Tag:ESPN
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:20 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 1:20 am
 

Under Armour game features plenty of drama



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
 

The Opening: the good & bad of an all-star event

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.

One of the biggest reason why Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 247Sports and CBS Sports/MaxPreps send reporters all over the country to cover camps and competitions, such as the one held on the Nike Campus this past week, is access. For four days, nearly 100 of the top players in the country were measured, tested, put through drills, played in 7-on-7 games, photographed, filmed and available to be interviewed. There should be over 20,000 words and hours of video from a majority of the players at The Opening on the Eye on Recruiting Blog alone.

As a media member, the event could not have been better.

As a media member, I also see why some people have serious concerns about events like The Opening.

The event was a collaboration between ESPN and Nike, who run most of the Nike Football Training Camps and Elite 11 quarterback competitions around the country. Nike paid players' travel costs and - depending on their respective state football association - gave them some free Nike gear. Just about every player was part of a group that saw a Nike presentation about their upcoming products and why said products are better than their competitors.

When people talk about "AAU Football," it's not necessarily all-star 7-on-7 events that come closest to that term, it's actually something like The Opening.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a fan of Nike's products (and Under Armour's and adidas'…) and jumped at the chance to go to the Nike Employee Store when offered. I don't think that any of that clouded my judgement of what I wrote or did, I was there to cover the event to the best of my abilities and I think that I did. There's a lot of good people involved with running The Opening and associated events, people who I believe have the best interests in the kids at heart. All that said, there's something at least a little unsettling about a company - even one as reputable as Nike - putting on this type of event.

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.

If Under Armour or adidas came to CBS Sports wanting to do something similar, I'd tell them to jump at it to be honest. Events such as The Opening are the future of football recruiting like it or not.

Do they contribute to a sense of inflated egos on the part of the players? Absolutely. Are they great events full of good competition? Absolutely. Do they lead to players getting scholarship offers based on their performance? Yes indeed.

Outside of banning events in the first place - something the NCAA could do quicker than you might think - the current model is actually pretty good right now. It's much better and cleaner than basketball and, despite what some might tell you, not headed down that slippery slope too quickly. In fact, I'd invite the conference commissioners and senior athletic administrators to come out and take a look at the events before the speak ill about them and casting all of them into one generic "bad for the game" category.

Are things perfect? Nope.

But it is the future as far as I can tell.

Posted on: February 18, 2011 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Everybody's Prep All-Americans

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.

Everybody's All-Americans

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

Posted on: February 10, 2011 5:05 pm
 

Specifics on Clowney announcement released

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 :
  • A press conference has been set for 10:15 a.m. EST Monday in the South Pointe auditorium
  • The conference will not be open to the public
  • Clowney will make his choice between (presumably) South Carolina and Clemson public and answer questions from the media before returning to class, where we're sure he and his classmates will enjoy a normal day of learning
  • ESPN will provide live coverage as well as local outlets including the Rock Hill Herald
  • SPHS's athletic director and Clowney's parents will also both make public statements.
With any luck, none of these details will change between now and then. It is just four days. But when it comes to Clowney's recruitment, four days is long enough for almost anything to happen.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 12:18 pm
 

Texas network a unique recruiting pitch

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.
Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com