College Football News July 13: Auburn Loses One Player, Gains Another

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Dismissed Auburn Tiger Elijah Daniel found a new home over the weekend, heading to Football Championship Subdivision program Youngstown State. With Auburn officially parting ways with a player on one side of the line, the Tigers gain another in Texas transfer Darius James.

The former high school All-American and 5-star prospect James enrolled at Auburn over the weekend, James Crepea of AL.com reports. James must sit out the coming season per NCAA transfer rules.

As for Elijah Daniel, the move from Auburn to Youngstown State allows him immediate eligibility, as FBS-to-FCS transfers do not require the standard one-year layoff. Daniel was arrested in April on burglary charges and summarily dismissed.

He’ll join former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini in his first season at Youngstown State.

Cody Kessler Leads Class of Pac-12 Heisman Candidates

Athlon Sports

The Pac-12 went almost a decade between Heisman Trophy winners when Marcus Mariota claimed the 2014 edition. However, the conference has the talent to keep college football’s most prestigious individual honor under its umbrella for a second straight season.

USC quarterback Cody Kessler is the most recognized of the Pac-12’s preseason Heisman contenders, but hardly the only player to watch. I spotlighted Kessler’s road to New York City for Athlon Sports, as well as spotlighting some of the conference’s other, worthy contenders.

Western Michigan Head Coach P.J. Fleck Is The Next Big Thing

Bill Bender, Sporting News

P.J. Fleck’s first season rowing the boat for Western Michigan saw the Broncos’ ship capsize. WMU finished 1-11 in 2013, and looked rudderless. However, a bounce-back, nine-win campaign has Western Michigan on course to pursue the Mid-American Conference championship in 2015 — and Fleck could captain a bigger program elsewhere, if things continue going smoothly.

Bill Bender’s examination of Fleck’s job at Western Michigan is a must-read. The Broncos will have one of the nation’s most exciting offenses in college football, bringing their own spark to #MACtion.

SEC Football Teams Have More at Stake in 2015
Dan Wolken, USA Today

Ahead of SEC media days, which kickoff Monday in Hoover, Alabama, SEC football finds itself at a crossroads writes Dan Wolken of USA Today.

The SEC gained bragging rights to the point of imposing its will over the rest of college football after winning seven straight national championships between 2006 and 2012. Auburn’s nail-biter loss to Florida State exposed cracks in SEC dominance, and Alabama’s loss to Ohio State in the inaugural College Football Playoff broke the dam.

Per Wolken:

Go back and watch the tape of the Alabama-Ohio State semifinal and it’s not hard to see which team was winning the line of scrimmage almost every play. Go back even further to the final BCS national championship game between Auburn and Florida State: The game may have been close, but the gap in talent was pretty wide.

The mounting questions about SEC dominance are certain to linger over SEC media days.

Dak Prescott Says Mississippi State Striving to Finish Stronger in 2015

Rod Walker, The Advocate

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott may be the SEC’s leading Heisman Trophy contender — at least, if the Bulldogs can be factors in the SEC West against this season as they were last.

Pundits almost universally are anticipating Mississippi State to take a step back, but Prescott brushed off such suggestions, via The Advocate:

“After the season we had last year and with a lot of guys returning, some people still have us last and not giving us credit. That gives us more motivation.”