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22hESPN Staff

Final #CFBrank 2016 top 50: All hail Deshaun Watson

What a fitting way to end a topsy-turvy year: After ups and downs all season, our experts chose Clemson QB Deshaun Watson as the No. 1 player in the nation -- just as they predicted in August.

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Swinney right about Watson deserving first-round grade? (2:23)
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Greeny outraged by Edsall pulling scholarship (2:12)
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Finebaum rips Edsall for pulling scholarship (2:20)
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Is the ACC now the best conference in CFB?

Are the hospitalization of Oregon players being overblown? Is it fair of UConn to pull scholarship offer so late? Is ACC the best conference? The CFB Live crew discusses all this and more.

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Why did three Oregon players end up in the hospital? (3:22)
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Players' health during workout falls on strength coaches (4:36)
David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
3dESPN Analytics

Breaking down FPI's performance in 2016

The 2016 college football season featured quite a few surprises. See where FPI hit and missed last season, and where it can improve in 2017.

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McConaughey excited with what Herman will bring to Texas (1:56)
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Player loses shirt during Clemson celebration (0:22)

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Adam Rittenberg ESPN Staff Writer 

SOURCE: Wake Forest is hiring former Minnesota defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel for the same position. A deal was finalized earlier Wednesday. Sawvel served as Minnesota's defensive coordinator in 2016 but was let go along after the team's victory in the Holiday Bowl. He has coached defensive backs at Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Ferris State. This is a strong move by Wake Forest, which lost defensive coordinator Mike Elko to Notre Dame last month.

Erik McKinney ESPN Staff Writer 

UCLA is into its finishing kick as signing day approaches. The Bruins have added seven commitments this month including two today, in defensive end Odua Isibor and athlete Morrell Osling. The latter had been a Colorado commit but made the decision to flip to the Bruins just a few days after high school teammate and tight end Moses Robinson-Carr -- a former Oregon commitment -- pledged to UCLA. The Bruins shot 11 spots up the updated class rankings on Wednesday and now have the nation's No. 20 recruiting class.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Overlooked in today's changes to the official visit calendar and dropping of the June early signing period was the Division I Council's continued support on the reduction of summer camps. The council proposed legislation that would cut the number of days in a year from 30 to 10 in which coaches were allowed to conduct camps. Only coaches permitted to recruit off campus could participate, and the camps would be required to take place on campuses or in the facilities used primarily for practice or competition by member schools, essentially ending lengthy nationwide barnstorming satellite camp tours like Jim Harbaugh's Summer Swarm Tour.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

If the recruiting reform package passes, as it is expected to do after today's developments, class of 2019 prospects would be allowed to take official visits starting on April 1, 2018. "There's no reason to hold this off for another two or three years," Northwestern athletic director and Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips said. "Let's get this enacted and start moving forward."

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Northwestern athletic director and Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips said the Council and Football Oversight Committee "overwhelming" heard from perspective student athletes and current athletes that they wanted to take earlier official visits. "It's a hardship to do it at certain times for them," Phillips said. "So extending the window doesn't mean they can't come back to the fall and winter of their senior year, but now they have a chance to have it paid for and come on campus earlier."

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Northwestern athletic director and Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips on if the recruiting reform package will pass in upcoming votes in April and later this summer: "It will. It will. This thing could have been extremely contentious and divisive. The thing I will say more than anything is that this has been a collaborative effort. This is a prideful moment when you can put away some of your personal feelings and get to a position that's healthy for everyone."

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Here's Northwestern AD Jim Phillips on the proposal of sweeping change to college football recruiting, mandated by university presidents, next expected to receive final approval from the D-I Council in April, pass into NCAA bylaws in August and go into effect for the Class of 2019.

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Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

While the NCAA Division I Council adjusted the recruiting reform package to include only a mid-December signing period, the momentum toward an even earlier date is not over. "I don't think we're going to end just in December," Northwestern athletic director and Division I Council chairman Jim Phillips said. "We're going to continue to talk about it, and we may still come up with a Sept. 1 or an Aug. 30 early signing day, or something maybe before the high school season. But that's where we're at now and that'll be voted on in April."

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Also from the council meeting today, Jim Phillips said the issue of holding a spring-break camp away from campus -- as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh did last year at Florida's IMG Academy -- was forwarded to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which will discuss perhaps when it meets Thursday and issue a recommendation back to the council.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

Along with a mid-December early signing period, the NCAA Division I Council has formally adjusted the official visit portion of the recruiting reform package. The original proposal called for official visits in June and July before a prospect's senior season, but Jim Phillips, Northwestern's athletic director and chairman of the Council, confirmed official visits for juniors would be allowed from April 1 through Sunday before the last Wednesday in June. Phillips is "supremely confident" the entire package will pass in an April vote.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Additionally, Miami AD Blake James will replace Phillips as the chair of the Division I Council in the summer of 2017.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Northwestern AD Jim Phillips, chair of the Division I Council, said the group also moved forward on enacting a 14-week regular season that would go into effect in 2020. It still needs to pass a vote of the council.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

The Division I Council meeting is over. The council approved everything -- it will vote in April -- recommended by the Football Oversight Committee, including April-June early visits. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said a June early signing period is off the table and that he expects the December window to meet approval from the conference commissioners. Bowlsby remains hopeful to later find another early signing window to supplement or replace December.

Andrea Adelson ESPN Staff Writer 

Miami reserve running back Gus Edwards has decided to transfer, leaving the Hurricanes without much in the way of experience at the position. Edwards was third on the team in rushing in 2016, but it was hard to find a role after a foot injury sidelined him the previous season. With second-leading rusher Joe Yearby moving on to the NFL, developing depth behind 1,000-yard rusher Mark Walton is a huge offseason priority.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

We should know shortly if the NCAA Division I Council has altered the reform package to include official visits for juniors from April 1 through Sunday before the last Wednesday in June.

Jeremy Crabtree RecruitingNation 

The NCAA Division I Council has officially altered the football recruiting proposal, removing June signing period consideration and indicating it supports only a mid-December early signing window. The Collegiate Commissioners Association actually votes on when recruits can sign national letters of intent and it is expected to vote later this summer.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

When these doors open today, major reform to recruiting will likely be one step closer. And prospects may be allowed to take official recruiting visits from April 1 through the end of June and one week in July before their senior years. This step would rate as significant for programs whose campuses are located far away from prospects the schools regularly recruit.

Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer 

Discussion about four, separate months of early recruiting visits is on the agenda today for the Division I Council at the NCAA convention. A compromise between coaches and administrators that likely eliminated June as an early signing option has expanded the window for early visits to include April and May of a prospect's junior year in addition to June and July, which were included in the original proposal of recruiting reform. The council is meeting right now under a mandate from university presidents to enact sweeping change in recruiting. A final council vote would come this spring.