Posted on: June 2, 2011 5:35 pm
By MaxPreps' Jarrod Ulrey
Among the members of the 2012 recruiting class who already have made verbal commitments to play football for Ohio State, there seemed to be one overriding characteristic to their feelings in the days that have followed Jim Tressel's resignation May 30: Ohio State is still Ohio State.
That was among the comments Upper Arlington (Columbus, Ohio) junior wide receiver Frank Epitropulous made on his Facebook page on Memorial Day afternoon, a little longer than a month after he first committed.
His father, John Epitropoulos, who played for the Buckeyes during the late 1970s, said May 31 that his son had no other comment than his statement on Facebook which read: "Thanks Coach Tressel for giving me the opportunity to play at OSU. You will be missed. Ohio State is still Ohio State and I'm still a Buckeye. Go Bucks!"
Similar sentiments rang from many of the other eight members of Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class.
Just two days after the Columbus Dispatch reported that sources encouraged Tressel to resign amid the mounting pressure, a pending NCAA disciplinary hearing and new revelations about the culture of the program, the Buckeyes nailed down a new recruit.
Tyvis Powell of Bedford told various news outlets June 1 that he had chosen to play for Ohio State over Michigan State, West Virginia and Syracuse. He announced the commitment on the front steps of his high school.
Since early December, the only other recruits Ohio State has added have been Epitropoulos and St. Ignatius (Cleveland) tight end Blake Thomas, who verbally committed May 17. Twelve other Ohio residents, meanwhile, have committed to play for schools in the Big Ten or SEC since that time.
"I knew eight years ago I wanted to play for Ohio State," Powell said. "I'm not going to take my talents out of state. I'm going to play for coach (Luke) Fickell."
Read more of this story on MaxPreps
Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:39 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Tags: Andre Jones, Austin Aune, B.J. Catalon, Ben Barrett, Big East, Blake Rankin, Branodn Snell, Carlton Agudosi, Cincinnati, D.J. White, Daje Johnson, Delonte Buckley, Demetrius Frazier, Desmon Peoples, Devonte Fields, Drake Burns, Edward Pope, Ford Childress, Griffin Gilbert, Imarjaye Albury, Jalen Spencer, James McFarland, Jarrod Harper, Joey Hunt, Jonathan Burt, Joseph Jackson, Josh Posley, Kolby Listenbee, LaDarius Anthony, Larry Jefferson, Louisville, Marcus Foster, May Commitment List, Myles Davis, Omari Palmer, Pittsburgh, Rayshawn Jenkins, Reno Henderson, Ruhann Peele, Rutgers, Ryan Brown, Ryan Leahy, Sid Anvoots, Steve Longa, Syracuse, TCU, Teko Powell, Tyler Matthews, Tyler Samra, UConn, USF, West Virginia
Posted on: June 1, 2011 6:15 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 6:30 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
It's been a trying few days at Ohio State. From the bang-bang news Monday of head coach Jim Tressel resigning and a damaging Sports Illustrated article, there's been plenty of "down" moments for Buckeye fans across the country. It is, however, not all bad for the football program on the recruiting front as Ohio State reinforced the notion that the program is one of the few that can withstand major issues that would otherwise derail others.
The first sign of good news came Tuesday as the prize in the Buckeyes' class of 2012, Lakewood (Ohio) offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, planned on decommitting from the program but was convinced to remain a part of the class by interim head coach Luke Fickell over a 45 minute phone conversation.
"The only way I'd go to Ohio State is if Coach Fick is the coach," Kalis told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I know him pretty well. He knows the way I'm a fighter and I don't give up on things. He said he went through the same thing in college and ended up going to Ohio State, and he said if I go to Ohio State, it will be the best decision of my life."
Kalis is ranked 61st overall in the class of 2012 according to MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming, the only member of the OSU recruiting class to be ranked in the top 100. Like many players, fans and recruits, Kalis' initial reaction to hearing that Tressel had resigned was one of complete surprise.
"My first thought was shock. My heart sank and my stomach started hurting," he told the paper. "I turned my phone off and went back to bed. I had 87 missed calls from all over, the New York Times, ESPN. I didn't return one of them. I thought it would be disrespectful, like I was talking behind coach Tressel's back."
The 6-foot-5, 310 pound Kalis is one of two offensive linemen committed to the school at the moment. In another bit of good news, Kalis was joined in the Buckeyes' class by Bedford (Ohio) safety Tyvis Powell, who committed to the school Wednesday afternoon. A lifelong Ohio State fan, Powell was unphased by all that's gone on in Columbus.
"I made this decision, I'd say back in 2003," Powell told Bucknuts.com. "For eight years I've known where I want to go.
"I'm not going to take my talents to another state. It's about dedication to Ohio. I can't leave. I can't see myself going out-of-state to play my football."Powell, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound defensive back who plays both safety and corner, becomes the eight commitment for the class of 2012 - all of whom are from Ohio. He selected Ohio State over offers from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Minnesota and West Virginia among others.
Things are not going well in Columbus with the NCAA circling around ahead of the school's August hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions and an interim head coach but at least there is a little positive news on the recruiting front.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 9:50 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 10:17 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
- Quarterback Alec Morris, who performed well at several camps, picked up his first offer from Wake Forest.
- Taking a look at the commitments for the ACC Atlantic Division.
- West Virginia extended an offer to defensive tackle Trae Clark.
- Clemson added offensive lineman Patrick Destefano to their current class.
- UConn hopes getting on the recruiting board will lead to more commitments down the road.
- Pitt quarterbacks coach Todd Dodge says the program will definitely reach into Texas for some talent.
- An update on Florida recruiting - the whole state that is.
Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:03 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Lots of conference meetings underway (Big Ten's last week, Big East's this week, SEC's next week, etc.) and recruiting rules and oversigning are expected to be topics of discussion. We'll be sure and track what, if anything, comes out of the meetings. On to the links:
- Some details on what Auburn and Alabama pay for recruiting services.
- Offensive tackle Kameron Davis holds offers from West Virginia, Texas Tech, Louisville and others.
- Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine is planning on taking visits to Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Tennessee.
- Defensive back Josh Holsey will choose a school among Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Virginia Tech tomorrow.
- D.J. Gallo is up to eight offers, N.C. State, Maryland and UConn among them.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 9:06 am
Edited on: May 22, 2011 9:19 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a talent-laden Elite 11 on the campus of Ohio State Friday, the Nike Football Camp on Saturday tried to match the talent level and may have ended up exceeding it overall based on the number of big names in attendance.
The latest stop in the camp circuit attracted several hundred of the nation's top athletes and one of the headliners was Cincinnati (Ohio) defensive end Adolphus Washington, who excelled during one-on-one drills once he got into the swing of things.
“I did pretty good,” Washington said. “I messed up in the one-on-ones the first time but overall I did pretty good. I came and bounced back.”
The 6-foot-3, 260 pound end had really good footwork outside of one rep and had a nice array of pass rush moves. He's compact but explosive and proved he was one of the top guys at his position.
“It's good competition to see who I have to go against in my class,” he said. “It's lets you know that other people are out there working. Just because you are one of the top (guys) in the country doesn't mean much, they're coming after you because you are one of the top guys.”
The Taft High product has the frame to add on weight and perhaps even the ability to move inside for some reps at defensive tackle. With almost too many scholarship offers to count, Washington has seen plenty of schools stop by during the evaluation period, including some big names in the past week.
“Notre Dame on Monday, Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee,” he rattled off. “It was a couple of them.”
As hectic as things have been for Washington, he's managed to trim his list of schools down as he starts to focus on the recruiting process and the journey to eventually making a commitment.
“I actually have a top five: Ohio State, Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan and Miami in Florida,” Washington said. “I'm not really crossing anybody out but that's my top five that I like right now.”
Washington hasn't taken any unofficial visits to see those five schools yet but he is about to put a check mark next to one of those schools pretty soon to indicate he's visited.
“Me and Dwayne (Stanford) are going to Michigan next week,” Washington said. “We're looking forward to looking at their roster, seeing how the social environment is, graduation rates, how do African-American students do at their school and things like that.”
The Wolverines are one of the programs that meet the criteria that Washington is looking for in a school. While he's still a few months away from pulling the trigger, the very confident defensive end knows what he is looking for and won't commit until he's comfortable that the school has all that he's looking for.
“I'm looking into academics first,” he said. “Do they have the major I'm trying to get my degree in? What's the social life there and see how the team works together and stuff like that.”
Washington has not really eliminated any schools but at this point in the process it will be hard for others outside his top five to jockey into position to land his signature on Signing Day. Even within his top five pretty much set, there are two schools who have been on Washington from the beginning and continue to recruit him as a top priority.
“Michigan is actually recruiting me the hardest,” he said. “Coach (Greg) Mattison and Coach (Mark) Smith. Alabama too with Coach Sal (Sunseri).”
Though Washington didn't take home defensive end MVP Saturday, he was among the most polished pass rushers at the camp and you can easily tell why plenty of the nation's top programs are after the talented defender.
Stanford stands out too
While Washington was a stud on defense, his Cincinnati Taft High teammate Dwayne Stanford might have been even more impressive at wide receiver Saturday. With an outstanding frame and polished pass catching skills, it's easy to see why he is also among the country's best at the receiver position.
“I got to see where I was at today against some of the top DB's in the area and I think I showed I did pretty well,” Stanford said. “I didn't know any of them but I know from watching them that they were pretty good and knew what they were doing.”
Like many of the attendees, attending the Nike Camp was about more than just going through one-on-ones and catching passes.
“To get teaching, that's the main reason why I came here,” he said. “The first three hours I got teaching and I learned a lot about my footwork and route running. A lot of good stuff here. And also just to see where I'm at against the other top receivers out here. I'm always looking to get better against the best.”
The 6-foot-4, 200 pound wide out also listed a few of the schools to stop by Taft in the past few weeks and for Stanford, every school that does come by to evaluate him serves as motivation and part of the drive to be one of the best in the country at his position.
“This week we had Tennessee stop by, North Carolina, USC was here, some others,” Stanford said. “It's been busy. I'm working to get better and prove to these colleges that I am what they see.”
With a busy spring full of things to do, Stanford hasn't had a chance to see many of the schools who have extended him a verbal scholarship offer. With school about to be wrapped up, his schedule will be jam-packed with unofficial visits over the coming month or two this summer.
“Basically, I want to get around to all of these colleges on the East Coast,” he said. “Next weekend I'm going to try and make it up to Michigan and see them. I'm going to be on the road all of June.”
One of the things that he is looking to do is continue to play with his close friend and teammate Washington at the next level. While there's always talk of package deals in college football recruiting, it appears that it will be very hard to separate the two from signing with the same program.
“Definitely,” Stanford confirmed of the duo's playing together. “We're going to take most of our visits together. We'll sit down and see where's the best school for us individually and where the best school for us is together. Hopefully our individual schools are the same school that fits us best together. We definitely want to stay together and it's something we'll try and make happen.”
Unlike Washington however, Stanford hasn't narrowed down his list of over 20 offers and counting. It's clear that he wants to be able to do some research on a school and if possible see them for himself before naming a few top teams in the mix for his services.
“No, no really because I haven't taken any visits yet,” he said. “I took one to Cincinnati and Ohio State but those were during the season. Now I'm going to take these visits and really focus on seeing if it's a school that I can really see myself at.”
Academics are important to Stanford and his parents. While that is one of his top criteria in selecting a school, so too is how he fits into a program and the town that he'll live in for four or five years.
“I just want to see how the coaches use me and stuff like that,” he said. “I just want to feel like it's a good fit for me. The atmosphere and how it feels and that I like what's going on there.”
Mahone leaves lasting impression
Already one of the top running backs in the Midwest, Austintown (Ohio) athlete William Mahone didn't need to stop by Ohio State to show what he could do. But there he was at the Nike Camp, showing off a good burst, soft hands and many of the skills that get colleges from across the country excited just thinking about landing him.
“I felt like I did really good today, this is one of the best camps I've been to,” Mahone said. “There was some great competition out there today and I had a really good time.”
The 5-foot-10, 210 pounder was among the bigger running backs to show up and he tried to use that to his advantage during several of the drills. While he was best in the open field and taking on linebackers one-on-one, he did have to make a slight adjustment when it came to blocking individual defenders.
“I picked up on some more footwork drills and I need to work on my blocking,” he said. “I was surprised that we did some blocking today, I really wasn't ready for it. I kind of struggled with that a little bit so I know I need to work on it.
“It's different (without pads). You can't have that mentality where you want to take somebody out, you have to hold back a little.”
Already holding a double-digit offer list, Mahone continues to pick up scholarships weekly. The evaluation period has seen plenty of assistant coaches roll by Fitch High to get a look at him this spring and see how impressive he is in person.
“The most recent would be Minnesota about a week ago,” he said. “We've had Stanford stop by our high school. Pitt, Cincinnati, Michigan, Michigan State and a lot of other schools.”
Most of Mahone's offers come from schools in the Midwest or along the East Coast. While many are several hundred miles away from home, he's still on the fence as to what's an acceptable distance away from home he's comfortable going.
“It would be kind of nice to stay home but then again, if I need to go, I'm going to go,” he said. “I guess you could say I'm on the fence about distance away from home.”
There's plenty of other factors that will go into his decision however.
“I want a good relationship with the coaching staff, I want to feel like a family,” he said. “Coaching stability. I also want to be able to get on the field as soon as I can.”
Mahone has taken a few unofficial visits already this past year and has seen Michigan State, Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia already. He plans on visiting Notre Dame and Boston College in the near future but there already seems to be one school emerging as a leader for his commitment.
“The best relationship I have with coaches is at Pittsburgh,” Mahone said. “They're just warm and embracive. I went down there for my first visit with the new staff and they were real cool. I went back a month later, me and my mom went down there, and it was even better. I saw the campus and feel like I can have great success there.”
The plan is to narrow his list of schools down this summer and then take all five official visits before verbally committing sometime during the season.
Knapp stands out along the offensive line
One of the great things about the Nike Camps are the chance to see a player perform well that might be a little under the radar. Portage (Mich.) offensive tackle Kyle Knapp isn't heavily recruited but he has seen his stock rise as of late and he did nothing to slow it down Saturday, picking up the group's MVP award and shutting down some big time defensive linemen in one-on-ones.
“It's just a great feeling, I've been working at it for a long time, non-stop,” Knapp said. “I'm ready to continue it and keep working my butt off to keep it going.”
The 6-foot-4, 265 pound Knapp has a great frame and looks to be a natural left tackle. He could get a little stronger but is very athletic and moves well, stays balanced when pass blocking and has a very quick drop step. He needed all his skills during the competition given the talent he had to face.
“There were some really good defensive linemen,” he said. “They're quick and big but I feel like I handled myself well. I'm going to continue to work on my pass blocking and keep going. The coaches helped me with everything.”
Knapp is still a bit under the radar in the Midwest but is seeing his stock rise after performing well at several camps this spring. While he has yet to pick up his first BCS offer, he's got a solid group of schools who have extended a scholarship and will likely pick up a lot more once coaches get a hold of his film.
“I've got six right now, Western Michigan, Toledo, Ball State, Bowling Green, FIU and South Alabama,” he said. “There are some other schools talking with me but I'm not sure who's close to offering. Michigan has come by for a transcript visit. Iowa has come by for a transcript visit, Syracuse too.”
It will be a busy summer for Knapp with the trip to Columbus being just a pitstop along the way. He doesn't mind competing and will have plenty of chances to prove he's one of the better prospects in the region along the offensive line.
“I've got a lot of camps coming up,” he said. “I'm going to a one-day Wisconsin camp, Iowa's Elite camp. I'm going to go to Notre Dame... I've got them all, I've got a loaded schedule.”
Knapp said will wait until the fall to see how his recruiting plays out and likely commit halfway through the season.
- While plenty of parents were wearing Ohio State gear on the sidelines of the camp, there wasn't any being worn on the field. Ironically it was archival Michigan's maize and blue that littered the field. Quarterback Shane Morris, linebacker James Ross and cornerback Terry Richardson were among the top performers and represented their future school well on enemy territory. Richardson was the most recent to commit to going to Ann Arbor for college and discussed his verbal pledge last week.
“I committed to Michigan because I felt comfortable with them,” he said. “I did like Alabama and all the other schools but I felt the best at Michigan and that's why I picked them. I have a lot of friends going there and we'll make it happen up there.”
Richardson injured his hamstring at a track meet the night before running the 200 meters but still managed to lock down opposing receivers. He was one of several players whispering in a few recruits' ears about how good it was to be a Michigan man.
- In addition to Knapp taking home offensive line MVP honors, Morris took home quarterback MVP. Kansas City (Mo.) Ondre Pipkins was a terror during one-on-ones and was defensive line MVP while Ray Harris was running backs MVP, Tre Parmalee was wide receiver MVP, Jaylon Smith was linebackers MVP and Sebastian Smith was defensive back MVP.
- Others that impressed along the defensive line were Michigan commit Mario Ojemudia, who should be a very good outside linebacker at the next level, Se'Von Pittman, class of 2013 defensive end Jason Hatcher, tackle Sheldon Day, Pipkins, Alex Pace and Dayrl Goldsmith.
- The defensive backs had a very good day, with Cameron Burrows, Marcus Foster, Shaquille Davis and De'Van Bogard among those that impressed. The linebacker group was also deep and the aforementioned Ross was one of the top players in space. Class of 2013 prospect Mike McCray looked good and David Perkins also impressed with how well he moved.
- Stanford was easily the top guy at the receiver position, using his long arms to snag whatever was thrown his way. He's a good, polished route runner who gets into and out of breaks well and has deceptive speed for someone with his build. Corey Smith, Kevin Davis, Jeremy Graves, Gervon Simon and Urston Smith also performed well. Zeke Pike bounced back from a rough day at the Elite 11 to throw the ball much better. Pat Dill was another signal caller who looked good.
Tags: Adolphus Washington, Alabama, Alex Pace, Boston College, Cameron Burrows, Cincinnati, Corey Smith, David Perkins, Dayrl Goldsmith, De'Van Bogard, Dwayne Stanford, Gervon Simon, Greg Mattison, James Ross, Jason Hatcher, Jaylon Smith, Jeremy Graves, Kentucky, Kevin Davis, Kyle Knapp, Marcus Foster, Mario Ojemudia, Mark Smith, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike McCray, Minnesota, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ohio State Elite 11, Ohio State Nike Camp, Ondre Pipkins, Pat Dill, Penn State, Pitt, Ray Harris, Sal Sunseri, Se'Von Pittman, Sebastian Smith, Shane Morris, Shaquille Davis, Sheldon Day, Stanford, Tennessee, Terry Richardson, tre Parmalee, Urston Smith, USC, West Virginia, William Mahone, Wisconsin, Zeke Pike
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 11:16 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
CBSSports.com senior writer Dennis Dodd rolls out an updated Post-Spring Top 25 today and while he names an MVP for each team, we figure every team is going to need an incoming freshman to step up if they want to keep their spot in the top 25 throughout the season. Here's each team's impact freshman out of their class of 2011:
1. Oklahoma: Dodd notes that the class of 2010 has turned out very well for the Sooners but they'll need a few guys from the class of 2011 to help fill out the depth chart. Running back Brandon Williams is a talented running back out of the state of Texas who is expected to play right away with DeMarco Murrary gone and the offense needing another player in their "diamond" formation with three running backs.
2. Alabama: Alabama's defense is expected to be one of the best Nick Saban has ever had but that doesn't mean a freshman can't be a contributor on special teams and with spot play on defense. Linebacker Trey DePriest enrolled early and seemed to make an impression on the coaching staff. Junior college transfer Aaron Douglas, a freshman All-American at Tennessee, could also end up being a starting tackle too.
3. LSU: Anthony Johnson was one of the top defensive tackles coming out of high school and he looked like he would be the next great LSU man in the middle after a very good spring for an early enrollee. He has the size and quickness to play right away and could make an impact as a pass rusher on third down as he gets acclimated to the speed of college football.
4. Oregon: The Ducks don't have to replace much on offense but they are looking for a few pass catching threats to step up for quarterback Darron Thomas. Another early enrollee and one of the highest rated recruits Oregon has brought in, Colt Lyerla could be one of the answers at tight end, receiver and running back. In short, he's a great athlete and Chip Kelly will find a way to get the ball in his hands.
5. Stanford: The Cardinal are pretty set on offense with Andrew Luck back and running the show but there are a few spots on defense where some freshmen could come in. The new staff must find two new linebackers for this upcoming season and it wouldn't be surprising if James Vaughters ends up making a push for one of them.
6. Oklahoma State: Already expected to have an explosive offense this year to possibly propel them to a BCS game, the Cowboys have high hopes for incoming running back Herschel Sims. Defenses will have to make sure they are ready for the passing game first and Sims might be able to take advantage of some daylight.
7. Texas A&M: Defensive leader Von Miller is off to the NFL (if there is an NFL next year) and while it will be hard for any freshman to replace that kind of production in College Station, look for linebacker Shaun Ward to at least be in the mix to play once he gets on campus.
8. Florida State: The Seminoles are going to have high expectations for the first time in awhile and there are high expectations being placed on incoming tight end Nick O'Leary. While most people talk about him as being the grandson of golfer Jack Nicklaus, the talented O'Leary is also quite a pass catcher who should play right away.
9. Ohio State: There could be two impact players for the Buckeyes depending on how things shake out in fall camp. Quarterback Braxton Miller is certainly in the race to be the starter with Terrelle Pryor suspended for five games and showed flashes during the spring. Linebacker Curtis Grant was one of the top players coming out of high school and should be able to fill in right away on defense.
10. Nebraska: The Huskers have their sights on a Big Ten title in their first year in the league and if they're going to take some pressure off quarterback Taylor Martinez, running back Aaron Green could be a big part of the offense.
11. Michigan State: Mark Dantonio fought off some big time programs for in-state linebacker Lawrence Thomas and one of the reasons why is Thomas is expected to come in right away and play well for the Spartans.
12. Wisconsin: The Badgers typically don't play many freshmen but tight end Austin Traylor could help break in a new quarterback as both a blocker and receiver.
13. Arkansas: Brey Cook knew the Razorbacks would need to replace both tackles and he enrolled early and ended up at the top of the depth chart coming out of spring ball. Anytime you can get a young freshmen start at tackle, you know you have a good one on your hands.
14. Boise State: Most of the freshmen for Boise State are expected to redshirt and develop but kicker Jake van Ginkel could end up the starter with a good fall camp because he has quite a leg.
15. Auburn: Where to start? The Tigers lose a lot of players to either graduation or the draft and several from this class are expected to compete for playing time. Don't be surprised if Kris Frost is a starter at linebacker and able to leave his mark on the Plains early on.
16. TCU: Gary Patterson expereinced a Rose Bowl bounce on the recruiting trail and landed a very good athlete in LaDarius Brown, who will be able to contribute right away on offense and special teams.
17. Virginia Tech: The Hokies need to replace a lot of their secondary and the incoming class is loaded with defensive backs as a result. Ronny Vandyke might be the one to step up based on his size and speed and help out right away.
18. South Carolina: This happens to be the easiest choice on the list since Jadeveon Clowney was the number player in the class of 2011. He should provide an instant pass rush threat to a team that didn't generate much from the front four last year.
19. Notre Dame: Irish fans came out of the spring singing the praises of Aaron Lynch and the early enrollee defensive end certainly put on a show to give them a reason for it.
20. Mississippi State: Defensive tackle P.J. Jones was one of the top guys in the incoming class and Bulldog fans hope he can be a factor early on under a new defensive coordinator.
21. Arizona State: There's very few spots avaliable for the incoming Sun Devils with so much of the starting lineup set with upperclassmen but Mo Latu should be able to provide some depth along the offensive line.
22. Utah: The Utes brought in a very good class and you could tell they sold the opportunity to be the first to play in the Pac-12 their entire careers at Utah. Running back Harvey Langi is a load with the football and junior college safety Keith McGill is a big body who can come in play right away.
23. Georgia: The "Dream Team" recruiting class will come into Athens with high expectations but top running back Isaiah Crowell should boost a rushing attack that was in the bottom three in the SEC last year.
24. West Virginia: New offensive coordinator/future head coach Dana Holgorsen should have an explosive offense led by Geno Smith and incoming running back Andrew Buie could be another speedy player to get the ball in his hands.
25. Florida: The Gators will transition to more of a pro-style offense under Charlie Weis so it's to be determined how everyone fits in but look out for tight end A.C. Leonard. He looks the part and could be a nice weapon for quarterback John Brantley.
Tags: A.C. Leonard, Aaron Douglas, Aaron Green, Aaron Lynch, Alabama, Andrew Buie, Anthony Johnson, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Austin Traylor, Big Ten, Boise State, Brandon Williams, Braxton Miller, Brey Cook, Charlie Weis, Chip Kelly, Colt Lyerla, Curtis Grant, Dana Holgorsen, Florida, Florida State, Gary Patterson, Georgia, Harvey Langi, Herschel Sims, Isaiah Crowell, Jadeveon Clowney, Jake van Ginkel, James Vaughters, Keith McGill, Kris Frost, LaDarius Brown, Lawrence Thomas, LSU, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Mo Latu, Nebraska, Nick O'Leary, Nick Saban, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, P.J. Jones, Ronny Vandyke, Shaun Ward, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Top 25, Trey DePriest, Utah, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Posted on: May 8, 2011 8:22 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Things are certainly humming in Ann Arbor on the recruiting front so far under the new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. Despite not even coaching a game yet, Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison have put together a strong defensive recruiting class and added to it over the weekend with the commitments of Lyndhurst (Ohio) defensive end Pharaoh Brown and Farmington Hills (Mich.) defensive end Mario Ojemudia on Saturday.
"I committed to Michigan," Brown told TheWolverine.com. "Coach Hoke wasn't there, but we had called him and he was pretty loud. Coach Mattison was pumped up and everybody was happy."
"We took an academic tour, then we went back to the coaches' offices," Ojemudia told the website. "Me, a couple of the coaches and my parents sat down and I told them I wanted to go to Michigan. They seemed really excited when I announced it."
Brown is a 6-foot-6, 220 pound speed rusher off the edge and was the first at his position to give a commitment to the Wolverines. He held offers from Boston College, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska and West Virginia among others but his second trip to Ann Arbor in three months firmly turned his recruitment in favor of Michigan, enough for him to make a commitment.
"The coaching staff is a good coaching staff and the scheme that they are trying to run - I know I can succeed and dominate the field in that scheme," Brown said. "Then, with the academics and feeling comfortable on campus, that's what pretty much set them apart."
Ojemudia had 103 tackles and six sacks as a junior last year and, like Brown, was impressed with academics at the school. Ultimately though, it was the coaching staff and system that ultimately led to his Michigan verbal pledge.
"It was mostly the coaches. I really see myself playing under them for the next four years," Ojemudia said. "Another big part was the defense. Michigan is going to be a defensive team and Coach Mattison said I would be a hybrid d-end/outside linebacker and rush the quarterback."
The pair gives Hoke and the Wolverines an even 10 commitment for the class of 2012 so far, tops in the Big Ten. Ojemudia joins high school teammate Devin Funchess, a tight end, in the class as well.
After struggling on defense most of last season, Michigan seems to be loading up on defense this class with the promise of early playing time. Six of their 10 commitments play a front seven position and they're in the running to pick up several more defenders in this class.