and the California native landed his first FBS head coaching opportunity at Houston. Herman is no stranger to the state of Texas, as he has stops in his career at Rice, Texas State, Sam Houston State and Texas as an assistant. Prior to calling the plays for the Buckeyes from 2012-14, Herman was the offensive coordinator at Iowa State. Houston is a program with potential. There’s a new stadium and a fertile recruiting territory to tap into. Herman should be a home-run hire for the Cougars.

 

Chad Morris,

Morris is one of the brightest offensive minds in college football. The Texas native has been on a fast rise through the coaching ranks due to his offensive acumen, as he was hired to coordinate Tulsa’s offense in 2010 after a lengthy stint (1994-2009) in the high school coaching ranks. After one year with the Golden Hurricane, Morris was hired by Dabo Swinney to fix a Clemson offense that ranked 10th in the ACC in scoring in 2010. The Tigers ranked first or second in the conference in scoring offense in three out of Morris’ four years calling the plays. Additionally, Morris was a key cog in Clemson’s turnaround, as the Tigers won at least 10 games in each of his four years in Death Valley. With his ties to Texas and background on offense, Morris should help spark a SMU program that has only four bowl appearances since 1985.

 

Matt Rhule,

Looking for a sleeper team in the American Athletic Conference this year? Keep an eye on Temple. Rhule is just 8-16 in his two seasons with the Owls, but this program improved its win total by four games from 2013 to '14. And Rhule’s 2013 team wasn’t quite as bad as the win tally suggested, as the Owls lost six games by 10 points or less. Rhule replaced Steve Addazio after he left to be the head coach at Boston College and has the program in good shape headed into 2015.

 

Scott Satterfield,

Georgia Southern grabbed most of the attention and headlines last season, but Appalachian State’s first year in the FBS ranks shouldn’t go unnoticed. The Mountaineers went 7-5 and finished 2014 on a six-game winning streak. Satterfield has only been at the helm for two years and went 4-8 in his debut after replacing legendary coach Jerry Moore. Satterfield played quarterback for Appalachian State from 1991-95, and he’s got the program trending up entering the 2015 campaign.

 

Matt Wells,

Utah State has been one of the most unfortunate teams when it comes to injuries over the last two years. However, despite injuries to a few key players, the Aggies are 19-9 in Wells’ two seasons and have recorded back-to-back bowl wins. Wells worked under Gary Andersen from 2011-12 as an assistant and was promoted to the top spot after Andersen left for Wisconsin. Wells should have Utah State in the mix to win the Mountain West title once again in 2015.

 

Bobby Wilder,

Thanks to Wilder’s coaching, Old Dominion has been on a fast rise through the college football ranks. The Monarchs restarted their football program after a 69-year absence in 2009. Old Dominion went 17-5 in its first two seasons and played in the FCS playoffs in 2011-12 with double-digit wins in both years. The program transitioned from the FCS ranks to the FBS level and went 6-6 in its debut last season. Wilder also runs a high-powered offense, which averaged 34 points per game behind star quarterback Taylor Heinicke last year. Wilder will have to retool the roster with Heinicke out of eligibility, but the Monarchs are a team on the rise in Conference USA.

 

Related:

 

Other Names to Watch

 

Blake Anderson,

Arkansas State has experienced its share of coaching turnover in recent years, as Anderson’s 2014 season marked the fifth consecutive season with a new head coach in Jonesboro. Anderson went 7-6 in his debut and should have Arkansas State among the teams to beat in the Sun Belt this year.

 

Dino Babers,

Babers has a wealth of experience in his career at several programs, and the former Baylor assistant has spent the last three years as a head coach. In two years at Eastern Illinois, Babers went 19-7 with two playoff appearances. And despite losing starting quarterback Matt Johnson in the season opener last year, Bowling Green won the MAC East and finished 8-6.

 

Neal Brown,

Brown is one of the nation’s youngest head coaches at just 35 years old. The Kentucky native has stops on his resume as an offensive coordinator at Troy, Texas Tech and Kentucky, along with previous experience as an assistant at UMass, Sacred Heart and Delaware. This season will be Brown’s first as a head coach in the FBS ranks.

 

Jeff Brohm,

Brohm had big shoes to fill after the departure of Bobby Petrino but guided WKU to an 8-5 record last season. The Hilltoppers are .

 

Rod Carey,

Northern Illinois has remained the team to beat in the MAC in Carey’s two years in DeKalb. The Huskies are 23-6 under Carey – with only one loss in conference play – and claimed the 2014 MAC championship. Carey inherited plenty of talent from former coach Dave Doeren and has maintained success so far. Now, the challenge for Carey is to show he is capable of recruiting and building success at Northern Illinois for the long haul.

 

Bill Clark,

Even though UAB doesn’t have a football team in 2015, Clark deserves a mention in this space. The Alabama native went 11-4 with Jacksonville State in 2013 and guided UAB to a 6-6 mark in '14. The Blazers showed tremendous progress in Clark’s first season, and he should be the right coach to rebuild the program once it returns to FBS play.

 

Doc Holliday,

Holliday has rebuilt Marshall’s program back among the best in Conference USA. After Mark Snyder failed to lead the Thundering Herd to a season of more than seven wins, Holliday is 23-5 in his last two years and has three bowl appearances under his watch. Holliday was known for his recruiting ability when hired at Marshall, but he’s proven he’s more than just a good recruiter.

 

Joey Jones,

Jones has built the South Alabama program from scratch, taking over in Mobile after spending time at Birmingham-Southern for two seasons. The Jaguars are 37-28 in six seasons under Jones, and most importantly, the program continues to show progress in each season at the FBS level. South Alabama is also coming off its first bowl appearance in program history.

Teaser:
College Football's Top 15 Coaches on the Rise for 2015
Post date: Monday, June 15, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/sun-belt-football-2015-all-conference-team
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With a solid core of experienced quarterbacks and playmakers returning, the Sun Belt should provide plenty of intriguing matchups and offensive fireworks in 2015. Arkansas State’s Fredi Knighten is Athlon Sports’ first-team All-Sun Belt quarterback, and the senior is a big reason why the Red Wolves are one of the favorites to win the conference this year.

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the Sun Belt last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2015.

 

Related:

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

2015 Sun Belt Team Previews

       
 
National
Rank:
90767712612587
  
National
Rank:
11512410893118 

 

Visit the to order a copy of the 2015 National College Football Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 128 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

 

Athlon's 2015 All-Sun Belt Team 
 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBFredi Knighten
Ark. State  
Kevin Ellison
Ga. Southern 
Tyler Jones
Texas State 
Taylor Lamb
Appalachian State 
RBMatt Breida
Ga. Southern 
Marcus Cox
App. State 
Robert Lowe
Texas State 
Brandon Burks
Troy 
RBElijah McGuire
UL Lafayette 
Michael Gordon
Ark. State 
Larry Rose III
NMSU 
Elijhaa Penny
Idaho 
WR

Donovan Harden

Georgia State 

Jamal Robinson
UL Lafayette 
Rashon Caesar
ULM 
Dijon Paschal
Ark. State 
WRTeldrick Morgan
NMSU 
Dezmon Epps
Idaho 
J.D. McKissic
Ark. State 
Malachi Jones
App. State 
TEAjalen Holley (WR)
ULM  
Joel Ruiz (TE)
Georgia State 
Bryan Holmes (WR)
Troy 
Darion Griswold (TE)
Ark. State 
CDalton Bennett
Troy 
Joseph Scelfo
South Alabama 
Devin Mondie
Ark. State 
Jesse Chapman
App. State 
OGMykhael Quave
UL Lafayette 
I. Folasa-Lutui
NMSU 
Felix Romero
Texas State 
Alex Stoeher
Georgia State 
OGDarien Foreman
Ga. Southern 
Cameron Blankenship
South Alabama 
Donovan Williams
UL Lafayette 
Parker Collins
App. State 
OTAdrian Bellard
Texas State 
Colton Jackson
Ark. State 
Beau Nunn
App. State 
Jemar Clark
Ark. State 
OTChris May
South Alabama 
Antonio Garcia
Troy 
Ryan Melton
Texas State 
Octravian Anderson
UL Lafayette 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DERonald Blair
App. State 
Tyler Roberts
Troy 
Bernard Dawson
Ga. Southern 
Jamal Stadom
Troy 
DEChris Stone
Ark. State 
Quinton Bradley
Idaho 
Lorenzo Jackson
ULM 
Dallas McClarty
Texas State 
DTGerrand Johnson
ULM 
Jimmie Gipson III
South Alabama 
Jacoby Briscoe
UL Lafayette 
Kennan Gilchrist (LB)
App. State 
DTJa'Von Rolland-Jones
Ark. State 
Jay Ellison
Ga. Southern 
Lonnie Gosha
Troy 
Kawe Johnson (DB)
NMSU  
LBHunter Kissinger
ULM 
Xavier Woodson
Ark. State 
Marc Millan
Idaho 
Otha Peters
UL Lafayette 
LBJohn Law
App. State 
Dominique Tovell
UL Lafayette 
Michael Johnson
ULM 
Blake Dees
South Alabama 
LBJoseph Peterson
Georgia State 
Rodney Butler
NMSU 
Antwione Williams
Ga. Southern 
Trey McGowan
Texas State 
CBDavid Mims
Texas State  
Trey Caldwell
ULM 
Winston Rose
NMSU 
Latrell Gibbs
App. State 
CBDoug Middleton
App. State 
Rocky Hayes
Ark. State 
Bruce Dukes
Georgia State 
Jayshawn Jordan
Idaho 
SMitch Lane
ULM 
Matt Dobson
Ga. Southern 
Tarris Batiste
Georgia State 
Tracy Walker
UL Lafayette 
SMontres Kitchen
Troy 
Roman Buchanan
South Alabama 
Money Hunter
Ark. State 
Bobby Baker
Georgia State 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KAleem Sunanon
South Alabama 
Austin Rehkow
Idaho 
Wil Lutz
Georgia State 
Ryan Kay
Troy 
PAustin Rehkow
Idaho 
Brandon McKee
South Alabama 

Luke Ferguson

Ark. State 

Bentlee Crichter
App. State 
KRDerek Keaton
Ga. Southern 
Teldrick Morgan
NMSU 
Brandon Smith
Texas State 
Tyler Cain
ULM 
PRBlaise Taylor
Ark. State 
Rashon Caesar
ULM 
Elijah McGuire
ULL 
Dezmon Epps
Idaho 
Related:

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-Sun Belt Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Offense: 0

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 4

Defense: 2 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 3

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 2 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 4

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

 

Teaser:
Sun Belt Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

and ended 2014 at the top of the standings, and the Horned Frogs and Bears begin 2015 as the favorites to win the league crown once again. Both teams are loaded with returning talent on both sides of the ball, as Baylor and TCU each place over 10 selections on Athlon’s 2015 All-Big 12 team. 

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the Big 12 last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2015.

 

Related:

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Big 12 Team Previews for 2015
      
 
National
Rank:
3741034417
 
National
Rank:
285334836

 

Visit the to order a copy of the 2015 Big 12 Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 10 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 
 

Athlon's 2015 All-Big 12 Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBTrevone Boykin
TCU 
Mason Rudolph
Oklahoma State 
Seth Russell
Baylor 
Patrick Mahomes
Texas Tech 
RBSamaje Perine
Oklahoma 
Aaron Green
TCU 
Rushel Shell
West Virginia 

Alex Ross

Oklahoma 

RBShock Linwood
Baylor 
DeAndre Washington
Texas Tech 
Johnathan Gray
Texas 
Wendell Smallwood
West Virginia 
WRCorey Coleman
Baylor 
KD Cannon
Baylor 
Allen Lazard
Iowa State 
Devin Lauderdale
Texas Tech 
WRSterling Shepard
Oklahoma 
Jakeem Grant
Texas Tech 
Jordan Thompson
West Virginia 
Kolby Listenbee
TCU 
WRJosh Doctson
TCU 
Brandon Sheperd
Oklahoma State 
Quenton Bundrage
Iowa State 
Jay Lee
Baylor 
CJoey Hunt
TCU 
Tyler Orlosky
West Virginia 
Ty Darlington
Oklahoma 
Jared Kaster
Texas Tech 
OGHala Vaitai
TCU 
Kent Perkins
Texas 
Nila Kasitati
Oklahoma  
Jamelle Naff
TCU 
OGCody Whitehair (OT)
Kansas State 
Boston Stiverson
Kansas State 
Adam Pankey
West Virginia 
Alfredo Morales
Texas Tech 
OTSpencer Drango
Baylor 
Zachary Crabtree
Oklahoma State 
Jake Campos
Iowa State 
Victor Salako
Oklahoma State  
OTLe'Raven Clark
Texas Tech 
Sedrick Flowers
Texas 
Jarell Broxton
Baylor 
Daniel Burton
Iowa State 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEShawn Oakman
Baylor 
Charles Tapper
Oklahoma 

James McFarland

TCU 

Ben Goodman
Kansas 
DEEmmanuel Ogbah
Oklahoma State 
Travis Britz (DT)
Kansas State 
Branden Jackson
Texas Tech 
Jamal Palmer
Baylor 
DTAndrew Billings
Baylor 
Davion Pierson
TCU 
Desmond Jackson
Texas 
Beau Blackshear
Baylor 
DTPete Robertson (DE)
Texas Tech 
Hassan Ridgeway
Texas 
Vincent Taylor
Oklahoma State 
Will Geary
Kansas State 
LBEric Striker
Oklahoma 
Dominique Alexander
Oklahoma 
Elijah Lee
Kansas State 
Malik Jefferson
Texas 
LBNick Kwiatkoski
West Virginia 
Taylor Young
Baylor 
Seth Jacobs
Oklahoma State 
Micah Awe
Texas Tech 
LBRyan Simmons
Oklahoma State 
Jordan Evans
Oklahoma 
Xavien Howard (CB)
Baylor  
Nigel Bethel (DB)
Texas Tech 
CBZack Sanchez
Oklahoma 
Danzel McDaniel
Kansas State 

Nigel Tribune
Iowa State 

Morgan Burns
Kansas State 
CBDaryl Worley
West Virginia 
Kevin Peterson
Oklahoma State 
Duke Thomas
Texas 
Ranthony Texada
TCU 
SKarl Joseph
West Virginia 
Derrick Kindred
TCU 
Jason Hall
Texas 
Kamari Cotton-Moya
Iowa State 
SDante Barnett
Kansas State 
Orion Stewart
Baylor 
Jordan Sterns
Oklahoma State 
Dravon Henry
West Virginia 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KJosh Lambert
West Virginia 
Jaden Oberkrom
TCU 
Matthew McCrane
Kansas State 
Ben Grogan
Oklahoma State 
PNick O'Toole
West Virginia 
Ethan Perry
TCU 
Taylor Symmank
Texas Tech 
Nick Walsh
Kansas State 
KRAlex Ross
Oklahoma 
Morgan Burns
Kansas State 
Jakeem Grant
Texas Tech 
Daje Johnson
Texas 
PRCameron
Echols-Luper
TCU 
Dede Westbrook
Oklahoma 
Corey Coleman
Baylor 
Sterling Shepard
Oklahoma 

Related:

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-Big 12 Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Offense: 3

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 3 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 4

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 0 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 3 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 4

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 10:30

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