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Tag:Virginia Tech
Posted on: February 25, 2011 7:57 am
 

2/25 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Slow week on the recruiting trail as a trickle of offers has gone out but just a few commitments. We'll see if things pickup this weekend with a Badger 7-on-7 compeition and a few Junior Days around the country.

- Taking a look at the recruiting impact of the Virginia Tech staff changes.

- A glimpse of Randy Edsall's recruiting pitch at his new stop, Maryland.

- Allen (Texas) running back Jonathan Williams has picked up offers from Iowa and Virginia.

- LSU is the latest school to offer tight end Kent Taylor.

- Looking back at USC's class of 2008 with a bit of hindsight.
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Virginia, Virginia Tech each pick up commit

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It’s rare for Frank Beamer to have to leave the state of Virginia to find good football players but he made an exception for strong-armed quarterback T.J. Millweard, a Fort Worth (Texas) product who became the third commitment for Virginia Tech’s class of 2012.

The 6-foot-5, 220 pound Millweard was receiving interest from Oklahoma, TCU, Missouri and others but the Hokies were the first to pull the trigger and offer a scholarship. He visited campus unofficially last weekend and decided to commit to the coaching staff shortly thereafter.

Millweard passed for 1,621 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. He also rushed for 464 yards.

While Tech is sitting at three commitments for the upcoming class, in-state rival Virginia recently picked up their first commit for the class of 2012 in Virginia Beach (Vir.) athlete Mark Hall. A 6-foot-2, 210 pound linebacker, Hall could play a number of positions for the Cavaliers.

Posted on: February 21, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Miami Nike Combine/Ft. Lauderdale NUC Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

FORT LAUDERDALE - Once again, the South Florida region continues to amaze with the sheer amount of skill position talent available. Although it’s a particularly good year for Florida linemen, several unknown skill position players from the region jumped into the spotlight after the Nike Sparq Combine in Miami on Saturday and the National Underclassman Combine (NUC) in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

Coming from out of nowhere, outside linebacker Justin Horton posted the best Sparq score in the nation on Saturday with a 115.95. The Clermont (Fla.) defender ran a 4.58 in the 40 yard dash at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds and was easily the talk of the combine.

“I had gone to a previous combine and I just wanted to come out here and grab a better score,” Horton said. “I didn’t think much of it until I came over and everybody started getting excited. I really didn’t know what to expect today.”

The impressive Sparq score is an indicator of Horton’s athleticism and he certainly looks the part of an outside linebacker at the next level. Although he played mostly at defensive end last year, he racked up 65 tackles and hopes to have an even bigger season in 2011 by playing some linebacker. With only a little interest from schools such as Louisville and USF, expect coaches from around the South to be asking for Horton’s highlight tape this week.

Coral Springs (Fla.) defensive end/linebacker Cameron Smith posted a slightly lower 94.50 Sparq score but certainly looked the part of a Division I player. Although he doesn’t have any offers, several schools are showing interest.

“I want to play (defensive) end,” he said. “Most schools are looking at me as defensive end or outside linebacker. I’ve got a couple of letters, a lot actually, from Boston College. I’ve had some from Iowa State, USF, awhile ago I had some from Miami, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Duke.”

Smith displayed nice side-to-side movement and after racking up double-digit sacks as a junior, could be primed for a breakout senior year if the combine is any indication.

Jones impresses

Sophomore quarterback Akeem Jones stood out from the crowd of skill position players on both Saturday and Sunday. Already receiving interest from the likes Miami, Florida State, Florida and Rutgers, Jones has been a hot name in recruiting circles after making the 7-on-7 travel team South Florida Express two weeks ago.

Recording an 81.12 Sparq score at the Nike Combine, the 6-foot-3, 190 pound Jones showed off his arm at the NUC, throwing a very catchable ball with good accuracy on short to intermediate throws. Jones didn’t play much during the season due to injury so he’s using camps over the summer to get better on the field for his upcoming season.

“I got hurt the fourth game of the season, broke my ankle in three places. I wasn’t able to play the rest of the season,” Jones said. “Right now my mindset is I just want to win a state championship. I want to get my team to that next level and see how I’m going to lead them there. I want people to say, ‘look at how he set an example for a lot of kids.’ That’s my goal.”

Jones looks like a taller version of former Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor with his throwing motion and strong arm. He won the NUC Leadership Award and was almost like another coach on the field by helping out his receivers and correcting their alignment on plays during the one-on-one portion of the combine. Expect to keep hearing Jones’ name as he travels around the country to other camps and competitions.

Speed is the name of the game

South Florida produces some of the fastest players in the country and both camps had two players turn in blazing 40 yard dash times.

At the NUC combine, Hollandale (Fla.) running back Jared Sanders blazed a 4.37 and 4.40 (hand-timed) in the 40 yard dash to grab the fastest man award. A bit small at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Sanders could be a slot receiver in college despite playing running back in high school. He was a terror to cover in one-on-one drills and had better hands than most, if not all, the wide receivers competing.

Sanders has had some interest from Miami, Illinois and FIU and could see even more schools start to take a look as the summer goes on.

Miami (Fla.) receiver John Green was the fastest man at the Nike camp, running a 4.46 (electronically-timed) 40 yard dash, which was the fastest time in the nation among all Nike combines this year.

“My fastest 40 is a 4.33,” he said. “I play slot receiver, kick returner and this year I’ll be the starting safety.”

Also a track star, Green has no offers but is being shown interest from coaches at Florida State, Kansas, Kansas State and Duke but says he hopes to hear from Miami soon. He plans on attending camps at Florida State and Kansas among others.

Burton takes Overall MVP award at NUC

2012 cornerback Adrian Burton attended both combines and made his name known at both of them. Posting a 98.46 Sparq rating at the Nike combine, Burton was hampered by a bit of fatigue from being in the sun all day and still managed to run a 4.67 in the 40 yard dash. He did much better on Sunday at the NUC, running a 4.51 and showing off impressive coverage skills in one-on-ones.

“It felt good to come out here after recovering and show that I am a D-1 prospect,” Burton said.

Burton was very fluid and excelled in press coverage against the top competition at the NUC. He took home Overall MVP honors and is seeing his recruiting pick up as of late. In-state programs like Florida and Florida State have shown interest but Miami is recruiting Burton the hardest. He recently went to the Hurricanes’ Junior Day and expects an offer to come from the staff shortly.

“I went to the one versus North Carolina,” Burton said. “I loved it, it felt just like home. Coach (Al) Golden is a real good coach, he’s really interactive with the players. I feel real comfortable there.”

As one of the top corners in Miami, expect to keep hearing Burton’s name pop up during the summer.

NUC Awards

2012 Quarterback MVP: Chase Bender from Cardinal Gibbons HS.
Running back MVP: Bo Ellis, a 2013 running back from Miami Gulliver Prep who ran a 4.57 in the 40 yard dash.
Defensive back MVP: Deshawd Tucker from Hollandale HS, he has interest from Miami, Oregon, Wisconsin and FIU but no offers at this time.
Wide Receiver MVP: Davaunte Robbins, who ran a 4.55 40 yard dash.
Combine King and Fastest Man: Jared Sanders.
Overall MVP: Adrian Burton.

Top Nike Sparq Scores

Top Sparq Rating: Justin Horton
Top 40 Yard Dash: John Green
Top Vertical Jump: Billy Crook (QB, Naples, Fla.)
Top Agility Shuttle: Kevon Caffey (RB, Miami, Fla.) 
Top Power Ball Toss: Pedro Sibiea (DE, Homestead, Fla.)
Posted on: February 2, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 10:09 pm
 

National Signing Day: ACC Winners/Losers

Posted by Chip Patterson

Overview - While a lot of the great news did center around Florida State and Clemson on National Signing Day, most schools finished National Signing Day about how they figured they would. There was certainly the drama of players like Tony Steward and Timmy Jernigan, but few coaches will feel like National Signing Day set their program back in any way.

Winners

Clemson - Without a doubt, the biggest Signing Day winner of the ACC. Clemson entered Wednesday with a very good recruiting class, and finished with one of the best classes in the nation. The Tigers pulled in two of MaxPreps top six ranked prospects with linebackers Stephone Anthony and Tony Steward. Dabo Swinney also got two surprise commitments out of defensive end Roderick Byers and offensive guard Spencer Region.

Florida State - Jimbo Fisher has been receiving commitments from some of the best players in the nation over the last several weeks. So it should come as no surprise that he treated landing Timmy Jernigan, the No. 3 defensive tackle in the nation, so casually. Fisher has wasted no time putting his fingerprints all over the Florida State program. Between the way the Seminoles finished 2010 and the recruiting job done by Fisher's staff, there is reason to believe Florida State is on the way back to the top of the ACC.

North Carolina - Dirty recruiting is always going to be an issue with any coveted prospect. But having to recruit amidst an ongoing NCAA investigation creates a whole new competitive edge for the opposition. Head coach Butch Davis overcame all the controversy to finish with a recruiting class that MaxPreps has ranked No. 19 nationally. Only Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia are ranked higher.

Virginia - People figured that Mike London would be able to re-energize the Virginia football program, but no one was sure it could happen so quickly. Between Richmond, William & Mary, and Virginia - London has spent nearly two decades as a coach in the state of Virginia. On National Signing Day, the nation watched as top uncommitted's from the Commonwealth continued to sign with the Cavaliers. There is a lot of good football in the state of Virginia, and if London can own the area the Cavaliers will see rapid improvement in Charlottesville.

Losers

Virginia Tech - The Hokies really missed out on quarterback Lafonte Thourogood. Hailing from Virginia Beach, traditional thinking would say the athletic quarterback would be a lock for Frank Beamer's staff. But James Franklin put in work once he got to Vanderbilt and convinced Thourogood to join the Commodores.

Miami - Considering how little time Al Golden had to hit the recruiting trail, he pulled in a solid class to Coral Gables. But there were several noteworthy uncommitted prospects on National Signing Day who still listed Miami as one of their final choices. Hat after hat, Miami was snubbed by the likes of Bryant Dubose, Dominique Terrell, and most dramatically Elkino Watson. Watson grew up a Miami fan, and many believed his announcement was going to be for the Hurricanes. But with all the hats on the table, Watson had a friend bring a USF hat from the audience. Then his family started doing the Bull dance. Working it. (Seriously)

More Recruiting Coverage can be found here at CBSSports.com
Posted on: February 2, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2011 1:44 pm
 

SEC Signing Day: Winners and Losers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Taking stock of the day in the SEC:

WINNERS:

Alabama:
No surprise that Nick Saban's crew put together yet another huge Signing Day, with the No. 1 spot in the Maxpreps team rankings wrapped up after adding No. 1 offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to what had already been a massive haul. The Tide pulled in a perfect 3-4 defensive end in Jeoffrey Pagan (pictured) and flipped supremely athletic outside linebacker Brent Calloway back from Auburn (after he'd committed to the Tigers at the U.S. Army All-American game), two major missions accomplished. Top those off with the rest of the Tide's commitments -- including five-star teammates RB Dee Hart and S Hasean Clinton-Dix -- staying securely in the fold, and missing out on Isaiah Crowell (and likely No. 1 overall recruit Jadeveon Clowney ) barely even stings.

Video: Jeoffrey Pagan highlights

Georgia: Linebacker Kent Turene was an awfully nice pickup. But landing Crowell was a seismic development, the one member of the much-ballyhooed "Dream Team" the tailback-starved Bulldogs absolutely had to have. He alone was enough to push Mark Richt into the winner's column, but add in Turene and the successful fending off of challenges for commits like defensive back Corey Moore, and even missing out on Pagan won't be enough to wipe the smile off of the faces of Bulldog fans.

Video: Todd Grantham talks Signing Day  

Auburn: Losing Calloway to the hated Tide stung, and the euphoria of watching Kouandjio announce for the Tigers dissipated quickly as he elected not to sign his LOI on Signing Day, eventually joining Calloway and his older brother in Tuscaloosa. But Chizik got a ton of help for his occasionally-porous defense anyway, inking one of the nation's best safeties in Erique Florence and a rock-solid defensive tackle prospect in Crowell teammate Gabe Wright. The Tigers also wasted no time replacing cornerback decommitment Marcus Roberson with coveted Mississippi athlete Jermaine Whitehead, a Mississippi State commitment. Even without Kouandjio, the Tigers landed a top-10 class that proved their program-changing 2010 haul was no fluke. Still, Tiger fans have to wonder: if they weren't coming to Auburn, couldn't Calloway and Koundjio have gone somewhere other than Alabama?

Video: Gene Chizik talks Signing Day at CBS College Sports , Kiehl Frazier commits , Coaches react to Erique Florence decision

Ole Miss: Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen enjoys pointing out the raw numbers of his team's players and recruits come from the state they share with the Rebels, but it was Houston Nutt who ran away with nearly all of the state's top-ranked talent. Having already secured the signatures of former Bulldog commitment five-star linebacker C.J. Johnson and highly-regarded receiver Tobias Singleton, the Rebels added to their in-state haul by keeping top-100 wideout Nickolas Brassell out of the clutches of the Tide. The battle between Nutt and Mullen on the recruiting trail was more-or-less a draw in 2010, but there's little question who had the upper hand this season.

LSU: The day was unusually quiet by the usually madcap Bayou Bengals' Signing Day standards, but that happens when you have your state on virtual lockdown and that state provides enough talent for one of the nation's best classes all on its own. Simply making sure their commitments (most notably offensive tackle La'El Collins and defensive counterpart Anthony Johnson) made it across the dotted line would have guaranteed Les Miles a successful Signing Day. But keeping Shreveport's Jermauria Rasco (pictured) -- one of the nation's most highly sought-after defensive ends -- at home (and away from Texas) more than made up for missing out on Florida defensive tackle Tim Jernigan.

Vanderbilt:
The Commodores won't finish anywhere near the top of the league's recruiting rankings, of course. But given the limited time James Franklin had to work with, the results were quite impressive. Franklin flipped Virginia Tech quarterback commitment Lafonte Thourogood first thing Signing Day morning and brought in several other candidates for immediate playing time, like Ohio tight end Dorien Bryant.

LOSERS:

Florida:
The Gators, as always, can still boast one of the nation's best classes, and no one anywhere signed a better QB-RB combo than Jeff Driskel and the underrated Mike Blakely. Roberson's arrival was a nice Signing Day surprise, and Will Muschamp and Co. turned away a serious Ohio State challenge for receiver JaJuan Story. But particularly looking at the way their rivals at Georgia and Florida State finished, Gator fans won't be happy about being unable to make up any ground with prospects like Jernigan, Curtis Grant, or Stephone Anthony. Roberson wound up the only new addition on Signing Day, and even he somewhat fell into the Gators' laps after his wild commitments and decommitments to Texas Tech and Auburn. Muschamp will be cut plenty of slack this season after his late arrival in Gainesville, but another class that so completely cedes the limelight to the Dawgs and 'Noles won't be as easily forgiven.


Mississippi State:
How thin was the Bulldogs' final class after seeing the likes of Johnson, Singleton and -- most painfully -- Whitehead decommit? Not one of their 23 commitments ranked among the top 25 at their position, according to Tom Lemming. The Bulldogs struggled going head-to-head with Ole Miss within Mississippi, and came up empty when going abroad for players like Washington D.C.-based Kevin McReynolds, who signed with UCLA. Players like receiver Joe Morrow and defensive tackle P.J. Jones are unquestionably SEC-grade talents, but after such a productive, promising year on the field, the lack of recruiting punch is puzzling.

Arkansas: There's nothing particularly disappointing about the Razorbacks' 2011 class (though watching tight end commitment Chris Barnett sign with Michigan wasn't fun), and keeping home-grown talent like quarterback Brandon Allen and tackle Brey Cook in Arkansas was a bright spot. But when you share a division with Alabama, LSU, and Auburn, "nothing particularly disappointing" may not be good enough to stay in the mix for a division title.






Posted on: February 2, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 11:54 am
 

Stephone Anthony chooses Clemson

Posted by Tom Fornelli

What's been a strong day for Dabo Swinney and Clemson just keeps getting stronger. Earlier on Wednesday the Tigers landed Tony Steward to their 2011 class, and now another one of the top linebackers in the country has committed to Clemson. Stephone Anthony chose Clemson over Virginia Tech, Florida and North Carolina.

Anthony is considered the fourth best player in the country in MaxPreps Top 100, and when you add that to Steward -- who is ranked sixth -- you have to think that Clemson is going to have a very strong linebacking corps over the next few seasons.

In fact, this signing along with Steward vaults Clemson's class to the top five in MaxPreps' rankings.

Anthony is listed at 6'3 220-pounds, and played his high school ball at Anson in Wadesboro, North Carolina.

More Signing Day coverage is here  at CBS. 
Posted on: February 2, 2011 8:44 am
 

QB Thourogood switches from Va. Tech to Vandy

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

New Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin needed quarterbacks in his first Commodore signing class. Maybe it's not a surprise that he's been able to find one.

But it almost certainly qualifies as a surprise that he's reportedly been able to find one that was headed to Virginia Tech. According to multiple reports including this one , Virginia Beach (Va.) QB Lafonte Thourogood has made a Signing Day switch, deciding to sign with Franklin and Vanderbilt after having previously committed to the Hokies.

An athletic 6'3", 224-pound QB with mobility, Thourogood becomes one of the biggest prizes in Franklin's first class. But even more impressive is that he was able to pull Thourogood away from an established in-state program like the Hokies. The Commodores are never going to be heavyweights on the recruiting trail, but if this is any indication, Franklin in time may be able to get Vandy to punch a bit above their weight all the same.

Posted on: February 1, 2011 8:08 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 8:22 pm
 

ACC Signing Day at a glance

Posted by Chip Patterson

Before we get geared up with the madness known as National Signing Day, here is a rundown of some of the last minute names and stories in the ACC.

Players to Watch

Stephone Anthony (pictured), LB, Anson (Wadesboro, NC): The talented outside linebacker has narrowed his choices to Clemson and Virginia Tech, and plans to make his intentions known at 11:30 ET on national television.  MaxPreps has Anthony as the top rated player at his position and number 4 overall.  Anthony is credited as being an "every down type player" who can make an immediate impact if necessary.  Getting Anthony would be great news for Clemson, who said goodbye to Brandon Maye earlier this week.

Tony Steward, MLB/RB, Menendez (St. Augstine, FL): Considered the next best linebacker behind Anthony, Steward also finds himself flirting with Clemson, but also could end up with Florida State after an in-home with Jimbo Fisher on Friday.  Steward will announce before Anthony, also on national television.  If Steward ends up with the Seminoles, there will be much more pressure for Anthony to end up with Clemson (where some of the Twitter rumors on Tuesday have him committing).

Darius Jennings, QB/DB, Gilman (Baltimore, MD): MaxPreps has Jennings ranked as the #5 athlete in the class of 2011, but the Baltimore native has some unique schools left on his final list before National Signing Day.  In addition to Ohio State, Jennings is still considering offers from Virginia and recently added Wake Forest.  His 4.4 speed makes him a threat that could be plugged in at any position, but many believe he may find his spot at defensive back.  Regardless of position, a player of this caliber would be a huge sign for the Cavaliers or the Demon Deacons.

Teams to Watch

Florida State: With six players in the MaxPreps Top 100 and No. 2 ranking from Tom Lemming, Florida State will be the biggest topic of discussion on National Signing Day in the ACC. All of this and the Seminoles still have the possibility of adding Tony Steward and Tim Jernigan. Jimbo Fisher has worked the recruiting trail as hard as anyone in the conference. His message to the Seminole fanbase is to re-establish Florida State's position atop the ACC.

Clemson: Despite a less than stellar season under Dabo Swinney, and some major changes on the coaching staff, the Tigers find themselves right in contention with the best schools in the country coming into National Signing Day. They already have a nationally ranked class, and are battling down to the wire for Tony Steward, Stephone Anthony, and defensive tackle Phillip Dukes, among others.

North Carolina: Despite spending most of the season in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, head coach Butch Davis has been able to keep North Carolina on the list of many top recruits. According to local reports, Davis has been making no promises to recruits regarding possible NCAA sanctions. Davis has been stacking four-star recruits, and still could make a splash on National Signing Day with Curtis Grant.

The Below-the-Radar Storyline You'll Need to Follow

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher needed only one season as head of the program to get them right back to the top of the national scene. After a strong finish that included their first appearance in the ACC Championship Game since 2005, Florida State could end up landing one of the best recruiting classes in nation. If Timmy Jernigan and Tony Steward do end up hopping on board, it could be one of the best classes in a long time in Tallahassee.


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