Tag:Jaydon Mickens
Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:25 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:26 am
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: Pac-12

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Breaking down who won and lost in the Pac-12 on National Signing Day.


WINNERS

Stanford's future backfield. We don't want to say anyone could succeed at quarterback or tailback behind a line featuring Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy, and John Garnett. Dame Helen Mirren would fail, probably. We wouldn't like Bill Nye, the Science Guy's odds. Most 12-year-olds would struggle.

But when we're talking about an offensive line class David Shaw said "could be one of the best in college football historywithout hyperbole, it's hard to rule anyone out. And when it comes to players like potential 2012 quarterback starter Brett Nottingham or new running back signee Barry J. Sanderswe think the chances of success are so sky-high as to be nearly guaranteed. Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck might be gone, but if the results of National Signing Day are any indication, the Cardinal as a program aren't going anywhere.

Players to watch: DT Aziz Shittu, RB Barry J. Sanders, OT Andrus Peat.

The checkbooks of future Pac-12 assistants. The conversions of five-star Shaq Thompson (pictured) and receiver Jordan Payton to Washington from Cal (even if the latter was only temporary) were already evidence enough for the impact of ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi's move from Berkeley to Seattle. The Huskies capping their late surge by stealing away USC commitment Pio Vatuvei and fending off a late challenge from the Trojans for quarterback Cyler Miles was just beating a dead horse, really.

Which is why any coach with bona fide West Coast recruiting connections is likely about to find himself a much hotter commodity than they were before Signing Day began. The Huskies aggressively pursued Topoi, doubled his salary at Cal with their new conference media money, and saw immediate, dramatic dividends. Topoi might have been the first coach to have his wallet fattened overnight by Larry Scott's TV negotiations, but with results like these, he won't be the last.

Washington players to watch: DB Shaq Thompson, ATH Jaydon Mickens, CB Brandon Beaver.

Jim L. MoraTo silence the doubters for good, Mora will have to win on the field as well as the recruiting trail. But there's little doubt that Mora has at least done the latterWith another high-profile Cal exile safely in the fold in Ellis McCarthy, the Bruins spent Signing Day polishing up an already impressive haul with a pair of blue-chip receivers in Payton and Javon Williams--an area of sore need with Nelson Rosario gone.

The Bruin brass appeared to be aiming to hire the next Pete Carroll when they took a chance on Mora, and though there's still a long way to go before the comparison is valid at the collegiate as well as pro level, this class is a heck of a step in that direction.

Players to watch: DT Ellis McCarthyATH Devin FullerDB Ishmael Adams.



LOSERS

Lane Kiffin's pied piper flute. Around mid-afternoon, this was shaping up to be a typical Signing Day for college football's most notorious late-game recruiter; sure, Vatuvei had gon to the Huskies, but Kiffin had also managed to pull both high-upside end Leonard Williams and No. 1 athlete Nelson Agholor (pictured) out of Florida despite each's various Sunshine State suitors. With Miles, Peat, Murphy, and Shittu all considering the Trojans and Murphy's late announcement rumored to be potentially affected by Peat's, another matching set of Signing Day coups appeared within reach.

Instead, the Cardinal swept the big linemen while Miles stuck with the Huskies. Those decisions didn't exactly make the Trojan class a disappointment--far from it, given that it finished 9th in the country while boasting just 16 (uniformly outstanding) recruits. But it does mark the first time that Kiffin wasn't able to simply snap his fingers on Signing Day and come away with a bushel of five-stars; it will be interesting to see if, in 2013, Kiffin doesn't leave things quite so late.

Players to watch: OL Zach Banner, WR Nelson Agholor, OL Jordan Simmons.

Cal. It's not that the Bears' class wasn't solid, maybe even better than solid; Tom Lemming ranked it 15th despite only having 17 signees, and the Bears did an excellent job of filling needs at both offensive line and wide receiver. It's that it was so close to being a game-changing, program-momentum-turning, spectacular class before Lupoi's defection took the air out of the sails. 

Tedford is right that the commitments at the Army All-American game from Thompson, McCarthy, and Payton didn't mean anything on the Bears' bottom line, but it's silly to think they didn't mean the Bears had a clearcut opportunity to sign all three (and others) they couldn't take advantage of. It's debatable, too, when that kind of opportunity will come again for Tedford.

Players to watch: QB Zach Kline, WR Bryce Treggs, OL Freddie Tagoloa  

Oregon State's secondary. Want another example of the impact of position coaches on current Pac-12 recruiting? Look no further than the Beaver defensive backfield, which saw no less than four players decommit after OSU secondary coach Keith Heyward -- like Lupoi -- defected to Washington. (One of them was highly regarded corner Devian Shelton, who did get Kiffined away to USC.) The Beavers recovered to still sign four defensive backs, but when even Mike Riley was admitting there were holes at corner that went unfilled, it's safe to say things didn't go as planned.

Players to watch: OL Isaac Seumalo, TE Caleb Smith, QB Brett VanderVeen  




Maxpreps photos by Gary Jones and Margaret Bowles.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:20 pm
 

2012 All-star game top performers


Posted by Bryan Fischer

The three major all-star games are over and the recruits are all on their way back home as they settle into a big three week stretch before Signing Day rolls around. As the last high school competitions of the 2011 season, the games also gave us a chance to see how players do against future FBS talent. Based on the performances during the Semper Fi game, Under Armour All-American game and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, here's a few standouts at each position.

QUARTERBACK

Jeff Lindquist, committed to Washington
Semper Fi game

The Huskies commits shined during all-star game week and Lindquist started things off by being the best QB in the Semper Fi game, tossing two touchdowns and keeping some plays alive with his feet when needed. He's got great pocket awareness and a strong arm, perfect fits in his future college system.

Cyler Miles, committed to Washington
Army All-American Bowl: 7-of-8, 155 yards, two total touchdowns

The co-MVP of the game, Miles was a savvy signal-caller who got the start for the West and was on point most of the game. He took some sacks but generally got the ball out quickly and was accurate in hitting his receivers. He throws a great deep ball and hit Dorial Green-Beckham for the play of the game on the longest touchdown pass in bowl history in the 2nd quarter.

Jameis Winston, committed to Florida State
Under Armour All-American game: 8-of-9, 178 yards and two touchdowns

The MVP, Winston is best described as a gamer. He wasn't perfect but used his legs to escape a collapsing pocket several times and nearly turned in some Michael Vick-esque plays. He was accurate in the passing game and delivered a beautiful deep ball to hit his target in stride for a 75-yard touchdown. If he sticks to football, the sky's the limit based on how good he is despite being raw.

RUNNING BACK

Mike Davis, undecided
Army All-American Bowl: six carries for 16 yards, two catches for 31 yards

Davis showed a great blend of speed and power and had the burst to get out of the hole and into daylight. He had a nice move that he bounced to the sideline for a 26 yard gain and was one of the few East offensive players who could get things going.

Randy 'Duke' Johnson, committed to Miami
Under Armour All-American game: nine carries for 50 yards, three catches for 18 yards, 161 all-purpose yards

It's pretty clear who the best back in the state of Florida is after Johnson put his moves on display for a national audience. His ability to weave in and out of tackles is remarkable and he's got the vision and moves to take advantage of even the smallest amount of space. His 83-yard kick return had him cutting across the field at least three times before being pushed out just short of the end zone. Johnson is clearly a threat to score every time he has the ball in his hands.

T.J. Yeldon, committed to Alabama
Army All-American Bowl: five carries for 16 yards, three catches for 39 yards

The Tide get another great back in Yeldon, who seemed to kick it in an extra gear whenever a defender came near him. He's got great athleticism and showed it off with a leaping try for the endzone that came up just short. He is an every down back with the way he can come out of the back field to catch passes or run between the tackles.

WIDE RECEIVER

Marvin Bracy, committed to Florida State
Under Armour All-American game: two catches for 56 yards and a touchdown

Need speed? Bracy has plenty of it and flaunted it by getting behind several defensive backs as a deep threat. His touchdown came on a 32 yard catch that was easily one of the highlights of the week as he twisted around to grab the ball and held on for the score.

Amari Cooper, committed to Alabama
Under Armour All-American game: two catches for 95 yards and a touchdown

Cooper produced a play to start off the game for the White with a 75-yarder from Winston that set the tone in the Under Armour game. He ended up snagging the ball in stride over a defender and was off to the races after that. His blend of good hands and speed make him one of the top players in the country and underrated by anybody who doesn't think he can make a big impact in Tuscaloosa.

D.J. Foster, undecided
Semper Fi game

Foster was a multipurpose tool during the game and played at receiver, running back and took some snaps as a wildcat quarterback. He's a solid guy who can take the ball downhill while using his speed and quickness in the open field.

Dorial Green-Beckham, undecided
Army All-American Bowl: two catches, 88 yards and a touchdown

Green-Beckham had a pair of drops but the one-handed, record-setting grab he had in the first half was enough to overcome them. The first thing that stands out is his size, dwarfing anybody but one or two offensive linemen, and speed (definite two-stepper) that are some of the reasons why he's the top player in the class of 2012. He's still raw but his physical tools are unmatched by any wide out.

Jaydon Mickens, undecided
Semper Fi game

Mickens caught a touchdown and was named the MVP after doing just about everything he could in the West's victory. He nearly had a touchdown pass but the ball went off the receiver's hands but had several nice catch-and-runs to make up for it. He's shifty in traffic and if he's in open space, good luck catching him.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Jonathan Bullard, committed to Florida
Army All-American Bowl: one sack, three tackles

Bullard surprised with his strength and size from the end spot and gave the tackles trouble all game long. He was able to apply a constant stream of pressure and played the run well - a rarity in some of these games. He committed to Florida during the game and should be someone who plays early given how ready he looks for college.

Jordan Jenkins, uncommitted
Under Armour All-American game: eight tackles, two for loss, two sacks

Jenkins was playing out of position at tackle but made an impact with his quickness to get by offensive linemen with ease. He moved outside for a play or two but the ability to handle the interior line like he did was just another sign of a great player.

Noah Spence, committed to Ohio State
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, four for a loss, three sacks

There's a reason he's the number one defensive end in the nation as he was quick off the snap, had the power and agility to pass rush and could play the run well. Spence filled the stat sheet and was in the backfield just about every play. With his size at the moment combined with polished pass rush moves, it won't be too long before every Big Ten quarterback knows his name and number.

Adolphus Washington, committed to Ohio State
Army All-American Bowl: two tackles, two sacks

Another great performance out of Washington is one reason why the Buckeyes' defensive line class looks absolutely frightening in 2012. He displayed a terrific first step and chased players down from the backside like a man on a mission. Though the West offensive line was pretty solid, Washington was a thorn in their side all game long.

Channing Ward, committed to Ole Miss
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, three for a loss, two sacks

Ward was unblockable and terrorized opposing quarterbacks all night long so much that the coaches need to take him out to give the other team a chance. He led the White team defense in every category and had even more pressure than what showed up in the box score. He looked an awful lot like DeMarcus Ware against some talented offensive linemen down in Tampa.

LINEBACKER

Joe Bolden, committed to Michigan
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, one for a loss

Bolden wasn't the most impressive linebacker at the even but he was extremely solid and among the most sound defensive players at the game. He racked up seven tackles and fit the gap well after recognizing run plays.

Reggie Ragland, committed to Alabama
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, half for a loss

The first thing that stands out is Ragland's size and ability to be just an absolute load coming downhill. He'll fit in well as an inside linebacker playing the run as I didn't see too much of him in coverage.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Landon Collins, committed to Alabama
Under Armour All-American game: four tackles, interception

Collins is one of the top players in the country and proved it against all-star competition. He can hit - delivering a touchdown-saving, loud hit at the goal line - and cover. He's instinctive and beyond all else hits another level once the bright lights come on.

De'Vante Harris, undecided
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles

Harris made waves after the game by decommitting from Oklahoma but that shouldn't overshadow his performance on the field. He was able to play wide receivers well and came up to tackle well when needed in run support. What really impressed were his instincts, knowing just when to come off his man and when to sink back.

Tracy Howard, undecided
Army All-American Bowl: one tackle

Howard is as close as it gets to being a shutdown corner for this class and opposing quarterbacks rarely looked his way during the game. What stands out about him is how fluid he is in coverage and the ability to play his man while reading the quarterback. He's savvy and understands the game better than most.

Marcus Maye, committed to Florida
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, fumble recovery

Normally a safety, Maye slid up and played linebacker in the game and impressed with how well he did in traffic. He was flying all around and used his speed to track down some speedy players. He was, naturally, solid in coverage and showed plenty of range that will serve him well at safety. He did a great job of turning his hips and changing directions quickly too.

Kendall Sanders, committed to Texas
Army All-American Bowl: two tackles, two interceptions

Sanders picked off two passes during the game and was roaming around like a ball-hawk that he could be. His position isn't set in college but based on the Army Bowl, cornerback or nickelback is a good start when he arrives in Austin. He turns his hips well and did a good job of sinking off his man into the throwing lane.

Tee Shepard, committed to Notre Dame
Semper Fi game

Shepard locked down his opposing receiver and was rarely tested by opposing quarterbacks all night. He's so lengthy that he can play the press coverage well or back off and roam a little to play ball-hawking corner. He turns his hips so well that he can change directions quicker than a receiver can sometimes.

Shaq Thompson, committed to Cal
Army All-American Bowl: five tackles, two for loss

Thompson was all over the field on Saturday and backed up his number five overall ranking with his play against some of the best in the country. His size stands out but he can run and was a hard hitter that you didn't want to go over the middle in front of. He led the West in tackles and was the enforcer in the secondary.

Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:40 pm
 

The Opening: Top Offensive Performers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Quarterback Tanner Mangum (Eagle, Idaho), committed to BYU

Mangum was the top quarterback at the event and impressed with his strong arm and decision making. He's got a good release that was evident in the 7-on-7 setting and was probably the most accurate signal-caller on the field. He was a leader and was on the same page as his teammates early on, so it's no surprise he guided them to the championship game.

Quarterback Tyler Matthews (McPherson, Kan.), committed to TCU

One of the bigger quarterbacks on the field, he was a big guy who delivered a catchable ball right where the receiver was expecting it. He's got a strong arm that can get the ball downfield and displayed nice touch on corner routes and when trying to hit guys against a cover-2. He seems as if he'll be a perfect fit in Fort Worth with his skill set and football IQ.

Athlete Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla.)

One of the top athletes in the country, Agholor could play on either side of the ball but spent his time at The Opening as a receiver. He's got the size to be very effective and can really flash his speed and create space for the offense. The only thing that we didn't see was for him to take over during 7-on-7 play and dominate but he was certainly a top performer based what he showed last week.

Running back Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas), committed to Texas

It seemed as if Gray touched the ball on just about every series for his 7-on-7 team (fellow Texas commit Connor Brewer was the quarterback by the way) and he ended up showing great burst and change of direction as soon as he snagged the ball out of the air. Ranked at the best running back in the nation, Gray showed he was a complete package and someone Longhorn fans should get very excited about in Brian Harsin's offense in 2012.

Wide receiver Deontay Greenberry (Fresno, Calif.), committed to Notre Dame

Greenberry has put together two dominant performances in back-to-back weeks against national competition. He's athletic and fast and is one of the few players who stood out as really being able to take over a game. He was, quite simply, dominant and able to get any ball he wanted. He sometimes gets a little lazy running his routes, but his talent is off the charts.

Wide receiver Jaydon Mickens (Los Angeles, Calif.), committed to USC

Mickens almost looked as if he was on the JV compared to some of the players at the event but that didn't matter as he is a flat-out player. He turned in the play of the day Friday by zigging across the field several times and stopping on a dime. He's fast enough to pull away from just about anybody, and even if you think you're close to "tackling" him, he more often than not can scoot away.

Tight end Taylor McNamara (San Diego, Calif.), committed to Arizona

There were plenty of weapons on McNamara's 7-on-7 team, but he was its most consistent target. He's got the size to create match-up issues with linebackers and safeties alike. He's still rail thin but has the size and skills to develop into another great tight end in the desert. He gets off the line well and also has a solid pair of hands.

Tight end Sean Price (Citra, Fla.), committed to USF

Every time you turned around it seemed Price was catching a touchdown or making a big play. He's done well in these types of competitions, and against top talent at The Opening, he was no exception. He's got great size and, with is gigantic hands, seemed to nab everything thrown his way. Though he's not the fastest guy, he's got football speed and just finds a way to get open.

Offensive tackle Vadal Alexander (Buford, Ga.)

Alexander showed remarkable improvement from the Georgia Nike Camp over a month ago and was solid throughout the week. He was named position MVP and did so by rarely losing one-on-ones and showing off good athleticism for someone his size.

Offensive tackle Zach Banner (Lakewood, Wash.)

Easily the biggest player at the entire event, the 6-foot-7, 340-pounder was able to handle much quicker defensive ends surprisingly well considering that is something he normally struggles with. Banner was dominant in the run-blocking drills and though he didn't win every one-on-one rep, managed to move his feet well and keep his man in front of him most of the time.

Offensive lineman Josh Garnett (Puyallup, Wash.)

With so many tackles at the event, Garnett decided to move inside and get several reps at guard and he left many observers impressed. One of the calmest, nicest players off the field, he had a mean streak on the field and was like a brick wall. He's got the athleticism to play just about every position on the line and showed it during the event.

Offensive tackle Patrick Miller (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Miller is tall and lean but surprisingly moved well side-to-side and handled fast, big defensive lineman pretty well. He still needs to get stronger but he more than held his own and showed off a bit of a mean streak during drills. There were times when he got a little bit off balance but for the most part, he was a difficult match up for all the defenders. 

Offensive lineman Curtis Riser (Desoto, Texas), committed to Texas

Riser was dominant throughout the entire week, and it was a bit of a surprise that he didn't get MVP honors. He was excited for each rep and had a good celebration whenever he stopped one of the defensive linemen. He's very big and certainly looks to be the part of a guard but still was able to move fairly well. The one thing that stood out was how powerful he was, often driving back the defensive linemen coming at him.

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 5, 2011 10:52 am
 

Video: Badger Sports 7-on-7 Nationals

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Lots of FBS-caliber talent at the Badger Sports/New Level Athletics 7-on-7 National Championship this weekend. Here's plenty of highlights from some of the top matchups of the tournament.

Round robin play 

1925 vs. B2G 

1925: Troy Williams, Tyler Stewart, Jorday Payton, Bryce Treggs, Mike Davison, Chris Harper, Jaydon Mickens, Deontay Greenberry, Ishmael Adams, Randall Goforth, Richard Smith, Tee Shepard, Johnny Johnson, Shaq Thompson, Jeremiah Allison, Marc Phillipi.

B2G: Marc Evans, Matt Morin, Derrick Turner, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Trenton Irwin, Robert Lewis, Gabriel Marks, Michael Robert, Kenny Lawler, Kahlil Pettway, Shannon Edwards, Jeff Coprich, Devian Shelton, Jermaine Ervin, Seth Jacobs. 



1925 vs. Goon Squad

Goon Squad: Zeke Pike, Eddie Printz, Charless Davis, Gehrig Dieter, Elliot Fareber, Goose Cohorn, Jason Croom, Roger Lewis, Jeremy Graves, David Williams, Jesse James, Darrion Hutcherson, Ike Spearman, Deaysean Rippy, Steven Longa, Justin Combs, Jalen Mills, Brandon Simmons, Graham Gillispie, Edward Parris. 



Championship Game

1925 vs. Team Houston

Team Houston: Jordoan Scott, Kaylon Melancon, Shane McCarley, Javonte Collins, Ashton Bennett, Tavares Garner, Xazier Murry, Josh Martinez, Seth Lensford, Chris Dismutte, Richard Rose, Jared Ambres, Allan Scott, Selwyn Green.



Posted on: May 16, 2011 1:28 am
 

Stanford Nike Camp Top Performers: Offense

Posted by Bryan Fischer

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Football is a sport played in the elements and the hundreds of top athletes from all over the West Coast got a dose of rain, wind and hail during Sunday's Nike Training Camp on the Stanford campus. Here's a few of the top performers on the offensive side of the ball:

Offensive linemen

One of the strongest groups at the camp, the offensive linemen might have welcomed the chance to play in a little bit of rain the most. It's a good year for linemen on the West Coast and this group was very reflective of that.

Erik Magnuson

Magnuson has a great frame and could fill out even more into a monster at left tackle. He's got a bit of a mean streak and was very competitive all day, especially in one-on-ones. He uses his hands well and keeps the defender in front of him very well. He was very flexible and probably could play either right or left tackle at the next level.

Kyle Murphy

Another big tackle prospect, Murphy showed why he's receiving attention from schools all over the country. He stays upright with the proper bend at the hips and had one of the better kick steps. He knew which angle the defender was taking during one-on-ones and adjusted well to stay between him and the quarterback. He can improve his footwork just a tad but it's already some of the best in the West.

Isaac Seumalo

Seumalo took home position group MVP and was the most technically sound and consistent offensive lineman at the camp from start to finish. You could tell his dad is a coach (at Oregon State) and how he was ready for just about anything thrown at him. He's got good size and can play either offense or defense because of his quickness. Seumalo looks like he could really be an asset run blocking with the way he gets after things and drives defenders off the ball.

Running backs

It wasn't a particularly strong group at running back with only a handful actually holding offers. Lewis, an SMU commitment, was the best of the best and nabbed the MVP award.

Robert Lewis

Seeing Lewis up close, it's hard to see him being a 15 carry a game back. At the same time, he's a huge threat to score with his combination of speed and quickness; he moves side-to-side extremely well. Lewis can catch the ball well and he can really excel at the next level in the slot or even as a multipurpose threat like Oregon State's James Rodgers.

Wide receivers

Probably the deepest group at the camp, the wide outs were very impressive despite the less than ideal pass catching weather. Arizona speedster Davonte Neal took home MVP honors and couldn't find a matchup out of the slot he didn't like.

Deontay Greenberry

Greenberry has seen his stock take off the past few months and he did nothing to slow it down at the Farm. He accelerates into top gear quicker than just about everybody and is very fluid while running his routes. It actually was difficult for the quarterbacks to throw to him because they often wouldn't anticipate him running so fast. Greenberry tended to round off his routes and not get into and out of his breaks however.

Jaydon Mickens

Mickens and Neal were the two guys out of the slot that just about everyone had trouble covering. Mickens has a pair of good hands and does a good job of taking off towards the end zone as soon as he's secured the ball. A bit on the small side, he's just too quick for anybody to really get a hand on him for that to matter.

Kenny Walker

Walker holds a host of offers and seems to be on the cusp of going from a good wide receiver to a great one. He's got good size and is similar to Greenberry in terms of speed and quickness. He caught just about everything thrown his way and was able to create separation with defensive backs on deep routes.

Ian Taubler

Taubler might have been the biggest player at the event that was not an offensive lineman. Despite being a big tight end, he showed he could move and has surprisingly decent speed. His routes are pretty sharp and he comes off the ball well and gets into and out of his breaks quickly. In terms of looks and game, he's somewhat similar to Nick O'Leary out of the 2011 class but not quite as big.

Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick

Cope-Fitzpatrick was stating his case for the top tight end in California and did a good job. He's built very well physically and likely can come in as a tight end that can be a threat in both the passing game and blocking for the run game. He's one of the faster tight ends but still needs to improve his route running a bit.

Quarterbacks

The quarterbacks got the spotlight on Friday and just about everyone - with the notable exception of Connor Brewer - returned for another go around at Stanford's practice fields. Once again Zach Kline made a big impression by showing off his big arm and took home position group MVP.

Zach Kline

There's not much for Kline to do at this point after shining two days in a row and collecting his second MVP award in as many Bay Area Nike Camps. The Cal commit has an arm that is one of the strongest in the class of 2012 and he can really put the ball wherever he wants to on the field. Kline has good fundamentals and his footwork is excellent. Overall, just he's very balanced from snap to throw and it wouldn't be surprising at all to see him play early.

Tanner Mangum

The BYU commit also followed up a good Elite 11 performance with what might have been an even sharper Nike Camp performance. He stands tall in the pocket and is very accurate at all three levels. He doesn't quite have the arm strength as Kline but it is still very good. At this point, it's hard to argue Magnum being the top prospect in Idaho based on what he's shown on the field and during the camp circuit.

Matt Morin

Morin was MVP of the LA Nike Camp and had another good showing up North. While he wasn't quite as good as he was earlier, Morin was still sharp and the lefty displayed one of the strongest arms on Sunday. He would go through spurts where he wasn't as accurate but most of the day he was spinning the ball very well.
Posted on: April 1, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 5:06 pm
 

March Pac-12 Early Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's the first day in April but also the final week in March and several schools have already hit the ground running in the class of 2012. Today we'll take a look at the verbal commitments in the Pac-12, where it's no surprise that uber-recruiter Lane Kiffin leads the pack in terms of verbal commitments early in the recruiting cycle.

Arizona (0)

Arizona State (1)

Wide receiver Kenny Lawler (Upland, Calif.), MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 Watch List member

California (1)

Quarterback Zach Kline (Danville, Calif.)

Colorado (3)

Running back Benjamin Catalon (Houston, Texas)
Defensive tackle Tyler Henington (Denver, Col.)
Defensive end Clay Norgard (Highlands Ranch, Col.)

Oregon (0)

Oregon State (0)

Stanford (1)

Quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg (Philadelphia, Pa.), MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 Watch List member

UCLA (0)

USC (5)

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif.), MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 Watch List member
Athlete Jaydon Mickens (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Wide receiver Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, Calif.), MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 Watch List member
Wide receiver Darreus Rogers (Carson, Calif.)
Lineabcker Jabari Ruffin (Downey, Calif.)

Utah (0)

Washington State (1)

Wide receiver Dalen Jones (Woodland, Calif.)

Washington (2)

Wide receiver Braden Bishop (Mountain View, Calif.)
Running back Tairen Owens (Pasadena, Calif.)

 
 
 
 
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