Tag:Dameyune Craig
Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:01 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 6:07 pm
 

Class of 2012 Recruiters of the year

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The letters have been faxed and the recruiting classes set so it's time to assess how each and every team did. While the program and head coach played huge roles in recruits committing to a school, the assistants who developed a bond with them are just as big - if not bigger - of a reason as to why they're headed to the college campus of their choice by the fall. Here are the top assistants who hauled in their fair share of top prospects in the class of 2012, sorted by each conference.

ACC: Brennan Carroll
  Tight Ends coach & Recruiting Coordinator
School: Miami
Class: #7 overall
Background: 2nd year at the school
Comment: Landing 33 commitments is notable but the quality of guys Carroll was able to help land - with the NCAA hovering over the program - is pretty remarkable. The fact that the Hurricanes landed just about every target is also impressive. Though he was mainly involved with the out-of-state guys personally, he helped Al Golden plan and execute a strategy for the class of 2012.
Notable recruits
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) defensive end Jelani Hamilton
Miramar (Fla.) defensive back Tracy Howard
Miami (Fla.) running back Duke Johnson
Runner ups
Florida State's Dameyune Craig, Virginia's Chip West
Big East: Jeff Hafley
  Secondary coach
School: Rutgers
Class: #23 overall
Background: 2nd year at the school
Comment: The fact that Rutgers was able to not only keep an impressive class together but add to it following the departure of Greg Schiano is very impressive. Hafley was the man at Don Bosco and he cleaned up most of the top targets there and in the area with new head coach Kyle Flood.
Photo courtesy of Rutgers



Notable recruits
Ramsey (N.J.) wide receiver Leonte Carroo
Ramsey (N.J.) defensive end Darius Hamilton
Saddle Brook (N.J.) linebacker Steven Longa
Runner ups
Louisville's Clint Hurtt, USF's Phil McGeoghan
Big Ten: Mike Vrabel
  Defensive line coach
School: Ohio State
Class: #3 overall
Background: 2nd year at the school
Comment: One of the holdovers from the previous staff, Vrabel is a big name among recruits from his playing days. He was instrumental in landing the #3 overall player in the country and teamed with Urban Meyer to land one of the top defensive classes in the country.






Notable recruits
Harrisburg (Pa.) defensive end Noah Spence
West Roxbury (Mass.) linebacker Camren Williams
 
Runner up
Michigan's Fred Jackson
Big 12: Jay Norvell
  Wide receivers coach
School: Oklahoma
Class: #8 overall
Background: 5th year at the school
Comment: If there was one area of need for the Sooners with the class of 2012 it was at wide receiver. Norvell not only kept highly ranked recruit Trey Metoyer from last year in the fold, but added four others that are good fits for the system and all highly regarded. Norvell has landed players from all over the country and did so once again this year.



Notable recruits
St. Louis (Mo.) wide receiver Durron Neal
Oklahoma City (Okla.) wide receiver Sterling Shepard
Inglewood (Calif.) wide receiver Derrick Woods
Runner ups
Texas' Major Applewhite, Baylor's Jim Gush
SEC: D.J. Durkin
  Linebackers coach & Special Teams Coordinator
School: Florida
Class: #5 overall
Background: 3rd year at the school
Comment: When a school like Florida (and a coach like Durkin) owns a state - in this case North Carolina - better than any of the BCS programs there, that's notable. The fact that the talented recruiter had a haul that fueled the Gators top five finish and added significant depth is the reason why he's in this spot.




Notable recruits
Shelby (N.C.) defensive end Jonathan Bullard
Bowling Springs (N.C.) safety Rhaheim Ledbetter
Venice (Fla.) defensive tackle Dante Phillips
Runner ups
Alabama's Jeremy Pruitt, UGA's Bryan McClendon
Pac-12: Tosh Lupoi
  Defensive line coach
School: Washington
Class: #24 overall
Background: 1st year at the school
Comment: Lupoi is easily the top choice in the Pac-12 where his departure from Cal affected the recruiting trail out West just as much as he did Washington's class. Arik Armstead going to Oregon and several decommits from the Bears are a few of the big waves his move caused and shows how good and well connected a recruiter Lupoi is.




Notable recruits
Sacramento (Calif.) safety Shaq Thompson
 
 
Runner ups
UCLA's Adrian Klemm, Stanford's Lance Anderson

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: January 20, 2012 1:15 pm
 

Ricardo Louis stays in-state and commits to FSU

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The lead up to Signing Day is usually the most hectic time of the recruiting "season," with kids taking late official visits and coaches doing their best to flip them from one school to theirs with an in-home visit. Case in point is Miami Beach (Fla.) wide receiver Ricardo Louis, who took a late visit to Florida State and wound up changing his commitment from Auburn because of it Friday morning.

"FSU likes to spread the ball around a lot so that is what I liked a lot," Louis told Warchant.com. "They also give all their receivers a chance to play or make plays, so that's one of the main reasons I picked them. FSU also never stopped recruiting me even when I was committed to Auburn. So I knew how much they wanted me."

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver was committed to Auburn since late May and also held scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. One of the big reasons he flipped from the Tigers to the Seminoles was the relationship he had developed with assistant Dameyune Craig.

"Coach Craig was always the main one that stayed in touch with me even when I committed to Auburn as I said before," Louis said. "I liked how straight forward he was about FSU. After I sat down with my family and discussed my decision, we all thought FSU was the best choice for me, plus I could stay close to home."

Louis becomes Florida State's 16th commitment for the class of 2012 and the second wide out in the group. He is ranked as a top receiver and athlete by Maxpreps and gives the Seminoles a big time threat on offense.

"Has the frame to weight 220, shows good hands and strong running ability at the WR position," analyst Tom Lemming said.

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

National Notes: Top assistants to keep an eye on

Posted by Bryan Fischer

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

West

Ed Orgeron, USC

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

Tosh Lupoi, California

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

Demetrice Martin, Washington

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

John Neal, Oregon

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

South

Dameyune Craig, Florida State

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

Mike Bobo, Georgia

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

Tee Martin, Kentucky

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

Frank Wilson, LSU

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

Midwest

Tony Alford, Notre Dame

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

Fred Jackson, Michigan

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

Adrian Klemm, SMU

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

Urban Meyer/Luke Fickell, Ohio State

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

Davis decommits from Florida

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

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

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

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

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

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

Busy week for Armstead

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

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

Video of the week



Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Florida State gets another talented defender

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's been said in this space before but Jimbo Fisher has turned around recruiting at Florida State quite quickly and it seems like they're approaching the success the school had in the late 1990's. The Seminoles just added another commitment from a top recruit Wednesday with the verbal pledge of Stone Mountain (Ga.) linebacker Ukeme Eligwe.

"Wednesday is my birthday, so I hinted at this decision to FSU assistant coach Dameyune Craig yesterday about giving him a little present," Eligwe told Warchant.com. "Today is the day for me. Florida State is where I want to be, so I committed this morning to Coach Craig. I'm locked into Florida State University."

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Eligwe recently took home co-MVP honors of the Athens Nike Camp and is one of the most recruited players in the country with over 25 offers. He recently took an unofficial visit to Tallahassee and felt comfortable enough to pull the trigger on a commitment however.

"As I said before I visited, if everything clicked, I didn't want to waste anyone's time that is recruiting, so I made my decision this morning," Eligwe told the website. "This was the right time to make my college choice. I just felt so comfortable around the coaches and players. I'm really excited about it because FSU is everything I've been looking for in a school."

Even with his verbal commitment to the Seminoles, several other schools are not giving up recruiting the talented defensive player.

“Sorry I couldn’t answer a few minutes ago,” Stone Mountain coach Dante Ferguson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution when reached by phone after the commitment. “It was Florida. They wanted to know why (Eligwe) picked Florida State over them. They said they aren’t going to give up on recruiting him."

Eligwe was also pursued by in-state school Georgia, with head coach Mark Richt calling him Tuesday to lobby for his commitment. Despite his pleas, it was Florida State on Wednesday morning.

"It's a defense that offers a lot of options for me. FSU runs a 4-3 defense. I can play either the mike or outside linebacker spot," Eligwe told Warchant. "There's even a possibility as a safety, but probably linebacker. I think I can make a solid impact with my athletic ability. It's up to me to work hard and compete. Hopefully, I can land a solid spot by my sophomore season."

Eligwe is the ninth commitment for the Seminoles' class of 2012 and sixth on defense.

“Florida State is getting a young man who is very smart in the classroom and on the football field,” Ferguson told the Journal-Constitution. “He’s a born leader. He can take over a football game. He’s going to be 6-4 — and as fast as he is, that’s scary.”

Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Florida State grabs Alabama lineman

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher already has a number one class in the country to his credit and he's making a run at back-to-back titles with a strong followup effort in 2012. The Seminoles' class got stronger Monday morning with the commitment of Mobile (Ala.) lineman Alphonse Taylor.

"That’s where my heart is and my parents approved,” Taylor told Noles247.com.

The 6-foot-6, 340 pound Taylor recently took an unofficial visit to the school and followed it up with a verbal commitment soon afterwards.

"I was ready for it the process to be over and I fell in love with FSU," Taylor told the website. "My mom loved it and that put them over the edge with me."

One of the key factors in his recruitment was recruiting coordinator Dameyune Craig, who was responsible for the state of Alabama and has already made several inroads in the state.

"He was real big. I mean we communicated well," Taylor said. "I was relaxed around him. He felt like one of my family members."

Taylor is the second commitment from the state of Alabama in Florida State's class of 2012 and eighth overall. He is expected to start out on the offensive line as a tackle but can also play defensive tackle.

Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:40 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 10:58 am
 

Florida State Nike Camp Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Perhaps it was no surprise but several Florida State commitments performed well during the latest stop in the Nike Football Training Camp tour just a few miles where they will one day play college football.

The camp was another opportunity for some of the South's best talent to showcase their skills and get discovered but it was Seminole commit Dante Fowler who ended up stealing the show - for the second year in a row.

"It was real good. I'm blessed to get MVP for the second year," Fowler said. "I'm working hard and making sure everybody still remembers who I am."

The St. Petersburg (Fla.) defensive end was not the tallest or biggest defensive lineman at the camp but he did have the best motor. Fowler never lost a rep and seemed to get to the quarterback in one-on-one drills quicker than just about anybody. Part of the reason Fowler did so well was the camp offering the opportunity to go full bore.

"I turn it up a lot," he said. "My offensive linemen in practice want a lot of work and everything but sometimes I just don't want to hurt them. There's a lot of stuff I do out here that I don't do school. But when we get in pads, I'm going to really show everyone what's up."

Fellow Florida State commit and defensive end Chis Casher was also impressive and was Fowler's closest competition for position group MVP. The talented duo of commitments ended up pushing each other to do better throughout the day.

"I think that's the reason neither of us didn't lose any battles," Fowler said. "It was a competition and we didn't want to lose. We were going to get the MVP award and see who the best is. Chris Casher, he's really good. I tip my hat to him."

The 6-foot-2, 230 pound Fowler says he is still committed to the Seminoles but is still picking up offers and being recruited by several schools across the country. His most recent offer is also the one that intrigues him the most.

"The newest offer that I got was USC," Fowler said. "Coach Monte Kiffin and Coach (EdOrgeron are real energetic. They really want me to come out and we'll see about doing that. They called me at 6:15 AM (Friday) and I was still asleep. I left the house around 6:45 and when I came home, I saw that the phone (caller ID) said USC. It shows that they're really interested in me even though I committed to a school. I'm going to show USC some respect."

The recruiting process will continue throughout the spring and summer for Fowler. The talented end is still planning on taking several unofficial visits but will likely save most of his long distance travel for official visits.

"If I do take any unofficials, I'm going to stay in Florida," he said. "Probably Florida and Miami and USF, I've got to show my hometown some love. If I take my official visits, it will be Florida State, USC, Miami and USF."

The weekend also offered the chance for Fowler to get a glimpse at what awaits him once he arrives as a full time student in Tallahassee. The Seminoles Garnet and Gold spring game was not the only thing he did on Saturday however.

"Florida State is a great school and I like what they're doing with their program," Fowler said. "I was at the Spring Game and it was good seeing a lot of people I'm going to be playing with. Seeing some of the recruits that might commit to Florida State, I tried doing a little bit of recruiting. It was nice."

Casher a close second but primed to dominate

One of the players who certainly passed the eye test this weekend was Mobile (Ala.) defensive end Chris Casher. Also a Florida State commitment, he came to this year's Nike Camp determined to use the techniques he learned last year to dominate the competition.

"I had fun. Last year when I went to the Nike Camp, the thing I wanted to work on was my hand technique in tight quarters," Casher said. "In one-on-ones today, I saw it pay off and I did real good at that."

The 6-foot-4, 240 pound end had no problem going up against the plethora of offensive linemen but it was his fellow FSU commit that was his toughest competition on the day. The friendly rivalry - coupled with a few laughs and a bit of boisterous applause - was one of the highlights for the future defensive line mates.

"I feel as though me and Dante were the two best as far as D-line," Casher said. "We're friends but we still compete against each other, he wants to beat me and I want to beat him."

Like Fowler, Casher is still receiving attention from college recruiters who feel they're not out of it yet. Despite the communication that goes on between him and colleges, Casher says he's still sold on Florida State being the place for him.

"Oh yeah," he said. "On Friday's my coach gives me a pile of letters. But I'm solid, I'm not going anywhere.

"I've always sort of been a fan and when I got on campus, it felt like family. I wanted to be a part of that. It was just a connection. I watched and rooted for them because my dad is a Florida State fan. When I got up in age and schools started recruiting me and when Dameyune Craig was going to talk to me, I jumped on it. When I wanted to commit my dad wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing it just because he was a fan and I told him no."

Like many other commitments, Casher attended the Seminoles' spring game and liked what he saw of his future battery-mates.

"The defense was solid, they were real solid," he said of the spring game. "I'm looking forward to being able to join the team and get that jersey. I was looking at (quarterback E.J. Manuel) and E.J. might be bigger than me. I talked with Coach (Jimbo) Fisher too."

Hicks impresses at end but could see future on offense

One of the more intriguing prospects at the camp was Blackshear (Ga.) athlete Quayvon Hicks. A compact but explosive player, Hicks was one of the tougher match ups during one-on-one drills thanks to a quick first step and the ability to bull rush using his tremendous upper body strength.

"I think I did pretty good today," Hicks said of his day. "I wanted to learn how to use my hands better against the offensive line."

As one of over 30 players from the state of Georgia who will be heading to a FBS school, Hicks was determined to not only get better but also prove himself against some of the best in the region.

"I think it makes me better as an athlete to come out here and compete against some of the best athletes in my class and even other classes," he said. "Dante Fowler and an FSU commit (Casher) in my class were out here and we're all going at it. I went at both inside and outside and was just trying to do my thing."

Already holding offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami and Tennessee, more than one school is close to offering according to Hicks.

"A lot of SEC schools are evaluating film and what position I'll play at the next level," he said. "I think some will come through in the spring and see me."

The schools that are close to offering are evaluating him at mainly at fullback and defensive end. The May Evaluation Period will be key for some of them to get a chance to see what skills he has and where he might fit in best. Despite not really knowing where he might play, Hicks is receiving plenty of attention from schools as his recruitment is starting to pick up.

"Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Georgia," he said were his top schools. "I might play fullback or something until my body grows. So after the first year or second year, I think most of them are going to move me to defense."

Hicks is mainly looking at the school and not necessarily the position he will play in college. That said, he does have a position of preference and based on what he showed at the Nike Camp, it's easy to see why.

"I love to rush the quarterback, that's what I live for," he said. "But I wouldn't mind playing where I'm needed at."

The 6-foot-2, 255 pound bowling ball is planning on taking a few unofficial visits in the months leading up to when he can officially visit. Though he didn't have an exact date nailed down in terms of a commitment, he said he wanted to make sure he has seen several schools to get an understanding of everyone that is recruiting him. Alabama and Auburn are two schools who will be receiving a visit in the near future.

Laith more than impressive at tight end

It's often hard for a tight end to stand out at an event like the Nike Camp outside of his size given the abundance of wide receivers and other skill position talent. That said, it wasn't too surprising to see Tallahassee (Fla.) tight end Laith Harlow make play after play against competition he's generally not used to seeing.

"Coming out here meant a lot today because it's the top of the top of the top," Harlow said. "You want to come where you get the most experience and get shown the most. I had a lot of fun out here today and I felt like I got better and worked with the top and competed and overall today was a good day for me."

With well over 20 offers, Harlow is not quite ready to start narrowing down his list. Still open to just about everybody, expect schools to extend an offer if they haven't already done so once they size up Harlow when they stop by Godby High this spring.

"I've got quite a few offers already," he said. "I'm just focused on high school right now and I love every college right now and I'm taking everything into consideration. There's nobody who really stands out or is recruiting me harder than the other."

Because he's still open to just about everybody, Harlow is flexible as far as when he makes a verbal commitment. Right now he has it tentatively pegged for the first Wednesday in February but there's no timetable at the current moment.

"It doesn't really matter to me, I'm not set on Signing Day being the day, I may commit early," he said. "It's whenever you feel that home feeling, that, 'this is it' right now, that's when you commit."

The 6-foot-5, 240 pound tight end looked like he could be a major addition in any offense thanks to his size and flexibility as a blocker in addition to being able to flex out and run routes. Harlow is deceptively fast and runs crisp, precise routes. Although he hasn't started to really begin unofficially visiting schools, he did manage to make a trip all the way to Eugene to visit Oregon this past weekend.

"Oregon was a lot of fun, they showed me a lot of love up there," Harlow said. "It was a good time, the coaches were really nice, the players were really cool and down to earth. Real nice campus and I'm not really afraid of leaving home so that's not a problem for me."

Miller eyes a few SEC schools

It was a strong group of offensive linemen at the camp and the player with the best looking frame was Palm Beach (Fla.) tackle Patrick Miller. You can tell Miller used to play a bit at tight end not because of his height but due to the way he moves his feet. He held his own during limited reps during one-on-ones but didn't live up to his own high expectations for the day.

"Not as well as I wanted to," Miller said. "I just came out to show what I have to offer and check out what Florida State has to offer. I have some friends from here so it was kind of a little vacation too."

The Seminoles are one of several schools who have already offered and Miller used the day before the camp to check out the Garnet and Gold spring game and see just what the school has to offer despite them not recruiting him heavily.

"I went in at the beginning for the tour and then I left and watched the spring game with some of my friends," he said. "I have an offer from FSU but I think they're pretty good on lineman and need a left tackle as much as some other schools."

There are several schools that are looking for a top-flight offensive tackle among the double digit list of offers Miller has. Unlike many players who are just starting to look closely at the recruiting process, the 6-foot-7, 270 pound Miller is primarily looking at schools in the SEC.

"Florida, Auburn, LSU are the three that keep repeating, those are my top three" he said. "Who knows. I just got an offer from Alabama too. They offered me and my quarterback Faton Bauta."

The Florida State visit was not Miller's first nor was it his last. Although he won't travel extensively, he hopes to narrow things down before the season starts so he can take just a select few official visits.

"I've taken a few unofficial visits," he said. "Whenever the time comes around I'll take three officials and I'll just do the top three schools and keep it simple. I know all these schools can show you a good time and try to persuade you but you've got to be smart."

While being in the SEC seems to be requirement number one for the talented offensive lineman, there are a host of other qualities Miller is looking for before he eventually makes a verbal commitment later in the year.

"I'm looking for someone who needs a left tackle," he said of his preference for early playing time. "I'm looking for a good college town to have fun but also able to work hard. Playing time and other people at my position are factors. I want to see a bunch of offensive linemen who are just like me that like to work hard. I don't care where I go, I'll go wherever but I'm trying to stay in the SEC."

Competing is just the name of the game for Patti

If there's a football camp or competition in the South, the chances are good that Orlando (Fla.) quarterback Nick Patti will be there and ready to throw the ball to wherever an open receiver is.

"Coming in and measuring yourself going up against some of the best competition in the country," he said. "I always keep a chip on my shoulder because I'm always proving myself to people. But I love it and it's what I want to do."

Height is always an issue with Patti, who is about 5-foot-10. Despite his small stature, he can sling the football around with the best of them and was one of the most accurate quarterbacks at the event. It's clear that all Patti does is love to compete and he performed well enough in Tallahassee to be named position group MVP.

"It means a lot. Tyler Cameron was out here and I think a lot of him, he's good quarterback," Patti said. "It's good to come out on top every once and awhile."

There is budding interest in the Central Florida signal caller who currently holds offers from Louisiana Tech, Indiana and UCF. Patti expects USF to visit his school to see him on Thursday and has been told some 50 schools will stop by Dr. Phillips to see him and a host of other FBS-level recruits.

"I'm talking to a lot of people right now, pretty much it's UCF, Indiana, Boise State and USF," he said of schools standing out. "I'll be at Boise State on Tuesday and I just got back from Indiana last week. I loved Indiana, I was real surprised about it. It's a real college town, it's old and has a lot of history and you can just feel it. I loved the coaches, Coach (KevinWilson, you can just tell he has a good thing going there and he's going to do great things."

The trip up to Boise offers Patti a chance to see a school that, much like him, is all about playing against bigger competition and often coming out on top.

"They're a hidden gem," he said. "They're like me, they constantly want to prove people wrong and play the big dog and beat the big dog. That's what I want to do."

There's not a throw Patti cannot make and he was one of the most sound quarterbacks mechanically at the event. Although it seems as though his height is an issue, his grit and determination seem to make up for any shortcomings. As more and more schools start to jump in to the picture, Patti is comfortable in his own skin and just looking for a system that allows him to succeed.

"Somewhere where I can come in and play," he said. "I think I can play in any system, whether it's pro-style, spread, option, anything really. I think I can do it and I just want a system where the coach wants me the most."

Notes

- In addition to Patti and Fowler winning their respective position group MVPs, Citra (Fla.) running back Jamie Gilmore, Orlando (Fla.) receiver Drico Johnson, Lake City (Fla.) offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, Fleming Island (Fla.) linebacker Cameron McCurry and Tallahassee (Fla.) defensive back Travis Blanks also took home an MVP award.

- In addition to Blanks, cornerback P.J. Williams was particularly impressive at defensive back and made several plays while never seeming to let his man get out of half an arm's reach. Williams sported a Florida State hat that he has frequently worn at events and didn't mind answering any questions fellow recruits had about the local team. Still, he was overshadowed by Blanks, who lived up to his billing as the Maxpreps' top ranked defensive back. Not only did he have an interception after savvily baiting a quarterback and dropping into his zone like a veteran, but Blanks rarely had any receiver even get a look from a quarterback just because he was on him.

- Although the sidelines at the event were quite crowded, there was one parent who stood out from the crowd and it wasn't just because he was taller than most in attendance. Ken Griffey Jr., yes that Ken Griffey Jr., came to support his son Trey, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver who impressed those at the camp regardless of his last name. He has a good frame and runs routes well. He has soft hands and they're so big, you'd think he has on one of his dad's mitts instead of receiver gloves. He recently transferred to Orlando powerhouse Dr. Phillips and if he has a big season, look for him to grab a few BCS offers. Several schools are already interested in him but he is staying grounded thanks to his father.

"He teaches me what i need to do and what I should and shouldn't say," the younger Griffey said. "He wants me to take the SAT and that's the one thing he puts emphasis on. SAT and the ACT and always try your hardest, never give half effort."

- Jupiter (Fla.) quarterback Tyler Cameron was one of the other standouts in the quarterback group that was much better overall than at the Athens Nike Camp (which Cameron also attended). Cameron is getting looks from several quality programs and already holds offers from Boston College, Illinois, Louisville and Rutgers among others. He has the size you look for and was pretty accurate, spinning the ball well throughout the camp. Florida isn't known for producing a ton of great quarterbacks but Cameron could fight to have his name be under consideration as the top guy in-state. He needs to work on getting his arm angle up however because at times he'd get a little lazy and drop it on short to intermediate routes.

- It wasn't a huge surprise to see Jamie Gilmore perform well at this event given it really suits his skillet. He once again showed off quick feet and really seemed to keep his center of gravity low while exploding in and out of breaks. He holds a few offers from Big East and ACC programs but given his production, it might be just a matter of time before teams overlook his height and realize he's a playmaker.

- Although Chris Casher was impressive physically, Yulee (Fla.) 2013 running back Derrick Henry gave him a run for his money. Muscular for someone his age, the 6-foot-3, 230 pound Henry was the SPARQ MVP award winner after putting up eye-popping numbers, including a 4.53 40-yard dash. He looked a little bit stiff as a running back and ran a bit upright but several programs have extended offers, including most of the in-state schools. You could end up seeing Henry as an H-back or on defense as a linebacker or defensive end.

- Several of the local recruits had a good day but Lincoln High teammates Raphael Andrades and Ronald Butler were particularly impressive. Andrades is a 6-foot, 200 pound wide receiver who is well built and is a sleeper prospect as a slot guy. He runs crisp routes and has great hand. The best thing about Andrades is he's pretty polished, looking the ball in at all times, tucking it away quickly and knowing just how to run his routes. He holds offers from Illinois and Stanford at the moment but he should see his list start to grow quickly. Butler performed well at quarterback and was very sharp in all phases. He had a quick drop back and threw a very nice deep ball, turning over a sweet spiral.

- Lake City (Fla.) offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is an up-and-comer but looked good doing drills and in one-on-ones. He has the requisite size and a great frame to add weight. He is just a sophomore so his impressive showing means he's one to watch once the season rolls around. Several schools have already taken notice as he claimed offers from USC, USF, Florida and Arkansas.

- Others who impressed were Orlando (Fla.) offensive lineman Duaron Williams, Jacksonville (Fla.) quarterback Nathan Peterman, Gainesville (Fla.) cornerback Chris Bivins, Tampa (Fla.) quarterback Greg Windham, Birmingham (Ala.) tight end Canon Smith, Southlake (Fla.) receiver James Brooks and Palm Beach (Fla.) defensive tackle Mike Minns among others.

Posted on: April 10, 2011 8:32 pm
 

Florida State grabs 2013 offensive lineman

Posted by Bryan Fischer

While a good number of schools around the country are looking for their first commitment in the class of 2012, Florida State added their first for the class of 2013 Sunday night in Pratville (Ala.) offensive linemen Austin Gholson.

“I was at FSU on Thursday," Gholson told Noles247.com. "When I got home I talked it over with my parents and we decided it was time to do it.”

While it is somewhat unusual for sophomores to verbally commit to schools, Gholson is one of the top players in the state of Alabama and was receiving interest from several schools very early in the process. Despite the fact that he won't enroll for over two years, the 6-foot-6, 275 pound Gholson decided to go ahead and commit.

“I called (offensive line coach Rick) Trickett first, he didn’t answer so I called (recruiting coordinator Dameyune) Craig,” Gholson said. “Then they put Jimbo Fisher on the phone. He congratulated me and said he was glad to have me commit.”

The Seminoles have seven commitments for the class of 2012, none of which is an offensive lineman.

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