FSU sophomore RB Dalvin Cook is a "dynamic threat as a runner and receiver," observes ESPN's Jared Sanker.
"The 2,000-yard mark is not out of the question," Sanker wrote. As a part-timer in 2014, Cook scampered for 1,008 yards, setting the freshman rushing record at Florida State. "Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher could rely on Cook more than he has on any other running back in his Florida State coaching tenure, and Cook is likely the most talented running back Fisher has signed," Sanker wrote. "The sophomore will need to better secure the football, however, as the three fumbles in the Rose Bowl loss still bother him." It's strange to say, but Cook almost seems like a lock to break Warrick Dunn's FSU single-season rushing record of 1,242 yards (1995).
Former Wisconsin redshirt freshman S Austin Hudson officially transferred to South Florida.
The move had been in the making for several weeks. It was made official by a USF announcement on Friday. Hudson played in all 14 games as a true freshman last season. He registered 19 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. The two-star recruit in 2014, who will be forced to sit out the 2015 season, will be eligible to play for Bulls HC Willie Taggart in 2016.
Walter Football ranks Wisconsin's Derek Watt as the top draft-eligible fullback.
Derek is the younger brother of J.J. Watt. "But he is a fine player in his own right," the site noted. "Being the younger brother of a player who is in the running for the best player in the NFL year after year could help Watt get drafted earlier than if his last name was 'Smith.'" Watt doesn't carry the ball much, but his value is partly seen in the yardage of Melvin Gordon and James White over the past few years.
Maryland junior WR Marcus Leak has left the program due to personal reasons.
Leak ranked third on the team with 20 receptions and 297 receiving yards and was second with three receiving touchdowns last season. Maryland's receiving corps was ravaged this offseason, with the top four receivers all departing: Stefon Diggs (early entry into NFL draft), Deon Long (expired eligibility), Jacquille Veii (quit the team) and now Leak. Amba Etta-Tawo and Levern Jacobs figure to be the top targets for whoever wins the quarterback job, with Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman perhaps the frontrunner for that competition.
ESPN's Jared Sanker believes Pittsburgh junior RB James Conner will be more productive in 2015 because quarterback Chad Voytik "should present more of an aerial threat to complement the ground attack."
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Connor rushed for 1,765 yards and scored 26 touchdowns last season and was named an All-American. He's been a star since he stepped onto campus and has moonlighted as an effective defensive end when he has the energy to do so. NFL Media ranked Conner as the No. 14 Heisman candidate.
Arizona State senior OW D.J. Foster "is an elusive, shifty runner who runs with good pad level and has a burst to him," according to Walter Football.
The site ranks Foster as the No. 6 draft-eligible RB prospect and gives him a Rds. 2-4 projection. "While he has been a quality runner for Arizona State, his receiving skills will get NFL teams really excited," WF noted. To wit, the 5-foot-11, 203-pound Foster had 1,081 rushing yards and 688 receiving yards on 62 catches last year. This season, he's been quasi-moved from RB to offensive weapon, with the school promising he'll be played at every single skill position. "At the very least, he could have a role as a third-down back," concluded WR.
Georgia Tech junior QB Justin Thomas is "the most capable passer [HC Paul] Johnson has had as Yellow Jackets coach," writes ESPN's Jared Sanker.
Johnson, a wizard with the ball in his hands, posted 1,086 rushing yards last season as a sophomore in the triple-option scheme. But don't forget about his passing ability: Thomas boasted an 18/6 TD/INT rate and averaged 9.2 yards per attempt. "The Yellow Jackets are among the favorites to win the ACC in 2015 in large part because of Thomas, as the Jackets are rebuilding at the other offensive skill positions," Sanker wrote. Thomas, 5-foot-11, 189 pounds, very likely won't be an NFL quarterback, but he should be able to carve out a niche in the pros due to his tremendous running ability.
Louisiana Tech senior RB Kenneth Dixon "is a compactly built shifty runner with good balance, but he probably won't get a lot of yards after contact in the NFL," according to Walter Football.
Dixon has been dominant since stepping onto campus. He tallied 1,194 rushing yards on 6.0 yards per carry in 2012 and 917 yards on 6.1 YPC in 2013 while struggling with injuries. Last year, he recorded 1,299 yards (5.1 YPC average) with 22 touchdowns. WF ranks Dixon as the No. 8 draft-eligible RB prospect and gives him a Rds. 3-4 projection.