Tag:George O'Leary
Posted on: January 27, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 11:19 am

Non-BCS Signing Day Overview

Posted by Chip Patterson

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. For a snapshot of the Non-BCS recruiting scene, we will take a close look at independents Notre Dame and BYU, as well as the five schools headed to the Big East in 2013: Boise State, Houston, San Diego State, SMU, and UCF.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, Non-BCS
College Commits Top 100 Moving
14. Notre Dame 17 4

Top storylines

1. How quickly will Gunner Kiel see the field at Notre Dame?

One of the storylines of Gunner Kiel's recruitment was the star quarterback's inability to make up his mind. Some have suggested that playing time is a big concern for Kiel, and there is no guarantee on when he may take the starting position. The first-string quarterback spot is there for the taking, but head coach Brian Kelly has already shown a happy trigger finger when it comes to switching signal-callers. How is Kiel, who seemed to be always eyeing greener grass, going take it if and/or when he is sent to the pine.

2. Will there be an effect from the assistant coach changeover at Boise State?

2012 kicked off with Chris Petersen losing two valuable members of his coaching staff to BCS schools. Will Muschamp tapped offensive coordinator Brent Pease to join his staff in Florida, then special teams coach Jeff Choate left to join Mike Leach's staff at Washington State just a week later. Both coaches played a big role in recruiting the 2012 class, and there was some concern that the staff shakeup could have an effect in recruiting. A firm commitment from QB Nick Patti after Pease's move to Florida was a good sign for Boise State. This class still stacks up well against previous groups, but you wonder if/when we will start seeing an on-field effect of this assistant exodus.

3. Schools on the move

Navy recently added themselves to the group of schools headed towards the Big East, leaving Army, BYU, and Notre Dame as the last FBS independents after 2015. The Black Knights have been fairly grounded in their independent status, but both the Irish and Cougars have flirted with the notions of joining one of the power conferences. In announcing their move to the Big East, Navy school officials mentioned the scheduling difficulties associated with being an independent. As more schools hold future dates for conference play, it had become increasingly difficult to assemble a competitive schedule without that built-in slate of opponents. If the Big 12 comes calling again to BYU, Navy's move might have the Cougars reconsidering their options.

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
2. Gunner Kiel QB Notre Dame
13. Nelson Agholor ATH Uncommitted
16. Arik Armstead OL/DL Uncommitted
22. Jarron Jones OL/DL Notre Dame
27. Ron Darby ATH Uncommitted
30. D.J. Foster RB/DB Uncommitted
39. Tee Shepard CB Notre Dame
45. Deontay Greenberry WR Notre Dame
116. Ronnie Stanley OL Notre Dame
119. Sheldon Day DL Notre Dame
123. Troy Hinds DE BYU
148. Elijah Shumate RB/S Notre Dame
164. Tanner Mangum QB BYU
175. Justin Ferguson WR Notre Dame

Assistant recruiters of note:

Bob Diaco and Mike Denbrock, Notre Dame
Sean Beckton, UCF
Carlton Hall, Houston
Tony White, San Diego State
Jeff Reinebold, SMU

Non-BCS school-by-school
School Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 QB Nick Patti
LB Ben Weaver
OL Travis Averill
The Broncos have been able to hold on to most of their prized prospects, despite the changeover of assistants.  CB Anthony Standifer is still on the radar, and could strengthen the secondary for the Class of 2012.
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 DE Troy Hinds
QB Tanner Mangum
LB Butch Pauu
The Elite 11 MVP Tanner Mangum headlines a solid class for Bronco Mendenhall.  Hinds is a tall, athletic pass rush specialist and was considered by many the best prospect in the state of Utah.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 DT Donald Hopkins
DT Tomme Mark
RB Terrence Taylor
Not a lot of star power, but still one of the best classes in Conference USA.  The strength of the group is along the offensive and defensive lines.  Left on the board for Tony Levine is Oklahoma State de-commit OL Tim Hines.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 QB Gunner Kiel
OL/DL Jarron Jones
CB Tee Shepard
WR Deontay Greenberry
It was already a nationally ranked class, and then Kiel flipped from LSU to make it one of the best in the land.  Lots of talent at the skill positions and at 6-foot-6, 295 pounds; Jones is one of the most impressive linemen in the class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 DB Kendrick Mathis
OL Kwayde Miller
OL Austin Maass
 It's a good thing the Aztecs are welcoming some new transfers, because head coach Rocky Long's class is looking a little thin compared to last year's class.  Mathis is a dynamic in-state prospect (Ventura, CA), who also spent time playing quarterback in high school.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 DB Daniel Roundtree
OL Seaver Myers
LB Damien Neroes
LB Prescott Line
JUCO prospect Daniel Roundtree has enrolled and will be ready to contribute almost immediately, while June Jones' primary goal is to keep Myers from flipping to Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M at the final hour.
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 QB Jonathan Wallace
WR Taylor Oldham
TE Blake Davis
Wallace, a 6-foot-2, 203 pound dual-threat quarterback from Alabama is the prized recruit in George O'Leary's class.  Wallace will be joined by a host of talented in-state prospects, including a pair (Davis and OL Kelly Parfitt) from the same school in Delray Beach.

Posted on: March 29, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 3:56 pm

O'Leary discusses DaMarcus Smith release

Posted by Bryan Fischer

UCF head coach George O'Leary discussed not releasing quarterback DaMarcus Smith from his letter of intent after the Knights' practice today. Video courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel.

Regarding DaMarcus Smith asking to be released from his LOI:

"I met with him a month ago. He basically talked to me about the situation. He left me saying he was 100 percent a Knight. Every time he goes back to the Louisville area, it seems to be questionable what's taking place there. His mother called me last night and expressed that they would like a release. I told her, 'No.' They have to do what they have to do as far as an appeal. They have to do that. They're not getting a release from UCF."

On the importance of the LOI:

"To me, you spend a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of hours recruiting a kid. I think the big thing is that you sign a legal document. That's what it is, a legal document. I've never in all my coaching given a release to an LOI. I'm not about to start. He knew that. I told him that. Again, that's why they have such a stiff penalty for people who don't fulfill the NLI."

Whether Smith gave a reason for wanting out:

"Not really, except that he really wants to go to Louisville. That's why there's a long recruiting period. A letter was signed by him and his mom. Again, I think as a head coach of a Division I program, those letters are what commits a youngster to your program, just like it commits us to them with financial aid. Again, as far as we're concerned, it's out of our hands. They'll file an appeal. It's not our decision. Our decision is not to grant a release. I would never grant a release in any situation, really."

On UCF's quarterback situation in the fall:

"That's the other thing you look at. You look at it a couple different ways. Now who is the victim? Because we stopped recruiting quarterbacks when he basically let us know he was involved and wanted to be here, long before National Signing Day. We'll work fine. That's why I'm still giving Rob (Calabrese) some reps today. There's a method to the madness."

Posted on: March 28, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 1:26 pm

DaMarcus Smith asks for release from UCF

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Louisville (Ky.) quarterback DaMarcus Smith has asked for a release from his letter of intent with Central Florida, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com. Smith also faxed a news release to The Louisville Courier-Journal, who first reported the news.

“Today I have filed a release request with the University of Central Florida, asking to be released from my national letter-of-intent I signed in February, due to extenuating circumstances,” Smith said in the release. “I send my apologies to the University of Louisville and the University of Central Florida for this issue. And I would also like to apologize to the Louisville fans and community who have supported me since the day I originally committed to the Cardinal family. I view this as a private matter and will have no further comment until a later date.”

Smith originally committed to Louisville during his junior season but signed with UCF shortly after Signing Day. Following the departure of Miami head coach Randy Shannon, highly touted quarterback Teddy Bridgewater re-opened his recruitment and eventually enrolled early at Louisville. The domino effect caused Smith to start looking elsewhere and he eventually reneged on his verbal commitment.

Rumors that Smith was looking for his release from the Knights started surfacing almost as soon as the ink was dry on his letter of intent. UCF head coach George O'Leary addressed the situation numerous times and insisted that Smith would enroll in May.

"DaMarcus came to me and said he had second thoughts," O'Leary told CBSSports.com. "My experience with DaMarcus was every time he was here, he had a Cheshire grin on. He's happy as heck. His problem is when he went back to Louisville and whatever was taking place there.

"He's fully confirmed and 100 percent. Sometimes, kids just need to be reassured what's going on."

It is not known if UCF will grant Smith his release or if the school will put restrictions on where he may be released to. He threw for 3,227 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior at Seneca High.

Update: O'Leary told reporters after the Knights' practice on Tuesday that the school would deny Smith his release.

Photo courtesy of The Louisville Courier-Journal. 
Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:39 pm

Smith 100 percent committed according to O'Leary

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Normally, talking about Kentucky recruiting drama means discussing if a top basketball recruit will pick either Louisville or Kentucky. For the past few weeks however, there has been a bit of intrigue centered on class of 2011 quarterback DaMarcus Smith.

One of the top quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school, Smith was committed to Louisville for over a year before signing with Central Florida at the last minute. Shortly thereafter, rumors began to surface that the talented signal caller had asked for his release so he could transfer closer to home.

Though Smith has not talked with the media detailing his future, UCF head coach George O'Leary tried to clarify the entire situation.

"DaMarcus came to me and said he had second thoughts," O'Leary said. "My experience with DaMarcus was every time he was here, he had a Cheshire grin on. He's happy as heck. His problem is when he went back to Louisville and whatever was taking place there.

"He's fully confirmed and 100 percent. Sometimes, kids just need to be reassured what's going on."

The 6-foot-3, 185 pound Smith was considered the crown jewel of the Knight's highly regarded recruiting class that most consider the best the school has ever signed. Named an Elite 11 quarterback before his senior year, O'Leary thinks the hype and pressure that surrounded his recruitment led to some of the rumors circulating.

"He was such a highly recruited kid," said O'Leary. "In getting him, I thought he showed a lot of great character, which I was really impressed with. As I told him, he's not like the normal kids. He stood up in front of the city of Louisville and told them he loved them but chose to attend UCF. It was a business decision based on what he sought. I said that took a lot."

Smith is expected to enroll at UCF in May.

Posted on: February 19, 2011 7:39 am

2/19 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Miami NIKE Combine is set for today and we'll have plenty of coverage from the event over the next few days. In the meantime, here's some links.

- West Virginia and Michigan are the latest programs to offer Palm Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Avery Young.

- UCF and George O'Leary had best top class ever in 2011 and the Knights are bringing in a lot of athleticism as a result.

- Better late than never for Florida cornerback Joe Eason, who recently signed with Arizona State.

- N.C. State, Miami and Illinois are the latest schools to offer defensive end Ryan Leahy.

- Wide receiver D’Arthur Cowan just picked up offers from two SEC schools, Mississippi State and Arkansas.

Posted on: February 3, 2011 3:11 pm

UCF gets late commit, beats the big boys

Posted by Bryan Fischer

UCF has taken steps to compete with major BCS programs over the past few years. Last year marked the most success the program ever had as head coach George O’Leary led the Knights to their first ranking in the final AP Top 25 poll following a win over SEC power Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

Now UCF is competing with the likes of Michigan, Washington and Colorado for recruits. In the case of Denver (CO) linebacker Leilon Willingham, they’re actually winning a few recruiting battles with the big boys.

Willingham is MaxPreps 13th-ranked outside linebacker. He had to wait until after Signing Day to fax in his letter of intent in due to inclement weather. Willingham was committed to Texas A&M in December but later decommitted.

Also following Willingham to UCF is teammate Rayshon Williams. The 6-foot-1 wide receiver is the cousin of Miami Dolphins star Brandon Marshall.

Posted on: February 2, 2011 6:48 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 9:58 am

CBS Sports National Signing Day Show

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Super Bowl is still a few days away but college football's offseason equivalent is finally upon us with National Signing Day 2011. CBS Sports is providing fans across the country with the most extensive multi-media coverage of National Signing Day across the CBS College Sports Network, CBSSports.com, MaxPreps.com and the CBSSports.com College Network.

CBS College Sports Network will have seven hours of coverage in households across the country beginning at 10 AM ET. Featuring recruiting expert Tom Lemming and guest analysis from former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, the CBS Sports National Signing Day Show will deliver in-depth analysis of all the news throughout the day.

Hosts Adam Zucker and Molly Qerim will be joined in studio by Lemming, Rodriguez and former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer. Brian Jones reports from Austin, Texas, where he will interview many of the nation’s elite prep players, who are gathered for USA Football's Team USA vs. The World game. Aaron Taylor will report from the west coast on Pac-12 football.

Below is a brief rundown of some of the elements of the show, which features interviews with players and coaches from across the country.

Early Show 10 AM – 1 PM ET

10 AM Hour

Tom Lemming’s Top Ten recruiting classes are unveiled and Brian Jones interviews Notre Dame commits George Atkinson III (#12 WR), Josh Atkinson (#25 CB), and Matt Hegarty (#1 OG).

11 AM Hour

A conference-by-conference recruiting breakdown with Lemming and Rodriguez as well as an interview with Nebraska commit Aaron Green (#3 RB).

12 PM Hour

An interview with Texas head coach Mack Brown, new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and new Miami head coach Al Golden. Brian Jones also interviews Auburn commit Kiehl Frazier (#2QB).

Late Show 3 PM – 7 PM ET

3PM Hour

Tom Lemming will update his Top Ten Recruiting Classes and there will be interviews with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. Fresh off a win in the BCS National Championship game, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik will discuss the run to the title and the incoming class he hopes fuels the Tigers to another.

4 PM Hour

Rutgers commit Savon Huggins (#1 RB) joins the program for an interview as well has his future head coach Greg Schiano. SEC head coaches Derek Dooley of Tennessee and Nick Saban of Alabama will also discuss their recruiting class of 2011.

5PM Hour

UCF head coach George O’Leary and Boise State’s Chris Petersen join the program to provide prospective from non-BCS conference schools.

6PM Hour

Aaron Taylor will interview new Stanford head coach David Shaw and Cardinal commit Wayne Lyons (#4 safety) will also join the program for an interview. CBSSports.com college football columnist Dennis Dodd will provide his thoughts before the show wraps up with the day’s winning (and losing) recruiting classes.

Tune in and get all the latest about the nation’s best high school athletes and more, only on the CBS College Sports Network. More Signing Day coverage

More Signing Day Coverage
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com