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College Football Spring Games 2024 - who and what to watch out for...

College football spring games are a great opportunity for the fans to take their first look at their team's incoming freshman talent, additions through the transfer portal and more game time for returning players who may have been in back up roles last season.


Alabama's first spring game under Kalen DeBoer kicks off this weekend (Image credit: Crimson Tide Photos)

From Alabama's A-Day and Georgia's G-Day Red and Black Spring Game to Tennessee's Orange & White Game, these are traditional dates in the calendar offering a chance to see how teams are shaping up ahead of the start of the new season in a few months' time.


Some teams have already showcased their merging talent in early spring games. Clemson's Orange and White game saw the Orange Team win 27-12 but mainly the emergence of third--string quarterback Trent Pearlman, who threw for two touchdowns, including a 49-yard rushing score. He could put starter Cade Klubnik, who looked solid but unspectacular, under pressure. Linebackers Sammy Brown and Jamal Anderson, Jr stood out while true freshman receiver Bryant Wesco, who has been dazzling in spring practice made a spectacular catch from Pearlman.


Which teams should I look out for?


Ohio State


The Buckeyes and coach Ryan Day are going all-in this year. The Big Ten conference has a Jim Harbaugh-sized vacuum to fill since the Michigan coach departed for the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers, on the back of three consecutive conference championships and a national championship.


Ohio State have added Chip Kelly to coordinate an explosive offense (Image credit: si.com)

Ohio State have made some waves in the close season, adding former UCLA head coach Chip Kelly to be their new offensive coordinator for a reported $2 million annually and making some splashy transfer portal signings. Quarterback Will Howard (Kansas State), running back Quinshon Judkins (Ole Miss) and safety Caleb Downs (Alabama) head an impressive list of additions.


There will be some key off season battles and the upcoming Spring Game this weekend will give some indicators to who will win some key position battles. Signal caller transfer Howard walks into a crowded quarterbacks room that also contains Devin Brown, who played snaps last year behind Kyle McCord who has since transferred to Syracuse, and three outstanding recruits. Ohio State's capture of former Alabama commit Julian Sayin was a real statement of intent as the No.5 overall prospect and No.1 quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class moved to Columbus. He joins Air Noland, a five-star recruit from Georgia and Lincoln Kienholz, a four-star recruit from South Dakota. Expect the Buckeyes to lose two from five before the season starts.



At wide receiver, a position renowned with excellence for the Buckeyes, the outstanding Emeka Egbuka returns alongside the talented sophomore Brandon Inniss. Look out for Jeremiah Smith, the No.1 overall recruit from the 2024 recruiting class is creating noise in early practices, with some coaches whispering that he could be as good as the recently departed Marvin Harrison, Jr.


Alabama


All change in Tuscaloosa with the first spring game in 17 years without Nick Saban and his traditional pink suit kicking off this weekend. The first preseason under new head coach Kalen DeBoer is well under way. With Jalen Milroe looking a safe bet to retain the quarterback starting job, attention turns to the wide receiver group.


Jermaine Burton, Isaiah Bond and Ja'Corey Brooks have all departed in the last year, leaving opportunities for the current crop of receivers.


Kobe Prentice will have the chance to shine in Alabama's offense (Image credit: 247 Sports)

Kobe Prentice and Kendrick Law both took snaps in Alabama's offense and look to be in the driving seat as starters. Germie Bernard transferred from Washington to follow coach DeBoer, and Caleb Odom, a five-star recruit built like a tight end will be worth watching this Saturday.


Georgia


(Image credit: University of Georgia Athletics)

Another spring game to keep an eye on takes place in Athens this weekend. Kirby Smart will be keen to cement the Bulldogs' place in contention for SEC and national titles after missing out on a College Football Playoff spot in the last game of the season.


Carson Beck seems anointed as the starting quarterback, and a contender for the best returning signal caller in college football. Brock Vandagriff transferred to Kentucky, leaving redshirt freshman Gunner Stockton as Beck's likely backup.


Georgia need to stock up at defensive back, having lost Javon Bullard, Tykee Smith and Kamari Lassiter to the NFL Draft. Cornerback Daylen Everette, who started alongside Lassiter, returns. Look out for Joenel Aguero, a former five-star defensive back and five-star freshman recruit K.J. Bolden to force their way into the starting lineup.


Michigan


(Image credit: Yahoo Sports College Football on X)

A new era for the defending national champions sees the Wolverines adopting new head coach Sherrone Moore's "SMASH" motto, they want to win in the trenches. He has big shoes to fill. Michigan were unbeaten last season, posting a 15-0 record while capturing their third consecutive conference title, and third consecutive win over bitter rival Ohio State en route to the national title.


With the returning Donovan Edwards leading the back line in the wake of Blake Corum's departure to the professional ranks, the onus for the Wolverines is to select the heir apparent to NFL-bound superstar quarterback J.J. McCarthy.


Alex Orji impressed with his rushing ability in some games, coming in as a third-down specialist. He will compete for the starting job under center with 6'4" Jayden Denegal, experienced backups Jack Tuttle and Davis Warren, while top prospect Jadyn Davis is one to watch. Next weekend's spring game will offer some clues as to who will start next season.


USC


(Image credit: USC Athletics)

The Trojans head for the Big Ten in their third year under highly touted head coach Lincoln Riley. Top of the agenda is to replace the likely No.1 pick in the forthcoming NFL Draft, quarterback Caleb Williams.


Miller Moss looked to be in the driving seat to inherit the job from Williams with his six-touchdown performance against Louisville in the Holiday Bowl. The arrival of Jayden Maiava, however, the quarterback transfer from UNLV, has put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons, arriving on the back of a 17-touchdown, 3,085 passing yards season.


This weekend's spring game will give both passers an opportunity to stake their claim for the Trojans' starting job.


Nebraska



April 27th in Lincoln will give Cornhusker fans the chance for a first glimpse of the highly rated former Georgia quarterback commit Dylan Raiola. The 6'3", 220lb Raiola had initially committed to Ohio State, before flipping to Georgia. Nebraska's capture of the young quarterback to play for his father's alma mater was big news and he is expected to beat Heinrich Haarberg for the starting job.


Spring Game Schedule - Games To Watch


April 13th


Ohio State

Georgia

Florida

Tennessee

Penn State

LSU

Alabama

Ole Miss


April 20th


Michigan

Texas

Texas A&M

Oklahoma

Notre Dame

North Carolina


April 27th


Oregon

Colorado

Nebraska





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