College Football News for April 16: Alabama’s A-Day Game

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Five Players to Watch in the Alabama A-Day Game, Duane Rankin, Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama’s A-Day Game on Saturday might as well be dubbed the Coker Bowl. And, indeed, Jacob Coker is ranked the No. 1 player to watch on Saturday. But there are plenty of intriguing positional battles brewing in Tuscaloosa that don’t involve the quarterbacks.

Along with Coker, Rankin spotlights four more members of the Crimson Tide worth watching in the A-Day Game. Among them is Kenyan Drake, whose return from injury ensures the Alabama backfield is its usual, multifaceted entity — that is, if he doesn’t move to wide receiver full-time.

Former Clemson OC Chad Morris A Unique Fit for SMU, Ryan Wooden, Today’s U.

The highest-paid assistant coach in college football, Chad Morris, raised eyebrows last December when he left his offensive coordinator

Barring a four-year stretch under June Jones (2009-2013), SMU has consistently been the dregs of major college football for almost 30 years. But Morris’ offensive innovation and Texas roots make him an ideal leader to restore SMU’s pre-death penalty prominence.

Devon Modster Commits to Arizona, Khalil Tate Stays Committed

Four-star 2016 quarterback prospect Devon Modster (Tesoro High School/Orange County, California) tweeted his commitment to Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats Wednesday afternoon.

Modster is the second high-profile prospect from Southern California to commit to Rodriguez this spring, joining Khalil Tate from Gardena-based prep powerhouse Serra. While the addition of a second quarterback might make another prospect balk, Tate reaffirmed his commitment to the Wildcats with a level-headed tweet:

Rodriguez overachieved in his first three years at Arizona, taking the Wildcats to eight wins in 2012 with an inherited quarterback; eight again in 2013 with a JUCO transfer who went unrecruited by FBS programs; and 10 wins last season with a redshirt freshman quarterback.

Recruits are obviously taking notice of the Wildcats’ success, as well as Rodriguez’s embrace of a higher volume passing attack than he was known for in his time at West Virginia and Michigan. In fact, Arizona threw more passes in 2014 than every team in the FBS except East Carolina or Washington State.

Speaking of quarterback commitments…

Tennessee Committ Jarrett Guarantano’s Announcement was High-Tech, Dustin Dopirak, Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones’ motto since arriving in Knoxville is “brick-by-brick,” which painted a vivid picture of his undertaking. Getting the Vols back to national prominence was going to take a lot of work, but progress should be judged through the steady, upward trajectory of the program.

On Wednesday, Jones added a potential cornerstone brick with the commitment of four-star quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, out of Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey. And the way Guarantano announced — with an elaborate mini-drama in Times Square — the 2016 recruit helped put the national spotlight on Volunteers football.