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Bold predictions: 10 big surprises to expect at college camps


NFL training camps are in full swing across the country, and now it's that time of the year for college programs to join in all the fun. Yes, even though it's still the summer, fall camps are about to kick into high gear at campuses from the ACC to the Pac-12. This year figures to be one of the more interesting times in the sport with the new College Football Playoff in place for the first time.

While we have a good idea of the top storylines entering camp, here are 10 bold predictions about several programs that we expect to come to fruition in August.

1. Jack will stick to defense

It's one heck of an accomplishment to be named as the conference freshman player of the year on both offense and defense, but such was life for the Bruins last year to have a player the caliber of Myles Jack. While he certainly looked like a top-flight running back when he was in the backfield, don't expect to see too much of him on the offensive side of the ball when UCLA opens camp. The coaches know what they have in him as a running back, and he's far more valuable on defense with the departure of Anthony Barr to the Minnesota Vikings. We'll see him at tailback during the season, but injury concerns and learning more nuances at linebacker will keep Jack on one side of the ball this month.

2. Miles will still emerge as Washington's starter

The Huskies announced Cyler Miles would be suspended for the Huskies' opener right before Chris Petersen took the stage at Pac-12 Media Days, leading most to believe he has a ton of ground to make up. While that is certainly true, Petersen made it a point to heap a ton of praise on the quarterback who missed all of spring practice. Miles is undoubtedly the most talented of the trio of signal-callers competing for the starting job, and fall camp should be enough to show that he's the long-term option for the new coaching staff at Montlake.

3. Freshmen trio will earn starting jobs at LSU

Les Miles hasn't been afraid to play talented freshmen in the past, but he might take that philosophy even further this season with first-year players starting at quarterback, wide receiver and running back. Cam Cameron's offense isn't the easiest thing to pick up for college freshmen, but he'll probably simplify things enough so that running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Malachi Dupre spend much more time on the field than off it. Quarterback Brandon Harris has impressed so far and it wouldn't be too surprising to see Miles gamble and go with the young gun.

4. Texas A&M offense will still pile up points with QB Allen

It's going to be a two-man race going into August, with Kyle Allen and Kenny Hill looking to replace Johnny Manziel. At this point, it sounds as though Allen, a true freshman, might be the guy to operate the offense. Given the fact that he'll have plenty of targets with guys like Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil, plus a solid offensive line in front of him, don't expect a huge drop-off for the Aggies on the offensive side of the ball this season. And hey, the defense has lost a ton of talent, but there's no way it can get any worse than it was last season.

5. Ash will actually stay healthy through camp

Charlie Strong inherited a Texas team that has some talent on the roster, but the quarterback position remains a huge question mark. David Ash was cleared to play a few weeks ago -- that's good news considering he has had trouble staying healthy and the options behind him are severely lacking. We'll look on the positive side, though, and say he makes it through camp as the unquestioned leader of the offense and heads into the season playing better than people expect.

6. Ford will be the guy in Norman, but won't look great in camp

The Joe Mixon situation is unresolved, but Keith Ford figured to be the lead back this year anyway for the Sooners. There won't be a ton of reports escaping the closed-off nature of Oklahoma practices, but don't be shocked to learn that no running back is putting distance between himself and the competition at the position. Don't worry, though; that will be an indication of the dominance of the front seven Mike Stoops trots onto the field. Expect to see a healthy dose of Ford between the tackles against Louisiana Tech and Tulsa to open the season.

7. Miami's QB situation will remain a mess

Jake Heaps is going on his third school in his college career and has stated he didn't transfer to Miami to be a backup. That's probably true, but the fact that he's lost his position at both BYU and Kansas should tell you that the Hurricanes' quarterback spot is anything but settled. Ryan Williams might be able to come back at some point, and redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen has been hot and cold. True freshman Brad Kaaya could end up being further ahead in his development than anticipated by the end of the month, too. Either way, Heaps might be considered the leading candidate for the position, but there's no way Al Golden and company will be set at quarterback until games start.

8. Hamlett will fill in nicely for Cooks

Remember the name Connor Hamlett, because he'll be Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion's best friend this season. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound senior is not only a big target in the middle of the field but is sneaky athletic in space. Replacing Cooks' production will no doubt be spread around the receiving corps, but Hamlett's presence and red-zone ability will mean he'll see a huge increase in his role in 2014.

9. Winston will not make headlines for a week

As hard as it is to believe, yes, we're saying that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner won't be in the headlines for something he did off the field for a whole week. It's a stretch, but we're confident Jimbo Fisher and the coaching staff will keep Jameis Winston away from the media and that he'll be focused enough on the Seminoles repeating as national champs that he won't make the front page for a full seven days.

10. Alabama won't rush to name Coker the starting QB

We're going to let you in on a little secret: Transfer Jacob Coker will be the starter for the Crimson Tide when the team takes the field against West Virginia. You probably know this already, and so do the Mountaineers' coaches. But Nick Saban will continue to preach that there's a wide-open battle going on. He'll say both he and Lane Kiffin aren't ready to name a starter yet. This will go on for way longer than it has to, but will just be an unnecessary step in "The Process." Oh well.

*Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter **@BryanDFischer.*

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