Edward Aschoff ESPN Staff Writer 

Florida's defense took a major hit with the news that starting S Marcell Harris is out for the season with a torn right Achilles. He started 8 games at S for the Gators last year and made the biggest play of the season when he tackled a leaping Derrius Guice at the goal line in the final seconds of Florida's win at LSU. Gators coaches will be scrambling to replace him but Chauncey Gardner could move back to safety and compete with Jeawon Taylor or Quincy Lenton. UF also signed 6 DBs in 2017 class

Mark Schlabach ESPN Senior Writer 

Defending SEC East champion Florida's defense was dealt a significant blow Thursday when the school announced senior safety Marcell Harris would miss the 2017 season with a torn right Achilles tendon he suffered Wednesday participating in team activities. "As a coach this is one of the hardest things you are faced with," coach Jim McElwain said. Harris played in all 13 games last season and started eight at safety. He totaled 73 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 2 interceptions. The Gators were already having to replace six starters from a defense that ranked fifth in FBS in total defense and sixth in scoring defense in 2016.

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Fitzgerald makes Davey O'Brien Award watch list

Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald has been named to the 2017 Davey O'Brien Award watch list. This year's list was selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2017 college football season. In 2016, Fitzgerald threw for 2,423 yards and 21 touchdowns.

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Eason makes Davey O'Brien Award watch list

Georgia QB Jacob Eason has been named to the 2017 Davey O'Brien Award watch list. This year's list was selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2017 college football season. In 2016, Eason threw for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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Bentley makes Davey O'Brien watch list

Gamecocks QB Jake Bentley has been named to the 2017 Davey O'Brien watch list. This year's list was selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2017 college football season. Bentley had 1,420 passing yards and 9 TDs in 2016.

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Allen named to Davey O'Brien watch list

Arkansas QB Austin Allen has been named to the 2017 Davey O'Brien Award watch list. This year's list was selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2017 college football season. Allen racked up 3,430 passing yards and 25 TDs in 2016.

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1dAlex Scarborough

Schools with tiger mascots form consortium

Auburn, Clemson, LSU and Missouri are part of the newly formed U.S. Tiger University Consortium -- named for the mascots they share -- whose primary focus will be research and awareness.

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QBs changing places

Four transfer quarterbacks will look to turn their new teams' luck this season. Will Grier, Jarrett Stidham and Kyle Allen were all top-50 recruits, while Malik Zaire showed flashes of potential in his time at Notre Dame.

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LSU to finish with tough slate

Ed Orgeron's first full season at the helm features an imbalanced schedule. LSU opens the season with just one SEC matchup in its first five games -- against a Mississippi State team that went 6-7 a year ago -- before closing with six tough conference opponents.

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Orgeron brings energy to LSU (1:40)

Jake Trotter ESPN Staff Writer 

Ed Orgeron's recruiting philosophy for LSU is rather simple. Pluck away a few out-of-state blue-chippers. And keep the best players in Louisiana from leaving. "We keep the good players, we can win a championship. That's the formula." Easier said than done. The competition for Louisiana players has heightened, especially via a bitter rival. In each of the last seven years, Alabama has landed at least one top five Louisiana recruit, including eventual All-Americans Landon Collins and Cam Robinson. "It's tough when you let your best player out of state and he goes and plays for Alabama and they come beat you. So we have to reverse that. In order to do that, we either have to get the best players first or beat Alabama. I don't know which is going to come first. I hope they both come first."

Jake Trotter ESPN Staff Writer 

Ed Orgeron's earliest memory of watching LSU came in 1971 when he was 10 years old. The Tigers were playing Notre Dame. "Ronnie Estay, who's from Larose, Louisiana (also Orgeron's hometown) had three stops on the goal line. He had about 17 tackles and was just going nuts. We were watching it on TV and you could feel the electricity in the air." LSU defeated the Irish 28-8, and Orgeron was hooked on the Tigers. "It was kinda like, wow, to be part of something like that...."

Jake Trotter ESPN Staff Writer 

Ed Orgeron said he "loved" being at USC and was hoping to flip his interim status into the head job. "It was a great fit, I thought, but there was something missing." Now that he's the head man at LSU, the Larose, Louisiana, native seems to have found just what was missing. "When I came home, to get into the stadium and feel like you're connected to 102,000 people, I never felt that anywhere else. I feel connected to everybody. I speak their language. I think it's what Louisiana needed. LSU means so much to the Louisiana people. They want to be connected, they want to be represented. I think that's what I've brought."

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The Orgeron effect

Under former head coach Les Miles, LSU's offense was ineffective and lacked explosive playmaking. However, once Ed Orgeron took over for Miles midway through last season, the Tigers' offense exploded.

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Orgeron confident in LSU's changes (1:14)
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Kirk named to Biletnikoff Award watch list

Christian Kirk was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list on Tuesday, given to the nation's top wide receiver. Kirk caught 83 passes for 938 yards and nine touchdowns last season for the Aggies.