Allstate Sugar Bowl - Louisville v Florida

Florida announces full 2013 recruiting class

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(Below are the bios released by Florida on the new members of its 2013 recruiting class.)

ENROLLED IN JANUARY

Alex Anzalone, Linebacker
6-3/ 220
Wyomissing, PA/Wyomissing Area
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Helped Wyomissing High to its first Class AA state championship in 2012, finishing 16-0, a school single-season record for wins…Selected to the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game…Finished his senior year with over 1,000 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns from the fullback position and registered more than 100 tackles…Earned a spot on the 247Sports Class of 2013 All-America team…Named senior Class AA Player of the Year as part of the 2012 Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Team…As a junior, was named first team all-state, all-region and all-county…In 2011, ran for over 900 yards and scored 13 touchdowns and was named to the all-state team…Invited to “The Opening”, an all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike Campus…Chose Florida over Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, USC, UCLA, Miami, Tennessee, Pitt, Stanford, Georgia and Florida State…Coached by Bob Wolfrum.

Darious Cummings, Defensive Line
6-1/310
Titusville, FL/Astronaut HS/Florida State/East Mississippi CC
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Played in all 10 games during the 2012 season at EMCC, tallying 26 tackles (12 unassisted) with 4.0 TFL (12 yards), 3.0 sacks, two quarterback hurries and one forced fumble…EMCC finished 8-2 on the year and ranked 15th in the final NJCAA poll…Anchored a defense that allowed just 74.2 rushing yards per game…Notched a season-high four tackles twice during the season, against Pearl River CC and Itawamba CC…Played under head coach Buddy Stephens at EMCC…Spent two years at Florida State before transferring to EMCC…Played in three games as a true freshman and two games as a sophomore before suffering an injury that caused him to miss most of the 2011 season…Totaled seven tackles in five career games at FSU…Missed the spring of 2012 at FSU after arthroscopic knee surgery and then transferred to EMCC in the summer of 2012…Entered his senior year of high school with 159 tackles, including 22 for loss and 15 sacks…Was the first commit in FSU’s 2010 signing class…Was a Florida Super 75 selection by the Times-Union…Named to SunStateFootball.com all-state first team in 2009…Attended the same high school as former Gator football players LB Wilber Marshall, WR Cris Collinsworth and TE Aaron Walker…Chose Florida over offers from Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Arkansas.

Joey Ivie, Defensive Line
6-4/ 270
Dade City, FL/Pasco
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Could play both end and tackle…Named the 12th best defensive lineman at the Rivals/VTO camp in May…Had eight sacks and forced two fumbles as a junior for the Pirates…He earned first-team honors from the Sunshine Athletic Conference…Chose UF over offers from 23 other schools, including Florida State, Miami and Tennessee. Coached by Tom McHugh.

Daniel McMillian, Linebacker
6-3/220
Jacksonville, FL/ First Coast
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Led First Coast to a 10-1 record in 2012…According to MaxPreps, totaled 97 tackles (67 solo), 2.0 sacks, 3 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries as a senior…Recorded 12 sacks, nine forced fumbles during his junior year…Led First Coast to a 13-1 season and berth in the Class 7A state championship game in 2011…Participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl… Chose Florida over Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and many others…Coached by Marty Lee.

Tyler Moore, Offensive Line
6-5/312
Clearwater, FL/Countryside HS/Nebraska/St. Petersburg CC
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Spent a year at Nebraska beginning in the fall of 2011 before attending St. Petersburg Community College for the fall of 2012…While at Nebraska, Moore started the first four games of the 2011 season and played in nine games overall…With him in the lineup, Nebraska totaled more than 200 yards rushing in all four games that he started, including 300-plus yard outputs against Washington and Wyoming…Was just the 10th true freshman offensive lineman to see action for Nebraska since 1973…His four starts for the Cornhuskers was the most by a true freshman offensive lineman in school history and made him the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener…Named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team by ESPN.com in 2011…While at Countryside HS, Moore was regarded as one of the top offensive line prospects in the country after helping his team to a 12-1 record in 2010, and a trip to the regional finals…Helped a Cougar offense rush for better than 2,900 yards and 45 rushing touchdowns in his senior campaign…As a junior, helped Countryside to an 11-2 record and the offense to a 225 rushing yards per game average…Chosen as a Class 5A all-state pick during junior season…Was a three-year starter for Countryside…Following senior year of high school, Moore played for the East team in the U.S. Army All-Star Game in San Antonio…Father, Brian, played tight end for Nebraska in the mid-1980s…Cousin, Jay Moore, was a three-year letterman (2004-06) playing defensive end at Nebraska…From the same high school as former Gator offensive lineman Jeff Mitchell and defensive lineman Clint Mitchell.

Demarcus Robinson, Wide Receiver
6-2/200
Fort Valley, GA/Peach County
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Led his team to the quarterfinals of the 2012 GHSA Class AAA State Football Championship…Named the 2012 Class AAA All-State Team…Played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl…Had more than 1,000 yards receiving on 53 receptions as a senior…Scored 15 touchdowns in his final high school season…Named the top wide receiver at the Atlanta MVP Camp…Grew up rooting for the Gators…Nephew of former NFL wide receiver Marcus Robinson, who played for the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings…Chose Florida over Clemson and South Carolina…Also played basketball in high school…Coached by Chad Campbell.

Matt Rolin, Linebacker
6-4/205
Ashburn, VA/Briar Woods
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Selected to the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game…Was a first-team all-state selection by the Associated Press as a junior and first-team all-region as well as first-team all-district…Selected to the all-metro team by the Washington Post during his junior year and given the defensive MVP of his team in the same season…Invited to “The Opening”, all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike Campus…Was part of a Briar Woods team that went 15-0 during senior year and claimed the state title…Notched 43 tackles (23 solo stops), with one sack in 2012 before suffering a season-ending injury…Chose Florida over South Carolina, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Duke, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame…Coached by Charlie Pierce.

Kelvin Taylor, Running Back
5-11/216
Belle Glade, FL/Glades Day
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Ran for 2,423 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior…Surpassed NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith as the state of Florida’s all-time leading rusher as a junior…In his high school career, totaled 12,121 yards and 191 touchdowns…Ended his junior campaign with 3,152 yards and 42 TDs…Was voted Player of the Year and received the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 2A Player of the Year Award…Named to the Florida Class 2A All-State First Team as a junior and senior…Under Armour All American…Was named the 2012 Lou Groza High School Player of the Year…Earned a spot on the 247Sports Class of 2013 All-America team…His father also won the award, making them the first father-son duo to do so…Invited to “The Opening”, an all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike Campus…Played on the varsity team as an 8th grader and had over 1,500 yards and scored 28 touchdowns…Son of former NFL and Florida running back Fred Taylor…His father played with the father of fellow signee, Marcell Harris, at the University of Florida…Coached by Pete Walker.

2013 SIGNEES

Alvin Bailey, Wide Receiver
6-0/170
Seffner, FL/Armwood
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Caught 40 passes for 658 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior…In the state championship game against Central, Bailey threw two touchdown passes and caught one in the 40-31 victory…All-State selection as a junior…Invited to “The Opening”, an all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike Campus…Playing in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game at Tropiciana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla….Went to the same high school as current Gator running back Matt Jones…Coached by Sean Callahan.

Jay-nard Bostwick, Defensive Line
6-4/291
Port Saint Lucie, FL/West Centennial
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Two-time all area and all-state selection…Had 73 tackles and seven tackles for loss in his final high school season…Totaled 74 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and two sacks as a junior…In his high school career, totaled 176 tackles, 15 tackles-for-loss, 3 sacks and one fumble recovery…Was just the second player in West Centennial school history to play varsity football as a freshman…Coached by Rob Parker.

Caleb Brantley, Defensive Line
6-3/304
Crescent City, FL/Crescent City
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Named the top 2013 defensive tackle at the Rivals 100 Five-Star Challenge…Competed in the Orlando Nike Football Training Camp and The Opening…Played in the Under Armour All-American Game in January…Recorded 94 tackles, 5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries as a senior…Named to the Florida Class 1A All-State First Team in 2012…Chose Florida over Alabama, Auburn, Cal, Florida State, Miami, Ole Miss, Purdue, South Florida, Tennessee, and Southern Cal…Coached by Alvin Carter.

Trenton Brown, Offensive Line
6-8/363
Albany, GA/Westover HS/Georgia Military College
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Spent two years at Georgia Military College after graduating high school from Westover in 2011…Was named a second-team NJCAA Football All-American in 2012…At GMC in 2012, Brown was part of a team that went 7-4 and averaged 188 yards rushing per game…Played under head coach Bert Williams at GMC…Brother, Reggie Brown, Jr., plays basketball at Fresno Pacific…Chose Florida over offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Kansas, LSU, Middle Tennessee State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, USF, Texas A&M, Texas Tech.

Jarrad Davis, Linebacker
6-2/225
Kingsland, GA/Camden County
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Helped Camden County to an 11-2 record and the quarterfinals of the Georgia Class AAAAAA state playoffs during his senior season…Finished his final year of high school with 114 tackles, 69 being solo stops, to lead the team (5.0 TFL) with three forced fumbles…In 2011, finished the year with 61 tackles, 15 for loss with two sacks and two forced fumbles…Chose Florida over Auburn, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Clemson…Coached by Jeff Herron

Cameron Dillard, Offensive Line
6-3/285
Canton, MI/Canton
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Named to the AP Michigan Division 1-2 All-State Prep Team in 2012…Selected to the 2011 Michigan AP Division 1 All-State First Team, The Detroit Free Press All-State Dream Team, The Detroit News All-Metro West First Team, The Detroit Free Press All-West First Team, All Observer First Team, and KLAA All League in 2011…No. 259 prospect in the nation…Coached by Tim Baechler.

Ahmad Fulwood, Wide Receiver
6-4/ 200
Jacksonville, FL/ Bishop Kenny
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Totaled 42 catches for 680 yards (16.2 avg) and 12 touchdowns as a senior…Participated in the U.S. Army Combine and The Opening…Big-size receiver who had 46 catches, 22 TDs, 1,141 yards as a junior…Chose Gators over Alabama, Clemson and Georgia…Coached by Mark Thorson.

Vernon Hargreaves III, Defensive Back
5-11/185
Tampa, FL/Wharton
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Totaled 110 tackles, 5 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles and 5 pass breakups as a senior…Also scored five touchdowns and five two-point conversions and averaged 34 yards per kickoff return…Named All-Western Conference, All-Hillsborough, All-Suncoast, All-State, Class 8A Defensive Player of the Year and the Guy Toph Award winner as Hillsborough County’s top senior football player…Finalist for the 2012 Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Football Award…Named the Tampa Bay Times All-Hillsborough Defensive Player of the Year and a USA Today First Team All-American…Named the MVP of the Under Armour All-America game after a team-high 5 tackles, one interception and a pass breakup…Competed on the Southeast team at Champion Gridiron Kings where he had six interceptions and earned Defensive MVP honors…Earned a spot on the 247Sports Class of 2013 All-America team…Named the Tampa Bay Times Blue Chipper of the Year…Competed in the Sling-n-Shoot 7-on-7 tournament at USF…Defensive MVP from the IMG Madden 7-on-7 National Championship…As a junior in 2011, had 49 tackles and 2 interceptions, along with 11 offensive touchdowns…As a sophomore in 2010, had 44 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions…Chose Gators over an estimated 50 offers including Clemson, Vanderbilt, Miami and Notre Dame…His father, Vernon Hargreaves Jr., is the defensive ends and special teams coach at USF and his older sister, Carina, is on the club competitive cheerleading squad at UF…Vernon Jr. was named a member of UConn’s 100th Anniversary Team, commemorating the best football players in the programs first 100 years…Coached by David Mitchell.

Marcell Harris, Defensive Back
6-2/220
Orlando, FL/Dr. Phillips
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Selected to the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game…In just eight games during his senior season, tallied 52 tackles and eight pass breakups…Participated in “The Opening”, an all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike Campus, as well as Gridiron Kings…His father, Mike Harris, was a Florida defensive back between 1994 and 1997…Chose Florida over Texas, Florida State, Oklahoma, Auburn, Miami, South Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame and LSU…Coached by Rodney Wells.

Marqui Hawkins, Wide Receiver
6-2/190
Columbus, GA/Carver
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Attended MVP Camp in Hampton, Ga…Recorded a 4.53-second 40-yard dash…Had 31 catches, 635 yards and five touchdowns as a junior…Picked Florida over Clemson among 15 offers, which also included Tennessee, Southern Cal, and North Carolina.

Octavius Jackson, Offensive Line
6-4/285
Moultrie, GA/Colquitt County
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Has recorded a 31-inch vertical jump, he has a 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump and he runs a 4.95 forty-yard dash…Ranked as the No. 30 OG in the country by ESPN…Chose Florida over Vanderbilt and South Florida…Also played basketball in high school…Coached by Rush Propst.

Roderick Johnson, Offensive Line
6-6/316
Delray Beach, FL/American Heritage
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Played in the Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla….Selected Florida over Florida State and West Virginia…Coached by Stacy Sizemore.

Adam Lane, Running Back
5-7/216
Winter Haven, FL/Winter Haven
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Attended the Tampa Combine…Ran for 1,000 yards on just 80 carries (12.5 yards per carry) as a sophomore…Missed his junior season because of an ankle injury… Nicknamed “Night Time”…Chose Florida over Alabama, South Florida, Rutgers, South Carolina and Florida State…Coached by Charlie Tate.

Keanu Neal, Defensive Back
6-1/203
Bushnell, FL/South Sumter
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: All-State selection as a junior…Invited to “The Opening”, an all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike Campus…As a junior, Neal had 151 tackles (68 solo, 83 assists), four interceptions, one of which he returned 20 yards for a touchdown, as well as four forced fumbles, five pass deflections and one offensive touchdown as a goal-line fullback… Picked the Gators over offers from UCF, USF, Duke, Georgia Tech, Kentucky and South Carolina…Coached by Inman Sherman.

Jarran Reed, Defensive Line
6-4/305
Goldsboro, NC/Goldsboro/East Mississippi CC
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Recorded 34 tackles, four tackles for loss, and one sack in 2012 at East Mississippi Community College…EMCC finished 8-2 on the year and ranked 15th in the final NJCAA poll…Part of a defense that allowed just 74.2 rushing yards per game…Played with fellow signee Darious Cummings and the same school as current Gator Damien Jacobs…Coached by Buddy Stephens.

Antonio Riles, Defensive Line
6-4/262
Lawrenceville, GA/Archer
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: As a junior, he had 53 tackles and 6 sacks…Chose Florida over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Louisville and Michigan State among others… Coached by Andy Dyer.

Jordan Sherit, Defensive Line
6-5/234
Tampa, FL/Hillsborough
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Invited to The Opening, an all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike Campus…Invited to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game…Chose Gators over FSU, Notre Dame, Stanford among others…Close friends with Gator commit Vernon Hargreaves III…Coached by Earl Garcia.

Max Staver, Quarterback
6-5/235
Brentwood, TN/Brentwood Academy
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: In 2012, passed for 1,715 yards with four touchdowns and rushed for 265 yards with 6 touchdowns…Threw for 1,872 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior…Placed 3rd during competition drills at the Tulsa Power Camp…Selected UF over Memphis and Louisville…Coached by Cody White.

Chris Thompson, Wide Receiver
6-0/170
Gainesville, FL/Gainesville
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Has recorded a 4.37 40-yard dash…First Team All-Area WR by The Gainesville Sun…Helped Gainesville to a 14-1 record and berth in the Class 6A state title game in 2012…Reached the Regional Finals in 2011 after a 12-3 record…GHS had a 47-9 record in his four years…Had 26 catches for 489 yards and 4 TDs as a sophomore…Was a Gainesville Sun first-team all-area selection in track & field…Coached by James Thomson.

Nick Washington, Defensive Back
6-0/183
Jacksonville, FL/Trinity Christian
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Has recorded a 4.48 40-yard dash…He was named a Times-Union All-First Coast first-team selection after scoring 11 touchdowns and intercepting two passes last season for the Conquerors…Has been starting at safety for the Conquerors since he was in the 8th grade…He chose UF over Florida State, Alabama, Auburn and Clemson…Coached by Verlon Dorminey.

CFT Previews: the Big 12

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 3:  Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks to throw against the West Virginia Mountaineers October 3, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 44-24.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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The 2015 season was a successful one for the Big 12. The league got into the College Football Playoff for the first time, overcoming the bitter denial of Selection Sunday 2014, but is still looking for its first title game appearance since 2009 and its first national championship since 2005.

Will this be the year it happens? Most likely, no. But will it be entertaining? You betcha.

A quick rundown of the conference as it enters the season.

  1. Oklahoma (11-2 overall, 8-1 Big 12 in 2015): The Sooners are your undisputed preseason favorites. The 2015 champs have college football’s most fearsome backfield and enough talent returning on defense to get the job done. Problem is, the poll position is exactly where this program doesn’t want to be. The last four times OU started the season in the top four nationally? A No. 15 finish, a No. 16 finish, and two finishes outside the rankings.
  2. TCU (11-2, 7-2 Big 12): A former Aggie (starting quarterback Kenny Hill) and a former Red Raider (offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie) will team up to try to lead TCU to its first undisputed Big 12 championship and Playoff appearance. Years where Gary Patterson has to re-tool are years where he’s most dangerous.
  3. Texas (5-7, 4-5 Big 12): Who would have ever thought it possible Texas could beat Oklahoma and Baylor — both away from Austin — and yet miss a bowl game? Such is life when you’re gutting a program to its studs and rebuilding all over. That’s all over now. Texas is no longer swimming upstream offensively with the hire of Sterlin Gilbert; it’s time to out-talent the teams below them and steal a game or two against those above them.
  4. Oklahoma State (10-3, 7-2 Big 12): Behind quarterback Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State has enough talent to be competitive in any Power 5 league. However, do they have enough, particularly up front, to actually win any of them? Another 10-win season in which they finish near the top of the table may be the best Mike Gundy and company can shoot for.
  5. Texas Tech (7-6, 4-5 Big 12): Much like Oklahoma State above them, Kliff Kingsbury has figured his formula out in Lubbock. Now it’s about maximizing it as much as realistically possible — particularly while Patrick Mahomes still wears black and red.
  6. West Virginia (8-5, 4-5 Big 12): It’s a big season for Dana Holgorsen. His teams have played explosive offense at times. They’ve also played solid defense at times. Problem is, they’ve never done both at the same time. With a new AD in town, it’s now or never for the Mad Scientist.
  7. Baylor (10-3, 6-3 Big 12): Look up what happened to 2011 Ohio State and 2012 Arkansas before you throw your peanuts at the screen. Baylor won’t fall all the way to those depths — their sheer offensive talent plus a repugnant non-conference schedule virtually guarantees a 5-1 start at worst. But take a look at who the Bears play after their Oct. 22 bye: at an improving Texas team, back-to-back games with TCU and Oklahoma, a feisty, physical K-State team, a shootout against Texas Tech, then a trip to frigid Morgantown. For a team starting the season with 72 scholarship players and a smoldering crater in their head coach’s office, this has the makings of a team that falls down a cliff over the second half of the season.
  8. Kansas State (6-7, 3-6 Big 12): I’ll be honest here. All of these predictions are educated guesswork for us media types, but K-State’s preseason ranking is actual guesswork. I wouldn’t be surprised if this team won five games, and I would be even less surprised if they won 10.
  9. Iowa State (3-9, 2-7 Big 12): Matt Campbell is in stage one of a rebuild, but expect the Cyclones to be a tougher out than this ranking indicates. Iowa State won’t start in its default No. 9 slot for much longer.
  10. Kansas (0-12, 0-9 Big 12): David Beaty should be Big 12 Coach of the Year if the Jayhawks win two games, and national coach of the year if they win three.

CFT 2016 Preseason Previews: the ACC

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 05:  Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers holds the ACC Championship trophy after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 45-37 at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship at Bank of America Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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As the 2016 season draws near, we will peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we will be examining the East Coast’s Power Five entrant.

The first two years of the College Football Playoff, the ACC, along with the Big Ten and SEC, sent a team to the semifinals each postseason go ’round.  Florida State was knocked out of the semifinals by Oregon in 2014, while Clemson made it to the national championship game last year before being bested by Alabama.

During that span, and really for a couple of years prior, FSU and Clemson were essentially the only football things the conference had to crow about nationally.  Could this be the year when other teams in the league join them?  That remains to be seen, although North Carolina and Louisville both have the talent and potential to be labeled as playoff darkhorses entering the 2016 season.

So, without any further ado, let’s see how this little corner of the college football world sees the ACC race shaking out.

ACC ATLANTIC

1. Clemson (14-1 in 2015; lost to Alabama in College Football Playoff title game)
This is damn-near flip-a-coin territory as you really couldn’t go wrong in the top spot with two of the best teams not only in the division but in the country.  In the end, I went with the team with the more experienced — and, for now, talented and productive — quarterback.  Deshaun Watson is not only the most heralded and decorated quarterback at the FBS level, he’s one of the most gifted players at any position in the game and is earmarked for the Top Three of next year’s NFL draft.  In the sport of college football, one player — see: Newton, Cam — can indeed make a team better than the roster would suggest they should be.  Fortunately for Watson, he’s not in that category as he’s surrounded by talented playmakers, although there could be some concern in replacing experience lost on the defensive side of the ball.

2. Florida State (10-3 in 2015, lost to Houston in Peach Bowl)
Last year was a quote-unquote “rebuilding year” at FSU, and the Seminoles still managed a 10-win season and a spot in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games.  They return nine starters on offense — one of those starters, quarterback Sean Maguire, will begin the season on the sidelines due to injury, replaced by redshirt freshman Deondre Francois — and six on the defensive side of the ball.  Since winning the national championship in 2013, Jimbo Fisher has pulled in recruiting classes ranked second (2016), third (2015) and fourth (2014).  So yes, there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent.  And, perhaps most importantly, they get Clemson at home in Tallahassee this season.

3. Louisville (8-5 in 2015, beat Texas A&M in Music City Bowl)
After winning six of their last seven games last season, Louisville is poised to provide Clemson and Florida State with a challenge in the ACC Atlantic — whether that statement should end with an exclamation point or question mark remains to be seen.  The Cardinals nearly derailed the Tigers’ early-season title hopes last season in coming three points shy of an upset.  That was followed a month later by a 20-point loss to the Seminoles.  With 16 returning starters, including superb dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson, the talent is certainly there for the U of L to, potentially, compete with the big boys of the division.  Whether they can turn that competing potential into reality will be known within the first month of the season as they will face their divisional nemeses in Weeks 3 (FSU) and 5 (at Clemson).

4. North Carolina State (7-6 in 2015, lost to Mississippi State in Belk Bowl)
The following stat is highly illuminating, and a fairly good summation of the state of the Wolfpack under Dave Doeren: in the last two seasons, NC State went 0-10 vs. bowl-eligible teams in the regular season, 13-1 vs. teams that weren’t.  In other words, the Wolfpack is just good enough to qualify for a middle-of-the-road bowl, but don’t appear even remotely ready to compete against the best the division has to offer let alone the conference elite.  The loss of do-everything quarterback Jacoby Brissett won’t help get to the next level, and neither will a schedule that features road tests against Clemson, Louisville and North Carolina as well as home dates with Notre Dame, Florida State and Miami.

5. Boston College (3-9 in 2015)
Coming off a combined six wins the previous two seasons, BC went 7-6 in each of the first two years of the Steve Addazio era on Chestnut Hill.  Year 3 brought a slide back to 3-9, a mark that included zero wins in conference play, again renewing concerns about the future of the Eagles football program.  The Eagles careened to the end 2015 on an eight-game losing streak and will enter 2016 with a third offensive coordinator in four seasons.  The defense being above-average is a given; if Scot Loeffler can resurrect a moribund offense, BC could be headed back to a bowl game after a one-year sabbatical.

6. Wake Forest (3-9 in 2015)
Hired to replace the resigning Jim Grobe, Dave Clawson was viewed as a head coach who could help breathe some life into a flailing football program.  Instead, Clawson has put a pair of three-win seasons on the board — the worst two-year stretch for the Demon Deacons since four wins in 1995-96 — that have left his seat at least a little bit on the warm side.  Wake hasn’t played in a bowl since 2011, and Clawson hasn’t shied away from publicly stating the postseason is his goal this season.  The schedule sets up somewhat favorably for a bowl run as Wake plays seven homes games this year, with six of those coming against sub-.500 teams.  If a bowl is not in the picture? Place Clawson squarely on the hot seat entering 2017.

7. Syracuse (4-8 in 2015)
If nothing more, first-year head coach Dino Babers and his fast-paced offense will add some on-field electricity to a Carrier Dome that could certainly use it.  Whether that translates into immediate success in the won/loss column seems unlikely as Babers will likely need 2-3 years to procure the personnel that will fit his system.  Well, that and the fact that Babers inherited a program that won a combined seven games the past two seasons.  And a 2016 schedule that includes games against Louisville, Notre Dame, Clemson and Florida State.

ACC COASTAL

1. North Carolina (11-3 in 2015, lost to Baylor in Russell Athletic Bowl)
North Carolina allowed two touchdowns fewer per game last season than the year before, and they return six defensive starters from that much-improved squad.  While they return seven starters on the other side of the ball, one of those that has to be replaced is record-setting quarterback Marquise Williams.  The good news is that Williams’ replacement, redshirt junior Mitch Trubisky, has plenty of experience, having thrown for 1,000-plus yards in 19 games as a career backup.  The schedule could prove problematic in getting back to double-digit wins as UNC opens the season on a neutral field against Georgia, then travel to Florida State, Miami and Duke the rest of the year.  Still, the Tar Heels should be the team to beat in the Coastal.

2. Miami (8-5 in 2015, lost to Washington State in Sun Bowl)
Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Mark Richt is a significant upgrade over Al Golden on the sidelines, and it’s not really close.  Richt’s parting of the ways with Georgia paved the way for The U to find its best hope for a return to national prominence since the days of Butch Davis.  With 15 returning starters, a number that includes ACC passing-yards-per-game leader Brad Kaaya, the talent is there for Richt to make an immediate impact.  In fact, it should surprise no one if it’s the Hurricanes representing the Coastal in a conference championship game — an appearance that would mark Miami’s first-ever appearance in the title tilt since joining the league in 2004.  And that little factoid, in a nutshell, sums up the pre-Richt State of The U.

3. Pittsburgh (8-5 in 2015, lost to Navy in Military Bowl)
James Conner and his kicking cancer’s ass — while also rehabbing a bum MCL — is one of the feel-good stories of the entire 2016 offseason.  Combine a healthy Connor with reigning ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year Qadree Ollison, and the Panthers would possess one of the most talented backfield tandems in the conference if not the nation.  Coming off the program’s best season in five years under first-year head coach Pat Narduzzi and returning 16 starters, there’s a cautious optimism permeating the Steel City.   Whether that optimism remains after league road trips to North Carolina, Miami and Clemson — not to mention a date with Oklahoma State in Stillwater — is to be determined.

4. Virginia Tech (7-6 in 2015, beat Tulsa in Independence Bowl)
For the first time in nearly three decades, Frank Beamer won’t be patrolling the sidelines when Tech opens the 2016 season.  40-year-old Justin Fuente is Beamer’s replacement, and arguably the best move he made since his hiring was retaining long-time defensive coordinator Bud Foster.  With Foster in place, Fuente can turn his attention to installing his up-temp offense in Blacksburg.  It may take a year or two — and a recruiting class or two — for Fuente’s offensive ways to take root and blossom, but he should prove to be one of the three best hires of the 2015 coaching carousel.

5. Georgia Tech (3-9 in 2015)
From the opener in 2014 through the first two games of last season, Tech won 13 of 16 games.  After that, the Yellow Jackets went 1-9 the last 10 games to stagger to the end of 2015.  The lone win in that stretch?  A 22-16 shocker over Florida State.  The good news, if you can call it that, is that six of those nine losses were by eight points or less, with three of those coming by four or fewer.  Still, Tech’s streak of 18 straight bowl appearances came to an end; if the running game gets back to its previous levels — they averaged nearly 90 yards fewer on the ground than the year before — and Justin Thomas reverts to his sophomore form under center, there’s no reason the Yellow Jackets can’t start a new one.

6. Duke (8-5 in 2015, beat Indiana in Pinstripe Bowl)
In the first iteration of this preview, I slotted Duke at No. 4 in the Coastal, in very large part because of the guarded (misguided?) optimism that starting quarterback Thomas Sirk would, coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon, return at some point early on in the 2016 season.  Whoops?  With Sirk out for the season, the task of maintaining Duke football’s lofty levels of recent success has gotten exponentially more difficult.  The Blue Devils won 27 games the past three seasons, five more than the program won, combined, in the 13 seasons before David Cutcliffe‘s arrival in 2008.  What people tend to forget is that, prior to win totals of 10 (2013), nine (2014) and eight (2015) the past three seasons, Cutcliffe’s squads posted win totals of four, five, three, three and six from 2008-12; here’s to guessing there’s a dip back toward the latter in 2016 before rising back to the former.

7. Virginia (4-8 in 2015)
Bronco Mendenhall was one of the best — and most surprising — hires of the most recent spinning of the coaching carousel, but the former BYU head coach has his work cut out for him in Charlottesville.  The past four seasons under Mike London, the Cavaliers won a total of 15 games.  UVa. also, naturally, struggled in conference play, winning just eight of 32 ACC games in that span.  If anyone can get the program turned around it’s Mendenhall, although it’ll take time.  Fortunately for all involved, the new coach should get plenty of that.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREDICTION
Clemson over North Carolina

LOOK: Virginia unveils new uniforms

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 26:  A general view of the game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
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For those who pay attention to the uniform game within the game of college football — which seems like just about everyone these days — a distinct pattern has emerged of late: new coach, new uniforms. This offseason alone we’ve seen it at Rutgers (new coach Chris Ash), Central Florida (new coach Scott Frost), Virginia Tech (new coach Justin Fuente) and, now, Virginia. Nothing gives the fan base something new to rally around quite like giving them something new to look at, particularly when a new staff takes over for an underperforming one. When the product on the field still appears like the old one, you might as well make it look different, at least.

The Cavaliers broke out new uniforms on Saturday that blend the program’s past with its present.

Here, head coach Bronco Mendenhall explains the thesis behind the change. I’ll let you decide whether this is the typical Nike brand-speak coming out a new mouth or convicting symbolism that will yield a tangible difference on the field.

Next, some new looks at the new look, courtesy of Virginia athletics:

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Virginia’s new staff and new uniforms will see the field for the first time Saturday against Richmond.

Miss. State DL Nick James arrested for fourth time as a Bulldog

COLUMBIA , MO - NOVEMBER 5:  Quarterback Drew Lock #3 of the Missouri Tigers rolls out as he looks to pass as he is pursued by Nick James #88 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium on November 5, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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A familiar headline splashed across SEC-land on Sunday: Mississippi State defensive tackle Nick James was arrested early Sunday morning.

It’s his fourth arrest in the past three years.

James was arrested previously for driving without insurance in 2013, disorderly conduct and driving with a suspended license in 2014, and public intoxication in February of last year.

The latest arrest came at 1:36 Sunday morning for public intoxication, according to the Starkville Daily News.

The Bulldogs released a statement saying Dan Mullen “is aware of an incident involving Nick James that occurred last night, and he is currently getting more information on it.”

A senior, James saw action in all 13 games last season with 10 starts. He has posted 43 tackles, three TFLs and one forced fumble in 34 career appearances. James was penciled in to start along the Bulldogs’ defensive front this season.

Mississippi State will already be without five-star signee Jeffery Simmons for punching a woman in a parking lot fight before his arrival on campus.