Auburn sophomore LB Tre' Williams is pushing starters Cassanova McKinzy and Kris Frost for starting snaps.
McKinzy and Frost are two of the more veteran members of Auburn's defense, so it was surprising to see each listed with an "or" designation alongside Williams. First year defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will be exciting to watch this season.
Rutgers redshirt sophomore edge rusher Kemoko Turay is listed as questionable for the season opener with an upper body injury.
College injury reports are not required and specifics can be very hard to come by. The Scarlet Knights open with Norfolk State, so Turay might not be needed in the first week. If we were asked to peg a breakout defensive player this year, it would be Turay. He combines explosion with flexibility and power.
Auburn named sophomore Roc Thomas the school's starting RB.
The position has recently produced huge rushing totals, with Tre Mason and Cameron Artis-Payne shining under Gus Malzahn. Quarterback Nick Marshall is gone, but there seems to be plenty of optimism around Jeremy Johnson. In limited action, Thomas rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries last year. Auburn utilizes plenty of motion and misdirection, which plays in the runners' favor.
Mississippi State junior RB Ashton Shumpert hopes to be able to live up to the recent history of Bulldog running backs.
"They've all been good, so I have no choice but to be great," said Shumpert, who added that he places high expectations on himself because he wants to the team to improve on last season's 10-win campaign. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound junior will be stepping in for the departed Josh Robinson, who rushed for 1,023 yards last season. In 24 career games, Shumpert's averaged an even 5.0 YPC while rushing for 464 yards on 93 carries.
TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline wrote that he "likes the upside" in Notre Dame sophomore DE Issac Rochell.
Pauline didn't give more of a scouting report beyond that brief note, so we'll let Notre Dame HC Brian Kelly take it from here. Said Kelly earlier in August, "[Rochell]'s a beast. If he continues to play at this level, he's virtually unblockable on a 1-on-1 situation. Our guys have a very difficult time blocking him." Lovely scouting report, Coach. You might have a future prognosticating if the Fighting Irish don't live up to the high expectations placed upon them by fans and the national media this season. For his part, the 6-foot-3, 287-pound Rochell responded to Kelly's boast with a slightly more modest comment, saying that he "just think[s] focus[ing] right now [will] get everyone to move forward and we'll see where it takes [us]. Everyone will be a beast then."
Former Oklahoma State RB/WR Tyreek Hill has enrolled at West Alabama and will be in uniform on Saturday.
Hill's fallen a long way from drawing comparisons to former West Virginia standout Tavon Austin. He was dismissed from the Cowboys following a December arrest on a domestic violence charge, intimated in the spring that he would be joining the Akron Zips, did not join the Akron Zips and now lands at West Alabama's Division II program. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound athlete entered a plea deal for three years of probation and a deferred sentence last week, which perhaps helped to facilitate his finding a new football home.
Miami sophomore RB Trayone Gray said that multiple Hurricane running backs "are going to eat."
Gray was asked how the team would fill in for Gus Edwards, who underwent surgery for a foot injury on Saturday and is expected to miss the 2015 season. "We’ve got three good backs. We’re going to hold it down for Gus," said the 6-foot-2, 216-pound sophomore. Gray will likely be asked to hold it down to a lesser degree than sophomore back Joe Yearby and freshman runner Mark Walton. The latter two have been named co-starters heading into the team's season-opener against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday. HC Al Golden likes this group, insisting that the team "do[esn't] feel like [it's] going to miss a beat [at running back]."
Miami junior RB Gus Edwards underwent foot surgery on Saturday.
It was already known that Edwards would probably miss the 2015 season due to a foot injury suffered last week. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior underwent surgery on Saturday, according to HC Al Golden. In a dark bit of irony, Edwards was being called "day-to-day" for a time before the severity of the injury was determined.