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College Football's Top 50 Defensive Backfields for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 5 months 1 week ago
Finding and evaluating cornerbacks and safeties is one of the most difficult jobs for any college football coaching staff. Competition level and a variety of offenses in high school create a several obstacles in player evaluation. But for some programs, finding the next stars at defensive back is an easy task. Florida State and Alabama top Athlon's best defensive backfields...

Heisman Watch: Ranking the Pac-12's Top Candidates for 2017

By Kyle Kensing, 5 months 2 weeks ago
The annals of Pac-12 football history are filled with stars who won the Heisman Trophy – names like Jim Plunkett, Terry Baker, Gary Beban, Marcus Allen, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Marcus Mariota.   In total and throughout its various incarnations, the Pac-12 claims 11 Heisman winners; Pac-12 programs make for 12, with recent newcomer Colorado boasting a 1994 recipient in the...

College Football's Top 50 Linebacker Units for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 5 months 2 weeks ago
Picking the top linebacker units in college football is no easy task. After all, schemes dictate how linebackers are used and the rise of spread offenses generally means more defensive backs on the field. Regardless of whether a scheme utilizes a 4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5 or nickel package, linebackers are a critical component to any defense. How should a team with four starters at linebacker...

College Football's Top 50 Defensive Lines for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 5 months 2 weeks ago
The rise of spread offenses and the different schemes teams face on a week-to-week basis in a college football season has altered how some defensive coordinators think. While some are placing more emphasis on building a secondary, the success of any defense starts up front. Generating a pass rush and stopping the run are two staples of any defensive scheme. The 2017 season...

College Football's Top 50 Offensive Lines for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 5 months 2 weeks ago
The offensive line is often the most overlooked position for any college football team. While the linemen in the trenches don’t get enough credit, they are often the most important piece to a successful offense. Flashy skill talent and quarterbacks take home all of the accolades and headlines, but neither position can thrive without a solid offensive line.   Which teams...

College Football's Top 50 Wide Receiver Groups for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 5 months 2 weeks ago
The 2017 season features a significant amount of turnover at wide receiver, opening the door for new stars and breakout players to emerge this fall. However, despite some big names moving onto the NFL, there is a clear No. 1 receiver group returning this season. Oklahoma State is loaded with talent, including first-team All-American James Washington, LSU transfer Tyron Johnson and senior Marcell...

College Football's Top 50 Running Back Units for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 5 months 2 weeks ago
While every college football team would prefer to have an established, superstar No. 1 running back, using a committee of options is the preferred approach to save wear and tear on the starter. Some teams prefer to split the carry workload close to a 50-50 split or use certain players in situational roles. Regardless of the usage, more teams are looking to a committee of players to...

Pac-12 Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2017

By Athlon Sports, 5 months 3 weeks ago
It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.   In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2017, Athlon asked coaches in the Pac-12 to talk...

Ranking the Pac-12's Quarterbacks for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 5 months 3 weeks ago
The Pac-12 boasts a strong collection of signal-callers for 2017. Washington’s Jake Browning, Washington State’s Luke Falk and USC’s Sam Darnold clearly have a place among the nation’s best, while Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Colorado’s Steven Montez look to build off promising freshman campaigns. Josh Rosen’s return to full strength should be a huge...

College Football's Top 30 Coordinator Hires for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 5 months 4 weeks ago
College football’s coordinator carousel featured a handful of big names on the move for the 2017 season. Ohio State hired former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson to coordinate the offense, while Todd Orlando followed Tom Herman from Houston to Texas to take over the defensive signals in Austin. LSU hopes Matt Canada can jumpstart its offense, and Oregon hired Jim Leavitt from Colorado to...