Tag:SEC
Posted on: September 22, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Amari Cooper latest Alabama pledge

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Alabama coach Nick Saban has been in the film room all week preparing to stop Arkansas' explosive offense but he turned the channel on his office TV for at least a few minutes to see Miami (Fla.) wide receiver Amari Cooper commit to the Crimson Tide on national television.

"The University of Alabama," Cooper announced around 5 pm Eastern Thursday afternoon. "I just felt like it was the best choice for me. I felt like the opportunities there, that they presented to me were great. It was one of the best campuses I've visted."

The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder is a very fast wide receiver who can really get off the line of scrimmage. Cooper selected Alabama over Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and West Virginia - a group of schools that started recruiting him heavily after a slow start ot his junior year.

"It was very exciting at first and it still is," Cooper said of the process. "In 11th grade, I wasn't being recruited hard. I was disapointed in myself but I still was optimisic. I believed I could still become a star player and I kept working hard. It finally came and it felt good."
Cooper gives Saban 19th commitments for the class of 2012. He joins another top Florida wide receiver, Chris Black, headed to play college football in Tuscaloosa.

"He shows good overall athletic skills," MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming said of Cooper. "Not yet a consistent WR but can out jump and out leap most defenders. Runs good routes, catches the ball with his hands, and is not afraid of contact."
Posted on: September 22, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Recruiting & Realignment: How does it shake out?


Posted by Bryan Fischer

Peering into the crystal ball is something recruitniks do all the time. Which kid goes where? Is this recruit leaning toward school X or school Y? He talked about early playing time but he also wants to play with his friend in the Big Ten.

There are so many data points but it is still an inexact science. It's hard, but someone has to do it.

With all of the conference realignment news still swirling around college football, it's time once again to look into the future (The future? Yes, the future) and see - at least for the short term - what the landscape might look like. CBSSports.com has gathered up all of our experts on both the football side and the basketball side to project what all six of the current BCS automatic qualifying conferences will look like in 2014.

RapidReports: Up to the minute realignment updates
Eye on College Football: Conference Realignment Central

From the looks of it, no conference is going kaput. There is some shrinking and some bloating but all-in-all, it's just a few alteration from what the landscape will look like in 2012. Here are our projections for further conference realignment once the current wheeling and dealings are complete:

  • Big Ten -- remains at 12 teams
  • Pac-12 -- remains at 12 teams
  • SEC -- Adds Texas A&M and Virginia Tech
  • Big 12 -- Adds BYU to replace Texas A&M, but only in football
  • ACC -- Adds Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Loses Virginia Tech to the SEC
  • Big East -- loses Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Adds TCU, Houston and UCF; Navy and Air Force as football schools.

So we’ve got six conferences ranging in size from 12 to 16 programs. Which is strongest on the recruiting trail? Which is the deepest? Most top-heavy? Let’s take a look in alphabetical order.




Current picture: Four top 25 teams, 2-3 coaches on the hot seat.

#4 Florida State
#6 Virginia
#7 Miami
#17 Clemson

Future outlook: Jimbo Fisher appears to have the Seminoles back and recruiting like they were in the 1990's. Not only is Florida State attracting top talent, they're closing well and look to be a perennial contender with top five class after top five class. Clemson has recruited very well under Dabo Swinney but that hasn't translated into the bowl games the Tigers want to be playing in - which is one reason 2011 is make or break for him. One figures that Miami will get hit with serious NCAA sanctions that will hamper their recruiting abilities going forward. At the same time, the Hurricanes getting fewer players out of their own backyard could allow other schools in the conference to come in and grab better players - which could be a nice boost for schools such as Virginia or Maryland. The additions of UConn, Pitt and Syracuse don't do too much but do provide increased access to both states for the northern end of the conference.




Current picture: Three top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#2 Texas
#16 Oklahoma
#19 Missouri

Future outlook: The conference everybody is talking about will continue to be the conference everybody will be talking about. Texas and Oklahoma will still be Texas and Oklahoma as long as Mack Brown and Bob Stoops are on the sidelines for the Red River Rivalry every year. The Big 12 staying together means that schools such as Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri and others will continue to have access to a good number of Texas high school players - key in any success any of them have had over the years. Texas will still grab the best players in the state, that much won't change no matter what happens. There could be increased competition however, with Texas A&M being able to play the 'We're in the SEC' card. That probably hurts Oklahoma and Oklahoma State more than anyone. BYU will enjoy reaching into the Southwest even more than they currently do.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#18 Cincinnati
#24 Rutgers

Future outlook: The realignment shakeup is all about the survival of the fittest but the Big East is, without a doubt, the least fit. They have had schools make waves in the national picture before but they've done so largely by coaching up players, not grabbing five-star recruits. Cincinnati has done a good job in the Midwest and should be helped out by nearby powerhouse Ohio State being down slightly. Rutgers is on shaky ground if Greg Schiano is let go but, if he sticks around, they should be a program that is helped by the trickle affect of Miami being down since they recruit Florida well. Not much is lost with the three schools going to the ACC, a good number of programs will still continue to recruit in states such as Pennsylvania and New York for players. TCU and West Virginia will probably be the top dogs in the rankings with both having strong ties to Texas and Dana Holgorsen's reputation proceeding him. UCF is a hidden gem that adds the most since Orlando has really come along in terms of number of BCS players the area produces.





Current picture: Five top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#1 Michigan
#13 Penn State
#20 Indiana
#21 Michigan State
#23 Wisconsin

Future outlook: Oh how the tables have been turned (off the field) in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. No one in the Big Ten has taken advantage of the turmoil in Columbus than the Wolverines under Brady Hoke. Given the quick turnaround, national prominence of the program and Hoke's ties to California, don't expect to see much drop off in Michigan recruiting over the next few years if they continue to win. Joe Paterno figures to retire at some point but Penn State sits in the middle of a talent-rich state and will continue to a solid job on the recruiting trail going forward. New Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson has done good job early on in locking up in-state talent and landing the number one quarterback in the country is a giant block to build on with future recruiting classes. Ohio State has been hampered with all that has gone but if they hire a top flight coach - as one would expect - all bets are off. The recruits in the state of Ohio alone will be able to keep them in the upper echelon of the conference regardless. Also watch out for Wisconsin, which will likely start getting better quality recruits the next few years following their success on the field.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, five coaches on the hot seat.

#15 Arizona State
#25 Washington

Future outlook: A few strong years of West Coast talent will form the basis of a strong conference going forward. The biggest cause for concern is the number of coaches who are on the hot seat and can lose their jobs. For some programs, that means starting over in recruiting. For others, it could be an upgrade. With both Los Angeles programs each dealing with some issues, the amount of talent available to programs like Washington, Utah, Colorado and others has never been higher. NCAA issues at Oregon might hamper the Ducks a little but as long as they're wearing a crazy uniform and have Phil Knight writing checks, they'll be ok. USC has continued to get top talent despite and should rebound from sanctions quicker than most programs because of that. If anything though, California will become much more of a battleground state with more programs looking at the recruits coming out the next few years.




Current picture: Eight top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#3 Florida
#5 Alabama
#8 Texas A&M
#9 Auburn
#10 Virginia Tech
#11 LSU
#14 South Carolina
#22 Vanderbilt

Future outlook: The nation's best conference on the field and the recruiting trail will only get better with the additions of Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. It's scary, actually, to think about. LSU, the Mississippi schools, Florida and Alabama should all benefit to increased access to Texas and the Aggies won't be any slouch by telling recruits that they can stay home and play in the SEC. The same is true of the state of Virginia, which has annually produced plenty of great players. Other schools have taken advantage of Georgia's increase in FBS talent the past several years and even though UGA has a coach on the hot seat, they'll be able to recruit well because of who's nearby. Will Muschamp has shown there's no drop off in the state of Florida for the Gators going forward and the Alabama-Auburn rivalry is becoming just as fierce on the recruiting trail going forward as the Iron Bowl has been on the field. Bottom line, no one recruits like the SEC and they're only getting stronger with their recent additions.




Posted on: September 18, 2011 9:51 am
 

Recruiting impact small for ACC's newest members

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Well, that happened quickly.

The ACC officially added Pitt and Syracuse to the conference, it was announced Sunday morning. While the reverberations of the move are still being felt across the collegiate landscape, one area where things will likely be all quiet for both schools is on the recruiting front.

Though each school draws upon a decent talent base, this isn't as impactful a move as Texas A&M heading to the SEC. Will it allow a school like Maryland to grab a player or two from Pennsylvania? Sure. Does it allow Syracuse to reach into Virginia or Florida a little more than they used to? Sure. But we're talking about a handful of players - if that - every year across the conference. The shift to 14 teams does little in football recruiting outside of being able to pitch playing at new venues like Virginia Tech or Clemson.

Basketball recruiting may be a whole another matter. With increased access to New York City for schools such as Duke or Virginia, the move may be a boon to some coaches. As senior writer Gary Parrish details, the ACC is without a doubt the nation's premier basketball league.

It is not even close to that in football.

While it is true that adding the two schools gives the ACC access to the New York City and Pittsburgh media markets, recruits don't ask a lot about mass media exposure when deciding on what school they'll be committing to. Facilities, coaching staffs and, perhaps most importantly, winning are what counts to most out there. New uniforms also seem to be on the list.

This move opens some doors, closes some others but ultimately the impact itself just isn't that big going forward. Longterm and with some stability with the coaching staffs, the move could be a net gain for all 14 teams. For right now, it's just a whole lot of "meh."

Posted on: September 16, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Vanderbilt reaches into Alabama for DL

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Vanderbilt has been on quite the roll recently, not only posting a 2-0 record but grabbing a commitment from a top 25 wide receiver recently. James Franklin's staff kept things rolling this week, going into Opelika (Ala.) to grab a commitment from defensive end Torey Agee on Wednesday.

"I called up the coaches yesterday and told them Vandy was the school I want to be at," Agee told Rivals Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder held offers from Arkansas State, Duke, Memphis, Southern Miss and Stanford but went with Vandy due to their academics and the fact that the program was on the rise under their new head coach.

Agee's father, Tommie Agee, played running back at Auburn next to Heisman winner Bo Jackson and in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys.

The younger Agee racked up 29 tackles and two sacks in an injury shortened junior year. He is the 17th commitment for the Commodores' in the class of 2012.

"His coach calls him a monster who is hard to block and I concur," Maxpreps analyst Tom Lemming said. "His film shows him disrupting the opposition's backfield more times than not. Plays with good pad level, his motor is always going, and he's been blessed with a explosive first step."
Posted on: September 14, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Vanderbilt nabs top 25 receiver McDonald

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Vanderbilt has been turning heads on the recruiting trail ever since James Franklin took over the program and they continue to put together a top 25 recruiting class with out-of-state recruits. The Commodores' picked up one of their biggest verbal commitments over the weekend, as Minnetonka (Minn.) wide receiver Andre McDonald decided to come south to play college football.

"I had an official visit down to Vanderbilt this past weekend and everything I saw down there was wonderful," McDonald told Rivals. "I got to meet the coaches, their families and just bond. I got to see the changes they were making down there and how they are turning the program around and I just decided I wanted to be a part of that."

Rated as the 16th-best receiver in the class of 2012, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is a huge offensive boost for Vandy's upcoming class. McDonald held offers from Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State among others but it appears he is firmly committed to going to Nashville next fall.

"I'm 100 percent with Vanderbilt," he said. "I made a quick decision before and didn't get to feel everything out, so I was not as excited before as I am now. I'm excited about the next four years of my life, playing for the SEC and playing for Coach Franklin."

McDonald had 1,144 yards and 19 touchdowns last year as a junior. He is the 16th commit for Vanderbilt's class of 2012.
Posted on: September 13, 2011 1:55 pm
 

Eric Davis flips from Texas A&M to Oklahoma State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Texas A&M to the SEC, Oklahoma State to the Pac-12, it's a crazy time in college athletics. One constant? Players flipping commitments from one school to another. Tyler (Texas) defensive end Eric Davis doesn't care what conference he plays in but he does think he'll be a better fit in Stillwater than College Station, changing his commitment between the two schools on Monday.

"Really I was just looking at the defenses that the two schools are playing and I was just thinking about where I do I see myself playing as a defensive end and what type of system do I want to play in when I get to college and things like that," Davis told OStateIllustrated.com. So I felt that I really didn't like it and didn't want to change to a 3-4 because at John Tyler we run a 4-3 too and I didn't really want to change so I feel that just staying in a 4-3 is where I'm more comfortable at and I wouldn't really have to change that much."

The talented 6-foot-3, 240-pounder has only taken an unofficial visit to campus but the biggest reason he decided to switch his verbal to the Cowboys was his primary recruiter, offensive line coach Joe Wickline.

"Really [it was] Coach Wickline too because every time I talk to him he seems like he's just full of energy and things like that," Davis added. "He's just an outstanding guy and I was thinking since he's been so good to me why not just come down there and play ball for Oklahoma State."

Davis is the 13th commitment for Oklahoma State's class of 2012. Mike Gundy and staff have hit Texas hard, as is expected, grabbing 10 players out of the Lone Star state.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 1:47 pm
 

Surveying the Field: Michigan's big night

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Get kids on campus.

Visits, whether they be of the unofficial or the official variety, are the single biggest recruiting tool coaching staffs have and their best opportunity to leave a lasting impression on recruits. A big win at a full stadium while players are lined up on the sideline? Nothing goes further in terms of moving one school up to the top of the list or gathering a commit.

Brady Hoke had turned around Michigan's fortunes on the recruiting trail before even coaching a game in Ann Arbor, pulling in the top recruiting class in the nation before the season started. Following the team's last second win against Notre Dame Saturday in the first ever night game at home, Hoke made an even louder statement to the nation and, most importantly for his future, to recruits.

When Rich Rodriguez took over the program, one of the first things he tried to do was get a night game scheduled against a big name opponent. Why? It was all about recruiting and bringing in some big names for recruiting purposes. Though RichRod is no longer the head coach, his mission was certainly accomplished and Hoke will be the one to taste the fruits of his labor.

The list of visitors at the Big House this weekend was impressive and will be hard to top by any school this year. Five star offensive tackle Zach Banner, 2013 tackle Steven Elmer, 2013 running back Berkley Edwards (younger brother of Braylon Edwards), former USC commit Jordan Payton and 2013 receiver Laquon Treadwell were among the notable names in town for the game. Current UM commits Pharaoh Brown, Jeremy Clark, Allen Gant, Matt Godin, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Erik Magnuson, Mario Ojemudia, Terry Richardson and others were in attendance as well.

With the school's current recruiting class sitting at 23, Michigan is nearly finished with the class of 2012. As a result, the big win under the lights wasn't so much about this year but next. Following the game, 2013 safety Dymonte Thomas pulled the trigger and committed and he probably won't be the last to commit in the near future either.

Given that fellow Big Ten recruiting powerhouse Ohio State is dealing with an interim head coach and faces possible NCAA sanctions, Michigan is not only the class of the conference for the next couple of years but they appear to be back as a national power. The Midwest hasn't had the depth of previous years in terms of talent but Hoke has grabbed the best of the best and is looking to cherry-pick some of the best players in the West. His staff has several ties out there having coached at San Diego State and with the program rolling so far in 2011, don't be surprised to see more and more kids nationally taking visits to Michigan in the near future. Given the success of the game this past weekend, look for Michigan to continue to host a night game at least once a year going forward.
 
Following the game, 2013 quarterback Shane Morris tweeted Ann Arbor was the place to be. Based on the visitor list, it certainly was.
 
Don Bosco routs California's Mission Viejo

MaxPreps Recap
The game of the week as far as high schools go was probably the cross-country showdown between top ranked Don Bosco Prep and California powerhouse and 23rd-ranked Mission Viejo. One would expect a team as well coached as the Diablos to be pretty competitive despite going up against superior competition but they were blown off the field by Don Bosco. Quarterback Alex Bridgeford, a top Southern California quarterback, was sacked six times and threw four interceptions. Boston College commit Michael Strizak had two sacks by himself as the team applied pressure all night that Mission Viejo just couldn't handle.

It wasn't just Bridgeford that had trouble getting going against a nasty defense either. USC-bound running back Jahleel Pinner, a good-sized back who has no trouble running down hill, was limited to 47 yards on 18 carries. Considering the team has at least three FBS-caliber offensive linemen on the team, it was a bit surprising there were so many problems up front.

The Mission defense didn't help out at all during the game either, allowing Don Bosco running back John Wilkins to rush for 114 yards and two scores. Featuring two Big East commits, an ACC-bound linebacker and stud defensive end Darius Hamilton, this is a talented team that earned their ranking. Several players have mentioned competing for a mythical national championship this year and, based on the start of their season, might be well on their way to accomplishing the goal.

Gray runs into the record books

Ever since taking over as the primary rusher for Aledo (Texas), Johnathan Gray has been scoring touchdowns and racking up the yards at a record pace. The Texas commit set an impressive record on Friday and passed some pretty good players while doing so. Gray scored four times as his team fell to 4A powerhouse Lake Travis but that was still good enough to become the state's all-time leader in touchdowns scored with 148 over his career.

It's an impressive list of names he climbed over to take the record. Traylon Shead of Cayuga (Texas) was the previous record holder with 146. Former Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers had 136 touchdowns in high school. Cedric Benson and legend Kenneth Hall of Sugar Land (Texas) both had 127. Considering that Gray still has most of his season and a playoff run ahead of him, he should extend the record to where it won't be broken in a long time.

Allen tops Longview

Staying in the Lone Star State, huge win for Allen over one of the state's best teams in Longview. The Eagles are led on offense by Alabama-bound quarterback Alec Morris and Missouri commit Jonathan Williams, who both helped the team roll 42-23 on Friday. Morris threw for five touchdowns and the big signal caller is looking at making a big jump in the national rankings based on how he's performed during the summer camp circuit and into his senior year.

Big game Brian

Auburn commit Jovon Robinson and Vanderbilt-bound Brian Kimbrow are good friends and some of the top players in the state of Tennessee. The two played each other on Friday and Kimbrow put on a show, rushing for 367 yards and five (count 'em, five) touchdowns. Amazingly, he has over 1,100 yards through four games.

Video(s) of the week

There were so many good plays this week in high school games across the country that I had to select two videos. The first comes from Chatham (N.J.) as a broken play turns into fumble, pass and eventual 73 yard touchdown.


Florida running back commitment Mike Davis rushed for over 200 yards against Tifton County but this was the best run he had bar none.



Recruiting Roundup

- Several top prospects hold the key to winning the SEC recruiting battle.

Oklahoma State is making recruiting inroads into the Tulsa area.

Across the state, Oklahoma is developing a pipeline from Euless (Texas) Trinity High.

The Alabama game made for an epic recruiting weekend for Penn State even though the Nittany Lions fell short.

2013 receiver Ahmad Fulwood loved his visit to Florida last week.

TCU commit Tyler Matthews pulled out a win and threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns over the weekend.

Florida State and Miami coaches were out at the Miramar-Blanche Ely high school game to watch several top recruits.

Great profile of quarterback Luke Falk, who has Stanford, Arizona State and Utah at the top of his list.


Posted on: September 6, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Top 10 safety Blake commits to Texas A&M

Posted by Bryan Fischer

While most of Texas A&M's class of 2012 was on board before the Aggies rumored move to the SEC surfaced, it appears their latest addition is very excited about the possible departure from the Big 12. San Antonio (Texas) defensive back Colin Blake is the latest commitment for the program and the pending move was one of the reasons why he committed over the holiday weekend.

"I think it makes them more attractive to me because that's the best conference in college football so I would love to have a chance to play in the SEC," Blake told AggieYell.com. "They look real good going into the year this year and I think they are going to do well in the Big 12 this year. I like A&M a lot, so I want them to win the Big 12."

The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder held offers from Arizona, Cal, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Missouri and others. Interestingly, Blake had given up football early in his career to concentrate on basketball but ended up coming back to play on the gridiron and, as a result, ended up with a full ride to a great in-state school.

"I wasn't excelling in basketball though," he said. "Football is the sport at our school so I decided to go back, give it a try, and see what happened. I came out during our boot about three weeks before spring practice. That's when I figured out that I could still play football."

Blake had 68 tackles and one interception last season as a junior. He becomes the Aggies' 22nd commitment for the class of 2012 and is ranked as the 10th-best safety in the country by MaxPreps.

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