July 27 News: Alabama and Nebraska Jockey for Jordan Stevenson

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Alabama opens its 2015 college football season against Wisconsin, but Nick Saban and Co. are battling with another Big Ten West foe on the recruiting trail.

Both Alabama and Nebraska are vying for running back Jordan Stevenson, per Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald. Stevenson was originally committed to Wisconsin, but denied admission there. He’s eligible immediately, pending admission, and signing with Alabama would grant him the chance to face his one-time destination in his collegiate debut.

McKewon also reports that Stevenson’s mother favors Alabama.

However, landing Jordan Stevenson ultimately means more to Nebraska — not just because the Huskers could use running back depth with Ameer Abdullah gone, but also because of the implications for Mike Riley.

Riley’s Oregon State teams flourished with rosters comprised primarily of unheralded prospects. While he succeeded in Corvallis, the expectations at Nebraska are such that Riley needs high-level recruits. Jordan Stevenson fits the bill, and beating out the most renowned recruiting staff in the game — not to mention his alma mater — would do wonders for Riley’s start in Lincoln.

Does The Big Sky Have A Defense Problem?

Tom Miller, Grand Forks Herald

Last week, I wrote about the offensive revolution ongoing in the Big Sky Conference. Idaho State head coach Mike Kramer helped contribute to the league’s offensive identity with his hire of offensive coordinator Don Bailey, now at Hawaii, but the Bengals head coach lamented what the prevalence of high-scoring offenses around the conference does to the Big Sky’s chances come Playoffs times.

“Until we get better on defense, it’s going to be a fun place to play, but it won’t be great in December,” Kramer said.

North Dakota State’s run of four straight national championships supports Kramer’s argument. Though the last program to win the title before the Bison’s run came from the Big Sky — Eastern Washington in 2010 — North Dakota State’s dominated on the defensive end and ground teams down with an old-school offensive approach.

Feleipe Franks Has LSU Feeling Confident About Its Quarterback Future

James Smith, The Times-Picayune

LSU may have a murky quarterback outlook heading into 2015, but help is on the way in the Tigers’ not-too-distant future. Commit Feleipe Franks earns rave reviews from NOLA.com columnist James Smith, who wrote:

When I first saw Franks I had mixed feelings. For starters, I will admit that projecting quarterbacks can be a bit challenging, even intimidating at times. The position itself calls for a more in-depth evaluation simply because of how important of a role the intangibles play in the development of a quarterback. What I have learned about Franks shows me that he has everything you want and more in regards to having those crucial attributes.

Franks impressed at the Elite 11 and The Opening earlier this month, certainly earning some of the buzz. But it’s worth noting that most prospects coming into Power Five programs, and especially at a program that expects conference and national championships as LSU does, arrive with accolades.

Brandon Harris was a high 4-star prospect when he signed with the Tigers. Same for Anthony Jennings. Neither is seen as The Guy heading into an uncertain 2015 season.