Posted on: August 26, 2011 10:35 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 10:36 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
- Players in the state of Illinois are making early commitments, a trend that is happening nationwide.
Cal, USC and Oregon State among others have commits in this list of top Los Angeles area wide receivers.
Darreus Rogers is a USC commit and pass-catching playmaker.
Michigan won't rush defensive lineman Danny O'Brien into making a decision.
Oklahoma's class of 2010 was the best freshman class under Bob Stoops.
Bubba Starling made the right choice by playing baseball instead of going to Nebraska to play football.
It will be Georgia, South Carolina or Vanderbilt for defensive back Chaz Elder.
Quarterback Robert Gregory is making his decision on September 2 and has Arkansas number one on his list.
Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:30 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 2:38 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
MALIBU, Calif. -- With everybody settled into their picturesque surroundings at Pepperdine University during day two of the Elite 11, the throws were sharper, the completion percentage was up and - perhaps just as important - so was the level of competition.
"It's been good out here with all these great quarterbacks," Bessemer (Ala.) quarterback Jameis Winston said. "I'm just out here competing, that's the main thing."
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound signal-caller was the top performer Tuesday and was really spinning the ball well during a brisk morning throwing session. Despite the effort he put in on each throw, Winston understands that he's still evolving from an athlete into a quarterback and that there are several parts of his game that he can work on.
"Drops," he identifies immediately almost before the question is even asked. "I want to also work on my hips more. I have to get my hips open more so I don't hurt anything down low. So I just have to work my hips more and get open. I've got to get better everyday."
Winston was almost like a little brother on the field to college counselor E.J. Manuel out of Florida State. The two have similar builds (though Winston is much thinner) and a similar throwing motion. Often conversing between snaps, the college starter had no problem mentoring the high school star.
"E.J. helps me a lot on making sure I'm staying on top of the ball and not squeezing the ball," Winston said. "He's helped me a lot and he's at one of my final schools, Florida State."
Down to three schools in his recruitment, Maxpreps' second ranked quarterback and 21st overall player in the class of 2012 is considering the Seminoles and hasn't been shy about asking Manuel about the program.
"I've asked him about Florida State and their program," Winston said. "He's been pretty real with me. He's told me the ups and downs - there's not many downs but he told me some."
The other finalists for the five-star quarterback are both SEC powerhouses, one close to home and the other a few hours away by car. With distance not a huge factor for Winston, he's had to look closer at what each program brings to the table for him.
"Alabama is the home school," he said. "I mean, there's no place like home. I've been there a million times, just over and over. LSU, it's just a great competitive atmosphere and I want to be in that competitive atmosphere wherever I go, especially with baseball and football."
Winston is a top high school baseball player in addition to his success on the gridiron. While Florida State and LSU are perennial contenders at the College World Series, the success of the baseball program at any of the three schools he's considering is only a small factor in his decision.
"Yes," he says before cautioning," but Alabama's baseball program is coming up."
Projected by some to go as high as the first round draft in next year's MLB Draft, Winston knows it's possible he'll have to make a decision similar to Nebraska quarterback and Kansas City Royals first round pick Bubba Starling.
"Yes I've followed him," Winston said. "I'm going to consider (going pro). I don't know right now because I'm not as advanced as he is. He got there this year and I'm just considering it. Thinking about it but trying to have fun. It's in the back of my mind."
Slated to make one fan base very happy when he ultimately picks a school on August 3rd, Winston revealed that he's already decided where he'll play his college ball - football and baseball - but didn't offer any hints as to where that might actually be.
"I know where I'm going," he said. "The coaches know."
Kline reps the West Coast
Danville (Calif.) quarterback Zach Kline had one of the shortest commutes to the Elite 11 from the Bay Area and though he is used to going down to the beach or enjoying a cool summer day, the experience with 23 other top quarterbacks at the Elite 11 has been eye-opening for him.
"It's been awesome," Kline said. "Nothing is like it, ever. It's the best thing I've ever been to and you have the best players here."
The California kid was sporting a Rafael Nadal-like look on Tuesday with long hair and a headband. Though he was one of the most outgoing and relaxed players on the field, that masked his workman-like approach to learning as much as he could from the coaches and counselors at the event.
"A lot of things like making every throw count and the little things matter the most," he said about what he learned. "Even the smallest thing down to a drop, the fake on the play action matters more than anything and is the difference between a completion and an interception. And just kind of getting to know these guys and the things that they see."
In between meals and film sessions, the Cal commit has been able to take time to bond with his fellow campers, many of whom he is already close with.
"I know these guys real well," Kline said. "Connor Brewer I've been friends with for awhile, for a couple of years. Jake Rodrigues I've been friends with for a long time as well. Tyler Matthews same deal. Gunner Kiel, I was at the Elite 11 last year as a ball boy with him. He's the man, he's a great quarterback and just a cool dude to hang around with. Same for all of those guys, every single one of them."
Regarded by many as the top quarterback on the West Coast, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is confident in himself and showed that he can make all the throws on the field, going neck-and-neck with other highly ranked players like Winston and Kiel. Still, despite actually belonging with the best in the nation, Kline knows there's still something left for him to prove.
"Definitely," he says before identifying the biggest reason why. "Tanner Mangum is giving me a run for my money. He's good, a great quarterback and a great dude too. He's a good friend of mine as well and he's going to do big things at BYU, just an awesome quarterback, can't wait to watch him."
Appleby stars in the classroom
While Mangum wore a yellow jersey for being the winner of the Golden Arm competition on the field Monday, North Canton (Ohio) quarterback Austin Appleby sported a red jersey on Tuesday after taking home honors for best performance in the classroom. The chance to show off his quarterback IQ was a welcome one for someone who had prepared to do so for quite some time.
"I got a chance to get up in front on the board, in front of everybody, and impress Coach (Trent) Dilfer," Appleby said. "I put a lot of time and preparation coming into this. I've been hours upon hours into knowing this playbook and I take pride in being the most prepared at this camp."
With so much teaching on and off the field from instructors, Appleby made an apt analogy to schoolwork when talking about what specifically he'll take back to his high school.
"It's graduate level stuff," he said. "In my offense, I'm a little more advanced and making those checks and making those slide protections, or any audible I need too. So having this knowledge and understanding of how it's really supposed to work is really going to broaden my skill level from a mental aspect as well from the coaching we're going to get from a fundamental aspect."
The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder looks like he's physically ready to play on Saturdays and appears fully recovered from a knee injury he suffered last year. He throws a very catchable ball but can really put some spin on it if required. Even having the opportunity to showcase his quarterback skills alongside the other campers has been quite the experience for Appleby.
"It's awesome, there's no better place than to be here right now," he said. "The talent level is unbelievable. It's the top 24 for a reason and as the days go by and we get near the end, the elite will rise towards the top. Then we'll see who's number one and I have full intentions of being that number one."
Committed to Purdue, Appleby is in constant contact with the Boilermakers staff to keep them updated on his progress at the Elite 11.
"I'm going to be in contact with them and at the end of the day, I kind of update them with what's going on," he said. "It's kind of tough with the time zone, I keep forgetting how late it is over there. But I tell my high school coach as well and we're going to all together get better."
Clearly advanced mentally and physically, the senior to-be is undecided if he'll enroll early and take part in spring football with Purdue next year.
"I don't know at this point," he said. "We're looking into it but I don't know the details at this point."
- Tanner Mangum won the Golden Arm competition for the second day in a row. After proudly sporting the yellow jersey on Tuesday, he will do so again during Wednesday's throwing sessions.
- Utah commit Travis Wilson has the frame to put on a few pounds of muscle but the 6-foot-6 quarterback has all the tools to make it at the next level. His release might be the best part of his game, as the ball comes out quickly and effortlessly.
- One of the surprises of day two was North Carolina commit Patton Robinette. He came in a close second behind Mangum in the Golden Arm competition but was sharp throughout practice. He did a good job hitting the receivers in the right spot and knowing just how much to put on the ball. Robinette also did a good job on throws to the outside and could really drive the ball on out routes.
- After a rough week at The Opening, Oregon verbal Jake Rodrigues has bounced back nicely at the Elite 11. It still seems like he gets a little bit too wide of a base but he was accurate and was able to get good power on just about every one of his throws.
- If there's anyone who could be labeled Mr. Consistent, it would be Bart Houston. He doesn't wow you out of the gate but he's got the perfect mix of arm strength, frame, throwing motion and accuracy to know he'll be a perfect fit at Wisconsin.
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Austin Appleby, Bart Houston, Bubba Starling, BYU, Cal, College World Series, Connor Brewer, E.J. Manuel, Elite 11, Florida State, Gunner Kiel, Jake Rodrigues, Jameis Winston, Kansas City Royals, LSU, Nebraska, North Carolina Utah, Oregon, Patton Robinette, Pepperdine, Purdue, Rafel Nadal, SEC, Tanner Mangum, The Opening, Travis Wilson, Trent Dilfer, Tyler Matthews, Wisconsin, Zach Kline
Posted on: April 4, 2011 9:52 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
So, who do you have tonight? UConn or Butler? Be sure to vote on the poll on the front of CBSSports.com. I'm guessing you've got Butler unless you're a longtime UConn fan.
- Great story on quarterback Bubba Starling, a Nebraska signee who faces a very tough decision on his future.
- Some reaction from a few of the unofficial visitors to Michigan.
- It seems Washington State head coach Paul Wulff made himself right at home in order to land a recruit.
- Offensive lineman Adam DePietro is up to five FBS scholarship offers.
- Some video and more reaction from yesterday's LA Nike Camp.
- A few Arkansas-related recruiting tidbits.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 2:24 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 3:00 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Signing Day is over and now that there’s been a little time to reflect, we’re ranking the Big Ten recruiting classes (all 12 of them) and breaking them down at the same time.
1. Ohio State
Overview: Bringing in the top class in the Big Ten is nothing new for the Buckeyes. This group is filled with impact players, especially on defense. Linebackers Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant and corner Doran Grant should be terrorizing opposing offenses for years to come.
Hidden gem: Offensive guard Michael Bennett is someone who could develop into an all-league type of lineman.
Pencil in for the fall: Quarterback Braxton Miller has enrolled early in order to compete for the starting job and could be the guy that fills in for Terrelle Pryor given his skill set.
Overview: The transition class to the Big Ten should have no problem coming in and helping the Cornhuskers win a bunch of games over the next few years. It will be interesting to see if star quarterback Bubba Starling chooses to actually enroll in Lincoln and not play professional baseball but for now, he’s part of this talented class.
Hidden gem: Athlete Jamal Turner can play all over the field but he could be best utilized as a game-breaking receiver.
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Aaron Green is one of the best backs in the country and should provide a nice complement to Rex Burkhead in Nebraska’s rushing attack.
Overview: Head coach Ron Zook is known as a terrific recruiter and once again he delivered with a very solid class after rumors swirled early that it would be his last season in Champaign. There’s a good number of players who can compete for playing time right away and the Illini did well in grabbing several out of state players.
Hidden gem: Dondi Kirby is a great athlete who was wanted by several powerhouse programs. He has the tools to become a great safety in college.
Pencil in for the fall: With the departure of Mikel LeShoure to the NFL, running back Donovonn Young could come in right away and get some playing time.
4. Michigan State
Overview: This class is headlined by Lawrence Thomas but there are several other very good players coming in. Wide receiver Juwan Caesar should be a favorite target of whoever is under center and Darien Harris has the tools to play special teams right away while eventually taking over at linebacker.
Hidden gem: Offensive tackle Donavon Clark has the frame to develop into a top flight lineman and is already very good in blocking for the run game.
Pencil in for the fall: Linebacker Lawrence Thomas is one of the best defensive players to head to East Lansing out of high school. He could play at defensive end and be a nice speed rusher or at linebacker.
Overview: The news of several Iowa players being sent to the hospital and the negative reaction to how Kirk Ferentz handled the situation didn’t seem to have any effect on this class. There were not a ton of highly rated guys but the ones they did get will fit in very nicely.
Hidden gem: Quarterback Jake Rudock is likely not going to start right away but he could develop into the signal caller of the future.
Pencil in for the fall: Given the attrition at running back, Rodney Coe should vie for early playing time as the next in the line of impressive freshmen running backs.
Overview: This class was hurt all year long by the rumors that Rich Rodriguez would be fired. Once the coach eventually was fired, several key commits went out the door as well, such as running back Dee Hart to Alabama. Nevertheless, new head coach Brady Hoke did a great job of keeping most of the class in the fold and even picking up a few kids.
Hidden gem: Corner Delonte Hollowell isn’t as highly regarded as fellow defensive back Blake Countess but he could still turn out to be a very good player in a secondary that needs all the help it can get.
Pencil in for the fall: The loss of Dee Hart and the lack of a big time tailback could mean Justice Hayes gets to line up next to Denard Robinson early in his career.
Overview: Another solid but not spectacular class for Wisconsin. Not getting quarterback Jacoby Brissett was a big loss but there are other pieces to build around. The coaching staff did do a good job of putting up a wall around the state and keeping the best players home.
Hidden gem: Jake Keefer is a very athletic player who should slide in at outside linebacker for the Badgers. He can put his hand on the ground if needed but should be a terror standing up and making plays.
Pencil in for the fall: A.J. Jordan is probably the most talented player in the class and should be able to provide a boost in the passing because he has terrific hands.
8. Penn State
Overview: Not expected to be a big class, the Nittany Lions still should have done better in terms of quality. They fill needs at offensive line with some great players but there just are not the athletes on defense that Joe Paterno needed to bring in.
Hidden gem: Bill Belton isn’t the biggest guy on the field but he can play a few different positions on offense and can be a threat just about anywhere.
Pencil in for the fall: Don’t be surprised if Angelo Mangiro is a quality backup who gets playing time early next season along the interior line. A few injuries could easily lead to a few starts down the road.
Overview: Like Penn State, not a large class but there’s some good underlying talent for the Wildcats. Linemen make up the bulk of the class but there are some talented skill position players mixed in as well.
Hidden gem: Quarterback Zach Oliver might have been a bit overlooked on the recruiting trail but he has all the tools to develop into a very good Big Ten signal caller based on his highlight reel.
Pencil in for the fall: Wide out Christian Jones would be a starter at a lot of programs and it wouldn’t be surprising if he makes an immediate impact in the Northwestern passing game once he steps on campus.
Overview: All things considered, new head coach Jerry Kill did a pretty good job making the recruiting transition from the MAC to the Big Ten. He kept most of the class intact and managed to fill several needs for the Gophers. They may not be four-stars but they’re solid nevertheless.
Hidden gem: Joe Bjorklund not only has a fitting name for a Big Ten offensive lineman but he could turn out to be a good one. A little on the skinny side for an interior lineman, Bjorklund has a very solid frame to add weight, which should only help his physical run-blocking style.
Pencil in for the fall: Tommy Olson is rated by many as the top lineman from the state of Minnesota so he should be somewhere on the two deep pretty quickly.
Overview: A very small class but one that should find a few contributors for the Boilermakers over the next few years.
Hidden gem: Tight end Robert Kugler is the son of Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler and you figure that acumen that comes from being the son of a coach will translate well in college, especially with the younger Kugler’s physical skills.
Pencil in for the fall: Linebacker Armstead Williams is one of the best defensive recruits to head to Purdue and it would surprise no one to see him playing significant time on defense by the end of the year.
Overview: Not exactly a huge surprise to see the Hoosiers on this list given their past recruiting history and the added burden of a staff change. Although they’re last in 2011, don’t be surprised if they make a climb on the rankings once Kevin Wilson has a full year to bring in recruits.
Hidden gem: Linebacker Kyle Kennedy does a good job reading a developing play and wrapping up when making a tackle. He’s also pretty good at shedding a block and seems like a very solid player going forward.
Pencil in for the fall: Athlete Shane Wynn is a playmaker and should be able to contribute at multiple positions on offense.
Tags: A.J. Jordan, Aaron Green, Angelo Mangiro, Armstead Williams, Big Ten, Big Ten Signing Day, Bill Belton, Blake Countess, Brady Hoke, Braxton Miller, Bubba Starling, Christian Jones, Curtis Grant, Darien Harris, Dee Hart, Delonte Hollowell, Denard Robinson, Donavon Clark, Dondi Kirby, Donovonn Young, Doran Grant, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Jacoby Brissett, Jake Keefer, Jake Rudock, Jamal Turner, Jerry Kill, Joe Bjorklund, Joe Paterno, Justice Hayes, Juwan Caesar, Kevin Wilson, Kirk Ferentz, Kyle Kennedy, Lawrence Thomas, MAC, Michael Bennett, Michigan, Michigan State, Mikel LeShoure, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Prudue, Rich Rodriguez, Robert Kugler, Rodney Coe, Ron Zook, Ryan Shazier, Shane Wynn, Terrelle Pryor, Tommy Olson, Wisconsin, Zach Oliver
Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:31 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 10:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Overview: Overall it was a pretty good recruiting season for the Big Ten. There weren't a whole lot of shocking decisions on National Signing Day, though both Ohio State and Iowa were able to pick up some key members of their 2011 class.
Ohio State - Ohio State generally leads the Big Ten in recruiting every season, and 2011's class doesn't seem to be any different. While the Buckeyes had a strong class coming into Wednesday's festivities, getting Curtis Grant to commit during the day put this class over the edge. Grant joins what should be a strong class on defense, where the Buckeyes will look to replace Cam Heyward with guys like Kenny Hayes, Chase Farris and Steve Miller in a few years. Of course, Jim Tressel didn't concentrate solely on defense, as the Bucks picked up quarterback Braxton Miller as the possible successor to Terrelle Pryor in 2012.
Iowa - The Hawkeyes and Kirk Ferentz never seem to put together a jaw-dropping class, yet every year they tend to find themselves ranked in the top 25 classes. This year is no different, as MaxPreps has Iowa at 17, and the Hawkeyes signed 23 players. The final player was DT Darian Cooper, who chose Iowa on Wednesday, and comes from the same school Iowa landed RB Marcus Coker from last season. Kirk Ferentz generally doesn't go for flash as much as he finds players he can mold and fit into his system at Iowa, but you should expect to grow more familiar with names like Rodney Coe, Ray Hamilton, Austin Blythe and Jordan Walsh in the next few seasons.
Nebraska - Welcome to the Big Ten, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers had a good class coming into National Signing Day, but added the crown jewel on Wednesday with running back Aaron Green. Green combined with all the beef Bo Pelini is bringing in on the offensive and defensive lines should have his team ready for its new home. Of course, the wild card in all of this is quarterback Bubba Starling. He's the type of player that could make this a great class, but a lot of people seem convinced that Starling will never play a down in Lincoln, as he's expected to be a first round draft pick in the MLB draft this summer.
Penn State - There are plenty of talented players coming to Happy Valley next season. Defensive ends Deion Barnes, Shawn Oakman and QB/DB Bill Belton are strong, athletic players. The problem with Penn State's class this season is its just not up to snuff for Penn State. A 16-member class just isn't what the Nittany Lions are accustomed to, and you really have to wonder how much longer Penn State can afford to stand by Joe Paterno. When two of your best recruiters, Larry Johnson Sr and Tom Bradley, are spending time looking for new jobs instead of working recruits -- which may have cost Penn State Ishaq Williams -- then things need to be fixed. This may be Joe Paterno's last Signing Day at Penn State.
Michigan - Don't get me wrong, Michigan has a nice class. A class that got even better on Wednesday with tight end Chris Barnett, but I'm putting them in the losers section based on what this class could have been. The Wolverines lost a lot of talent after firing Rich Rodriguez, and Brady Hoke just didn't have a chance to keep guys like Dee Hart in Ann Arbor. As a result, a potentially great class can only be considered solid at this point.
Purdue - Listen, nobody was expecting Danny Hope and Purdue to blow the doors off of this class, but while they put together a nice class, it's certainly not the type that will help propel Purdue up from the bottom half of the Big Ten. Plus, anytime you're a school that needs as many athletes as it can get, getting banned from a high school in Florida is probably the worst thing you can do.
More Recruiting Coverage can be found here at CBSSports.com
Tags: Aaron Green, Austin Blythe, Big Ten National Signing Day, Bill Belton, Bo Pelini, Bob Bradley, Brady Hoke, Braxton Miller, Bubba Starling, Cam Heyward, Chase Farris, Chris Barnett, Curtis Grant, Danny Hope, Darian Cooper, Dee Hart, Deion Barnes, Iowa, Ishaq Williams, Jim Tressel, Joe Paterno, Jordan Walsh, Kenny Hayes, Kirk Ferentz, Larry Johnson Sr, Marcus Coker, Michigan, National Signing Day, National Signing Day 2011, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Ray Hamilton, Rich Rodriguez, Rodney Coe, Shawn Oakman, Steve Miller, Terrelle Pryor, Video