Tag:Illinois
Posted on: March 6, 2012 2:49 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 2:49 pm
 

Mike McCray commits to Michigan

By Maxpreps' Stephen Spiewak

Mike McCray, a star linebacker on talent-laden Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio), committed to Michigan earlier today, according to head coach Maurice Douglass.

He chose Michigan over offers from Oklahoma, Tennessee, Illinois, Purdue and many others.

Douglass told MaxPreps Tuesday morning that he had expected McCray to select the Wolverines.

"I think it's going to come down to Big Blue," he said.

McCray was a defensive leader on a 15-0 Trotwood-Madison team that captured Ohio's Division II state title last year. He gives Michigan a solid piece at linebacker on the heels of a very impressive 2012 haul at the position.

He becomes the second member of Trotwood-Madison's defense to make a college commitment from the class of 2013; defensive back Cam Burrows pledged to Ohio State last month.

Trotwood-Madison is the favorite to repeat as Division II state champions and should be among the state's most talented teams regardless of class.

Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:54 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 7:16 pm
 

Tuesday Tweetbag: TCU/WVU to the Big 12 and more



Posted by Bryan Fischer

I started a new feature on the blog last week called The Monday Mailbag. I have now changed it to The Tuesday Tweetbag because can and because I like alliteration. I'm here to answer questions tweeted to me so make sure you follow me on Twitter at @BryanDFischer. So without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
To be honest, I think both will have no issues transitioning to the Big 12. In 2012, both should have teams that will be very competitive and are likely dark horse picks to win the conference. Had TCU not had their issues, you would have seen plenty of people go out on a limb and put the Horned Frogs atop their preseason ballots. West Virginia returns their starting quarterback, Heisman candidate Geno Smith, and 14 other starters from a team that turned in one of the most impressive bowl performances in history. There are several holes they need to fill but a solid recruiting class should complement who is already on the roster. Both teams fit stylistically into the Big 12 and Dana Holgorsen knows the league well from his days as an assistant.

What really helps the two newcomers is the fact that the Big 12 has never really been this open. The Red River Rivalry might determine the eventual winner but neither Texas or Oklahoma will dominate like they have in the past. Last year Oklahoma State won the whole thing and Baylor - Baylor! - overcame a really bad defense to turn in a historic season. From top to bottom there was more parity than just about every other BCS league. I think TCU stands to benefit more than anybody going forward beyond 2012 as they're now the only BCS-level program in the talent-rich Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and have upgraded facilities to the point that they come into the conference as equals. It's going to be a little more difficult for Holgorsen but he's proven he can turn unheralded recruits into big time offensive players and win at multiple levels. Of all the programs that have changed conferences, I would put all the money in my wallet on TCU and West Virginia being the most successful.
I've heard several good things about Beckman and think he's done a good job getting things going early on but faces an uphill climb. While Zook was known as a good recruiter (both at Illinois and Florida before that), his teams lacked consistency and, outside of when the Illini went 9-4 in 2007, never could break through into the top half of the conference. He had a few surprising gets on the recruiting trail but there were never enough good players on Zook's teams to make a difference. Anytime you upgrade in the coaching department, it's good for the program. How much Beckman elevates Illinois remains to be seen but it's a solid hire. Little things - ok major things - like not knowing the score, probably won't happen with the new staff. While it should mean the team is better on the field in terms of "the little things," I'm not sure that will translate into a huge number of wins.
I've seen Burfict since high school and there's no question that he is a talented linebacker. In his star-crossed career however, it has always come down to what the heck is going on between his ears. There was a point where most people had him pegged as a possible top 10 pick, now he'll be lucky to go on the first two days of the draft. I think there were plenty of issues with him and Dennis Erickson at Arizona State so I wonder if getting out of that environment and into the NFL will be a positive for Burfict. Perhaps the jolt of teams treating him like an adult rather than a kid that a coach's job is depending on will, in turn, make him a better player.

He is a good football player who will be drafted. How good and how high depends on how hard he wants to work and how serious he is about controlling his emotions and playing the right way. If he's still known for picking up personal fouls in two years, I'd say he's going to be looking for a new line of work much quicker than he first thought. Bruce Feldman has plenty more on Burfict and the draft on his blog.
This is such an interesting draft because the drop off from the first two quarterbacks (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III) to the number three guy is huge. But because so many teams need a signal-caller, Tannehill has the potential to go as high as the top 10 during the draft. If you look at the CBSSports.com quarterback rankings, he has a first round projection but if I were an NFL GM, he would simply be too much of a risk to draft that high. Unlike most of the other guys, Tannehill doesn't have as many reps at the position because he played wide receiver - and was pretty good at it - for a while when in College Station. I think there is a lot to like about him, starting with his size and mobility, but I just can't see how the upside is worth a first round pick when you consider the caliber of players available.

If I had a need at quarterback, I think I would wait things out if I couldn't grab Luck or RG3. There are options on the free agent market (including, likely, some guy named Manning) and several guys who I think could be solid NFL guys in the 2nd round like Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden. Don't forget, there should be another strong group of QBs coming out next year like Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson.

Our draft guys also tackled the Tannehill debtate and went into detail on what they saw from the tape.


Posted on: February 28, 2012 9:50 am
 

2/28 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Could Ole Miss pull off the upset and land Robert Nkemdiche?

 Kentucky's Joker Phillips talked about oversigning rules and landing Justin Taylor.

 Michigan's 2013 class continues to grow.

 Notre Dame signee Davonte Neal has withdrawn from his high school.

 Kansas added a late signee in defensive tackle Neal Page.

 Miami offered offensive lineman Colin Goebel.

 Steve Spurrier said South Carolina was 8-0 on the recruiting trail against Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Clemson.

 Ryan White committed to Louisville after visiting Illinois.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 5:52 pm
 

McWilson is Nebraska's second 2013 commit

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Nebraska had a slow start to the class of 2012 and the coaching staff certainly doesn't want a repeat effort. Things are looking better in 2013 with a commitment on Monday from Youngstown (Ohio) defensive back Marcus McWilson.

“I just feel I have an opportunity to play and make a difference,” McWilson told 247Sports. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. “I can get out there on the field which is nice and what I like. Hopefully we can win some championships. I know Nebraska has great potential and great opportunities and I’d like to be a part of that. I was talking to my family about it and we all think it’s a good fit. We’re definitely excited about it.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound prospect also held offers from Illinois, Michigan State and West Virginia among others. McWilson will head to Nebraska however, mainly due to the relationship he's developed with the coaching staff.

“The coaches seem humble,” McWilson said. “I’ve been talking to Coach JP (John Papuchis) and I know Coach (Bo) Pelini. He’s definitely a nice guy and they’re all good people up there. Talking to the coaches they made me feel good.”

McWilson is the second commitment for the Cornhuskers class of 2013, both of whom are from out of state. Last season as a junior, the talented safety had eight interceptions.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 4:56 pm
 

Jaron Dukes is Michigan's 12th verbal commitment

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Michigan continues to move quickly in securing commitments in the class of 2013, grabbing a verbal from Columbus (Ohio) wide receiver Jaron Dukes late Wednesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder was flying a bit under the radar and only held major offers from Illinois and Toledo. Dukes visited Ann Arbor to see the school about two weeks ago and it appeared only to be a matter of time before he would ultimately commit.

“It went great,” Dukes told Scout about the visit.  “I saw everything… the facilities, academic programs… just everything!  It was everything I expected it to be plus more.  I thought the town was going to be very small, but it’s not that small.  I liked it… I liked it a lot!”

Dukes becomes the 12th commitment for the Wolverines in next year's class, eight of whom pledged this past weekend, and first wide receiver. He caught 36 passes for 663 yards and seven touchdowns last season as a junior.


Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:49 am
 

2/22 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Brady Hoke's recruiting success has turned up the heat in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.

 Poaching verbal commits isn't new to the Big Ten according to Ron Zook.

 Notre Dame has offered tight end Hunter Henry.

 Defensive back Anthony Cioffi is Rutgers' first commitment in 2013.

 R.J. Prince committed to North Carolina over several others.

 Texas Tech added a pledge from defensive back Will Barrow.

 Punter Jimmy Hutchinson committed to Auburn on Tuesday.

 Quarterback Asiantii Woulard is now in South Florida's 2013 class.

Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:34 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 7:36 pm
 

Diggs stays home and commits to Maryland

Posted by Bryan Fischer

High profile recruits have increasingly waited until after Signing Day to commit to a school in recent years and with the class of 2012 it was Olney (Md.) athlete Stefon Diggs who kept coaches, fans and recruits wondering which program he would wind up at.

The answer finally came Friday night as the five-star athlete put on a Maryland cap at a local restaurant and committed to the hometown Terps.

Diggs took official visits to California, Florida, Auburn and Ohio State but saved his final trip to Maryland for after Signing Day. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is the nation's No. 14 overall recruit according to MaxPreps and ranked as the third-best athlete in the class.

One of the fastest players in the country, Diggs runs in the 4.4 range in the 40-yard dash and can play on either side of the ball as a wide receiver or defensive back. The five-star will likely end up on offense in college after accounting for 1,443 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior, leading Our Lady of Good Counsel to a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title last season.

Much of the credit in Maryland landing Diggs goes to new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. The former head coach at New Mexico and offensive coordinator at Illinois is well-known for his connections in the Washington, D.C. area as a recruiter. In addition to Diggs, teammate and the country's 10th-ranked running back Wes Brown signed with the program. Though the commitment is not enough to put Maryland in the top 25 class rankings, it does give head coach Randy Edsall and the program a marquee recruit in 2012.

"On the field he's one of the nation's most exciting ball players, an elite prospect and a difference maker," analyst Tom Lemming said of Diggs. "Exceptional with the ball in his hands, he's a high school superstar be it running with the ball, catching the ball, or picking off a pass. He seems to do everything with ease and is a natural, all around athlete."

The Maxpreps All-American gives Maryland 23 commitments in the class of 2012.
Photo by Jim Stout



Posted on: February 8, 2012 9:56 am
 

2/8 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Running back Derrick Green has 17 offers and is planning on visiting Arkansas.

 A look at the recruiting territories for the Illinois coaching staff.

 Vanderbilt doubled its football recruiting budget.

 Having two former Wisconsin players on staff could help in recruiting.

 Michigan picked up players in 2012 and 2013. The Wolverines are still in the running for Alex Kozan too.


 
 
 
 
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