Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:07 pm

Alton 'Pig' Howard set for Tennessee

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was kind of a thud to the end of the season for Tennessee but things might be looking up on the recruiting trail. Orlando (Fla.) athlete Alton 'Pig' Howard committed to the Vols on Wednesday and plenty of fans hope he's just the beginning of a string of players to verbally pledge to the school.

"As far as decision making, it took the man above and myself just sitting back and looking at the process of the coaching connection and how the college overall made me feel," Howard told the Orlando Sentinel. "It wasn't easy, but I have to do what's best.”

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound speedster held plenty of offers from major programs but where he wanted to go to school ultimately came down to UCF and Tennessee.

"I couldn't go wrong with my decision," Howard told VolQuest.com. "I had a strong connection with UCF since my sophomore year. My family was here so I had nothing to lose by picking UCF. With Tennessee, it was about the connection I had with the program. They recruited me hard and showed how bad they wanted me. They were loyal to me and they stood by me every step of the way. That is why I chose Tennessee"

'Pig's' pledge gives the Vols 20 commitments for the class of 2012 and another versatile offensive threat. Maxpreps slots him in as the 13th-best wingback in the class after Howard wrapped up his senior year with 36 catches for 691 yards and six touchdowns.

"He just explodes out of his stance and gets on top of the corner in the blink of an eye," analyst Tom Lemming said of Howard. "He shows great cuts, runs crisp routes, and consistently gets separation from defenders. A burner who can do it all, he can run, catch, and return kicks."
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 10:13 am

Keith Marshall commits to Georgia

By MaxPreps' Steve Spiewak

Keith Marshall, the nation's No. 25 recruit, committed to Georgia Tuesday in a ceremony held at his school.

The Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.) star running back selected the Bulldogs over Clemson, South Carolina, and Florida.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Marshall is one of the most explosive running backs in the country, combining good vision with elite speed.

Marhsall burst onto the scene as a sophomore, rushing for more than 1,100 yards and putting together an extremely impressive highlight tape.

Since then, he's become one of the more popular recruits on Twitter, boasting more than 5,000 followers and routinely tweeting about his recruitment, which has intensified this fall.

"It can get really tiring, but it's a good problem to have," Marshall told MaxPreps in September.

With the commitment of Marshall, two of the nation's Top 3 tailbacks have verbally committed to colleges, with Johnathan Gray making a pledge to Texas in April.

Barry Sanders, the nation's No. 2 tailback and No. 15 recruit overall, remains uncommitted.

Marshall joins a recruiting class that also features five-star offensive lineman John Theus.

Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:59 am

TE Kurt Freitag picks Alabama over Florida

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Alabama scored another victory over Florida on the recruiting trail on Monday as Buford (Ga.) tight end Kurt Freitag picked the Crimson Tide in a ceremony at his school.

"It was a hard decision. I thought a lot about Alabama and Florida, but Alabama is the school I feel is the right one for me and I have committed to them," Freitag told Scout.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound pass catching tight end joins teammate Dillon Lee, a linebacker who committed to Alabama in the spring.

"I think Nick Saban is a great head coach as well," Freitag said. "He knows how to get his players ready to play and he has Alabama winning like we do at Buford. I am used to winning, so I want to play for a winner in college. That is another reason I chose them."

Freitag becomes Alabama's 21st commitment for the class of 2012.

Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 10:05 pm

Former Nebraska pledge decides on LSU

Posted by Bryan Fischer

New Orleans (La.) linebacker Deion Jones was set to head to Nebraska earlier in the recruiting process but has decided on going to LSU to play college football, informing coaches that he wanted to be a Tiger just days before the team would play in the SEC championship game.

"I committed to LSU (Thursday) night," Jones told TigerBait.com.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound outside linebacker held offers from Arizona, Kentucky and TCU among others before committing to Nebraska and, now, LSU. One of the biggest reasons why Jones made the switch was his desire to remain close to home.

"I thought mostly about family," he said. "I wouldn't have been able to see my family as much. To me family is a big thing. I have a feeling I will excel."

Playing for a national championship contender year-in and year-out doesn't hurt either. Jones had 169 tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions during his senior campaign. He is LSU's 21st commitment in the class of 2012 and the third from a linebacker.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 3:12 pm

Quay Evans commits to Mississippi State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Head coach Dan Mullen has turned around the Mississippi State program and might have landed his biggest recruiting coup since arriving in Starkvile - literally and figuratively - after Morton (Miss.) defensive tackle Quay Evans committed to the program Thursday.

"I am committing to State and I am done with recruiting," Evans told Scout. "I have been thinking about it for a while and I just feel the most comfortable there.

The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Evans is the 4th-ranked defensive tackle according to Maxpreps. The four-star player is also ranked 44th overall in the class of 2012 and held scholarship offers from just about every school in the SEC and from across the country. Staying close to home and playing for a program on the rise were to factors in Evans decision to pick the Bulldogs however.

"I know they are bringing in the best players in Mississippi and I want to be a part of that," he. "There are some other highly rated players that are going to be coming too now that I have committed.

Evans' commitment gives Mississippi State 22 commitments in their current class a little over two months away from Signing Day. This season he's racked up 72 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

"Quay shows super strength at the point of attack and surprises people with his speed, quickness and body control," analyst Tom Lemming says of Evans. "Exceptionally aggressive, he plays the game with pride, a great attitude, and with a chip on his shoulder. He hates to be beaten and if he is, it's never repeated. He works hard to improve his game and has the confidence and cockiness enough to want to be the best DT in the country and right now he ranks among the nation's top ten."

Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:29 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 10:32 pm

Texas A&M class could fall but maybe not by much

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Following a heart-breaking loss to rival Texas that seemed to sum up a season of frustrations, many following Texas A&M football thought it was only a matter of time before head coach Mike Sherman would be let go by the school. They didn't have to wait long, as it was announced Thursday night that he was being let go by the school.

Though it was a rough first few years in College Station, the former NFL coach seemed to hit his stride with the program in the second half of 2010 and the Aggies came into the season ranked in the top 10 with hopes of competing for a Big 12 title and BCS bowl. Several second half implosions later and Sherman is gone and the once promising A&M recruiting class for 2012 might be picked apart.

While former coach Dennis Franchione had recruited well if you go by the rankings, coaching was an issue. It took awhile for Sherman clean up and get up to speed on the recruiting front but appeared to be making significant progress. With the success of last season, 2012 and 2013 especially, appeared to breakthrough classes as the Aggies also gained the additional advantage of being able to pitch playing in the SEC to Texas players.

As with all firings, things are too early to tell with a recruiting class right now but it would surprise no one if A&M's currently 8th-ranked class of 2012 slipped a little. Currently sitting at 24 members almost two months from Signing Day, the group has top 100 players such as running back Trey Williams and a strong offensive lean to the group. With a contact period underway and plenty of coaches doing home visits, you can bet that schools have contacted Aggie commits to gauge their interest. Missouri and Oklahoma Statein particular could be someone to watch out for in terms of stealing a few commitments.

Because Sherman was an offensive coach, it possible several players will look elsewhere. Based on comments from many of the commitments however, it's clear there is a strong bond among the Aggies' class of 2012. The current staff has done a great job selling the school and despite the firing, most of the players should stick around on Signing Day. The key to keeping a top 15 (or higher) class will be on the administration and how quickly they can bring in a new head coach.

If anything, the departure of Mike Sherman will set Texas A&M back with the class of 2013 as the new coach comes in and has to quickly establish the lay of the land while maintaining what is already a very good group of players in 2012. The Aggies should be fine if they find the right guy but then again, that's been said time and time before.

Posted on: November 30, 2011 12:29 pm

Tennessee adds third running back for 2012

Posted by Bryan Fischer

If there's something you can't have enough of in the SEC, it's good running backs. Tennessee hopes they found another in the class of 2012 in Georgia's backyard after Athens (Ga.) speedster Quenshaun Watson committed to the Vols earlier this week.

“I have been feeling them a lot ever since my unofficial visit up there,” Watson told 247Sports. “I just wanted to wait ‘til after the season to go ahead and let them know that I would be coming to their school. I just didn’t want it over my head, so I just thought I’d let everybody know where I was going."

The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder actually plays at Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley's alma mater. Watson held a scholarship offer from Indiana but the Vols staff made all the difference in him committing.

“They have welcomed me into their family very well," he said. "All the coaches love me — offensive, defensive, all of them. All of them have welcomed me into their family.”

Watson becomes the 20th pledge for Tennessee's class of 2012 and third at the running back position. He rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns during his senior campaign.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:01 am

11/29 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Ohio State recruits, no surprise, like the idea of Urban Meyer as their head coach.

Only recruiting can help turn around Florida after a disappointing season.

 Colorado coaches are ready to burn up the recruiting trail now that the season is over.

 Maryland is becoming a serious player for D'vario Montgomery.

 Nick Saban was dressed up and ready to go recruiting after Alabama's regular season is over.

 Missouri will widen the area they recruit but won't make a huge change in how they recruit with their move to the SEC.

 Nebraska has turned their attention to recruiting.

 California has much more to sell to recruits when Jeff Tedford and company head out.

 Georgia has won 10 straight on the field, can they get hot off it?

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