Tag:C.J. Johnson
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:


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.

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.


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.

Posted on: January 25, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 4:57 pm

Johnson commits to Ole Miss, Facebook a factor?

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Philadelphia (MS) linebacker C.J. Johnson has committed to Ole Miss in an up and down news day for the Rebels, according to The Clarion-Ledger.

MaxPreps’ fourth-ranked inside linebacker, Johnson previously committed to Mississippi State last October but reneged on his pledge following the departure of Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to the same position at Texas.

"I wanted to stay in state, first of all," Johnson told The Clarion-Ledger. “I felt comfortable at State because of Diaz. The difference at Ole Miss was that everybody was recruiting me. It was just more of a comfort thing for me. That was the main thing.”

February 2nd is the first day recruits can sign a letter of intent from the class of 2011.

One factor working against Mississippi State might have been the social networking site Facebook. According to a post by Johnson on his profile wall, he stated that the recruiting experience turned into "a living nightmare" thanks to a Mississippi State fan constantly sending messages and posting on his wall.

Johnson is the 27th verbal commitment for Ole Miss, including five early enrollees.

Hat tip to Friends of the Program for the Facebook screen capture.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 9:59 am

1/21 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Happy Friday everybody! Enjoy the links as the second to last recruiting weekend before Signing Day takes hold.

- Virginia Tech is looking at South Florida wide out Robert Lockhart. The surprise offer from the Hokkies - he learned about it on an official visit - certainly shakes up Lockhart's recruitment. 

- Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels has left to take the same position at Texas but his Bulldog recruits are staying put and headed to Athens.

- Tight end Chris Barnett has shaken up his recruitment by officially visiting Miami and Michigan the next two weeks. An Arkansas commit, it sounds like Barnett could go a number of different ways on or after Signing Day.

- Washington has picked up a new commitment, this time from Southern California. A 6-foot-7, 270 pound defensive end, Stephan Nembot was previously a Washington State verbal commitment. He has a great story too, having just started playing football two years ago after coming to the United States from California.

- The weekend could be even bigger for the Huskies as Army All-American QB Jacoby Brissett will head to the Northwest for an official visit.

- Ole Miss is in the hunt for highly ranked linebacker C.J. Johnson and down the road at Mississippi State, things are gearing up for the 'crazy period.'
Posted on: January 17, 2011 9:16 am
Edited on: January 17, 2011 9:20 am

1/17 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day everyone! Hope you take some time to reflect on the day and what it means. If you’re off work today -and even if you’re not - enjoy the links below as well.

- Speaking of today, here’s a terrific story on Ralph David Abernathy IV, a Cincinnati commitment and grandson of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s right-hand man of the same name. 

- Florida early enrollee Mike Blakely will miss spring football due to shoulder surgery. One of the top running backs in the country, the 5-foot-9 Blakely is expected to be fully healed by fall camp. 

- The loss of Jim Harbaugh was Stanford’s loss and USC’s gain. In addition to not having to face a coach that had the Trojans’ number, they also grabbed one of the Cardinal’s recruits. Sunnyvale (CA) running back Amir Carlisle is now headed to Los Angeles as the 25th commit for 2011. You might be scratching your head about the 25 commits for USC with sanctions but I’ll have an update on the appeal and scholarship math this week.

- TCU's run to the Roses has paid off with some in-state recruiting success as defensive lineman Jon Lewis has flipped his commitment from Texas Tech to TCU after an official visit. 

- Philadelphia High in Mississippi is probably best known for producing standout running back Marcus Dupree but a current player is drawing the same attention from colleges around the country. Linebacker C.J. Johnson, a former Mississippi State commit, is looking at Ole Miss and LSU in addition to the Bulldogs. 

- Miami has picked up a commitment from California kicker Matt Goudis. 

- Georgia Tech had a very successful recruiting weekend, grabbing three commitments from official visitors. The biggest pickup is offensive lineman Errin Joe but the Yellow Jackets are pushed hard to land Notre Dame commit Stephon Tuitt. 

- Colorado coach Jon Embree continues to add to his first recruiting class as head coach of the Buffs. Washington D.C. cornerback Sherrard Harrington becomes the 7th member of the class of 2011 for Colorado.
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