Tag:Chad Morris
Posted on: January 23, 2012 5:24 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 6:32 pm
 

ACC Signing Day Overview



Posted by Bryan Fischer


National Signing Day is almost here and recruits across the country are gearing up for plenty of last-minute pitches and school visits as head coaches look to shape their program for years to come. While the past few years haven't been kind to the ACC in terms of on the field reputation, several schools are making quite the push on the recruiting trail. In 2010, no ACC team finished in the top 15 in the Maxpreps top 25 team rankings. In 2012, as many five could, including two top-five class possibilities. The league is very top-heavy but there's a clear talent influx headed to the East Coast with the upcoming class.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, ACC
College Commits Top 100 Moving
6. Miami 31 6
9. Florida State 16 4
13. Clemson 20 2
15. Virginia Tech 26 0
20. Virginia 25 2

Top storylines

1. Can Miami close on a top 10 class despite NCAA cloud?

This isn't what head coach Al Golden signed up for but it's what he has to deal with - which he's done superbly so far. It's no surprise that they've gotten some of the best players in their backyard and really sold recruits on the program despite whatever looming NCAA sanctions are bound to hit during their careers. One thing to keep in mind is that the Hurricanes can offer plenty of early playing time given the losses they've had due to underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft or graduation. There are several players that really aren't up to the caliber that Miami usually recruits but given Golden's track record of molding talent in previous stops, the full story on this class won't be written for some time. There are impact players on both sides of the ball, players who will add much-needed depth and potential redshirt candidates in what could be the ACC's largest class. A handful of players are still being recruited hard by other programs and will not doubt be hearing how hard the program will get hit by the folks in Indianapolis for the Nevin Shapiro scandal. It will be interesting to track down and see if the Hurricanes trend up or down on Signing Day in the team rankings.

2. Does Florida State close with a bang or go bust?

In his first year as head coach, Jimbo Fisher quickly brought the Seminoles back to national prominence in February by grabbing commitments from top recruits in talent producing Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. 2011 had an elite recruit at each position outside of quarterback and FSU finished with a top three class. It looked like the program was destined for a similar finish early in the 2012 recruiting cycle but have been hit by several defections (notably to Alabama) and the crown jewel this year, quarterback Jameis Winston, is a threat to sign with another school and/or get drafted by a major league baseball team. There's still several very talented players, especially along the defensive line, but you wonder if this group gets picked apart or if Fisher and the talented recruiters on his staff close with a bang.

3. Does Clemson bring in another big haul?

If there was one big surprise on Signing Day last year, it was how well Clemson did. One of the frequently asked questions seemed to be how the Tigers were able to pull so many highly regarded recruits but it appears that Dabo Swinney and his staff's recruiting ability is one of the best in the ACC and one of the top groups on the East Coast. This year's group of commitments has plenty of talented players who should see early playing time and help Clemson reload for another ACC title run this season. The group is heavy along both lines but the Tigers are in the running for some impressive skill position talent this final week and could be poised for another big Signing Day.

4. Better in-state battle: Miami-Florida State or Virginia-Virginia Tech?

The fact that Virginia is even in the discussion is a testament to what Mike London had done in terms of turning around the program. Both programs in the state are about done with their recruiting classes and the Cavaliers could wind up with more top 100 commitments than their in-state rival. Virginia Tech's group is deeper and more balanced but doesn't have quite the impact players at the top that you would expect. Still, both programs look like they'll have a strong class come February 2nd.

Further to the South, both Florida programs are locked into a battle that could see both wind up as top 10 classes when all is said and done. Miami will have a bigger, deeper class while Florida State will likely end up with a star-filled group of players that might not have the numbers. Both programs be in a battle down to the final hours to see who finishes with a higher class ranking from the looks of it.

Most impressive class: Miami

Most underrated class: N.C. State

Work left to do: Boston College

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
4. Mario Edwards Jr. DL Florida State
12. Jameis Winston QB Florida State
13. Nelson Agholor ATH Uncommitted
17. Eddie Goldman DT Uncommitted
25. Travis Blanks DB Clemson
41. Eli Harold DL Virginia
45. Joel Caleb ATH Uncommitted
56. Mario Pender RB Florida State
63. Michael Moore DE Virginia
72. Deon Bush DB Miami
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Mike Siravo, Boston College
Chad Morris, Jeff Scott and Brent Venables, Clemson
James Coley, Dameyune Craig, Eddie Gran and Lawrence Dawsey, Florida State
Mike Locksley, Maryland
Mike Reed and Jerry Petercuskie, N.C. State
Matt Lubick, Duke
Brian Bohannon and Andy McCollum, Georgia Tech
Terry Richardson and Brennan Carroll, Miami
Chris Kapilovic and Vic Koenning, North Carolina
Anthony Poindexter, Virginia
Shane Beamer and Torrian Gray, Virginia Tech

Head coach under pressure: Randy Edsall, Maryland

Top ACC class prediction: Florida State

Top ACC signee: Mario Edwards, Jr.

ACC school-by-school
Atlantic Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 LB Steven Daniels
OL Win Homer
There's not a real impact player in this class and that's the biggest issue. A solid group of front seven players and lineman, the lack of skill position talent is notable.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 DB Travis Blanks
ATH Germone Hopper
QB Chad Kelly
DT Carlos Watkins
Another very good class for the Tigers, Blanks is versatile and might be the best cover guy in 2012. Kelly has a strong arm and should take over for Tajh Boyd when the time comes.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 DE Chris Casher
DE Mario Edwards Jr.
DE Dante Fowler Jr.
QB Jameis Winston
 This might be the best collection of D-linemen in the country. Edwards is likely to end up in Tallahassee and it's almost unfair to pair him with guys like Casher and Fowler off the edge. If Winston arrives on campus, then this group has great potential down the road.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 RB Wes Brown
LB Abner Logan
OL Mike Madaras
 A solid effort by Edsall, it remains to be seen what kind of magic Locksley can work this year. Brown has a chance to play early in a variety of roles but there's a lot of talent that needs to be developed in this class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
22 DT K'Hadree Hooker
QB James Summers
DE Kenderius Whitehead
 Though the Wolfpack missed out on some of the top in-state talent, this is an underrated group that has a lot of solid contributors. Summers seems to be the guy going forward while Whitehead is a great addition on the DL.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 QB Tyler Cameron
LB Dominique Gibson
 Jim Grobe doesn't play many recruits early so it will be awhile before we know how good any of this class will be but Cameron is a great pick up and one of the top QBs in South Florida.
Coastal Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 WR Max McCaffrey
DB Dwayne Norman
RB Shaquille Powell
Powell could have played at some bigger programs and is a hard runner who brings a lot to the table for the Blue Devils. There's a lot of skill position players who are not that fast but can contribute in a variety of areas.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 ATH Dennis Andrews
DE Francis Kallon
QB Justin Thomas
 Thomas will be a very good fit in the option offense at QB and might be the fastest triggerman Paul Johnson has ever had. Yellow Jackets also look like they're getting a good overall group of linemen.
- Team page
- Commitment list
31 DB Deon Bush
DE Jelani Hamilton
RB Randy Johnson
DE Tyriq McCord
There's a ton of explosiveness in this class but there's also a few questionable players in this group in terms of talent level. After "Duke" Johnson's senior year, it looks like the Hurricanes are getting the two best players in the state in him and Hamilton.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 LB Shakeel Rashad
OL J.J. Patterson
LB Phillip Williamson
 Between the NCAA, Butch Davis and the new staff, not much is expected of the Tar Heels' 2012 class. Losing QB Patton Robinette during UNC orientation to Vanderbilt is a huge blow.
- Team page
- Commitment list
25 DE Eli Harold
LB Kwontie Moore
DE Michael Moore
DE Courtnye Wynn
 Kwontie Moore is an impressive linebacker who can hit like Ray Lewis and run like a safety. The defensive linemen in this class should have plenty guys who see early playing time.
- Team page
- Commitment list
26 RB J.C. Coleman
RB Drew Harris
DE Jarontay Jones
DB Donaldven Manning
 Jones is a big time DE but the there's plenty of players who will re-stock the wide receiver and defensive back positions. Coleman and Harris are going to be a very good 1-2 punch in the back field very soon.

Posted on: August 23, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Ranking the Conference USA recruiting classes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

1. SMU

The Mustangs have gone out-of-state a lot for their 2012 commitments and received several verbals from the state of California. With a solid base of Texas talent, especially on defense, to go with skill position players from out-of-state, SMU is doing well under June Jones on the recruiting trail.

2. Tulsa

There's a trio of solid wide receivers coming in 2012 for an offense that is without offensive coordinator Chad Morris (who's now at Clemson) so it will be interesting to see if they can eventually put up numbers like those in the past. Running back Quinton White is small but quick and a good fit at Tulsa.

3. Southern Miss

Offensive lineman Caleb Peterson is the headliner of this class as Southern Mississippi snatched him away from Auburn (the city that is). This is a good mix of players that fills needs while also bringing in good size and speed at the skill positions.

4. Memphis

This class would be a lot higher if they had more commitments but keeping dual-threat quarterback Will Gross at home is big for a program without a lot of success the past few years. Corner Sheldon Dawson is another local player the Tigers have picked up who is going to contribute early.

5. Houston

No surprise to see the Cougars grab several local commitments given the depth of talent in the Houston area. Steven Aikens is an underrated linebacker who has size and speed to play at a high level in college.

6. Rice

A smaller class but one that relies on underrated Texas talent. Darrion Pollard is a really speedy, sharp wideout and the program should continue to receive a few verbals once they have a chance to evaluate players during their senior season.

7. Tulane

It's rare for a program like Tulane to get a player as fast as Walker Van Hooser but the 5-foot-11 wide receiver will bring 10.6 100-meters speed to the team in 2012. Plus his nickname is "Fudge" so that's worth at least a little bump in the rankings.

8. UAB

Pretty quiet on the recruiting front for UAB with a class relying mostly on Alabama and Georgia for recruits. Kelton Brackett is a solid pick up at the corner spot.

9. Marshall/ECU/UCF/UTEP

All four of these schools have fewer than five commitments so it's tough to do anything but lump them together at the bottom of the conference rankings.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 2:34 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Double the fun on Day 3 of the Elite 11

Posted by Bryan Fischer

MALIBU, Calif. -- As if the picturesque Pepperdine campus was not enough for the Elite 11 campers, the competition literally moved within steps of the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday as 24 of the top quarterbacks in the country were put through two workouts and the first 7-on-7 drills of the five-day long process to determine the best high school quarterback in the country.

For Scottsdale (Ariz.) five-star Connor Brewer, the Elite 11 was yet another stop on the busy summer camp schedule and one, when he stopped to think about it, that was among the best he's attended.

"A couple of weeks ago I was at The Opening and played with the best athletes, and here I'm playing with the best quarterbacks in the nation," Brewer said. "It's a couple of great camps in a row. This one is really special for me."

In addition to a slight location change to a nearby off-campus field, there were several notable differences between Wednesday's workouts and the previous two days of competition.

"The main difference today was we woke up and Coach (Trent) Dilfer told us we were ranked 1-24 based on how we preformed," Brewer said. "Luckily I was No. 5, tied with Gunner Kiel. That's not fine for me, I definitely want to be that No. 1. It's something to keep working towards.

"The 7-on-7 drills, it got a little hectic. It got better as it went on but it's a fun day."

Brewer has been sharp but has struggled at times to be consistent with his accuracy on intermediate to deep throws. Looking to move from fifth up to first by the end of camp, Brewer has already identified a few areas he will work on the final two days in hopes of ascending to the top spot.

"I think I need to participate more in film sessions, answer more questions and definitely start picking their brain," he said. "I also need to start making some of the deep passes. I just have to keep up the hard work and keep competing with all these guys."

Although the Texas commit's recruitment has been shut down for some time, that hasn't stopped the Longhorns' first class of 2012 commitment from recruiting others. One of his top targets has been fellow Arizonan and offensive tackle Andrus Peat.

"I think in about a week he's visiting Texas," Brewer said. "He was going to go on the 23rd then he changed it to the 25th so I was going to make it up with him but our school camp was at that time. But he's going up there and it's going to be a lot of fun for him, I know he's going to love it and I'm excited for him to see Texas.

"I know he can get in there and play at an early stage, which is big for him. Everybody we have committed, all the guys we've got, he would fit in perfectly. His personality, he's a great kid. Coach (Mack) Brown recruits only the best kids. He's been talking to some of our recruits and I think just getting that familiarity with everybody is going to help him."

Peat isn't the only high-profile target Brewer has his sights on, as he thinks another out-of-state player would look pretty good in burnt orange on Signing Day

"Nelson Agholor, I'm trying to get him," Brewer said. "Whether he's playing safety or wide receiver, he can do it all. We'll see how that works out."

There's been plenty of talk about The Longhorn Network recently, and as one of the first commits that will see the channel on the air, the out-of-state player is looking forward to the opportunity for the school.

"It's really exciting to know that everyday there's going to be a whole ESPN channel just for you and your team," he said. "It's going to be sweet and a lot of publicity obviously. It could be good and could be bad sometimes but I think it's going to be pretty awesome.

"I've heard that they are going to find a (high school football) game, probably do it on one of our games. It's going to be fun. I definitely want to be in a broadcast, that's awesome. I'm excited to go compete, especially on that network and that stage."

Many people have talked about the recruiting advantage Texas will have with a channel dedicated to them. Brewer was quick to point out that the coaching staff never promised he'd be on the network in exchange for his verbal pledge to the school.

"No they never said that," he said. "Just kind of once it came along, obviously the first commit, the quarterback commit, that kind of started coming up. That's just kind of how it went on. The coaches really never said anything to me but if they did, I would have liked that."

Kelly fitting right in - as himself

If there was one person who truly, truly appreciated the temperate climate in Southern California this week, it was Buffalo (N.Y.) signal-caller Chad Kelly. Despite a little fog from the marine layer in the morning session, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder had no problems enjoying himself tossing the football around Wednesday.

"This is great, to be out in Malibu, you don't see weather like this in Buffalo," Kelly said. "It's just great to be out here with all these quarterbacks, you've talked with some of them before but now to be playing football with them, it's just great."

Like many of his fellow quarterbacks looking to make the jump from high school to the college after this upcoming season, the chance to pick up on certain things that their high-school coaches aren't teaching has been a big takeaway from the event.

"Just the progressions, PSLs, pure progression stuff, that's big time," Kelly said. "Coming from someone like Coach Dilfer, that's key. Being in high school and playing against teams that are good, that will come in handy, and against teams that are bad, that just means putting up more points. It's excellent just learning out here."

As the nephew of Hall-of-Famer Jim Kelly, the young quarterback has always avoided treading too much on his uncle's legacy and is determined to make sure he's on his own path to success -- hopefully, with nobody even knowing about the connection between the two.

"I try not to think about it, but it's always in the back of your mind," he said. "He's one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, ever, in the NFL. You try not to think about (the comparison). I don't tell people, I'd rather nobody know. All these quarterbacks out here, I doubt half of them even know who he is or know I'm related to him. I really just try to play it off and be me as much as I can."

Committed to Clemson since the middle of June, Kelly is part of another very good recruiting class for Dabo Swinney and the Tigers. After a few unofficial visits down South, he found the Clemson program was simply the fit for him.

"Everything. From the stadium to the people to the coaching staff," he said. "Everybody is passionate about football, they want their people to graduate, they want them to be good people in society. There's so much that went into it and I knew right from the start when I got there that it was the right place."

Recently hired from Tulsa, new Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is a big factor in Kelly choosing the school, and the pair have become close despite not knowing each other for that long.

"We talk all the time," he said. "He's always messaging me on Facebook. He's awesome and everybody there is, too. He's new but the offense that they run is perfect for me, I run it in high school. It's going to be a lot of fun."

The good-natured Kelly has no problem representing his school, having shaved the Tigers logo into his head a few weeks ago at The Opening and reminding fellow Elite 11 camper and Auburn commit Zeke Pike who would win the game between the two schools this upcoming season.

"Clemson," Kelly says with a smile. "For sure. With the athletes they've got this year… it's going to be fun watching them, it's going to be a show."

Voytik down to two

The Elite 11 isn't just about the players who reside in recruiting services' top 100 lists; it's also a chance for some lesser-known prospects to get their chance to prove themselves on a national stage. Cleveland (Tenn.) quarterback Chad Voytik has been a bit under the radar to some fans, but the talented player has proved he belongs over the past few days at the competition.

"I came out strong and I felt like I built on that," Voytik said. "There’s a lot of good quarterbacks out here so I’m really trying to focus on my self and not worry about the other guys. Of course I want to compete and know what I’m up against, but I’m going to stick to what I know and who I am."

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound signal-caller has one of the strongest arms at the camp and a compact throwing motion that can really deliver the ball quickly.

“I feel like I’m right at the top with my accuracy and arm strength. I think I'm with the best guys out here," he said. "I know I’m not the tallest, but I feel like I make up for it with my intangibles.”

Voytik holds scholarship offers from several schools in the South but has narrowed his recruiting options to two schools as he looks to make a decision soon, possibly after the Elite 11 is over.

“It’s Pitt and Vandy," Voytik said. "I’m down to those two schools for the most part. I really like Pitt right now. They’re probably the leader. But Vandy’s close behind.”

New Panthers coach Todd Graham has not been afraid to expand the program's recruiting to grab quality prospects such as Voytik. On the quarterback's end, the school has plenty of things going for it as he looks at the positives and negatives of each option.

“It’s just the fit, the coaching staff and the kind of offense they run,” he said. “They opportunity (to play early) is the main factor. I’ve been there twice, and I loved it when I was up there.”

In-state program Vanderbilt has built some momentum on the recruiting trail with a string of quality commitments recently, and that is certainly something working in the school's favor.

“They’re getting some great recruits,” Voytik said. “They’ve got a bunch of Tennessee kids like (running back Brian) Kimbrow. That’s a good program, I feel like they’re on the rise. It may be a year or two, but I feel like they’re going to turn things around and it’s a good school.”

Based on all indications however, it looks like the Tennessee native will head to the northeast to play his college ball.


Posted on: June 21, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 3:29 pm
 

Clemson adds talented Arkansas athlete

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Clemson recruiting has picked up in the month of June with the Tigers landing six commitments for their upcoming class of 2012. Dabo Swinney and staff grabbed yet another commitment Monday night to make it seven this month as Jonesboro (Ark.) athlete Zac Brooks pledged to cross state lines and commit.

"No. 1 is a place in my heart," Brooks told TigerIllustrated.com. "I was led there by God and I prayed about it and Clemson kept coming back to me. No. 2, I like how they plan to use me in their offense in the backfield. No. 3 is the amazing company and people there."

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Brooks will mostly be a running back once he arrives on campus next fall. He scored 17 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,300 yards as a junior last year. The big draw to the school was playing for new offensive coordinator Chad Morris, who was also his primary recruiter.

"He did an amazing job," Brooks said of Morris. "He kept my head up and gave me real good advice. He was honest with me."

TigerIllustrated.com notes that Brooks is Clemson's first commitment from Arkansas since 1998. He is the 11th commitment overall for Clemson and gives them a solid backfield in the future with the recent commitment of Buffalo (N.Y.) quarterback Chad Kelly.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com