Posted on: February 24, 2011 9:37 am

2/24 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- West Virginia has extended an offer to 2012 linebacker Josh Witt.

- Offers are going out for select 2013 guys and South Florida Express cornerback Sojourn Shelton has offers from Florida and Florida State.

-Detroit (Mich.) wide receiver Ron Thompson was one of the stars the Best of the Midwest event at Michigan.

- Southern California offensive tackle Cyrus Cyburt has picked up a Colorado offer.

- Texas is not the only Big 12 school to get a head start on their 2012 class.

- Despite an NCAA investigation circling around the program, North Carolina's brought in a very good class of 2011. 
Posted on: February 23, 2011 9:21 am

2/23 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Tennessee is expected to receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA today. You can bet that will come up with every one of their recruits by opposing coaches.

- Florida is hoping to turn Stephenson High School into a productive recruiting pipeline.

- A quick USC recruiting update and list of offers out.

- Michigan and Illinois are the latest to offer tight end A.J. Williams.

- Baylor announced they've added a punter to their class of 2011.

- The sibling rivalry between Jaxon and Jordan Shipley will be turned up a notch once the young Shipley enrolls at Texas with the intent of breaking all of the older brother's records.

Posted on: February 21, 2011 1:51 pm

Alabama gets commit number nine

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Although Alabama’s recent Junior Day is known more for a possible NCAA violation, head coach Nick Saban did end up getting a commitment out of the second major recruiting weekend for the Tide.

Atlanta (Ga.) running back Justin Taylor added his name to Alabama’s class of 2012 Monday afternoon according to various recruiting websites. The 5-foot-11, 200 pound Taylor had offers from Arkansas and Georgia Tech but the unofficial visit was enough for him to become commitment number nine for Alabama.

"At the beginning of my ninth-grade season I would always watch Alabama," Taylor told the Birmingham News. "I used to think that could be my No. 1 school, and it's been my No. 1 school. When I heard they were interested in me that was an advantage for them. When I got the offer I committed."

Taylor is the second running back to commit to Alabama, which is also heavily recruiting a third running back in Barry Sanders Jr. Despite the influx of talent at the position, Taylor doesn’t mind if there’s a little competition at the spot.

"If I can't play my freshman year it's all good because I'm thinking about the next three years," he said. "I'm just happy I'm at Alabama.

"It's over with. I'm committed. Alabama's my school."

Taylor rushed for over 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns as a Junior last season.
Posted on: February 17, 2011 5:42 pm

Early signing period not popular among some

By MaxPreps Contributor Matt Wixon

National signing day has come and gone, but the recruiting process really never ends. Now it's on to the Class of 2012, and three of the Dallas-area's top juniors gave their oral commitments over the weekend.

DeSoto (De Soto, Texas) offensive lineman Curtis Riser, Bishop Dunne (Dallas) defensive tackle Alex Norman and Ryan (Denton) linebacker Alex De La Torre all pledged to be Texas Longhorns after their trip to the school's junior day.

Of course, with a year until they can sign a letter of intent, those commitments might change. But for players who are truly 100 percent committed, an early signing period for football could allow them to avoid the distractions of the recruiting process.

The American Football Coaches Association cited that when it proposed an early-signing period, which would've allowed players to sign letters of intent two months before the current signing day in February. The proposal was rejected by NCAA conference commissioners two years ago, but an early-signing period is still discussed. Some have suggested a very early signing period -- in August before a recruit's senior year.

An early-signing period would ease a lot of frustration for college coaches who must continue recruiting kids who have orally committed. But would an early-signing period be better for athletes, too?

Some Dallas-area high school coaches don't think so. Many said the reason so many athletes don't follow through on their oral commitments is because they are asked to choose a school before they have enough time to weigh the decision.

"Schools tell them, ‘we're almost full, you better commit now,'" said Mesquite Horn coach Rodney Webb, who had four players sign with major programs two weeks ago.

"There's just so much pressure each year to make up your mind earlier and earlier," Frisco Centennial coach Mark Howard added, "and they can be life-changing decisions."

Matt Wixon is the high school sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News. He can be reached at mwixon@dallasnews.com or on Twitter @mattwixon. Photo by Jamie Harms
Posted on: February 11, 2011 3:54 pm

Key Recruiting Dates on the NCAA Calendar

Posted by Bryan Fischer

We're at the time of the year where everybody is starting to talk about this upcoming camp or some new offer that went out to a player. That's great but as the recruiting cycle shifts to the class of 2012 it's important to grasp some key dates coming up that all coaches have to abide by. While the tape breakdown on current juniors has been underway for quite some time, we're not that far off from coaches actually getting to see recruits in person.

Currently, we’re in a “Quiet Period” until April 14th. This means that coaches and recruits are only able to make in-person contact on campus, otherwise known as unofficial visits. Many schools hold “Junior Days” during this time where many recruits attend a basketball game during the weekend and meet the coaching staff. Many times, verbal scholarship offers are given out and, in the case of schools like Texas, commitments are made shortly thereafter.

On April 15th, coaches across the country are not filing their taxes but hitting the road for what is known as the May Evaluation Period. Lasting until May 31st, coaches will spread out across the country and head to high schools to take a look at prospective recruits as they work out. The coaches who are permitted to go off campus can have one athletic evaluation and one academic evaluation during this period. Sundays and Memorial Day are excluded from the period and designated a Quiet Period.

Following the May Evaluation Period, there is a quiet period until July 31st. Starting on August 1st, the recruiting calendar starts all over and the 2011-2012 cycle takes over.

Posted on: February 2, 2011 4:28 pm

Marqise Lee stays home, signs with USC

Posted by Bryan Fischer

USC stayed true to its roots and locked up another Southern California talent as the Trojans continue their strong push for one of the top classes in 2011. Gardena (CA) athlete Marqise Lee picked USC over Oregon and Miami after a few minor delays. Lee often said he preferred to leave California for much of the recruiting process but that did not stop Lane Kiffin and his staff from continuing to pursue Lee.

MaxPrep’s 14th-ranked athlete in the country, Lee is one of the best players in the state at both wide receiver and defensive back. USC is without a receivers coach due to the departure of John Morton to the San Francisco 49ers so it’s possible that the Trojans are looking at Lee primarily on the defensive side of the ball.

The four-star athlete is used to playing with both Trojans and quality athletes. Fellow Gardena wide receiver George Farmer signed with USC shortly after Lee did and Freshman All-American and current Trojan Robert Woods also played alongside Lee in high school.

In addition to becoming part of a talented class for the Trojans, Lee’s letter of intent also signifies that USC will sign more than 20 athletes on Signing Day in order to fill out the class ahead of scholarship restrictions to due NCAA sanctions.

More Recruiting Coverage can be found at CBSSports.com

Posted on: January 31, 2011 9:01 pm

What athletes will actually sign on Wednesday

Posted by Bryan Fischer

With all the talk of National Signing Day, a lot of people are somewhat confused about what, exactly, the athletes are signing. CNBC’s terrific business reporter Darren Rovell has posted a PDF copy of the 2011-2012 version of the National Letter of Intent (NLI) online for all to see.

The NLI is administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association and used by schools to establish athletes’ commitment to a particular school. The NLI is actually one of two sets of documents signed, the other being Grant-in-aid papers that are the actual scholarship players receive.

Signing the NLI means that a student-athlete can no longer be recruited by another school and guarantees an athletic scholarship for one year.

Posted on: January 31, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 4:29 pm

New rule changes how some recruits may be counted

Posted by Bryan Fischer

As fans, coaches, administrators, boosters and the media eagerly await National Signing Day on Wednesday, one recently enacted rule change has flown under just about everyone’s radar. While most in the media have talked about a new oversigning rule put in place this year - one that limits schools to 28 signees during the signing period - there’s another impactful rule also on the books.

Passed in early January at the NCAA's annual convention, the new rule – Proposal 2010-78 – specifies that an initial counter (an incoming player who receives financial aid in a sport for the first time) can replace a midyear graduate in either the current or following year's class. Like the rule limiting schools to 28 signees, 2010-78 was sponsored by the SEC.

“We really started it at the institutional level and, on this particular proposal, about a year ago one of our universities submitted the idea to change the rule as it’s presented,” Greg Sankey, SEC Associate Commissioner of Compliance said. “The basis was before 2010-78, if you had a midyear graduate and you’re at your 85 maximum (number of scholarships), you can replace that person but you’d have to count the initial counter forward.

“If they’ve done things well and graduated a player and been under the initial counter limit for the current year, why not allow us the flexibility to count that individual for the current year as an initial counter?”

The proposal sailed through the NCAA pipeline without comment or challenge from any cabinet or committee. NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn confirmed that the rule is in effect now unless an override vote is called for. 

“It was ultimately seen as a good idea nationally based on the outcome of the convention vote,” Sankey added.

In essence, if a school fails to use the full initial counter limit in a recruiting class and graduates a few players early, they can maximize the number of players they can bring in. Oversigning though, is not the term one uses when talking about 2010-78.

“It’s actually tied to not oversigning,” Sankey said. “You would have to have someone on your 85-man limit leave for graduation. I think we all agree that’s a positive. And then you have to have room in your current initial counters to bring someone new in. You’re not, in any way, disenfranchising someone.”

Indeed, the new rule should provide a competitive advantage to schools that graduate players early. Many would consider this a good thing. It could also mean some players are pushed to graduate early in order to get them out and bring new players in. Given the time constraints already placed on some student-athletes, it could be something schools use to push their athletes academically to their detriment and the school's benefit.

Regardless of how the process is played out and the rule used, the topic of signing players is not going away in the near future.

“At our annual meetings, I anticipate there will be some ideas that will alter what was identified as the signing limit in the past,” Sankey said. “It’s been an active issue, certainly before any attention this week.”

With Signing Day approaching, you bet that this is an issue that will continue to be a topic for discussion.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com