Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-impact-transfers-2013

Transfers in college football are always a wildcard when making preseason predictions.

Some transfers have no trouble fitting in to their new home. But some players can take half a season or even longer to get acclimated.

Looking back to 2012, Kansas’ Dayne Crist and Wisconsin’s Danny O’Brien were expected to make a huge impact, but neither quarterback lived up to the preseason hype. On the flip side, Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk and Tulsa quarterback Cody Green made an instant impact.

There’s a plethora of players transferring to a new home in 2013, and with less than 50 days until kickoff, Athlon Sports takes a look at which transfers will make the biggest impact in 2013.

College Football's Top 25 Impact Transfers for 2013

1. DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida (from Notre Dame)
Lynch was well on his way to becoming one of the nation’s best defensive ends when he decided to transfer from Notre Dame before the 2012 season. In one year in South Bend, Lynch recorded 33 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. With another offseason to work in the weight room, the sophomore is due to have a monster season. He will also have plenty of help from a talented South Florida line, which includes senior Ryne Giddins and tackles Luke Sager and Elkino Watson. Lynch could be one of the nation’s top defenders in 2013 and should be a first-team American Athletic Conference performer.

2. RB Charles Sims, West Virginia (from Houston)
Sims’ decision to leave Houston was a huge setback for the Cougars’ offense and a huge pickup for West Virginia. In three years with Houston, Sims rushed for 2,370 yards and 29 touchdowns, while catching 158 passes for 1,707 yards and eight scores. The senior is stepping into a crowded backfield, but his all-around ability (and excellent speed) should make him a candidate to fill in at running back and also contribute as a receiver. Expect Sims to make plenty of big plays for West Virginia’s offense this year.

3. QB Jake Heaps, Kansas (from BYU)
Heaps was the No. 1 quarterback in the 2010 signing class and started 16 games during his two seasons at BYU. As a freshman, he threw for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns but failed to build on those numbers in 2011, as he was benched in favor of Riley Nelson. There’s no question Heaps should be an upgrade over Kansas’ quarterbacks (Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings) from last season, but it’s unrealistic to expect him to contend for All-Big 12 honors. The Jayhawks also need to upgrade the weapons around Heaps for him to succeed in 2013.

4. QB Drew Allen, Syracuse (from Oklahoma)
With Ryan Nassib expiring his eligibility at the end of last year, Syracuse has a large void to fill under center. The Orange finished spring practice with very little clarity at quarterback, as Terrel Hunt, John Kinder and Charley Loeb all pushed for time. Allen arrived at Syracuse this summer, which should help him get a head start on learning the offense. However, even though Allen might be the most talented quarterback on the roster, he has very little experience. During his three years at Oklahoma, Allen completed only 18 of 30 throws for 160 yards and no touchdowns. Hunt finished the spring with a slight edge, but the competition is just beginning. As a pro-style passer, Allen will be a good fit for Syracuse. However, his lack of experience means there will be a learning curve early in the year.

5. QB Tom Savage, Pittsburgh (from Rutgers)
You have to rewind back to 2010 to find the last time Savage has played in a regular season game. The Pennsylvania native has bounced around over the last few years, after beginning his career with Rutgers in 2009. In two seasons with the Scarlet Knights, Savage threw for 2,732 yards and 16 scores. However, he transferred to Arizona before the 2011 season, only to leave the Wildcats after Rich Rodriguez was hired. Savage sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, but he is slated to replace Tino Sunseri as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback for 2013.

6. RB Brandon Williams, Texas A&M (from Oklahoma)
Williams was one of the nation’s top recruits in 2011, ranking as a five-star recruit by Rivals and the No. 7 running back by ESPN. In his only season at Oklahoma, Williams rushed for 219 yards on 46 carries, including 80 on 11 attempts against Iowa State. The Texas native faces stiff competition for carries in College Station, as Ben Malena returns after rushing for 808 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Texas A&M has one of the deepest backfields in the nation, so Williams won’t be asked to shoulder the entire workload. Expect a committee approach in Aggieland, but Williams will be another weapon for Texas A&M’s dangerous offense.

7. QB/WR Brandon Mitchell, NC State (from Arkansas)
Mitchell was a late pickup for Dave Doeren’s team, as he chose to leave Arkansas after spring practice. In three years with the Razorbacks, he completed 25 of 43 passes for 332 yards and three scores and caught 17 passes for 272 yards. Mitchell’s athletic ability is a good fit in NC State’s spread offense, but he will have to quickly learn the scheme, as Pete Thomas and Manny Stocker have the edge in practice reps at quarterback from this spring. Even if Mitchell doesn’t win the starting job, he can help NC State’s offense as a receiver or as a change-of-pace running quarterback.

8. OT Max Garcia, Florida (from Maryland)
The Gators are counting on Garcia and junior college (and former Nebraska player) Tyler Moore to bolster the offensive line in 2013. Garcia started 12 games at left tackle for Maryland in 2011 but is expected to slide to left guard this fall. At 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds, Garcia should give Florida some added toughness in the trenches for 2013.

9. QB Jameill Showers, UTEP (from Texas A&M)
With Johnny Manziel entrenched as Texas A&M’s No. 1 quarterback, it was clear Showers wasn’t going to get much playing time in 2013. New UTEP coach Sean Kugler landed his biggest recruit of the offseason by getting Showers to play in El Paso, which should give the Miners a chance to push for a winning record in 2013. Showers was impressive during limited work in his career, completing 31 of 49 throws for 359 yards and two scores. The junior has yet to make his first career start, but all signs point to Showers being one of Conference USA’s top quarterbacks in 2013. And if he picks up where he left off at Texas A&M, the Miners could go bowling in Kugler’s first year in El Paso.

10. QB Scotty Young, Louisiana Tech (from Texas Tech)
The Bulldogs return only one starter on offense, but the cupboard isn’t bare for new coach Skip Holtz. Running back Kenneth Dixon should be one of the top rushers in Conference USA, and receiver D.J. Banks caught 33 passes for 434 yards last year. Young should be a good fit in Louisiana Tech’s spread attack, as he spent his first two seasons of eligibility at Texas Tech and was recruited by Mike Leach to Lubbock. The Texas native has yet to take a snap in college but was the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2010.

11. QB Adam Kennedy, Arkansas State (from Utah State)
Ryan Aplin was one of the top quarterbacks from a non-BCS conference the last few years, leaving a large void for Arkansas State to fill this offseason. New coach Bryan Harsin appears to have found a capable replacement in Kennedy. With Chuckie Keeton entrenched at Utah State, playing time was expected to be sparse for Kennedy. In five starts in 2011, Kennedy went 4-1 and threw for 11 touchdowns during that span. Assuming he can quickly get acclimated to Harsin’s offense, Kennedy should be the Red Wolves’ No. 1 quarterback in 2013.

12. DE David Gilbert, Miami (from Wisconsin)
Gilbert’s football career was thought to be over in April, after he announced he would not play at Wisconsin due to foot injuries. However, the Florida native decided to transfer to Miami for his final year of eligibility this summer, giving the Hurricanes some much-needed talent on the line. During his career with the Badgers, Gilbert recorded 79 tackles and 8.5 sacks. If he can stay healthy, Gilbert should help bolster a pass rush that managed only 1.1 sacks a game last season.

13. QB Steven Bench, South Florida (from Penn State)
An injury to quarterback B.J. Daniels limited South Florida’s offense last year, and the Bulls finished 2012 by losing eight out of their last nine games. New coach Willie Taggart will have his hands full with the offense in 2013, as South Florida returns only three starters. Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd combined for zero touchdowns and five interceptions on 118 attempts last year, and neither was able to pull ahead for the top spot in the spring. Bench completed two of eight passes as a true freshman for Penn State last year and transferred after he fell behind in the quarterback competition with Tyler Ferguson and Christian Hackenberg this spring. Bench is short on experience, but he has a chance to earn the starting job this fall. However, he will be pushed by incoming freshman Mike White for time.

14. QB Clint Trickett, West Virginia (from Florida State)

With Jameis Winston expected to start for Florida State, it was an easy decision for Trickett to transfer in search of an opportunity to start. The Florida native is no stranger to Morgantown, as his father (Rick) coached at West Virginia from 1976-79 and 2001-06. Trickett threw for 947 yards and seven touchdowns in two years in Tallahassee, which included starts against Clemson and Wake Forest in 2011. The Mountaineers finished spring practice with Paul Millard and Ford Childress in a dead heat for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. Trickett’s experience should help him in the quarterback battle, but Millard and Childress have a slight edge entering the fall to run Dana Holgorsen’s offense.

15. QB Pete Thomas, NC State from Colorado State)
Thomas was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and started for Colorado State during the first two years of his tenure in Fort Collins. However, he left the program after Steve Fairchild was fired as the head coach, landing in Raleigh with two years of eligibility remaining. During his time with the Rams, Thomas threw for 4,269 yards, tossed 18 touchdowns and 21 picks. The junior finished spring practice with an edge in the quarterback battle, but the picture was muddied when Brandon Mitchell transferred in from Arkansas in May.

16. LB Michael Orakpo, Texas State (from Colorado State)
The brother of Washington Redskins’ linebacker Brian Orakpo, Michael was a standout performer for Colorado State’s defense from 2010-11. In two years with the Rams, he recorded 124 stops and registered one forced fumble. Orakpo ran into some off-the-field trouble at Colorado State, which led to his transfer. However, he will be an impact transfer and could be one of the Sun Belt’s top defenders in 2013.

17. LB Jeff Luc, Cincinnati (from Florida State)
Luc passes the eye test as one of Cincinnati’s most physically imposing players. And the Bearcats hope the Florida State transfer can live up to his recruiting hype in 2013. In two years with the Seminoles, Luc recorded 23 tackles, including three for a loss. Assuming Luc becomes an impact defender for Cincinnati, the Bearcats’ linebacker trio could be one of the best in the nation.

18. WR Justin McCay, Kansas (from Oklahoma)
Charlie Weis is banking heavy on transfers to rebuild Kansas’ offense in 2013. Quarterback Jake Heaps and receivers Nick Harwell (see below) and Justin McCay are all transfers from four-year schools. McCay was a four-star recruit by Rivals in 2010 and redshirted in his first year at Oklahoma. In 2011, the Missouri native played in three games with the Sooners but did not catch a pass. The Jayhawks are counting on McCay to emerge as a go-to threat for Heaps, and his emergence could be even more important if Harwell is unable to get eligible for 2013.

19. RB Josh Quezada, Fresno State (from BYU)
Robbie Rouse leaves big shoes to fill in Fresno State’s backfield after three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Quezada may not rush for 1,000 yards this year, but the BYU transfer will keep Fresno State’s rushing attack going strong in 2013.

20. DB Cortez Johnson, Oklahoma (from Arizona)
With the departure of Demontre Hurst, Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris, Oklahoma’s secondary has some holes to fill for 2013. Aaron Colvin will handle one cornerback spot, but the other could go to Johnson. The 6-foot-2 Arizona transfer played for Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops in Tucson, starting two games as a true freshman in 2011. The Louisiana native’s 6-foot-2 frame will give him a chance to be one of the Big 12’s most physical corners in 2013. 

21. TE Gerald Christian, Louisville (from Florida)
Another weapon for Teddy Bridgewater? That’s what Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson hopes to see out of Christian in 2013. In two years with the Gators, he only caught four passes for 72 yards and one score. However, the Florida native ranked as a four-star prospect by Rivals and played in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Look for the 6-foot-3 junior to be another valuable receiving threat for the Cardinals in 2013.

22. DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor (from Penn State)
Baylor’s defense made progress in the final weeks of 2012, and with seven starters back, the Bears should continue that momentum into 2013. Chris McAllister and Terrance Lloyd form a solid duo at end, but Oakman will push for snaps. The Pennsylvania native did not play a down at Penn State but was regarded as a top-200 recruit coming out of high school. Oakman also has the necessary size (6-foot-9, 270 pounds) to be a disruptive force for Baylor’s defense.

23. RB Aaron Green, TCU (from Nebraska)
The Horned Frogs need to find a spark for their rushing attack, which ranked eighth in the Big 12 last year. An injury to Waymon James prevented the ground game from getting on track, but the offense also needs more help from the line. Green’s arrival should bolster the rushing attack, as he ranked as one of the top-10 running backs in the nation coming out of high school. In one year with Nebraska, Green rushed for 105 yards and two scores. He may not rush for 700 yards this year, but TCU will be counting on the sophomore to be a key cog in the backfield rotation.

24. LB Kellen Jones, Clemson (from Oklahoma)
Jones followed coordinator Brent Venables from Oklahoma to Clemson and will join a talented and improving Tigers linebacking corps this year. The Texas native played in 12 games and recorded 10 tackles as a freshman with the Sooners in 2011. Jones could see time at all three linebacker spots for the Tigers in 2013. 

25. CB Tyler Patmon, Oklahoma State (from Kansas)
It’s rare to see a player transfer within a conference for his senior year, but that’s the case with Patmon after spending three seasons at Kansas. The Texas native started all 12 games at cornerback for the Jayhawks in 2012 and made seven starts in ‘11. Patmon may not be an All-Big 12 performer for Oklahoma State, but his addition is a valuable one, especially in terms of depth in a secondary that must replace Brodrick Brown and ranked 110th nationally in pass defense last year.

Bonus: WR Nick Harwell, Kansas (from Miami, Ohio)
Harwell still has some work to do in order to be eligible at Kansas this fall. However, should the All-MAC receiver graduate from Miami (Ohio), he will give the Jayhawks’ offense a much-needed go-to receiver. In three years with the RedHawks, Harwell grabbed 229 passes for 3,166 yards and 23 scores. He tied the school record with 15 100-yard receiving games and ranked first in the MAC with an average of 96.7 yards per game in 2012. Assuming he’s eligible in 2013, Harwell will be a starter for the Jayhawks from the first snap of fall camp.

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Post date: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 05:54
Path: /college-football/unit-rankings-2013-big-ten-wide-receivers

The Big Ten had only four offenses average 30 points or more last season. Ohio State, Nebraska, Indiana and Northwestern reached that mark and each of those four teams should be among the conference’s best offenses for 2013.

The Hoosiers take the top spot in Athlon’s Big Ten wide receiver/tight end rankings for 2013, as they return their top six pass-catchers from last year. Shane Wynn led the team with 68 receptions in 2012, while Cody Latimer averaged 15.8 yards per catch. Both Wynn and Latimer could be All-Big Ten receivers in 2013.

There’s plenty of talent returning to the Big Ten at receiver for 2013, including Penn State’s Allen Robinson, Nebraska’s Kenny Bell and Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon. And if Michigan State can get consistent play from quarterback Andrew Maxwell, the Spartans could jump up on this list by the end of the year.

Kickoff for the 2013 college football season is still two months away, but it's never too early to project how the year might play out. Athlon will be taking a look at how each position stacks up in the BCS conferences and nationally until the start of the season.

Each unit ranking was evaluated based upon how it will perform in 2013 - not how it played in 2012.

Big Ten Wide Receiver/Tight End Rankings

1. Indiana
After leading the Big Ten in passing offense in 2012, the pieces are in place for the Hoosiers to be even better in 2013. Quarterback Tre Roberson is back from injury, and the receiving corps returns two potential All-Big Ten selections in Shane Wynn and Cody Latimer. Latimer averaged 15.8 yards per reception last year, and Wynn led the team with 68 catches. Kofi Hughes and Duwyce Wilson are also back after each caught more than 20 passes in 2012. Tight end Ted Bolser is an Athlon Sports third-team All-Big Ten selection for 2013.

2. Nebraska
While the Hoosiers take the top spot in this ranking, Nebraska isn’t far behind. The Cornhuskers return their top three wide receivers from last year, including second-team All-Big Ten selection Kenny Bell. He caught 50 passes for 863 yards and eight scores, while averaging 17.3 yards per reception. Quincy Enunwa is a physical 6-foot-2 option for quarterback Taylor Martinez, and junior Jamal Turner is always a threat to score with the ball in his hands. There’s not much in the way of proven depth at receiver behind Bell, Enunwa and Turner, so there’s a lot of pressure on freshmen Jordan Westerkamp and Alonzo Moore to step up this fall. The Cornhuskers are starting over at tight end with the departure of Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton.

3. Penn State
The Nittany Lions were thin on proven receivers going into last year, but this unit emerged as a strength under the watchful eye of head coach Bill O’Brien and receivers coach Stan Hixon. Allen Robinson was the only Big Ten receiver to record over 1,000 receiving yards, and he led the conference with 77 receptions through 12 games. Robinson’s stats may drop some due to a new quarterback, but the junior should finish 2013 with first-team All-Big Ten honors. Senior Brandon Moseby-Felder, junior Alex Kenney and redshirt freshman Eugene Lewis are expected to flank Robinson as key targets at receiver for Penn State’s quarterback. The Nittany Lions have a deep group of tight ends at their disposal, including returning first-team All-Big Ten selection Kyle Carter, along with true freshman Adam Breneman — the No. 44 recruit in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100. Carter is the headliner, but sophomore Jesse James (15 receptions) and senior Matt Lehman (24 catches) shouldn’t be overlooked. 

4. Ohio State
The Buckeyes need a few more playmakers to emerge, but the receiving corps has made considerable progress over the last two years. Senior Corey Brown led the team with 60 catches for 669 yards and three scores last year. Junior Devin Smith was the unit’s top playmaker, averaging 20.6 yards per catch and turning six of his 30 receptions into scores. Junior Evan Spencer and sophomore Michael Thomas should grab the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the receiving corps, but freshmen Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall will push for time. Jordan Hall played in only seven contests last year due to injury, but he is expected to play in a similar role to that of Percy Harvin under Urban Meyer at Florida. With Jake Stoneburner out of eligibility, Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett will take over at tight end.

5. Michigan
The Wolverines lose Roy Roundtree, but this unit could show improvement in 2013. Senior Jeremy Gallon is Devin Gardner’s favorite target after finishing 2012 with 49 receptions for 829 yards and four scores. Gallon averaged 16.9 yards per catch and recorded two 100-yard games over the last three contests. Senior Drew Dileo caught 20 passes in 2012, but sophomore Amara Darboh or freshman Jehu Chesson could surpass him as the No. 2 option. Darboh and Chesson are bigger receivers that will help Michigan’s passing attack inside the red zone. Tight end Devin Funchess is a rising star after catching 15 passes for 234 yards and five scores as a freshman last year.

6. Northwestern
The Wildcats return four of their top five leading receivers from last season, and this unit is poised to take a step forward in 2013. Christian Jones and Rashad Lawrence return after each caught just over 30 passes last year, with Jones leading the team with 412 yards. Demetrius Fields has expired his eligibility, leaving Tony Jones (11.6 yards per catch in 2012) and junior Kyle Prater with an opportunity to see a few more passes in their direction. Tight end/superback Dan Vitale is an underrated weapon and grabbed 28 passes for 288 yards and two scores last year. The sophomore caught 16 of his passes in two of the final three games, which is a good sign for Northwestern’s passing attack going into 2013. The Wildcats need this group to step up this fall, and there’s plenty of weapons for quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian.

7. Michigan State
Considering running back Le’Veon Bell (35 catches) was Michigan State’s top returning receiver last year, there was concern about how this group would jell with a new quarterback. The Spartans had their share of ups and downs in the passing attack, but the receiving corps performed well considering the struggles of quarterback Andrew Maxwell. Keith Mumphery and Bennie Fowler combined for 83 receptions in 2012, but all eyes were on Aaron Burbridge last year, as he caught 29 passes for 364 yards and two scores as a true freshman. Tight end Dion Sims must be replaced, but the Spartans return their top five receivers from last year.

8. Wisconsin
The Badgers have one of the conference’s top receivers at their disposal in senior Jared Abbrederis. However, there’s not much else in the way of proven talent to flank him on the outside. Abbrederis caught 49 passes for 837 yards and five scores last year and is an Athlon Sports first-team All-Big Ten selection for 2013. The coaching staff would like to see sophomore Jordan Fredrick, junior Kenzel Doe or sophomore Reggie Love step into the No. 2 role to take some of the pressure off of Abbrederis this year. While the Badgers are still looking for a No. 2 option at receiver, there’s plenty of talent at tight end. Jacob Pedersen ranked second on the team with 27 catches for 355 yards and four scores last year. Seniors Brian Wozniak and Brock DeCicco will help to spell Pedersen, as well as contribute in Wisconsin’s two-tight end sets.

9. Purdue
The Boilermakers have to replace Antavian Edison and O.J. Ross, but a steady group of options returns for new coach Darrell Hazell. Senior Gary Bush is the team’s top returning receiver after catching 41 passes for 360 yards and seven scores last year. Junior Dolapo Macarthy also is back after catching 28 passes last season, and he is expected to be a bigger part of the passing attack in 2013. Raheem Mostert is a valuable weapon on special teams, but he has yet to record a catch in two seasons at Purdue. Senior Gabe Holmes is expected to start at tight end and could be a bigger factor in the offense under new coordinator John Shoop.

10. Iowa
The Hawkeyes’ offense was one of the Big Ten’s biggest disappointments last season. Quarterback James Vandenberg never got on track under first-year coordinator Greg Davis, and Iowa finished 114th nationally in total offense. With another offseason to pickup Davis’ offense, the Hawkeyes should show some improvement. However, there’s a new quarterback taking over, and Keenan Davis has expired his eligibility after catching 47 passes last year. Kevonte Martin-Manley will be the top target for the Hawkeyes, but he needs help from sophomore Tevaun Smith, senior Jordan Cotton and junior Damond Powell. C.J. Fiedorowicz should be one of the Big Ten’s top tight ends after catching 45 passes for 433 yards and a touchdown.

11. Illinois
The Fighting Illini ranked 11th in the Big Ten in passing offense last year, so there’s plenty of room to improve. Coach Tim Beckman made a good hire by bringing in former Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit to direct the offense. However, Cubit has very little to work with at receiver. Running back Donovonn Young led the team with just 38 receptions, while receiver Ryan Lankford recorded 37 catches last year. Fellow senior Spencer Harris (21 receptions) needs to have a big season if Illinois’ passing attack is to improve. Junior college recruit Martize Barr is expected to contribute right away, while the coaching staff hopes sophomore Justin Hardee builds off his 17-catch season. Tight end Jon Davis could have a breakout year in the new offense if he can stay healthy. 

12. Minnesota
Behind sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson, the Golden Gophers should continue to make strides on offense this year. The passing attack finished ninth in the Big Ten in 2012 and there’s hope for more improvement, especially if the receiving corps takes a step forward this offseason. No returning Minnesota receiver caught more than 20 passes last season, with Isaac Fruechte leading the team with 19 receptions. Senior Derrick Engel averaged 20.8 yards per catch last year but posted only 18 receptions. Junior Devin Crawford-Tufts, sophomore KJ Maye and freshman Jamel Harbison round out the key contributors. Harbison played in only one game due to injury last year. Tight end Drew Goodger returns after catching 13 passes in 2012. Minnesota desperately needs a player that can stretch the field to emerge this fall. 

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Post date: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 05:45
Path: /college-football/alabama-installs-waterfall-locker-room

A few weeks ago, there was some talk from recruits about Alabama adding a waterfall to its locker room. And it appears that chatter was correct.

The first photo of the waterfall has surfaced, which is a part of Alabama's renovated football facilities.

Check out this picture of the waterfall (tweeted out by @SEC_Logo)

Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 17:13
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-10

Under 50 days until kickoff...but still so far away.

Feel free to contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. (@AthlonSteven)

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Tuesday, July 10th

Quarterback Connor Brewer has decided to transfer from Texas. The redshirt freshman is already receiving interest from other schools, including Notre Dame, Duke and Alabama.

Washington receiver Kasen Williams ran into some off-the-field trouble earlier this offseason. 

The American Athletic Conference will likely have a bowl game at Marlins Park in 2014.

Receiver (and Miami, Ohio transfer) Nick Harwell still has some work to do in order to be eligible at Kansas this year.

Lost Lettermen ranks Conference USA's running backs for 2013

Everett Golson discusses his future with Notre Dame.

The Pac-12 is planning to expand its reach into China. 

Saturday Down South examines: Is the SEC the villain of college football?

Center Jake Jenkins is one of Oklahoma State's key players for 2013.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Tyler Ferguson will play for Penn State in 2013

Speaking of the Nittany Lions, they are set to play UCF in a game in Ireland in 2014.

Tennessee self-reported a couple of secondary violations.

Which college football teams get the most from their recruiting expenses?

Should Clemson consider bringing in former Auburn running back Michael Dyer?

John Cassillo of Atlantic Coast Convos takes a look at Pittsburgh safety Jason Hendricks for 2013.

NC State has picked up a JUCO transfer that will be eligible to compete this fall.

Former Hawaii receiver Trevor Davis will transfer to California. He will be eligible to play in 2014.

College Football's Link Roundup: July 10
Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 16:53
Path: /college-football/louisville-unveils-new-cleats-2013

As the countdown to kickoff for the 2013 season continues, more teams are releasing photos of new uniforms, helmets or anything else that will be worn on Saturdays this year. 

Louisville has already upgraded its turf in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium this offseason, and now the team is getting an upgraded look in the uniform department. Sort of. 

Here's a photo from Louisville coach Charlie Strong's twitter account for the new shoes Cardinals will wear in 2013:


Louisville Unveils New Cleats for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 16:20
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football
Path: /college-football/clemson-football-game-game-predictions-2013

Clemson is coming off the best two-year stretch in school history, but the program’s sights are set even higher in 2013.

With quarterback Tajh Boyd turning down the NFL for one more year in Death Valley, the Tigers are the preseason favorite to win the ACC title. In addition to Boyd, Clemson returns 12 other starters, including receiver Sammy Watkins and a handful of key defenders.

With a favorable schedule, the Tigers are positioned to make a run at the national title. A Florida State team that’s reloading on both sides of the ball will be Clemson’s toughest ACC opponent, while Georgia and South Carolina are in the non-conference portion of the schedule.

If Clemson can navigate its schedule for a 13-0 mark, this team should be in a good position to play for the national title. With games against potential top-10 teams in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State, the Tigers have opportunities for quality wins.

What will be Clemson’s record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Clemson's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven LassanBraden GallJohn CassilloMark RossDavid
8/31 Georgia
9/7 So. Carolina State
9/19 at NC State*
9/28 Wake Forest*
10/5 at Syracuse*
10/12 Boston College*
10/19 Florida State*
10/26 at Maryland*
11/2 at Virginia*
11/14 Ga. Tech*
11/23 The Citadel
11/30 at S. Carolina
Final Projection11-1 11-111-111-19-310-210-2

* Indicates ACC game.

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
If you're an ACC team, this is exactly how you need to lay out your schedule in order to compete for a National Championship. The Georgia and South Carolina bookends keep you top-of-mind for the media at both the start and end of the season, making it very likely the Palmetto State will be hosting ESPN's College Gameday multiple times this season, too. Clemson also received a gift with a couple weeks or so in between each of the four real challenges on this slate (Georgia, Florida State, Georgia Tech, South Carolina). I see Clemson going 1-1 against the two SEC teams, and while I picked them to beat UGA and lose to SC, you could easily flip that around, too. Unsure which is better for the team's title hopes, though: losing in the first or the last game. But with Tajh Boyd at quarterback, they may not have to worry about losing either contest.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The opener against Georgia is a toss-up, but the Bulldogs have a checkered past with some of these high-profile opening games (see: Boise State and Oklahoma State). I like Clemson at home with the Bulldogs missing safety Josh Harvey-Clemons. Hard to believe Clemson hasn’t lost back-to-back games to Florida State in more than a decade, but I’ll take FSU coming off the bye week. The big surprise may be a loss to Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets give Clemson fits, handing the Tigers their first loss of 2011. Paul Johnson is 3-2 against Dabo Swinney, and Clemson has won seven of the last 10 overall.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Clemson might boast the best offense in the nation with an elite quarterback-wide receiver combination, a veteran offensive line and innovative play-caller pulling the strings. This team should be playing for an ACC title on Championship Saturday regardless of what happens in the two huge SEC bookends. The Tigers beat two such opponents last year — LSU and Auburn — and will have to do it again if it wants to be in the national title mix in 2013. While that seems unlikely, a one-loss, ACC title, BCS bowl bid campaign would have to be viewed as a major success.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Clemson has to be considered one of the top-10 teams to have a chance to win the national championship this year. Even though Florida State has plenty of time to reload on both sides of the ball by Oct. 19, I don’t see the Tigers losing in conference play. And if Clemson runs the table in the ACC, it essentially sets up a two-game schedule to stay in the national title picture. With Georgia’s defense breaking in a handful of new starters, the Tigers are playing the Bulldogs at the right time in the season opener. However, Clemson has lost four straight to South Carolina, and I think the Gamecocks make it five in a row in 2013. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Nothing too surprising out of my projections for Clemson this season. I don't believe the Tigers will go a perfect 8-0 in league play during the regular season, but I had trouble identifying which game (or games) they will lose. If you are looking for a potential upset, watch out for the trip to Maryland in late October. The opener against Georgia is obviously a huge game for both teams. It's a good time to play Georgia — the Dawgs will be breaking in a bunch of new starters on defense and will be without linebacker/safety Josh Harvey-Clemons — but it will hard for the Clemson defense to slow down the Georgia offense, which can be devastating on the ground and through the air. 

Mark Ross
I like Clemson a lot this season, especially on offense. The ACC Atlantic Division will most likely come down to the Tigers and Seminoles, and I am giving Clemson the edge based on the game with FSU being at home. Clemson's national title hopes will come down to the two non-conference games against the SEC, which just so happen to bookend its regular season. I think it's too much to ask of this Tigers team to beat both SEC powerhouses, as I have some skepticism of just how improved Brent Venables' defense will be. So I am going to play it safe and give Clemson a split against Georgia and South Carolina with the win coming over the hated, in-state rival Gamecocks. I know that's how Dabo Swinney would want it if he had to choose between the two.

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High Expectations Have Returned for Florida State
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Clemson Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Arkansas Razorbacks, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/floridas-jeff-driskel-signs-red-sox

If football doesn't work for Jeff Driskel, the Florida signal-caller has a solid Plan B. Driskel was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 29th round of the MLB Draft and signed with the team this week.

Driskel is still eligible to play for Florida this season, marking his second year as the Gators' No. 1 signal-caller. 

Considering the personnel losses Florida suffered on defense, the Gators need Driskel to show improvement for the team to match its win total for 2013. However, the quarterback also needs help from a struggling receiving corps and revamped offensive line. 

Here's what Driskel had about his Red Sox contract on Twitter this week:


Post date: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 17:51
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/arkansas-releases-hype-video-2013

After last season's 4-8 record, there's a lot of excitement for the change in Arkansas football behind new coach Bret Bielema.

Bielema comes to Fayetteville from Wisconsin and should have the Razorbacks back in contention for a bowl in 2013.

With over 50 days until kickoff, Arkansas has released a video to get its fans ready for the 2013 college football season. 

It's worth a couple minutes of your time to check out this video. However, you are warned: It will just make you wish kickoff for the 2013 season was tomorrow. 


Post date: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 17:44
Path: /college-football/rutgers-billboard-preps-b1g-ten-move

Rutgers was one of the biggest winners in college football’s recent round of realignment, as the Scarlet Knights will be moving from the American Athletic Conference to the Big Ten.

Rutgers will formally move to the Big Ten in 2014, but the promotion for the switch in conferences has already begun.

This photo tweeted out by Jason Baum (@JasonBaumRU) showcases the promotion for the move to the Big Ten for 2014.


Post date: Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 00:02
Path: /college-football/virginia-tech-west-virginia-renew-rivalry

With an emphasis on strength of schedule in college football’s new postseason format, most teams are beginning to add more games against BCS competition for 2014 and beyond.

West Virginia and Virginia Tech announced on Friday they have scheduled two games to renew their rivalry, with matchups slated for 2021 and 2022.

Virginia Tech will travel to Morgantown on Sept. 18, 2021, while West Virginia will play in Blacksburg on Sept. 24, 2022.

West Virginia holds the overall series edge at 28-22-1, but the last matchup occurred in 2005. The series has been on hiatus after Virginia Tech moved to the ACC.  

Both teams will play for the Black Diamond Trophy, which was created in 1997 due to the region’s history with coal.

Who knows how good both teams will be by then, but this is a good scheduling move for West Virginia and Virginia Tech. 

Now that the Mountaineers have a game scheduled against the Hokies, maybe the school can get an agreement with Pittsburgh to renew the Backyard Brawl?

Post date: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 10:10
Path: /college-football/chrome-helmet-way-washington

New uniforms and helmets are the biggest craze in college football.

Teams are unveiling different looks throughout the offseason, and it seems one of the newest variations is a chrome helmet.

Baylor unveiled a gold helmet earlier this year, and Washington could be joining the crowd with a chrome look for 2013.

The school hasn’t officially announced anything about the helmet, but the chrome variation would be a sharp look for the Huskies. 

Here's a look at the chrome helmet, tweeted by @TysonLossness

Personally, I love the chrome helmet. A big part of the helmet/uniform craze is to help catch the attention of recruits, and there's no question this look would be a sharp addition to one of the Pac-12's best uniform combinations

Post date: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 00:08
Path: /college-football/unit-rankings-2013-sec-offensive-lines

Most of college football’s preseason hype surrounds high-profile quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. But arguably the most important position – the offensive line – usually doesn’t garner much attention. However, the play of the offensive line could be the difference between contending for a conference championship or fighting just to get bowl eligible.

The SEC is loaded with talent on the offensive line in 2013. Led by future NFL first-round draft pick Antonio Richardson, Tennessee ranks as the No. 1 group for 2013. The Volunteers allowed only eight sacks in 2012 and return four starters this year.

Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama round out the top four offensive lines in the SEC for 2013. The Bulldogs have upside with all five starters back, while the Crimson Tide must replace Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker.

Kickoff for the 2013 college football season is still two months away, but it's never too early to project how the year might play out. Athlon will be taking a look at how each position stacks up in the BCS conferences and nationally until the start of the season.

Each unit ranking was evaluated based upon how it will perform in 2013 - not how it played in 2012.

Ranking the SEC Offensive Lines for 2013

1. Tennessee
With a new quarterback and a revamped receiving corps, Tennessee will lean heavily on its offensive line to carry the offense in 2013. The line is anchored by future NFL first-round pick Antonio Richardson. He started all 12 games and earned second-team All-SEC honors last year. Joining Richardson in the starting lineup as returning starters will be center James Stone (27 career starts) and seniors Zach Fulton and Ja’Wuan James (37 consecutive starts). Senior Alex Bullard and junior Marcus Jackson are battling to replace departed guard Dallas Thomas. This unit must adapt to a new coach, but Tennessee should still have one of the best offensive lines in the nation.

2. Texas A&M
The Aggies’ offensive line was a big reason for the success of the offense last year. The final totals indicated this unit gave up 23 sacks but cleared the way for Texas A&M to average 5.9 yards per carry. And a mobile quarterback like Johnny Manziel can often inflate the sack totals of an offensive line, as it’s not easy for the front five to hold their blocks while the quarterback scrambles. Left tackle Luke Joeckel left for the NFL, but the Aggies plan to move Associated Press 2012 third-team All-American Jake Matthews from right tackle to the left side. And Cedric Ogbuehi will slide from guard to right tackle to replace Matthews. The guard spots will be manned by Jarvis Harrison and Germain Ifedi, while Mike Matthews – brother of left tackle Jake Matthews – will slide into the center spot. Joeckel will be missed, but Texas A&M has plenty of talent returning to keep this offensive line among the best in the nation.

3. Alabama
Much like Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide have a few holes to plug up front before 2013. Center Barrett Jones – arguably one of the best offensive linemen of the BCS era – and 2012 first-team All-American Chance Warmack have expired their eligibility. Right tackle D.J. Fluker earned second-team All-American honors last season, and he decided to leave early for the NFL. Despite the departure of three key performers from last year, the cupboard is far from bare. Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is primed to emerge as one of the top linemen in the nation, with senior Anthony Steen anchoring the right side at guard. The other three spots are up for grabs, with juniors Arie Kouandjio (left guard) and Austin Shepherd (right tackle) owning a slight edge for snaps going into the fall. Sophomore Ryan Kelly is expected to replace Jones at center. This unit will be under the direction of a new position coach in former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal.

Related: Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Wide Receivers

4. Georgia
With only three returning starters on defense, the Bulldogs will need their offense to carry the team through a difficult September schedule. With quarterback Aaron Murray, running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, along with receiver Malcolm Mitchell returning, the firepower is certainly there to win the SEC in 2013. However, Georgia’s offense will only go as far as its line will allow. The good news? All five starters are back, including promising sophomore left tackle John Theus. The rest of the starting five could feature three seniors with Dallas Lee, Chris Burnette and Kenarious Gates, with David Andrews anchoring the interior at center. This unit gave up 27 sacks last year – including a miserable performance in a 35-7 loss against South Carolina. Considering the talent, depth and experience returning to Athens, it would be a big surprise if the Bulldogs fail to find improvement on the offensive line in 2013.

5. LSU
Josh Dworaczyk and center P.J. Lonergan must be replaced, but the Tigers should remain one of the SEC’s best offensive lines in 2013. Anchoring the line at tackle will be rising star La’el Collins. The Louisiana native earned honorable mention all-conference SEC honors last season and started 13 games at guard. Collins is expected to slide to left tackle this year. Sophomore Vadal Alexander will join Collins as the bookends, with senior Josh Williford and sophomore Trai Turner expected to start at guard. Elliott Porter is slated to take over at center, but he will be pushed by Ethan Pocic. LSU allowed 32 sacks last season, but the line paved the way for rushers to average 4.3 yards per carry in 2012.

6. Florida
With the personnel losses on defense, the Gators need more help from the offense in 2013. And there’s plenty of good news with the return of quarterback Jeff Driskel, and the offensive line could be one of the most-improved groups in the conference. Seniors Jonotthan Harrison and guard Jon Halapio are back as returning starters, and the group is expected to get a boost from the arrival of transfers Tyler Moore (Nebraska) and Max Garcia (Maryland). Left tackle D.J. Humphries ranked as the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2012 Athlon Consensus 100 last year. If Humphries, Moore and Garcia quickly acclimate to the starting lineup, the Gators will easily cut last season’s sack total (39) in 2013.

7. Mississippi State
With four starters back, this unit should be a strength for the Bulldogs. Anchoring the line will be one of the nation’s best guards in senior Gabe Jackson (a third-team All-American by Athlon Sports for 2013). Joining Jackson on the interior will be promising junior Dillon Day, who has made 22 starts during his career. The tackle spots are expected to be manned by Blaine Clausell and Charles Siddoway, and the coaching staff would like to see both players step up their performance in 2013. The right guard spot is up for grabs, with sophomore Justin Malone and junior Archie Muniz battling for time. The Bulldogs allowed only 19 sacks last year and could lower that number in 2013.

8. Vanderbilt
Under the direction of line coach Herb Hand, the Commodores have made significant progress in the trenches over the last couple of seasons. And this group is poised to take another step forward in 2013, especially with senior Wesley Johnson returning at left tackle and center Joe Townsend anchoring the interior. Junior Andrew Bridges could be pushed for time by redshirt freshman Andrew Jelks, while the guard spots should go to Jake Bernstein and Spencer Pulley. This unit was a key reason why the Commodores averaged 166.3 rushing yards per game last year, and with three solid returning starters in place, Vanderbilt should be able to cut its sacks allowed from last year (24).

9. Ole Miss
The Rebels allowed 34 sacks and ranked fifth in the SEC with an average of 173.9 rushing yards per game last year. With four starters returning, Ole Miss should be able to improve on those totals in 2013. Seniors Emmanuel McCray and Pierce Burton anchor the line from the tackle spots, while guard Aaron Morris is a second-team All-SEC selection by Athlon Sports for 2013. Center Evan Swindall provided steady play last year and started all 13 contests. The one open spot on the line comes at right guard, where the vacancy is likely to be filled by a senior – Patrick Junen or Jared Duke. Ole Miss also has help on the way in the form of incoming freshman Laremy Tunsil. Even if Tunsil doesn’t replace McCray and Burton, he will provide valuable depth for a line that hopes to use more bodies in 2013.

Related: Hugh Freeze Has Ole Miss on the Rise

10. Auburn
Much like many of the other units for Auburn in 2013, the Tigers could easily outperform this ranking by the end of the year. There’s no shortage of talent up front for coach Gus Malzahn, starting with junior Reese Dismukes at center. Dismukes has 23 career starts coming into 2013 and could emerge as one of the SEC’s best centers by the end of the year. The coaching staff is counting on sophomore Greg Robinson to guard the blindside for whichever quarterback wins the job, while redshirt freshman Alex Kozan is expected to slide into the lineup at left guard. Junior Chad Slade (right guard) and sophomore Patrick Miller (right tackle) will likely round out the starting lineup. However, junior college transfer Devonte Danzey could push for time as a starter at guard this year.  

Related: College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013

11. South Carolina
With four starters returning, the Gamecocks are hoping for significant improvement in the trenches. The line struggled at times last year, allowing 38 sacks (102nd nationally) and rushers averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. Although the line has four players back, there’s also the concern of replacing one of the SEC’s top centers in T.J. Johnson. Redshirt freshman Cody Waldrop is slated to fill Johnson’s shoes at center. For the line to take the next step, the Gamecocks need a big year from sophomore Brandon Shell at right tackle and left guard A.J. Cann to become an all-conference performer. For South Carolina to win the East Division, the offensive line’s development could hold the key to the season.

12. Arkansas
The Razorbacks’ offensive line will be led by senior center Travis Swanson, an Athlon Sports’ second-team All-American for 2013. Having Swanson back in the lineup is a huge asset for new coach Bret Bielema, especially since three starters departed, and the offense is switching to a new scheme under coordinator Jim Chaney. Senior David Hurd is expected to start at left tackle after making 11 starts last year. Guards Brey Cook and Mitch Smothers have potential, while the right tackle spot is expected to be up for grabs between Grady Ollison and Austin Beck. Incoming freshmen Dan Skipper, Denver Kirkland and Reeve Koehler could all push for time this fall. Line coach Sam Pittman did an excellent job of molding Tennessee’s line into a strength, and this unit should be significantly improved by the end of 2013.

13. Missouri
Injuries and inconsistent play hindered this group’s performance last year. The Tigers allowed 29 sacks and led the way for running backs to average only 3.7 yards per carry. While last season was a transition year for this group as it adjusted to life in the SEC, Missouri should be hopeful about its offensive line prospects for 2013. Evan Boehm could blossom into one of the nation’s top sophomore offensive linemen by the end of the season, and he is expected to slide to center after playing guard in 2012. Senior Justin Britt has 22 career starts and will anchor the line from the left tackle spot. Senior Max Copeland is expected to join him at left guard, while junior Mitch Morse is likely to start at right tackle.

14. Kentucky
The Wildcats suffered some significant losses in this group, as All-SEC guard Larry Warford and center Matt Smith have expired their eligibility. Also, the line must adapt to a different scheme and a new coach in John Schlarman. Although two key starters must be replaced, this unit isn’t in total disarray. Left tackle Darrian Miller started all 12 games last year and will be joined by promising sophomore Zach West at guard. Senior Kevin Mitchell is slated to move from tackle to guard to help replace Warford. Proven depth is a concern in the trenches for Schlarman, especially for an offense that plans to pay at a faster pace in 2013. 

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Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Offensive Lines
Post date: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 06:26
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-top-players-pac-12-2013

College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with the college fantasy football site to provide in-depth coverage for 2013. 

Here's a look at the best of the best for Pac-12 in terms of fantasy options for 2013:

All draft values are based on a 12-team, 20-round draft using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point, Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point, FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points, Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point, Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)


QB—Marcus Mariota, So. (Oregon)

Last season:  Passing—2,677 yards, 32 TD-6 INT; Rushing—752 yards, 5 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; Nicholls St, @ Virginia, Tennessee

Fantasy Draft Value:  Chip Kelly is gone, but the Ducks will still play fast and return nine offensive starters.  On draft day, Mariota will likely disappear late in round 1 or early in round 2.


QB—Brett Hundley, So. (UCLA)

Last season:  Passing—3,740 yards, 29 TD-11 INT; Rushing—355 yards, 9 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:   Weeks 4-5-6-7; NM St, BYE, @ Utah, Cal

Fantasy Draft Value:  We’re thinking the experience gained as a freshman will help reduce the number of sacks in 2013 (50-plus in 2012), which should boost his rushing totals.  Hundley is projected as a mid-to-late second-round draft selection.


RB—Ka’Deem Carey, Jr. (Arizona)

Last season:  Rushing—1,929 yards, 23 TD; Receiving—36 rec. for 303 yards, TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:   Weeks 1-2-3; No. Arizona, @ UNLV, UTSA

Fantasy Draft Value:  The Wildcats return three starters on the offensive line that helped Carey rush for nearly 2,000 yards in 2012.  The junior running back will likely be the first running back selected in this year’s draft.


RB—De’Anthony Thomas, Jr. (Oregon)

Last season:  Rushing—701 yards, 11 TD; Receiving—45 rec. for 445 yards, 5 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; Nicholls St, @ Virginia, Tennessee

Fantasy Draft Value:  Thomas’s role should expand even more now that Kenjon Barner is no longer around.  However, sophomore running back Byron Marshall and incoming freshman Thomas Tyner are likely to earn a fair share of carries.  The electrifying junior should be targeted in rounds 2-3.


RB—Bishop Sankey, Jr. (Washington)

Last season:  Rushing—1,439 yards, 16 TD; Receiving—33 rec. for 249 yards

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 3-4-5; @ Illinois, Idaho St, Arizona

Fantasy Draft Value:  The Huskies return their starting quarterback, top two receivers, and four starters on the offensive line.  The pieces are in place for another solid year from Sankey and the junior running back is a lock to disappear before round 2 concludes.


WR—Marqise Lee, Jr. (USC)

Last season:  Receiving—118 rec. for 1,721 yards, 14 TD; Return—856 yards, TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3-4; @ Hawaii, Washington St, Boston College, Utah St

Fantasy Draft Value:  We are still uncertain about who will start under center for the Trojans in 2013, but Lee will undoubtedly make their transition a lot easier.  We believe that Lee is the best receiver in the country and should get strong consideration as a first-round pick.


WR—Brandin Cooks, Jr. (Oregon State)

Last season:  67 receptions for 1,151 yards and 5 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; E. Washington, Hawaii, @ Utah

Fantasy Draft Value:  Things are still unsettled at quarterback, but the Beavers offense returns virtually intact.  Gone is receiver Markus Wheaton, so Cooks will be called upon to shoulder the load in the passing game.  Fantasy owners should consider drafting Cooks in rounds 4-5, especially if they have not selected a receiver up until that point.


WR—Chris Harper, So. (California)

Last season:  41 receptions for 544 yards and 2 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 11-12-13; Arizona, USC, @ Colorado

Fantasy Draft Value:  Harper is only one of three returning starters on an offense that finished 91st in the nation in scoring last year.  However, the sophomore receiver’s numbers should go up in new head coach Sonny Dykes’ pass-oriented attack and Harper should be considered in rounds 8-10.


TE—Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr. (Washington)

Last season:  69 receptions for 850 yards and seven touchdowns.

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 3-4-5; @ Illinois, Idaho St, Arizona

Fantasy Draft Value:  Seferian-Jenkins and teammate Kasen Williams form one of the best pass-catching duos in the PAC-12.  If your league requires a tight end, Seferian-Jenkins may come off the board as early as round 5.  If not, the junior tight end should still post solid WR3 numbers and must be considered in rounds 8-10.


FLEX—Storm Woods, So. (Oregon State)

Last season:  Rushing—940 yards, 13 TD; Receiving—38 rec. for 313 yards

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; E. Washington, Hawaii, @ Utah

Fantasy Draft Value:  Woods separated himself from a stable of running backs early in the 2012 season.  The sophomore back is joined by an experienced offensive line in 2013, which catapults him into the top four rounds of the fantasy draft.


K—Andre Heidari, Jr. (USC)

Last season:  10-16 FG; 69 points


DEF—Stanford Cardinal

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; San Jose St, @ Army, Arizona St

Fantasy Draft Value:  Eight starters return on a defense that ranked first in the PAC-12 in scoring defense, rushing defense, and total defense.


Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Related College Football Content

2013 College Fantasy Quarterback Rankings
2013 College Fantasy Running Back Rankings
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2013 College Fantasy Tight End Rankings
2013 College Fantasy Kicker Rankings
2013 College Fantasy Defense Rankings

Post date: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 14:54
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-15-winners-conference-realignment

Realignment has dominated the college football headlines for a couple of years, resulting in a vastly different landscape across the nation.

The changes resulted in the death of one football conference (WAC), with the ACC, Big Ten and SEC inching closer to the much-discussed 16-team superconferences in the near future.

Some teams – notably Texas A&M and Louisville – finished conference realignment as a clear winner. While some other teams (UConn and Cincinnati) were on the other side of the coin.

Realignment in college football isn’t over. But with the recent changes, the landscape should remain relatively stable, at least for the next couple of seasons.

With things seemingly quiet, Athlon takes a look at the top 15 winners from college football’s most recent round of conference musical chairs.

College Football's Top 15 Winners From Conference Realignment

1. Texas A&M
The move to the SEC was supposed to be difficult. After all, Texas A&M had a new coaching staff, quarterback and a conference to learn. However, the Aggies made an immediate splash, winning double-digit games for the first time since 1998 and produced a Heisman winner in Johnny Manziel. While realignment isn’t just about what happened last year, Texas A&M can win big in the SEC. The program has excellent resources and can use its SEC leverage to recruit against its in-state brethren. The Aggies will have their share of ups and downs in the SEC in the future, but with coach Kevin Sumlin on the sidelines, the program is well-positioned to succeed in the upcoming seasons.

2. Louisville
There wasn’t much that went wrong for Louisville’s football program last season. The Cardinals shared the Big East title, won the Sugar Bowl over Florida, managed to keep coach Charlie Strong in Louisville despite multiple overtures from the SEC, and were invited to join the ACC in 2014. The Cardinals have one of the best all-around athletic programs in the nation and will immediately be a factor in the ACC. And with 14 returning starters from last year’s 11-2 team, Louisville will have a chance to push for the national title in its final season in the Big East/American Athletic Conference.

3. Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights are one of the biggest winners in conference realignment. Sure, competing in the Big Ten will be a step up in competition, but Rutgers has made a significant step up on the conference hierarchy ladder. The Scarlet Knights have jumped from the sixth- or seventh-best conference in college football to arguably one of the top three. Moving to the Big Ten also will increase exposure and the ability to recruit for Rutgers, especially with the added games on the Big Ten Network.

4. TCU
The competition in the Big 12 is much tougher than what TCU faced in the Mountain West. But the Horned Frogs are positioned to remain a factor in the top half of the Big 12 on a regular basis, especially with a renovated stadium and the built-in advantage of having one of the nation’s best recruiting bases in their own backyard. Also, TCU has one of the nation’s top coaches in Gary Patterson, and it held its own in the Big 12 last year after losing starting quarterback Casey Pachall in early October. With Texas A&M, Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado leaving the Big 12, the Horned Frogs have a chance to quickly emerge as an annual contender.

5. SEC
The SEC didn’t expand just to expand. Instead, the conference landed two programs in new attractive television markets, which should help the SEC when it comes time to launch its conference network in 2014. Although realignment isn’t about success in one season, the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri will pay dividends. The Aggies bring a chunk of the Texas market – something the SEC wanted to tap into – and a program capable of consistently ranking among the top 10-15 teams in the nation. The Tigers will find life a little tougher in the SEC than the Big 12, but the program will benefit from the extra money. And once Missouri has a chance to find its footing in the SEC, the Tigers should be a consistent bowl team. In the SEC’s case, the rich are getting a little richer.

Related: College Football Conference Realignment: Tracking the Changes

6. Big 12
At one point during college football’s realignment craze, there was some thought the Big 12 would go extinct. Instead, the conference has rebounded and appears healthy for the next 10-15 years, largely thanks to the grant of rights for each team’s television deal. Losing Nebraska and Texas A&M was a tough blow to the Big 12, but the additions of West Virginia and TCU helped to soften the blow. New commissioner Bob Bowlsby seems to be doing a good job of keeping the peace within the conference, and barring any unforeseen issues arising, the Big 12 should be secure for the immediate future. The only question? 10 or 12? Will the Big 12 have to expand once again? If the conference has to add, which programs get the call to be No. 11 and No. 12?

7. Notre Dame
Much like their Independent brethren (BYU), the Fighting Irish are a winner in the latest round of expansion. There was some thought Notre Dame would be forced to join a conference, but the Fighting Irish were able to remain Independent and upgraded with a partnership with the ACC. Notre Dame also struck an agreement with the Orange Bowl, and access to other postseason games should be better in the partnership with the ACC. Who knows, in 50 years, maybe the Fighting Irish will have to join a conference. However, it’s pretty clear – for now – that Notre Dame’s place as an Independent is secure for the foreseeable future.

8. ACC
The ACC is losing Maryland to the Big Ten, but the additions of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville are enough to keep this conference in the winner category. The conference also was able to stave off any additional departures – at least for the foreseeable future – as the teams have signed a grant of rights deal, which makes it very difficult for any program to leave. The ACC is gaining one of the top college programs in the nation in Louisville, and two members to bolster its presence on the Eastern side of the United States. Pittsburgh is on the right track under second-year coach Paul Chryst, and Syracuse made strides under former coach Doug Marrone. The ACC needs both programs to continue making progress to bolster the conference’s overall depth. And of course, the ACC landed a significant partnership with Notre Dame, which will help improve each team’s non-conference schedule, along with making the conference more attractive for bowl partners.

9. Boise State
Obviously, the Broncos would like to jump into the Pac-12 or Big 12, but staying in the Mountain West – instead of joining the American Athletic Conference – is the right move. One of the driving forces behind Boise State’s decision to stay in the Mountain West was a new television contract, which will allow the program more exposure than the conference’s current television deal and bonus money with broadcast games on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX. The Broncos also remain in the conference that’s the best fit for the program in terms of geography, especially since California and Texas are two key areas for recruiting. With Louisville and Rutgers departing after 2013, the American Athletic Conference isn’t much of an increase in terms of competition anymore.

10. BYU
There was some skepticism when BYU decided to go Independent. And while the Cougars are just three years into this experiment, the results have been positive so far. BYU has secured a solid television deal with ESPN and has won 25 games over the last three years. The Cougars will play a good schedule in 2013, which features matchups against Virginia, Texas, Boise State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame and has future games scheduled with Texas, Michigan, Nebraska, USC and West Virginia. Securing solid bowl opportunities for the next 15-20 years and contending for a spot in the playoffs are the next challenges ahead, but BYU is well-positioned to succeed in college football’s new landscape.

11. Utah State/San Jose State
The Aggies and Spartans were handed a lifeline out of the sinking WAC, landing in the Mountain West, the best league outside of the six BCS conferences. Both programs have been on the rise in recent years, especially since both teams finished in the top 25 of the final BCS standings last season. As long as the new coaches (Matt Wells, Utah State and Ron Caragher, San Jose State) work out as well as Gary Andersen and Mike MacIntyre did, Utah State and San Jose State will continue to be a factor in the MWC.  

12. New American Athletic Conference Teams
Sure, the American Athletic Conference isn’t as strong with Louisville, Rutgers, West Virginia and Syracuse departing. However, for teams like Memphis, SMU, Temple, UCF, East Carolina, Tulsa, Tulane and Houston, it’s an opportunity to emerge as an annual contender in a new league. East Carolina has excellent fan support, Tulane and Houston are building new stadiums, while Temple, UCF and SMU are located in fertile recruiting areas and should be an annual factor in the new conference. And Tulsa has won 10 games in four out of the last six years. For teams like Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida, the new American Athletic Conference may be a disappointment. But for teams like East Carolina, Tulsa and the rest of the newcomers, it’s a chance to upgrade their own brands as it relates to the college football landscape.

13. UTSA
No program in college football has experienced quite the ascension that UTSA has over the last few years. The Roadrunners played 2011 as an I-AA Independent and jumped to the WAC for '12. UTSA was impressive in its first season on the FBS level, winning eight games – with victories over New Mexico State, Idaho, and Texas State. The Roadrunners are on the move once again, as Larry Coker’s team is joining Conference USA. UTSA will need time to build depth and get acquainted to its new league members, but the Roadrunners have a rich recruiting area, along with a good fan base to help ease the transition to life as a full-time FBS member.  

14. Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs were a geographic misfit in the WAC but should be a perfect fit in a revamped Conference USA. With the change in conferences, Louisiana Tech is in a much better league in terms of developing geographic rivals, which includes North Texas, Rice, UTEP, UTSA and Southern Miss. The Bulldogs should find life in Conference USA a little easier when it comes to recruiting; and with no established mid-majors like Boise State, Utah State or Fresno State to worry about in their new league, Louisiana Tech has a chance to become one of the premier programs in C-USA.

15. Mid-American Conference
What realignment? That’s what the MAC is saying after avoiding any major departures of their own members. The conference could stand to add a 14th team to balance the divisions, but avoiding a massive exodus was a huge boost for weeknight MACtion. 

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Post date: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-college-footballs-conferences-2013

After seven consecutive national championships, the SEC is reigns supreme as college football’s premier conference for 2013. The bottom of the conference isn’t its strength this year, but Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Florida are all national title contenders for 2013.

The SEC is clearly ahead of the rest of the conferences, but the Pac-12 boasts two top-10 teams in Oregon and Stanford. The South Division is a wide-open battle between Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and USC. Helping the Pac-12’s case as the No. 2 conference should be the bottom of the league, as Colorado, Washington State, Utah and California should continue to improve as the season progresses.

The Big Ten and Big 12 round out the top four conferences, with the ACC and Mountain West running just behind. The Big 12 doesn’t have a clear frontrunner in 2013, but the league has solid depth. 

Ranking College Football's Conferences for 2013

1. SEC

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Alabama

The SEC increased its run of national championships to seven straight thanks to Alabama’s dominating win over Notre Dame in the BCS title game. The Crimson Tide are our pick to win it all again, but Texas A&M, Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and Florida could all play their way into the national title discussion. Texas A&M is loaded once again, but the Aggies will have to deal with huge expectations. LSU lost a ton of key personnel on defense but still has one of the most talented rosters in the nation. Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, two up-and-coming programs, are just outside the top 25.

2013 SEC Predictions

2. Pac-12

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Oregon

Oregon lost its leader — head coach Chip Kelly — but the Ducks have enough pieces in place to win the Pac-12 title for the fourth time in the past five seasons. New coach Mark Helfrich will lean on sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota and a talented corps of skill players. Stanford will remain among the elite in the Pac-12 thanks to an outstanding defense and one of the nation’s top offensive lines. The South Division race should be intriguing. Our pick is Arizona State — which returns quarterback Taylor Kelly and eight starters on defense — but you could make a case for USC, UCLA or Arizona.

2013 Pac-12 Predictions

3. Big Ten

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Ohio State

The Big Ten boasts a legitimate national title contender in Ohio State, which returns 13 starters from a team that went 12–0 in Urban Meyer’s inaugural season in Columbus. Wisconsin, under new leadership with Gary Andersen, and Penn State should both be solid, but neither figures to pose too much of a threat to Ohio State in the Leaders Division. The Legends race, however, should be tight. Our pick is Michigan to edge Nebraska, but always-underrated Northwestern will be a factor.

2013 Big Ten Predictions

4. Big 12

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Oklahoma State

The Big 12 features quality depth but lacks star power at the top. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 16 in our preseason top 25 — the lowest spot for the preseason favorite in the 18-year history of the league. There was heavy debate for the next three spots. Oklahoma, despite its concerns at the quarterback position — Can the Belldozer be a weapon in the passing game? — got the nod over Texas and TCU. The Longhorns have plenty of talent, but they must show significant improvement on defense. TCU will be a legitimate title threat if quarterback Casey Pachall returns to form.

2013 Big 12 Predictions

5. ACC

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Clemson

Led by quarterback Tajh Boyd and wideout Sammy Watkins, Clemson is the favorite to win its second ACC title in the past three seasons. The Tigers have won 21 games over the last two years and are in the midst of shedding their label as chronic underachievers. Florida State appears to be the only worthy challenger to Clemson in the Atlantic Division. There are four teams capable of winning the Coastal Division. Miami is our pick, followed by Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

2013 ACC Predictions

6. Mountain West

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Boise State

The Mountain West, now up to 12 teams and two divisions, is stronger than ever. Boise State is the team to beat in the Mountain Division, though league newcomer Utah State, which went 6–0 in the WAC in 2012, should be a factor in the division race. The return of quarterback Derek Carr makes Fresno State the easy choice in the West Division. The Bulldogs should score a ton of points. The West has solid depth, with San Jose State, San Diego State and Nevada each likely to play in a bowl game.

2013 Mountain West Predictions

7. American Athletic

Favorite: Louisville

The league formerly known as the Big East continues its descent down the college football food chain, but that doesn’t mean the league is without quality teams. Louisville, fresh off its BCS bowl win over Florida, is capable of running the table in the regular season. Cincinnati, now under Tommy Tuberville’s watch, returns 13 starters (including all five O-linemen) from a 10-win team. Rutgers will have to fight off  league newcomer UCF for third.

2013 American Athletic Predictions

8. MAC

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Northern Illinois

Last season, the MAC sent its first team to a BCS bowl (Northern Illinois) and had four different schools ranked nationally at some point. This year, the power remains in the West, where NIU has the edge over Ball State and Toledo. Bowling Green is the pick in the East, but it’s not wise to count out Ohio and coach Frank Solich. The Bobcats have won three division titles under Solich but have not won the outright MAC title since 1968.

2013 MAC Predictions

9. Conference USA

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Tulsa

Conference USA is up to 14 teams, but the league is weaker in 2013 due to the loss of UCF, Houston and SMU (among others) to the American Athletic Conference. Tulsa, which will make the move to the American in 2014, is a strong favorite to win its second straight C-USA crown. The race in the East should be intriguing. Our pick is Marshall over East Carolina.

2013 Conference USA Predictions

10. Sun Belt

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: UL Lafayette

The Sun Belt lost four teams to Conference USA but did retain the defending league champ (Arkansas State) and two of the three teams (UL Lafayette and ULM) that tied for second place. Moving forward, ULL has a great opportunity to claim its first outright league title since winning the Gulf States Conference in 1970. 

2013 Sun Belt Predictions

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Post date: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 06:12
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregon-football-wins-big-minimal-ncaa-sanctions

"Win the Day" is a phrase associated with Oregon’s football program in recent years. And with Wednesday’s announcement of penalties from a recent NCAA investigation into the program, there’s no question the Ducks came out a winner.

After a lengthy investigation and attempt at a summary judgment with Oregon, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions finally announced its findings from an investigation into the football program and former head coach Chip Kelly.

And for Oregon and new coach Mark Helfrich, the news wasn’t as bad as some initially feared when this investigation began in 2011.

Most importantly, the Ducks avoided a bowl ban and will be eligible to compete for the national championship this season.

Here’s the rundown on the other penalties:

• Oregon was hit with a loss of one scholarship for three seasons (2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16).

• Former coach Chip Kelly was hit with an 18-month show-cause penalty.

• A former assistant director of operations received a one-year show-cause penalty.

• Oregon was placed on three years probation, starting on June 26, 2013 and ending on June 25, 2016.

• Oregon’s football evaluation days have been reduced from 42 to 36 in the fall of 2013, '14 and '15. And the permissible football evaluation days have dropped from 168 to 144 for the spring of 2014, '15 and '16.

• The Ducks are also not allowed to have a subscription to a recruiting service during the three-year probation period.

What’s the Biggest Takeaway from Wednesday’s Announcement?

The easiest way to characterize Oregon’s punishment: It’s hardly anything to be worried about. The Ducks certainly won’t be affected by the loss of a couple of scholarships and not having a bowl ban keeps the program alive for the national title in 2013.

Losing the evaluation days is a big deal, but nothing that should derail the program from continuing to win at a high level. The Ducks have an established brand on the recruiting, as evidenced by the program finishing inside of the top 20 in Athlon’s recruiting ranks in each of the last four seasons.

In Oregon’s case, the Committee on Infractions placed a heavy emphasis on the violator (Chip Kelly), rather than punishing the players currently on the roster. And the program’s cooperation with the NCAA significantly helped to prevent the penalties and infractions from being worse.

Overall, this is the best-case outcome for Oregon. The probation period and scholarship reductions are manageable, and there’s no long-term damage to the program through an extended bowl ban.

What does it mean for the Pac-12 and National Title Race for 2013?

With Oregon eligible for postseason play, the Pac-12 has two of college football’s top-10 national title contenders. The coaching transition from Kelly to Helfrich will be a challenge, but the Ducks still have some of the nation’s best personnel.

Even if Oregon does not make the national championship, having the Ducks eligible to play in a bowl game is huge for the Pac-12. Oregon, along with Stanford, should be in the mix for a BCS bowl. Having the Ducks eligible to compete for a BCS bowl is potentially a huge boost to the Pac-12 in terms of postseason revenue, especially if Oregon and Stanford both qualify for BCS games.

Oregon will have a chance to appeal its penalties. However, considering the committee’s ruling was in their favor, the school probably won’t appeal.

Oregon reportedly paid the law firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King at least $208,991 over the last 19 months, as the program was dealing with the ongoing NCAA investigation.

No program wants to appear in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. However, thanks to its full cooperation, Oregon has avoided any major penalties and can breathe a sigh of relief knowing this chapter from the Chip Kelly era has closed.

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Post date: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-all-freshman-team-2013

College football fans know about Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney, De'Anthony Thomas, AJ McCarron and Marcus Mariota, but there’s a new crop of superstars waiting to emerge. Every college football season always brings new household names, and the countdown has officially started for 2013.

Florida State’s Jameis Winston is widely regarded as one of college football’s top breakout performers for 2013. The redshirt freshman could help lead the Seminoles to back-to-back ACC titles and has all of the makings of a superstar in Tallahassee. In addition to Winston, Michigan’s Derrick Green, Baylor’s Robbie Rhodes and LSU’s Kendell Beckwith are other players that should have an opportunity for a huge season.

With the release of Athlon Sports’ All-America Team, it’s time to take a look at the future and some of the top freshmen for 2013. True and redshirt freshmen were considered for this list, with the emphasis on playing time. Talent and recruiting rank does play a part in compiling an All-Freshman team. However, a major factor in placement was determined by how much the players would see the field.  

College Football's 2013 All-Freshmen Team

First-Team Offense

QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
RB Alex Collins, Arkansas
RB Derrick Green, Michigan
All-Purpose Derrick Henry, Alabama
WR Chris Black, Alabama
WR Robbie Rhodes, Baylor
TE OJ Howard, Alabama
C Dan Voltz, Wisconsin
G Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
G Kyle Kalis, Michigan
T Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh
T Jonathan McLaughlin, Virginia Tech

First-Team Defense

DE Carl Lawson, Auburn
DE Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
DT Montravius Adams, Auburn
DT Austin Johnson, Penn State
LB Kendell Beckwith, LSU
LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
LB Steve Longa, Rutgers
CB Ishmael Adams, UCLA
CB Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech
S Hatari Byrd, Oklahoma
S Tray Matthews, Georgia

Related: Athlon's 2013 All-America Team

Second-Team Offense

QB Zach Kline, California
RB Greg Bryant, Notre Dame
RB Thomas Tyner, Oregon
All-Purpose Dontre Wilson, Ohio State
WR Shelton Gibson, West Virginia
WR Demarcus Robinson, Florida
TE Jordan Leggett, Clemson
C Ethan Pocic, LSU
G Alex Kozan, Auburn
G Caleb Peterson, North Carolina
T Kiaro Holts, North Carolina
T Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

Second-Team Defense

DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
DE Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama
DT Kenny Bigelow, USC
DT Isaiah Golden, Texas A&M
LB Alex Figueroa, Miami
LB Addison Gillam, Colorado
LB Nyeem Wartman, Penn State
CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
S Vonn Bell, Ohio State
S Su’a Cravens, USC

Third-Team Offense

QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
RB Barry Sanders, Stanford
RB Kelvin Taylor, Florida
WR MarQuez North, Tennessee
WR Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M
WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas
C Gabe Roberts, Pittsburgh
G Caleb Benenoch, UCLA
G Ben Braden, Michigan
T Dorian Johnson, Pittsburgh
T Seaver Myers, SMU

Third-Team Defense

DE Al’Quadin Muhammad, Miami
DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern
DT Darius Latham, Indiana
DT Justin Manning, Texas A&M
LB Chans Cox, Arizona State
LB Daniel McMillian, Florida
LB Mike Mitchell, Ohio State
CB Justin Thomas, Utah
CB Priest Willis, UCLA
S Antonio Conner, Ole Miss
S Marcus Maye, Florida


Honorable Mention

Quarterbacks: Max Browne, USC; Ford Childress, West Virginia; Danny Etling, Purdue; Jeremy Johnson, Auburn; Anu Solomon, Arizona; Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh; Malik Zaire, Notre Dame

Running Backs: Riley Bullough, Michigan State; Justin Davis, USC; Keith Ford, Oklahoma; Khris Francis, North Carolina; Gerald Holmes, Michigan State; Ty Isaac, USC; Akeel Lynch, Penn State; Taquan Mizzell, Virginia; Mario Pender, Florida State; R.J. Shelton, Michigan State; Delton Williams, Michigan State State; Zaire Williams, Temple

Wide Receivers: Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh; Joel Caleb, Virginia Tech; Stacy Coley, Miami; Jason Croom, Virginia Tech; Robert Foster, Alabama; Paul Harris, Tennessee; Gerome Hopper, Clemson; Eugene Lewis, Penn State; Jalin Marshall, Ohio State; Devonte Mathis, West Virginia; James Quick, Louisville; Damore’ea Stringfellow, Washington; Tramel Terry, Georgia; Ja’Quay Williams, Texas A&M

Tight Ends: Adam Breneman, Penn State; DeSean Smith, LSU

Center: Matt Cochran, California; Dylan Foxworth, Tulsa; Patrick Kugler, Michigan; Zach Myers, Kentucky; Cody Waldrop, South Carolina

Guard: Darius James, Texas; Kyle Johnson, BYU; Denver Kirkland, Arkansas; Brendan McGowan, Temple

Tackles: Zach Banner, USC; Grant Hill, Alabama; Dan Skipper, Arkansas

Defensive End: Joey Bosa, Ohio State; Tashawn Bower, LSU; Elijah Daniel, Auburn; Jason Hatcher, Kentucky; Chris Jones, Mississippi State; Dee Liner, Alabama; Greg McMullen, Nebraska; Avery Moss, Nebraska; John Taylor, Georgia; Demarcus Walker, Florida State

Defensive Tackle: Greg Gilmore, LSU; Kelsey Griffin, South Carolina; A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

Linebackers: Jonathan Allen, Alabama; Ryan Anderson, Alabama; Alexander Anzalone, Florida; Larenz Bryant, South Carolina; Vince Biegel, Wisconsin; Chans Cox, Arizona State; Carlos Mendoza, Arizona State; Daniel McMillian, Florida; Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame; Matthew Thomas, Florida State; Nyeem Wartman, Penn State

Cornerbacks: Antonio Allen, Indiana; Chaz Anderson, Boise State; Eli Apple, Ohio State; Jeryl Brazil, LSU; Cam Burrows, Ohio State; Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech; Chris Hawkins, USC; Tyvis Powell, Ohio State; Jalen Ramsey, Florida State; Sojourn Shelton, Wisconsin; Maurice Smith, Alabama; Tre’Davious White, LSU; Priest Willis, UCLA

Safety: Holland Fisher, Virginia Tech; Tyler Freeman, UCLA; Tahaan Goodman, UCLA; Leon McQuay III, USC; Max Redfield, Notre Dame; Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee; Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma; Dymonte Thomas, Michigan

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Post date: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 06:45
Path: /college-football/5-first-year-starting-qbs-who-could-win-college-footballs-national-title

When predicting college football’s national champion, experience at quarterback is usually one of the most important factors to consider. However, is it time to reconsider how important experience is under center? Four of the last six teams to play in the title game had a first-year starter at quarterback. Alabama’s Greg McElroy took home the title in 2009, while Auburn’s Cam Newton won the Heisman and national championship in 2011. Notre Dame’s Everett Golson took the Fighting Irish to the BCS title last season but lost to Alabama and quarterback AJ McCarron.

Since the BCS was created in 1998, nine quarterbacks have played for the national title in their first season:

1998: Tee Martin, Tennessee - W
1999: Michael Vick, Virginia Tech - L
2002: Craig Krenzel, Ohio State - W
2007: Matt Flynn, LSU - W; Todd Boeckman, Ohio State
2009: Greg McElroy, Alabama - W
2010: Cam Newton, Auburn - W; Darron Thomas, Oregon
2011: AJ McCarron, Alabama – W
2012: Everett Golson, Notre Dame – L

Is the emergence of first-year quarterbacks as national champs a new trend in college football? Considering the unpredictability from year-to-year, it’s probably too early to make any judgments. The success of McElroy, Newton and McCarron show different options can lift a team to the title. Newton carried Auburn, while McElroy and McCarron were steady for Alabama team’s that boasted one of the nation’s best rushing attacks and defenses. Golson improved as the year progressed for Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish were simply overwhelmed by a better Alabama team last January.

Although it’s too early to make any long-term predictions about this recent trend, there is a reasonable possibility a first-year starter at quarterback will make it to the national title game in 2013. Which teams are the most likely to have a first-year starter at quarterback and play for the national championship?

Top Five Contenders to Win the National Title with a First-Year Starter at Quarterback

(Note: To be considered a returning starter, a player must have started seven overall games or the last six contests of last season)

1. Stanford (Kevin Hogan)
Hogan just qualified for this list, as he had five starts for the Cardinal last season. The Virginia native took over for Josh Nunes against Colorado in early November and held onto the No. 1 spot the rest of the way. His best performance came against Oregon State, throwing for 254 yards and three scores. Although Hogan failed to top more than 160 yards in three consecutive contests to end 2012, he completed 71.7 percent of his throws and added 263 yards and two scores on the ground. Hogan’s efficiency is a huge plus for a team that leans heavily on its defense and rushing attack to win games. Stanford needs to get Hogan more help at receiver and tight end this year, but the sophomore represents the best chance for a first-year quarterback to get to a national championship in 2013. 

2. Michigan (Devin Gardner)
Much like Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, Gardner barely makes this list since he made five starts last year. After taking over for an injured Denard Robinson, Gardner finished the season on a tear. Over the final five contests, he accumulated 18 total touchdowns and threw for 314 yards in a 42-17 win over Iowa. Gardner had a good showing in Michigan’s bowl loss to South Carolina, throwing for 214 yards and three touchdowns on 18 completions. The Wolverines need to give Gardner more help at receiver, and running back is still a question mark with Fitzgerald Toussaint healing from a broken leg. However, incoming freshman Derrick Green could give the offense a spark on the ground. Assuming Gardner picks up where he left off, the Wolverines should be a top 10-15 team in 2013. The schedule does have some challenges, including a brutal November stretch that features games against Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State. Considering the underclassmen on Michigan’s two-deep, the Wolverines might be a year away from winning the Big Ten title. However, Gardner has the ability to elevate Michigan into national championship contention.

3. Florida State (Jameis Winston)
Could Winston follow in the same footsteps as Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel? The Aggies’ signal-caller went from being an unproven quarterback to winning the Heisman Trophy in December. While it’s unrealistic to place those expectations on Winston, the Alabama native has the talent to break onto the scene in a big way. In Florida State’s spring game, Winston impressed by throwing for 205 yards and two scores. With Clint Trickett’s decision to transfer to West Virginia, the redshirt freshman has secured the starting spot. And with one of the ACC’s top backfields, receiving corps and offensive lines at his disposal, Winston has enough help lead Florida State to an ACC title. Road games against Clemson and Florida could decide just how high the Seminoles can climb in the BCS standings.

4. Oklahoma State (Clint Chelf)
Chelf began 2012 as the odd man out in Oklahoma State’s quarterback battle, as Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh were listed at the top of the depth chart for the season opener against Savannah State. However, injuries sidelined Lunt and Walsh, forcing Chelf to move from No. 3 to No. 1. The Enid, Okla. native played well in relief against Kansas State (233 yards) and started the last five games of the season. Against West Virginia, Chelf threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns and recorded 316 total yards and one score against Oklahoma. In the bowl victory against Purdue, Chelf gashed the Boilermakers’ secondary for 197 yards and three touchdowns on just 17 completions. Despite the departure of coordinator Todd Monken, Oklahoma State’s offense shouldn’t miss a beat. The Cowboys have one of the nation’s top receiving corps, and running back Jeremy Smith is due for a breakout year. With very little clarity at the top, the Big 12 is one of the toughest conferences to predict for 2013. Oklahoma State is Athlon’s pick to win the Big 12, but the Cowboys are projected to finish No. 16 nationally. If Oklahoma State can win 11 regular season games, then Mike Gundy’s team will have a chance to easily exceed our preseason prediction and could work their way into national title consideration with an unbeaten season.

5. Oklahoma (Blake Bell)
With Landry Jones moving into the NFL, it’s time for Oklahoma to transition the Belldozer offense from a part-time look into a full-time attack. Bell was rated as one of the top 150 players in the nation by in 2010 and redshirted in his first year on campus. In 2011 and 2012, Bell threw only 20 passes, but he emerged as Oklahoma’s best scoring threat around the goal-line and in short-yardage situations. On 102 rushing attempts, Bell finished with 361 yards and a whopping 24 touchdowns. Due to his limited pass attempts in his career, Bell is still a work in progress as a passer. However, there’s no question his athletic ability will be tough for opposing Big 12 defenses to stop. With no clear frontrunner in the Big 12 this year, Oklahoma could easily surprise and finish in the top five nationally – assuming Bell lives up to the hype at quarterback, and the Sooners’ defense finds replacements for the losses in the front seven.

Four Teams to Watch

Wisconsin (Joel Stave)
Badgers have a favorable crossover schedule with the Legends Division, but Ohio State should be the team to beat in the Big Ten this year.

USC (Cody Kessler/Max Wittek)
Can the Trojans rebound after a disappointing 2012 campaign? Plenty of talent returns to Los Angeles, but there’s still a question mark under center after spring practice.

Kansas State (Daniel Sims/Jake Waters)
As long as coach Bill Snyder roams the sidelines in Manhattan, don’t count out Kansas State in the Big 12 title picture. If the Wildcats fill the voids on both sides of the ball, this could be one of the top surprise teams in the nation.

Baylor (Bryce Petty)
New signal-caller in Waco? That should be no problem for coach Art Briles and Baylor, as Nick Florence threw for 4,309 yards and 33 scores when replacing Robert Griffin III last year.

BYU (Taysom Hill)
The Cougars are a longshot to make a BCS bowl, but Robert Anae has returned to coordinate the offense, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy turned down the NFL for one more year in Provo. Hill showed promise in limited action last year and has full control of the starting job with Riley Nelson out of eligibility.


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<p> 5 First-Year Starting QBs Who Could Win College Football's National Title</p>
Post date: Monday, June 24, 2013 - 10:43
Path: /college-football/conference-usa-football-2013-all-conference-team

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-Conference USA teams for this season.

Related Content: Conference USA Predictions for 2013

First-Team Offense

QB Rakeem Cato, Marshall

RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech

RB Trey Watts, Tulsa

WR Justin Hardy, East Carolina

WR Tommy Shuler, Marshall

TE Gator Hoskins, Marshall

C Chris Jasperse, Marshall

OG Stetson Burnett, Tulsa

OG Will Simmons, East Carolina

OT Jake Alexander, Tulsa

OT Brander Craighead, UTEP

First-Team Defense

DE Cody Bauer, Rice

DE IK Enemkpali, Louisiana Tech

DT Brandon Sparrow, Marshall

DT Khyri Thornton, Southern Miss

LB Jeremy Grove, East Carolina

LB Shawn Jackson, Tulsa

LB Derrell Johnson, East Carolina

CB Phillip Gaines, Rice

CB Deron Wilson, Southern Miss

S Marco Nelson, Tulsa

S Richard Spencer, UTEP

First-Team Specialists

K Cairo Santos, Tulane

P Tyler Williams, Marshall

KR Trey Watts, Tulsa

PR Justin Hardy, East Carolina

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-Conference USA Team

  First Second Overall
East Carolina 5 2 7
FAU 0 1 1
FIU 0 1 1
Louisiana Tech 2 0 2
Marshall 6 2 8
MTSU 0 2 2
North Texas 0 3 3
Rice 2 4 6
Southern Miss 2 0 2
Tulane 1 2 3
Tulsa 6 1 7
UAB 0 2 2
UTEP 2 3 5
UTSA 0 3 3

Second-Team Offense

QB Shane Carden, East Carolina

RB Vintavious Cooper, East Carolina

RB Darrin Reaves, UAB

WR Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa

WR Ryan Grant, Tulane

TE Nexon Dorvilus, FAU

C Nate Richards, Rice

OG Cyril Lemon, North Texas

OG Jerel Watkins, UTEP

OT Jordan Jeffries, Marshall

OT Darius Johnson, MTSU

Related Content: Conference USA Predictions for 2013

Second-Team Defense

DE Alex Bazzie, Marshall

DE Horace Miller, UTEP

DT Isame Faciane, FIU

DT Hosam Shahin, Rice

LB Steven Kurfehs, UTSA

LB Cameron Nwosu, Rice

LB Zachary Orr, North Texas

CB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane

CB Zac Whitfield, North Texas

S Kevin Byard, MTSU

S Triston Wade, UTSA

Second-Team Specialists

K Chris Boswell, Rice

P Hunter Mullins, UAB

KR Autrey Golden, UTEP

PR Kenny Harrison, UTSA


2013 Conference USA Team Previews

East Division West Division
East Carolina Louisiana Tech
FAU North Texas
FIU Rice
Marshall Tulane
MTSU Tulsa
Southern Miss UTEP

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College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 101-125

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<p> Conference USA Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 12:53
Path: /college-football/unit-rankings-2013-sec-wide-receivers

The SEC is very top-heavy when it comes to receivers in 2013. Leading the way is a cast of potential All-Americans, including Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Ole Miss’ Donte Moncrief and Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. But Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell and LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. aren’t far behind.

Just like the individual players, the SEC is relatively top-heavy when it comes to ranking the individual groups for 2013. Alabama ranks as Athlon’s No. 1 receiving corps in the SEC for 2013, with Georgia checking in at No. 2. 

Kickoff for the 2013 college football season is still two months away, but it's never too early to project how the year might play out. Athlon will be taking a look at how each position stacks up in the BCS conferences and nationally until the start of the season.

Each unit ranking was evaluated based upon how it will perform in 2013 - not how it played in 2012.

Ranking the SEC WR/TE Corps for 2013

1. Alabama
Thanks to coach Nick Saban’s relentless work on the recruiting trail, the Crimson Tide’s 2013 receiving corps could be the best of his tenure in Tuscaloosa. Amari Cooper had a standout freshman season last year, catching 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cooper came on strong at the end of 2012, finishing the year with four 100-yard games over the final five contests. Cooper is an Athlon Sports second-team All-American for 2013. Quarterback AJ McCarron won’t have to look Cooper’s way all of the time, as seniors Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell are reliable options, and redshirt freshman Chris Black is due for a breakout year. Adding depth will be DeAndrew White and incoming true freshmen Raheem Falkins and Robert Foster. True freshman OJ Howard could push Brian Vogler to start at tight end.

2. Georgia
Despite the departure of Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, the Bulldogs shouldn’t be concerned about their receiving corps. After spending part of last season at cornerback, junior Malcolm Mitchell will spend all of 2013 at receiver. Mitchell caught 40 passes for 572 yards and four scores last year, including nine for 103 yards in a 29-24 win over Kentucky. Michael Bennett caught 24 passes through the first five games but suffered a torn ACL in early October. Mitchell and Bennett should form one of the SEC’s top receiving duos in 2013. Senior Rantavious Wooten, junior Chris Conley and sophomore Justin Scott-Wesley will round out the top five receiver spots, but freshman Tramel Terry and junior college recruit Jonathon Rumph will push for time. Tight end Arthur Lynch averaged 18 yards per reception in 2012 and is an Athlon Sports second-team All-American for 2013.

3. Vanderbilt
The Commodores aren’t particularly flush with depth at receiver, but it’s hard to find a better one-two combination in the SEC. Jordan Matthews turned down a chance to enter the NFL for one more year at Vanderbilt. The senior enters 2013 with 150 career receptions, 2,282 yards and 17 touchdowns. Matthews led all SEC receivers with 94 catches in 2012. Chris Boyd is back after catching 50 passes for 774 yards and five scores last year. And Jonathan Krause is slated to fill the No. 3 role after recording nine receptions in 2012. Freshmen Jordan Cunningham and Carlos Burse will provide depth. Junior college transfer Brandon Vandenburg could push Kris Kentera and Steven Scheu for the starting nod at tight end.

4. LSU
With the defense returning only three starters, LSU’s offense may have to carry this team in the early going. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger returns, and the receiving corps brings back four receivers with at least 18 catches last year. Jarvis Landry led the team with 56 receptions in 2012, but Odell Beckham was the unit’s top playmaker, averaging 16.6 yards per catch. Seniors Kadron Boone and James Wright combined for 44 catches in 2012 and will anchor the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the receiving corps. However, true freshman Avery Peterson and junior college recruit Quantavius Leslie will push for snaps. LSU could feature the tight end more under new coordinator Cam Cameron, and junior college recruit Logan Stokes could step into the starting role over sophomore Dillon Gordon.

5. Ole Miss
Feed Moncrief became the mantra for the Ole Miss offense last season, which showed marked improvement from the 2011 squad. Sophomore Donte Moncrief emerged as one of the SEC’s top receivers last year, nabbing 66 receptions for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished 2012 on a tear, catching at least six passes in five out of the last six contests, which included back-to-back 100-yard performances against LSU and Mississippi State. Junior Vince Sanders and senior Ja-Mes Logan combined for 82 receptions last season and will flank Moncrief as the No. 2 and No. 3 options. The receiving corps got deeper over the offseason, as freshman Laquon Treadwell could earn some playing time this fall too. Treadwell ranked as the No. 1 receiver in the nation by in the 2013 signing class. Freshman A.J. Jackson may start over senior Jack Nuismer at tight end in 2013.

6. Texas A&M
Mike Evans broke onto the scene as a redshirt freshman last year, catching 82 passes for 1,105 yards and five scores. The Texas native caught at least four passes in every game in 2012 and is a second-team All-SEC selection by Athlon Sports for 2013. Having Evans back in the lineup is huge for Texas A&M, especially since Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu have expired their eligibility. Swope is the biggest loss for the receiving corps, as he made several tough catches in key moments throughout his career. But the cupboard is far from bare for coach Kevin Sumlin. Juniors LeKendrick Williams and Malcome Kennedy and senior Derel Walker provide quarterback Johnny Manziel with plenty of experience in the receiving corps. However, freshmen Ja’Quay Williams and Ricky Seals-Jones will be two players to watch this fall. The wild card at tight end to watch is former Tennessee Volunteer Cameron Clear, who spent last season at Arizona Western College.

7. Missouri
Much of Missouri’s ranking in this article hinges on the development of sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham. The No. 1 overall prospect in the 2012 Athlon Consensus 100, Green-Beckham caught 28 passes for 395 yards last season, with four of his five touchdowns coming over the final three games. With quarterback James Franklin a year removed from his shoulder surgery, Green-Beckham should be poised to easily outperform his 2012 totals. T.J. Moe will be missed, but Missouri has seniors Marcus Lucas and L’Damian Washington slated to anchor the other two starting spots in the receiving corps. Lucas led the team with 46 receptions for 509 yards last year.

8. South Carolina
The Gamecocks will miss the playmaking ability of Ace Sanders, but the unit has some steady weapons to lean on, including Bruce Ellington. The junior caught 40 passes for 600 yards and seven scores last year, including the game-winning 32-yard pass from Dylan Thompson in the Outback Bowl. But Ellington needs help if the Gamecocks are to reach the SEC championship game. Junior Damiere Byrd and sophomore Shaq Roland will be charged with taking a bigger role in the passing game this year. Junior Nick Jones and sophomore Shamier Jeffery are also expected to see more targets this year. Junior Rory Anderson and sophomore Jerell Adams will battle to replace Justice Cunningham as the team’s top tight end.

9. Florida
Considering the receivers that came through Gainesville in the 1990s under Steve Spurrier and the success of Percy Harvin under Urban Meyer, it’s a surprise to see the Gators struggle to develop a No. 1 option over the last few seasons. No Florida wide receiver has caught more than 40 passes since 2009, and the cupboard is relatively bare entering 2013. Quinton Dunbar is the team’s top returning receiver, but he averaged only 10.6 yards per catch last year. Andre Debose is still looking for his breakout season in his final year on campus. And the coaching staff hopes sophomore Latroy Pittman or true freshman Demarcus Robinson can give quarterback Jeff Driskel a go-to weapon on the outside. If the receiving corps struggles once again, cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy may be spending a good chunk of snaps on offense too.

10. Arkansas
Cobi Hamilton has expired his eligibility after capping off a solid career in the SEC with 90 receptions for 1,335 yards and five scores last year. With Hamilton gone, the Razorbacks will be looking for a new go-to target. Sophomore Mekale McKay showed promise by averaging 15.1 yards per reception in 2012. But McKay should have plenty of help from seniors Julian Horton, Demetrius Wilson and Javontee Herndon. Sophomore Keon Hatcher and true freshman tight end Hunter Henry are two names to watch this fall.

11. Auburn
There’s potential surrounding this group, but Auburn must settle its quarterback situation for this offense to improve from a disappointing 2012 season. But with Gus Malzahn returning to call the plays, the Tigers should have one of the most-improved offenses in the SEC. Quan Bray is the team’s top returning receiver with just 14 receptions, but the unit has interesting options in juniors Trovon Reed and Jaylon Denson, along with sophomore Ricardo Louis. Tight end C.J. Uzomah should surpass his 2012 totals: seven receptions for 136 yards and one score.

Related Content: College Football's Most-Improved Teams for 2013

12. Tennessee
With quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson departing for the NFL, the Volunteers are essentially starting over in the passing attack. New coach Butch Jones has one of the best offensive lines in the nation to build around, but Tennessee’s offense will be a work in progress. Devrin Young, Jacob Carter, Vincent Dallas and Pig Howard are the unit’s most experienced players, but none have played in a No. 1 or No. 2 role. True freshmen MarQuez North and Paul Harris, along with redshirt freshman Jason Croom are promising options and could be Tennessee’s starting trio by the end of 2013. 

13. Mississippi State
Much like Tennessee, the Bulldogs are essentially starting over at receiver. The top four pass-catchers from last year are gone, including Chad Bumphis and tight end Marcus Green. Junior Jameon Lewis will assume a bigger role in the passing attack after catching 10 passes last year. The 5-foot-9 receiver has excellent speed and 17 receptions through his first two years on campus. Junior Robert Johnson and sophomore Joe Morrow will likely round out the starting trio, but junior college recruit Jeremey Chappelle caught eight passes for 114 yards and one score in the Spring Game and should be a key part of the Mississippi State receiving corps this season.

14. Kentucky
New coordinator Neal Brown wants to implement a pass-first offense, but Kentucky is thin on proven weapons in the receiving corps. La’Rod King led the team with 48 catches last season but expired his eligibility at the end of 2012. Junior Demarco Robinson and sophomores A.J. Legree and Daryl Collins appear to have the inside track for starting spots, especially after DeMarcus Sweat left the team in June. Expect the Wildcats to give an extended look to freshmen Jeff Badet and Ryan Timmons, along with junior college recruit Javess Blue this fall. 


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<p> Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Wide Receivers</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 10:23
Path: /college-football/american-athletic-football-all-conference-team-2013

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-American Athletic teams for this season.

Related Content: American Athletic Conference Predictions for 2013

2013 American Athletic All-Conference Team

First-Team Offense

QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

RB Savon Huggins, Rutgers

RB Lyle McCombs, Connecticut

WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

WR DeVante Parker, Louisville

TE Alan Cross, Memphis

C Austin Reiter, South Florida

OG Austen Bujnoch, Cincinnati

OG Antwan Lowery, Rutgers

OT Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers

OT Eric Lefeld, Cincinnati

First-Team Defense

DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida

DE Jamil Merrell, Rutgers

DT Brandon Dunn, Louisville

DT Jordan Stepp, Cincinnati

LB Greg Blair, Cincinnati

LB Preston Brown, Louisville

LB Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut

CB Kenneth Acker, SMU

CB Deven Drane, Cincinnati

S Calvin Pryor, Louisville

S Hakeem Smith, Louisville

First-Team Specialists

K Tony Miliano, Cincinnati

P Richie Leone, Houston

KR Ralph David Abernathy IV, Cincinnati

PR J.J. Worton, UCF

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 American Athletic All-Conference Team

  First Second Third Overall
Cincinnati 7 0 5 12
Connecticut 2 2 2 6
Houston 1 4 1 6
Louisville 6 4 4 14
Memphis 1 3 3 7
Rutgers 5 4 1 10
SMU 1 0 3 4
South Florida 2 2 4 8
Temple 0 1 1 2
UCF 1 6 2 9

Second-Team Offense

QB Blake Bortles, UCF

RB Storm Johnson, UCF

RB Dominique Brown, Louisville

WR Deontay Greenberry, Houston

WR Breshad Perriman, UCF

TE Sean Price, South Florida

C Betim Bujari, Rutgers

OG Jordan McCray, UCF

OG Jake Smith, Louisville

OT Rowdy Harper, Houston

OT Torrian Wilson, UCF

Second-Team Defense

DE Martin Ifedi, Memphis

DE Marcus Smith, Louisville

DT Darius Hamilton, Rutgers

DT Shamar Stephen, Connecticut

LB DeDe Lattimore, South Florida

LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple

LB Derrick Mathews, Houston

CB Byron Jones, Connecticut

CB Zach McMillian, Houston

S Clayton Geathers, UCF

S Lorenzo Waters, Rutgers

Related Content: American Athletic Conference Predictions for 2013

Second-Team Specialists

K John Wallace, Louisville

P Tom Hornsey, Memphis

KR Jeremy Deering, Rutgers

PR Keiwone Malone, Memphis


Third-Team Offense

QB Brendon Kay, Cincinnati                                  

RB Senorise Perry, Louisville

RB Traylon Shead, SMU

WR Damian Copeland, Louisville

WR Andre Davis, South Florida
WR Jeremy Johnson, SMU                                                             
C Dan Sprague, Cincinnati                                              
OG Sam Longo, Cincinnati

OG John Miller, Louisville

OT Al Bond, Memphis

OT Quinterrius Eatmon, South Florida

Third-Team Defense

DE Ryne Giddins, South Florida          

DE Deion Green, UCF          

DT E.J. Dunston, UCF

DT Johnnie Farms, Memphis          

LB Randall Joyner, SMU          

LB Jeff Luc, Cincinnati          

LB Jamal Merrell, Rutgers                                              

CB Terell Floyd, Louisville          

CB Anthony Robey, Temple          

S Mark Joyce, South Florida          

S Trevon Stewart, Houston


Third-Team Specialists

K Chad Christen, Connecticut            

P Cole Wagner, Connecticut          

KR Bobby McCain, Memphis          

PR Anthony McClung, Cincinnati

2013 American Athletic Conference Team Previews

Cincinnati Rutgers
Connecticut SMU
Houston South Florida
Louisville Temple
Memphis UCF

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<p> American Athletic Football All-Conference Team for 2013</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 07:31
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-most-improved-teams-2013

Every college football season brings a few surprises. 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 are quick to rebound after a disappointing year to contend for a conference title or crack the top 25 once again.

Projecting which teams will fill those categories and show significant improvement is no easy task.

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 2013 season is still a few months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about which teams will be some of the most improved in the nation.

Auburn had a disastrous 2012 season under Gene Chizik, but new coach Gus Malzahn should have the Tigers back in a bowl game. Another team that should see an improvement in its win total is Maryland. The Terrapins bring back only eight starters, but improved health at quarterback should help Randy Edsall’s team return to the postseason.

While Auburn and Maryland are two teams that should showcase their improvement in the win column, Colorado’s will come in a different form. For the Buffaloes, two victories in 2013 will represent improvement from last season. More importantly, this team under first-year head coach Mike MacIntyre should be considerably more competitive in Pac-12 play this fall.

College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013


2012 Record: 3-9 (0-8 SEC)

Returning Starters: Offense – 5, Defense – 9

What Went Wrong Last Year: Everything. After Gus Malzahn left to be the head coach at Arkansas State, Gene Chizik hired Scot Loeffler to coordinate the offense. The results were disastrous. Largely due to being miscast in a pro-style offense with spread personnel, the Tigers ranked last in the SEC by averaging 305 yards per game. The offense wasn’t solely to blame, as the defense ranked 13th in the SEC in yards allowed.

Why the Tigers Will Be Better: There’s talent in the program. Over the last eight years, Auburn has an average rank of 12th nationally in Athlon’s team recruiting rankings. Malzahn’s return should help spark an offense that was among the worst in the nation last year, especially as the Tigers return to a spread attack. Quarterback is still a question mark, but the offense has a capable one-two punch at running back with Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne, and the offensive line returns four starters. New defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson was one of the offseason’s top assistant hires and three talented incoming freshmen will bolster the defensive line.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Auburn: 6-6, 2-6 SEC
With home games against Washington State, Arkansas State, Western Carolina and FAU, Auburn should be 4-0 in non-conference play. Games at LSU and Texas A&M, along with home dates against Georgia and Alabama, are likely losses. However, matchups with Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Tennessee are winnable.



2012 Record: 1-11 (1-8 Pac-12)

Returning Starters: Offense – 6, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: Colorado’s struggles started in spring practice, losing receiver Paul Richardson to a torn ACL. Without Richardson, the passing attack lacked its best playmaker and one of the Pac-12’s top receivers. The Buffaloes never found any consistency at quarterback, and the offensive line allowed 4.2 sacks a game. The defense was a disaster, allowing 46 points a game – the worst FBS performance in scoring defense since 2008. Due to injuries and overall struggles, Colorado was forced to play a handful of young players last season, but the experienced gained through the struggles should help this team in 2013 and beyond.

Why the Buffaloes Will Be Better: Simply, it’s hard for Colorado to be any worse. But there are signs the Buffaloes are moving in the right direction. New coach Mike MacIntyre was one of the top 10 hires of the offseason and should eventually return the Buffaloes to the postseason. Quarterback play is a question mark, but MacIntyre and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren played a key role in David Fales’ development at San Jose State. Running back Christian Powell had a solid freshman year, rushing for 691 yards and seven touchdowns. His return, along with Paul Richardson’s recovery from a torn ACL, should give the winner of the quarterback battle more weapons to work with in 2013. And while the defense could rank near the bottom of the Pac-12 again, it can’t be as bad as it was in 2012.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Colorado: 3-9, 1-8 Pac-12
The win total may not increase by much, but the Buffaloes will be a better team in 2013. Colorado State and Central Arkansas are must-wins to start the season, with a home game against California and a date at Utah representing possible upsets in Pac-12 play. Colorado isn’t likely to make a huge jump in wins, but the Buffaloes should be more competitive and will get better as the year progresses. If Connor Wood struggles early, how quickly will MacIntyre turn to incoming freshman Sefo Liufau at quarterback?


2012 Record: 4-8 (3-5 Big Ten)

Returning Starters: Offense – 10, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: Considering Indiana improved its win total by three games from 2011 to '12, it’s hard to say things went drastically wrong. Instead, the Hoosiers showed signs of progress, leading the Big Ten in passing offense (311.2 yards per game) and coming within a couple of plays of making a bowl game (lost four games by four points or fewer). While the offense averaged 30.8 points a game, the defense was the team’s Achilles' heel. The Hoosiers allowed 463.5 yards a game and ranked last in the conference in points allowed.

Why the Hoosiers Will Be Better: Indiana’s performance on offense is even more impressive when you consider starting quarterback Tre Roberson was lost in the second game of the season with a leg injury. With Roberson back in the mix, the Hoosiers could be even more deadly on offense, especially with one of the Big Ten’s top receiving corps and an improving offensive line. While the defense won’t take a huge step forward in 2013, seven starters are back, and this unit has more upperclassmen with game experience than it did in 2012.    

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Indiana: 6-6, 3-5 Big Ten
Kevin Wilson certainly has Indiana moving in the right direction. After some close calls last year, the Hoosiers should be able to get over the hump and make a bowl game in 2013. The offense will be one of the most explosive in the Big Ten, and slight improvement should be expected on defense. The non-conference schedule isn’t easy, but Navy, Bowling Green and Indiana State should be victories, with Missouri visiting Bloomington in a key swing game. The Hoosiers have tough crossover games in Big Ten play with road trips to Michigan and Michigan State. However, Indiana hosts Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue, which should be three opportunities for wins in conference games.



2012 Record: 5-7 (4-4 C-USA)

Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: Defense. The Thundering Herd averaged 40.9 points a game, yet failed to make a bowl game in Doc Holliday’s third season. The defense was one of the worst in the nation, allowing 43.1 points a game and ranking 101st nationally in yards allowed. Marshall struggled in close games, losing four games by a touchdown or less.

Why the Thundering Herd Will Be Better: Considering Marshall outgained its opponents in Conference USA play by 72.2 yards a game last year and was a minus-2 in turnover margin, the Thundering Herd were a little unlucky in 2012. Assuming the offense performs at a high level once again, Marshall should contend for the C-USA East title. Quarterback Rakeem Cato returns, and the receiving corps is bolstered by the addition of Penn State transfers Devon Smith and Shawney Kersey. New coordinator Chuck Heater should be a good addition for the defense, and that unit returns seven starters. With a new and improved scheme and most of the core returning for 2013, Marshall won’t be as bad on defense this fall. 

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Marshall: 8-5, 6-2 C-USA
With UCF, SMU, Memphis and Houston leaving for the American Athletic Conference, Marshall’s path to the C-USA title got a little easier. MTSU, FAU and FIU will join the Thundering Herd in the East Division, with FAU and FIU ranking near the bottom of Athlon’s rankings for 2013. Another scheduling factor working in Marshall’s favor: East Carolina visits Huntington on Nov. 29. 


2012 Record: 4-8 (2-6 ACC)

Returning Starters: Offense – 4, Defense – 4

What Went Wrong Last Year: Injuries. The Terrapins lost four quarterbacks to injury last season and were forced to finish the year with converted linebacker Shawn Petty as their signal-caller. Not having a consistent passing attack hindered Maryland in close games, as it lost four contests by a touchdown or less and finished last in the ACC in total offense.

Why the Terrapins Will Be Better: Randy Edsall’s first season was a disaster. But despite the injuries at quarterback, the second year brought a two-game improvement in the win column and a handful of close losses. The Terrapins are in better shape at quarterback for 2013, as C.J. Brown is back from a torn ACL, and Ricardo Young is eligible after transferring from New Mexico. Stefon Diggs is one of the nation’s best all-around threats, and the offense features some promising playmakers at running back in Wes Brown and Brandon Ross. The defense finished third in the ACC and 21st nationally in yards allowed but must replace seven starters in 2013.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Maryland: 7-5, 4-4 ACC
The defense needs to be rebuilt, but Maryland has a favorable schedule and should return to a bowl game for the first time since 2010. The Terrapins should start the year 3-0 with matchups against FIU, Old Dominion and Connecticut, with West Virginia the swing game of their non-conference slate. Road games against Florida State and Virginia Tech are likely losses, but Maryland doesn’t play North Carolina, Georgia Tech or Miami in crossover play and hosts Boston College, Syracuse and Virginia – three crucial swing games – in College Park. 


2012 Record: 7-5 (5-3 ACC)

Returning Starters: Offense – 8, Defense – 4

What Went Wrong: Off-the-field distractions and NCAA investigations aside, Miami’s biggest issue last year was on defense. And frankly, it wasn’t pretty. The Hurricanes ranked last in the ACC against the run, as well as both yards and points allowed. Miami gave up 366 points last year, which was the most in school history.

Why the Hurricanes Will Be Better: With eight starters back, the Hurricanes should have one of the best offenses in the ACC. Adapting to new coordinator James Coley will be a challenge for quarterback Stephen Morris, but running back Duke Johnson should be in the mix for All-American honors, and the offensive line is solid with all five starters returning. The defense still has issues, but there’s no way this unit can be as bad as it was last year.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Miami: 9-4, 6-2 ACC
Miami hasn’t had a double-digit win season since 2003 and is just 20-17 over the last three years. There’s no question the program has slipped recently, but the Hurricanes seem to be trending up entering 2013. Assuming there’s a seamless transition from Jedd Fisch to James Coley at offensive coordinator, Miami’s offense should exceed last year’s totals. The defense is in need of major repair, but there are pieces to build around, including end Anthony Chickillo, linebacker Denzel Perryman and safety Deon Bush.  The schedule is more favorable in 2013, especially since Notre Dame and Kansas State are gone from the non-conference slate. With Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech traveling to Miami this year, the ACC Coastal title will likely run through Sun Life Stadium.

South Florida

2012 Record: 3-9 (1-6 Big East)

Returning Starters: Offense – 3, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: Just like Auburn: Everything. Despite successful stints at Connecticut and East Carolina, Skip Holtz was never able to push the right buttons at South Florida. The Bulls lost five games by a touchdown or less in 2011 and never seemed to recover for '12. South Florida won its first two games and then lost six consecutive matchups before a win over Connecticut in early November. An injury to quarterback B.J. Daniels slowed the offense, and despite having seven starters back on defense, the Bulls finished seventh in the Big East in yards and points allowed last season. 

Why the Bulls Will Be Better: South Florida’s decision to hire Willie Taggart from Western Kentucky was one of the best coaching moves of the offseason. Taggart helped to turn the Hilltoppers from a struggling FBS program to a bowl team in 2012. It will take some time for Taggart to rebuild the depth on the Bulls' roster, but he has some pieces to work with in 2013. The offense received a boost with the transfer of Penn State quarterback Steven Bench, and the defense will be bolstered by former Notre Dame defensive end Aaron Lynch, who is eligible after sitting out last season as a result of transfer rules. South Florida will also have help from a weaker schedule, which replaces Florida State, Syracuse and Pittsburgh – three losses last year – with FAU, SMU and Memphis – three very winnable games.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for South Florida: 7-5, 5-3 American
Taggart’s arrival is just what South Florida needs. The Bradenton, Fla., native will bring some much-needed energy and toughness to the program. The Bulls have a ways to go in order to move to the top of the American Athletic Conference. However, the pieces are in place to make a trip to a bowl game, especially with a more favorable conference slate, as well as two non-conference wins against McNeese State and FAU. 


2012 Record: 7-6 (4-5 Big 12)

Returning Starters: Offense – 5, Defense – 9

What Went Wrong Last Year: Considering all that transpired for TCU, it’s hard to say anything went wrong. The Horned Frogs made a successful transition from a non-BCS league to one of the toughest conferences in college football. And despite the loss of quarterback Casey Pachall before midseason, TCU went 7-6 and won at Texas for the first time since 1967. There were a couple of areas of concern for the Horned Frogs, as the rushing attack ranked eighth in the Big 12, and the offensive line allowed 2.2 sacks a game. 

Why the Horned Frogs Will Be Better: Now that TCU has a year under its belt in the Big 12, it should be more familiar with its opponents and tendencies. Add the fact coach Gary Patterson is one of the best in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs will be a tougher out for the rest of the conference. Pachall is back under center and should help to bolster TCU’s passing attack. Although the rushing attack was a concern last year, B.J. Catalon turned in a solid freshman campaign, Waymon James is back from injury, and Nebraska transfer Aaron Green is eligible after sitting out a year due to NCAA rules. The defense must replace end Stansly Maponga, but nine starters are back, including likely All-American end Devonte Fields.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for TCU: 8-4, 6-3 Big 12
It’s possible TCU will be a better team, but it could still struggle to improve its win total. The Horned Frogs have a challenging schedule, which features a non-conference game against LSU, along with road trips to Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Assuming Pachall quickly recaptures the form that watched him throw for 2,921 yards in 2011, TCU’s offense should easily improve on last year’s numbers. Even though Fields will miss the first two games of the year due to a suspension, he should be one of the Big 12’s top defenders. A difficult schedule presents a challenge for TCU. But Patterson and his staff have proven over and over again they are up to the task.


2012 Record: 7-6 (5-4 Pac-12)

Returning Starters: Offense – 8, Defense – 7

What Went Wrong Last Year: The Trojans were widely considered one of the top five teams in the nation last preseason. Yet, USC finished with a disappointing 7-6 mark, which included a 1-5 stretch to close the season. An injury to starting quarterback Matt Barkley slowed the offense late in the year, but the Trojans’ biggest problem was a defense that ranked eighth in the Pac-12 against the run and allowed 394 yards per game.

Why the Trojans Will Be Better: Despite the loss of Barkley and center Khaled Holmes, USC should be solid on offense. Whether it's Max Wittek, Cody Kessler or Max Browne starting at quarterback, the passing attack will be fine, largely due to the return of junior receiver Marqise Lee and tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble. And there’s depth at running back with Silas Redd, Justin Davis and Ty Isaac competing for carries. New coordinator Clancy Pendergast should be a good fit for a defense that returns seven starters. Pendergast plans on implementing a 5-2 scheme, which will take advantage of USC’s talent on the defensive line.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for USC: 9-4, 6-3 Pac-12
Could this be it for coach Lane Kiffin? If USC goes 7-5 again, the calls for a coaching change will only get louder. However, there’s reason for optimism in 2013. The Trojans outgained their opponents by 69.7 yards per game last year but struggled in the turnover department. The schedule is more favorable this season, as USC misses Oregon and hosts UCLA and Stanford. Winning a division title is certainly within reach. But USC needs to settle on a quarterback, as well as continue to improve its offensive line and secondary as the year progresses. 

Washington State

2012 Record: 3-9 (1-8 Pac-12)

Returning Starters: Offense – 6, Defense – 8

What Went Wrong Last Year: The transition from Paul Wulff to Mike Leach didn’t go exactly as planned. The Cougars scored two surprisingly close non-conference wins against UNLV and Eastern Washington and upset rival Washington in the season finale to finish 3-9. Leach was supposed to inject some life into the offense, but the Cougars finished 94th nationally in yards per game and 106th in points. The defense shared in the struggles, allowing 425.9 yards per contest. The problems for Washington State were even deeper than the stats on offense and defense showed, as the offensive line allowed 4.8 sacks a game, and the Cougars ranked 101st nationally in turnover margin.

Why the Cougars Will Be Better: As with any coach entering his second season, you expect to see some type of uptick in production with more familiarity when it comes to schemes. That should hold true for Washington State, especially with Leach calling the plays. The Cougars have one of the nation’s worst rushing attacks, but having another offseason to allow quarterback Connor Halliday to work as the No. 1 passer should help this offense. Halliday will also have plenty of options to choose from a stocked receiving corps. With eight starters back on defense, Washington State should be able push for a finish in the top six of the Pac-12 in total and scoring defense. Although the Cougars lost nine games last year, three of those – including matchups against Stanford and UCLA – came by eight points or less.

Athlon’s 2013 Projection for Washington State: 4-8, 2-7 Pac-12
Just like last season, Washington State should go 2-1 in non-conference play. However, Wazzu's Pac-12 schedule sets up more favorably. The Cougars do have to travel to California, but the Golden Bears – much like Washington State – are rebuilding. With home games against Oregon State and Utah visiting Pullman, Mike Leach’s team will have a chance to pull an upset or two. Progress and winning games may take a little longer than most expected for Leach. However, Washington State seems to be on the right track and should be more competitive in the Pac-12 this year.

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<p> College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 08:10
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2013-all-conference-team

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Big 12 teams for this season.

Related Content: Big 12 Predictions for 2013

2013 All-Big 12 Team

First-Team Offense

QB Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State

RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor

RB James Sims, Kansas

FB Trey Millard, Oklahoma

WR Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State

WR Eric Ward, Texas Tech

C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma

OG Trey Hopkins, Texas

OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor

OT Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State

OT Daryl Williams, Oklahoma

First-Team Defense

DE Devonte Fields, TCU

DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

DT Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State

DT Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech

LB Bryce Hager, Baylor

LB Ben Heeney, Kansas

LB Jordan Hicks, Texas

CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma

CB Jason Verrett, TCU

S Sam Carter, TCU

S Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State

First-Team Specialists

K Jaden Oberkrom, TCU

P Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State

KR Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

PR Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-Big 12 Team

  First Second Third Overall
Baylor 3 5 3 11
Iowa State 1 0 2 3
Kansas 2 0 0 2
Kansas State 3 2 3 8
Oklahoma 4 2 6 12
Oklahoma State 4 5 2 11
TCU 4 3 3 10
Texas 3 5 1 9
Texas Tech 2 3 3 8
West Virginia 0 1 3 4

Second-Team Offense

QB Casey Pachall, TCU

RB Johnathan Gray, Texas

RB Jeremy Smith, Oklahoma State

WR Mike Davis, Texas

WR Tevin Reese, Baylor

TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

C BJ Finney, Kansas State

OG Parker Graham, Oklahoma State

OG Mason Walters, Texas

OT Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech

OT Spencer Drango, Baylor

Related Content: Big 12 Predictions for 2013

Second-Team Defense

DE Dartwan Bush, Texas Tech

DE Chris McAllister, Baylor

DT James Castleman, Oklahoma State

DT Chucky Hunter, TCU

LB Eddie Lackey, Baylor

LB Caleb Lavey, Oklahoma State

LB Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State

CB Carrington Byndom, Texas

CB Quandre Diggs, Texas

S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

Second-Team Specialists

K Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma

P Ethan Perry, TCU

KR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

PR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma

Third-Team Offense

QB Blake Bell, Oklahoma

RB John Hubert, Kansas State

RB Damien Williams, Oklahoma

WR Brandon Carter, TCU

WR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma

WR Jaxon Shipley, Texas

C Tom Farniok, Iowa State

OG Adam Shead, Oklahoma

OG Keenan Taylor, Kansas State

OT Quinton Spain, West Virginia

OT Cody Whitehair, Kansas State

Third-Team Defense

DE Will Clarke, West Virginia

DE Terrance Lloyd, Baylor

DT Chuka Ndulue, Oklahoma

DT Davion Pierson, TCU

LB Isaiah Bruce, West Virginia

LB Jeremiah George, Iowa State

LB Corey Nelson, Oklahoma

CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

CB Joe Williams, Baylor

S Daytawion Lowe, Oklahoma State

S Elisha Olabode, TCU

Third-Team Specialists

K Ryan Bustin, Texas Tech

P Ryan Erxleben, Texas Tech

KR Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech

PR Levi Norwood, Baylor

2013 Big 12 Team Previews

Baylor Oklahoma State
Iowa State TCU
Kansas Texas
Kansas State Texas Tech
Oklahoma West Virginia


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<p> Big 12 Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 07:45
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-all-sophomore-team-2013

Projecting the all-conference and All-America teams is a staple of any college football preseason preview. And after projecting those teams for 2013, it’s clear college football has a stockpile of talent in its sophomore ranks.

Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel stole the spotlight by winning the Heisman Trophy last year, but Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley also had outstanding years as redshirt freshmen.

Quarterback is not the only position with young talent, however. When it comes to running back, look no further than likely All-America selections Todd Gurley and T.J. Yeldon, who are set to lead the ground attack for two of college football’s top teams.

Projecting an all-conference, all-sophomore or all-freshman team is never easy. In order to compile this team, some projection was used for how the players would play in 2013, their stats from 2012, recruiting ranks and projection for the NFL. To put it another way, this is not a list just based on last year’s stats. 

First-Team Offense

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
RB Todd Gurley, Georgia
RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
All-Purpose Duke Johnson, Miami
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
TE Kyle Carter, Penn State
C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
G Dan Feeney, Indiana
G Max Tuerk, USC
T Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
T John Theus, Georgia

First-Team Defense

DE Devonte Fields, TCU
DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida
DT Issac Gross, Ole Miss
DT Leonard Williams, USC
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
CB Jalen Mills, LSU
CB KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame
S Josh Harvey-Clemons, Georgia
S Karl Joseph, West Virgin

First-Team Specialists

K Ross Martin, Duke
P Ethan Perry, TCU

Related Content: College Football's 2013 All-America Team

Second-Team Offense

QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
All-Purpose DJ Foster, Arizona State
WR Davante Adams, Fresno State
WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland
TE Devin Funchess, Michigan
C Jake Brendel, UCLA
G Jordan Rigsbee, California
G Trai Turner, LSU
T Andrus Peat, Stanford
T Cody Whitehair, Kansas State

Second-Team Defense

DE Deion Barnes, Penn State
DE Noah Spence, Ohio State
DT Jaxon Hood, Arizona State
DT Davion Pierson, TCU
LB Isaiah Bruce, West Virginia
LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
LB Antonio Morrison, Florida
CB Alex Carter, Stanford
CB Nick VanHoose, Northwestern
S Landon Collins, Alabama
S Chris Hackett, TCU

Second-Team Specialists

K Austin Lopez, San Jose State
P Tyler Williams, Marshall

Related Content: College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 1-125

Third-Team Offense

QB Brett Hundley, UCLA
RB Johnathan Gray, Texas
RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
RB Keith Marshall, Georgia
WR Quinshad Davis, North Carolina
WR J.D. McKissic, Arkansas State
C Ryan Kelly, Alabama
G Jack Allen, Michigan State
G Ted Karras, Illinois
T Spencer Drango, Baylor
T Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah

Third-Team Defense

DE Mario Edwards Jr., Florida State
DE Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
DT Arik Armstead, Oregon
DT Xavier Cooper, Washington State
LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
LB Jabari Hunt-Days, Georgia Tech
LB James Ross III, Michigan
CB Blake Countess, Michigan
CB Ronald Darby, Florida State
S Travis Blanks, Clemson
S Deon Bush, Miami


Third-Team Specialists

K Jared Oberkrom, TCU
P Will Monday, Duke


Honorable Mention

Quarterbacks: Michael Brewer, Texas Tech; Tre Roberson, Indiana; Daniel Sams, Kansas State; Travis Wilson, Utah

Running Backs: Byron Marshall, Oregon; Matt Jones, Florida; Brandon Williams, Oklahoma; Trey Williams, Oklahoma, Storm Woods, Oregon State

Wide Receivers: Bralon Addison, Oregon; Nelson Agholor, USC; Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri; Deontay Greenberry, Houston; Chris Harper, California; Gabe Marks, Washington State; Alonzo Russell, Toledo; Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma; Jaime Wilson, Western Michigan

Tight Ends: Pharoh Brown, Oregon; Alan Cross, Memphis; Jake Phillips, UNLV; Sean Price, USF, Kent Taylor, Florida

Offensive Tackle: Vadal Alexander, LSU; Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech; Aviante Collins, TCU; Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati; Ereck Flowers, Miami; Simon Goines, UCLA; D.J. Humphries, Florida; Ryker Mathews, BYU; Kyle Murphy, Stanford; Brandon Shell, South Carolina; Jason Spriggs, Indiana; Donovan Smith, Penn State; Torian White, UCLA

Offensive Guard: Zach West, Kentucky

Center: Austin Blythe, Iowa; Evan Boehm, Missouri; Dillon Day, Mississippi State; Robert Kugler, Purdue; Mike Matthews, Texas A&M

Defensive End: DeForest Buckner, Oregon; Jonathan Bullard, Florida; Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State; Dante Fowler, Florida; Eli Harold, Virginia; Julien Obioha, Texas A&M; John Taylor, Georgia

Defensive Tackle: Malcom Brown, Texas; Darian Cooper, Iowa; Christian Covington, Rice; Eddie Goldman, Florida State; Darius Hamilton, Rutgers; Javonte Magee, Baylor; Ellis McCarthy, UCLA; Ondre Pipkins, Michigan

Linebackers: Kwon Alexander, LSU; Denzel Devall, Alabama; Travis Feeney, Washington; Cory James, Colorado State; Peter Jinkens, Texas; Raphael Kirby, Miami, Tyler Matakevich, Temple; Mason Monheim, Illinois; Darryl Monroe, Washington State; Otha Peters, Arkansas; Dalton Santos, Texas; David Santos, Nebraska

Cornerbacks: Kenneth Crawley, Colorado; Ronald Darby, Florida State; Sheldon Dawson, Georgia; Lorenzo Doss, Tulane; De’Vante Harris, Texas A&M; Tracy Howard, Miami; Stefan McClure, California; Lafayette Pitts, Pittsburgh; Darion Monroe, Tulane; Geno Smith, Alabama; Kevon Seymour, USC; Trae Waynes, Michigan State; Zac Whitfield, North Texas

Safety: Dante Barnett, Kansas State; Kevin Byard, MTSU; Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires, Army; D.J. Hunter, Marshall; Justin Simmons, Boston College; Trevon Stewart, Houston

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<p> College Football's All-Sophomore Team for 2013</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 15:51
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Mountain West, News
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2013-all-conference-team

The 2013 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-Mountain West teams for this season.

Related Content: Mountain West Predictions for 2013

2013 Mountain West All-Conference Team

First-Team Offense

QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

RB Kasey Carrier, New Mexico

RB Adam Muema, San Diego State

WR Davante Adams, Fresno State

WR Noel Grigsby, San Jose State

TE Marcel Jensen, Fresno State

C Tyler Larsen, Utah State

OG LaMar Bratton, New Mexico

OG Nicholas Kaspar, San Jose State

OT Charles Leno, Boise State

OT Austin Wentworth, Fresno State

First-Team Defense

DE Brock Hekking, Nevada

DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State

DT Tyeler Davison, Fresno State

DT Travis Raciti, San Jose State

LB Kyler Fackrell, Utah State

LB Jake Fely, San Diego State

LB Keith Smith, San Jose State

CB Sean Alston, Fresno State

CB Bene Benwikere, San Jose State

S Nat Berhe, San Diego State

S Derron Smith, Fresno State

First-Team Specialists

K Nolan Kohorst, UNLV

P Ben Skaer, New Mexico

KR Chase Clayton, New Mexico

PR Scott Harding, Hawaii

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2013 All-Mountain West Team

  First Second Third Overall
Air Force 0 2 1 3
Boise State 2 5 1 8
Colorado State 0 3 5 8
Fresno State 7 1 3 11
Hawaii 1 2 2 5
Nevada 1 3 2 6
New Mexico 4 0 1 5
San Diego State 3 3 1 7
San Jose State 5 2 2 9
UNLV 1 1 2 4
Utah State 2 1 4 7
Wyoming 0 3 2 5

Second-Team Offense

QB David Fales, San Jose State

RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State

RB Tim Cornett, UNLV

WR Matt Miller, Boise State

WR Brandon Wimberly, Nevada

TE Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State

C Matt Paradis, Boise State

OG Dave Lefotu, Hawaii

OG Tyler Strong, Wyoming

OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada

OT Eric Schultz, Utah State

Second-Team Defense

DE Alex Hansen, Air Force

DE Andy Jennings, Fresno State

DT Sam Meredith, San Diego State

DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Boise State

LB Shaq Barrett, Colorado State

LB Derek Largent, San Diego State

LB Art Laurel, Hawaii

CB Shaq Bell, Colorado State

CB Blair Burns, Wyoming

S Jeremy Ioane, Boise State

S Christian Spears, Air Force

Second-Team Specialists

K Austin Lopez, San Jose State

P Chase Tenpenney,  Nevada

KR Colin Lockett, San Diego State

PR Blair Burns, Wyoming

Third-Team Offense

QB Chuckie Keeton, Utah State

RB Donnell Alexander, Colorado State

RB Jon Lee, Air Force

WR Devante Davis, UNLV

WR Robert Herron, Wyoming

TE Gabe Linehan, Boise State

C Weston Richburg, Colorado State

G Jamie Markosian, Utah State

G Cody Wichmann, Fresno State

T Brett Boyko, UNLV

T Bryce Quigley, San Diego State

Third-Team Defense

DE Lenny Jones, Nevada

DE Tavita Woodard, Hawaii

DT Patrick Mertens, Wyoming

DT Jack Reynoso, Nevada

LB Dallas Bollema, New Mexico

LB Jake Doughty, Utah State

LB Cory James, Colorado State

CB L.J. Jones, Fresno State

CB Nevin Lawson, Utah State

S John Hardy-Tuliau, Hawaii

S Trent Matthews, Colorado State


Third-Team Specialists

K Jared Roberts, Colorado State

P Harrison Waid, San Jose State

KR Tyler Ervin, San Jose State

PR Isaiah Burse, Fresno State

2013 Mountain West Team Previews

Mountain Division West Division
Air Force Fresno State
Boise State Hawaii
Colorado State Nevada
New Mexico San Diego State
Utah State San Jose State
Wyoming UNLV

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<p> Mountain West Football 2013 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 12:45