Tag:Darin Hinshaw
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:52 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 11:55 pm
 

New Level 7-on-7 Day One Updates

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ROSWELL, Ga. -- The recruiting landscape shifted into a higher gear on Saturday as hundreds of players from as far away as Michigan descended upon Centennial High School in suburban Atlanta for the first New Level Athletics Elite 7-on-7 tournament of the year. With 18 teams taking part, the event drew some of the top talent from across the country to show off their skills and allowed several to make a name for themselves, hoping that will translate into scholarship offers down the road.

One player who needed no introduction was Marietta (Ga.) running back and Alabama commitment Tyren Jones. Easily among the 10 best players in the state after a terrific junior year, the speedster was the focal point of Team Georgia's offense as they fought their way out of the round-robin format that made up day one.

"Some people might know who I am but I'm not really worried about it," Jones said. "I just want to go out here and help my team win."

Although he is a multi-purpose back, Jones lined up at receiver for the day and looked like a natural. Though he looks like more a guy that would be utilized out of the slot, he typically was found on the outside against the opposition's top cornerback and still had little trouble finding soft spots in coverage or beating his man deep.

"I just want to prove that I can catch the ball well," he said. "I'm lining up to play receiver even though I'm a running back."

The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder's commitment to the Crimson Tide came after attending a recent Junior Day in Tuscaloosa and picking up an offer from head coach Nick Saban. While the timing surprised a few folks, Jones liked what the program was offering and feels his talents will mesh extremely well within the offense.

"It wasn't really a pitch, they just told me that I fit really well into their system and their system really fits me," he said. "They said I'm an all-purpose running back and that's what they need at Alabama. They watched film and saw me split out some an basically said I'm going to come out of the backfield and catch the ball."

Jones was particularly impressed with the facilities and was sold on how well the program took care of the players in terms of nutrition and weightlifting. Although some might be deterred at Alabama signing the top recruiting class seemingly every year, the tailback is looking forward to the competition and thinks the class of 2013 might come in as the best of the past few years anyway.

"I think it's something special this year," Jones said. "We can win some more national championships. They don't really brag about (winning national titles) but they know they have the talent and the recruiting to win another.

Still, that hasn't stopped a few programs from continuing to make their pitch with plenty of time between now and Signing Day.

"Purdue, Florida and I'd say Georgia," he said of programs still recruiting him hard. "They're all still talking to me and sending letters."

Jones' 7-on-7 teammate - and Georgia commit - Shaquille Wiggins was not with the squad because he was in Athens for the Bulldogs' Junior Day but will return for the championship round on Sunday. The addition not only gives the group a top cornerback but somebody that has been very open about his program being the one everybody should be looking at. Although Jones' recent pledge to Alabama is strong, he still hears it from Wiggins despite him being a bit of a recruiter himself.

"Not really, I talk to him every once and a while but it's not too much," Jones said. "I'm really (recruiting teammate) Brandon Kublanow to come down with me. Other than that, I'm talking to friends and trying to make sure Reuben Foster stays (committed). He's real excited but it sounds like he's going to stay with Alabama."

While recruiting will sort itself out for others, Jones will turn his attention to the field on Sunday with hopes of doing something he's planning on doing a lot in college: winning.

Kamara is cold and hot at the same time

One of Michael Jordan's most memorable games in a career full of them was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Most remember it simply as 'The Flu Game.'

While the stakes were significantly (significantly) less on the fields Saturday, Norcross (Ga.) running back Alvin Kamara was channeling his inner-Jordan. Under the weather with flu-like systems he was still one of the fastest players at the event and helped contribute several big plays and victories for Georgia Elite.

"I'm trying to hang in there I'm so sick," Kamara said. "I dropped a few balls. But I'm bouncing back, we'll have to see with these next games."

On top of a fever and his skin a few shades lighter than what it normally is, the cheerful Kamara also was dealing with the opposition's best shot. As one of several players with multiple FBS offers, he had a bit of a target on his back while he was running routes and catching passes.

"A little bit," he said. "Some guys see me and say, 'Oh he's got all these offers and blah, blah, blah.' But that's just going to make me play harder."  

The cold and windy conditions in the Atlanta area were pretty much the opposite of Kamara's recruitment. Holding just a single offer, from Syracuse, at the Rising Seniors Bowl right before New Year's, the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has turned into one of the hottest prospects in the country.

"It's been crazy," he said. "From one to eleven. It's just crazy."

HIs most recent offer came from the opposite coast and USC, with plenty of other schools close to extending an one. He doesn't have a top group of schools but there have still been a few that have stuck out in his mind and are recruiting him the hardest.

"Alabama and Georgia are up there," he said. "Everybody heard the story about Alabama. With Georgia, their coaches keep up with me real well."

'The story' about Alabama stems from the fact that the school sent him 105 recruiting letters. In one day.

The memorable recruiting strategy certainly left a mark in the running back's mind even if he held the Crimson Tide in high esteem beforehand.

"It was wild, they just fell out of my mailbox and I wasn't even expecting it," Kamara said. "My mom went wild. She was like, 'Can they do that?'"

Kamara doesn't have any unofficial visits planned and isn't counting on going to any junior days in the next few weeks either. In many ways, he's just going with the flow of the recruiting process that he's seen pick up very quickly. Wisconsin and Oklahoma State might be close to adding to his total of offers and while he will add them to his growing pile, Kamara is evaluating all of them based on what he's looking for in a program before making a commitment.

"Just a school that feels like home, coaches that I get along with and somewhere I can just feel like I belong," he said. "I want to fit in. I'm going to make my decision whenever it feels right. I don't have a time frame."

While his timetable for a commitment is still up in the air, Kamara is interested in seeing things outside of his hometown and that means he'll take visits even if he knows where he wants to go.

"I want to get to everywhere I can and see everything," he said. "I don't want to miss anything. Even if I (commit), I definitely will take (official visits)."

Cheek checks in with Cal

Lawrenceville (Ga.) defensive back Trevellous 'Tre' Cheek was one of the standouts from the first day of competition at the NLA Elite 7-on-7. His play between the lines might have had something to do with his good day outside of them after picking up his first offer from California.

"I've always wanted to go to a (school like) Cal," Cheek said. "They're a great school and great at football too. I have family about an hour away."

While it might sound strange for a Georgia corner to be familiar with the Bears and hold them in high regard, there's a reason he is already planning on a visit out West. Cheek has talked with several members of the team already in order to get to know the program better, including McDonough (Ga.) defensive back Avery Sebastian, a 2011 signee from the area. As a result of being the first to offer, Cal has a slight edge at the moment over other schools - including his childhood favorite.

"I grew up a Florida fan since I can remember. I was brought up that way," Cheek said. "Cal beat them (with an offer) though. That first offer is kind of special. Coach (Ashley) Ambrose is a good guy."

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Cheek attended Kentucky's Junior Day last week and enjoyed the trip to see what the Wildcats had to offer. On his way back home, he stopped by Louisville, where their Junior Day had already ended but the coaching staff waited around for his arrival and to talk to him. Cheek believes both are close to offering and is hearing more from Clemson and Arkansas. He will head to the Tiger's April 14th Junior Day and based on the amount of attention schools are giving him, it figures that won't be the only visit Cheek will take this spring.

"West Virginia is close, coach (Daron) Roberts has been talking to me," Cheek said. "Tennessee (receivers coach Darin Hinshaw) said they'll offer me but he was waiting for Coach (Derek) Dooley to sign off on it and it might take a little time. But I'm looking forward to that one."

Though there were no really big wide receivers at the event, Cheek handled just about everyone with ease on Saturday. He often played press coverage and had no problem turning to run after getting a good jam on the line of scrimmage. His ability to play up close to the offense, Cheek said, is one of the reasons several coaching staffs have been talking to him quite a bit.

"Just about everybody is talking to me as a corner," he said. "Most of the coaches I spoke with said that I've very physical and they haven't seen cornerbacks like that. They think that since I'm a very physical corner, they can teach the coverage part. They can teach that, they can't teach the (physicality)."

With an offer from Cal in his back pocket and plenty more sure to come, Cheek's recruitment should be one to follow on the road to Signing Day. At the moment, he has no issues leaving the state to play college football and is looking more at the school than its location.

"Oh no," he said with a big smile and laugh. "As long as I'm getting an education. I want to major in physical therapy and minor in broadcasting or communication."

Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:10 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 2:58 pm
 

SEC 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. Nobody treats the day more like a national holiday than those in the SEC and this year could be a banner year for the conference, especially with newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri. There's a chance half the league ends up with a top 15 class and it is looking favorable that one team signs the country's top recruit. The rich, it seems, just seem to get richer on Signing Day.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, SEC
College Commits Top 100 Moving
1. Alabama 27 6
4. Florida 19 5
8. LSU 20 1
11. Texas A&M 20 2
12. South Carolina 24 1
16. Auburn 16 4
18. Georgia 17 5
19. Tennessee 21 0
22. Arkansas 22 1
23. Vanderbilt 21 1

Top storylines

1. Is this an all-time great class for Alabama?

As good as Nick Saban is at winning games and building all-time great defenses, he might be even better at recruiting. It hurts to lose trusted lieutenant Sal Sunseri to Tennessee but this still has the makings of one of Alabama's greatest hauls ever. In addition to the elite players the Crimson Tide have already landed, they have a really good chance at grabbing defensive tackle Eddie Goldman and there's still an outside chance they can flip quarterback Jameis Winston. Still, as presently constructed, there's no doubt Alabama winds up #1 in the team rankings and is in the discussions for one of the top classes in recent memory.

2. How well do the newcomers fare?

Welcome to the big, bad SEC Missouri and Texas A&M. Now, how well do you recruit? At the moment, not bad at all. Despite a head coaching change, the Aggies have several talented top 100 players and should finish in the top 12 if they don't crack the top 10. The Tigers grabbed one of the best high school quarterbacks in the country and are in the running for the nation's top recruit (though they may be behind, they're still in the race). The quality depth might be present like elite classes Florida or Alabama have but it appears that the move to a new league hasn't hurt either program.

3. Does Auburn expereince a championship bounce?

It's a catch-22 for the Tigers, on one hand they won a BCS national championship not too long ago and were cleared by the NCAA. On the other hand they've lost both their coordinators and have seen some waffling from some of their commitments. It still looks like they're destined for a top 15 class but it's also possible they lose a top player or two, such as recent decommit Ricardo Louis (whose recruitment isn't over). If they can land one of the elite prospects left on their board, such as lineman Avery Young or linebacker Kwon Alexander, it would be safe to say Auburn's class got a nice uptick from winning a title. If they don't, the staff turnover might have negated it.

4. Can Vanderbilt top Tennessee in the class rankings?

The fact that this is even a storyline is a testament to what James Franklin has done. Neither team has an incoming class that screams 'wow,' but each has a few impressive recruits. Tennessee will probably finish with a deeper class but it might lack an elite prospect while Vanderbilt could wind up with a few top players and solid but not great depth. It's a pivotal year for both programs and you wonder if getting someone like current pledge and top 25 running back Brian Kimbrow to sign will provide a boost for the Commodores over their in-state rival.

Most impressive class: Alabama

Most underrated class: South Carolina

Work left to do: Ole Miss

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
1. Dorial Green-Beckham WR Uncommitted
7. John Theus OL Georgia
10. Landon Collins DB Alabama
13. Nelson Agholor ATH Uncommitted
14. Stefon Diggs WR Uncommitted
17. Eddie Goldman DT Uncommitted
18. D.J. Humphries OL Florida
19. Shaq Roland WR South Carolina
20. Keith Marshall RB Georgia
23. Geno Smith DB Alabama
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Jeremy Pruitt, Chris Rumph, Kirby Smart and Lance Thompson, Alabama
Curtis Luper, Trooper Taylor and Tommy Thigpen, Auburn
Kris Cinkovich, Tim Horton and Chris Klenakis, Arkansas
D.J. Durkin, Aubrey Hill, Derek Lewis and Dan Quinn, Florida
Todd Grantham and Rodney Garner, Georgia
Tee Martin, Randy Sanders and Chuck Smith, Kentucky
Brick Haley, Greg Studrawa and Frank Wilson, LSU
Maurice Harris and Chris Kiffin, Ole Miss
Greg Knox, Tony Hughes and Chris Wilson, Mississippi State
Andy Hill and David Yost, Missouri
G.A. Mangus, Steve Spurrier Jr. and Lorenzo Ward, South Carolina
Darin Hinshaw, Terry Joseph and Sal Sunseri, Tennessee
Clarence McKinney, Brian Polian and Terrell Williams, Texas A&M
John Donovan, Herb Hand and Ricky Rahne, Vanderbilt

Head coach under pressure: Derek Dooley, Tennessee

Top SEC class prediction: Alabama

Top SEC signee: Dorial Green-Beckham

SEC school-by-school
East Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 DE Jonathan Bullard
OL Jessamen Dunker
OL D.J. Humphries
TE Kent Taylor
Will Muschamp has a chance to reload quickly with the current group of commits. He's got good depth coming in along both lines and is in the running for several elite players like Diggs, Nelson Agholor and Tracy Howard.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 RB Todd Gurley
DL Jordan Jenkins
RB Keith Marshall
OL John Theus
It's not a 'Dream Team' like last year but there's several players like Gurley and/or Marshall who will play early on. They have to land their remaining targets, such as OL Avery Young, to go from solid to a great class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 DB Zach Blaylock
DT Thomas Chapman
QB Patrick Towles
Towles is the headliner for this group and one of UK's best quarterback commits in a long time. There's three Blaylock's that are supposed to sign and Zach is the best of the bunch. The Wildcats might add one or two more on top of the 24 committed.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 OL Evan Boehm
OL Simon Goines
QB Maty Mauk
This is very solid first effort as the Tigers look to join the SEC and could get even better if they land #1 overall recruit Dorial Green-Beckham. Mauk looks to fit right into the Mizzou system and make the transition from prolific high school passer to prolific college passer.
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 RB Mike Davis
DB Jordan Diggs
DB Chaz Elder
WR Shaq Roland
There's not the buzz with this group like there was last year grabbing #1 overall recruit Jadeveon Clowney. Still, they have two great pick ups in Davis and Roland on offense and several other pieces that should make this a top 8-12 class come February 2nd.  
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 DB Devante Bourque
WR Jason Croom
DB LaDarrell McNeil
TE Justin Meredith
With mass staff changes and a down year, the Vols haven't gotten the elite player or two that everybody is used to seeing. Croom and Meredith are excellent weapons on offense though but there's a chance they could lose one of their top defenders on Signing Day too.
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 DB Brandon Banks
RB Brian Kimbrow
QB Patton Robinette
Kimbrow and Robinette appear to be the future of the Commodores offense and that's a great start for a group that might end up as good or better as their counterparts in the state.
West Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
27 DB Landon Collins
DB Geno Smith
ATH Eddie Williams
RB T.J. Yeldon
The Crimson Tide have already won a title in January and it's possible they'll get another come February 1st. This group has so many playmakers on both sides of the ball that several in this group will have to redshirt. Alabama is also in the running for several top commits so the rich might get even richer.
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 OL Cordale Boyd
OL Jeremy Ward
RB Jonathan Williams
This isn't a great recruiting class for the Hogs but it could be if Dorial Green-Beckham signs, as many expect. Williams has injury concerns but might be the sleeper running back in the class of 2012.
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 DB T.J. Davis
TE Darrion Hutcherson
RB Jovon Robinson
WR JaQuay Williams
Coordinator changes hurt this group, especially in terms of depth, but there are quality ball players from top to bottom. It wouldn't be surprising if Hutcherson and Williams leave a mark as freshmen.
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 OL Vadal Alexander
DE Torshiro Davis
LB Trey Granier
WR Avery Johnson
The Tigers are still in the running for some elite players when Signing Day rolls around but Les Miles has to be happy with the speed and athleticism the current class has. Johnson, if he sticks, could fill in quickly for the departed Rueben Randle.
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 RB I'Tavius Mathers
QB Bo Wallace
DE Channing Ward
This isn't a big class so far as Hugh Freeze looks to completely rebuild Ole Miss but Wallace is one of the top Juco QBs and Ward might be a the best player in-state, so landing him is a huge boost.
- Team page
- Commitment list
26 DT Quay Evans
DE A.J. Jefferson
ATH Will Redmond
There's nothing that sticks out about this group in particular but it could move from solid to good if Dan Mullen can secure commitments from QB Jeremy Liggins and LB Richie Brown. Adding those two to recent pledge Jefferson would make for a very nice year for the Bulldogs.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 QB Matt Davis
DB DeVante Harris
LB Jordan Richmond
RB Trey Williams
This was a top 10 class before Mike Sherman was fired and it looks like Kevin Sumlin will be able to keep the Aggies right around there. Davis and Williams are two dynamic players on offense and it's possible they'll be joined by former Texas commit, wide receiver Thomas Johnson too.



Category: NCAAF
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Alabama, Andy Hill, Arkansas, Aubrey Hill, Auburn, Avery Johnson, BCS, bo Wallace, Brandon Banks, Brian Kimbrow, Brian Polian, Brick Haley, Channing Ward, Chaz Elder, Chris Kiffin, Chris Klenakis, Chris Rumph, Chris Wilson, Chuck Smith, Clarence McKinney, Cordale Boyd, Curtis Luper, D.J. Durkin, D.J. Humphries, Dan Mullen, Dan Quinn, Darin Hinshaw, Darrion Hutcherson, Dave Yost, Derek Dooley, Derek Lewis, Devante Bourque, DeVante Harris, Dorial Green-Beckham, Eddie Goldman, Eddie Goldman, Eddie Williams, Evan Boehm, Florida, Frank Wilson, G.A. Mangus, Geno Smith, Geno Smith, Georgia, Greg Knox, Greg Studrawa, Herb Hand, I'Tavius Mathers, Jadeveon Clowney, Jameis Winston, James Franklin, JaQuay Williams, Jason Croom, Jeremy Liggins, Jeremy Pruitt, Jeremy Ward, Jessamen Dunker, John Donovan, John Theus, Jonathan Bullard, Jonathan Williams, Jordan Diggs, Jordan Jekins, Jordan Richmond, Jovon Robinson, Justin Meredith, Keith Marshall, Keith Marshall, Kent Taylor, Kentucky, Kirby Smart, Kris Cinkovich, Kwon Alexander, LaDarrell McNeil, Lance Thompson, Landon Collins, Landon Collins, Lorenzo Ward, LSU, Matt Davis, Maty Mauk, Maurice Harris, Mike Davis, Mike Sherman, Mississippi State, Missouri, NCAA, Nelson Agholor, Nick Saban, Ole Miss, Patrick Towles, Patton Robinette, Quay Evans, Randy Sanders, Ricardo Louis, Richie Brown, Ricky Rahne, Rodney Garner, Rueben Randle, Sal Sunseri, SEC, Shaq Roland, Shaq Roland, Signing Day Overview, Simon Goines, South Carolina, Stefon Diggs, Steve Spurrier Jr., T.J. Davis, T.J. Yeldon, Tee Martin, Tennessee, Terrell Williams, Terry Joseph, Texas, Texas A&M, Thomas Chapman, Thomas Johnson, Tim Horton, Todd Grantham, Todd Gurley, Tommy Thigpen, Tony Hughes, Torshiro Davis, Tracy Howard, Trey Granier, Trey Williams, Trooper Taylor, Vadal Alexander, Vanderbilt, Will Muschamp, Will Redmond, Zach Blaylock
 
 
 
 
 
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