Tag:Cam Newton
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:04 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 12:24 pm
 

Texas gets top QB prospect Tyrone Swoopes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The biggest thing that has held Texas back from getting back to national title contention has been sub-par play at the quarterback position. Mack Brown and company are hoping they've solved that issue going forward, picking up one of the top players in the class of 2013 as Whitewright (Texas) quarterback Tyrone Swoopes committed to the Longhorns Friday morning, according to Orangebloods.com.

The U.S. Air Force All-American and Maxpreps Top Junior is a dual-threat who can beat teams with his arm or his legs. Swoopes held scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Baylor, TCU and recently picked up one from LSU this week. Multiple head coaches had been hotly pursuing what many consider to be the top prospect in the state, including Nick Saban spending a lengthy phone call where Swoopes "only got four words in" according to his head coach.

Swoopes also has quite the family background, as he is the nephew of former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder has drawn comparisons to Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton with his big arm and ability to take off running. He has to improve on his throwing accuracy but still show an ability to dominate high school competition while racking up 44 touchdowns and more than 3,500 total yards last season as a junior. He also turned in the top national rushing performance of the 2011 season when he had 540 yards on the ground.

Swoopes visited Texas this past weekend during the Longhorns Junior Day activities and though he was expected to hold off on his decision until later in the recruiting process, the trip to Austin appeared to be enough to win him over and cause an early commitment.

The pledge gives Texas four commitments for the class of 2013, all of whom are among the top players at their positions.

Photo by Kyle Dantzler



Posted on: July 9, 2011 1:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:33 pm
 

The Opening: Day 3 -- Pads and 7-on-7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Day three of The Opening could not have turned out any better for the assembled campers as wall-to-wall 7-on-7 action and a lineman challenge took place on a picturesque day at the Nike campus.

After NFL players and Nike coaching staff members drafted teams from the nearly 150 players at the event on Thursday night, the pressure was on to gel quickly during round-robin play all day Friday. One of the consistent playmakers at the event with his blazing speed, fluid routes and soft hands was Tampa (Fla.) athlete Nelson Agholor.

A threat at multiple positions on the field, the talented Floridian was a touchdown threat every time he touched the ball on offense. Despite standing out on the field, it was hard to get him to talk about himself off it as he personified the definition of a team player.

"Yeah, I hope we have a good one the next day. We're ready to go and play hard," Agholor said. "We've got a great team."

NFL stars Josh Freeman of Agholor's local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe were the honorary coaches of “Team Alpha Talon.” The 7-on-7 setting provided the players they picked a chance to spread the field and allow players such as Agholor to go up and make plays.

"We were blessed with two great coaches that put a bunch of athletes on the team," Agholor said. "We're going to do well. There's not one bad guy on our team. Everyone on our team is really good."

Featuring quarterback Chad Kelly (committed to Clemson), receiver Bralon Addison (Texas A&M) and  running back Duke Johnson (Miami) among others, Agholor's team was one of the best in the field. Boasting players from 10 states, the all-star squad was an opportunity for Agholor and others to bond with players they had only heard about.

"These are guys you want to compete against everyday,” he said. “They say everyone around the nation is getting better, these are the guys that they're talking about. Now we're all together having fun and winning together."

Ranked 22nd overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, schools such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas and USC are heavily pursuing the talented athlete as both a receiver and defensive back. With so much attention on the recruiting trail, Agholor is almost to the point where he narrows his list down to a more manageable five to 10.

"I have sort of an idea of a shorter list," he said. "That's between me and my coaches and parents right now. We're going to work something out and hopefully narrow it down soon.

"There's many things I'm looking for. When I first started recruiting, it was all about people and their morals, that was always number one. Academics is number two because I feel like there's a degree out there for everyone, it's up to you to go get it."

In terms of a decision, that will be awhile for the five-star athlete.

"I think I want to sign on National Signing Day," Agholor said. "I really want to think this all through. Schools know, who I'm in contact with, they know what type of interest is coming in and if not, I'm going to make it a little bit clearer soon."

Miller enjoys getting some pad work

While most of the skill position athletes were playing games, the big fellas down in the trenches were also having some fun and it came in something unique to The Opening: pads.

"It was fun, I haven't put pads on in awhile since I didn't play in the spring game," West Palm Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Patrick Miller said. "It was sweet, I got a little hitting time in."

Armed with full shoulder pads and helmets, the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive linemen were one of the highlights of the camp. For some players, such as Miller, who have largely been without contact, it did take a bit of an adjustment.

"Definitely, you're getting the cob webs out," he said. "You kind of forget how to pass set or something like that. But you're with all these great coaches and stuff and you get your technique back to where it was and everything. It's just part of getting ready for the season."

Working with former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley among others, the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Miller has been able to pickup plenty of small tips and tricks that should serve him well going into his senior year.

"There's just so many small, miscellaneous things," Miller said. "I mean a pro tells you, and you're like, alright and you listen to him then. The only people I like to listen to is my head coach, my position coach but obviously, if an NFL player says it, you know it's right."

As one of the top offensive tackles in South Florida, Miller has offers from just about every SEC school, as well as Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami and others. He has taken several unofficial visits recently and will likely take a few more between now and trimming his list down.

"I think I'm going to narrow it down in the middle of the season," Miller said. "I know I'm going to visit Oklahoma and North Carolina. I've already visited Auburn, LSU and Tennessee and Florida too. I liked them all a lot, I liked Auburn a lot obviously. After taking these visits, I definitely was thinking I wanted to commit somewhere but now I realize I just want to wait and weigh my options. There might be something better out there for me."
 
Mangum sharp again in 7-on-7 setting

If you wanted to have a good 7-on-7 team at an event like this, you needed to pick a good quarterback. Noted quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr., who has worked Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton among others, was in charge of drafting “Team Vapor Carbon” with rookie Patrick Peterson. It's no surprise that Whitfield's acumen was on the money as Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum was the top signal caller throughout the day.

"I'm just doing my best to make them look good," Mangum said. "I know they're talented, they're playmakers, so I'm just doing my best to make good decisions and keep up with them. It's an honor to be playing with them so I don't want to make them look bad."

Mangum team featured Notre Dame-bound receiver Deontay Greenberry, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis and plenty of other impressive skill position players. Being able to throw to such a talented group was nice for the 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback but that wasn't the biggest take away from the event.

"There's so many things but I think it's forming relationships with these guys," Mangum said. "These are the top players from across the country and you wouldn't have any other chance to meet them but here. It's an honor to be considered among them and it's been even better getting to know them."

As a BYU commitment for several months, Mangum is one of several players who are already dead-set on their college of choice. With 11 players on his team who have not made a commitment and plenty more at the event, there has surprisingly not been many conversations asking him for advice on the recruiting process.

"Not too much," he said. "Everyone here is pretty set in where they're going, there's a few guys that aren't committed. There aren't any here, but I'm doing my best to recruit some guys to get to the "Y." Dylan Collie and I are working together to get some guys to BYU. There's some big recruits that have committed there and I think that 2012 recruiting class will be pretty good."

The recruiting class that the pair is apart of is the Cougar's first as a football independent. The opportunity to go out on their own and the advantages with that are a big draw for several recruits according to Mangum.

"I think it's helping a lot, it's a big positive," he said. "It allows us to play some big time teams on national television and I think guys draw to that and want to play for that. It's helping out a lot."

The Opening is not the only national competition Mangum is taking part in. He will head down to Pepperdine in a little over a week for the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp, something he lights up when asked about it.

"I'm very excited," Mangum said. "I've grown up watching that since I was a kid and it's always been a dream of mine. So it's a dream come true for sure."

Dawson sees two recruiting him hard

One of the more physically imposing defenders on the field was 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker Nick Dawson. Flying across the country from Charlotte (N.C.) to the Nike campus was no problem for the talented athlete as he's having a blast so far at The Opening.

"Everything's great," Dawson said. "It's so unique it doesn't make sense. And every day it gets better and better. I'm just out here to compete with the top 150 and I'm doing going good."

Like many players, the opportunity to interact and learn from NFL players has been a moment that often leaves Dawson in awe as he receives tips from the best of the best.

"I'm just getting coached up, you can't ask for any more than this,” he said. “Aaron Curry is out here coaching the linebackers Ray Rice with the running backs. Dwayne Bowe with the receivers, there's just so many unique athletes out here."

Holding offers from schools such as Arkansas, Auburn, Miami, USC and others, Dawson is trying to begin the arduous task of narrowing down his list of programs he is considering.

"Everything is going great with my recruiting," he said. "I'm trying to narrow it down but I don't really have a top five right now."

Just because it's tough to limit his options going forward, doesn't mean a few schools aren't standing out.

"Louisville and Clemson are recruiting me the hardest," he said. "I went to Clemson's camp and Louisville's also. They were great, everything was great. Both of the schools were perfect. I'm just trying to figure out which one is the best, best, best for me. I'm in the process of doing that right now."

Dawson had entertained thoughts of committing during The Opening but could not decide on a school enough to give his verbal pledge. He said he was unsure when he would eventually pull the trigger and commit.

Notes:

- It wasn't a great day of football for USC commitment Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. He banged his head against another player while making a play for a ball and ended up having to sit out most of the day (against his wishes it should be noted) after receiving stitches above his eye.

"Four. It wasn't too bad," Cope-Fitzpatrick said before getting to the bad news. "If football doesn't work out, I'm trying to be a model for Nike."

- Oregon commit Jake Rodrigues struggled mightily during 7-on-7, tossing more interceptions than touchdowns and misreading the defense a few times. He was able to throw the ball better as the day went on but he just wasn't as sharp as he was yesterday.

- USF-bound tight end Sean Price has performed well in 7-on-7 events before and did so once again Friday afternoon. He was able to use his big frame and speed to create mismatches and was a nice target in the red zone.

- All-around athlete Cedric Dozier is really rangy as a defensive back. He grabbed quite a few interceptions, including a nice one off Cal commit Zach Kline. Top ten defensive back Landon Collins also impressed in the secondary.

-  Number one ranked running back Johnathan Gray is a special back. Known for his rushing skills, he was explosive out of the backfield and displayed some soft hands. He lined up next to future Texas teammate Connor Brewer and the pair definitely had some chemistry out on the field.

- Tight end Taylor McNamara, headed to Arizona, had a really nice day and went up and caught some throws that very few people could get to. Ray Rice jokingly started calling him Todd Heap after making so many plays.

- The play of the day came from receiver Jaydon Mickens. The USC-bound athlete took a short pass and turned it into a 40+ yard touchdown by traversing the field three times and leaving several defenders unable to move. Even speedy Dwayne Bowe was impressed and quite excited about the play.

Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 10:21 am
 

Badger Sports 7-on-7 Nationals Day 2 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

DALLAS – Right before the championship game, Keyshawn Johnson was hoping this would be his team's moment.

Since starting the 1925 All-Star 7-on-7 team with former NFL veteran Brian Kelly a little over two years ago, his team fell short of the national title last year and had yet to break through and win even a regional title this year.

Sunday afternoon was indeed Johnson's moment however as 1925 got over the hump and finally hoisted a trophy, winning the Badger Sports/New Level Athletics 7-on-7 National Championship at SMU's Gerald Ford Stadium.

“Being in it two years and winning a championship (is great),” said Johnson, a former USC wide receiver, before joking, “I told one of the kids who is going to Notre Dame, I told him if you go to Notre Dame you won't be winning one of these.”

“We were going to championships and we were losing,” said running back Mike Davison. “But nationals were the one we wanted and that's what we need to win. That's the one that matters and I'm glad we won because we're national champs and we've got the bragging rights.”

1925 lost three players due to injury before the tournament but still managed to run through the championship bracket undefeated using plenty of FBS-bound athletes. One of the keys to the team though was actually the smallest player on the field, the 5-foot-3 Davison, and one of the few who didn't hold a major scholarship offer.

“It was a great experience, it was fun. We were working hard at it and I knew we were going to get it done,” he said. “It's very important to me too. I'm trying to get more offers, more exposure. I'm glad I was a big factor in this so now colleges can say this guy can do it. Hopefully I can go D-1.”

Davison holds an offer from Alabama State with several other schools on the verge of offering the speedy scatback. Able to cut a full speed and stop a dime, he was easily the most elusive player on the roughly 115-degree turf the past two days.

Known by his nickname of “Mike-Mike,” Davison was often imitated but no one could come close to the real thing. After a player on the team from Louisiana made a few quick cuts against the 1925 defense, Notre Dame commit and 1925 athlete Deontay Greenberry yelled out, “You're not Mike-Mike!”

After battling the eventual runner up, Team Houston, to a tie at the end of the first of their two games, 1925 failed to complete a play in the sudden-death, longest-yard overtime. As a result, all Team Houston had to do was get a yard on a running play to win the game but it ended up being Davison who saved the day for 1925.

“They were like, 'Mike get on the field' because the other team just needed one play to win the game,” he said. “I ran on to the field and they said 'hike' and I just sprinted into the back field and tackled him. Then we won the game when I got the draw and got a couple of yards.”

Croom down to two

Although his team got knocked out early, Norcross (Ga.) wide receiver Jason Croom put together an impressive two days worth of catches. Using his big 6-foot-5 frame, he was a weapon in the end zone and also made some tough catches in traffic to solidify himself as one of the best options on the Goon Squad.

Scheduled to make a decision later next month, Croom has narrowed down his recruiting list to just two schools as he wraps up a very productive run on the spring and summer camp circuit.

“It's between Mississippi State and Tennessee,” he said.

Croom has already made it down to Knoxville for an unofficial visit and had plenty of good things to say about the Volunteers.

“I really like everything,” said Croom. “I like the coaching staff. When I went down there, I liked the facilities a lot and the academics. That's the most important part, they have a good APR rating and they push you on and off the field. They told me I can make a big impact and all I'll have to do is go down there and show what I can do.”

While Croom wouldn't leave any hints about which school he was leaning towards, it's clear he has a special connection with Mississippi State and that could be a major factor in to his decision.

“I've had a good relationship with them for the longest time because they were my second offer,” he said. “I've been talking to them throughout this whole thing so I've got a good relationship with basically the whole coaching staff. When I went down there I met some of the players and they were real cool, they treat you like family and joke around and stuff. But when I went down there they were also working real hard in the weight room and stuff and I know they help their players academically. They make sure they finish their classwork before they do anything else.”

Croom will commit on August 18th, which is right before his senior season gets underway. He's narrowed his choices down to two and will only take an official visit to whichever program he ends up verbally committing to next month.

Miami, they were in my top three but they're out of it now.” he said. “I'll just take one (official) because I've already got my decision made.”

Marks enjoys his time in Texas

In addition to 1925 capturing the championship, the other California All-Star team, B2G, was very impressive over the two day event. Los Angeles (Calif.) wide receiver Gabe Marks impressed with his route running ability, hands and was savvy enough to know where holes were in the defense. Despite being a fairly polished receiver, he came out to help his team win and improve between the lines.

“I really want to work on my routes and my releases,” Marks said. “I'm just trying to win some games and go against some of the top competition.”

Working alongside Ventura (Calif.) quarterback Marc Evans and teaming up with Upland (Calif.) receiver Kenny Lawler, B2G had quite a day on offense before running out of gas late. For the most part though, the group was clicking in large part because they had been playing with one another throughout the summer.

“We work out with each other all the time and we do all of the events together,” Marks said. “We definitely have a good chemistry. We like sticking with one quarterback so we don't have to worry about that transition if a new guy plays with us.”

Holding offers from several Pac-12, Mountain West and Conference USA programs, Marks is beginning to focus on just a handful of programs to allow time for him to compete during his senior season in high school.

“I'm starting to narrow down my list of schools, I've got SMU, Utah and UCLA as my top three.” he said. “Then I have Colorado and Boston College to finish out my top five.”

The trip to Dallas has allowed him a chance to get an in-depth look at what it would be like if he committed to SMU. Outside of adjusting to the extremely hot weather – especially for someone who lives just a few miles from the beach – the experience was a good one overall.

“SMU is a great school, they're definitely one of the nicer schools I've seen,” said Marks. “The one thing would be the weather, that'd take some getting used to. But I love the coaches, they're great and it's a great system that would be a good fit for me.”

One of the big drawing points for the private school on the field is head coach June Jones' Run and Shoot offense, which has allowed receivers similar to Marks put up big numbers. Off the field, there's a lot of positives as well.

“Their academics are top notch,” he said. “You can have a good career after football and that's what I'm using football for. If I don't make it to the league, I want something to fall back on.”

If Marks is looking to stay closer to home, UCLA offers that option and the Bruins have plenty going for them as they try to land the 6-foot, 170-pounder.

“Their academics and the fact they're so close to home,” Marks said when asked what he liked about the school. “You grow up watching the coaches and the team so they're the hometown school.”

Marks will likely make a decision in December after taking official visits. At the moment, he has already planned three visits, to Utah, SMU and UCLA, during the season.

Liggins looking to stay in the SEC

One of the biggest – if not the biggest – players on the field was actually Oxford (Miss.) quarterback Jeremy Liggins. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound signal caller was sharp for most of day two of the tournament and made several nice throws into tight windows.

“I felt like we did pretty good,” Liggins said. “Keyshawn Johnson's team though, he brought in some ballers. We just kind of threw a team together and we didn't have a practice or anything. I felt like if we practiced, we could come out and compete with these boys.”

Playing for the Louisiana team, Liggins led an overachieving squad that made a very nice, deep run in the double-elimination event. Developing some timing with his newfound receivers was key to moving the ball on Sunday after a bit of a slow start the day before.

“It's pretty hard because I'm not used to how these guys run,” he said. “But after the first game yesterday, we kinda started to connect and I felt pretty comfortable with those guys (today) because I know that once I put the ball out there, they're going to go make plays on the ball.”

Liggins holds several scholarship offers already and figures to pick up more once the season begins. If there's one thing he's locked into with the recruiting process, it's a certain brand of southern football.

“I've got a lot of offers but I'm really just looking at the SEC,” he said. “I've got ones from Florida, South Carolina and others.”

With his size and speed, Liggins knows that plenty of coaches are looking to move him to other positions. He could wind up as a defensive lineman in college at first glance but he's also trying to make it clear that he wants a shot behind center first.

“In 10th grade, they were looking at me as an athlete but now a lot want me at QB,” Liggins said. “I want to play QB. I feel like if I get the right training, I can be a good quarterback. But if I have to move somewhere (to another position) to help a team win, that's what I'll do.”

After a busy spring evaluation period and a summer full of unofficial visits, Liggins has already narrowed down his list of schools in anticipation of making a decision later this year.

“I'd say my top four is LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State,” he said. “I've been to all of them. I like them because they're all pretty nice campuses. Playing with Alabama and LSU, you know you're going to compete for a national championship every year and that's what I'm looking for. And I know they're a pipeline for the NFL.

“Playing time, playing QB and the school. All of it. I'm looking for a school that has good tradition and that put good students out and have a good graduation rate.”

Hutchinson excited to be building at Auburn

While there were plenty of commitments playing in the tournament, it was somewhat rare to have two on the same team. Such was not the case with the Goon Squad, which featured a pair of future Auburn Tigers in Dadeville (Ala.) tight end Darrion Hutcherson and Edgewood (Ky.) quarterback Zeke Pike. The two connected on plenty of throws over the weekend and even when one player hit a rough patch, the other was able help turn things around.

“If I'm struggling, he'll pick me up and if he's struggling, I'll pick him up,” Hutcherson said. “That's just how it is.”

The bond the two developed over the past few months on the 7-on-7 circuit is something Hutcherson expects to have dividends when the two eventually end up on the Plains.

“It definitely allows us to build that relationship early,” he said. “We're going to have a strong relationship at Auburn because we're out here doing (7-on-7). This is just like a vacation and getting extra work in.”

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is aware that Auburn is losing several pieces from their magical run to the BCS championship last year but believes the current group of 2012 commitments can be part of another big run in a couple of years.

“You just have to go somewhere where your heart feels comfortable at,” Hutcherson said of why he picked the school. “Auburn had a great year with Cam Newton and Nick Fairley coming in and winning all the awards and the national championship. They've got a great coaching staff and now they're on a rebuilding year. Me and Zeke are going down there to start the number one recruiting class to get Auburn back rolling like they used to be.”

Hutcherson mentioned that he will an official visit to nearby Auburn and will possibly schedule one to Utah just to visit the school.
 

Posted on: May 12, 2011 8:28 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 8:30 pm
 

SoCal quarterback selects Colorado

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Colorado has always recruited the state of California well, grabbing several players to fill out their roster while competing in the Big 12 North Division. The move over to the Pac-12 had many expecting the Buffaloes to grab both a higher quantity and quality of athletes from the Golden State.

It appears that is quickly becoming reality as the Buffs picked up a key commitment from El Cajon (Calif.) quarterback Shane Dillon on Thursday.

The 6-foot-5, 175 pound Dillon is coached by noted quarterback guru George Whitfield, who has trained Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton among others.

Dillon visited Boulder just over a week ago and raved about his trip shortly thereafter. He held offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Florida State, Ohio State and Vanderbilt but apparently had gone through enough of the recruiting process and ended things early by pledging to the Buffs. He is the fourth commitment in the program's class of 2012.

A little on the thin side, Dillon can still spin the ball well and is one of the top quarterbacks on the West Coast. He threw for 2,978 yards and 19 touchdowns last season as a junior.

Posted on: April 28, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Blaine Gabbert sticks up for Missouri recruits

By MaxPreps' Mitch Stephens 

The difference between the recruiting process heading into college and the NFL draft whirlwind is distinct and simple, Blaine Gabbert said.

"It's absolute role reversal," the Missouri quarterback told MaxPreps on Wednesday. "When you're being recruited, everyone is trying to impress you. When you enter the draft, you're the one trying to impress."

By all accounts, Gabbert has done all the right things heading into tonight's first day of the three-day NFL draft extravaganza. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior declared early and is projected among the top five selections overall and perhaps as high as No. 3.

He showed well athletically at the NFL combine – 4.62 40-yard dash and 33.5-inch vertical jump - and wooed NFL coaches with his strong right arm at Pro Day on the Missouri campus.

Calm, personable and articulate, he spoke well during numerous character exams, and scored an impressive 42 in the infamous 12-minute, 50-question Wonderlic Test that grades cognitive ability. A score of 20 is considered average, 30 is impressive and 40 or more is outstanding.

Gabbert had the second-highest tally released among NFL prospects and was well above the average QB score of 24.

He was even more impressive in the much-publicized ESPN Quarterback Camp spot with Jon Gruden that featured Gabbert and other projected first-round picks Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton and Jake Lockner.

"That was a blast," Gabbert said. "Coach Gruden is so passionate and his enthusiasm is so contagious. It was a great opportunity to sit down with a Super Bowl-winning coach who knows so much about the quarterback position in the league."

Beyond selling himself the last two months, on Wednesday he sold Missouri high school football.

While Texas, Florida and California kids get their due on NFL Draft and National Signing Day, the Show-Me State doesn't typically show. Gabbert, who starred at Parkway West (Ballwin, Mo.), begged to differ.

"Missouri is a great football and basketball state," he said. "A lot of great athletes come out of there."

Read much more of this story on MaxPreps...

Posted on: April 28, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Blaine Gabbert sticks up for Missouri recruits

By MaxPreps' Mitch Stephens 

The difference between the recruiting process heading into college and the NFL draft whirlwind is distinct and simple, Blaine Gabbert said.

"It's absolute role reversal," the Missouri quarterback told MaxPreps on Wednesday. "When you're being recruited, everyone is trying to impress you. When you enter the draft, you're the one trying to impress."

By all accounts, Gabbert has done all the right things heading into tonight's first day of the three-day NFL draft extravaganza. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior declared early and is projected among the top five selections overall and perhaps as high as No. 3.

He showed well athletically at the NFL combine – 4.62 40-yard dash and 33.5-inch vertical jump - and wooed NFL coaches with his strong right arm at Pro Day on the Missouri campus.

Calm, personable and articulate, he spoke well during numerous character exams, and scored an impressive 42 in the infamous 12-minute, 50-question Wonderlic Test that grades cognitive ability. A score of 20 is considered average, 30 is impressive and 40 or more is outstanding.

Gabbert had the second-highest tally released among NFL prospects and was well above the average QB score of 24.

He was even more impressive in the much-publicized ESPN Quarterback Camp spot with Jon Gruden that featured Gabbert and other projected first-round picks Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton and Jake Lockner.

"That was a blast," Gabbert said. "Coach Gruden is so passionate and his enthusiasm is so contagious. It was a great opportunity to sit down with a Super Bowl-winning coach who knows so much about the quarterback position in the league."

Beyond selling himself the last two months, on Wednesday he sold Missouri high school football.

While Texas, Florida and California kids get their due on NFL Draft and National Signing Day, the Show-Me State doesn't typically show. Gabbert, who starred at Parkway West (Ballwin, Mo.), begged to differ.

"Missouri is a great football and basketball state," he said. "A lot of great athletes come out of there."

Read much more of this story on MaxPreps...

Posted on: February 2, 2011 6:38 pm
 

Boise St signs 19, welcomes them to the blue turf

Posted by Bryan Fischer

They may be light on the star ratings coming out of high school but Boise State’s 2011 recruiting class is heavy on accomplishments. The Broncos announced that they signed 19 players to a letter of intent, many of whom were named to various all-state or all-county teams.

The majority of the class is composed of linemen, three on each side of the ball. Boise State’s elevated profile the past few years is evident in where the student-athletes hail from, eight from California, four from Texas and one from Oregon, Washington and Canada.

Junior college kicker Dextrell Simmons transfers in from Blinn Junior College. In what might be taken as a good sign for Broncos fans, Simmons played on the same Blinn junior college team as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Perhaps some of Newton's luck rubbed off.

Boise State also said three players were brought in as grayshirts and will be part of the 2010 signing class.

The Broncos open the 2011 season against Georgia on September 3rd.

Posted on: January 26, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Auburn picks up running back Tre Mason

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A key cog in Auburn’s run to the national championship – someone not named Cam Newton – was freshman running back Michael Dyer. The presence of a young, impact running back was considered by some to scare off potential recruits at the position in the class of 2011.

Lake Worth (FL) running back Tre Mason apparently doesn’t mind at all after committing to the Tigers Wednesday afternoon, reports the Palm Beach Post. Rated as a four-star back by most recruiting services, Mason chose Auburn over Ole Miss and LSU and is the second running back in the class of 2011 to head to the Plains.

A 5-foot-10, 190 pound speedster out of the backfield, Mason rushed for over 1,600 yards and 24 touchdowns last season at Park Vista High. Mason’s college choice has attracted a lot of attention from media outlets over the past month or so but despite all the attention, he’ll still be the second-most famous member of his own family.

Mason’s father is best known as the musician D.J. Maseo from the hip-hop group De La Soul. Producing hits such as Me, Myself and I and contributing to the 2005 hit Feel Good Inc. with the Gorillaz, D.J. Maseo has been making hits while his son will soon take them at the college level. De La Soul’s most recent material was released on iTunes as part of the Nike+ Sport Music series but with his son now bound for Under Armour-affiliated Auburn, he just might have to come out with a new album as a result.

 
 
 
 
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