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Early Heisman Odds Released for 2014

Jameis Winston is an early favorite to repeat.
Early Heisman Odds Released for 2014

College football’s Heisman Trophy won’t be awarded until next December, but it’s never too early to think about the frontrunners for next season.

Bovada has released its early odds for 2014, and there’s a familiar face at the top. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the favorite to repeat, with Oregon’s Marcus Mariota a 7/2 favorite.

Quarterbacks own five out of the top seven spots in the early odds. Running backs T.J. Yeldon (Alabama) and Todd Gurley (Georgia) are the only skill players in the top seven.

Northwestern RB Venric Mark Granted Fifth Year of Eligibility for 2014

Mark is set to return to Northwestern next year.
Northwestern RB Venric Mark Granted Fifth Year of Eligibility for 2014

Northwestern running back Venric Mark was expected to be one of the Big Ten’s top running backs in 2013, but an ankle injury sidelined him for most of the season.

But the Wildcats received some good news for 2014 this week, as Mark was granted a fifth-year of eligibility, and the Texas native will return to Northwestern next year.

Mark rushed for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 104 yards in 2012.

He was also a huge factor on special teams in 2012, averaging 18.7 yards per punt return and taking two back for scores.

A Very Early College Football Top 25 for 2014

Florida State tops Athlon's early top 25 for 2014.
A Very Early College Football Top 25 for 2014

College football’s 2014 season won’t start until August, but it’s never too early to take a look at what’s ahead.

 

Florida State edged Auburn for the national championship in early January, and both teams will be in the mix for a playoff spot next year. But the Seminoles and Tigers will be pushed by Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

 

Vanderbilt Hires Derek Mason as its New Head Coach

The Commodores have their new coach to replace James Franklin
Vanderbilt Hires Derek Mason as its New Head Coach

A week after James Franklin decided to leave for Penn State, Vanderbilt has found his replacement. According to the Tennessean, Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason will be the Commodores’ next coach.

Mason is a highly regarded defensive coach and was a key piece in Stanford’s recent run of success. The Arizona native worked at Stanford from 2010-13, including the last three years as the defensive coordinator.

Georgia Hires Jeremy Pruitt as Defensive Coordinator

Mark Richt upgraded his staff by hiring Pruitt away from Florida State.
Georgia Hires Jeremy Pruitt as Defensive Coordinator

Jeremy Pruitt was one of the 2013 coaching carousel’s top coordinator hires and was a key piece in Florida State’s national title run. However, he won’t return to Tallahassee in 2014, as Pruitt has been named as the defensive coordinator at Georgia.

Pruitt is a rising star in the coaching ranks, spending 2007-12 on Alabama’s staff as an assistant under Nick Saban. Prior to his stint with the Crimson Tide, Pruitt worked at Hoover High School in Alabama.

James Franklin Named New Head Coach at Penn State

Franklin replaces Bill O'Brien in Happy Valley.
James Franklin Named New Head Coach at Penn State

After a successful three-year stint as Vanderbilt’s head coach, James Franklin is returning home. Franklin was announced as Penn State’s new head coach on Saturday, replacing Bill O’Brien who departed Happy Valley for the NFL.

Prior to taking over at Vanderbilt, Franklin worked as an offensive coordinator at Maryland and Kansas State and worked for one year as an assistant with the Packers. Franklin also spent time at James Madison, Washington State and Idaho State.

Lane Kiffin Hired as Alabama's Offensive Coordinator

Kiffin replaces Doug Nussmeier.
Lane Kiffin Hired as Alabama's Offensive Coordinator

Lane Kiffin is coming back to the SEC. On Friday, Alabama officially announced the former USC coach will join Nick Saban’s staff as the offensive coordinator for the next three years.

Kiffin was looking for a job after he was fired at USC earlier this season. The Trojans went 28-15 under his watch, which followed a one-year stint at Tennessee in 2009.

While the Kiffin-Saban work relationship will be an odd one, this hire should work out well for Alabama. Yes, you read that correctly.

Auburn RB Tre Mason Declares for NFL Draft

The Tigers have to replace their leading rusher in 2014.
Auburn RB Tre Mason Declares for NFL Draft

Auburn running back Tre Mason has decided to declare for the NFL Draft. The junior was one of the top playmakers in the nation this year, rushing for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns on 317 carries.

Mason finished sixth in the 2013 Heisman Trophy voting and finished his Auburn career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

With Mason leaving, Auburn will turn to Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant as the top two running backs for 2014. However, expect quarterback Nick Marshall to once again shoulder much of the load on the ground next season.

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel Declares for NFL Draft

Johnny Football is headed to the NFL.
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel Declares for NFL Draft

In a move that should surprise no one, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has decided to declare for the NFL Draft.

Manziel leaves College Station after just two years with the Aggies. He claimed the Heisman Trophy in 2012 by throwing for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,410 yards and 21 scores.

Manziel improved as a passer in 2013, throwing for 4,114 yards and 37 scores. And as expected, his rushing numbers regressed slightly, adding only 759 yards on the ground.

Al Golden Decides to Stay at Miami

Golden decided to remain in Coral Gables after interest from Penn State.
Al Golden Decides to Stay at Miami

After receiving interest from Penn State regarding its head coach vacancy, Al Golden has decided to remain at Miami. Golden is a former Penn State player, so the Nittany Lions’ interest in the Miami coach was no surprise.

Miami has made steady gains under Golden, recording a 22-15 mark over the last three seasons. Prior to taking over in Coral Gables, Golden led Temple to a 27-34 record in five years.

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