Tag:Dennis Dodd
Posted on: February 20, 2012 5:12 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 5:39 pm
 

Monday Mailbag - Sooners, Aggies and Davonte Neal



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Starting a new feature on the blog as the recruiting season picks up and spring ball starts across the country: The Monday Mailbag. My colleague Bruce Feldman runs a similar feature on Friday that is a must-read but there are plenty of questions out there that need answering and, well, I'm here to answer them since college football is very much a 24/7/365 sport nowadays. So without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
Great start to the mailbag because it's a chance to bring up Dennis Dodd and Brett McMurphy's early top 25 ballots. I'm sure there's some griping from plenty of fans about how both have the order but I pretty much see eye-to-eye on most of the picks. To answer the question, I see a few teams that are a tad over-hyped going into next year, starting with Oklahoma, especially at number three overall. Are they top-10 worthy? Absolutely with 15 starters coming back and quarterback Landry Jones among them. But the way they struggled down the stretch last season was worrisome, especially with the injuries to Dominique Whaley and Ryan Broyles and how the offense just wasn't the same. I'm guessing the coaching staff will put more emphasis on spreading the ball around and hope for a boost in the run game with all of the tailbacks healthy to provide more consistency. Don't discount the loss of defensive coordinator Brent Venables either, the guys were not around for when Mike Stoops was and he didn't recruit them so it will take a little time to develop some chemistry. With plenty of time to study it, I don't think the 'Belldozer' package will be as effective as it was in 2011 unless there's more passing to keep defenses honest.

One other factor that should be noted is it'll be a tough Big 12 this year with newcomers TCU and West Virginia both having good teams on top of rival Texas taking what should be a step forward this year. It's possible the Sooners have a better team than last year but doesn't mean they'll be able to take advantage. I also expect several of the incoming recruits to see extended playing time, especially among the tight ends and receivers (I'd guess Taylor McNamara and Durron Neal for sure) Stoops signed.

A few others that are a tad over-hyped: Wisconsin, Florida, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. Under appreciated? You're looking at TCU, Kansas State, Nebraska and South Carolina.
Great timing for this question considering what the Aggies did on the recruiting trail over the weekend. Seven commitments is an impressive number and pushes the program to a nation's best 13 total commitments for the class of 2013. After already grabbing a top 15 class with the group they just signed, Kevin Sumlin and his staff have certainly hit the ground running. It helps tremendously that several of the coaches came over from Houston and had already been evaluating some of these recruits and developed a prior relationship. One of the things that I got when talking with Sumlin last month was that he certainly would make it a point to sell the fact that A&M was the only SEC program in the state. While Texas will almost always have the pick of the litter when it comes to in-state guys, you can tell recruits going forward will give a longer look at playing in College Station because of that. With the 2013 class, they have two excellent offensive linemen who are two of the top five or ten guys along the line in the state and they have a handful of speedy playmakers on both sides of the ball committed as well. Bottom line is that the program has jumped out to a big start and probably should be able to hold on and better what they did on Signing Day in 2012.

Darrell, surely you know by now not to go against the great Les Miles. The Mad Hatter had a great team last year that went through a lot off the field that some people forget. I think the national title game helped, in some respects, prepare this team for 2012 because it tempered expectations a little and also gave them a reason for the team to think, 'it's us vs. them,' in some respect.

I'm like most writers and have LSU #1 based on what they return and disagree that they lose "key" players so that prohibits them from taking the top spot in the preseason. It could be, for example, a positive that the rotation of Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson is over and the Tigers stick with talented transfer Zach Mettenberger, who many expect to grab hold of the job this spring.

LSU returns only five starters on defense but they rotated so many players in last season that I don't think it will be an issue for them as younger players like Anthony Johnson get more snaps. Incoming freshmen like Avery Johnson - Patrick Peterson's younger brother mind you - should be able to contribute early on special teams and offense to complement the strong run game the team should have. The national championship game really colored a lot of people's opinion of LSU the wrong way and it's sometimes good to remember that there's a lot of talent on this squad.
Neal is referring to Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal, who will be committing to a school Tuesday morning. His recruitment has been an interesting one, not only waiting nearly a month after Signing Day to pick but because of all the twists and turns he's taken. First off, he's a dynamic playmaker who is built to be a slot guy in a spread offense and get the ball in space. He's also a solid cornerback and should play early on special teams no matter what - there's a reason he's a top 100 player in the class of 2012.

Neal is quiet and it was like pulling teeth for a while to get him to mention a school he had interest in before his senior season ended. He's taken a lot of recent official visits and most have him picking between Notre Dame, Arizona and Arkansas tomorrow. I've heard good things about Notre Dame in this case but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up staying close to home and picking Arizona either. His high school head coach was recently hired there and family is very important to Neal so there are definite draws for the Wildcats. Old CBS Sports pal Rich Rodriguez no doubt told the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder how well he'd fit in the offense down in Tuscon too. I'll stick with a cautious prediction of Neal going to South Bend but I would be surprised for him to state in-state either.

That will wrap things up for the first Monday Mailbag, plenty of others to come in the weeks and months ahead. Tweet your questions to me at @BryanDFischer on Twitter and I'll try and answer as many as I can.

Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:51 pm
 

Dodd: It's not Kiel who's crazy, but system

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com Senior College Football Columnist Dennis Dodd took a look at the Gunner Kiel-to-Notre Dame saga today:

That may explain the trend over the last few years for top recruits to push their decision past that magic signing day. They're learning. The recruiting culture doesn't want them to learn.

Good on Gunner, then, for taking his time. For years, scholarships were subject to year-by-year renewal. NCAA president Mark Emmert is in the process of pushing legislation that would allow schools to offer full four-year scholarships.

Good intent, but read the fine print. Full scholarships would be "permissive," not required. Basically, they would be optional. That raises an obvious question: What school worth its big-time BCS status is going to guarantee a four-year scholarship? Not many that want to stay competitive with other big-time BCS schools.

It's worth the read, as usual, and has plenty of good points.


Posted on: August 30, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: August 30, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Top 25 recruiting classes & the recruiting title

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Senior Writer Dennis Dodd tackled the difficult task of putting together the CBSSports.com preseason top 25. One of the common themes is that the national champ usually has to come from behind in the polls. Taking a look at the recruiting rankings, it's usually the opposite. Sure there are the Signing Day closers, such at USC or Florida, but the Alabama's, Texas' and Florida State's of the world put together a good class early and head to February with a good idea of who they're signing while holding out hope a top guy will put on their hat late in the process.

Here's a breakdown of the current MaxPreps Top 25 recruiting rankings and a little bit of insight as to who will eventually be declared recruiting national champion.

The favorites

1. Michigan (top recruit: #33 Terry Richardson)

2. Texas (#3 Cayleb Jones)

3. Florida (#12 D.J. Humphries)

4. Florida State (#5 Mario Edwards)

6. Alabama (#19 Geno Smith)

One Big Ten team, one Big 12 team, two SEC teams and the ACC banner-carrier are the favorites to take home the mythical February title. It's no surprise to see some of the names on this list but newcomer Michigan is one considering Brady Hoke has yet to coach a game. It's not a deep year for Midwest talent but the Wolverines have certainly grabbed the creme of the crop and as a result sit in the pole position past the halfway point.

The contenders

5. Miami (#77 Jelani Hamilton)

7. Texas A&M (#51 Trey Williams)

9. Auburn (#30 Zeke Pike)

10. LSU (#58 Avery Johnson)

11. Virginia Tech (Donaldven Manning)

15. Clemson (#16 Travis Blanks)

18. Notre Dame (#13 Jarron Jones)

The next group of teams has an outside shot of moving up into the top five and challenging for the title with a strong close. Miami is in a difficult position in that they have a strong class filled with local talent but given the NCAA investigation swirling around the program, no one knows how long Al Golden can keep things up. With recent news that the Aggies would be moving to the SEC, one figures they could see a bounce and grab one or two top prospects by selling playing time in the nation's best football conference. Auburn has done well again this year and is seeing a championship bounce with their current group and could see other prospects come around to playing on the Plains. LSU and Virginia Tech have put together under the radar classes but they're both strong enough to put them in position to move up with a top 100 recruit committing. Clemson and Notre Dame both have small classes but have shown they can get things done between now and players putting pen to paper.

The pretenders

8. Virginia (#50 Michael Moore)

12. Penn State (#36 J.J. Denman)

13. South Carolina (#20 Shaq Roland)

14. Arizona State (#45 Evan Goodman)

16. Oklahoma (#47 Durron Neal)

This group of teams look like they can make a strong push to finish in the top five but it will be a steep up hill battle. Virginia is ranked highly due to the numbers they have and when others catch up in that department, they'll slide back down to the middle of the pack. Penn State has been solid but not spectacular in a good year for Pennsylvania talent. South Carolina is comfortable with their class but likely won't grab a top 10 player to push them up and Arizona State will likely not finish as the top Pac-12 class at the end of the day. Oklahoma is limited in terms of numbers this year and while they might sneak in the top group, it will be hard to go much further.

No chance

17. Cincinnati (#72 Bennie Coney)

19. Missouri (#91 Jonathan Williams)

20. Michigan State (#63 Sevon Pittman)

21. Wisconsin (#67 Dan Voltz)

22. Indiana (#2 Gunner Kiel)

23. Rutgers (#71 Leonte Caroo)

24. Washington (#70 Cyler Miles)

25. West Virginia (Brandon Napoleon)

It's a nice year for this group of team but it will be tough for any of these schools to move above 15 in the rankings. Likewise, it might be tough for Indiana, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Michigan State to stay in the top 25 as other schools start filling out their class with 20 or more recruits.


Posted on: March 7, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Dodd: Recruiting may be headed down a dark alley

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Street agents, Oregon and 7-on-7 camps are the talk of college football following reports of the school paying a scouting service $25,000 shortly after signing five-star running back Lache Seastrunk.

CBSSports.com columnist Dennis Dodd takes a look at the recruiting world in his latest column and why the NCAA is gathering information as part of a new initiative. Well worth the read as recruiting could be headed down a dark alley with so many shady figures starting to pop up around high profile players. 
 
 
 
 
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