Tag:South Carolina
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:28 pm
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The Opening: Day 4 closes out all-star event

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- As things wrapped up on Day 4 of The Opening, one couldn't help feeling a tinge of sadness on behalf of the nearly 150 athletes at the event. Knowing the end was coming and that they soon would have to hop on a plane home, many players couldn't believe the all-star event had come to a close. 

"It's a very humbling, lifetime experience," Yulee (Fla.) running back Derrick Henry said. "I'll never forget it. All this competition, the whole 150, it's a blessing. It's nice getting guys' prospectives on different colleges and stuff like that, it's been good."

As one of three sophomores at the event, Henry was just trying to soak in the event. Playing with some of the top players in the country, The Opening was a chance to learn from the best in anticipation of coming back next year as the elder statesman.

"This is my first time coming up here, and I'm starting to enjoy the whole thing," he said. "But next time it's going to be business."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Henry was one of the most impressive athletes, physically, at the event. Though he plays running back in high school, if he continues to grow, he might develop into a tight end -- a position he got reps at during the 7-on-7 portion of the event.

"It just gives me a chance to get out there and catch some balls and get some touchdowns," he said. "I'll do anything to get my team the win."

Though he was split out catching passes instead of running down hill, there's no question what position he wants to play at the next level.

"Oh running back, that's what I play," Henry said. "I'm just doing this because it's 7-on-7. You've got to do what you've got to do to get the ball."

The Opening also gave Henry a chance to talk with plenty of older, heavily recruited athletes such as Nelson Agholor, Terry Richardson and Dillon Lee just on his 7-on-7 team. Already solidified as one of the top players in the Class of 2013, Henry has been picking up scholarship offers at a good clip over the past few months.

"I got an offer from Stanford, North Carolina, Tennessee and some others," he said. "I know I'm over 50. It's a humbling experience. I thank god everyday for this opportunity. I just use it as motivation to keep working hard in the weight room and the classroom and the field. Hopefully I can give back to my teammates by using my talent and my name to get them opportunities for the young guys who are under (the radar)."

Although many had considered him a Florida State lean early on, it's another in-state program that has moved out in front nearly a year and a half before he eventually signs a letter of intent.

"Florida is my leader, then Georgia, Florida State and Alabama," Henry said. "I'm open to any school; it's just where I feel comfortable and at home at, that chemistry I have with the coaches and where my family likes."

Reeves down to two

With so many talented players on the fields at the Nike campus, tempers were bound to flare given the level of competition. But, surprisingly, things were mostly limited to some good-natured trash talking because of the bond the players had formed over the past few days.

"It's very competitive out here,” defensive back Armani Reeves said. “But they're all good guys. When we go inside the lounge in there, we're all family and have a good time. But when we come out to (the fields), that's the time to compete and that's what we do.”

Things have been competitive on the recruiting front for the Roxbury (Mass.) corner. Reeves recently narrowed down his list of schools to two and talked about both, starting with Notre Dame.

"They're a great school academically," he said. "Coach (Bob) Diaco, Coach (Brian) Kelly, they're trying to turn that program around and make it a championship school. When they talked they had a lot to offer. When they showed me around, the campus was beautiful and I got to hang out with a bunch of the players. I had a good time there.”

The Irish are not the only program in the running for Reeves' services, as the Nittany Lions are neck and neck with them in Reeves' eyes.

"As far as Penn State goes, it feels like home," he said. "Coach (Joe) Paterno, I talk to him every time I see him. We even Skype now. All of those coaches treat me like family and express how much they want me. I'm just enjoying the process and trying to think about everything."

Several recruits have reported they have Skyped with the coaching legend and like the others, Reeves feels it's a unique connection to one of college football's icons thanks to a bit of modern technology.

"Yeah it's pretty cool," Reeves said. "He was cracking jokes with me. He's new to the whole thing so when you have an old guy like him doing something like Skype, it's just fascinating. He was just talking and we forgot about recruiting, telling me stories and stuff. It was really fun, I had a good time."

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back returned from unofficial visits to both schools shortly before heading to Oregon for The Opening. While he is officially down to two schools, a timetable for a decision on which one he will commit to is up in the air.

"Hopefully I'll make a decision soon but if not, I don't mind waiting," he said. "I just came back from those visits like two or three weeks ago so I'm just taking this time enjoying my time out here with these fellas."

Elder getting closer to decision 

Proving that defensive backs can also have a pair of good hands, College Park (Ga.) corner Chaz Elder made one of the defensive plays of the day when he caught a beautiful over the shoulder interception in the end zone to prevent a touchdown.

“My teammate told me to watch for the corner,” Elder said. “So I went over to try and get over the top. I got over there a little to late, but luckily the wide receiver missed it and I was able to catch it.”

Coming a long way from home and making plays is something new for Elder, but the overall experience in Portland has been a rewarding one for the talented cornerback.

“It's been great,” he said. “This is the furthest I've ever been outside of Georgia. I like it. (The plane ride) is kind of long. It's very long but it's alright.”

One of the top players in a deep pool of talent in Georgia this year, Elder has more than 25 scholarship offers from major powerhouses, but he has narrowed his list to three schools.

“With (Georgia), I like the fact that me and Coach Mark Richt have a good relationship,” Elder said. “South Carolina, I like the fact that they're known for having good DB's. Plus I like the defense they run because it's similar to what I run now in high school. With Vanderbilt, they're upcoming and I could help change the face of the program.”

Vanderbilt is making news in the recruiting world by picking several major commitments, including one from Top 100 running back Brian Kimbrow. The momentum the school has under new coach James Franklin is something that matters to Elder.

“That's a big factor,” he admitted. 

Elder won't open up as to which of the three programs is out in front but plans to make a decision soon, likely in August before his senior seasons begins. 

Howard staying open

There were plenty of players who had fun at The Opening, but it was hard to top the excitement about the event that Miramar (Fla.) defensive back Tracy Howard had following a 7-on-7 win.

“It's been one of the best experiences of my life,” Howard said. “To come way out to Portland, Oregon, I know I haven't been this far from home. The only place I've been is the Bahamas on a cruise. It's definitely a blessing to get out here with the top talent and compete against those guys.”

A talkative player on the field, Howard doesn't mind finding a player on the opposing team and talking a little trash to back up his coverage skills

“Oh Sean Price,” Howard responds almost instantly about who he talks the most trash with. “We're good friends, it's not bad talk, we're just getting each other better.”

Though Howard has been leaning toward Florida for a good portion of the recruiting process, he's narrowed his list of schools he's considering and looking at all of the options equally.

“I'm just staying open right now,” he said. “I'm down to a few: Miami, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina and Notre Dame.”

Notes 

-- Very impressive day by defensive linemen Sheldon Day and Ellis McCarthy. Though Day was named position group MVP, McCarthy was unblockable during one-on-ones and went around and through his man, all on a bad ankle. Aziz Shittu rebounded from a sub-par day Friday to perform well. Curtis Riser was the top offensive lineman of the group on Saturday to go with good performances from Vadal Alexander and Issac Seumalo.

-- No matter what position he played, Fresno (Calif.) athlete Deontay Greenberry was a flat-out player. From skying on jump balls in the end zone to intercepting passes during limited time on defense, the Notre Dame-bound Greenberry was consistently a top performer over all three days of competition.

-- Geismar (La.) safety Landon Collins was named the 7-on-7 MVP and overall MVP of The Opening. He was everywhere on the field and quite literally had too many interceptions to count over the two days of 7-on-7. He more than lived up to his billing as a top 10 player in the class of 2012 and might even be underrated based on what he has done this summer.

-- Another defensive back that stood out was Clemson commit and Tallahassee (Fla.) safety Travis Blanks. Blanks had two interceptions in the opening game Saturday (and nearly had two more) and continued his stellar play throughout the day. He is one of the most versatile defensive backs in that he's equally good as a safety and cornerback.

-- There weren't many of them, but the walking wounded on the sidelines generally sported cardinal and gold. USC commits Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (stitches) and Jabari Ruffin (fractured wrist) were both out of action Saturday.

-- Team Alpha Talon, with honorary coaches Josh Freeman and Dwayne Bowe, won the 7-on-7 tournament. The team featured Bralon Addison, Nelson Agholor, Deon Bush, Landon Collins, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Trae Elston, Justin Ferguson, Derrick Henry, Germone Hopper, Chad Kelly, Duke Johnson, Dillon Lee, Kaiwan Lewis, Steven Longa, Lamar Louis, Marcus Maye, Armani Reeves, Terry Richardson and Randy Uzoma.  

-- The overall offensive line MVP was Vadal Alexander while Sheldon Day took home the same honors on the defensive line. Offensive tackle Kyle Murphy and defensive end Jamal Marcus were one-on-one champions.

-- The 7-on-7 All-Tournament team was Travis Blanks, Cyrus Jones, Johnathan Gray, Deontay Greenberry, Marcus Maye, Bryce Treggs and Tee Shepard.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:32 pm
 

Fuller commits to South Carolina

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It wasn't all fun and games at The Opening this week in Oregon, at least not for Monroe (S.C.) receiver Jody Fuller, who made a serious decision and committed to South Carolina on national TV Friday night.

“I just like the relationship that I had with my coaches,” Fuller told TheBigSpur.com afterwards. “(Jay Graham), Steve Spurrier Jr. and the program period and where they are going. It was great that they were on me since I was a sophomore in high school and wanted me to be a part of their program for so long.”

The 6-foot, 205-pounder is part of a recent run of receivers to commit to the Gamecocks over the past few weeks. Fuller held offers from Arkansas, Miami, Michigan, West Virginia and others but the fit in South Carolina's offense was just too good to pass up.

“It’s a good offense for me and what I do,” he said. “In that slot position, I think I can really do something.”

Fuller is the fourth commitment this week for the program and 12th overall. The talented slot receiver caught 77 passes for 845 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 8:11 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 9:03 pm
 

Wideout Smith is number 11 for the Gamecocks

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A week after South Carolina receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. landed tight end Kelvin Rainey, the talented recruiter and head coach's son picked up yet another commitment from a talented pass catcher in Dillon (S.C.) receiver Kwinton Smith.

“I had good chemistry with Coach Spurrier Jr. and all of the coaches,” Smith told TheBigSpur.com. “It is close to home and my family would be able to come and watch me play. South Carolina has a great program and they have good academics. It is a good home basically.” 

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound wide out held offers from nearly every SEC school as well as from Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Clemson and others. With a body-type similar to Alshon Jeffrey, the Gamecocks are hoping that Smith is an able replacement once the star receiver leaves Columbia.

“I know that I have big shoes to fill at the receiver position,” Smith said. “I’m just going to work hard to try to become the player that Alshon is. I’m going to stay out of trouble and do what is right.” 

Smith is the 11th commitment for the Gamecocks in the class of 2012 and caught 45 passes for 830 yards and 15 touchdowns. Six of South Carolina's commitments are on the offensive side of the ball.
Posted on: July 5, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 11:09 am
 

Badger Sports Nationals: Top Performers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There was enough talent at Gerald Ford Stadium on the campus of SMU over 4th of July weekend to make the old Mustang teams of the late 1980's jealous. California All-Star team 1925 took home the trophy at the end of the day but there were plenty of individuals who shined with their performances at the tournament. Here are a few names that stood out in the Texas heat:

Harbor City (Calif.) quarterback Troy Williams

Williams was the most polished passer at the tournament and led his 1925 team to the national championship after falling short of a title in several other tournaments. Even when it came down to crunch time and his team needed a score, Williams was calm and collective. He showed nice touch on his deep ball and could really spin the ball on short and intermediate throws. He should be one of the top quarterbacks on the West Coast in 2013.

Greenbelt (Md.) quarterback Shawn Petty

Petty threw one of the nicest balls at the tournament and could really move it downfield. He's a big lefty and delivered a nice, catchable ball to receivers, constantly placing it right where it needed to be. After watching him throw it around this weekend, Petty really looks like he'd be a good fit at Maryland.

Encino (Calif.) running back Mike Davison

The smallest player on the field was electric every time he touched the ball. He could stop on the dime and more often than not, left defenders grasping at air while trying to tag him. He's a perfect player for 7-on-7 and was arguably the Team MVP for eventual champions 1925.

Detroit (Mich.) running back Dennis Norfleet

Make no mistake, Norfleet was the man this weekend for his team, almost single-handedly carrying his Michigan-based squad. He rarely, if ever, came off the field and played both ways. As a running back, he was able to find open space and dart away from defenders. As a corner, he managed to shut down often bigger wide receivers. He's a top-flight athlete and could be a steal on the recruiting trail.

Jacksonville (Fla.) receiver Ahmad Fulwood

Fulwood was a bit of an unknown coming into the competition for Team Louisiana but he quickly made a name for himself as the team's biggest offensive threat. He's got a great frame at 6-foot-4 and moves very fluidly. He's got big hands and, as an underclassman, could develop into one of the top guys in North Florida in next year's class. He already holds a dozen scholarship offers from Florida, South Carolina, Notre Dame and others.

Bellflower (Calif.) receiver Bryce Treggs

Easily the most productive receiver over the weekend, Treggs was often found celebrating a long touchdown catch in just about every game. He has one of the smoothest releases despite being a smaller guy and can flat out fly down the field. He runs routes like the best of them and caught everything thrown his way. He could be a very good slot receiver that stretches the field at the next level.

Upland (Calif.) receiver Kenny Lawler

Lawler was the leader for B2G over the weekend and emerged as their go-to guy. He's got a great pair of hands and they're about as soft as his verbal commitment to Arizona State. He's not overly fast or the most athletic guy on the field but he catches the ball and makes plays.

South Bend (Ind.) receiver Gehrig Dieter

On a team (Goon Squad) with lots of big time players, Dieter was the most consistent player for them all weekend. He fits the label of a very good Big Ten wide out with great speed and reliable hands. Dieter showed off his athleticism by going up for some balls when he wasn't toasting defensive backs with his speed down the field.

McKees Rocks (Pa.) linebacker Deaysean Rippy

Rippy impressed with his coverage skills over the weekend and did so looking like a linebacker that was ready to head to college, not his senior year in high school. He had a good drop and roamed well in coverage. These events allow players to show off their athleticism and Rippy certainly did that.

Fresno (Calif.) athlete Deontay Greenberry

One of the most athletic players on the field, Greenberry was a red zone stud on offense and a shut down safety on defense. He played with swagger both days and was unstoppable on jump balls. Rangy and quick on defense, he allowed only a handful of balls to be completed on his half of the field.

Reserve (La.) cornerback Darion Monroe

Monroe was the defender that stood out for Team Louisiana and pretty much was the definition of shut down. He locked up receivers man-to-man and was savvy enough to drop back into passing lanes during zone. He can really change directions quickly and he had the speed to keep up with everybody he lined up against.

New Rochelle (N.Y.) cornerback Justin Combs

Combs, son of rapper Diddy, was one of the big surprises of the tournament with his play. He grabbed several interceptions over the weekend and managed to stay stride for stride with just about every opposing wide out. He's not the biggest player on the field but he did come to play.
 


Posted on: July 5, 2011 9:07 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 9:13 am
 

7/5 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July. Now back to the recruiting grind with plenty of links:

- The Sporting News has released their list of 125 of the top recruits from the class of 2012 and starts out with Nos. 125-76.

- Depth at offensive tackle is one of the things this year's recruiting class has that last year's didn't.

Defensive back Chaz Elder is down to Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Maryland wide receiver commit Malcolm Culmer is a speedy deep threat for the Terps.

Oklahoma State has lost several commits and that's something Mike Gundy calls 'disappointing.'

Texas and Texas A&M seem to be out front nationally according to some analysts.

  Some updates on Michigan targets Josh Garnett, Aziz Shittu and Jordan Payton. The Wolverines still need some help at defensive tackle.

Commitments:

Defensive back Julian Whigham committed to Syracuse.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 10:21 am
 

Badger Sports 7-on-7 Nationals Day 2 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

DALLAS – Right before the championship game, Keyshawn Johnson was hoping this would be his team's moment.

Since starting the 1925 All-Star 7-on-7 team with former NFL veteran Brian Kelly a little over two years ago, his team fell short of the national title last year and had yet to break through and win even a regional title this year.

Sunday afternoon was indeed Johnson's moment however as 1925 got over the hump and finally hoisted a trophy, winning the Badger Sports/New Level Athletics 7-on-7 National Championship at SMU's Gerald Ford Stadium.

“Being in it two years and winning a championship (is great),” said Johnson, a former USC wide receiver, before joking, “I told one of the kids who is going to Notre Dame, I told him if you go to Notre Dame you won't be winning one of these.”

“We were going to championships and we were losing,” said running back Mike Davison. “But nationals were the one we wanted and that's what we need to win. That's the one that matters and I'm glad we won because we're national champs and we've got the bragging rights.”

1925 lost three players due to injury before the tournament but still managed to run through the championship bracket undefeated using plenty of FBS-bound athletes. One of the keys to the team though was actually the smallest player on the field, the 5-foot-3 Davison, and one of the few who didn't hold a major scholarship offer.

“It was a great experience, it was fun. We were working hard at it and I knew we were going to get it done,” he said. “It's very important to me too. I'm trying to get more offers, more exposure. I'm glad I was a big factor in this so now colleges can say this guy can do it. Hopefully I can go D-1.”

Davison holds an offer from Alabama State with several other schools on the verge of offering the speedy scatback. Able to cut a full speed and stop a dime, he was easily the most elusive player on the roughly 115-degree turf the past two days.

Known by his nickname of “Mike-Mike,” Davison was often imitated but no one could come close to the real thing. After a player on the team from Louisiana made a few quick cuts against the 1925 defense, Notre Dame commit and 1925 athlete Deontay Greenberry yelled out, “You're not Mike-Mike!”

After battling the eventual runner up, Team Houston, to a tie at the end of the first of their two games, 1925 failed to complete a play in the sudden-death, longest-yard overtime. As a result, all Team Houston had to do was get a yard on a running play to win the game but it ended up being Davison who saved the day for 1925.

“They were like, 'Mike get on the field' because the other team just needed one play to win the game,” he said. “I ran on to the field and they said 'hike' and I just sprinted into the back field and tackled him. Then we won the game when I got the draw and got a couple of yards.”

Croom down to two

Although his team got knocked out early, Norcross (Ga.) wide receiver Jason Croom put together an impressive two days worth of catches. Using his big 6-foot-5 frame, he was a weapon in the end zone and also made some tough catches in traffic to solidify himself as one of the best options on the Goon Squad.

Scheduled to make a decision later next month, Croom has narrowed down his recruiting list to just two schools as he wraps up a very productive run on the spring and summer camp circuit.

“It's between Mississippi State and Tennessee,” he said.

Croom has already made it down to Knoxville for an unofficial visit and had plenty of good things to say about the Volunteers.

“I really like everything,” said Croom. “I like the coaching staff. When I went down there, I liked the facilities a lot and the academics. That's the most important part, they have a good APR rating and they push you on and off the field. They told me I can make a big impact and all I'll have to do is go down there and show what I can do.”

While Croom wouldn't leave any hints about which school he was leaning towards, it's clear he has a special connection with Mississippi State and that could be a major factor in to his decision.

“I've had a good relationship with them for the longest time because they were my second offer,” he said. “I've been talking to them throughout this whole thing so I've got a good relationship with basically the whole coaching staff. When I went down there I met some of the players and they were real cool, they treat you like family and joke around and stuff. But when I went down there they were also working real hard in the weight room and stuff and I know they help their players academically. They make sure they finish their classwork before they do anything else.”

Croom will commit on August 18th, which is right before his senior season gets underway. He's narrowed his choices down to two and will only take an official visit to whichever program he ends up verbally committing to next month.

Miami, they were in my top three but they're out of it now.” he said. “I'll just take one (official) because I've already got my decision made.”

Marks enjoys his time in Texas

In addition to 1925 capturing the championship, the other California All-Star team, B2G, was very impressive over the two day event. Los Angeles (Calif.) wide receiver Gabe Marks impressed with his route running ability, hands and was savvy enough to know where holes were in the defense. Despite being a fairly polished receiver, he came out to help his team win and improve between the lines.

“I really want to work on my routes and my releases,” Marks said. “I'm just trying to win some games and go against some of the top competition.”

Working alongside Ventura (Calif.) quarterback Marc Evans and teaming up with Upland (Calif.) receiver Kenny Lawler, B2G had quite a day on offense before running out of gas late. For the most part though, the group was clicking in large part because they had been playing with one another throughout the summer.

“We work out with each other all the time and we do all of the events together,” Marks said. “We definitely have a good chemistry. We like sticking with one quarterback so we don't have to worry about that transition if a new guy plays with us.”

Holding offers from several Pac-12, Mountain West and Conference USA programs, Marks is beginning to focus on just a handful of programs to allow time for him to compete during his senior season in high school.

“I'm starting to narrow down my list of schools, I've got SMU, Utah and UCLA as my top three.” he said. “Then I have Colorado and Boston College to finish out my top five.”

The trip to Dallas has allowed him a chance to get an in-depth look at what it would be like if he committed to SMU. Outside of adjusting to the extremely hot weather – especially for someone who lives just a few miles from the beach – the experience was a good one overall.

“SMU is a great school, they're definitely one of the nicer schools I've seen,” said Marks. “The one thing would be the weather, that'd take some getting used to. But I love the coaches, they're great and it's a great system that would be a good fit for me.”

One of the big drawing points for the private school on the field is head coach June Jones' Run and Shoot offense, which has allowed receivers similar to Marks put up big numbers. Off the field, there's a lot of positives as well.

“Their academics are top notch,” he said. “You can have a good career after football and that's what I'm using football for. If I don't make it to the league, I want something to fall back on.”

If Marks is looking to stay closer to home, UCLA offers that option and the Bruins have plenty going for them as they try to land the 6-foot, 170-pounder.

“Their academics and the fact they're so close to home,” Marks said when asked what he liked about the school. “You grow up watching the coaches and the team so they're the hometown school.”

Marks will likely make a decision in December after taking official visits. At the moment, he has already planned three visits, to Utah, SMU and UCLA, during the season.

Liggins looking to stay in the SEC

One of the biggest – if not the biggest – players on the field was actually Oxford (Miss.) quarterback Jeremy Liggins. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound signal caller was sharp for most of day two of the tournament and made several nice throws into tight windows.

“I felt like we did pretty good,” Liggins said. “Keyshawn Johnson's team though, he brought in some ballers. We just kind of threw a team together and we didn't have a practice or anything. I felt like if we practiced, we could come out and compete with these boys.”

Playing for the Louisiana team, Liggins led an overachieving squad that made a very nice, deep run in the double-elimination event. Developing some timing with his newfound receivers was key to moving the ball on Sunday after a bit of a slow start the day before.

“It's pretty hard because I'm not used to how these guys run,” he said. “But after the first game yesterday, we kinda started to connect and I felt pretty comfortable with those guys (today) because I know that once I put the ball out there, they're going to go make plays on the ball.”

Liggins holds several scholarship offers already and figures to pick up more once the season begins. If there's one thing he's locked into with the recruiting process, it's a certain brand of southern football.

“I've got a lot of offers but I'm really just looking at the SEC,” he said. “I've got ones from Florida, South Carolina and others.”

With his size and speed, Liggins knows that plenty of coaches are looking to move him to other positions. He could wind up as a defensive lineman in college at first glance but he's also trying to make it clear that he wants a shot behind center first.

“In 10th grade, they were looking at me as an athlete but now a lot want me at QB,” Liggins said. “I want to play QB. I feel like if I get the right training, I can be a good quarterback. But if I have to move somewhere (to another position) to help a team win, that's what I'll do.”

After a busy spring evaluation period and a summer full of unofficial visits, Liggins has already narrowed down his list of schools in anticipation of making a decision later this year.

“I'd say my top four is LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State,” he said. “I've been to all of them. I like them because they're all pretty nice campuses. Playing with Alabama and LSU, you know you're going to compete for a national championship every year and that's what I'm looking for. And I know they're a pipeline for the NFL.

“Playing time, playing QB and the school. All of it. I'm looking for a school that has good tradition and that put good students out and have a good graduation rate.”

Hutchinson excited to be building at Auburn

While there were plenty of commitments playing in the tournament, it was somewhat rare to have two on the same team. Such was not the case with the Goon Squad, which featured a pair of future Auburn Tigers in Dadeville (Ala.) tight end Darrion Hutcherson and Edgewood (Ky.) quarterback Zeke Pike. The two connected on plenty of throws over the weekend and even when one player hit a rough patch, the other was able help turn things around.

“If I'm struggling, he'll pick me up and if he's struggling, I'll pick him up,” Hutcherson said. “That's just how it is.”

The bond the two developed over the past few months on the 7-on-7 circuit is something Hutcherson expects to have dividends when the two eventually end up on the Plains.

“It definitely allows us to build that relationship early,” he said. “We're going to have a strong relationship at Auburn because we're out here doing (7-on-7). This is just like a vacation and getting extra work in.”

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is aware that Auburn is losing several pieces from their magical run to the BCS championship last year but believes the current group of 2012 commitments can be part of another big run in a couple of years.

“You just have to go somewhere where your heart feels comfortable at,” Hutcherson said of why he picked the school. “Auburn had a great year with Cam Newton and Nick Fairley coming in and winning all the awards and the national championship. They've got a great coaching staff and now they're on a rebuilding year. Me and Zeke are going down there to start the number one recruiting class to get Auburn back rolling like they used to be.”

Hutcherson mentioned that he will an official visit to nearby Auburn and will possibly schedule one to Utah just to visit the school.
 

Posted on: July 2, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 3:33 pm
 

SEC Recruiting Breakdown

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was an active month on the SEC recruiting trail as we near the halfway point to Signing Day. Here's a quick take on a few of the teams as we enter July.

Alabama
The Crimson Tide added two players in June and have continued to load up on athletes that could end up helping out at multiple positions in college. Defensive tackle Darren Lake is a bit under the radar but he is the type of nose tackle that fits into Nick Saban's defense and frees up the rest of the players to make plays. The class is a bit defensive-heavy, so there could be more emphasis on offensive players in the next few months.

Auburn

June was a good month for the Tigers as they added some talented skill position players to surround quarterback Zeke Pike. JaQuay Williams is going to be a nice red zone target and T.J. Yeldon should help with running back depth once he gets to campus.

South Carolina

The Gamecocks doubled their class in June and they added quality pieces at the same time. The big pickup was Kelvin Rainey out of Florida who was drawing a bunch of attention from some powerhouse programs. The staff also has made some nice gains with several Georgia prospects and it wouldn't be all that surprising if they reel in one or two more from the state in the coming months.

Tennessee

Derek Dooley and the Vols are surprisingly the SEC recruiting runts at the moment with only three commitments. They were in on several players that ended up making commitments elsewhere, which is a bit of a blow, especially since some of them went to SEC rivals. It's not a great year for in-state talent but what players there are, the Vols have had somewhat of a hard time keeping. There's plenty of time to turn things around but the staff has their work cut out for them.

Vanderbilt

The new regime in Nashville is not backing down from anyone and there's certainly a new attitude under head coach James Franklin. They're actually the top dogs in-state at the moment and they've raided Georgia successfully for a few solid building blocks. The 'dores grabbed the top player in the state in running back Brian Kimbrow and have plenty of momentum nearing the halfway point of the recruiting season.
Posted on: July 2, 2011 1:07 pm
 

June SEC Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The temperature gauge continues to rise and, as we move into July, it's time to see how schools are building their recruiting classes of 2012. Today, we'll take a look at the verbal commitments for the SEC.

   Alabama (14)

Defensive end Ryan Anderson (Daphne, Ala.)
Defensive tackle Dakota Ball (Lindale, Ga.)
Athlete Kenyan Drake (Powder Springs, Ga.)
Athlete Casey Gladney (Columbia, S.C.)
Offensive lineman Brandon Greene (Ellenwood, Ga.)
Kicker Adam Griffith (Calhoun, Ga.)
Defensive end Caleb Gulledge (Prattville, Ala.)
Athlete Tyler Hayes (Thomasville, Ala.)
Defensive tackle Darren Lake (York, Ala.)
Linebacker Dillon Lee (Buford, Ga.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Linebacker Reggie Ragland (Madison, Ala.)
Running back Justin Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.)
Athlete Justin Thomas (Prattville, Ala.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Athlete Eddie Williams (Panama City, Fla.)

   Arkansas (7)

Offensive lineman Cordale Boyd (Memphis, Tenn.)
Wide receiver Jalen Cobb (Warren, Ark.)
Athlete Nathan Holmes (Port Arthur, Texas)
Running back Donovan Roberts (Norman, Okla.)
Defensive end Jeremy Sprinkle (White Hall, Ark.)
Linebacker A.J. Turner (Lepanto, Ark.)  
Offensive lineman Jeremy Ward Pottsville, Ark.)

   Auburn (10)

Offensive lineman Shane Callahan (Parker, Colo.)
Defensive back Joshua Holsey (Fairburn, Ga.)
Athlete Darrion Hutcherson (Dadeville, Ala.)
Wide receiver Ricardo Louis (Miami Beach, Fla.)
Defensive end Cassanova McKinzy (Birmingham, Ala.)
Tight end Ricky Parks (Hogansville, Ga.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Defensive tackle Darius Philon (Prichard, Ala.)
Quarterback Zeke Pike (Edgewood, Ky.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Wide receiver JaQuay Williams (Tyrone, Ga.)
Running back T.J. Yeldon (Daphne, Ala.)

   Florida (13)

Defensive back Willie Bailey (Hallandale, Fla.)
Running back Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Kicker Austin Hardin (Atlanta, Ga.)
Running back Matt Jones (Seffner, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Defensive tackle JaFar Mann (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Defensive tackle Dante Phillips (Venice, Fla.)
Linebacker Lorenzo Phillips (Patterson, La.)
Wide receiver LaTroy Pittman (Citra, Fla.)
Defensive back Brian Poole (Bradenton, Fla.)
Linebacker Jeremi Powell (Largo, Fla.)
Tight end Colin Thompson (Warminster, Pa.)
Defensive tackle Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, Ga.)

   Georgia (10)
 
Kicker Collin Barber (Cartersville, Ga.)
Wide receiver C.J. Curry (Gainesville, Ga.)
Defensive end James Deloach (Millen, Ga.)
Defensive end Jalen Fields (Milledgeville, Ga.)
Athlete Leonard Floyd (Eastman, Ga.)  
Athlete Quayvon Hicks (Blackshear, Ga.)
Kicker Marshall Morgan (Miami, Fla.)
Wide receiver Lonnie Outlaw (Milledgeville, Ga.)
Tight end Ty Smith (Moultrie, Ga.)
Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor (Millen, Ga.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member

   Kentucky (11)

Offensive lineman Darone Bailey (Coahoma JUCO/Clarksdale, Miss.)
Defensive back Daron Blaylock (Marietta, Ga.)
Defensive back Shawn Blaylock (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Defensive back Zach Blaylock (Marietta, Ga.)
Defensive tackle Thomas Chapman (Louisville, Ky.)
Defensive tackle Patrick Graffree (Elizabethtown, Ky.)
Defensive back Josh Harris (Maysville, Ky.)
Offensive lineman Zach Myers (Miamisburg, Ohio)
Defensive back Jonathan Reed (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Wide receiver DeMarcus Sweat (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Quarterback Patrick Towles (Fort Thomas, Ky.)

   LSU (15) 

Athlete Devante Bourque (Crowley, La.)
Defensive end Torshiro Davis (Shreveport, La.)
Wide receiver Travin Dural (Beaux Bridge, La.)  
Defensive end Ronnie Feist (Edgard, La.)
Offensive lineman Reid Ferguson (Buford, Ga.)
Tight end Dillon Gordon (River Ridge, La.)
Linebacker Trey Granier (Thibodaux, La.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Defensive end Jerald Hawkins (Baldwin, La.)
Wide receiver Kavahra Holmes (Breaux Bridge, La.)
Wide receiver Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Athlete Lamar Lewis (Lafayette, La.)
Defensive back Derrick Raymond (Metairie, La.)
Defensive back Jerquinick Sandolph (Boutte, La.) 
Defensive back Dwayne Thomas (New Orleans, La.)
Tight end John Thomas (Bossier City, La.)

   Ole Miss (7)

Defensive back Jordan Batiste (Lutcher, La.)
Quarterback C.J. Beathard (Franklin, Tenn.)
Defensive tackle Issac Gross (Batesville, Miss.)
Offensive lineman Jake Meador (Whiteland, Ind.)
Offensive lineman Ben Still (Memphis, Tenn.)
Defensive end Temario Strong (Batesville, Miss.)
Running back Jaylen Walton (Memphis, Tenn.)

   Mississippi State (8)

Defensive end Nelson Adams (Brandon, Miss.)
Defensive back Quadry Antoine (Belle Chasse, La.)
Linebacker Torrey Bell (New Oreleans, La.)
Defensive end Ryan Brown (Marrero, La.)
Offensive lineman Cole Carter (Caledonia, Miss.)
Offensive lineman Devon Desper (Madison, Miss.)
Athlete Deonte Evans (McComb, Miss.)
Defensive back Cedric Jiles (Clinton, Miss.)

   South Carolina (10)

Defensive end Darius English (Powder Springs, Ga.)
Defensive back Kyle Fleetwood (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Linebacker T.J. Holloman (Atlanta, Ga.)
Defensive tackle Carlos Hood (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Athlete Rico McWilliams (Hampton, Ga.)
Tight end Kelvin Rainey (Yulee, Fla.)
Running back Kendric Salley (Williston, S.C.)
Offensive lineman Brock Stadnik (Greensboro, N.C.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Offensive lineman Clayton Stadnik (Greensboro, N.C.)
Offensive lineman Mason Zandi (Chapin, S.C.)

   Tennessee (3)

Running back Imani Cross (Gainesville, Ga.)
Linebacker Khalid Henderson (Austell, Ga.)
Wide receiver Corey Smith (Akron, Ohio)

   Vanderbilt (11)

Defensive end Caleb Azubike (Nashville, Tenn.)
Defensive end Ladarius Banks (Dallas, Ga.)
Wide receiver Cory Batey (Nashville, Tenn.)
Defensive end Josh Dawson (Tucker, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Barrett Gouger (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Defensive end Tre Griffin (Kennesaw, Ga.)
Defensive back Paris Head (Buford, Ga.)
Linebacker Darreon Herring (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Running back Brian Kimbrow (Memphis, Tenn.)
Linebacker Jacob Sealand (Tucker, Ga.)
Defensive end Stephen Weatherly (Atlanta, Ga.)

Category: NCAAF
Tags: A.J. Turner, Adam Griffith, Alex Taylor, Arkansas, Auburn, Austin Hardin, Avery Johnson, Barrett Gouger, Ben Still, Brandon Greene, Brian Kimbrow, Brian Poole, Brock Stadnik, C.J. Beathard, C.J. Curry, Caleb Azubike, Caleb Gulledge, Carlos Hood, Casey Gladney, Cassanova McKinzy, Cedric Jiles, Clayton Stadnik, Cole Carter, Colin Thompson, Collin Barber, Cordale Boyd, Cory Batey, Dakota Ball, Dante Phillips, Darius English, Darius Philon, Daron Blaylock, Darone Bailey, Darren Lake, Darreon Herring, Darrion Hutcherson, DeMarcus Sweat, Deontay Evans, Derrick Raymond, Devante Bourque, Devon Desper, Dillon Gordon, Dillon Lee, Donovan Roberts, Dwayne Thomas, Eddie Williams, Florida, Georgia, Imani Cross, Issac Gross, Jacob Sealand, JaFar Mann, Jake Meador, Jalen Cobb, Jalen Fields, James Deloach, JaQuay Williams, Jaylen Walton, Jerald Hawkins, Jeremi Powell, Jeremy Sprinkle, Jeremy Ward, Jerquinick Sandolph, Jessamen Dunker, John Thomas, Jonathan Reed, Jonathan Taylor, Jordan Batiste, Josh Dawson, Josh Harris, Joshua Holsey, June Commitment List, Justin Taylor, Justin Thomas, Kavahra Holmes, Kelvin Rainey, Kendric Salley, Kentucky, Kenyan Drake, Khalid Henderson, Kyle Fleetwood, Ladarius Banks, Lamar Lewis, LaTroy Pittman, Lemming Top 100, Leonard Floyd, Lonnie Outlaw, Lorenzo Phillips, LSU, Marshall Morgan, Mason Zandi, Matt Jones, Mike Davis, Mississippi State, Nathan Holmes, Nelson Adams, Nick Saban, Ole Miss, Paris Head, Patrick Graffree, Patrick Towles, Quadry Antoine, Quayvon Hicks, Quinteze Williams, Reggie Ragland, Reid Ferguson, Ricardo Louis, Ricky Parks, Rico McWilliams, Ronnie Feist, Ryan Anderson, Ryan Brown, SEC, Shane Callahan, Shawn Blaylock, South Carolina, Stephen Weatherly, T.J. Holloman, T.J. Yeldon, Temario Strong, Tennesee, Thomas Chapman, Torrey Bell, Toshiro Davis, Travin Dural, Tre Griffin, Trey Granier, Ty Smith, Tyler Hayes, Vanderbilt, Willie Bailey, Zach Blaylock, Zach Myers, Zeke Pike
 
 
 
 
 
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