Tag:2012 US Army All-American Bowl
Posted on: June 8, 2011 10:46 pm

Top 100 wide receiver makes the call for Oklahoma

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Normally when Bob Stoops goes outside of the state to nab an All-American player, he usually heads south to Texas. That doesn't mean he hasn't had a few exceptions over the years and he added a talented out-of-state commitment from north of the border Wednesday afternoon in the form of St. Louis (Mo.) wide receiver Durron Neal.

"When I talk to them and they say that I remind them so much of Ryan Broyles, and how I can come in and be a big factor right away, and help them win a National Championship makes me feel good about them," Neal told OUInsider.com. "Who wouldn’t want to go there? Everybody knows all the stories and the tradition of their program. They win games, they win bowl games, they win Heisman, they win academic awards and they send players in the NFL.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Neal is a four-star receiver who held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Illinois, USC and Notre Dame among others. One of the biggest factors Oklahoma had going for them was the pass-happy offense lead in part by Jay Norvell, the Sooners co-offensive coordinator and Neal's future position coach.

“Their offense puts a big smile on my face,” said Neal. “They are a pass first offense and that is any receivers dream to go to an offense that primarily throws the ball. I mean I know OU runs the ball very well too, but this is what is great about their offense is that they can do both, but they are setting records throwing the ball. They always have great quarterbacks and they always have receivers, but they fact they have great running backs makes their offense so good.”

Neal is ranked 47th overall in the MaxPreps Top 100 for the class of 2012. While he is one of the top receivers in the country, Neal is a bit overshadowed in his own state thanks to overall number one player Dorial Green-Beckham from Springfield (Mo.), who recently visited Norman on an unofficial visit. The current Sooners commitment enjoys the friendly competition and will surely start recruiting Green-Beckham to join him at Oklahoma.

The eighth commitment for the Sooners in the class of 2012, Neal had a very productive junior year and caught 31 touchdowns and racked up 1,914 total yards while playing a variety of positions on offense. He will play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio next January.

Posted on: May 10, 2011 9:46 am

5/10 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The NCAA is conducting a "mock" enforcement hearing today at their headquarters. I wonder what recruiting rules some fake coach will break?

- A couple of updates on Michigan recruiting, including possibly stealing an Ohio State commit. Assistant Fred Jackson is the man responsible for the Wolverines' in-state success.

- Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is reeling in the recruits early.

- A high school football star is learning tough life lessons to do his best.

- The nation's top tight end Kent Taylor is trying to stay grounded in the recruiting process.

- Texas and Florida State are the two schools on the top of the recruiting world early in the process.

- Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama and Auburn are on top for a talented pair of recruits who are a packaged deal.

- Offensive tackle Ryan Ward was selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Posted on: April 30, 2011 8:11 am

4/30 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

With the devastation in the region, the Badger Sports 7-on-7 event scheduled to take place has been moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham. We'll see what players still show up but there should be some talent at the event today no matter what.

- Tight end Christo Kourtzidis added two more offers to his pile, the most recent ones coming from Cal and Oklahoma.

- Offensive tackle Travis Averill picked up another Pac-12 offer from Arizona.

- Offensive lineman J.T. Hamilton is the first player ever nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl from his high school.

- Arkansas is in the top five for a top five quarterback in Cyler Miles.

- Defensive end Adolphus Washington has a few visits he'd like to take after already visiting Ohio State and Kentucky.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:05 am

4/26 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The lockout appears to be over and the NFL Draft is inching closer and closer but only the recruiting news is 24/7/365.

- Great job by SI.com's Andy Staples, who went back and compiled a list of how many stars projected 1st round draft picks were coming out of high school.

- Miami is the latest to offer offensive tackle Kyle Murphy.

- Defensive end James Washington picked up offers from Illinois and Iowa State.

- With all the Jim Tressel mess, several experts think Ohio State recruiting won't take a big hit.

- The son of Diddy, Justin Combs, is a defensive back and isn't too shabby.

- Wide receiver Marvin Bracy has been selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

- Michigan seems to be adding players in pairs.

- Finally, here's the Nuggets' J.R. Smith with his best impression of a quarterback. Might be a four-star but needs to work on his feet...

Posted on: April 20, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 6:41 pm

Zeke Pike commits to Auburn

By MaxPreps contributor Mike Dyer

Zeke Pike understands his recruiting journey is really the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that few high school football players are ever able to experience.

Maybe that's why the Dixie Heights (Edgewood, Ky.) junior quarterback said he wasn't completely soured by the day-to-day nationwide hype surrounding his college decision-making process.

That hype ended Wednesday when Pike gave a verbal commitment to play at Auburn.

Pike, who turned 18 on April 8, typically received 20 to 30 phone calls a day from recruiting websites or those curious as to which schools the top prospect might visit or consider. He also received an estimated 50,000 pieces of mail from college programs, according to his father, former NFL player Mark Pike. Mark said the mail takes up nearly his entire office area.

"It's (wasn't) as exciting as it used to be," Zeke said of the constant attention.

Pike, who is rated the nation's No. 30 player overall in the 2012 class by MaxPreps/CBS Sports football recruiting expert Tom Lemming, didn't always answer his phone and he admits the unique experience often got "hectic" at times.

Hectic is an understatement these days, according to Mark, who played college football at Georgia Tech and had a 13-year career with the Buffalo Bills after being drafted in 1986. What Mark went through during his recruiting process in the 1980s doesn't even begin to compare with what Zeke faced in today's highly competitive recruiting landscape.

"I just try to guide him the best I can," said Mark, who retired from the NFL in 1999 and is active in various business ventures in northern Kentucky. "He is pretty smart (in knowing) what he is looking for."

During Dixie Heights' spring break the week of April 18, Zeke and his father were scheduled to visit several colleges programs, including Tennessee, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and Auburn. Turns out, Auburn was the one that made the best impression.

Mark, 47, said the visits were about connecting with the head coaches and coordinators involved with the programs. While the "big toys" like weight rooms or practice facilities are nice, Mark said he and his son were more interested in speaking with the coaches about specific football plans.

For Zeke, who is 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, the serious recruiting attention started during the spring of 2010 when he first started to receive scholarship offers. Fast forward to April 2011 and Pike said he had at least 40 offers with a significant portion of those being from Bowl Championship Series programs.

Zeke was the first quarterback to commit to the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January and he will certainly remain on the national stage with additional national preseason recognition this summer. While Dixie Heights coach Tom Spritzky said the all-star game presents "a great opportunity" for Zeke, the standout quarterback is more concerned about the time he will miss early next year when he's in San Antonio for the game - away from his basketball teammates during the middle of that season.

It's that type of perspective that makes Pike a leader among his teammates. Dixie Heights will participate in a national 7-on-7 tournament in Hoover, Ala., in mid-July. The high school squad hopes to improve its regular-season record after a 6-6 record from the 2010 season. The Colonels' offense is expected to be similar to last season with Pike possibly seeing more time under center.

Mark has advised his son to enjoy his senior year because he will never be able get that back. Mark has told Zeke to play the game the way he knows how and not worry about what people might say about him.

Zeke, whose first name is of Biblical origin, said his father, a former linebacker, has had a "big impact" on his life.

"He's been on the biggest stages of stages," Zeke said.

What makes college programs salivate over Pike is his size, arm strength and his ability to stand in the pocket. He also has strong field vision. Pike, who threw for 2,135 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for the Colonels, wants to continue to improve upon his mechanics going into his senior year.

Lemming said he was impressed with Pike's quick feet, his arm strength and his poise. Pike also rushed for 947 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.

"Zeke is a guy that can fit into any system," said Lemming.

Lemming said Pike is a "no-brainer" for college programs.

"He's very confident," Lemming said.

Pike would like to major in education and social work with thoughts of coaching at the high school or college level. He said he wants to make an impact in people's lives.

"Zeke has a great heart," Mark said. "He loves helping people."

Spritzky said in an "ideal world" Pike would make a college decision before the start of the football season this August.

Mark said a decision before the season would be convenient for Zeke and avoid any unnecessary distractions, so that problem is taken care of now. Mark said Zeke has persevered in keeping his focus on what really matters during the recruiting process.

"I'm proud of him," Mark said. "He's handled it well."

National Football Editor Stephen Spiewak contributed to this report. Photo by Wayne Litmer.

Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:30 pm

Geno Smith has Alabama out front

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One of the top corners in the nation is starting to narrow down his long list of offers and not surprisingly has one of the top defensive talent-producing teams in the country on top. Atlanta (Ga.) defensive back Geno Smith is currently the top player in the state of Georgia and just recently named Alabama as the leader for his services, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I really like a couple of their assistants, and I’ve have had some great conversations with (Nick Saban),” Smith told the paper. “I feel like my relationship with Alabama has grown a lot stronger. I’ve been liking them for the last couple of weeks, or maybe even a little longer than that. They push you hard and make you the best you can be.”

Ranked 19th in the Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012, Smith recently picked up his 28th scholarship offer from Michigan. The five-star cornerback has also accepted an invite to play in the 2012 US Army All-American Bowl.

The 6-foot, 170 pound Smith has already taken unofficial visits to Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Miami for Junior Days. Georgia is also considered a strong contender to land the elite defensive back recruit.

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