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Tag:Daron Roberts
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 27, 2012 10:55 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 11:10 am
 

Big East 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. Things are in a state of flux in the Big East and it seems that the lack of stability at some programs has hampered some recruiting classes. Things are still going well but it's going to be an interesting Signing Day for the league with several new head coaches and programs shuffling in and out like recruits change commitments.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings
College Commits Top 100 Moving
None - - -

Top storylines

1. Does Greg Schiano leaving destroy Rutgers' class? 

If there's a coaching change to come out of left field, it might be Schiano's, who leaves just days before Signing Day. Rutgers had been in the middle of building their best recruiting class in years and had locked up a lot of in-state talent in a great year for recruits in New Jersey. Now all of that is in jeopardy with the shock recruits are feeling quite evident from many of their comments. Expect the Scarlet Knights to drop out of the running for several of the top uncommitted guys on their board and other school calling everybody in their class to see if they want to take a late official visit and reconsider their pledge.

2. Can Paul Chryst build out a good first effort?

Another swift departure out of town for Todd Graham has led to a very good hire for Pittsburgh in Chryst, who jumps over from Wisconsin where he did an excellent job of developing talent. Graham did a good job of keeping top in-state talent close to home and landed the top big back in the country in Rushel Shell. There are a lot of good pieces, especially on offense, but it's up to Chryst to keep everybody committed and build on it with others in his first effort on the recruiting trail as head coach. More than anything, he can hopefully bring some stability to the program.

3. How are the newcomers doing?

Every report and indication has the Mountaineers playing in the Big 12 in 2012, until the i's are dotted and t's crossed, they're going to be stuck in Big East purgatory for now. Dana Holgorsen knows the league and recruiting in Texas in particular but has hit the state of Florida extremely hard with the incoming class. Regardless of the exact timing, this will be the first group of recruits brought in to play in the Big 12 so it's worth tracking to see if that leads to a boost when the faxes are in or whether the big Orange Bowl victory or coaching turnover has a bigger impact.

4. West Virginia's first Big 12 class... at some point.

While the majority of teams the Big East has added over the past year or so won't join the league for another year, it's still worth tracking how the newcomers fare on the recruiting trail. In the case of a school like Boise State, the past success of the program has led to one of the best classes in recent memory with solid depth and a handful of players that should be in the mix for playing time earlier than is normal on the Blue Turf. Houston and UCF have done a solid job considering coaching turnover and scandal while SMU has still tried to keep things going despite losing the school's top recruiter. The class of 2012 might not play right away in the Big East but you have to keep tabs on them since they will in the not to distant future.

Most impressive class: Pittsburgh

Most underrated class: South Florida

Work left to do: Syracuse

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
11. Rushel Shell RB Pittsburgh
27. Ronald Darby ATH Uncommitted
29. Darius Hamilton DE Uncommitted
35. Devin Fuller ATH Uncommitted
91. Leonte Carroo WR Rutgers
95. Bennie Coney QB Cincinnati
105. Chad Voytik QB Pittsburgh
107. Wayne Morgan DB Uncommitted
108. Adam Bisnowaty OL Pittsburgh
109. Quanzell Lambert LB Rutgers
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Kerry Coombs, Mark Elder and Steve Stripling, Cincinnati
George DeLeone, UConn
Vance Bedford, Clint Hurtt and Brian Jean-Mary, Louisville
Bob Bostad and Joe Rudolph, Pittsburgh
Brian Angelichio and Jeff Hafley, Rutgers
Todd Fitch and Phil McGeoghan, South Florida
Scott Shafer and Tyrone Wheatley, Syracuse
Robert Gillespie and Daron Roberts, West Virginia

Head coach under pressure: Skip Holtz, South Florida

Top Big East class prediction: Louisville

Top Big East signee: Rushel Shell

Big East school-by-school
Program Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
32 QB Bennie Coney
RB Dennis Norfleet
OL Caleb Stacey
Butch Jones has done a good job at hitting needs and filling out his class. Coney won't be ready to play right away but has the physical tools to fit right into the offense. Norfleet is an absolute steal at running back.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 QB Casey Cochran
WR Neally Cunningham
WR John Green
Not a lot of remarks about this group other than the fact that Cochran is a very solid pick up at quarterback and is smart and has a strong arm.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 LB Keith Brown
LB James Burgess
LB Nick Dawson
The trio of top linebacker Charlie Strong has managed to grab headline this class but it has several other very good grabs that could have played at bigger programs. OL depth is notable.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 OL Adam Bisnowaty
RB Rushel Shell
QB Chad Voytik
The headliners for the Panthers are on offense and they should fit right into Chryst's system. Voytik has a compact throwing motion and strong arm while Shell is a multipurpose threat who is a load going downhill.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 WR Leonte Carroo
OL J.J. Denman
LB Quanzell Lambert
You can put TBD next to this class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 DB Chris Bivins
WR D'Vario Montgomery
TE Sean Price
Bivins and Price are SEC-caliber players and terrific adds by the staff. Montgomery is a big time threat who should see early playing time and is part of a very athletic freshman class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 OL Kyle Knapp
TE Ron Thompson
Knapp and Thompson are two solid adds but other than that, the most remarkable thing about the Orangemen is adding all-Namer Pancho Barnwell.
- Team page
- Commitment list
26 QB Ford Childress
WR Deontay McManus
ATH Brandon Napoleon
Childress is a guy you can project to put up big time numbers in Holgorsen's system and you can say the same about a dynamic threat in McManus. Good job at addressing needs while adding athleticism.



 
 
 
 
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