Every team has issues to address this offseason, and this week, we're taking a look at the most glaring holes for each ACC team and figuring out where they might find answers between now and the season opener.

Clemson Tigers

Position to improve: Running back

Why it was a problem: Clemson was a balanced offense in 2014, rushing an average of 39.3 times per game -- trailing only Georgia Tech, Boston College and Pitt in the ACC. The problem, however, was the success on those plays was limited. The Tigers averaged just 4.1 yards per carry on non-sack rushing attempts, which was the sixth-worst mark among Power 5 teams. The five teams that were worse finished a combined 19-42 for the season.

How it can be fixed: Clemson already started to see gains on the ground in the latter weeks of the 2014 season. Redshirt freshman Wayne Gallman stepped into the starting role and produced far better results, topping 100 yards in three of his last six games. Still, Clemson averaged just 4.5 yards per carry as a team during that stretch and converted less than 40 percent of its third-down attempts on the ground. Getting healthier should help those numbers though. Adam Choice, Tyshon Dye and Zac Brooks all missed significant time in 2014. Having a healthy Deshaun Watson at QB should make a difference, too. Cole Stoudt struggled to stretch the field with his arm, allowing opposing defenses to stack the box against the run. Watson, on the other hand, was one of the most dynamic downfield threats in the country. When defenses are forced to respect Watson's arm -- not to mention his scrambling ability -- there should be far more opportunities for the Tigers to move the ball on the ground.

Early 2015 outlook: As with so much of Clemson's 2015 outlook, a lot depends on the health of Watson at quarterback. When he was in the lineup in 2014, the Tigers looked dangerous on offense. When he wasn't, they struggled. He's recovering from a torn ACL this offseason, so his status for 2015 remains a bit unclear. But even if he's not 100 percent, there's reason to think Clemson's ground game should still take a step forward now that Gallman has a year of experience under his belt and the rest of the running backs figure to be healthier. The improved performance down the stretch in 2014 also offers plenty of room for optimism, and if Clemson's production on offense can be as balanced as its play calling was in 2014, the Tigers figure to have one of the ACC's most potent attacks.
This week, we're taking a look at one position that was a problem for each Big Ten team in 2014 and how they might fix it in 2015. Next up is Wisconsin.

Problem position: Wide receiver

Why wide receiver was a problem in 2014: We all know that Wisconsin's passing game wasn't very good in 2014, and the quarterback position was an area of trouble at times. But the lack of upper-echelon talent at wide receiver was even more glaring the season after Jared Abbrederis departed. The Badgers ranked just 12th in the Big Ten in passing offense, and averaged a pedestrian 11.6 yards per reception. Former walk-on Alex Erickson led the team with 55 catches for 772 yards, and the next most productive receiver was senior slot man Kenzel Doe, who had 17 catches for 197 yards. Tight end Sam Arneson, who was a big pass-catching weapon, has graduated.

How it can be fixed (solutions on the roster): Erickson will be back, and should remain the No. 1 option. Wisconsin will hope to get more out of Jordan Fredrick, who had 13 catches last season, and the disappointing duo of Reggie Love and Robert Wheelwright. Love scored on a 45-yard end around in the opener against LSU, then did almost nothing the rest of the season. Wheelwright's touchdown catch in the season finale against Minnesota was somehow his only reception of the year. A trio of rising sophomores -- George Rushing, Natrell Jamerson and Krenwick Sanders -- will be asked to contribute more, with Rushing looking like the most promising of the group.

How it can be fixed (potential help from 2015 recruiting class): Not much, at least so far. Wisconsin has only one receiver committed in this year's class, and that's Andrew James from Fort Lauderdale, Florid. He's a three-star prospect, according to ESPN Recruiting.

Early 2015 outlook: One of the main priorities for new head coach Paul Chryst is developing the passing game, including the quarterbacks and receivers. Still, Wisconsin is unlikely to become Wide Receiver U any time soon. This is still an offense that will rely heavily on the run game and use its tight ends (Troy Fumagalli should step in for Arneson in '15) and tailbacks as receiving options. Yet the Badgers receivers are often open because opposing defenses pay so much attention to the run game, so they need to be much better than they were last season. If even one or two wideouts can step up to help Erickson, that would go a long way toward improving the entire offense.
Arkansas’ 2014 season was an encouraging one as the Razorbacks made a bowl game, delivered a statement in that bowl (a 31-7 thrashing of Texas in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl) and saw growth at a number of areas across the field. Make no mistake, this is a team that lives on power football. Balance is important, too, however, and we saw quarterback Brandon Allen take forward strides as did the receivers and tight ends in 2014. Taking even more steps forward in the passing game will be key to offensive improvement in 2015 as we continue our look at teams across the conference and what positions need improvement:

Position to improve: Receiver

Why it was a problem: The Razorbacks simply need more production from the position. Only two teams in the conference (Kentucky and Vanderbilt) had a team-leading receiver with fewer yards in 2014 than the Hogs (558). That’s partially by design because Arkansas is such a run-heavy team and teams have to focus on their strengths, which, for the Razorbacks, is their running backs and offensive line. Still, having a good passing game with productive receivers is important even for run-first teams because the threat of play-action passing down the field keeps opposing defenses honest and can help prevent them from stacking the box to stop the run. Arkansas heavily uses tight ends in its passing game and quite effectively: two of the three leading pass catchers in 2014 were tight ends. Still, the Razorbacks could use more quality depth at receiver.

How it can be fixed: Having leading receiver Keon Hatcher return for his senior season is important. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior is a talented weapon and led the team in receptions (43), receiving yards (558) and touchdown catches (six). Those numbers should only improve next season. Tight end Hunter Henry is one of the SEC’s best at his position and he returns next season as well to improve on his 37-catch, 513-yard season. If those two take strides forward (as well as quarterback Allen, who made a big improvement from 2013 to 2014) the passing game could be in good shape. As for the rest of the receivers, only one on the two-deep depth chart was a senior (Demetrius Wilson) meaning the Hogs return four of the five: Hatcher, sophomores Drew Morgan and Cody Hollister and freshman Jared Cornelius, who all caught passes last season. Kendrick Edwards, a 6-foot-6 freshman who caught four passes last season, also returns. Someone from that group of youngsters needs to step up and emerge into a more consistent, dependable target for Allen.

Early 2015 outlook: With Hatcher and Henry returning, things are looking up for the Arkansas receivers and tight ends. Hatcher is entering his senior season, while Henry will be a junior. Both have plenty of big-game experience under their belts. Hatcher made a jump from 27 catches in 2013 to 43 in 2014. Another similar statistical jump would be huge for the Hogs. If one of those other young returning receivers steps up, it will be a big help. At tight end, a position that has a key role in the passing game at Arkansas, Jeremy Sprinkle returns while the Hogs lose A.J. Derby. Arkansas has two ESPN 300 tight ends in its current recruiting class: C.J. O’Grady and Will Gragg. Gragg is a mid-year enrollee, so that gives him a chance to contribute quickly. Four-star receiver LaMichael Pettway and three-star receiver Deon Stewart comprise the Hogs’ receiver recruiting class for 2015, so more talent is on the way. The 2014 receiving corps (not including tight ends) accounted for 106 catches after accounting for just 30 in 2013, so significant improvement occurred. If it continues, it bodes well for Arkansas' passing game in 2015.
Just like Darrell Royal and Barry Switzer and Mike Leach, Art Briles is a coach blessed with the gift of gab.

"I'll fight a man with three children and a nice house any day over a man that's living out of a car,” Briles gloriously said after Baylor hung on to beat “desperate” Texas Tech in late November.

Recently, though, Briles has turned his rhetorical guns on the College Football Playoff.

Now, it’s about time he holsters them.

[+] EnlargeArt Briles
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesArt Briles continues to take shots at the CFP selection, but it's time to move on.
Initially, Briles’ choruses – "Let's get somebody,” he said of the selection committee, “that understands what fixin' means" – carried a certain charm. And, as they might say in Texas, held a little bit of water, too. Baylor, after all, went 11-1, won the Big 12 and with its 61-58 triumph over TCU, delivered the most impressive regular-season victory of any playoff contender.

Ohio State, however, nabbed the final spot instead. And on the same day Baylor squandered a 21-point fourth-quarter lead in a Cotton Bowl Classic loss to Michigan State, the Buckeyes toppled Alabama in the Sugar Bowl semifinal before moving on to dominate Oregon and capture the national championship. With their bowl performances, the Buckeyes and Bears ultimately revealed that the selection committee got it right with its final playoff pick.

But those postseason results haven’t slowed Briles from taking aim at the committee. And his latest charge was anything but charming.

Last week, unprompted, Briles claimed "a source" told him that the Bears fell short of the fourth and final playoff spot by "an 8-to-4 vote."

"We were close this year," he said. "We were an 8-to-4 vote getting in from the No. 4 spot. Whether that's public or not, I don't know, but it is now. Unless I'm getting bad information, and I won't give you my source."

Why Briles suddenly brought this up, I don’t know. But according to CFP executive director Bill Hancock, Briles’ source gave him some pretty bad information.

Hancock retorted that an 8-4 vote technically would have been impossible, given that the committee ranks teams in sets of threes, not head to head. On top of that, Hancock added all votes are taken via secret computer ballot. Not even the committee members know what the votes are.

“An 8-4 vote,” Hancock summarized, “would not be possible under the committee's protocol."

All that said, I believe Briles believes an 8-4 vote was taken. I also believe that someone of some stature told Briles an 8-4 vote was taken. Who knows, maybe an 8-4 vote actually was taken, at least in some sense? Maybe eight voters had Ohio State fourth, and four voters had Baylor fifth.

But at this point, what is the point?

Briles still deliberating on the playoff committee smacks of rotten cotton. Especially considering Ohio State blazed to the national title as Baylor collapsed against the Spartans, whom the Buckeyes, by the way, manhandled in East Lansing. In fact, the only Big 12 team to emerge from the bowl season looking playoff worthy was TCU, which finished 12-1 after annihilating Ole Miss 42-3 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. While Briles bemoaned the committee, Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs simply let their play do their talking.

Without a doubt, Briles is among the top coaches in the country. In one of the most impressive turnarounds ever to grace college football, Briles has whipped Baylor from conference doormat to perennial power. He’s also the best quote in the game this side of Steve Spurrier. But even as persuasive and charismatic as he is, Briles is not winning anyone over with his “we-got-snubbed” argument. And if he continues to hammer this nail, he risks losing credibility.

After back-to-back Big 12 championships, Baylor is past playing the victim card – or at least it should be. And instead of focusing on what could have been, it’s time for Briles and the Bears to turn their attention to what could be. After all, despite losing all-conference quarterback Bryce Petty, Baylor, with 17 returning starters, boasts another loaded squad capable of knocking on the playoff door again.

Briles got one more salvo in on the playoff.

Let's hope it's his last.
Arizona enjoyed a successful season, surprising many by winning the Pac-12 South and earning a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. There's still plenty of room for improvement in Tucson, so it's time to take a look at what the Wildcats can do better in 2015.

Position to improve: Depth. Yes, that's not a position in the traditional sense of the word, but that is the facet the Wildcats are most lacking. Arizona enjoyed a number of clutch end-of-game performances to help secure their 10-4 record, but they still struggled statistically against the Pac-12's fast-paced attacks because of general thinness on the defensive side of the ball. The team ultimately allowed 7.4 yards per pass attempt (94th in the nation) despite starting three capable fifth-year seniors in the secondary. That's a solid indication of fatigue.

Why it was a problem: Pac-12 offenses snap the ball frequently. Since Arizona's own attack is one of the many in the conference known for its speedy play, the Wildcats' defense is inevitably taxed. Anthony Gimino pointed out that Arizona defended 1,115 snaps this past season, the second-highest total in the nation. Despite this strenuous workload, only about 15 players saw regular defensive action.

How it can be fixed: Recruiting and continual player development are the keys here. Rodriguez inherited one of the worst defenses in program history after the 2011 season -- "bare cupboard" is an oft-used phrase to describe the state of the Wildcats at that time -- and it can take several years to amass enough talent when playing catch-up.

Early 2015 outlook: Arizona loses only Dan Pettinato along the defensive line, so there'll be a net influx of bodies in that crucial area. There's a tremendous amount of confidence emanating from the linebacker corps because of Wright -- and rightfully so (the guy is a monster). The defense will have to replace loads of proven experience in the secondary, but there is new talent coming in through the recruiting pipeline there. Junior college transfer Paul Magliore and incoming freshman Shun Brown are two names to watch. The Wildcats are trending upwards in regards to depth, but they must successfully develop as much talent as possible to pad the walls and see defensive improvement in 2015.

Position that needs improvement: Baylor

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This week, we're taking a closer look at one area in which each Big 12 team needs to make improvements going into the 2015 seasons. We kick off the series with Baylor, a team poised to make a run at its third consecutive Big 12 title. That run will get even easier if its secondary can raise its game this offseason.

Position to improve: Defensive backs

Why it was a problem: There were not many weaknesses with the 2014 Bears, so this might seem like nitpicking. But Baylor's secondary was maligned at times for its occasional struggles, particularly late in the season. Baylor finished with the No. 107 pass defense in FBS. Over its final six games, Baylor ranked dead last among Power 5 conference defenses in yards per completion (15.6) and third-worst in yards per attempt. They still won five of those six games, of course, so it wasn't exactly a damning flaw.

But Texas Tech made them sweat with 609 passing yards and Michigan State threw for 179 (20 yards per completion) in the fourth quarter of its Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic comeback. At various points in the season, each member of that relatively inexperienced secondary of Xavien Howard, Ryan Reid, Orion Stewart, Terrell Burt and Collin Brence was tested. They gave up 56 completions of 20-plus yards, third-worst of all Power 5 defenses. So there's room for improvement in 2015.

How it can be fixed: Experience. Every contributing member of this secondary is slated to return in 2015 except Brence, the starting nickel. Howard, Reid and Stewart will be juniors and Burt will be a senior. The top backups at corner -- Terrence Singleton and Tion Wright -- will be juniors. There are a handful of younger players that are coming along, too, and could push the vets.

What'll be interesting to track is how newly hired safeties coach Cris Dishman can influence this group. The former Pro Bowler will team with Carlton Buckels to coach the secondary and could bring some new ideas to the table to help Phil Bennett and this defensive staff. Then again, the best antidote might simply be more competition and another year of training.

On the recruiting front, Baylor has commitments from three intriguing cornerback prospects -- Jordan Tolbert, Tony Nicholson and Jameson Houston -- plus a four-star athlete in J.W. Ketchum who could become one heck of a safety. Baylor probably will take one more corner before signing day, too, but it's unlikely these freshmen will have to take on significant roles early. There's just too much talent coming back.

Early 2015 outlook: Expect those same corners and safeties to retain their jobs, unless someone rises up and beats out a veteran over the course of this offseason. Travon Blanchard, a third-year sophomore who played in every game in 2014, is the clear frontrunner to take over for Brence at nickel. And you'd hope to see a few underclassmen (maybe second-year DBs Chance Waz, Jourdan Blake and Verkedric Vaughns) step forward and prove they can be trusted with more snaps. With all those defensive backs returning, there's no reason why this group can't get better and eventually become one of Baylor's strengths.
Boston College exceeded expectations once again in Year 2 under Steve Addazio as the Eagles rode a potent rushing attack and a hard-nosed defense to a bowl performance. There will be a lot of turnover on offense, though, which means there is ample opportunity for a receiver to emerge.

Position to improve: Wide receiver.

Why it was a problem: There were not many receptions among the receivers last season, but that’s not a product of the receiving unit having played poorly. With Tyler Murphy and a stable of talented running backs, Addazio, the former offensive line coach, was intent on utilizing his team’s strength. The Eagles just didn’t throw the ball often. When they did throw, the Eagles weren’t overly explosive in the passing game. Shakim Phillips had an impressive 21.7 yards per catch, but it comes on only 13 receptions. Josh Bordner, who led the team with 27 catches, averaged 12.81 yards per reception, which ranked 19th in the ACC. Bordner and Phillips will not return in 2015, though. The receivers had a letdown in the loss to Clemson, too, as the Eagles dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass.

How it can be fixed: The Eagles are not going to become a team predicated on the downfield pass, so it’s not as if there needs to be an overhaul at the position. It would obviously help open up running lanes and ease the pressure on quarterback Darius Wade if he can find a receiving security blanket and a consistent deep threat. Rising sophomore Sherman Alston already provides a nice spark, although he stands only 5-foot-6. A look at the receivers Addazio has recruited shows there is no set model; he recruits shorter, shiftier receivers and physical, bigger-bodied players. Any are capable of stepping up into a highlighted role.

Early 2015 outlook: Alston is a big catch waiting to happen, and he has already made quite the name for himself by making a handful of special plays. Dan Crimmins finished second on the team with 25 catches, and the 6-5, 237-pound rising senior has the frame to be a go-to option when the Eagles are in need of a first down. Charlie Callinan showed flashes of being a solid receiver in the Clemson loss. Addazio has done a very good job recruiting and putting together a complete team, so there should be reason for optimism.
As we inch toward spring practice, we're examining a potential problem position for each Big Ten team and what needs to get fixed in the coming months. These positions could be going through major personnel changes or simply need an upgrade in performance from the existing players or the incoming recruits/transfers.

First up, Ohio State. Believe it or not, the Buckeyes could improve at certain positions despite a national championship and what seems like a stronger roster returning.

Position to improve: Linebacker

Why linebacker was a problem in 2014: Problem is a strong word. Ohio State's linebackers didn't play poorly last season and stepped up during the championship run. But the Buckeyes were loaded up front and much improved in the back end, which made linebacker somewhat of a weak link. The Buckeyes surrendered 170 or more rush yards in five games and endured a three-game stretch in Big Ten play where they allowed 677 rush yards and nine touchdowns.

How it can be fixed (solutions on the roster): Ohio State returns young talent at linebacker to complement a solid veteran in Joshua Perry. Darron Lee developed into a star toward the end of his redshirt freshman season, finishing second on the team in tackles for loss (16.5) and sacks (7.5) and leading the team in fumbles recovered (3). Raekwon McMillan is an immense talent who should blossom as a true sophomore. The Buckeyes will look for more from Cam Williams and Chris Worley in 2015.

How it can be fixed (potential help from 2015 recruiting class): Justin Hilliard is rated as the nation's No. 1 outside linebacker prospect by ESPN RecruitingNation and could make an early impact on the weak side. Jerome Baker, another ESPN 300 prospect and the nation's No. 7 outside linebacker, provides another option. Nick Conner could work his way onto the field at middle linebacker.

Early 2015 outlook: Lee's emergence late in the 2014 season gives Ohio State two solid options on the outside with Perry, who led the team with 124 tackles as a junior. If McMillan solidifies the middle, the Buckeyes should be fine with their starters. The key will be building depth with players like Williams, who can play in the middle or the outside, and possibly incoming freshmen like Hilliard.
Alabama’s overall defensive numbers this past season weren’t shabby. The Crimson Tide finished sixth nationally in scoring defense (18.4 points per game) and 12th nationally in total defense (328.4 yards per game).

But where they struggled was defending the pass. Opposing receivers made a habit of getting behind Alabama’s defensive backs and racking up far more big plays in the passing game than Nick Saban’s defenses have given up in the past. The Crimson Tide finished 11th in the SEC in passing defense. They allowed an average of 226 passing yards per game, the most they’ve surrendered in the Saban era, and their 19 touchdown passes allowed were the most since Saban’s first season in 2007.

Position to improve: Cornerback

Why it was a problem: Alabama was vulnerable to the deep ball, whether it was opposing receivers simply running past the Tide cornerbacks or outmaneuvering them to make big plays down the field. Go back to the Auburn game. The Tigers had receivers getting behind Alabama’s coverage all game and finished with 456 passing yards. In their final three games alone, the Crimson Tide gave up 15 completions of 20 yards or longer, including seven of 40 yards or longer. Opposing teams knew they could attack the Tide down the field.

How it can be fixed: It all works together on defense, and giving up big plays in the passing game is usually a two-way street of not getting enough pressure up front and not getting tight enough coverage on the back end. Alabama dialed up its pass rush this past season and finished fifth in the league with 31 sacks. It could still help itself, though, with even more edge pressure. Ultimately, it comes down to covering better at the cornerback positions, playing the ball better in the air and keeping the busted assignments to a minimum. This is not a new problem for the Tide, who’ve battled inexperience and inconsistency at cornerback each of the past two seasons. The good news is that everybody is back for 2015 and should be a year better. You can bet there will be some serious competition at the cornerback spot all spring and preseason. On all three of Alabama’s national championship teams under Saban, the Tide had elite cornerbacks. That wasn’t the case either of the past two seasons, and the jury’s still out for this coming season.

Early 2015 outlook: The development of true sophomore Tony Brown and redshirt freshman Marlon Humphrey will be key for the Tide. Both were highly-rated players and have the skills to be the kind of cornerbacks Alabama is accustomed to having with some added experience. Rising senior Cyrus Jones was the most consistent of the bunch last season, and there’s some new blood coming in the 2015 class. Commitments Kendall Sheffield and Minkah Fitzpatrick are two of the top four cornerback prospects in the country, according to ESPN. Cornerback needs to be one of the most improved positions on the team next season, particularly with the Tide losing their top three safeties.

Pac-12 tipping point classes 

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It's a fairly unusual year for recruiting when it comes to the two Los Angeles programs. While this is usually a zero sum war with a clear winner and loser -- as was the case with the 2014 class, when the Trojans finished 3-for-3 on the final three huge uncommitted prospects in Southern California -- this signing day provides the opportunity for both programs to either finish strong or fizzle out, without one much affecting the other.

In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Golden Tate, No. 11 in 2007 class

Tate came out of John Paul II in Hendersonville, Tennessee, as a gifted athlete who projected to wide receiver, but he didn’t receive the gaudy number of offers as many other Top-10 level prospects. With that said, he committed to Notre Dame over Alabama, South Carolina and Ole Miss in December of 2006 in a recruitment that was expected to go the way of the Fighting Irish as long as he made the SAT/ACT test score needed. Tate was a member of the Notre Dame 2007 class that included Jimmy Clausen, Harrison Smith, Armando Allen, and others.

Tate was a role player as a freshman for the Fighting Irish. He saw action in 12 games, making two starts. He had six receptions for 131 yards, and returned 15 kickoffs for a 21.7-yard average.

As a sophomore in 2008, Tate became one of college football’s most dangerous receivers. In 13 starts for the Fighting Irish, he caught 58 passes for 1,080 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also finished the season with 1,754 all-purpose yards and 11 total touchdowns.

Tate’s junior season would be his best in South Bend. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound playmaker had 93 catches for 1,496 yards and 15 TDs, rushed for 186 yards and two scores, and returned a punt for a TD. He totaled 1,915 all-purpose yards and 18 TDs, earning First-team All-America honors and winning the Biletnikoff Award.

Tate decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL draft. He was selected in the second round (No. 60 overall) by the Seattle Seahawks. He was selected to the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl.

Honorable mention: Jeff Luc, No. 11 in 2010 class. Luc signed with Florida State and played sparingly for two seasons before transferring to Cincinnati. He had 134 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2014 as a senior, placing him on the map of NFL teams headed into the 2015 NFL draft. Eli Apple, No. 11 in 2013 class, and Jalen Tabor No. 11 in 2014 class. Both cornerbacks have the look of future NFL draft prospects at Ohio State and Florida, respectively.

On The Trail Show (noon ET)

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With a little over a week until national signing day recruiting news is coming fast. Join RecruitingNation's panel of expert to discuss the biggest visits and latest news.

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If there is one program that is off to the fastest start in the 2016 class, it's the Miami (FL) Hurricanes. Al Golden and staff had five ESPN Jr 300 commitments headed into Jan. 25's Junior Day, and have added to that number with the verbals by safety Cedrick Wright and defensive end Joseph Jackson.


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Texas hosted a number of top targets over the weekend, but none was potentially more impactful than five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack.

Mack, ranked No. 6 overall in the ESPN 300, wasn’t sure what to expect headed into his official visit, having not been on campus in Austin since the summer of 2013. That made Mack's trip this weekend a sort of first impression for Charlie Strong and the Longhorns staff.


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In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and count down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

D.J. Fluker, No. 12 in 2009 class

Fluker was born in New Orleans, but graduated from Foley High in Alabama. He committed to Alabama in November of 2007, but did give LSU and Florida long looks throughout the process even into his senior season. Fluker was a member of the Crimson Tide’s top-ranked 2009 class that included Chance Warmack, James Carpenter, Dre Kirkpatrick, Eddie Lacy, A.J. McCarron, Trent Richardson, Quinton Dial, Nico Johnson, Kevin Norwood, Anthony Steen and others.

After redshirting in 2009, Fluker started at right tackle in 2010. He made nine starts, missing three games due to injury.

It was as a third-year sophomore in 2011 that Fluker began to show that he would be a high NFL draft choice. He started 13 games for the Crimson Tide at right tackle as part of a dominant offensive line that was key in leading Alabama to the BCS National Championship.

The 2012 season would be Fluker’s best in Tuscaloosa. He started 14 games helping lead the Crimson Tide to back-to-back BCS National Championships. Following the season, he was named All-SEC first team and first-team All-America by numerous media outlets.

Fluker decided to forgo his final year of eligibility following the 2012 season. He left Alabama with three national championship rings, as well as starting all 36 games he appeared in.

Fluker was selected No. 11 overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 2013 NFL draft, and has started every game he has appeared in.

Honorable mention: Ryan Mallett, No. 12 in 2007 class. Mallett signed with Michigan, but transferred to Arkansas where he earned all-conference honors as a quarterback with superior arm talent. He was selected in the third round, No. 74 overall, by the New England Patriots in 2011. He is currently a member of the Houston Texans. ... Malcom Brown, No. 12 in 2012 class. Brown earned All-American honors this season for the Texas Longhorns, and has entered the 2015 NFL draft where he is expected to be selected in the first round. ... Su’a Cravens, No. 12 in 2013. The USC star has quickly become one of college football’s top defensive players as a playmaking safety with linebacker physicality. He is expected to be a first-round NFL draft selection in either 2016 or 2017.

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