Tag:Anthony Johnson
Posted on: February 20, 2012 5:12 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 5:39 pm
 

Monday Mailbag - Sooners, Aggies and Davonte Neal



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Starting a new feature on the blog as the recruiting season picks up and spring ball starts across the country: The Monday Mailbag. My colleague Bruce Feldman runs a similar feature on Friday that is a must-read but there are plenty of questions out there that need answering and, well, I'm here to answer them since college football is very much a 24/7/365 sport nowadays. So without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
Great start to the mailbag because it's a chance to bring up Dennis Dodd and Brett McMurphy's early top 25 ballots. I'm sure there's some griping from plenty of fans about how both have the order but I pretty much see eye-to-eye on most of the picks. To answer the question, I see a few teams that are a tad over-hyped going into next year, starting with Oklahoma, especially at number three overall. Are they top-10 worthy? Absolutely with 15 starters coming back and quarterback Landry Jones among them. But the way they struggled down the stretch last season was worrisome, especially with the injuries to Dominique Whaley and Ryan Broyles and how the offense just wasn't the same. I'm guessing the coaching staff will put more emphasis on spreading the ball around and hope for a boost in the run game with all of the tailbacks healthy to provide more consistency. Don't discount the loss of defensive coordinator Brent Venables either, the guys were not around for when Mike Stoops was and he didn't recruit them so it will take a little time to develop some chemistry. With plenty of time to study it, I don't think the 'Belldozer' package will be as effective as it was in 2011 unless there's more passing to keep defenses honest.

One other factor that should be noted is it'll be a tough Big 12 this year with newcomers TCU and West Virginia both having good teams on top of rival Texas taking what should be a step forward this year. It's possible the Sooners have a better team than last year but doesn't mean they'll be able to take advantage. I also expect several of the incoming recruits to see extended playing time, especially among the tight ends and receivers (I'd guess Taylor McNamara and Durron Neal for sure) Stoops signed.

A few others that are a tad over-hyped: Wisconsin, Florida, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. Under appreciated? You're looking at TCU, Kansas State, Nebraska and South Carolina.
Great timing for this question considering what the Aggies did on the recruiting trail over the weekend. Seven commitments is an impressive number and pushes the program to a nation's best 13 total commitments for the class of 2013. After already grabbing a top 15 class with the group they just signed, Kevin Sumlin and his staff have certainly hit the ground running. It helps tremendously that several of the coaches came over from Houston and had already been evaluating some of these recruits and developed a prior relationship. One of the things that I got when talking with Sumlin last month was that he certainly would make it a point to sell the fact that A&M was the only SEC program in the state. While Texas will almost always have the pick of the litter when it comes to in-state guys, you can tell recruits going forward will give a longer look at playing in College Station because of that. With the 2013 class, they have two excellent offensive linemen who are two of the top five or ten guys along the line in the state and they have a handful of speedy playmakers on both sides of the ball committed as well. Bottom line is that the program has jumped out to a big start and probably should be able to hold on and better what they did on Signing Day in 2012.

Darrell, surely you know by now not to go against the great Les Miles. The Mad Hatter had a great team last year that went through a lot off the field that some people forget. I think the national title game helped, in some respects, prepare this team for 2012 because it tempered expectations a little and also gave them a reason for the team to think, 'it's us vs. them,' in some respect.

I'm like most writers and have LSU #1 based on what they return and disagree that they lose "key" players so that prohibits them from taking the top spot in the preseason. It could be, for example, a positive that the rotation of Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson is over and the Tigers stick with talented transfer Zach Mettenberger, who many expect to grab hold of the job this spring.

LSU returns only five starters on defense but they rotated so many players in last season that I don't think it will be an issue for them as younger players like Anthony Johnson get more snaps. Incoming freshmen like Avery Johnson - Patrick Peterson's younger brother mind you - should be able to contribute early on special teams and offense to complement the strong run game the team should have. The national championship game really colored a lot of people's opinion of LSU the wrong way and it's sometimes good to remember that there's a lot of talent on this squad.
Neal is referring to Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal, who will be committing to a school Tuesday morning. His recruitment has been an interesting one, not only waiting nearly a month after Signing Day to pick but because of all the twists and turns he's taken. First off, he's a dynamic playmaker who is built to be a slot guy in a spread offense and get the ball in space. He's also a solid cornerback and should play early on special teams no matter what - there's a reason he's a top 100 player in the class of 2012.

Neal is quiet and it was like pulling teeth for a while to get him to mention a school he had interest in before his senior season ended. He's taken a lot of recent official visits and most have him picking between Notre Dame, Arizona and Arkansas tomorrow. I've heard good things about Notre Dame in this case but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up staying close to home and picking Arizona either. His high school head coach was recently hired there and family is very important to Neal so there are definite draws for the Wildcats. Old CBS Sports pal Rich Rodriguez no doubt told the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder how well he'd fit in the offense down in Tuscon too. I'll stick with a cautious prediction of Neal going to South Bend but I would be surprised for him to state in-state either.

That will wrap things up for the first Monday Mailbag, plenty of others to come in the weeks and months ahead. Tweet your questions to me at @BryanDFischer on Twitter and I'll try and answer as many as I can.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:36 pm
 

National Notes: Top assistants to keep an eye on

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Welcome to December, otherwise known as closing time. Bowl practices and holidays make things a little more complicated for some coaches but others enjoy the grind as they hit the home stretch two months out from Signing Day. Here's a list of four recruiters in each part of the country to keep an eye on in each part of the country.

West

Ed Orgeron, USC

Does any recruiter have a better reputation than Ed Orgeron? Probably not. The Trojans defensive line coach has been relentless in the recruiting trail and instrumental in helping manage the program's numbers situation with limited scholarships to hand out. He's hit SoCal hard and been a big reason why plenty of offensive (Max Tuerk, Jordan Simmons) and defensive (Ellis McCarthy, Noah Spence) are committed to, or looking at, USC. Also note that linebackers coach Joe Barry has done a great job with his position group, Orange County (Calif.) and Arizona during his time in LA.

Tosh Lupoi, California

It's been pretty amazing to see Lupoi's rise as a recruiter and coach at Cal but you can see why when looking at his handiwork. He's a younger Orgeron but is quickly becoming his equal after landing players such as Brennan Scarlett and Viliami Moala last year. As a Bay Area-native, he's done a great job of getting talent close to home while also going national and bringing players in. Though the Bears class is somewhat small, expect it to grow in a cover as Lupoi enters the home stretch. His top target right now is five-star Arik Armstead.

Demetrice Martin, Washington

The Huskies staff has lots of Southern California connections but Martin has been a great closer down the stretch with kids. He's relatable as a young guy and knows many of the high school coaches in the area. Don't be surprised if he lands some skill position talent for UW's class this year from the LA area.

John Neal, Oregon

One of the Ducks' ace recruiters, Neal has hit other areas of the country with success and does well in the cities. He landed nearby athlete Oshay Dunmore and had a hand in defensive backs Eric and Stephen Amoako committing from the Dallas-area. Several athletes from the East and Southern California are in contact with him and don't be shocked to hear his name come up some more.

South

Dameyune Craig, Florida State

Not sure anybody has gone into another powerhouse's backyard and raided it like Craig has Alabama's. The big star was quarterback Jameis Winston but he's also been instrumental in landing Chris Casher and Justin Shanks. There's a few more targets on the Seminoles board and don't be surprised if Craig is the one helping get them to Tallahassee.

Mike Bobo, Georgia

It's funny but Bobo's on the field duties have caused a few Georgia fans to want him out of the program but his time spent in recruits' homes and on the trail has been a big asset to the Bulldogs. He was one of the people behind last year's 'Dream Team' and has managed to sell stability at a program that only got it with 10 straight wins during the regular season. This year appears to be another time for him to shine with in-state recruits once again.

Tee Martin, Kentucky

That Martin has done a good job as a recruiter should surprise no one but given that he the former Tennessee star has done it at Kentucky is a little bit. He managed to get a huge surprise last Signing Day in wide out Daryl Collins and might be able to pull off the same magic again this year. Martin has done a great job in Alabama in particular and the only question seems to be if he can resist heading back to Knoxville with a staff opening there.

Frank Wilson, LSU

Last year he was a machine, with a hand in landing offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and running back Kenny Hilliard among others (all three saw plenty of playing time in LSU's run to New Orleans). Easily the Tigers' best recruiter, Wilson has been one reason why there's a figurative fence around the state of Louisiana. Linebacker Trey Granier was one of his big gets with the 2012 group and don't be surprised if he gets a few others as well.

Midwest

Tony Alford, Notre Dame

Don't be surprised if Alford can snag a big fish for Notre Dame late in the process. He got a commitment from Justin Ferguson out of Florida and appears to be focusing his time on the state to land a few others. With some issues at Florida, he could be one person to take advantage given his ties in the northern part of the state.

Fred Jackson, Michigan

The Wolverines have put together the best class of 2012 in the country and Jackson is a big part of it. He's mainly an in-state guy and lucky for him he's got a great group coming out and done an even better job of keeping them home. He's plucked two out of Farmington Hills (Mich.) in Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia and played a role in Royce Jenkins-Stone's pledge. He's been at the school a long time and knows how to sell Michigan to players.

Adrian Klemm, SMU

Klemm is not a household name by any means but should be based on what he's done this year. Though SMU isn't exactly a powerhouse, June Jones has engineered a turnaround in Dallas and Klemm has been a big part as recruiting coordinator. Though the school is located in a talent-rich area of a talent-rich state, the former New England Patriot has done a great job getting talented Los Angeles-area players to come East. Six SoCal natives are committed to the Mustangs class of 2012 at the moment and more could be coming. With rumors of Jones taking the Arizona State job, expect Klemm to come along to really ramp up the LA ties.

Urban Meyer/Luke Fickell, Ohio State

Yes, Meyer's not an assistant coach. But he hasn't really assembled his staff at this point and thus is going a significant share of the recruiting himself. He has certainly been active and because Fickell is remaining on staff, we'll count these two as one super-recruiter. Though recruiting hasn't been up to Ohio State standards with the 2012 group, that was to be expected given the turnover at head coach and NCAA violations in Columbus. Fickell landed Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier last year and did a good job with Adolphus Washington this year. The two are going to be a very good asset despite what amounts to a false start with the upcoming class. Things have already paid off dividends and the Buckeyes are in the running for defensive end Noah Spence.

Davis decommits from Florida

Been a wild few days down in the South. Stone Mountain (Ga.) running back Mike Davis was one of the recent invites to the Army All-American Bowl and had the jersey ceremony for himself and fellow teammate Raphael Kirby on Thursday. At the time, rumors started to surface that he was having issues with the staff and would soon decommit.

Over the weekend he went on an official visit to Tennessee and finally on Sunday night, he made the new official that he was no longer a Florida pledge.

"My mind right now is open," Davis told Rivals. "My recruitment has opened back up. I've talked to my parents, my mom, my brother, all my family. Right now it's Florida State, South Carolina, Alabama and Miami. But things can change."

From the sounds of things, the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder is completely wide open and will not be considering the Gators despite being in their 2012 class since February and one of their biggest supporters.

"I can't really talk about it," he said cryptically. "Some things happened that I don't want to comment on between me and the coaches. All I'll say is that it was a miscommunication between them, me and my brother. Some things that weren't supposed to happen." 

Ranked as the 10th-best running back in the country by Maxpreps, losing Davis is big blow to Florida as the new staff tries to remake the team using more of a pro-style offense. One of the central pieces of the class and expected to compete early on for some playing time as a change of pace guy, Charlie Weis is now down to just Matt Jones at running back in 2012. With their top 2013 target off the board to Georgia in Derrick Henry, Florida now has to scramble to get another player back into the fold at the position.

Busy week for Armstead

After decommitting from USC, the recruitment of Pleasant Grove (Calif.) lineman Arik Armstead has steadily picked up. He's been going on several official visits the past few weeks and has kept his phone close by.

USC and Notre Dame are among the schools that have already stopped by for an in-home and several more are lined up over the next few days. Among the scheduled ones this week are Washington, Oregon and Auburn. He'll be making the short trip to Cal at some point during the weekend. Also keep in mind that Armstead wants to play basketball and that will be a factor in his decision.

Video of the week



Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 11:16 am
 

Post-Spring Top 25: Impact Recruits

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com senior writer Dennis Dodd rolls out an updated Post-Spring Top 25 today and while he names an MVP for each team, we figure every team is going to need an incoming freshman to step up if they want to keep their spot in the top 25 throughout the season. Here's each team's impact freshman out of their class of 2011:

1. Oklahoma: Dodd notes that the class of 2010 has turned out very well for the Sooners but they'll need a few guys from the class of 2011 to help fill out the depth chart. Running back Brandon Williams is a talented running back out of the state of Texas who is expected to play right away with DeMarco Murrary gone and the offense needing another player in their "diamond" formation with three running backs. 

2. Alabama: Alabama's defense is expected to be one of the best Nick Saban has ever had but that doesn't mean a freshman can't be a contributor on special teams and with spot play on defense. Linebacker Trey DePriest enrolled early and seemed to make an impression on the coaching staff. Junior college transfer Aaron Douglas, a freshman All-American at Tennessee, could also end up being a starting tackle too.

3. LSU: Anthony Johnson was one of the top defensive tackles coming out of high school and he looked like he would be the next great LSU man in the middle after a very good spring for an early enrollee. He has the size and quickness to play right away and could make an impact as a pass rusher on third down as he gets acclimated to the speed of college football.

 

4. Oregon: The Ducks don't have to replace much on offense but they are looking for a few pass catching threats to step up for quarterback Darron Thomas. Another early enrollee and one of the highest rated recruits Oregon has brought in, Colt Lyerla could be one of the answers at tight end, receiver and running back. In short, he's a great athlete and Chip Kelly will find a way to get the ball in his hands.

5. Stanford: The Cardinal are pretty set on offense with Andrew Luck back and running the show but there are a few spots on defense where some freshmen could come in. The new staff must find two new linebackers for this upcoming season and it wouldn't be surprising if James Vaughters ends up making a push for one of them.

6. Oklahoma State: Already expected to have an explosive offense this year to possibly propel them to a BCS game, the Cowboys have high hopes for incoming running back Herschel Sims. Defenses will have to make sure they are ready for the passing game first and Sims might be able to take advantage of some daylight.

7. Texas A&M: Defensive leader Von Miller is off to the NFL (if there is an NFL next year) and while it will be hard for any freshman to replace that kind of production in College Station, look for linebacker Shaun Ward to at least be in the mix to play once he gets on campus.

8. Florida State: The Seminoles are going to have high expectations for the first time in awhile and there are high expectations being placed on incoming tight end Nick O'Leary. While most people talk about him as being the grandson of golfer Jack Nicklaus, the talented O'Leary is also quite a pass catcher who should play right away.


9. Ohio State: There could be two impact players for the Buckeyes depending on how things shake out in fall camp. Quarterback Braxton Miller is certainly in the race to be the starter with Terrelle Pryor suspended for five games and showed flashes during the spring. Linebacker Curtis Grant was one of the top players coming out of high school and should be able to fill in right away on defense.

10. Nebraska: The Huskers have their sights on a Big Ten title in their first year in the league and if they're going to take some pressure off quarterback Taylor Martinez, running back Aaron Green could be a big part of the offense.

11. Michigan State: Mark Dantonio fought off some big time programs for in-state linebacker Lawrence Thomas and one of the reasons why is Thomas is expected to come in right away and play well for the Spartans.

12. Wisconsin: The Badgers typically don't play many freshmen but tight end Austin Traylor could help break in a new quarterback as both a blocker and receiver.

 

13. Arkansas: Brey Cook knew the Razorbacks would need to replace both tackles and he enrolled early and ended up at the top of the depth chart coming out of spring ball. Anytime you can get a young freshmen start at tackle, you know you have a good one on your hands.

14. Boise State: Most of the freshmen for Boise State are expected to redshirt and develop but kicker Jake van Ginkel could end up the starter with a good fall camp because he has quite a leg.

 

15. Auburn: Where to start? The Tigers lose a lot of players to either graduation or the draft and several from this class are expected to compete for playing time. Don't be surprised if Kris Frost is a starter at linebacker and able to leave his mark on the Plains early on.

16. TCU: Gary Patterson expereinced a Rose Bowl bounce on the recruiting trail and landed a very good athlete in LaDarius Brown, who will be able to contribute right away on offense and special teams.


17. Virginia Tech: The Hokies need to replace a lot of their secondary and the incoming class is loaded with defensive backs as a result. Ronny Vandyke might be the one to step up based on his size and speed and help out right away.

18. South Carolina: This happens to be the easiest choice on the list since Jadeveon Clowney was the number player in the class of 2011. He should provide an instant pass rush threat to a team that didn't generate much from the front four last year.

19. Notre Dame: Irish fans came out of the spring singing the praises of Aaron Lynch and the early enrollee defensive end certainly put on a show to give them a reason for it.

 

20. Mississippi State: Defensive tackle P.J. Jones was one of the top guys in the incoming class and Bulldog fans hope he can be a factor early on under a new defensive coordinator. 

 

21. Arizona State: There's very few spots avaliable for the incoming Sun Devils with so much of the starting lineup set with upperclassmen but Mo Latu should be able to provide some depth along the offensive line. 

 

22. Utah: The Utes brought in a very good class and you could tell they sold the opportunity to be the first to play in the Pac-12 their entire careers at Utah. Running back Harvey Langi is a load with the football and junior college safety Keith McGill is a big body who can come in play right away.

23. Georgia: The "Dream Team" recruiting class will come into Athens with high expectations but top running back Isaiah Crowell should boost a rushing attack that was in the bottom three in the SEC last year.

 

24. West Virginia: New offensive coordinator/future head coach Dana Holgorsen should have an explosive offense led by Geno Smith and incoming running back Andrew Buie could be another speedy player to get the ball in his hands.

25. Florida: The Gators will transition to more of a pro-style offense under Charlie Weis so it's to be determined how everyone fits in but look out for tight end A.C. Leonard. He looks the part and could be a nice weapon for quarterback John Brantley. 

Posted on: February 18, 2011 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Everybody's Prep All-Americans

By MaxPreps' Kevin Askeland 

What do La'el Collins, Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Johnson and Curtis Grant have in common?

Besides all being supremely talented athletes, they were the only four high school football players to be named to each of the seven All-American football teams that have been published since the end of the 2010 season.

MaxPreps, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Tom Lemming and Scout all selected All-American teams and the fearsome foursome listed above were the only unanimous selections out of 108 total All-American players selected across the seven teams.

Here's a look at the consensus All-American selections followed by the teams that they made.

Everybody's All-Americans

WR - Kasen Williams, Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) - MaxPreps, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
WR - George Farmer, Serra (Gardena, Calif.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, ESPN Rise, Scout
TE - Ben Koyack, Oil City (Pa.) - MaxPreps, Parade, Scout
OL - La'el Collins, Redemptorist (Baton Rouge, La.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
OL - Brandon Shell, Goose Creek (S.C.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
OL - Cyrus Kouandjio, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
OL - Brey Cook, Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Parade, Scout
OL - Christian Westerman, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) - Tom Lemming, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Scout
QB - Kiehl Frazier, Shiloh Christian (Springdale, Ark.) - Tom Lemming, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
RB - Malcolm Brown, Steele (Cibolo, Texas) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
RB - Demetrius Hart, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) - MaxPreps, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade
K - Kyle Brindza, Plymouth (Canton, Mich.) - MaxPreps, Rivals, ESPN Rise, Parade

DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
DL - Anthony Johnson, O. Perry Walker (New Orleans) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
DL - Viliami Moala, Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) - MaxPreps, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
DL - Tim Jernigan, Columbia (Lake City, Fla.) - Tom Lemming, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
LB - Curtis Grant, Hermitage (Richmond, Va.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
LB - Stephone Anthony, Anson (Wadesboro, N.C.) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
LB - Tony Steward, Menendez (St. Augustine, Fla.) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today
DB - Demetrious Nicholson, Bayside (Virginia Beach, Va.) - MaxPreps, Rivals, Parade, Scout
DB - Ha'sean Clinton-dix, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, Scout
DB - Brandon Swindall, Millwood (Oklahoma City) - MaxPreps, ESPN Rise, Parade
DB - Doran Grant, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) - Tom Lemming, ESPN Rise, Scout
P - Tommy Hibbard, Butler (Matthews, N.C.) - MaxPreps, ESPN Rise

Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 4:15 pm
 

The Class of 2011 Mock Draft

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The recruiting class of 2011 is finally signed and sealed with Jadeveon Clowney's announcement on Valentine's Day. While college coaches have turned their attention to evaluating the class of 2012, their NFL counterparts are locked in war rooms evaluating tape on the draft eligible players coming out in 2011. Of course we wondered, if NFL teams had to select from current group of high school recruits, who would they draft? 

The following mock draft of the 1st round takes a look at where top high school recruits would go based on team needs and draft position. 

NFL Mock Draft with the Class of 2011
Round 1
1. Carolina Panthers
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Pointe HS, headed to South Carolina: The number one player for the class of 2011 also goes number one to the Panthers, who are looking for help on the defensive line. Easily the most NFL-ready of any prospect on this list coming out of high school, some NFL scouts that have seen his tape have said he could actually make the jump to the NFL out of high school. He probably wouldn't go this high however.
2. Denver Broncos
Anthony Johnson, DT, O. Perry Walker HS, headed to LSU: Draft analyst Chad Reuter says the Broncos are expected to play some three- and four-man fronts under new head coach John Fox. Drafting Johnson would give them a tackle that could fit in well in both schemes.
3. Buffalo Bills
De'Anthony Thomas, CB, Crenshaw HS, headed to Oregon: The Bills need help all over the defensive side of the ball and grabbing Thomas provides them with a terrific cover corner who isn't afraid to deliver a big hit. He would boost a unit that intercepted just 11 passes last season.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
Ray Drew, DE, Thomas County Central HS, headed to Georgia: The Bengals need a pass rusher and they can get a very flexible one in Drew. Already 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he has the frame to bulk up and fit in well at the defensive end spot in either the 4-3 or the 3-4.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Curtis Grant, OLB, Hermitage HS, headed to Ohio State: Grant has great size for an outside linebacker and he could feature his pass-rush skills in an already aggressive Cardinals defense.
6. Cleveland Browns
George Farmer, WR, Junipero Serra HS, headed to USC: Already a polished product coming out of high school, Farmer would provide the deadly accurate Colt McCoy with a nice target on the outside.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Marcus Roberson, CB, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, headed to Florida: It was tough to pass on quarterback Jeff Driskel but the 49ers go for flexibility in Roberson, a speedy corner who could also develop into a safety.
8. Tennessee Titans
Jeff Driskel, QB, Hagerty HS, headed to Florida: Looking to move on from the Vince Young era, the Titans turn to easily the top quarterback in the class. Although he can run well, a strong arm and accurate passing calm any fears the front office might have.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, DeMatha HS, headed to Alabama: A prototype left tackle, Kouandjio is the best offensive lineman in the class and a no-brainer pick for a team that needs offensive lineman.
10. Washington Redskins
Trey Metoyer, WR, Whitehouse HS, headed to Oklahoma: Mike Shanahan might not know who he has at quarterback but whoever it is will have a very good receiver in Metoyer.
11. Houston Texans
Viliami Moala, DT, Grant HS, headed to Cal: Although they also need a corner, the move to the 3-4 under Wade Phillips will force the Texans to grab the big-bodied Moala to lineup inside next to Mario Williams.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Aaron Lynch, DE, Island Coast HS, headed to Notre Dame: Current end Ray Edwards will be a free agent so the Vikings turn to Lynch to replace him. Given his dominance at the Army All-American Bowl, he would be perfect to have on the opposite side of Jared Allen.
13. Detroit Lions
La'El Collins, OT, Redemptorist HS, headed to LSU: The Lions need some sort of youth along the line and they can grab a future starter in Collins, who did a good job handling Jadeveon Clowney at the Under Armour All-American game practices.
14. St. Louis Rams
Charone Peake, WR, Dorman HS, headed to Clemson: Sam Bradford needs some weapons at wide out and Peake would bring size and speed to the receiving corps.
15. Miami Dolphins
Malcolm Brown, RB, Cibolo Steele HS, headed to Texas: Needing a new running back, Brown should fit in well in an offense that needs a big back to handle the load.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
Ishaq Williams, OLB/DE, Abraham Lincoln HS, headed to Notre Dame: The Jaguars need to draft someone who can pass rush and Williams can do that from either outside linebacker or defensive end.
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland)
Anthony Chickillo, DE, Alonso HS, headed to Miami: He would provide an instant boost to the Patriots' pass rush after a dominating Under Armour All-American game.
18. San Diego Chargers
Tony Steward, OLB, Pedro Menendez HS, headed to Clemson: He looks like he could be an NFL linebacker already and he should be able to fit in as either an outside linebacker or inside linebacker in San Diego's 3-4 scheme.
19. NY Giants
Christian Westerman, OL, Hamilton HS, headed to Auburn: The Giants have an aging offensive line and Westerman could step in and fill a number of positions at either tackle or guard.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quandre Diggs, CB, Angleton HS, headed to Texas: The Bucs draft Ronde Barber's replacement in Diggs, who is the younger brother of Chargers corner Quentin Jammer.
21. Kansas City Chiefs
Colt Lyerla, OLB, Hillsboro HS, headed to Oregon: Looking to replace the versatile Mike Vrabel, the Chiefs select one of the most athletic players in the class of 2011.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Hasean Clinton-Dix, Dr. Phillips HS, headed to Alabama: Needing some insurance for when Bob Sanders is out, the Colts grab the versatile Clinton-Dix.
23. Philadelphia Eagles
Aundrey Walker, OG, Glenville HS, headed to USC: Needing help inside, the big body of Walker should help the Eagles ground game.
24. New Orleans Saints
James Wilder Jr., RB, Plant HS, headed to Florida State: With Pierre Thomas likely headed for free agency, the Saints opt to grab an every down back in Wilder, who could also play on the other side of the ball at linebacker.
25. Seattle Seahawks
Matthew Hegarty, OL, Aztec HS, headed to Notre Dame: Pete Carroll once again drafts an offensive lineman in the first round as he rebuilds the Seattle offense.
26. Baltimore Ravens
Jaxon Shipley, WR, Brownwood HS, headed to Texas: The older receiving corps of the Ravens get a needed speed upgrade in Shipley, who is also a very good route runner.
27. Atlanta Falcons
Brandon Shell, OT, Goose Creek HS, headed to South Carolina: The right side of the Falcons offensive line are free agents and Shell has the size to be a right or left tackle to help protect Matt Ryan.
28. New England Patriots
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Carver HS, headed to Georgia: Needing a running back to finally get the ground game going, the Pats turn to Crowell, who can also catch passes out of the backfield.
29. Chicago Bears
Antonio Richardson, Pearl-Cohn HS, headed to Tennessee: The Bears' offensive line was average to say the least last year and they address their needs with Richardson.
30. NY Jets
Lawrence Thomas, DE/OLB, Renaissance HS, headed to Michigan State: The Jets could use Thomas at either end or as a pass rushing linebacker.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers
Tyler Moore, OL, Countryside HS, headed to Nebraska: A versatile lineman, he could play at a number of spots along Pittsburgh's injury-riddled offensive line.
32. Green Bay Packers
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Monroe HS, headed to Notre Dame: Already young and loaded on defense, the Packers grab Tuitt to help bolster the depth up front.
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.






 
 
 
 
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