Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:20 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 1:20 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Talented recruits from across the across the country descended on Tropicana Field for the fifth-annual Under Armour All-American Game and just like past events, there was plenty of drama.
Off the field.
The verbal commitments that take place at the game, televised nationally on ESPN, are one of the draws of the event but the focus is usually on how well the two squads of four- and five-star recruits perform against each other. With a blowout win for Team Blur, 49-16, putting the game in the books well before halftime, attention naturally turned to the biggest announcement of the evening in Blur and Geismar (La.) safety Landon Collins.
Ranked by MaxPreps as the #1 safety in the country and #12 player overall in the class of 2012, the talented Collins was expected to end a tough battle between national title contenders Alabama and LSU.
"I'm going to go Roll Tide Roll," Collins said, putting on an Alabama hat. "I just love the coaches and the coaching staff."
What happened next however, was yet another 'only in recruiting' stories. Collins mother, April, visibly was not happy with the decision and gave an extremely awkward interview following her son's commitment.
"I feel that LSU is a better place for him to be," April Collins said. "LSU Tigers #1. Go Tigers."
The interview overshadowed the 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety's great performance on the field. Collins intercepted BYU commit Tanner Mangum's pass in the middle of the second quarter and racked up four tackles on the night, including a vicious hit that stood up running back and Maryland commit Wes Brown at the goal line to prevent a touchdown.
Collins, on and off Tropicana Field, produced some of the only highlights for Team Highlight. Clad in black uniforms, the squad got off to a bad start by allowing a 75-yard touchdown pass from Florida State-bound quarterback Jameis Winston to speedy Alabama commit Amari Cooper.
"Practice was great and going up against this great competition was just another way to get better before college," Cooper said after the game.
Team Highlight had issues on offense all night, turning the ball over five times and finishing with just 260 yards of offense.
Part of the problem was their lack of quarterback play. Texas commit and top 100 signal-caller Connor Brewer suffered a mild concussion and Miami-bound quarterback Preston Dewey was held out to an injury suffered earlier in the week. As a result, Mangum ended up switching teams at halftime and donning a black #20 jersey with 'Under' on the nameplate.
"That's my new name for the week I guess," Mangum said with a smile. "It was pretty interesting to play for both teams but you just try to go with the flow and do the best that you can."
Mangum finished 5-of-8 for 60 yards and an interception for Team Blur and 2-of-7 with two picks for Team Highlight. Though the final stat line wasn't pretty - he was under siege by the defensive lines most of the night - the opportunity to be the all-star, all-time quarterback was a pretty special experience.
"I guess you could say that," he said. "I didn't expect that when I woke up this morning."
Recent Georgia pledge Keith Marshall led Blur in rushing with 37 yards and added a touchdown while Miami commit Randy Johnson led Highlight with 50 yards on the ground. Winston was named team MVP after completing 8-of-9 for 178 yards and two touchdowns while Mangum was named MVP on the other side.
Oklahoma commit De'Vante Harris was one of four players on Team Blur to have seven tackles, tied with recently committed Ole Miss defensive end Channing Ward who also added two sacks to his total. Playing out of position at defensive tackle, uncommitted recruit Jordan Jenkins led all defenders with eight tackles and had two sacks. Teammate and future Ohio State Buckeye Noah Spence was a terror at the defensive end position and finished with seven tackles and three sacks.
"Both of them are really good," Mangum said, with emphasis, when asked to compare the two defenses. "They have really good players and it didn't really matter what team I was on. It was fun to be here in this environment though."
Cooper added a 93-yard punt return early in the 4th quarter to get the near-record crowd on its feet. The return set the record for the longest punt return for a touchdown in the game's history and tied teammate and Florida-bound cornerback Brian Poole’s 93-yard interception return as the longest touchdown play.
Mangum, who will go on a two-year Morman mission and was playing in his last football game for at least that long, the experience was a once and a lifetime opportunity and one he'll remember for years to come.
"it was a great learning experience that I can take back and learn from," he said. "It was a great test and I'll take a lot from it."
Including, perhaps, to keep your mother happy.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 8:18 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
I'm glad I wasn't alone.
In talking with most of my colleagues at The Opening, we all pretty much had the same thought: This. Is. Great.
Though I know what most of the NCAA enforcement staff looks like, I didn't see anyone in Beaverton but was told someone from the organization was on hand to look around. Everyone always asks me if I see "shady" people at recruiting events and to be honest, there was really only one person who I saw around the sidelines that looked out of place.
Posted on: February 18, 2011 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 4:51 pm
By MaxPreps' Kevin Askeland
What do La'el Collins, Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Johnson and Curtis Grant have in common?
Besides all being supremely talented athletes, they were the only four high school football players to be named to each of the seven All-American football teams that have been published since the end of the 2010 season.
MaxPreps, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Tom Lemming and Scout all selected All-American teams and the fearsome foursome listed above were the only unanimous selections out of 108 total All-American players selected across the seven teams.
Here's a look at the consensus All-American selections followed by the teams that they made.
WR - Kasen Williams, Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) - MaxPreps, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
WR - George Farmer, Serra (Gardena, Calif.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, ESPN Rise, Scout
TE - Ben Koyack, Oil City (Pa.) - MaxPreps, Parade, Scout
OL - La'el Collins, Redemptorist (Baton Rouge, La.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
OL - Brandon Shell, Goose Creek (S.C.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
OL - Cyrus Kouandjio, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
OL - Brey Cook, Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Parade, Scout
OL - Christian Westerman, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) - Tom Lemming, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Scout
QB - Kiehl Frazier, Shiloh Christian (Springdale, Ark.) - Tom Lemming, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
RB - Malcolm Brown, Steele (Cibolo, Texas) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
RB - Demetrius Hart, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) - MaxPreps, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade
K - Kyle Brindza, Plymouth (Canton, Mich.) - MaxPreps, Rivals, ESPN Rise, Parade
DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
DL - Anthony Johnson, O. Perry Walker (New Orleans) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
DL - Viliami Moala, Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) - MaxPreps, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
DL - Tim Jernigan, Columbia (Lake City, Fla.) - Tom Lemming, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
LB - Curtis Grant, Hermitage (Richmond, Va.) - MaxPreps, Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
LB - Stephone Anthony, Anson (Wadesboro, N.C.) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, ESPN Rise, Parade, Scout
LB - Tony Steward, Menendez (St. Augustine, Fla.) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today
DB - Demetrious Nicholson, Bayside (Virginia Beach, Va.) - MaxPreps, Rivals, Parade, Scout
DB - Ha'sean Clinton-dix, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) - Tom Lemming, Rivals, USA Today, Scout
DB - Brandon Swindall, Millwood (Oklahoma City) - MaxPreps, ESPN Rise, Parade
DB - Doran Grant, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) - Tom Lemming, ESPN Rise, Scout
P - Tommy Hibbard, Butler (Matthews, N.C.) - MaxPreps, ESPN Rise
Tags: All-American, Anthony Johnson, Ben Koyack, Brandon Shell, Brandon Swindall, Brey Cook, Christian Westerman, Curtis Grant, Cyrus Kounadjio, Dee Hart, Demetrious Nicholson, Doran Grant, ESPN, George Farmer, Ha'sean Clinton-Dix, Jadeveon Clowney, Kasen Williams, Kiehl Frazier, Kyle Brindza, La'el Collins, Malcolm Brown, MaxPreps, Parade All-American, Rivals, Scout, Stephone Anthony, Tim Jernigan, Tom Lemming, Tommy Hibbard, Tony Steward, USA Today, Villami Moala
Posted on: February 10, 2011 5:05 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The wait is almost over. The Jadeveon Clowney announcement is now only four days away, and with time drawing short, South Pointe High School and his hometown of Rock Hill have released the specifics of the nation's No. 1 recruit's big moment :
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 12:18 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Wednesday’s announcement of a University of Texas deal with ESPN came as no surprise to anyone. It was, after all, one of the reasons why Texas decided to spurn Larry Scott’s advances to join a Pac-16 superconference last summer.
As my colleague Dennis Dodd wrote yesterday, “at its core this is about Texas controlling the market, the Big 12, the universe.”
It may not control the universe but the deal is impressive nevertheless. Worth $300 million over 20 years, it includes one football game broadcasted per year and will be home to coaches shows and hours of additional original programming dedicated to football. At the bottom of ESPN’s press release, it notes that a website will be created that will be dedicated to Texas high school sports.
So what does all of this mean? Texas’ recruiting advantage, in-state and nationally, will be unique. Who has their own network? We do. Want your own TV show, top recruit? Sure. Want to be an intern for ESPN? Done deal, son. (Of course I’m not implying this is Mack Brown’s recruiting pitch but it certainly could be behind closed doors.)
Most of Texas’ games are televised anyway so the recruiting advantage isn’t as great as the Big Ten Network’s to those schools. It’s very persuasive if you’re Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald or Purdue head coach Danny Hope to sell an out of state recruit on the ability to be seen every Saturday by all of his family. The Longhorns already get their pick of the best recruits from Texas anyway so while the selling point of a network doesn’t have the impact the Big Ten Network’s does, it still is a factor going forward.
Other schools, starting with Oklahoma, will likely try and emulate Texas’ model. While only a handful of schools, USC or some in the SEC for example, have the resources and fan bases to follow through, it will be tough to match the money doled out to the Longhorns.
In the end, everything’s bigger in Texas. Including, it seems, television networks and media dollars.