Tag:George Whitfield
Posted on: August 15, 2011 1:54 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 1:55 pm
 

8/15 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- Updates on two top offensive tackles, Zach Banner and Joshua Garnett.

- Athlete Demetrious Cox has narrowed down his list to 10 schools.

USC will have to rely on their top five recruiting class this season.

FAU's recruiting will get complicated with Howard Schnellenberger retiring.

 Penn State's recruiting class might get even better.

The SEC could expand their recruiting base if Texas A&M joins the conference. A few Aggie commits discuss the possible move.

Defensive end Channing Ward and defensive tackle Quay Evans talked about recruiting while at Mississippi State.

The surgery on Florida commit Matt Jones went well.

Kentucky commit Patrick Towles is ready for the season to begin.

 An update on Oklahoma commit Ty Darlington.

Good story on Auburn recruit Zeke Pike and quarterback coach George Whitfield saying he has no ceiling.

Commitments:

Defensive back Justin Simmons committed to Boston College.

Penn State picked up two big time players recently.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 1:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:33 pm
 

The Opening: Day 3 -- Pads and 7-on-7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Day three of The Opening could not have turned out any better for the assembled campers as wall-to-wall 7-on-7 action and a lineman challenge took place on a picturesque day at the Nike campus.

After NFL players and Nike coaching staff members drafted teams from the nearly 150 players at the event on Thursday night, the pressure was on to gel quickly during round-robin play all day Friday. One of the consistent playmakers at the event with his blazing speed, fluid routes and soft hands was Tampa (Fla.) athlete Nelson Agholor.

A threat at multiple positions on the field, the talented Floridian was a touchdown threat every time he touched the ball on offense. Despite standing out on the field, it was hard to get him to talk about himself off it as he personified the definition of a team player.

"Yeah, I hope we have a good one the next day. We're ready to go and play hard," Agholor said. "We've got a great team."

NFL stars Josh Freeman of Agholor's local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe were the honorary coaches of “Team Alpha Talon.” The 7-on-7 setting provided the players they picked a chance to spread the field and allow players such as Agholor to go up and make plays.

"We were blessed with two great coaches that put a bunch of athletes on the team," Agholor said. "We're going to do well. There's not one bad guy on our team. Everyone on our team is really good."

Featuring quarterback Chad Kelly (committed to Clemson), receiver Bralon Addison (Texas A&M) and  running back Duke Johnson (Miami) among others, Agholor's team was one of the best in the field. Boasting players from 10 states, the all-star squad was an opportunity for Agholor and others to bond with players they had only heard about.

"These are guys you want to compete against everyday,” he said. “They say everyone around the nation is getting better, these are the guys that they're talking about. Now we're all together having fun and winning together."

Ranked 22nd overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, schools such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas and USC are heavily pursuing the talented athlete as both a receiver and defensive back. With so much attention on the recruiting trail, Agholor is almost to the point where he narrows his list down to a more manageable five to 10.

"I have sort of an idea of a shorter list," he said. "That's between me and my coaches and parents right now. We're going to work something out and hopefully narrow it down soon.

"There's many things I'm looking for. When I first started recruiting, it was all about people and their morals, that was always number one. Academics is number two because I feel like there's a degree out there for everyone, it's up to you to go get it."

In terms of a decision, that will be awhile for the five-star athlete.

"I think I want to sign on National Signing Day," Agholor said. "I really want to think this all through. Schools know, who I'm in contact with, they know what type of interest is coming in and if not, I'm going to make it a little bit clearer soon."

Miller enjoys getting some pad work

While most of the skill position athletes were playing games, the big fellas down in the trenches were also having some fun and it came in something unique to The Opening: pads.

"It was fun, I haven't put pads on in awhile since I didn't play in the spring game," West Palm Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Patrick Miller said. "It was sweet, I got a little hitting time in."

Armed with full shoulder pads and helmets, the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive linemen were one of the highlights of the camp. For some players, such as Miller, who have largely been without contact, it did take a bit of an adjustment.

"Definitely, you're getting the cob webs out," he said. "You kind of forget how to pass set or something like that. But you're with all these great coaches and stuff and you get your technique back to where it was and everything. It's just part of getting ready for the season."

Working with former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley among others, the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Miller has been able to pickup plenty of small tips and tricks that should serve him well going into his senior year.

"There's just so many small, miscellaneous things," Miller said. "I mean a pro tells you, and you're like, alright and you listen to him then. The only people I like to listen to is my head coach, my position coach but obviously, if an NFL player says it, you know it's right."

As one of the top offensive tackles in South Florida, Miller has offers from just about every SEC school, as well as Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami and others. He has taken several unofficial visits recently and will likely take a few more between now and trimming his list down.

"I think I'm going to narrow it down in the middle of the season," Miller said. "I know I'm going to visit Oklahoma and North Carolina. I've already visited Auburn, LSU and Tennessee and Florida too. I liked them all a lot, I liked Auburn a lot obviously. After taking these visits, I definitely was thinking I wanted to commit somewhere but now I realize I just want to wait and weigh my options. There might be something better out there for me."
 
Mangum sharp again in 7-on-7 setting

If you wanted to have a good 7-on-7 team at an event like this, you needed to pick a good quarterback. Noted quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr., who has worked Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton among others, was in charge of drafting “Team Vapor Carbon” with rookie Patrick Peterson. It's no surprise that Whitfield's acumen was on the money as Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum was the top signal caller throughout the day.

"I'm just doing my best to make them look good," Mangum said. "I know they're talented, they're playmakers, so I'm just doing my best to make good decisions and keep up with them. It's an honor to be playing with them so I don't want to make them look bad."

Mangum team featured Notre Dame-bound receiver Deontay Greenberry, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis and plenty of other impressive skill position players. Being able to throw to such a talented group was nice for the 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback but that wasn't the biggest take away from the event.

"There's so many things but I think it's forming relationships with these guys," Mangum said. "These are the top players from across the country and you wouldn't have any other chance to meet them but here. It's an honor to be considered among them and it's been even better getting to know them."

As a BYU commitment for several months, Mangum is one of several players who are already dead-set on their college of choice. With 11 players on his team who have not made a commitment and plenty more at the event, there has surprisingly not been many conversations asking him for advice on the recruiting process.

"Not too much," he said. "Everyone here is pretty set in where they're going, there's a few guys that aren't committed. There aren't any here, but I'm doing my best to recruit some guys to get to the "Y." Dylan Collie and I are working together to get some guys to BYU. There's some big recruits that have committed there and I think that 2012 recruiting class will be pretty good."

The recruiting class that the pair is apart of is the Cougar's first as a football independent. The opportunity to go out on their own and the advantages with that are a big draw for several recruits according to Mangum.

"I think it's helping a lot, it's a big positive," he said. "It allows us to play some big time teams on national television and I think guys draw to that and want to play for that. It's helping out a lot."

The Opening is not the only national competition Mangum is taking part in. He will head down to Pepperdine in a little over a week for the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp, something he lights up when asked about it.

"I'm very excited," Mangum said. "I've grown up watching that since I was a kid and it's always been a dream of mine. So it's a dream come true for sure."

Dawson sees two recruiting him hard

One of the more physically imposing defenders on the field was 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker Nick Dawson. Flying across the country from Charlotte (N.C.) to the Nike campus was no problem for the talented athlete as he's having a blast so far at The Opening.

"Everything's great," Dawson said. "It's so unique it doesn't make sense. And every day it gets better and better. I'm just out here to compete with the top 150 and I'm doing going good."

Like many players, the opportunity to interact and learn from NFL players has been a moment that often leaves Dawson in awe as he receives tips from the best of the best.

"I'm just getting coached up, you can't ask for any more than this,” he said. “Aaron Curry is out here coaching the linebackers Ray Rice with the running backs. Dwayne Bowe with the receivers, there's just so many unique athletes out here."

Holding offers from schools such as Arkansas, Auburn, Miami, USC and others, Dawson is trying to begin the arduous task of narrowing down his list of programs he is considering.

"Everything is going great with my recruiting," he said. "I'm trying to narrow it down but I don't really have a top five right now."

Just because it's tough to limit his options going forward, doesn't mean a few schools aren't standing out.

"Louisville and Clemson are recruiting me the hardest," he said. "I went to Clemson's camp and Louisville's also. They were great, everything was great. Both of the schools were perfect. I'm just trying to figure out which one is the best, best, best for me. I'm in the process of doing that right now."

Dawson had entertained thoughts of committing during The Opening but could not decide on a school enough to give his verbal pledge. He said he was unsure when he would eventually pull the trigger and commit.

Notes:

- It wasn't a great day of football for USC commitment Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. He banged his head against another player while making a play for a ball and ended up having to sit out most of the day (against his wishes it should be noted) after receiving stitches above his eye.

"Four. It wasn't too bad," Cope-Fitzpatrick said before getting to the bad news. "If football doesn't work out, I'm trying to be a model for Nike."

- Oregon commit Jake Rodrigues struggled mightily during 7-on-7, tossing more interceptions than touchdowns and misreading the defense a few times. He was able to throw the ball better as the day went on but he just wasn't as sharp as he was yesterday.

- USF-bound tight end Sean Price has performed well in 7-on-7 events before and did so once again Friday afternoon. He was able to use his big frame and speed to create mismatches and was a nice target in the red zone.

- All-around athlete Cedric Dozier is really rangy as a defensive back. He grabbed quite a few interceptions, including a nice one off Cal commit Zach Kline. Top ten defensive back Landon Collins also impressed in the secondary.

-  Number one ranked running back Johnathan Gray is a special back. Known for his rushing skills, he was explosive out of the backfield and displayed some soft hands. He lined up next to future Texas teammate Connor Brewer and the pair definitely had some chemistry out on the field.

- Tight end Taylor McNamara, headed to Arizona, had a really nice day and went up and caught some throws that very few people could get to. Ray Rice jokingly started calling him Todd Heap after making so many plays.

- The play of the day came from receiver Jaydon Mickens. The USC-bound athlete took a short pass and turned it into a 40+ yard touchdown by traversing the field three times and leaving several defenders unable to move. Even speedy Dwayne Bowe was impressed and quite excited about the play.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Utah, Colorado seeing effects of Pac-12 move

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Utah and Colorado officially make the move to the Pac-12 today but you wouldn't know that if you took a looked at their commitment lists or talk to the players they're recruiting in 2012. Ever since it was announced that they were transitioning West last summer, both programs have been selling recruits on the chance to play for a conference that has plenty of momentum behind it.

With the Pac-12 known for producing quarterbacks, both schools have already snagged verbal commitments from two very good California signal callers in their upcoming classes. San Clemente (Calif.) quarterback Travis Wilson has great size at 6-foot-6 and a big arm that should fit in well in offensive coordinator Norm Chow's pro-style attack. Wilson was recently selected to the Elite 11 quarterback competition and held offers from most of the Pac-12, so it's clear the Utes move to the new conference already has them competing for comparable talent.

For Colorado, they've built a smaller recruiting class so far but also managed to get a good quarterback to verbally commit in Shane Dillon out of El Cajon (Calif.). He was offered early in the process by Ohio State and is trained by noted quarterback guru George Whitfield. While Dillon needs to continue to add weight to his frame, he's a good option for a Buffs team that has not had consistent play from the most important position on the field.

Both schools are also keenly aware of their current recruiting pipelines and are not shying away from them. Colorado has always recruited the state of California well and since they also mined Texas for players in the Big 12, it appears they will continue to focus on both states going forward. Looking at their current class, they have two players each from Colorado and Texas to go along with one from California and it wouldn't be all that surprising if their class on Signing Day doesn't have a similar ratio.

Despite having to battle rival BYU for in-state prospects, Utah has the added benefit of selling recruits on playing in a conference, which, obviously, BYU cannot do as an independent. Winning a conference championship is a draw for some kids and one other thing they can sell for a program that has won multiple BCS bowls. Add in the fact that the Pac-12 Network will likely face fewer distribution issues and more access than BYUtv and it could be Utah that ends up with more exposure over the next couple of years.

The one thing that both programs have to do to gain traction and start to get top-tier recruits is win on the football field. If Colorado posts a similar record to what they did under Dan Hawkins (19–39), the benefit of being on television more often will be negated. If Utah can sneak into the Pac-12 title game (given injuries to Arizona State and issues at USC, not out of the realm of possibilities this season), they could see a lot more players considering the school in Salt Lake City. If they can't withstand the week-to-week challenge, the recruits will go elsewhere.

Utimately, it remains to be seen exactly how the two will do in their new conference. The situation is unique at both schools and they each have disadvantages as the "new guys" to the club. Based on the way things are going so far however, both Colorado and Utah are enjoying the benefits of calling themselves Pac-12 schools.
Posted on: May 12, 2011 8:28 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 8:30 pm
 

SoCal quarterback selects Colorado

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Colorado has always recruited the state of California well, grabbing several players to fill out their roster while competing in the Big 12 North Division. The move over to the Pac-12 had many expecting the Buffaloes to grab both a higher quantity and quality of athletes from the Golden State.

It appears that is quickly becoming reality as the Buffs picked up a key commitment from El Cajon (Calif.) quarterback Shane Dillon on Thursday.

The 6-foot-5, 175 pound Dillon is coached by noted quarterback guru George Whitfield, who has trained Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton among others.

Dillon visited Boulder just over a week ago and raved about his trip shortly thereafter. He held offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Florida State, Ohio State and Vanderbilt but apparently had gone through enough of the recruiting process and ended things early by pledging to the Buffs. He is the fourth commitment in the program's class of 2012.

A little on the thin side, Dillon can still spin the ball well and is one of the top quarterbacks on the West Coast. He threw for 2,978 yards and 19 touchdowns last season as a junior.

Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:35 pm
 

2012 Quarterbacks to Keep an Eye On

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel is the top quarterback in the nation according to CBSSports/MaxPreps Recruiting Analyst Tom Lemming but there's a lot of football to be played between now and Signing Day. Here's five other quarterbacks - in alphabetical order - who you need to keep an eye out for this year. Each of them has a chance to move Kiel off the top spot and become the top quarterback for the class of 2012.

Connor Brewer (Chaparral High, Scottsdale, Ariz.) 
Height: 6-foot-2 
Weight: 190 pounds 
Committed to Texas

What's to like: Brewer is an accurate downfield passer and works the middle of the field very well for a quarterback his age. He's mobile and though he's not the fastest player under center, he can escape out of the pocket and pick up a first down fairly easy. Brewer has a nice feel of the pocket but it is his quick release might be one of the best things about the Arizona signal caller.

Needs to work on: Playing mostly in the shotgun in a spread-based offense, Brewer needs to work on improving his footwork this summer and fall. After taking a snap, he sometimes becomes a bit lazy and that's when he becomes a bit heavy footed. He's not too balanced when he gets out of the pocket and throws on the run either but he's still maintains his accuracy.



Shane Dillon (Christian High, El Cajon, Calif.) 
Height: 6-foot-5 
Weight: 190 pounds 
Offers from Cincinnati and Ohio State.

What's to like: Dillon is your prototypical pro-style quarterback. He's got pretty quick feet for someone who's 6-foot-5 and is working on refining his mechanics with noted quarterback coach George Whitfield. He's accurate down the field and can throw the ball anywhere but also adds touch with each pass. Unlike many quarterbacks coming out of high school, he plays a lot under center which should be a big plus to several programs.

Needs to work on: He needs to add some weight to his slender frame but that's not as big of an issue at the high school level as it will be in college. He's got a decent arm but needs to work on getting his whole body behind a throw. He could also stand to shorten his throwing motion up a bit and aim for a quicker release. A bit raw at the moment, he needs some refining here and there to make a run at the top spot.



Zach Kline (San Ramon Valley High, Danville, Calf.) 
Height: 6-foot-2 
Weight: 195 pounds 
Committed to California.

What's to like: Kline is probably the top quarterback on the West Coast and the only thing that keeps him from being considered an elite prospect is his height. He has a cannon on his right shoulder and is very accurate on most routes. Surprisingly mobile, Kline can take off down the sideline and keep the chains moving when he wants to but has good pocket presence and isn't rattled if defenders start to close in. Kline also has pretty good touch on the deep ball.

Needs to work on: He has a fairly quick release but still has a bit of a wind-up or hitch in his delivery. At times he will not have his feet underneath him when he throws in the pocket so becoming more compact after dropping back is a minor thing he can work on. He also hasn't met a window too small for him to throw through.



Cyler Miles (Mullen High, Denver, Col.) 
Height: 6-foot-4 
Weight: 220 pounds 
Offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Notre Dame, Pitt, Utah, Vanderbilt and Washington.

What's to like: Miles is another impressive quarterback west of the Mississippi with a big arm. Surprisingly mobile for someone his size, he can run the option and get to the edge with his speed. He can make any throw on the field and can seriously wing it down the field. Miles' best trait may be keeping his eyes down the field and withstanding pressure in the pocket before unloading for a big play. Accurate and confident in the pocket, he could be a better version of 2011 Florida commit Jeff Driskel.

Needs to work on: The one pass where he could practice some more is the out route. Though he has a cannon and can throw a bullet 40 or 50 yards down the field, he doesn't seem to be as accurate or throw the ball as hard when he tosses the out route.There's a lot to like about Miles but some work on a few minor things should vault him higher in everybody's book.

Zeke Pike (Dixie Heights High, Fort Mitchell, Kent.) 
Height: 6-foot-5 
Weight: 225 pounds 
Offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Iowa, Louisville, Kentucky, Miami, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC and Virginia among others.

What's to like: Pike is one of the biggest quarterbacks in the class and it's hard not to draw at least a little comparison to former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen when you see Pike dwarf some of his teammates on film. He's a load coming downhill and almost looks like Tim Tebow with the way he carries the ball. Pike keeps the play alive a lot with his legs but is constantly keeping his eyes up so it's not an automatic run if he starts to scramble.

Needs to work on: Pike is still quite raw as a quarterback but there is a lot of underlying talent to work with. He might not have the strongest arm but he gets the ball where it needs to go. His mechanics are not great and he needs to make his delivery much more compact and quicken his release. At this point, it's hard to imagine him playing in anything but a shotgun-based spread offense.



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