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Tag:Derrick Henry
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:26 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:50 pm
 

Top 2013 Recruits to Know



Posted by Bryan Fischer


The class of 2012 was so last week and it's time for everybody to turn their attention to the Class of 2013. This class may or may not be as talented as last year's group but it has a lot of high end talent even if it's not as deep. Here are 25 recruits just about everybody should know from coast-to-coast.

Photo by Dennis Carter/MaxPreps.com

 25 Recruits to Know
Player Position Size Location Notes
Robert Nkemdiche DE/OLB 6-5, 260 Grayson, Ga. Will likely be a consensus #1 overall prospect in this class, Nkemdiche is one of the most talented and driven athletes to come out of Georgia on the defensive side of the ball. He's got the speed to chase down the quarterback and is a savvy player who understands the game. Most expect him to end up at Alabama but Georgia, Ole Miss and others will try hard to land him. Highlights
Kenny Bigelow DL  6-3, 285 Bear, Del. It's rare to see such a talented player come out the Northeast like Bigelow but there's a reason why he picked up a ton of early offers from powerhouse programs from across the country. He is athletic enough to play tight end but will wind up playing a variety of positions along the defensive line and has a nice set of pass rush moves. Committed to USC. Highlights
Adam Breneman TE 6-5, 230 Camp Hill, Pa. The top tight end in the country, Breneman is the next in a wave of prototype players who can split out, block or get releases inside from a three-point stance. His hands are soft and he's a very good route runner. Highlights
Max Browne QB 6-5, 200 Sammamish, Wash. The top quarterback on the West Coast, Browne is the latest Evergreen state signal-caller to impress scouts. He is a bit on the skinny side but has a great frame, strong arm and a very good pocket presence. Not a great runner, his arm more than makes up for it. Highlights
Greg Bryant RB 5-10, 210 Delray Beach, Fla. Bryant has been well known in the state of Florida for sometime and is one of the headliners in a strong year for running backs. As quick as he is fast, he runs well between the tackles and knows how to get to the second level and into the open field. Highlights
Cameron Burrows DB 6-2, 200 Trotwood, Ohio Burrows is one of the top players in Ohio this year and can play pretty much any position in the secondary equally well. He's fast, has hands like a wide out and isn't afraid to come up and hit people. He also has an advanced degree in reading the quarterback because he reacts very well in coverage. Committed to Ohio State. Highlights
Su'a Cravens DB/LB 6-1, 210 Murrieta, Calif. The top defensive player out West, Cravens is a terror at multiple spots. He is fast enough to be a safety but will likely end up at outside linebacker who can rush the passer. His motor is always running and he doesn't seem to stop until the ball carrier is on the ground. Highlights
Reuben Foster LB 6-2, 228 LaGrange, Ga. Foster will be one of the top linebackers in the country and it looks like he's ready to step on campus this fall. He needs to work on his coverage skills a little but he's one of the hardest hitters in this class and is just a load coming downhill at an offensive player. Committed to Alabama. Highlights
Kendall Fuller DB 6-0, 180 Olney, Md. He's talented enough to play multiple positions but will likely end up being one of the Northeast's top recruits at corner. He's fluid DB who can turn and run stride for stride with any receiver and plays the ball well. He has a few things to work on but is someone you want taking away one side of the field. Highlights
Ahmad Fulwood WR  6-4, 200 Jacksonville, Fla. Fulwood really burst onto the scene last summer and drew a host of offers early. He's a bit lean but has a great frame to add weight and still maintain his speed. He's a quarterback's best friend for jump balls and isn't afraid to go over the middle to make a tough catch. Highlights
Derrick Griffin WR 6-6, 215 Rosenberg, Texas Because he's also a highly-ranked basketball star, Griffin is a huge, athletic target but is also a lot faster than most people expect. He's got very good hands and obviously can go up and snag the ball from pretty much anywhere on the field. You could see him adding a few pounds and being a very good tight end. Committed to Texas A&M. Highlights
Vernon Hargreaves DB 6-0, 175 Tampa, Fla. He's got a good case as one of the top corners on the East Coast and certainly has a great teacher considering his father is the secondary coach at USF. He's quick and understands coverages very well, sinking into throwing lanes and coming up in run support if needed. Highlights
Derrick Henry RB 6-3, 230 Yulee, Fla. The most impressive athlete in the class, Henry could play a number of positions in addition to his preferred spot at running back. He is physically bigger than just about everybody in high school and needs at least two defenders to bring him down. Committed to Georgia. Highlights
Michael Hutchings LB 6-1, 205 Concord, Calif. One of the top linebackers in the country, Hutchings is a sound player who has been extremely well coached. He's upper body-heavy and is a sure tackler who can run well. He can read the line and blitz very effectively. Highlights
Ty Isaac RB 6-2, 220 Joliet, Ill. Isaac has good speed even if he's not the quickest prospect out there. He also has good vision and is one of the top players in the Midwest due to his versatility that could see him play a little slot or wing back in college. Highlights
Dee Liner DE 6-4, 260 Muscle Shoals, Ala. One of the top linemen in the South this year, Liner does an excellent job of coming off the ball and keeping his pad level down. He's a big guy who can play either end or tackle and is fast enough to chase guys down from behind the play. Committed to Auburn. Highlights
Shane Morris QB  6-2, 180 Warren, Mich. He has solid arm strength but is very accurate, especially on intermediate passes over the middle. Morris has light feet and a solid pocket presence that can move outside and make throws on the run. He is a smart kid who can read coverages quickly and shows great anticipation. Committed to Michigan. Highlights
Marquez North WR 6-3, 210 Charlotte, N.C. A smooth, fluid receiver who can score at any time, North is used to plenty of attention at his powerhouse high school. He's a two-stepper who can return kicks and punts in addition to being a game-changing wide out. Highlights
Jake Raulerson ATH 6-5, 250 Celina, Texas It's not often you get athletes like Raulerson who could play multiple positions on each side of the ball and be highly ranked at each. His feet are terrific and one reason why he's a great offensive lineman and tight end. In addition, he's good on the defensive line and can play the run very well. Committed to Texas. Highlights
Max Redfield DB 6-3, 195 Mission Viejo, Calif. Probably the top safety on the West Coast, Redfield has the size and speed to be an impact defender patrolling the secondary in college. He reads the quarterback as well as anybody, has a fluid backpedal and can turn on a dime. Highlights
Tyrone Swoopes QB 6-5, 220 Whitewright, Texas An athletic dual-threat, Swoopes has as high an upside as any quarterback in 2013. He can get the ball out quickly with a strong arm and is one of the fastest players at his position. He is a perfect fit for a spread offense. Highlights
Altee Tenpenny RB 5-10, 200 North Little Rock, Ark. Was one of the few underclassmen to attend last summer's The Opening, Tenpenny wows with his athleticism. He missed his junior season but that didn't stop any school in the country from offering. Committed to Alabama. Highlights
Laremy Tunsil OL 6-6, 280 Lake City, Fla. His size stands out but his athleticism is what allows him to be dominant and one of the top tackles in the country. Tunsil isn't stiff and is an advanced pass blocker with excellent feet. He also reaches the second level well and can handle linebackers as easy as he does ends.
Thomas Tyner RB 6-0, 200 Beaverton, Ore. One of the fastest players in the class, Tyner brings his 10.4 100m track speed to the football field. He gets into and out of cuts quickly and seems to hit the extra gear as soon as he sees daylight in the open field. Committed to Oregon. Highlights
Eddie Vanderdoes DL 6-3, 275 Placer, Calif. The Sacramento-area has produced some quality talent the past few years and Vanderdoes is the next elite guy. He has excellent size and gets up the field quickly from an interior line position but flexible enough to rush the passer from outside. Highlights



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: November 4, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 5:52 pm
 

Impressive visitor list in Tuscaloosa for LSU-ALA



Posted by Bryan Fischer

Just a few weeks ago, recruitniks were impressed with the quality and quantity of high level recruits that were in South Bend for the USC-Notre Dame game. Several people termed it Brian Kelly's 'Super Bowl.'

This Saturday is college football's actual Recruiting Super Bowl (well, not actual Super Bowl but as close as one gets in the regular season). On the sidelines, a truly star-studded cast, topping the century mark in terms of number of official and unofficial visitors. Though Nick Saban and his staff will no doubt be occupied with the team in purple and gold, they'll be spending some time hosting the biggest recruiting weekend Tuscaloosa has seen in years.

The biggest visitor coming in is five-star safety Landon Collins. Both LSU and Alabama are battling for his services but it will be tough to lure him out-of-state. A big win over the Tigers and an impressive visit however, might be enough to leave a lasting impression that will pay off on Signing Day. Collins isn't the only five-star or big name headed in for the game though, as illustrated by the partial list below.

Official visitors

DT/OT Arik Armstead
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama commit
DB Landon Collins
LB Noor Davis, Stanford commit
DB Travell Dixon, JUCO
DT Eddie Godlman
DE Jordan Jenkins
OT Avery Young

Unofficial visitors

LB Kwon Alexander
DE Torshiro Davis, LSU commit
DE Denzel Devall
DB Trae Elston
DT Quay Evans
TE Kurt Freitag
DT Issac Gross, Ole Miss commit
OT Brandon Hill
QB Jeremy Liggins
RB Barry Sanders Jr.
DT Justin Shanks, Florida State commit
DB Dwayne Thomas, LSU commit
DT Dalvin Tomlinson
DL Channing Ward
DE Jamichael Winston, Arkansas commit
DB P.J. Williams, Florida State commit
QB Jameis Winston, Florida State commit
RB T.J. Yeldon, Auburn commit

Alabama commitments

DE Ryan Anderson
DT Dakota Ball
WR Chris Black
RB Kenyan Drake
WR Casey Gladney
OL Brandon Greene
K Adam Griffith
OL Caleb Gulledge
LB Tyler Hayes
DT Darren Lake
LB Dillon Lee
QB Alec Morris
DT Darius Philon
LB Reggie Ragland
DB Geno Smith
ATH Justin Thomas
DB Eddie Williams

2013 Recruits:

OL Bradley Bozeman, Alabama commit
DB Cameron Burrows
LB Reginald Carter
DB Antonio Conner
LB Rueben Foster, Alabama commit
RB Derrick Henry, Georgia commit
TE O.J. Howard, Alabama commit
DL Dee Liner, Auburn commit
QB Johnathon McCrary
DE Robert Nkemdiche
OL Lovell Peterson
WR Earnest Robinson
RB Kelvin Taylor (Alabama-Florida battle)
DB Tramel Terry
RB Altee Tenpenny

2014 Recruits:

RB Sony Michel
WR Bo Scarborough
LB Tre Williams
DE Gerald Willis



Posted on: September 6, 2011 9:50 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 9:50 am
 

9/6 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- Check out some new photos of #1 overall recruit Dorial Green-Beckham.

Missouri commit Donavin Newson could be out for the season with a torn MCL.

Former Georgia commit Kent Turene and former FIU commit Corey Tindal are both at an Atlanta area prep school.

Cincinnati is the first major offer for offensive lineman Austin Bland.

Several Baylor and Tulsa commitments shined in week one.

Texas A&M's move to the SEC could expand the recruiting footprint for other conference teams.

Georgia commit Derrick Henry may be having second thoughts and is considering Florida.

Commitments:

Vanderbilt added offensive tackle Blake Fromang out of Florida.

Posted on: August 9, 2011 9:36 am
 

8/9 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- The CEO of Cincinnati Bell has become a mentor for defensive end Adolphus Washington.

- The always interesting Athlon Consensus 100 is out, bringing together all of the online ranking services.
- Tight end Kent Taylor is narrowing down his list on Wednesday.

Georgia commit Derrick Henry and fellow running back Kelvin Taylor are both special players.

Michigan's 2012 class is almost complete with Ondre Pipkins' commitment.

Could Florida be in-line for more five-stars?

Commitments:

Michigan State added offensive tackle Kodi Kieler as commitment 14 for this class.

Running back Mike Hilton committed to Ole Miss over Mississippi State and Kentucky. Running back I'Tavius Mathers has also committed to the Rebels.

Very nice pick up for BYU as defensive end Troy Hinds committed to the school.

Athlete Taylor Barton will leave Florida for college after committing to Illinois.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:50 am
 

7/21 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One of the top 2013 running backs, Altee Tenpenny, has picked up offers from Alabama and Auburn but is staying grounded.

A mid-July Minnesota recruiting update.

Derrick Henry's commitment to Georgia is surprising to all, even his high-school coach.

Michigan State commit Tyler O'Connor is one of the players in the Elite 11.

Mississippi State's Dan Mullen spoke out about recruiting services.

Commitments:

Wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo committed to Maryland.

Nice pick up for Missouri in offensive lineman Simon Goines.

Offensive lineman Chester Brown is a big body for Georgia.

Nose guard Shelldon Lewinson committed to Wake Forrest.
Posted on: July 16, 2011 8:49 am
Edited on: July 16, 2011 9:29 am
 

Huge night for Georgia nets top OL, four others

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There are recruiting hauls, and then there's what happened Friday night with Georgia.

Five players, including the top offensive lineman in the country, verbally committed to Mark Richt and staff at Dawg Night, the program's annual summer camp that usually attracts some of the top talent in the Southeast. On Friday, that talent generally ended up leaving pledged to Georgia.

“Yes, sir, I did [commit to Georgia],” offensive tackle John Theus (right) told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There was a big group that did.”

Theus, a 6-foot-6, 300-pounder from Jacksonville (Fla.), is the nation's top offensive lineman in the class of 2012, according to MaxPreps. The five-star is ranked sixth overall and a huge pickup for a program that is searching for elite offensive line prospect after missing on several over the past few years. His brother, Nathan, is an incoming freshman for the Bulldogs and also committed at Dawg Night last year.

But Richt and staff had more good news besides picking up Theus as three other players committed at the same time, including Kingsland (Ga.) class of 2013 quarterback Brice Ramsey.

"We got there and we all talked about it and all agreed to it," Ramsey told UGASports.com. "We were all on the field with a bunch of people. Theus stepped up to coach and said that all four of us want to be Bulldogs."

According to the report, Richt was astounded. After building a "Dream Team" recruiting class in 2011, it appears Georgia is well on its way to others in 2012 and 2013.

"We were all saying to each other 'The Fab Four' committed tonight, now we are going to start building our Dream Team,'" Ramsey said.

Other 2013 players also added to the total Friday night, including -- arguably -- the top prospect from the state of Florida, Yulee (Fla.) running back Derrick Henry. He had been favoring Florida as of last week.

"It surprised me a little bit because I didn't expect it to be like it was," Henry told the site. "I thought it was going to be just like any other college, but they showed us the dorm, the facility and the locker room was just so nice that I was blown away."

Goose Creek (S.C.) athlete Tramel Terry joined in on the fun to give the program three rising juniors. On top of adding top talent from the classes of 2012 and 2013, Georgia also added a commitment from Bethlehem (Ga.) class of 2014 running back Stanley Williams.

"I accepted on the spot," Williams told UGASports.com at the conclusion of Dawg Night activities. "I was still deciding at the beginning of the week when Coach (Todd) Grantham told me they would probably offer me after the camp. So once my family and I discussed it, so when Coach Richt offered, we knew what we were going to do."

Theus gives Georgia 11 commitments overall and is the highest rated player on the board. The program also has three current 2013 commits and Williams is the lone 2014 commit.

Quite the Dawg Night.
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:28 pm
 

The Opening: Day 4 closes out all-star event

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- As things wrapped up on Day 4 of The Opening, one couldn't help feeling a tinge of sadness on behalf of the nearly 150 athletes at the event. Knowing the end was coming and that they soon would have to hop on a plane home, many players couldn't believe the all-star event had come to a close. 

"It's a very humbling, lifetime experience," Yulee (Fla.) running back Derrick Henry said. "I'll never forget it. All this competition, the whole 150, it's a blessing. It's nice getting guys' prospectives on different colleges and stuff like that, it's been good."

As one of three sophomores at the event, Henry was just trying to soak in the event. Playing with some of the top players in the country, The Opening was a chance to learn from the best in anticipation of coming back next year as the elder statesman.

"This is my first time coming up here, and I'm starting to enjoy the whole thing," he said. "But next time it's going to be business."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Henry was one of the most impressive athletes, physically, at the event. Though he plays running back in high school, if he continues to grow, he might develop into a tight end -- a position he got reps at during the 7-on-7 portion of the event.

"It just gives me a chance to get out there and catch some balls and get some touchdowns," he said. "I'll do anything to get my team the win."

Though he was split out catching passes instead of running down hill, there's no question what position he wants to play at the next level.

"Oh running back, that's what I play," Henry said. "I'm just doing this because it's 7-on-7. You've got to do what you've got to do to get the ball."

The Opening also gave Henry a chance to talk with plenty of older, heavily recruited athletes such as Nelson Agholor, Terry Richardson and Dillon Lee just on his 7-on-7 team. Already solidified as one of the top players in the Class of 2013, Henry has been picking up scholarship offers at a good clip over the past few months.

"I got an offer from Stanford, North Carolina, Tennessee and some others," he said. "I know I'm over 50. It's a humbling experience. I thank god everyday for this opportunity. I just use it as motivation to keep working hard in the weight room and the classroom and the field. Hopefully I can give back to my teammates by using my talent and my name to get them opportunities for the young guys who are under (the radar)."

Although many had considered him a Florida State lean early on, it's another in-state program that has moved out in front nearly a year and a half before he eventually signs a letter of intent.

"Florida is my leader, then Georgia, Florida State and Alabama," Henry said. "I'm open to any school; it's just where I feel comfortable and at home at, that chemistry I have with the coaches and where my family likes."

Reeves down to two

With so many talented players on the fields at the Nike campus, tempers were bound to flare given the level of competition. But, surprisingly, things were mostly limited to some good-natured trash talking because of the bond the players had formed over the past few days.

"It's very competitive out here,” defensive back Armani Reeves said. “But they're all good guys. When we go inside the lounge in there, we're all family and have a good time. But when we come out to (the fields), that's the time to compete and that's what we do.”

Things have been competitive on the recruiting front for the Roxbury (Mass.) corner. Reeves recently narrowed down his list of schools to two and talked about both, starting with Notre Dame.

"They're a great school academically," he said. "Coach (Bob) Diaco, Coach (Brian) Kelly, they're trying to turn that program around and make it a championship school. When they talked they had a lot to offer. When they showed me around, the campus was beautiful and I got to hang out with a bunch of the players. I had a good time there.”

The Irish are not the only program in the running for Reeves' services, as the Nittany Lions are neck and neck with them in Reeves' eyes.

"As far as Penn State goes, it feels like home," he said. "Coach (Joe) Paterno, I talk to him every time I see him. We even Skype now. All of those coaches treat me like family and express how much they want me. I'm just enjoying the process and trying to think about everything."

Several recruits have reported they have Skyped with the coaching legend and like the others, Reeves feels it's a unique connection to one of college football's icons thanks to a bit of modern technology.

"Yeah it's pretty cool," Reeves said. "He was cracking jokes with me. He's new to the whole thing so when you have an old guy like him doing something like Skype, it's just fascinating. He was just talking and we forgot about recruiting, telling me stories and stuff. It was really fun, I had a good time."

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back returned from unofficial visits to both schools shortly before heading to Oregon for The Opening. While he is officially down to two schools, a timetable for a decision on which one he will commit to is up in the air.

"Hopefully I'll make a decision soon but if not, I don't mind waiting," he said. "I just came back from those visits like two or three weeks ago so I'm just taking this time enjoying my time out here with these fellas."

Elder getting closer to decision 

Proving that defensive backs can also have a pair of good hands, College Park (Ga.) corner Chaz Elder made one of the defensive plays of the day when he caught a beautiful over the shoulder interception in the end zone to prevent a touchdown.

“My teammate told me to watch for the corner,” Elder said. “So I went over to try and get over the top. I got over there a little to late, but luckily the wide receiver missed it and I was able to catch it.”

Coming a long way from home and making plays is something new for Elder, but the overall experience in Portland has been a rewarding one for the talented cornerback.

“It's been great,” he said. “This is the furthest I've ever been outside of Georgia. I like it. (The plane ride) is kind of long. It's very long but it's alright.”

One of the top players in a deep pool of talent in Georgia this year, Elder has more than 25 scholarship offers from major powerhouses, but he has narrowed his list to three schools.

“With (Georgia), I like the fact that me and Coach Mark Richt have a good relationship,” Elder said. “South Carolina, I like the fact that they're known for having good DB's. Plus I like the defense they run because it's similar to what I run now in high school. With Vanderbilt, they're upcoming and I could help change the face of the program.”

Vanderbilt is making news in the recruiting world by picking several major commitments, including one from Top 100 running back Brian Kimbrow. The momentum the school has under new coach James Franklin is something that matters to Elder.

“That's a big factor,” he admitted. 

Elder won't open up as to which of the three programs is out in front but plans to make a decision soon, likely in August before his senior seasons begins. 

Howard staying open

There were plenty of players who had fun at The Opening, but it was hard to top the excitement about the event that Miramar (Fla.) defensive back Tracy Howard had following a 7-on-7 win.

“It's been one of the best experiences of my life,” Howard said. “To come way out to Portland, Oregon, I know I haven't been this far from home. The only place I've been is the Bahamas on a cruise. It's definitely a blessing to get out here with the top talent and compete against those guys.”

A talkative player on the field, Howard doesn't mind finding a player on the opposing team and talking a little trash to back up his coverage skills

“Oh Sean Price,” Howard responds almost instantly about who he talks the most trash with. “We're good friends, it's not bad talk, we're just getting each other better.”

Though Howard has been leaning toward Florida for a good portion of the recruiting process, he's narrowed his list of schools he's considering and looking at all of the options equally.

“I'm just staying open right now,” he said. “I'm down to a few: Miami, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina and Notre Dame.”

Notes 

-- Very impressive day by defensive linemen Sheldon Day and Ellis McCarthy. Though Day was named position group MVP, McCarthy was unblockable during one-on-ones and went around and through his man, all on a bad ankle. Aziz Shittu rebounded from a sub-par day Friday to perform well. Curtis Riser was the top offensive lineman of the group on Saturday to go with good performances from Vadal Alexander and Issac Seumalo.

-- No matter what position he played, Fresno (Calif.) athlete Deontay Greenberry was a flat-out player. From skying on jump balls in the end zone to intercepting passes during limited time on defense, the Notre Dame-bound Greenberry was consistently a top performer over all three days of competition.

-- Geismar (La.) safety Landon Collins was named the 7-on-7 MVP and overall MVP of The Opening. He was everywhere on the field and quite literally had too many interceptions to count over the two days of 7-on-7. He more than lived up to his billing as a top 10 player in the class of 2012 and might even be underrated based on what he has done this summer.

-- Another defensive back that stood out was Clemson commit and Tallahassee (Fla.) safety Travis Blanks. Blanks had two interceptions in the opening game Saturday (and nearly had two more) and continued his stellar play throughout the day. He is one of the most versatile defensive backs in that he's equally good as a safety and cornerback.

-- There weren't many of them, but the walking wounded on the sidelines generally sported cardinal and gold. USC commits Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (stitches) and Jabari Ruffin (fractured wrist) were both out of action Saturday.

-- Team Alpha Talon, with honorary coaches Josh Freeman and Dwayne Bowe, won the 7-on-7 tournament. The team featured Bralon Addison, Nelson Agholor, Deon Bush, Landon Collins, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Trae Elston, Justin Ferguson, Derrick Henry, Germone Hopper, Chad Kelly, Duke Johnson, Dillon Lee, Kaiwan Lewis, Steven Longa, Lamar Louis, Marcus Maye, Armani Reeves, Terry Richardson and Randy Uzoma.  

-- The overall offensive line MVP was Vadal Alexander while Sheldon Day took home the same honors on the defensive line. Offensive tackle Kyle Murphy and defensive end Jamal Marcus were one-on-one champions.

-- The 7-on-7 All-Tournament team was Travis Blanks, Cyrus Jones, Johnathan Gray, Deontay Greenberry, Marcus Maye, Bryce Treggs and Tee Shepard.

 
 
 
 
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