Tag:7-on-7
Posted on: February 5, 2012 12:02 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 12:08 pm
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So. Florida Express tryout brings out top talent

Posted by Bryan Fischer

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- The ink on the class of 2012 letters of commitment was barely dry before the next crop of top recruits took to the field at Saturday's South Florida Express tryout as the recruiting cycle begins anew. One of the most popular 7-on-7 travel teams, the tryout brought nearly 200 players from all over the Miami-area to see if they could make the cut, led by a familiar face.

"It was exciting, there was a lot of competition and a lot of stuff that I saw last year cover-wise," Miami (Fla.) quarterback Akeem Jones, a member of last year's squad, said. "It's the same plays and same scheme so I felt comfortable."

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound signal-caller was a backup last year as the team traveled across the south to 7-on-7 tournaments. This year however, his heart is set on taking over and leading the team - and himself - to new heights.

"E.J. (Hilliard) was who I studied last year," said Jones. "I watched him as a youngster and studied under him. Now I can take over and become the nation's best. I want to prove a lot and prove a lot of people wrong. Most of all I want to do it for myself.

"I'm putting the work in."

Jones has bulked up slightly during the football season and brought his trademark canon of an arm. He's already drawing noticeable interest from colleges with two verbal scholarship offers already on the table.

"Right now I have two offers, Rutgers and Middle Tennessee," Jones said. "Florida State is close, South Florida is close, (Miami) is close."

With a smile always on his face when not laser-focused between the lines, Jones wasn't as sharp throwing the ball on a cloudy South Florida Saturday but was still the most advanced quarterback of those that showed up for the tryout. Though his talent will earn him a college scholarship, his mental makeup are what will drive him to making the best decision among what likely will be a double-digit offer list and Jones is already considering a few factors that he is looking for.

"Education and character," he said. "I want to surround myself with great coaches and get a good education. I also want to feel comfortable. Character is the biggest part, that will take you a long ways."

Though he projects at several different positions, the athletic Jones is looking to play the only one he's known the past few years: quarterback.

"That's what I want to play," he said. "I'm like (West Virginia quarterback) Geno (Smith)."

The comparison to Smith, who hails from nearby Miramar (Fla.) and is of similar build, is one reason why Jones has West Virginia at the top of his list.

"If they offer, I'm coming," he said. "I've already visited, it was very nice. If they offered, I'm signing.

"I think I can bring more excitement (to the offense) and ability with my legs. I would just carry on what Geno's doing basically and bring the program up. There's still a lot I can learn but it's a good fit."

Grace ready for what's next

One of the most impressive defenders at the event was Miramar (Fla.) linebacker Jermaine Grace. A fluid athlete with a great build, he was all over the field on Saturday and went out of his way to show coaches that was good enough to be an integral part of the team this year.

"I was out here last year but they told me I was too young to play so I came back this year and said I'm going to make it this time. The coaches basically told me I'm already on the team but I still have to go tryout," Grace said. "My coach had me playing different positions, like DB and receiver, just positions I don't normally play. I was able to experience new things and was able to do just as well."

The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has a good frame to add weight and the athleticism of a safety. Grace is already one of the most highly recruited athletes in South Florida and is a top 2013 prospect to watch.

"I've got (offers from) Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia," he said. "I think Alabama is close. I've talked to the coaches a lot so that's a school I've talked with that hasn't offered."

Grace has been part of a successful Miramar High program so he knows a lot of the ins and outs of the recruiting process and as such, is already beginning to figure out what he's looking for in a college football program and university.

"I want a good business program, good coaching staff, good teammates," he said. "I want to be able to learn and make it to the next level. I don't really mind (leaving home) but I don't want to get too far away from my family. If I have to I'll do it if it's best for me. But for right now, I'm not looking to go too far."

It's that time of year where Junior Days are quickly popping up on the calendar and Grace is receiving invites from several schools across the South. He won't venture outside of the state for one but did recently check out Miami's and enjoyed his time there.

"Yeah I went and it was a new experience for me," he said. "I talked with Al Golden one-on-one and with my family. It was cool. I was able to talk to players and different coaches. It was very exciting."

Grace could play at a variety of positions but appears set at playing linebacker for the South Florida Express and in college.

Shelton's experience shines

There are not too many players committed in the class of 2013 but Plantation (Fla.) cornerback Sojourn Shelton is certainly one of them and he is already building bonds with several of his classmates to make sure they know all the virtues of Florida State.

"There's so many kids, every time I get around a good one I ask if Florida State is recruiting them and tell them to let me know," Shelton said. "It's good to build bonds with player, there are a lot of players that have a chance."

One of the top corners at the event on Saturday, Shelton was a marked man as others were looking to prove something against the big time commit. Though he is "solid" to the Seminoles, he's still keeping his options open with over a year before actually signing.

"I'm definitely going to take an official to LSU," he said. "I know that's a place I want to go to because they are producing DB's. Down the road I'll have my five (official visits) listed out.

"I just want to make sure it's the best fit for me. You only get one shot."

Shelton recently picked up an offer from Wisconsin and should have plenty more despite his verbal to Florida State. With Signing Day earlier in the week, having a chance to see what kind of talent Jimbo Fisher and staff were able to bring in made the 5-foot-9, 160-pound corner quite excited for the future of the program.

"With Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards Jr., they picked up a great defensive line class," he said. "I think that gives the corners a lot more comfort because it starts with the pressure from those guys. As far as bringing in (Ronald) Darby, P.J. Williams and (Collin Blake), we did a great job as far as recruiting. I think all Noles fans should be pretty excited about the year coming up."

Michel rehab going well

The best player on the field at the tryout didn't even participate. That's because Plantation (Fla.) running back Sony Michel, one of the top 2014 prospects in the country, was still recovering from an ACL tear suffered early in the season last year. Though he wasn't able to be a part of the activities, he came to support several of his teammates at the event as he took a break from rehab.

"It's going good for me right now," Michel said. "I'm probably about 80%. I know I'll be 100% by the season, probably before it. I'm just getting prepared until then."

Michel expects to be released in March but will not take part in Plantation's spring practice. Although doctors have given him a solid timetable, the state's top running back appears well ahead of schedule.

"I'm doing some running right now," he said. "I've been lifting weights since day one. I didn't get out of the weight room even when I was hurt. I'm always lifting."

Because he still has two years before he ultimately has to decide where to go to school, Michel is taking the recruiting process slow while still doing his homework.

"I get a lot of interest from the Florida schools," he said. "I'm looking for a great program. I want a good head coach and coaching staff, especially the running backs coach since I'm going to spend a lot of time with him. Also the atmosphere."

With a bit of free time during the summer, Michel might take a few unofficial visits but is undecided as to where. He's leaning on a few of the upperclassmen who have committed to major programs to help guide him over the next few years.

"I ask for some people's opinions," he said. "I also ask for people that go to school there what their opinion is. I ask how they like it and stuff like that."

Michel mentioned that he grew up a Miami fan and has already visited the hometown program a few times and seen several games.

A few other standouts

Miami (Fla.) linebacker Wendell Dunn, Pompano Beach (Fla.) wide receiver Devante Peete, Winter Garden (Fla.) defensive back Roman Tatum, Opa Locka (Fla.) defensive back Anthony Walker Jr.


Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 1:24 pm
 

SEC proposing major changes to recruiting model

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Southeastern Conference is proposing several major changes to NCAA bylaws concerning football recruiting, according to a letter obtained by CBSSports.com.

The letter, from SEC commissioner Mike Slive to Leeland Zeller, the NCAA's associate director of Academic and Membership Affairs, was sent June 15 ahead of the Recruiting and Personnel Issues Cabinet meeting that was held this past weekend.

In it, Slive details the SEC's position on several hot-button recruiting issues after they were discussed at conference meetings in Destin, Fla.

Among the highlights:

  • The SEC endorses the return of text messaging. Currently, coaches cannot text with recruits (at all) but they can email them or send them a Facebook message. The current rules have already caused several coaches to self-report violations after accidentally texting a prospective student-athlete and some coaches privately gripe this is one of the rules they'd like to seen thrown out sooner rather than later. In talking with several administrators from other conferences, there should be plenty of support if the SEC puts forth a proposal to allow texting. The letter does note that while the conference's position is to allow texts, there should be limits in order to not overwhelm prospective recruits.
  • An earlier date for the first off-campus contact by coaches with recruits.
  • Current rules force compliance to monitor follower requests on Twitter and friend requests on Facebook sent to institutional staffers (coaches, administrators, etc.). The SEC says this monitoring "presents a significant compliance challenge" and wants staff members to be able to accept them without having to go through compliance first.
  • The SEC will introduce a proposal for the upcoming NCAA legislative cycle that will permit any coach or staff member to receive phone calls placed by recruits, recruits' parents or recruits' coaches. Phone calls to and from recruits is currently tightly regulated and the SEC proposal would expand contact with recruits as a way to alleviate some compliance concerns associated with monitoring and reporting. Essentially, the SEC is looking to deregulate a lot of the legislation concerning phone calls and texting.
  • The conference would like to redefine the four recruiting periods (Contact, Evaluation, Quiet and Dead) on the calendar into three (Off-campus, on-campus and dead). The SEC wants the off-campus period to be a combination of the current contact and evaluation periods with the rationale that they would eliminate the media from blowing up reports of the so-called "bump" rule being violated. The bump rule, the letter states, "is a source for media reports questioning the integrity of involved coaches, create the expectation that high school coaches arrange incidental contact during an evaluation period, and place college coaches intent on following the rules at a distinct disadvantage." The change is significant and would allow spring football recruiting to take on an even greater importance in the recruiting cycle. Coaches would be able to talk to players freely when they visit campuses in the spring and it wouldn't be all that surprising to see the number of verbal commitments to skyrocket as recruits commit when a coach comes to visit.
  • Although the letter states the conference supports earlier official visits - especially taking visits during the summer - they do not propose a specific date the visits should start because "no clear consensus exists around the date that might be established." Slive notes that there is some concern that summer official visits would allow some schools to pay for recruits to come to campus and then allow them to participate in their summer camp at the same time, thus covering travel costs for recruits to camps where players would be evaluated.
  • It has been previously discussed, but the SEC will submit an NCAA-wide proposal that bans 7-on-7 and other so-called "non-scholastic" events from college campuses. The conference also will submit a proposal that bans coaches from involvement in local sports clubs.
Needless to say, the SEC is making a major legislative push to alter many of the rules governing recruiting. Given the way the NCAA legislative cycle operates, it will likely be awhile before proposals turn into bylaws, but the SEC is certainly sending a message that its members want changes to the way things are currently operating.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 8:22 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 10:30 am
 

6/14 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Eye on Recruiting Blog had to do a bit of travel so there's plenty to catch up on today. Here's a bunch of links to keep you occupied for a while:

- For the basketball junkies, be sure and bookmark the Basketball Eye on Recruiting Blog, run by the esteemed Jeff Borzello.

- Interesting story from SI.com's Andy Staples about sports agency IMG getting into high school football and 7-on-7. Speaking of 7-on-7, it's something some players need for exposure.

- A look at BYU's 2012 recruiting class, their first as a football independent. 

- A few tidbits from Arkansas' three-day camp. 

- Michigan is hosting a ton of players this week and are hoping to get a few commitments at the same time.

- Believe it or not, one high school has a whopping 10 players committed to FBS schools.

- Defensive lineman Kyle Kelley is attracting plenty of attention and Cal, USC and Notre Dame might be on the verge of offering.

- Defensive end Kenderius Whitehead was offered by Georgia after defensive coordinator Todd Grantham thought he looked like DeMarcus Ware.

Commitments:

- Washington added three commitments this past week in the aptly named receiver Dwayne Washington, offensive tackle Nathan Dean and cornerback Damonte Kazee.   

- Louisville picked up offensive lineman T.C. Klusman

- Virginia added a big commitment from defensive end Michael Moore, who is also the son of an assistant coach.  

- Florida nabbed a nice cornerback in Brian Poole Jr

- Recruiting at the "U" is going strong as the Hurricanes picked up two this week in defensvie end Dwayne Hoilett and cornerback Vernon Davis.

- Tight end Ricky Parks pledged to Auburn over Georgia and Alabama

- Georgia recruiting received a nice boost this past week, adding four commitments from fullback Quayvon Hicks, punter Colin Barber and the package deal of defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor and athlete James DeLoach.
Posted on: May 11, 2011 7:13 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 7:18 pm
 

NCAA looking closer at third parties

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The NCAA hosted a Mock "Enforcement Experience" on Tuesday for several media members in order to better explain how the entire process works. CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd was among those in attendance.

While the day was mostly centered on how the enforcement staff goes about its business and how a case goes to the Committee on Infractions, reporters did get a chance to talk to NCAA President Mark Emmert and Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach. One of the topics that was broached were issues of third parties involving themselves in recruiting.

"Who are these individuals? We're trying to get our arms around that," Roe Lach told The Birmingham News. "And do we do it through legislation or some other means? I imagine there will be some sort of rule change. But it's not a quick fix. It's going to be a multi-faceted solution."

The NCAA sent a select number of the enforcement staff to gather information on the ground at camps and combines around the country earlier this spring. Of particular concern were 7-on-7 events turning into football's version of the AAU basketball scene.

At the heart of the matter are individuals such as Will Lyles, who has been involved in probes at Oregon, LSU and Texas A&M, who act as a go between for highly recruited athletes, their parents and coaches. On top of gathering information about such individuals, defining them for possible legislative proposals is becoming an issue for the association.

"How do you capture that in a definition?" Rachel Newman Baker, NCAA director of agent, gambling and amateurism, said. "The first definition we sent to (the Amateurism Cabinet) they felt was too broad and captured too many people. So now we're trying to narrow that."

The hopes of many at the NCAA is that the definition of an agent will become more sophisticated and that legislation will be introduced that separates legitimate agents and runners or third parties that the NCAA is really targeting.

Really, the only question is not if the NCAA plans on doing something but when. Emmert said in December he would support emergency legislation closing some loopholes and to redefine who an agent is. So far no such emergency legislation has been introduced into the legislative cycle but Emmert called for changes once again on Tuesday.

Posted on: April 17, 2011 8:13 am
 

4/17 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Another stop of the Nike Training Camp tour today, this time at Florida State and what is expected to be a great turnout. It's a good year for talent in South Georgia and North Florida and there should be plenty of players who make the trip.

- UCF hosted an impressive number of recruits for their Spring Game yesterday.

- Linebacker Michael Scherer holds several scholarship offers from the likes of Missouri, Michigan State and Stanford and is also hearing from USC.

- Take a look at Clemson's class of 2009 and in hindsight it doesn't appear the Tigers did too well.

- Five-star defensive end Ray Drew will also join the Georgia track team once he gets to Athens.

- The NCAA is going to go Eliot Ness on 7-on-7 and third parties according to a columnist.

- Five recruits from the class of 2011 who could help Michigan right away.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 8:26 am
 

4/14 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Another round of camps coming up tomorrow with the Nike Elite 11 and Training Camp at Georgia tomorrow night. Should be fun under the lights in Athens.

- Great story from Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples about 7-on-7 and the sport's most famous coach, Keyshawn Johnson.

- Quarterback Kendric Bostic visited Princeton unofficially and is hearing from UCF and Northwestern the most.

- Florida State and LSU are the latest to offer defensive end Jordan Jenkins.

- Offensive lineman Trey Keenan holds 16 offers and is very high on Arkansas after visiting there.

- Wide out Marvin Bracy is having success on the track and on the field as well.

- Linebacker Joe Bolden recently visited Michigan and had a few impressions of the visit.
Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:36 am
 

3/6 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Heading out to the Los Angeles Under Armour camp later today to see some of the top talent in Southern California. Stay tuned for tons of stuff coming on the blog.

- Excellent look at the changes going on in 7-on-7 and high school recruiting by Pete Thamel of the New York Times.

- One of the top quarterbacks in the Tampa Bay area has returned to his team after disciplinary issues.

- Another Bay area quarterback is trying to make a name for himself by competing on the camp and combine circuit.

- A player with a familiar last name has signed a letter of intent with Utah, 6-foot-5, 350 pound Benji Kemoeatu.

- Auburn's Junior Day is today and they have a long and impressive visitor's list.

Posted on: January 14, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: January 14, 2011 10:23 am
 

1/14 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Nineteen days until signing day and the coaches are already hitting the recruiting trail hard to close out their classes. That said, at least most of them play on Saturdays on green grass unlike the coaches in the first link.

- This is not recruiting related but worth passing on as New Braunfels (TX) Canyon High has replaced their stadium turf - Eastern Washington-style. The red turf, the first in the nation at the high school level, might not be the only colored turf in the state of Texas as the University of Texas San Antonio is considering an orange field. Although I like the Boise State blue field, the way things are going, I wouldn't want to be the ones that eventually have a pink football field. 

- The South Florida Blur, a 7-on-7 travel team sponsored by SoFlaFootball.com and Under Armour, has released its roster full of underclass all-star talents. All-star teams from Florida, Texas, California and others are always an amazing collection of talent on the field.

- Staying in Florida, one of the top uncommitted quarterbacks has moved Florida State and LSU down on his list. Jacoby Brissett has quickly become a hot name out on the recruiting trail and after taking a visit to South Carolina, is expected to choose between Miami, Florida and Washington.

- Clemson has backed off recruiting running back Marlin Lane after he didn't firm up his commitment to the Tigers. Clemson currently has one running back commit, stud Mike Bellamy.

- Former Ohio State receiver, and son of Cris Carter, Duron Carter will not be returning to Ohio State his junior college coach confirmed. Maimi is an option for Carter, who is from Ft. Lauderdale.

- Stanford commit Amir Carlisle will visit USC this weekend. Carlisle expressed interest in the Trojans before committing to the Cardinal so it will be interesting if this visit opens up his recruitment in the wake of the Stanford coaching change. Another Stanford-commit who is on the fence with the coaching change, linebacker James Vaughters, is also having second thoughts due to the likely departure of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

- MaxPreps.com has an update on Sam Meredith, who will head to San Diego State despite the departure of Brady Hoke to Michigan. MaxPreps.com also named Pearland (TX) coach Tony Heath as its U.S. Air Force National Coach of the Year.

- Mississippi State added defensive end Barron Dixon to their recruiting class after canceling a visit to Vanderbilt. Though he is listed at defensive end, he is expected to slide inside to tackle.
- Tosh Lupoi continues to do excellent work and has built Cal's defensive line into one of the best in the nation with the recent commitment of Brandon Scarlett from Portland (OR). Scarlett was pursued by several schools around the country.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com