Tag:James Cregg
Posted on: January 26, 2012 12:58 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 1:11 pm
 

Pac-12 Signing Day Overview



Posted by Bryan Fischer


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. There was some head coaching turnover in the Pac-12 and a few interesting moves in terms of assistants which makes 2012 a very interesting year in the conference. Combined with the fact that this is the best year in a while for talent on the West Coast and there some buzz about what is going on in the Pac-12.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, Big Ten
College Commits Top 100 Moving
10. California 18 3
17. USC 12 3
21. Oregon 18 2
25. Stanford 17 2

Top storylines

1. What's the fall out from Tosh Lupoi leaving for Washington?

The departure of Lupoi, Cal's best recruiter, might end up a seismic shift in the Pac-12 recruiting landscape. He was responsible for getting the Golden Bears into the top 10 in the team rankings and was on the verge of landing another five-star defender to give him an impressive three on defense. Instead plenty of Cal recruits and commitments have decided to take late official visits and only a handful can be considered solid verbal pledges. Lupoi might not be able to have a huge impact on the Huskies class but they're in the running for a few top players late in the process. Needless to say, this is a big move and one that might have a huge impact in 2012 and beyond.

2. How high does Oregon go?

The near departure of head coach Chip Kelly threw many recruits for a loop but it looks like, despite some negative recruiting by other schools, the current class will remain intact with the Ducks also in the running for some elite five-star guys on the West Coast come Signing Day. Oregon currently sits just outside the top 20 but if they land one or two of the guys that are left on their board, it's very possible to find them in the top 15 with one of the most talented classes headed to Eugene in a long time.

3. Roster management in Los Angeles

It's a good thing both head coaches in Los Angeles have NFL experience because they're going to have to do some good ol' fashioned roster management - something that does happen outside of the SEC - albeit for different reasons. Lane Kiffin and USC are finally starting to feel the effects of sanctions and have to be careful to not only sign 15 or fewer recruits on Signing Day but come in under the NCAA-imposed  limit of 75 scholarship players by the fall. The Trojans are in the running for some top talent and, with early enrollees, will actually bring in more than 15 players so it will be interesting to see what the team looks like going forward. Across town, this was expected to be a small UCLA class of 17 or so recruits but the Bruins currently have 25 commits. There are some creative things Jim Mora can do so it will be interesting to see who winds up on the roster come the fall.

4. Which new coach winds up with the best class?

The massive coaching turnover in the Pac-12 has made things interesting among the conference's middle class. Rich Rodriguez had an early head start but it took awhile to get his full staff on board and that might have cost him some. Todd Graham has to deal with a lot of negative recruiting thanks to the way he left Pitt but has managed to do better than tread water and could land one of the state's top players. Meanwhile, Mike Leach has done a remarkable job of remaking the Wazzu class to fit his offense and aggressively get players who might have been overlooked by others but are simply players when it counts on the field. Finally, Jim Mora has done a great job getting some elite talent to get excited about UCLA. Should be an interesting finish.

Most impressive class: California

Most underrated class: Oregon State

Work left to do: Arizona

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
5. Shaq Thompson DB California
6. Ellis McCarthy DT UCLA
8. Andrus Peat OL Uncommitted
13. Nelson Agholor ATH Uncommitted
16. Arik Armstead OL/DT Uncommitted
21. Zach Banner OL Uncommitted
26. Josh Garnett OL Uncommitted
30. D.J. Foster ATH Uncommitted
37. Jordan Simmons OL USC
41. Aziz Shittu DT Uncommitted
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Robert Anae, Tony Gibson and Calvin Magee, Arizona
Mike Norvell, Arizona State
Marcus Arroyo, Ron Gould and Todd Howard, California
Eric Bieniemy, Darian Hagan and Bobby Kennedy, Colorado
Jerry Azzinaro, Gary Campbell, Mark Helfrich and John Neal, Oregon
Mark Banker, Brent Brennan, Mike Cavanaugh and Danny Langsdorf, Oregon State
Lance Anderson, Pep Hamilton and Mike Sanford Jr., Stanford
Adrian Klemm, Demetrice Martin, Noel Mazzone and Angus McClure, UCLA
James Cregg, Clay Helton, Kennedy Pola and Ed Orgeron, USC
Brian Johnson, Morgan Scalley and Kalani Sitake, Utah
Eric Kiesau, Tosh Lupoi, Johnny Nansen and Peter Sirmon, Washington
Mike Breske, Jeff Choate and Jim Mastro, Washington State

Head coach under pressure: Jeff Tedford, California

Top Pac-12 class prediction: California

Top Pac-12 signee: Shaq Thompson

Pac-12 school-by-school
North Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 QB Zach Kline
OL Freddie Tagaloa
DB Shaq Thompson
WR Bryce Treggs
This is a top 10 class for now. The emphasis is added because the departure of Lupoi to Washington has really thrown this group for a loop and caused several, such as Thompson, to look around before signing.
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 DE DeForest Buckner
RB Byron Marshall
QB Jake Rodrigues
WR Dwayne Stanford
Chip Kelly's flirtation with the NFL has thrown some for a loop but it looks like the Pac-12 champs will only add to a very good 2012 class. Marshall and Rodrigues are perfect fits on offense
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 WR Malik Gilmore
DB Tyler Hasty
OL Isaac Seumalo
This might be one of Mike Riley most talented classes during his time in Corvallis. Seumalo is one of the top offensive linemen on the West Coast and Gilmore is very underrated at the wide out spot. There are plenty of players who could play as freshmen or sophomores from this group.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 OL Nick Davidson
LB Noor Davis
RB Barry Sanders
DT Jordan Watkins
It's not often you find the Cardinal in the top 25 in recruiting but things are rolling on the Farm. This is linemen heavy and has several recruits who should see early playing time. Stanford is also in the mix for elite offensive linemen Josh Garnett and Andrus Peat.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 QB Jeff Lindquist
QB Cyler Miles
DE Damion Turpin
You wonder if this class could have been even better had Lupoi been hired earlier but as is, it's a very good effort out of Steve Sarkisian and staff. They failed to land the top OL's in the state but picked up two very good QB's to build around in Lindquist and Miles.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 RB Robert Lewis
WR Gabriel Marks
OL Alex Mitchell
Mike Leach's hire has certainly turned heads on the Palouse and the recruiting trail. He's hit California for some players who were overlooked by other programs but are great fits for his system and done a good job in a short time span.
South Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 QB Javelle Allen
LB C.J. Dozier
WR Trey Griffey
Even though he was hired early in the process,  Rodriguez hasn't made a huge splash in recruiting. But with new facilities and his staff finally in place, that will come. Allen is a very good fit for RichRod's offense.
- Team page
- Commitment list
19 ATH Randall Goforth
OL Evan Goodman
OL Stephon McCray
Former head coach Dennis Erickson had assembled one of the better classes in the conference and while it has taken some hits, Todd Graham has mostly kept it together.
- Team page
- Commitment list
25 DB Kenneth Crawley
QB Shane Dillon
DB Yuri Wright
Landing Wright is a risk but there's no doubt he's a talented player who can contribute early on. This class should add depth across the board despite not having a big time impact player.
- Team page
- Commitment list
25 DB Ishmael Adams
DT Ellis McCarthy
QB T.J. Millweard
DB Marcus Rios
Jim Mora answered all the questions people had about an NFL guy recruiting in college with this effort. Landing McCarthy is a program-changer because big West Coast DT's don't exactly grow on trees.
- Team page
- Commitment list
12 WR Darreus Rogers
LB Jabari Ruffin
OL Jordan Simmons
OL Max Tuerk
This is the first class truly limited by NCAA sanctions but that doesn't mean Lane Kiffin hasn't been able to pull in some great players. The Trojans are also in the running for elite, top 20 players on Signing Day too.
- Team page
- Commitment list
22 ATH Chase Hansen
OL Cedrick Poutasi
QB Travis Wilson
Kyle Whittingham has talked about what a plus the move to the Pac-12 has been for recruiting and this class is one example of getting better players by being in a BCS conference.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Adrian Klemm, Alex Mitchell, Andrus Peat, Angus McClure, Arik Armstead, Arizona, Arizona State, Aziz Shittu, Barry Sanders, Barry Sanders Jr., BCS, Bobby Kennedy, Brent Brennan, Brian Johnson, Bryce Treggs, Byron Marshall, C.J. Dozier, Cal, California, Calvin Magee, Cedrick Poutasi, Chase Hansen, Chip Kelly, Clay Helton, Colorado, Colorado, Cyler Miles, D.J. Foster, Damion Turpin, Danny Langsdorf, Darian Hagan, Darreus Rogers, DeForest Buckner, Demetrice Martin, Dennis Erickson, Dwayne Stanford, Ed Orgeron, Ellis McCarthy, Eric Bieniemy, Eric Kiesau, Evan Goodman, Freddie Tagaloa, Gabriel Marks, Gary Campbell, Isaac Seumalo, Ishamel Adams, Jabari Ruffin, Jake Rodrigues, James Cregg, Javellle Allen, Jeff Choate, Jeff Lindquist, Jeff Tedford, Jerry Azzinaro, Jim L. Mora, Jim Mastro, Jim Mora, John Neal, Johnny Nansen, Jordan Simmons, Jordan Watkins, Josh Garnett, Kalani Sitake, Kennedy Pola, Kenneth Crawley, Kyle Whittingham, Lance Anderson, Lane Kiffin, Malik Gilmore, Marcus Arroyo, Marcus Rios, Mark Banker, Mark Helfrich, Max Tuerk, Mike Breske, Mike Cavanaugh, Mike Leach, Mike Norvell, Mike Riley, Mike Sanford Jr., Morgan SCalley, NCAA, Nelson Agholor, NFL, Nick Davidson, Noel Mazzone, Noor Davis, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Pep Hamilton, Peter Sirmon, Pitt, Randall Goforth, Rich Rodriguez, Robert Anae, Robert Lewis, Ron Gould, Shane Dillon, Shaq Thompson, Signing Day Overview, Stanford, Stephon McCray, Steve Sarkisian, T.J. Millweard, Todd Graham, Todd Howard, Tony Gibson, Tosh Lupoi, Tosh Lupoi, Travis Wilson, Trey Griffey, Tyler Hasty, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State, Zach Banner, Zach Kline
 
Posted on: April 16, 2011 5:36 am
Edited on: April 16, 2011 2:51 pm
 

Nkemdiche stars at Georgia Nike Camp

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATHENS, Ga. -- Hundreds of players from all over the Southeast braved an oncoming thunderstorm to showcase their skills at the University of Georgia in the latest edition of the Nike Football Training Camp and Elite 11 Quarterback Competition Friday night.

Once again, Georgia had a strong display of BCS-caliber talent at the camp and the state continues to show why recruiters from across the country are anxious to get a look at the next wave of talent coming out of the Peach State. The class of 2012 is loaded with talent along the defensive line and several of the state's 33 recruits with FBS offers made their way down to the camp.

While many of the highly regarded juniors flashed their skills during drills, it was not hard to see that Grayson (Ga.) sophomore defensive end Robert Nkemdiche was not only the most talented of the group, but easily the top player at the camp.

"They called me out and I did it," Nkemdiche said matter of factly. "It felt good."

His home state might end up sending close to 50 players to an FBS school from the defensive line come February but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who looks as good as Nkemdiche does at first glance. The 6-foot-4, 265 pound end was a physical specimen, showing up fit and ready to dominate older competition.

On top of a quick initial burst, he displayed several polished pass rush moves that even much older college players don't have. Making the most of a lightning quick spin move or just relying on a straight speed rush, Nkemdiche was impossible to stop in one-on-ones all night long. Thought he will continue to grow and mature at the position, the gifted pass rusher is already thinking ahead at what he wants to work on the rest of the summer.

"I want to work on my speed," Nkemdiche said. "I real fast right now, like a 4.5 (40 yard dash) but I want to drop my time. I want to be the best I can be and the coaches want that too."

Nkemdiche's high school coaches also want to win, which is why he'll also try his hand at running back next season for Grayson. As terrifying as it might be to some opposing players to see someone of his size and skill running at them, Nkemdiche is equally excited at getting the chance to run over (and past) a few defenders to reach the end zone on offense.

"I can't wait," he said. "It's going to be great."

In spite of having almost two years before inking his signature on a letter of intent, the talented sophomore is already sitting on multiple scholarship offers. Given his unique blend of size, speed and pass rushing ability, it's easy to see why some schools feel the need to extend an offer early in hopes of making Nkemdiche's recruitment a quick one.

"Auburn was the last offer I got, maybe late January or early February," he said. "I don't know how many but I have over ten.

"Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and that's all I know off the top of my head right now."

Several programs' annual Spring Game is Saturday and Nkemdiche was planning on going to Alabama's "A-Day" but will instead catch most of the day's action at home. He'll continue to exploit offensive linemen on Sunday however, when he'll head to the Atlanta Under Armour Camp.

Utilizing his unique skill set is something Nkemdiche will continue to do throughout the summer and has already planned out a few unofficial visits and camp stops between now and the end of July.

"In the summer I'm going to go to a couple schools," he said. "LSU, Alabama and Auburn's camps. Just (visit) as many schools as I can."

Nkemdiche was one of only two sophomore to walk off the field as a position MVP but based on his performance Friday night, he might as well have been holding the title of top recruit in the Southeast for 2013.

And you'd find few who would be willing to argue if he snagged it either.

Alexander, Eligwe share the spotlight

Just as impressive as the defensive line group, the linebackers in attendance received their share of publicity and right fully so. With eight players holding multiple BCS offers, there might not have been a better position group all year. In fact, many of the camp instructors had a hard time thinking of a better group of linebackers in the decade long history of the Nike Camps.

Fittingly, the position MVP award was one of the toughest decisions of the night so the coaches ended up making Oxford (Ala.) stud Kwon Alexander and Stone Mountain (Ga.) linebacker Ukeme Eligwe co-MVPs.

"I feel like I did great and showcased my talent," Eligwe said. "There was a lot of great players out here today."

"I really just wanted to do my best and learn from everybody," said Alexander.

Eligwe made the case to be the top linebacker in the state - if he wasn't already - thanks to his size and very good quickness. He opened his hips well and hardly let anything get past him during drills. A top performer in all of the one-one drills, the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder also wouldn't mind an extra rep or two against Alexander to settle who really was the top linebacker at the event.

"That would be nice," Eligwe said with a smile. "He's a good player also so I don't feel different, it's all good. I came out here to have fun and do what I have to do."

The speedy Alexander was quite confident who would eventually prevail and would have loved to see another play to decide top dog.

"Yeah I want another," he said with a grin. "I want to be the best out there."

Both players have seen the amount of offers rolling in slow to a trickle due mostly to the fact that they have a scholarship awaiting from pretty much every major school in the country. Alexander is known for his speed out on the field and is mainly focusing on track this offseason and keeping recruiting in the outside lane for the time being. Despite being 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Alexander runs an 11.2 second 100 meters and also stars in the 200 meters. All of the time spent on the track working to shave off a few seconds means the bulk of his recruitment will come during the summer and into the fall.

"There's no one standing out right now," he said. "Everybody's still the same. After track season I'm going to do a few unofficial (visits) and then once the season starts I'll do my official visits.

"I'll take all five official visits. I'm going to take one to Oregon, USC, UCLA. I'll take a couple of them down (in Alabama)."

Eligwe isn't as involved with track as Alexander and as a result is able to narrow down his list of suitors somewhat.

"My most recent offer was last week but I can't really remember," he said, adding that they've all blended together a bit. "Florida State's standing out. More than likely I'll be at their Spring Game."

Florida and Georgia are also standing out according Eligwe, who received an early morning phone call Friday from South Carolina's staff on the first day of the May Evaluation Period. With so many schools vying for his attention Eligwe is starting to look a bit closer to home as to where he might attend college.

"More than likely yes but I wouldn't just say I'm going to stay in the area," he said. "Those are just some of my top schools right now"

Alexander also received an early morning phone call Friday and the SEC staff who made it ended up making an impression on the talented linebacker.

"Arkansas called me about six," he said. "It was good because they were the first team that called me. I didn't know that today was there time to call me so that surprised me when they called. They just asked what's up and everything."

The Hogs are not the only school who is in hot pursuit of Alexander, though. Several schools from both the Pac-12 and the SEC are heavily recruiting him.

"Oregon, Auburn, Alabama, USC, LSU," Alexander said. "I don't mind where I go, it's just where it makes me feel a part of a family."

No stranger to campus, Elder looks solid at the camp

There are few players who actually are defensive backs. You have safeties, you have corners and a few times you even find a nickel corner among the bunch. College Park (Ga.) defensive back Chaz Elder however, lives up to the label.

The 6-foot-2, 290 pound Elder played a bit of both Friday during drills and one-on-ones and displayed the speed and agility to excel as either a big corner or a prototypical safety. Even he didn't get caught up in what position he ran out on to the field for, it was all about the reps.

"I actually have no idea, I just play," Elder responded when asked which position he's better at.

It's hard to disagree, especially if you're a college coach. Holding a double-digit offer list, Elder has his pick of the litter and has schools recruiting him at both safety and corner.

"Some colleges say I'll be a good-sized corner,” he said. “Others say I'd be good at safety. It doesn't matter to me. Again, I just want to play."

Elder recently picked up another offer, the latest being from Southern Miss. Even though the offers keep rolling in, the Georgia native is starting to narrow down his list and sees three schools separating from the pack.

"It's between Illinois, Clemson and Georgia," Elder said. "It's mostly Clemson and UGA because I've visited them the most. I came up (to Georgia) for one of the spring practices. At Clemson, it's mainly the coaches and the people (I like)."

Despite his top two being pretty close to home, Elder added that he would have no reservations about heading off aways for school if he found the right fit.

Notes

- Position MVPs were McDonough (Ga.) defensive back D.J. White, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis of Stone Mountain (Ga.), Alexander and Eligwe at linebacker, Lithonia (Ga.) offensive lineman Joe Harris and Nkemdiche on the defensive line.

- Gainesville (Ga.) wide receiver C.J. Curry was looking forward to going up against Tallahassee (Fla.) defensive back Travis Blanks and the two did not disappoint, waging several good battles during one-on-ones.

"I'm not going to make any excuses, he got me," Curry said. "He had a good day and worked hard to get the W today."

A Georgia commit, Curry also didn't mind bringing up the Bulldogs to a few of more well known recruits at the camp.

"It's always fun," Curry said. "I was trying to talk to Blanks (about Georgia). Other than going against him, I didn't really see him though."

With Georgia's class of 2011 nicknaming themselves the “Dream Team,” Curry said he was working on a nickname for the class of 2012.

- It was not a particularly strong group of quarterbacks for either the Nike Camp or the Elite 11 and the howling winds and light rain didn't help things either. Orlando (Fla.) quarterback Nick Patti showed off his arm again and continues to impress on the camp circuit. If it were not for his height (5-foot-10) he'd be getting offers from a lot of BCS programs. Cleveland (Tenn.) signal caller Chad Voytik also impressed with his accuracy and was probably the top guy at the event but did not participate in the Nike Camp portion. The finals of the Elite 11 were cut off due to inclement weather.

- Buford (Ga.) offensive tackle Vadal Alexander, who has offers from just about everybody, was one of several recruits to get a 6 A.M. phone call from the USC coaching staff. Alexander said he spoke to Ed Orgeron and James Cregg for several minutes and was surprised by the call. At this point, he has already been to LSU, Alabama and Auburn but says all schools are in the race to land his services.

- If you were looking for Louisville commit Larry Jefferson, you wouldn't find him catching passes Friday night. Although he is being recruited at tight end, Jefferson made the trip to Athens to learn a few new tricks for his other position.

"I'm a tight end but I went to defensive end because I play D-end in high school too," he said. "I just wanted to learn more stuff about the position."

When asked why he wants to play on offense in college, Jefferson was quite honest with his answer.

"I love getting the ball," he said with a nice laugh. "I like scoring touchdowns and everything. I'm committed and done, stress is off my shoulders."

- A few others who impressed were linebacker Dillon Lee out of Buford (Ga.), Powder Springs (Ga.) offensive tackle Kofi Amichia, Dublin (Ga.) 2013 linebacker Johnny O'Neal, Stepheson (Ga.) linebacker Raphael Kirby, Norcross (Ga.) receiver Jason Croom, 2013 defensive end Reginald Carter out of Stephenson (Ga.), Hillgrove (Ga.) athlete Kenyan Drake, 2013 Autauga (Ala.) tight end O'Terrius Howard and Charlotte (N.C.) linebacker Nick Dawson among others.

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