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North Carolina announces 17 new football signees

Larry Fedora AP

(Below are the bios released by North Carolina on the 17 new members of its 2013 recruiting class.)

Mikey Bart
Defensive End
6-3, 245
Buford, Ga. (Buford)

Pronounced MIKE-ee • Prepstar All-Southeast Region • Finished second in the county with 12.5 sacks • Earned first-team all-state as a defensive end and tight end • Played in the state championship game four times and won three of those • Was named the county player of the year • Ranked the No. 24 tight end in the country by ESPN.com, No. 33 by Scout.com and No. 81 by 247sports.com • Considered the No. 114 player in Georgia by ESPN.com • Team captain • Gwinnett County TD Club Player of the Year • Played at the same high school as current Tar Heel Nathan Staub • Coached by Jess Simpson • Helped lead his team to the state championship in baseball • Born Michael Joseph Bart on March 26, 1995 • Son of Karen and Tom Bart.

Lucas Crowley
Offensive Line
6-3, 270
Ponte Vedra, Fla. (Nease)

Rated the No. 5 center in the country by ESPN.com • Considered the No. 12 center in the country and one of Florida’s top 100 prospects by Rivals.com • Listed as the No. 20 center in the nation by Scout.com • Ranked the No. 50 offensive guard in the nation by 247sports.com • Named first-team All-First Coast • Member of the Jacksonville Times-Union Super 24 team • First-team all-state • MaxPreps Second-Team Medium Schools All-America selection • Prepstar All-Southeast Region selection • Coached by Shane Matthews • Born Lucas Wisham Crowley on Sept. 7, 1994 • Son of Dan and Laurie Crowley.

Dajaun Drennon
Defensive End
6-4, 230
Clementon, N.J. (Timber Creek)

Pronounced duh-WAN • Listed as the No. 4 weakside defensive end in the country by 247sports.com • Considered the No. 10 player in New Jersey and the No. 19 weakside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com • Ranked the No. 29 defensive end in the country by Scout.com • Ranked the No. 20 outside linebacker by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming • Played in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Houston • Played for Team USA at the 2012 IFAF World Championships • Helped lead Timber Creek Regional to the South Jersey Group IV state championship • Considered the No. 49 defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com • Racked up 60 tackles and had 14 quarterback sacks as a senior • Participated in the US Army Combine • Coached by Rob Hinson • Born Dajaun Raleigh Drennon on Oct. 18, 1994 • Son of Ann and Raleigh Drennon.

Jordan Fieulleteau
Wide Receiver
6-3, 200
Raleigh, N.C. (Wakefield)

Pronounced fee-ALL-toe • Enrolled at UNC in January • Honorable-mention Parade All-America • Named to the North Carolina Associated Press All-State team and the NCPreps.com All-State team • Received the most votes on the AP all-state team • Prepstar All-Atlantic Region • Member of the ESPN 300 team • Ranked the No. 9 player in North Carolina by ESPN.com and the No. 43 receiver in the nation • Made 111 catches for 1,669 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior • Led the team in scoring • Wakefield was 11-2 and advanced to the state playoffs • As a junior, posted 86 receptions for 1,200 yards and 24 touchdowns • Third-most touchdown receptions in state history and second-highest reception total in a season • Has the most touchdown catches in the nation in past two seasons • Coached by Rod Sink • Son of Kendra Clarke • Born June 10, 1995.

Khris Francis
Running Back
5-9, 195
Durham, N.C. (Hillside)

Enrolled at UNC in January • Member of North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team • Considered the No. 29 running back in the country by ESPN.com • Ranked the No. 95 running back in the country by Scout.com • Listed as the No. 18 running back in the country by 247sports.com • Prepstar All-Atlantic Region • Ran 251 times for 2,100 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior • Also had 328 yards and five touchdowns receiving • Was twice named the conference offensive back of the year • Rushed for 2,251 yards with 31 touchdowns as a junior • Also added 90 yards in receptions with one touchdown • Coached by Antonio King • Son of Chris and Bobbi Hadersbeck • Born December 25, 1993.

Marquis Haynes
Bandit
6-3, 220
Jacksonville, Fla. (University Christian)

Pronounced mar-KEECE • Member of the Jacksonville Times-Union Super 24 team • Prepstar All-Southeast Region • Considered the No. 32 weakside defensive end in the nation by 247sports.com, No. 43 by Rivals.com and the No. 44 overall defensive end by ESPN.com • Ranked among the top 175 defensive ends in the country by Scout.com • Helped lead University Christian to a come-from-behind victory over Dade Christian in the 2-A state championship game • Named first-team All-First Coast on defense with 73 tackles and 25 sacks as a senior • Also had 219 yards receiving and two touchdowns as a tight end and served as the team’s kicker • Registered 21 sacks as a junior • Coached by David Penland • Also plays basketball • Born Marquis Jacori Haynes on Dec. 16, 1993 • Son of Maurice and Kim Haynes.

Brad Henson
Offensive Line
6-5, 295
Surf City, N.J. (Monsignor Donovan)

Named the No. 13 guard in the nation by CBSSports.com • Listed the No. 25 guard in the country by Scout.com • Rated the No. 11 player in New Jersey and the No. 26 offensive guard in the country by Rivals.com • Four-year starter • Named first-team all-state • Ranked among the top 25 offensive guards in the nation by ESPN.com • Coached by Dan Duddy • Born Bradley Winn Henson on Nov. 28, 1993 • Son of Bradley and Elizabeth Henson.

Johnathan Howard
Wide Receiver
6-4, 195
Rochelle, Ga. (Wilcox County)

2012 MaxPreps Small School All-America selection • Named to the ESPN 300 list of the nation’s top recruits • Listed as the nation’s No. 24 wide receiver and No. 22 player in Georgia by ESPN.com • Class A all-state selection by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution • Named the AJC’s Offensive Class A Player of the Year • Invited to the Macon Touchdown Club as one of the Super Seven athletes in middle Georgia • Had the second-highest single-season receiving total in Georgia history with 1,630 receiving yards as a senior • Also scored 19 total touchdowns and finished the season with 115 catches • Ranked the nation’s No. 75 wide receiver by Scout.com • Considered among the top 100 players in Georgia and the No. 92 wide receiver in the country by Rivals.com • Coached by Mark Ledford • Born Johnathan Jamaul Howard on Nov. 28, 1994 • Son of Lonnie and Veronica Howard.

Nazair Jones
Defensive Lineman
6-5, 250
Roanoke Rapids, N.C. (Roanoke Rapids)

Pronounced nah-ZEER • Member of North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team • Prepstar All-Atlantic Region • Competed in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Houston • Considered the No. 10 player in North Carolina and the nation’s No. 26 strongside defensive end by Rivals.com • Listed as the No. 9 player in North Carolina and the No. 17 strongside defensive end by 247sports.com • Ranked the No. 11 player in North Carolina and the No. 40 defensive end in the country by Scout.com • Also played at defensive tackle and on the offensive line • Born Nazair Tyrron Jones on Dec. 13, 1994 • Son of Tammy Jones.

Desmond Lawrence
Defensive Back
6-1, 175
Charlotte, N.C. (Charlotte Christian)

Prepstar All-Atlantic Region • Ranked the No. 8 player in North Carolina and the 28 safety in the country by Scout.com • Considered the No. 20 player in North Carolina and the nation’s No. 39 safety by Rivals.com • Played in the Oasis Shrine Bowl Game, an all-star game for players from private schools in North and South Carolina • Named 2012 All-Observer Team • Two-time all-conference and all-state performer • Received the Gridiron Great award for South Charlotte • Was a nominee for the US Army Bowl • Played on both sides of the ball and was an accomplished tailback as well as a standout defensive back • Rushed 139 times for 1,299 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead his team to the NCISAA 3-A championship • Also had 14 catches and a touchdown • Coached by Jason Estep • Born Desmond Lanell Lawrence on Nov. 30, 1994 • Son of Val Watters and Frank Lawrence.

T.J. Logan
Running Back
5-10, 180
Greensboro, N.C. (Northern Guilford)

Prepstar All-America • Honorable-mention Parade All-America • Rated a top-100 player in the country by CBSSports.com’s Tom Lemming • Member of Prepstar’s Dream Team (top 150 players in the country) • Ranked the No. 4 all-purpose back in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 2 overall player in North Carolina • Considered the No. 13 running back in the country by Prepstar • Listed as the No. 10 all-purpose back in the country and a top five player in North Carolina by 247sports.com • Earned AP all-state honors and was named North Carolina’s AP player of the year for 2012 • MaxPreps Medium Schools First-Team All-America selection • Rushed for 3,146 yards and 47 touchdowns as a senior, averaging more than 10.7 yards per carry, despite playing I the fourth quarter only twice • Had 25 receptions for 344 yards and six touchdowns • Also completed all eight pass attempts for 144 yards and had 12 punt returns for 241 yards (20.1 avg.) • Rushed for 5,614 yards and 85 scores his last two seasons in at Northern Guilford • Set NCHSAA records with 510 yards and eight touchdowns in the state championship game as Northern Guilford completed an undefeated season and won the 3AA title • Coached by Johnny Roscoe • Born Tyrone Courtney Logan on Sept. 3, 1994 • Son of Tyrone and Sheila Logan.

Donnie Miles
Defensive Back
5-11, 200
Lawrenceville, Ga. (North Gwinnett)

Prepstar All-Southeast Region • Ranked among the top 100 players in Georgia by Rivals.com and ESPN.com • Considered the nation’s No. 38 safety by Scout.com • Is the No. 66 rated safety in the country by Rivals.com • Played defensive back and running back • Posted more than 50 tackles as a junior and rushed for 674 yards and nine touchdowns splitting time at tailback • Also made 24 catches for 269 yards • Team finished 11-2 and was ranked the No. 4 team in Georgia • Team won back-to-back 7-AAAAA championships • Coached by Bob Sphire • Grew up in Carol City, Fla., outside of Miami • Born Donnie Ray Miles on Aug. 3, 1994 • Son of Donnie Miles Sr. & Diane Turner.

R.J. Prince
Offensive Lineman
6-6, 300
Albemarle, N.C. (Albemarle)

Enrolled at UNC in January • Prepstar All-America • Named to the North Carolina Associated Press All-State team and the NCPreps.com All-State team • Named to the Charlotte Observers’ All-Observer First Team • Member of North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team • Competed in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl • Ranked the No. 33 offensive tackle in the nation by 247sports.com • Listed as the No. 41 tackle by Rivals.com • Considered the No. 36 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com and one of the top 10 in the South • Listed as the No. 34 offensive tackle by ESPN.com • Coached by Danny Akins • Son of Valerie and Roger Prince Sr. • Born April 19, 1995.

Ryan Switzer
Athlete
5-10, 175
Charleston, W.Va. (George Washington)

First-team Parade All-America selection • Named to the East team roster at the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl • Rated the No. 7 wingback by Tom Lemming • Two-time winner of the Kennedy Award, given to the West Virginia state player of the year • Only the sixth two-time winner in the award’s 66 years • Twice named the West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year • Twice named the Kanawha Valley Football Player of the Year by The Charleston Daily Mail • Class AAA all-state selection • Twice named the conference player of the year • Three-time first-team all-state • Two-time first-team all-state captain • Finished his senior season with 206 carries for 2,379 yards and 32 touchdowns • Also caught 20 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns and returned three interceptions for scores • Had another 40 rushing touchdowns as a junior • Scored 103 touchdowns in his prep career and finished in the top five in West Virginia history in touchdowns and points • Had more than 8,100 all-purpose yards • Is George Washington’s all-time leader in rushing, scoring total yards • 2012 Under Armour National Combine champion • 2011 SI.com honorable-mention All-America • Prepstar All-Atlantic Region selection • Coached by Steve Edwards • Helped lead George Washington to the 2011 AAA state basketball title • Was the AAA state track champion in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays • Son of Michael and Ashley Switzer • Born Nov. 4, 1994.

Mitch Trubisky
Quarterback
6-3, 205
Mentor, Ohio (Mentor)

Pronounced truh-BISS-kee • Enrolled at UNC in January • Named Mr. Football in the state of Ohio by the Associated Press, an annual award given to the top high school player regardless of division • Ranked the No. 19 quarterback in the country by Scout.com • Prepstar All-Midwest Region • Honorable-mention Parade All-America • Member of the ESPN 300 team • Is the most prolific passer in the Greater Cleveland area, becoming the first to pass for more than 9,000 career yards and more than 4,000 yards as a senior • Rated the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback by 247sports.com and the No. 3 player in Ohio • Passed for 4,063 yards as a senior, including 1,593 in four playoff games • Also rushed for 899 yards • Scored 108 points and was responsible for 51 touchdowns • Threw for 42 touchdowns and rushed for 18 • Team finished 12-2 and advanced to the state semifinals • Mentor was 30-8 during his three-years the quarterback • Among the top 10 passers in Ohio history with 9,126 yards and 92 touchdowns • Also rushed for 1,559 career yards and 33 touchdowns, averaging 4.1 per carry • Also served as Mentor’s punter in 2012 and had a 40.8 average • Coached by Steve Trivisonno • Son of Jeanne and Dave Trubisky • Born August 20, 1994.

Brian Walker
Defensive Back
5-11, 175
Charlotte, N.C. (Mallard Creek)

Member of the ESPN 150 team (top 150 players in the country regardless of position) • Considered the No. 14 cornerback in the country by ESPN.com • Member of the Rivals 250 team • Prepstar All-America and All-Atlantic Region • Member of North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team • Named to the NCPreps.com All-State team • Named to the Charlotte Observers’ All-Observer First Team • Considered the No. 12 player in North Carolina and the No. 39 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com • Listed as the No. 12 player in the state by 247sports.com • Ranked the No. 20 player in North Carolina and No. 59 cornerback in the country by Scout.com • Twice named I-Meck 4A all-conference • Picked off six passes as a senior and added 13 pass breakups • Team finished 13-1 and advanced to the state semifinals • As a junior, he had 30 tackles, 12 pass breakups and three interceptions • Coached by Mike Palmeiri • Born Brian Keith Walker on Nov. 7, 1995 • Son of Kelvin and Latonia Walker.

Greg Webb
Defensive Tackle
6-2, 310
Erial, N.J. (Timber Creek)

Prepstar All-America • Member of Prepstar’s Dream Team (top 150 players in the country) • Considered the No. 10 defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com and one of the top 100 players regardless of position • Considered the nation’s No. 12 defensive tackle by 247sports.com composite rankings • Ranked the No. 14 defensive tackle in the country by Prepstar • Member of the ESPN 300 • Listed as the No. 6 player in New Jersey, the No. 15 defensive tackle and the No. 159 player regardless of position by ESPN.com • Played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl following his senior season • Considered New Jersey’s No. 5 player and is ranked the No. 20 defensive tackle in the country by Rivals.com • Had a dominant junior campaign with 94 tackles, 24 tackles for losses, 13 sacks and three fumble recoveries • Missed the first two months of his senior season with a torn ACL • Returned for the NJSIAA South Jersey IV final and helped lead his team to a 57-27 victory in the championship game • Was a high school teammate of Dajaun Drennon at Timber Creek Regional High School • Posted 57 tackles, 24 tackles for losses and six sacks as a sophomore • Coached by Rob Hinson • Born Greg Jerome Webb III on Jan. 16, 1995 • Son of Virginia and Greg Webb Jr.

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Andre Carter returning to Cal as student assistant coach

Andre Carter

A decade and a half after leaving Cal, Andre Carter is returning to the Bears football program.

The school announced in a press release that Carter has joined Sonny Dykes‘ staff in the capacity of student assistant coach.  Carter will assist Fred Tate in coaching the Bears’ defensive line.

Carter enrolled as an undergraduate at Cal earlier this year to pursue his bachelor’s degree in American studies.

“We are thrilled that Andre has returned to Cal to get his degree,” head coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “We are also looking forward to Andre being able to impart the knowledge he gained both on and off the field during a standout collegiate and NFL career to our players. He knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level of football and will certainly be a positive influence on everyone in our program.”

Carter was a consensus All-American in his final season at Cal in 2000.  His final two seasons, he was a unanimous first-team All-Pac-10 selection as a defensive end.

The 13-year NFL veteran hopes this position will help launch a coaching career at either the collegiate or professional level.

“Returning to Cal to earn my degree has been a life-changing experience,” Carter said. “I have already accomplished what I wanted to in football by playing at the highest level but there will be no greater feeling than earning my degree from one of the nation’s top universities. That’s why I’m back. …

“I feel I can impart the current players with the right way to play the game and the desire you need to have to be successful. There’s no greater satisfaction than becoming a coach.”

(Photo credit: Cal athletics)

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After leaving Irish for WMU, Anthony Rabasa leaves Broncos too

Wake Forest v Notre Dame Getty Images

As it turns out, Anthony Rabasa‘s stay in Kalamazoo was an extremely brief one.

Rabasa had transferred into the Western Michigan football program July 30, P.J. Fleck announced at the time.  Less than four weeks later, Fleck confirmed that Rabasa has decided to leave the Broncos and head back to his home in Miami.

From the sounds of it, the defensive lineman is giving up football entirely.

“He got here and he realized he wanted to move on with his life,” Fleck said. “We support him 100 percent. He’s a great kid. It’s just that football here wasn’t meant to be for him. He wants to head back down to Miami and start a career, which I don’t blame him for. He was in a battle here against some guys that are playing well.”

As a graduate transfer from Notre Dame, Rabasa would’ve been eligible to play immediately in 2015.

A three-star member of the Irish’s 2011 recruiting class, Rivals.com rated him as the No. 11 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 54 player at any position in the state of Florida. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, he played in two games in 2012 and five in 2013.

He didn’t see the field at all for the Irish in 2014.

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Wolverine DT Bryan Mone likely lost for season with broken leg

Michigan v Indiana Getty Images

In the run-up to Jim Harbaugh‘s first game as head coach at his alma mater, Michigan has forced to deal with a significant health issue along its defensive line.

Harbaugh confirmed during a press conference earlier in the day that Bryan Mone sustained a broken bone in his lower leg during a recent practice session.  Harbaugh labeled the injury as “long-term,” intimating that the defensive tackle will likely be sidelined for the entire 2015 season.

It was a freak play,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve never seen it before in a practice or games.”

And just how did the freakish occurrence transpire? From mlive.com:

After Michigan’s defense blocked a field goal, Mone rolled out and attempted to block for Jabrill Peppers on a return attempt when his leg was rolled up, resulting in a broken bone in his leg.

Mone appeared in 12 games as a true freshman last season, making one start. He was projected to rotate at nose tackle this season.

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Five-star signee, Gators’ likely starting LT set to undergo surgery

Martez Ivey

On the same day Florida revealed that, as expected, they will go with two quarterbacks in the opener, they also revealed that one of the players who would’ve been charged with protecting them very well might not be available.

Prized 2015 recruit Martez Ivey has been dealing with an unspecified leg injury that dates back to his high school days.  The injury progressed to the point where medical intervention was necessary, with head coach Jim McElwain confirming that the offensive lineman will undergo arthroscopic surgery Friday.

With the season opener against New Mexico State nine days away, there’s no timetable for a return.

“This morning, Martez came in with a sore leg and we went and had it looked at,” McElwain said. “There was something existing there. We’ll get him in there and scope that tomorrow morning. Found a preexisting thing that was kind of bothering him. We’ll get that cleaned up.

“I have no idea exactly when his return will be. … He’ll be back. I don’t know how quickly or anything yet. But it’s not. … it doesn’t appear to be a season-ending thing or anything like that.”

The good news for UF is that, after the opener, they have games against East Carolina and Kentucky before its first “real” test of the season against Tennessee Sept. 26.  That game begins a stretch of five straight games against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

The 6-5, 302-pound Ivey was one of the highest-rated recruits in the country last season, with Rivals.com rating the five-star lineman as the No. 1 tackle in the country; the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 4 player overall.  He’s been working with the first-team offense and had been widely expected to be the starting left tackle when the season opened.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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NCAA denies Ishaq Williams’ appeal, won’t play for Irish in 2015

Ishaq Williams AP

As it turns out, Notre Dame won’t have Ishaq Williams on the field this season after all.

That much was confirmed by Brian Kelly, with the Irish head coach announcing Thursday that Williams’ appeal to the NCAA that would’ve allowed him to play in 2015 has been denied.  Williams did not attend classes at ND or any other institution during the spring semester, leading in part to the NCAA issue.

That’s how Williams’ situation differed from KeiVarae Russell‘s.  Russell attended classes during that same period, and, after re-enrolling in school in late May, was cleared by the NCAA earlier this month to play in 2015.

Williams had been formally readmitted to Notre Dame around the same time as Russell, and Kelly seemed mildly optimistic the player would be back on the field this year.

Williams and Russell were suspended for the entire 2014 season because of the findings rendered in an academic fraud investigation. Five players were initially suspended, with only safety Eilar Hardy playing at all in 2014. Bowling Green announced late last month that Hardy had transferred into its football program.

The defensive lineman had played in 24 games the two seasons prior to his suspension and was expected to be a starter in 2014.  Had he been cleared by the NCAA, he would’ve been a significant contributor in the Irish’s line rotation.

As for Williams’ immediate future…

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‘Neck instability’ sidelines starting Vols S LaDarrell McNeil indefinitely

Alabama v Tennessee Getty Images

A suspension to one of Tennessee’s most productive offensive players wasn’t the only negative news coming out of Knoxville Thursday.

On the same day Pig Howard‘s one-game suspension was announced, head coach Butch Jones also revealed that LaDarrell McNeil will be sidelined indefinitely for what’s being described as ‘neck instability.”  Jones acknowledged that the safety could miss an extended period of time because of the issue.

“LaDarrell McNeil, this one came kind of out of nowhere,” Jones said. “Very, very unfortunate. I feel for him. He’s had some neck instability there, so he’s undergoing further examination. But he will be out an extended period of time, and it could be a lengthy period of time.”

247Sports.com‘s Wes Rucker writes that “Jones said McNeil’s ‘life after football’ was going to be the program’s priority,” adding that “[c]oaches using phrases like that can be an ominous sign for a player’s future on the field.”

Whether the senior defensive back will be sidelined temporarily or permanently, it will serve as a huge blow to the Vols’ defense.

The past three seasons, McNeil has played in 36 games. He started 31 of those contests, including 24 the past two seasons.

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Pitt loses RB Rachid Ibrahim to season-ending Achilles injury

Rachid Ibrahim, Kendall Fuller AP

An experienced member of Pittsburgh’s backfield has been put on the shelf courtesy of a non-contact injury.

First-year head coach Pat Narduzzi confirmed Wednesday that Rachid Ibrahim sustained an injury to his Achilles tendon in “one of those freak accidents that happens.” The injury, which occurred earlier this week, will sideline the running back for the entire 2015 season.

While he won’t have a concrete impact on the field this season, Ibrahim is already doing what he can to have an impact off of it.

He was choked up shortly after they told him what it was and what the recovery time was,” running backs coach Andre Powell said. “That afternoon, he was in meetings and he was talking in meetings and communicating with the young kids. He’s tough, he’s a leader, and he’ll fight through it.”

Used mainly as a third-down, change-of-pace back behind reigning ACC Player of the Year James Connor, Ibrahim was fifth on the team with 263 yards rushing last season, although his 8.0 yards per carry were tops on the team.  He also had 11 receptions for 73 yards coming out of the backfield.

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Erstwhile Irish RB Greg Bryant says he’s reopening recruitiment

Purdue v Notre Dame AP

It appears that Greg Bryant has all but closed the door on a return to South Bend next year.  Or any year after that, for that matter.

Earlier this month, and after he was suspended for the first four games, it was confirmed that Bryant had been declared academically ineligible and wouldn’t play at all in 2015.  While head coach Brian Kelly stated Bryant would be , the running back’s father stated that, even as he would be returning to classes at the school, he wouldn’t be reporting for summer camp.

However, the school part won’t come to fruition as Bryant posted on Instagram that he participated in his first practice Thursday at ASA Miami, a junior college in Florida and is coached by a former Notre Dame staffer.

Additionally, Bryant stated that he has decided to reopen his recruitment.  While that doesn’t necessarily preclude a return to the Irish, it appears he will be looking in other directions to restart his FBS career in 2016.

Below is his complete social media missive.

Had my first practice with my new team ASA Miami today and it went great! They gave me a opportunity to wear #1 this season! I’ll be keeping everyone updated with highlights and games. Opening up my recruitment so my next move will be my best move. Kinda feel like HIGHSCHOOL again getting offers and everything hahah. Highlights coming soon.

Last season as a true sophomore, Bryant’s 289 yards rushing were good for second on the team. Bryant was a five-star member of the Irish’s 2013 recruiting class and was rated as the No. 3 back in the country.

If he returns to the FBS level next year, Bryant would have two years of eligibility remaining.

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Dismissed by UNLV, ex-‘Bama RB Altee Tenpenny heads to FCS

Virginia Tech v Alabama Getty Images

Altee Tenpennyparted ways” with Alabama this past January, ultimately moving on to UNLV four months later.  Now, the running back is working on his third football program in the last eight months.

Earlier this month, Tenpenny was dismissed from the Rebels for violating unspecified team rules. Tenpenny would’ve been forced to sit out the 2015 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, but now he won’t even get the chance to restart his collegiate career with UNLV in 2016.

“It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got plenty of guys,” first-year Rebels head coach Tony Sanchez said at the time of the dismissal. “The young guys look fantastic. That had nothing to do with (the dismissal). At the end of the day, rules are the rules.”

Where he will get his chance to start over is at Nicholls State, which al.com is reporting is Tenpenny’s new college football home. Because the Colonels play at the FCS level, Tenpenny would be eligible to play immediately in 2015.

Tenpenny was a four-star member of the Tide’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 8 back in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Arkansas; and the No. 53 player overall by Rivals.com. Despite that impressive recruiting profile, Tenpenny didn’t contribute more than a couple of cents during his brief stay in Tuscaloosa.

In two seasons with the Tide, Tenpenny totaled 218 yards on 48 carries in a backfield that’s loaded with more four- and five-star talent than any in the country.

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Shad Thornton, NCSU’s leading rusher, hit with two-game suspension

Tyler Hunter, Shadrach Thornton AP

In what’s become an annual tradition in Raleigh, North Carolina State’s top running back has once again found himself in his coach’s doghouse.

Dave Doeren announced Thursday that Shadrach Thornton has been suspended for the first two games of the 2015 season.  The head coach declined to go into detail, allowing only that the issue responsible for the situation occurred six months ago.  The Raleigh News & Observer writes that “[t]he only outstanding legal charges against Thornton are minor traffic infractions.”

Because of the suspension, the senior back will miss the opener against Troy and the Week 2 matchup with Eastern Kentucky. He’ll return for the following week’s game at Old Dominion.

Thornton has led the Wolfpack in rushing each of the last three seasons, with his totals increasing from 694 yards to 798 to 907 last season. Earlier this month, he was named first-team All-ACC.

However, he’s had a hard time staying in the coaching staff’s good graces. In 2013, he was suspended for the opener after being charged with violence against a female. He was indefinitely suspended in December of that year for another run-in with the law, and reinstated in August of last year.

UPDATED 1:26 pm. ET: And now we have the alleged reason behind Thornton’s suspension.

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Vols suspend top receiver Pig Howard for opener vs. Bowling Green

Alton Howard, Cody Riggs AP

Tennessee’s lifting of the curtain on the 2015 season just got a little more interesting, at least offensively.

Thursday afternoon, head coach Butch Jones revealed that Alton “Pig” Howard has been suspended for the opener against Bowling Green.  The only reason given was unspecified violations of team rules, although Jones did allow that the issue that triggered the suspension dates back several months.

The wide receiver will be eligible to return for the Week two matchup with No. 19 Oklahoma.

The past two seasons, Howard has led the Vols in receiving with 54 and 44 receptions in 2014 and 2013, respectively.  He accounted for 1,006 receiving yards in that span, and has also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.

Howard’s suspension isn’t the only situation UT is being forced to deal with at the position, either.

Croom caught 21 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns last season, the latter total tied for second on the team.  Perry was a three-star member of the 2015 recruiting class.

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Ohio the new home for ex-Iowa RB C.J. Hilliard

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl AP

When it was announced this past weekend that Cincinnati native C.J. Hilliard would be transferring from Iowa, the stated reason for the departure was a desire by the player to move closer to home.

In the end, that’s exactly what the running back did.

Earlier this week, head coach Frank Solich confirmed that Hilliard had transferred into his Ohio football program.  To satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Hilliard will be forced to sit out the 2015 season.

Hilliard will have three years to use three years of eligibility beginning in 2016.

“He’s with us now, and will be on our football team,” Solich said. “It’s good to have him aboard.”

A three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class, Hilliard was rated as the No. 55 player at any position in the state of Ohio. He took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.

(Photo credit: Iowa athletics)

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CFT 2015 Preseason Preview: ACC Predictions

Clemson at Florida State

The ACC is starting to gain some confidence as a conference based on success in recent seasons. Florida State won a BCS title and Clemson defeated Ohio State in the Orange Bowl two postseasons ago. Last year the Seminoles were invited to the College Football Playoff and Georgia Tech topped the SEC’s Cinderella team from Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl, and Clemson smacked Oklahoma up and down the field in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The ACC will work the numbers to their liking to prove they are among the elite power conferences right now, but the numbers can just as easily tell a different story as well. Regardless, things look to be lining up for a fun season in the ACC with Clemson a preseason favorite of many, Florida State likely to remain in the hunt and Louisville proving to be a tough out. And then there is the ACC Coastal Division, where mediocrity across the division makes for another wide-open division race this fall.

Let’s put my money where my mouth is and go on the record with some predictions for the ACC this season. Feel free to hold me accountable at the end of the season when these surely go wrong.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

1. Florida State (Last year: 13-1, lost to Oregon in College Football Playoff semifinal)
Florida State has entered the stage of program development where it is appropriate to suggest the program is reloading, rather than rebuilding. The Florida State offense returns just three starters from last year’s squad, but it does add Notre Dame transfer quarterback Everett Golson. With Dalvin Cook recently being found not guilty of battery charges, he should remain a featured asset in Florida State’s offense . Getting at Louisville in Tallahassee will be key, but the road game at Clemson could prove difficult. I have Florida State, Clemson and Louisville all ending the season with identical division records and splitting game sin the three-way head-to-head. This one comes down to the 27th ACC division tiebreaker, which may end up in Florida State’s favor when all is said and done.

2. Clemson (Last year: 10-3, beat Oklahoma in Russell Athletic Bowl)
The Clemson Tigers are returning perhaps the top quarterback in the conference with Deshaun Watson. Many are already pegging him as a strong Heisman Trophy contender, and having one of the top wide receiving units in the ACC will certainly help his case. The offensive line returns just two starters from last season though, and the entire offense has just four returning starters. The defense is in even more of a shaky ground with a pair of starters back in 2015. But place some trust in Brent Venables to have the defense up to speed enough to work things out along the way. An early Thursday night game at Louisville could be tricky, and the final game of the regular season at South Carolina is rarely easy. But Clemson gets Florida State at home in Week 10, by which most of Clemson’s concerns could very well have been put to rest.

3. Louisville (Last year: 9-4, lost to Georgia in Belk Bowl)
Another team that has a bunch of starters to replace, Louisville returns just seven starters from last season’s team. And things could very well get off to a bumpy start with Auburn in the season opener and Clemson just a couple of weeks later. But I think they manage to split those games, winning the important ACC Atlantic Division match-up on Thursday night in Week 3. The addition of defensive end Devonte Fields should be a really good addition to the defensive line. Louisville’s defense should be very good, and perhaps one of the best in the ACC, but the secondary will have to step up and make some plays if Louisville is going to make the kind of noise I expect from them this season.

4. Boston College (Last year: 7-6, lost to Penn State in Pinstripe Bowl)
Boston College is going to be one of those teams that gives opponents a tough game, but ultimately will not have enough offense to make the Eagles any serious threat in the ACC. The defense can hold its own, but Steve Addazio has just three returning starters this season. None of them are on the offensive line. I suspect Boston College will try trusting the running game with Jon Hilliman capable of going for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Things may very well improve at Boston College as the season progresses, but there is a brutal stretch that includes back-to-back road games at Clemson and Louisville and that is followed by a home game against Virginia Tech. Playing Notre Dame in Fenway Park late in the year should be interesting as well. Boston College should have what it takes to go bowling, and a return trip to the Pinstripe Bowl may not be unlikely.

5. North Carolina State (Last year: 8-5, beat UCF in St. Petersburg Bowl)
North Carolina State is a team many people think is capable of making some noise in the ACC this season, and they very well could. The reason is the Wolfpack return seven starters on offense and seven more on defense. If experience is the key, no team in the ACC Atlantic Division has more of it heading into the 2015 season. There is not one thing NC State does exceptionally well, but they are pretty well-rounded in all areas of the game. Jacoby Brisset is back to start at quarterback, after helping the team improve dramatically last season. Now we will see if he is capable of taking NC State to the next step forward. The Wolfpack should get off to a good start with a favorable schedule, but I’m seeing some bumps in the road once they get into ACC play. NC State gets Louisville and Clemson at home, which is good and easily a recipe for potential upset alerts. I still will go with the favorites for now.

6. Syracuse (Last year: 3-9)
It looks to be a long season at Syracuse. The move to the ACC has not shown much improvement in the recruiting game under Scott Shafer, who could very well be coaching for his job this season. Syracuse could get off to a quick 3-0 start this season, but even that might be difficult. Then LSU comes to the dome in Week 4. Syracuse will get a bye after the big game with the LSU Tigers, and a road trip to USF comes after that, but then ACC play resumes and Syracuse’s next win may not come until 2016 at that point.

7. Wake Forest (Last year: 3-9)
If you thought Syracuse had it rough, take a look at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons will be a young team in 2015, giving head coach Dave Clawson some more expected growing pains this fall. Wake Forest could get off to a 2-1 start with wins over Elon and Army (losing to Syracuse), but it will be a long stretch of demoralization after that. If Wake Forest manages to get to four wins to improve on last season’s win total, that should be considered a solid victory for Clawson and company.

COASTAL DIVISION

1. Virginia Tech (Last year: 7-6, beat Cincinnati in Military Bowl – they also beat Ohio State, in case you forgot)
Virginia Tech has the best defense in the ACC this season, and that should be enough to push the Hokies ahead fo the rest of the seemingly always up-for-grabs Coastal Division. The biggest question for Virginia Tech is whether or not the offense can avoid giving it away. Having Marshawn Williams back and healthy at running back should help. I look for the Hokies to give Ohio State a respectable fight in the Labor Day season opener, bu the Buckeyes leave with revenge after last season’s meeting in Columbus. From there, things look good for Virginia Tech with no Clemson, Florida State or Louisville on the schedule. Pittsburgh and UNC are both at home too. The schedule and defense should come in handy this season in Blacksburg.

2. North Carolina (Last year: 6-7, lost to Rutgers in Quick Lane Bowl)
No offense in the ACC returns as many starters this season than the North Carolina Tar Heels. A total of 10 starters are back for UNC, including a healthy Marquise Williams at quarterback, but how much will he have to carry the offense this season? In addition to being the leading passer, Williams is also UNC’s leading returning rusher from a year ago (788 yards, 13 touchdowns). I’d like to see others take some of the pressure off Williams to do everything if UNC is going to make a serious run to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. Looking at the schedule, I see real potential for a possible 7-0 start, but I also see the possibility of a rough finish to the season. That would seem to be the opposite of what happened last season after UNC closed on a hot streak to overcome a dismal start to the season.

3. Pittsburgh (Last year: 6-7, lost to Houston in Armed Forces Bowl)
I seem to have said this the past couple of years and I will do so once more; Why not Pitt? Pat Narduzzi takes over the Pittsburgh program and that should help lock things down on defense, with seven returning starters. The former Michigan State defensive coordinator also inherits some of the top offensive players in the ACC with wide receiver Tyler Boyd and running back James Conner, but it will be up to quarterback Chad Voytik to keep things moving consistently for the Panthers. If the Panthers can get off to better than a 2-2 start (as I predict), they could make a run in the wide open division.

4. Miami (Last year: 6-7, lost to South Carolina in Independence Bowl)
Another year, another season of wondering if this could possibly be the year Miami finally plays in the ACC Championship Game. They have yet to do so since leaving the Big East to provide the ACC with more football balance, and it looks as though this could be another season that sees early promise and hype ultimately fizzle out in an up-and-down second half of the season. They have the quarterback in Brad Kaaya, but do they have the ability to pull it together everywhere else? I have Miami getting out to a nice little 4-0 start before visiting Florida State in Week 6. From there it should be on-off-on-off for the Hurricanes. That could put head coach Al Golden on as hot a seat as possible at the end of the season.

5. Georgia Tech (Last year: 11-3, beat Mississippi State in Orange Bowl)
The formula for Georgia Tech’s success never seems to change, although the effectiveness of it seems to have mixed results. Paul Johnson‘s offensive style picked up 11 wins last season and gave Florida State one of many close calls last season in the ACC Championship Game. Playing in this wide open division, you can easily make a case for Georgia Tech to make a return trip to Charlotte at the end of the season, and a steady defense helps support that argument. I just think there are some tough battles ahead this season with a road trip to Notre Dame followed by ACC contests against Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Pittsburgh and Florida State all in a row. That can be a tough stretch for the Yellow Jackets, as could the final two games of the season, at Miami and home against Georgia. Georgia Tech will still be a decent team, but they may skate on thin ice en route to the postseason.

6. Virginia (Last year: 5-7)
Virginia has had a rough stretch under Mike London, and this might be the final straw for the head coach if things do not show potential moving forward. Unfortunately for London, there may not be much progress shown with a three-win season. Yet, I have them somehow managing to avoid last place and staying ahead of Duke? Strange, I admit, but I think Virginia manages to win a pair of home games in ACC play, against Syracuse and Duke, and that is good enough to sneak just ahead of the Blue Devils in the standings. It may not, however, be enough to assure London a job in Charlottesville next season. Early games against UCLA, Notre Dame and Boise State (and William & Mary) might be rough to watch at times.

7. Duke (Last year: 9-4, lost to Arizona State in Sun Bowl)
Do not be fooled by a last-place finish in the ACC Coastal. As you no doubt have learned by now, I view this division as a wide-open race, and I still predict Duke will be bowl-eligible this year. That will be because Duke has a very favorable schedule this season with likely wins in non-conference play and no Clemson, Florida State or Louisville on the conference schedule. Yet I still see Duke struggling to find much consistency in conference play. David Cutcliffe has done a remarkable job in Durham, but this year’s team may be lacking in enough playmakers outside of safety Jeremy Cash to find enough wins to make a run at the division.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Florida State over Virginia Tech
After coming out on top of a clouded three-team tie in the ACC Atlantic Division, Florida State once again manages to win the ACC championship game for a fourth straight season. As will be the story all season, the Hokies defense keeps them in the game but the offense simply will not have enough firepower to get by a team with as much talent as Florida State. But will this Florida State team have done enough to convince the College Football Playoff selection committee it deserves a second straight invite to the postseason party?

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The Rosen One: Bruins hitch hopes to hyped QB cub as starter

Josh Rosen

If UCLA is to live up to the lofty post-Brett Hundley preseason expectations, the Bruins, at least offensively and initially, will do so with a very raw youngin’ under center.

Even as it involves a true freshman, Jim Mora confirmed what many had expected as he officially anointed Josh Rosen as his starting quarterback Wednesday night. Less than a year removed from high school, Rosen will make his first collegiate start Sept. 5 at home in the Rose Bowl against Virginia.

Rosen had been in a competition with redshirt juniors Jerry Neuheisel and Mike Fafaul, but it became apparent to the coaching staff throughout spring practice and on into summer camp that the trigger should be pulled on the young gun.

“At some point it just becomes apparent to you,” Mora said. “You get a gut feeling. You’ve seen enough. You say it’s time to make a decision and let’s go.”

When it comes to recruiting pedigrees, it’d be hard to find one more distinguished than Rosen’s.

A five-star 2015 recruit who enrolled early and went through spring ball, Rosen was rated as both the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the country as well as the No. 1 player at any position in the talent-rich state of California. Overall, Rivals.com had the St. John Bosco product as the No. 2 player in the country regardless of position.

While Rosen’s FBS baptismal will come at home against a suspect Virginia, his feet will be really put to the fire by, after a Week 2 matchup against UNLV, a four-game stretch that opens with a defensively-stout BYU in the Rose Bowl followed up by back-to-back-to-back Pac-12 games against ranked opponents: at Arizona, home against Arizona State and at Stanford.

Even if Rosen struggles through that gauntlet, Mora has let it be known that this is the freshman’s offense and he doesn’t have to worry about looking over his shoulder.

“I made it very clear I’m a one quarterback type of coach,” Mora said. “I like to put a guy in that position, support the heck out of him, hope he has success, and rally around him if he’s struggling.”

(Photo credit: UCLA athletics)

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Ohio State loses Noah Brown for season with leg injury

Noah Brown

Locked and loaded for a run at a second consecutive national championship, Ohio State will enter the 2015 season a little less loaded at the wide receiver position.

Following up on reports of a “major” injury, OSU confirmed late Wednesday night that Noah Brown suffered an injury to his left leg during practice earlier in the day. While the specific nature of the injury wasn’t detailed, it was significant and serious enough that the sophomore receiver has already been ruled out for the entire 2015 season.

It’s believed that Brown broke his leg during the Wednesday practice session.  According to OSU’s release, he will undergo surgery Thursday to repair the damage.

Brown, who caught one pass last season, was expected to, at minimum, play a significant role as a third receiver and, potentially more substantially, earn a starting role in the Buckeyes’ receiving corps.  At least when it comes to the first game of the year, the road trip to Blacksburg — against the only team to defeat OSU last year — is pause for concern given the previously-announced attrition.

Earlier this offseason, it was announced that H-backs Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson, along with receiver Corey Smith, had been suspended for the opener against Virginia Tech.

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