Tag:Recruiting
Posted on: January 7, 2011 2:29 pm
 

Saban chat with Sanders Jr. an NCAA violation?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hey, remember when class of 2012 recruit Barry Sanders Jr. (yes, that Barry Sanders) told the world that Mark Ingram would be declaring publicly for the draft this week because Nick Saban had told him so? And then Ingram officially declared today and he was right? That was pretty cool, huh?

Maybe a little less cool for Alabama, since according to the same OKBlitz.com website that broke the original Ingram-to-turn-pro story, that conversation qualifies as an NCAA violation :
Such an extended conversation between Saban and Sanders [still a high school junior--ed.] is a potential violation of NCAA Bylaw 13.1.1.1, which states “Off-campus recruiting contacts shall not be made with an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) before July 1 following the completion of his or her junior year in high school."

NCAA Bylaw 13.02.4 defines contact as “any face-to-face encounter between a prospective student-athlete … during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting. Any such face-to-face encounter that is prearranged or that takes place on the grounds of the prospective student-athlete’s institution … shall be considered a contact.”
This is the well-known "bump rule," which Saban has already been accused of stretching to its breaking point in the past. Though obviously the NCAA will take its time ruling on the incident one way or the other, the case would appear to be pretty cut-and-dried; the link above includes a photograph of Saban and Sanders having their conversation, and Sanders' comments about Ingram make it clear that, to quote the bylaw, "dialogue occurred in excess of an exchange of a greeting." That compliance officials at both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were willing to go on the record as saying they would want the Tide's compliance department to examine the incident is a strong indication they believe a violation occurred.

Then again, nothing in the murky world of recruiting and recruiting bylaws is official until the NCAA says it is, and Saban has already publicly denied exchanging anything more than a greeting. Even if found guilty, Saban would only have committed a single secondary violation, at worst. Punishments are likely to be minimal regardless.

But if Saban is found guilty, he could be subject to the NCAA's recent decision to make suspensions available as a punitive measure for coaches committing secondary violations, and his reputation as a coach willing to ignore the exact rule he appears to be flaunting here might make him too juicy an example to pass on. (The NCAA could also impose limits on Alabam's recruitment of Sanders Jr., though it's highly debatable how much of an impact those would have in any case.) Don't expect anything to come of this other than a quietly self-reported violation on Alabama's part and the proverbial wrist-slap, if that, but it'll be a story worth following all the same.

Posted on: January 5, 2011 5:49 pm
 

Recruit says he'll choose school with coin flips

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

At 7 p.m. Eastern tonight, college football fans can get a look at some of the proverbial stars of the future in the Under Armour All-American Game, which will feature any number of top-flight recruits and the commitment decisions of maybe a dozen or more currently uncommitted prospects.

One of those players is expected to be Griffin (Ga.) defensive end Xzavier Dickson, who'll be choosing between Alabama and Georgia. Or, if he's telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the truth, he'll be letting random fate choose for him . The AJC's Chip Towers relayed the following conversation:

I asked [Dickson] if he already knew which way he was going at that moment. He admitted he had not.

“So I’m going to flip a coin,” he told me. “It’s that close.

“Come on,” I said incredulously. “You’re kidding, right?”

“No, I’m serious,” Dickson said. “I’m going to flip it five times and the one that comes up the most is the one I’m going to go with. They both can provide me with what I need at the next level, so I can’t go wrong.”

Fellow Georgia blue-chip Quan Bray (a wideout/running back from LaGrange), Dickson's roommate at the game, told Towers that Dickson had told him the same thing. So at the very least, it's not some elaborate lie told solely for Towers' benefit.

It could, of course, be an elaborate lie to add some extra drama to his announcement all the same; while he's right that both the Bulldogs and Tide would provide him with plenty of top-flight coaching and SEC excitement (not to mention a role as the outside pass rusher in the teams' respective 3-4 defenses that have made players like Justin Houston and Courtney Upshaw), surely Dickson wouldn't see them as such dead equals as to let a coin decide for him. And the coin flip won't happen live on camera, as Dickson said he'd do it the night before.

But if Dickson is dead-set on making a decision at the game (and, more to the point, on ESPN) and truly doesn't see any difference between the Tide and Bulldogs, well, plenty of far important choices have been made with even more unreliable decision-making processes before.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 10:56 am
 

Dee Hart decommits as sharks circle Rodriguez

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The writing may not be on the wall yet for Rich Rodriguez, but by this point, the guy on the ladder with the black paintbrush in his hands may as well get to work whether Dave Brandon has told him to or not.

An utterly miserable weekend for the Wolverine head coach wrapped up yesterday with the news that the jewel of Rodriguez's 2011 recruiting class, running back Demetrius Hart, had decided to back out of his commitment to Michigan. (Though Hart maybe hasn't made it officially official yet, it's hardly any kind of a secret at this stage.) Multiple credible reports state that Hart will be pledging to Alabama instead at this week's U.S. Army All-American game.

Keep in mind that Hart isn't just the highest-ranked prospect in this year's Wolverine; he's a top-100 recruit to mutliple recruiting services (though Maxpreps' Tom Lemming is less enthused , and ranks Hart as just the No. 11 running back, behind another Michigan commit, Justice Hayes), a consensus four-star recruit, and the potential answer at a position where the Wolverines received adequate-at-best production this season. In other words, he might also have been the best, most important recruit of Rodriguez's entire tenure ... and now he's gone. (Dee-committed, we might say.)

But it wouldn't be accurate to say Hart's departure is the final nail in the coffin. More likely, it's the latest, maybe clearest sign we've gotten that that nail has already been driven in. Yesterday we saw a coach who led his team onto the field for a bowl game the night before leave for another program the very next day; if we see the same tonight and tomorrow with Jim Harbaugh, though, it won't come as nearly as much of a shock as it did with Randy Edsall.




Posted on: December 22, 2010 1:13 pm
 

Kansas recruit is greatest QB ever, just ask him

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this week Turner Gill and the Kansas football team got some good news as quarterback recruit Brock Berglund committed to the school.  Berglund, from Colorado's Valor Christian, is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals, and is considered the 13th best quarterback prospect in the country.  Though if there are 12 quarterbacks in the 2011 class better than Berglund, they must be insanely freaking awesome.

The Lawrence Journal-World caught up with Berglund this week, and when he was asked to describe himself as a quarterback, the kid set the bar rather high.

“I would say Tim Tebow, Michael Vick and Peyton Manning kind of all put together,” Berglund said. “I’m not comparing myself to those guys or anything like that, but if I had to say what my skill-set was like, I would say those three guys.”

I don't know about you, but if I were a college football coach, I'd take just one of those three quarterbacks.  A hybrid of all three?  I think it's time for a contract extension!  Now, obviously, it wouldn't be fair to take Berglund's description at his word.  He is just a high school kid, after all.  So I decided to do some research, and it turns out he has the skills to back up the bravado.

I unearthed some exclusive footage of Berglund's high school games.  Here's some of what I found.

On this play, following a kickoff, Berglund lined up at running back.

 

As if that run wasn't amazing enough, let's remember that Brock can throw the ball too.  Here he is just messing around during practice.



And he was doing it left-handed!  Kansas is never going to lose again!
Posted on: December 20, 2010 12:27 pm
 

L'ville scores recruiting coup with Bridgewater

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If you've followed college football coaches on Twitter for any length of time, at some point you've probably seen them enthusiastically celebrating some curiously non-specific positive development. This tweet from Louisville head coach Charlie Strong from earlier today is a perfect example:



When these tweets appear, it's a safe bet the team in question has just landed a big commitment for their next recruiting class (though NCAA rules prevent them from commenting on them by name until a letter-of-intent is signed). It didn't take long for the news to spread that that was the case here as well, as Miami-Northwestern dual-threat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater  has pledged to sign with the Cardinals .

If Bridgewater follows through and signs with Louisville, it will be a massive coup for Strong and the Cards. Bridgewater is rated as high as a five-star prospect by some services and a four-star, top-100 talent virtually everywhere; Maxpreps' Tom Lemming ranks him the No. 96 player in the country. For a program like Louisville with little in the way of past recruiting successes on this level, not only landing a prospect of Bridgewater's stature but landing him from points as distant as Miami is a huge, huge statement for Strong and his staff; one local writer has already called Bridgewater the "biggest recruit in school history." Combine the continued improvement the Cards showed under Strong this season with wins on the recruiting trail like Bridgewater, and "the Ville" will be challening for Big East titles sooner rather than later.

On the flip side, Bridgewater's decommitment from Miami in the wake of Randy Shannon's firing and subsequent snubbing of the new 'Cane staff under Al Golden is not the early message Golden wanted to send on the recruiting trail. Northwestern has long been a key pipeline for the Hurricanes, and though one recruit bolting in the immediate wake of the coaching turnover doesn't necessarily indicate there's any long-term damage done, Golden will have to stop the bleeding in a hurry and keep as much Miami talent at home as he can, or his tenure won't end any differently than Shannon's.

Posted on: December 15, 2010 5:27 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 5:30 pm
 

TCU nabs big recruiting pickup in LaDarius Brown

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The headline news at TCU these days is all positive: another undefeated regular season and Mountain West title, a Rose Bowl bid, an imminent move to just-begging-to-be-dominated Big East, and even -- for once -- an offseason without rumors that Gary Patterson is due to be hired away. Everthing's coming up Horned Frog.

So it's not a surprise that TCU is starting to wide that wave of momentum in the recruiting wars, too. Traditionally an afterthought behind the state's big Big 12 programs when it comes to recruiting, Patterson scored arguably the biggest coup of his tenure when athlete LaDarius Brown of Waxahachie (Tx.) chose to stay in his home Dallas metro area and suit up for the Frogs.

A 6'2", 190-pound speedster who could fit in with Patterson's team at either wide receiver or running back, Brown has all the requisite tools to become another future weapon in TCU's plans for BCS conquest. But Patterson's found plenty of weapons before; the reason Brown's commitment is noteworthy is because of how many other programs wanted Brown for themselves, and how impressed the recruiting experts already are with Brown's potential.

On the former count, Brown claimed offers from a who's who of schools across the country: Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Nebraska. And though the state's eight hundred-pound recruiting gorilla at Texas didn't extend an offer, Brown had drawn serious interest from such in-state schools as Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Houston. In years past a recruit like Brown would have been on his way to College Station or Lubbock (if not out of state), but Patterson's success appears to be changing the game.

That's what the recruiting gurus seem to think, anyway, as Brown is arguably the most highly-regarded recruit to commit to TCU since there was such a thing as a "recruiting guru." The Dallas Morning News rated Brown the best prospect in the Dallas metro area ; Maxpreps lists him as the nation's No. 22 athlete ; ESPN rates him the No. 16 wide receiver and No. 95 prospect overall; Scout the No. 18 receiver and No. 124 player overall; and Rivals , most optimistic of all, the No. 5 athlete and the 44th-best prospect in the country. Every one of those assessments is the high-water mark (as far as this blogger can tell) for a TCU commitment at those respective sites.

While it helps that the Frogs can offer Brown the chance to play so close to home, there's also no question that a recruit with this kind of profile would not have given TCU the time of day in years past. If Patterson can convince a few more like him that the Frogs are the state's next-best-thing to the 'Horns -- and in the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas, there's no question he'll have the opportunity -- the past two years might only be the beginning of TCU's stay at the forefront of college football.

HT: Mountain West Connection .

Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:45 pm
 

Secondary violations can earn coaches suspensions

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Just go ahead and call it the Lane Kiffin Rule: coaches who commit NCAA secondary violations in the name of recruiting can now face suspensions of up to two games . The days of head coaches willingly pushing the proverbial envelope and collecting slaps on the wrist like so many Pokemon sound like they may be over:

"This is our request: Anything that has to do with recruiting, if there's a proven violation, we want the ability for the NCAA to say this will cost you a week or a maximum of two weeks," [American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant] Teaff said."We as an association asked for that, and they granted that.

"We think that's a major step forward."

The NCAA does make clear that being found guilty of a secondary violation doesn't trigger an automatic suspension, and that "punishment could depend on the circumstances"; the coach or program who slips up somewhere once probably won't get anything more than the usual reprimand.

But some coaches -- like Kiffin during his abbreviated stay at Tennessee -- have seemed to treat the secondary violation as more bureaucratic annoyance than legitimate deterrent. This change is likely aimed at curbing those kinds of serial offenders, or the more obvious, flagrant violations, like recruits-running-out-of-the-tunnel gameday simulations.

NCAA punishments have often sounded imposing on paper and been toothless in practice; waivers for BCS schools running afoul of the annual APR requirements have been so rampant they may as well be automatic. But more than one coach complained anonymously in the media after incidents like Auburn's 2009 impromptu recruiting pep rally , and Teaff at least sounds serious. (The NCAA might even have an immediate test case at Arkansas after this photograph surfaced this week. Does dressing recruits up in Hog jerseys and letting them visit personalized lockers in the Hog locker room count as a gameday situation?) The rank-and-file in the AFCA may be tired of seeing the Kiffins of the world benefit while those that toe the line lose out.

So whether this will actually be a brave new world for recruiting violations and punishments remains to be seen. But there's little doubt it will be a development worth watching as Signing Day approaches.

Posted on: December 9, 2010 4:28 pm
 

Fisher says yes, he'll be calling Gator recruits

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The game of recruiting is one where sharks are forever circling any given team's targets and commitments, looking for the one hint of blood that could let them sway a given recruit in a given direction. And seismic news like Urban Meyer's resignation at a recruiting juggernaut like Florida is like tossing those sharks a huge bucket of chum.

This is a given. A coach like Jimbo Fisher at Florida State wouldn't be earning the full amount of his multi-million dollar salary if he didn't at least make a phone call to any Gator recruits who might be inclined to give his Seminoles a closer look given the turmoil in Gainesville. But it's not every day one of the sharks comes right out and admits, as Fisher did at a Chick-Fil-A Bowl press conference today, that yes, he's going to be one of the ones circling (emphasis added):

"I think it will cause at least some delay in [Florida’s] recruiting and what they’re doing and if there’s some battles that we can win from that, OK – so be it. Because that’s part of the business.”

Fisher has gone on record before as deriding those programs who use negative recruiting tactics but, obviously, there’s no way he can’t attempt to use this situation to Florida State’s advantage. Miami is searching for a head coach. Now Florida is, too. And all of a sudden Fisher, not even through his first full season as a head coach, is the most tenured coach among the state’s Big Three.

“They were using the turmoil going on here for all the time to [recruit against us],” Fisher said. “I mean, that’s part of the business … the good thing, we don’t have many guys left to get, know what I mean? There’s six, seven guys or whatever we take or how many it is here at the end.

“It’s not like you’re at the beginning. But it could influence [recruiting] and hopefully it’ll help.”

As Fisher points out, the 2011 recruiting cycle is so far advanced at this stage that there's a limit to how much he and the Gators' other rivals can benefit. But that doesn't mean the 'Noles won't be thrilled if they can get a second shot with Florida commitments like one-time FSU target Nick Waisome, a four-star defensive back from Groveland, Fla., or a better shot with hotly-pursued uncommitted Lake City, Fla. defensive tackle Tim Jernigan.

One player is always just one player, but given how badly the 'Noles embarrassed the Gators in this year's season finale and how well the Seminoles have already recruited this cycle, every recruit that widens the gap between the two programs makes it that much harder for whoever takes over in Gainesville to regain the Gators' dominance of the state. When their rivals aren't even bothering to disguise their intentions of exploiting Meyer's departure for maximum effect, it's obvious how quickly Jeremy Foley will need to find Meyer's replacement ... and how badly he'll need to make the correct choice.

 



 
 
 
 
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