Arizona HC Rich Rodriguez is the thirteenth-best head coach in the country, according to NFL Media.
Rodriguez was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year last season. "It is becoming increasingly clear that RichRod's disastrous tenure at Michigan is an aberration to an otherwise sterling record, as he's turned West Virginia and Arizona into winners," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Bryan Fischer. "He did a great job keeping the Wildcats afloat while overhauling the roster in his first two seasons with the program, and broke through last year with a division title in one of the toughest leagues around. With help from his staff, Rodriguez's talent for finding diamonds in the rough, like Scooby Wright III -- one of the top defensive players in college football -- for example, is also impressive." RichRod boasts a 146-98-2 career record.
The NCAA cleared Missouri true freshman defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. for 2015 eligibility.
Beckner needed to get his academic house in order before the organization would grant eligibility. Now that he's done that work, you can expect to see him making an immediate impact this fall. The No. 2 player in the 2014 ESPN 300 is compared by ESPN.com's RecruitingNation to Marcell Dareus. The 6-foot-4, 298-pound Beckner is the highest ranked recruit Mizzou has signed since Dorial Green-Beckham.
Duke HC David Cutcliffe is the eighth-best head coach in the country, according to NFL Media.
It's a startlingly high ranking, but not unjustified with the work Cutcliffe has done at Duke, one of the hardest schools to win at in the country. "Cutcliffe might be the second-best coach on campus thanks to Mike Krzyzewski, but Cutcliffe ranks highly on this list for turning the Blue Devils' football program into an ACC title contender," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Bryan Fischer. "While program building has been his recent calling card, there's a reason why so many quarterbacks (such as the Manning brothers) continue to seek his advice, as he's one of the best around at coaching the game's most important position." NFL Media's Gil Brandt reported in January that Michigan offered its head coaching job to Cutcliffe. He declined, leading to Jim Harbaugh's hiring.
ESPN's Andrea Adelson argued that North Carolina will be the most improved ACC team that had a losing record last year.
She cited improvements on both offense and defense as well as a schedule conducive to piling up wins. The offense returns star QB Marquise Williams and the defense now has Gene Chizik calling the shots along with an intriguing defensive line which features Nazair Jones, Shakeel Rashad and Jeff Schoettmer. "Here is predicting that the UNC defense will give up less than 400 yards per game, which would be a nearly 100 yard improvement over a year ago," Adelson wrote. This season, the Heels play a typically mediocre ACC slate as well as South Carolina, North Carolina A&T, Illinois and Delaware in the non-conference. That's two free wins, and UNC, playing host to Illinois, should be healthy favorites in that one too.
Alabama junior RB Derrick Henry is "just as capable of wearing down a defense as he is running by one," wrote ESPN's Alex Scarborough.
"As the country's record-holder for career rushing yards in high school, he certainly has the hype," wrote Scarborough. "And considering he ran for 990 yards as a sophomore last season, he has the production, too. Granted, Kenyan Drake will steal some of his carries, but with an inexperienced quarterback, there should be plenty of snaps to go around." The 6-foot-3, 238-pounder, nicknamed "El Tractorcito," runs a 4.50 forty. He trains by pushing pickup trucks around.
Miami head coach Al Golden sits on the hottest seat in the nation, according to NFL Media.
Here's a shocking stat: The Hurricanes haven't won double-digit games since 2003. "Given that UM's fan support is a mile wide but an inch deep, there already have been tens of thousands of calls for Golden's scalp," wrote College Football 24/7 writer Mike Huguenin. "He deserves some credit for steering UM through the Nevin Shapiro fallout, but he likely needs at least eight wins this fall to keep his job. And UM lost a ton of talent in the 2015 NFL Draft, including legit stars at tailback, linebacker, offensive tackle, tight end and wide receiver." Golden, 28-22 in four seasons, squandered an opportunity to break through in 2014 with a star-studded team featuring several NFL players. This is his last chance.
LSU sophomore RB Leonard Fournette "is one of the best running backs in the country, despite his relative lack of experience," wrote ESPN's Alex Scarborough.
"The nation’s former No. 1 overall recruit went from 'so-so' to 'holy cow' [at the end of the season]," wrote Scarborough. Fournette posted 289 yards and three touchdowns versus Texas A&M and Notre Dame. "If he brings that kind of dominance into 2015, he could carry the LSU offense on his own -- and with that mediocre passing offense, he could very well have to," wrote Scarborough.
ESPN projects high school DE Nick Bosa as a three-and-down player.
"His brother, Joey, at Ohio State could likely leave after his true junior season and Nick won't be too far behind," wrote Tom Luginbill. "Considering his physical attributes, mental makeup and technical readiness, the younger Bosa will enter college possibly more ready than his brother. He too is at a premium position." Nick is the No. 3 overall player in the 2016 class, according to ESPN. "Plays with a good lower pad level and does a good job of consistently shooting his hands," reads his scouting report. "A strong wrap-up tackler and physical overall defender in a phone booth. As pass rusher can use his strength and explosive get-off to bull rush and knock OL off balance. Looks to possess quite a bit more mass then is listed." He is undeclared.