Boston College senior RB Myles Willis has been serving as a scout team stand-in for Georgia Tech junior QB Justin Thomas as the Eagles prep for their opener.
BC and Tech will square off in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Ireland on September 3 at 7:30 a.m. EST. Setting aside the international calamity set to unfold when that rock fight takes place, Willis played in a triple-option system with Marist School in Georgia before he joined the Eagles as part of the 2013 class and offers a unique insight into that notoriously difficult-to-prepare-for attack. At least with the scout team, he is serving as Justin Thomas' double. "I'll do anything to help this team win that game," he said. Last season, Willis rushed for 259 yards (3.9 YPC). He failed to score a touchdown in the campaign.
Vanderbilt HC Derek Mason told FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman that Georgia junior RB Nick Chubb is "really special."
"[Chubb] can anticipate contact and his ability to offset tacklers from angles is unbelievable," Mason said. "That’s an innate ability. His ability to see what’s happening in front him and react on a dime." Vandy's head honcho went on to call the 5-foot-10, 228-pounder "the best running back in this conference that I’ve faced." Alas, Chubb's status for the opener against North Carolina remains uncertain. He continues to rehab from the severe knee injury he suffered last October and while HC Kirby Smart said that Chubb would take part in non-tackling drills this August, his readiness (or otherwise) for physical contact later in camp figures to be a prime factor in determining if he will be suiting up in Week 1. Competitive champ that he is, Chubb has already said that he will be ready to rock and/or roll come September 3.
NC State received a verbal commitment from four-star 2017 WR Antoine Thompson.
Rob Cassidy of Rivals noted in late June that Thompson's commitment was "hard to project." He wasn't joking. At the time, the 6-foot-1, 173-pounder counted UCF and Pitt as the leading contenders, with Miami, FSU and Tennessee also receiving consideration. And then he committed to none of them. A mid-June unofficial visit helped to sway him over to the Wolfpack. "I was surprised from the very start. I didn’t think the campus and the experience would be what it was when I actually got to experience it," Thompson said. He ranks as Rivals' No. 40 receiver for the 2017 cycle. While he isn't a burner -- he ran the 40-yard dash in the vicinity of 4.60 seconds during a Miami camp earlier this offseason -- the wideout brings a level of smarts and creativity to his routes.
Westgate Superbook lists Clemson junior QB Deshaun Watson as a 9/2 favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
LSU RB Leonard Fournette and Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey follow Watson at 5/1, with OU QB Baker Mayfield and FSU RB Dalvin Cook rounding out the book's top five Heisman contenders at 12/1. That is all shiny and happy, but two big-name players took notable tumbles from their March opening odds. Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly dropped from 12/1 to 30/1, while Baylor QB Seth Russell plummeted from 12/1 to 40/1.
At the ACC Football Kickoff, Louisville HC Bobby Petrino said, "We have a goal to win a national championship and I’ve made sure our players understand that."
"We’ve got Clemson and Florida State just in our division, two teams that have been to the national championship game," Petrino said. "We know it’s a great challenge, but it’s one we’re certainly looking forward to." The Cardinals have played both teams tough over the last two seasons, losing a pair of one-possession contests to Clemson and leading at the half twice (before falling twice) against FSU. Sophomore QB Lamar Jackson believes Louisville will surprise with its maturation. "Last year we were a young team," he said. "This year is a whole other story. We’ve been hitting the books hard."
Uncommitted four-star 2017 WR Devonta Smith is no longer considering Nebraska or Mississippi State.
Those two programs made Smith's initial cut of five, but he dropped them this weekend. In their place, the LSU Tigers. That gives the 6-foot-1, 160-pounder a final three of LSU, Alabama and Miami. Scout.com refers to Smith as a "dynamic playmaker," one who "knows how to stick his foot in the ground and shoot out of his breaks when running routes." He ranks as the outlet's No. 22 overall prospect for the 2017 cycle.
Uncommitted four-star 2017 ATH JaCoby Stevens was unable to make a scheduled unofficial visit to Alabama this weekend.
According to his father, Stevens had family and high school obligations that he needed to attend to. Under most circumstances, a random missed connection on a random summer unofficial would not move the recruiting needle one way or another, but it might in this case. The 6-foot-2, 199-pounder plans on making his commitment within the next two weeks, meaning that Alabama has likely lost out on the juicy benefits of recency bias. It is possible that Stevens makes another trip to Tuscaloosa before he commits, but that is by no means a given. Georgia was the front-runner for his services back in May and SEC Country's Chris Kirschner hears that this remains the case as the clock nears midnight.
At the ACC Football Kickoff, Clemson junior QB Deshaun Watson told reporters that former Auburn QB Cam Newton has been serving as a mentor.
Watson and Newton first met when the former was in junior high. According to Watson, Newton's advice doesn't necessarily just pertain to the game of football itself. "But he just give(s) me good advice pretty much off the field, saying to be true to who I am, listen to the coaching staff, buy into the process, don't get yourself distracted with the outside things," Watson said, "just focus on the main things." Naturally, Clemson opens the season at Auburn on September 3.