After the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament, the college sports conversation quickly pivots to the final stages of football spring practice. Spring games will highlight the next few Saturdays, giving fans a glimpse into what to expect from the 2024 editions of their favorite teams. 

Spring practice is a time for coaches to turn their attention inward and focus on their roster. With plenty of time in fall camp for a more detailed look at schemes, spring is all about fundamentals and competition. In the best cases, position battles result in an iron-sharpens-iron scenario that makes everyone involved better. In the worst cases, they reveal shortcomings that may need to be addressed in the transfer portal.

We have highlighted a handful of position battles that we're tracking. As you might expect, we've got some quarterbacks, but also a couple of fascinating skill position battles and at least one spot where NFL Draft exits have raised the stakes. 

Ohio State: Wide receiver 

Spring game: April 13 
Names to know: Emeka Egbuka, Carnell Tate, Brandon Inniss, Jeremiah Smith, others 

The Buckeyes are the rockstars of college football heading into 2024. Georgia may be the No. 1 team in the country heading into the season and rival Michigan may be the reigning champ, but no team is generating more intrigue than Ohio State. Ryan Day and his staff made a splash with big-time transfer additions like quarterback Will Howard (Kansas State), running back Quinshon Judkins (Ole Miss) and safety Caleb Down (Alabama).

Even with all that new star power, the most exciting position battle will be at wide receiver. Ohio State has been loading up on blue-chip pass-catching talent for years, creating a loaded room with only so many targets to go around. We expect veteran Emeka Egbuka to provide a steady and reliable presence, but behind him are several potential breakout stars worth watching in the Buckeyes' spring game. 

Carnell Tate got some quality experience as a true freshman last season, ranking second to Egbuka in receiving yards among returning players. Brandon Inniss is another gifted talent set for a breakout sophomore season. But it's been early-enrollee Jeremiah Smith who has turned the most heads in the spring. Smith was the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2024 class by 247Sports, a rare feat for a receiver. Too many receiver options is a good problem for new offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, but it also means at least one uber-talented player will end up on the short end in the battle for snaps and targets.    

Georgia: Defensive backs   

Spring game: April 13 
Names to know: Daylen Everette, Daniel Harris, Ellis Robinson, Dan Jackson, Joenel Aguero, KJ Bolden, others  

Javon Bullard, Tykee Smith and Kamari Lassiter are off to the NFL, creating a fascinating battle as the Bulldogs shuffle pieces at cornerback, safety and Georgia's STAR position. 

Daylen Everette started every game at corner opposite Lassiter, solidifying at least one spot in the secondary. After that, it's going to depend on competition and development. Julian Humphrey briefly entered the portal but stuck with the team. He is hoping for a bounce-back season after battling injuries last year. Sophomore Daniel Harris offers good speed and length and five-star early enrollee Ellis Robinson has drawn praise despite his need for more time in a college strength and conditioning program. 

Safety is much more open. Dan Jackson has played in 33 games, but former five-star defensive back Joenel Aguero looks set to capitalize on his true freshman contributions in 2023. Meanwhile, five-star early enrollee freshman K.J. Bolden might be too talented to leave off the field.      

Alabama: Wide receiver 

Spring game: April 13 
Names to know: Kobe Prentice, Kendrick Law, Germie Bernard, Caleb Odom, others  

For several years the Crimson Tide overwhelmed opponents on the perimeter with multiple NFL-bound wide receivers. However, things have tailed off a bit in the last two seasons. Blue-chip prospects transferred and/or did not pan out and the pass attack went from one of the most productive in the SEC to a complimentary part of the Tide's success. Enter new head coach Kalen DeBoer. In his last year at Washington, DeBoer oversaw an offense with receiver talent rivaling those peak Alabama squads. Unfortunately for him, the group he's inheriting in Tuscaloosa carries far more question marks. 

Gone are Jermaine Burton (NFL Draft), Isiah Bond (Texas), Ja'Corey Brooks (Louisville) and Malik Benson (Florida State). That's a ton of receptions and yards to replace. Kobe Prentice and Kendrick Law both contributed in previous seasons, moving them toward the top of the list. Germie Bernard followed DeBoer from Washington where he was the team's fourth-leading receiver in 2023. Five-star early enrollee Caleb Odom is built more like a tight end but has drawn positive reviews for his play at wide receiver. 

Michigan: Quarterback 

Spring game: April 20 
Names to know: Jayden Denegal, Alex Orji, Jadyn Davis, Jack Tuttle, Davis Warren 

First-year coach Sherrone Moore has already adopted "SMASH" as his motto, doubling down on predecessor Jim Harbaugh's commitment to win games at the line of scrimmage. That doesn't take pressure off the quarterback position, though. The Wolverines must replace J.J. McCarthy, a model of efficiency under center who led the Wolverines to back-to-back Big Ten crowns and the 2023 national title. 

The Wolverines are casting a wide net in their attempts to replace the NFL-bound McCarthy with five quarterbacks vying for the starting job in spring camp. 

Jayden Denegal is a 6-foot-4 pro-style prospect. Alex Orji has already proven his dual-threat ability with rushing attempts in six games last year -- including the Wolverines' College Football Playoff wins against Alabama and Washington. However, we have yet to see him operate as a downfield passer with any regularity. Jack Tuttle and Davis Warren both add valuable experience and Jadyn Davis brings a blue-chip ceiling that could disrupt the competition if neither Denegal nor Orji can separate themselves.

Notre Dame: Offensive tackle

Spring game: April 20 
Names to know: Charles Jagusah, Tosh BakerAamil Wagner

Notre Dame knew it would likely have to replace Joe Alt after the talented left tackle spent all season at the top of NFL Draft boards. Now, new offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock also has to rework the other side with starting tackle Blake Fisher going pro as well. Alt and Fisher started 26 straight games together, so we're ringing in a new era in the trenches for the Fighting Irish. The battle becomes even more important when you consider that star transfer quarterback Riley Leonard is coming off offseason surgery to repair an ankle he injured last year. 

Luckily, the Irish have already identified potential replacements thanks to their bowl preperations. With Alt opting out, Notre Dame moved Charles Jagusah back outside to play the left tackle position in the bowl game. A former four-star prospect who rated as a top-50 overall player and the No. 8 offensive tackle in the 2023 recruiting class, Jagusah played some guard late in the season but held his own against a physical Oregon State defensive front in the Sun Bowl win. The bowl practices also saw senior Tosh Baker capitalize on his experience with some good work running with the starters. Aamil Wagner is also lurking on the depth chart should either Jagusah or Baker slip up. 

USC: Quarterback

Spring game: April 20 
Names to know: Miller Moss, Jayden Maiava

A record-setting six-touchdown performance in USC's Holiday Bowl win over Louisville seemingly answered the biggest question of the post-Caleb Williams era, but Miller Moss may not have the starting job as locked up as some had assumed. 

Lincoln Riley's decision to bring in Jayden Maiava from UNLV brings real intrigue to USC's spring practices. Maiava was thrust into the starting role for the Runnin' Rebels early in the season due to injury and never gave the job back, throwing for 3,085 yards and 17 touchdowns. Riley told reporters he believes there are "two starter-level players" in the quarterback room. We're hoping to see both quarterbacks get significant opportunities to show their stuff when the Trojans hit the field for their spring game later this month.  

Nebraska: Quarterback

Spring game: April 27
Names to know: Heinrich Haarberg, Dylan Raiola 

Nebraska scored one of its biggest offseason wins in quite some time with the late flip of Georgia commit and five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola just days before the early signing period opened in December 2023. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Raiola is Nebraska royalty as the son of former All-American offensive lineman Dominic Raiola. Still, he'll have to beat out the experienced Heinrich Haarberg to earn the starting job.

Haarberg was the team's most successful quarterback in 2023, but that's a low bar to clear. He was the Huskers' leading rusher (477 yards, five touchdowns) and had moments in the passing game, but a 1:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 49% completion rate is not what Matt Rhule is looking for out of Nebraska's QB1. The Huskers are hoping one of these two quarterbacks steps up to take control of the starting job this spring.