Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: February 3, 2012 11:37 pm
 

Auburn lands 2nd top 100 OT with Diamond

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The (arguably) biggest win for Auburn on National Signing Day was landing Maxpreps top 100 offensive tackle Avery Young. But as it turned out, the Tigers had a win just as big waiting for them --and at the same position -- after National Signing Day.

That's thanks to Jordan Diamond, the 6'6", 310-pound four-star tackle from Chicago's Simeon High School who signed with Auburn Friday night. Diamond picked the Tigers over offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Arkansas and others.

Diamond ranked as the nation's No. 67 overall prospect at Maxpreps and the No. 9 offensive tackle in the class, giving Auburn five members of the Maxpreps top 100, tying them for third-most in the conference behind Alabama and Georgia.

"Auburn is getting a hard, dedicated player with great character," Simeon head coach Dante Culbreath told the Chicago Tribune. "Jordan felt comfortable with the Auburn coaching staff, like here at Simeon. It was a matter of that relationship and how he felt."

From Tom Lemming's scouting report on Diamond:

The No. 1 prospect in the state of Illinois is the prototypical LT. Blessed with long arms and quick feet, he can effectively block on the second level and eliminate linebackers ... He has a take no prisoners' attitude, never lets up, shows good hand/punch in pass protection, can seal and sustain blocks, and he's exceptionally strong at the point of attack. He anchors well and he uses his outstanding athletic ability to slide and mirror and cut off fast edge rushers. One of the most dominating LT's in the country.

Auburn is now poised to make a major post-Signing Day impact, with No. 14 overall athlete Stefon Diggs -- the nation's top remaining unsigned recruit -- also seriously considering the Tigers. Diggs is scheduled to sign Feb. 10.

Relive all the highlights from National Signing Day at CBSSports.com's NSD Central.

Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:56 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 2:04 pm
 

Former Tide commitment: "They did me wrong"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A new Kentucky signee who was asked to take a "grayshirt" by Alabama -- delaying his enrollment until January of 2013 and not joining the Crimson Tide until that spring -- has told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he feels Nick Saban and his program "did me wrong."

Three-star running back recruit Justin Taylor of North Atlanta High School committed to the Tide in early 2011 but suffered a knee injury at the start of his high school season. In January, Taylor was informed by Saban that he would not be able to sign with the Tide on National Signing Day as planned, though Alabama would honor the scholarship offer if he was willing to delay enrollment. Taylor elected to accept a late offer from Kentucky instead and signed with the Wildcats yesterday.

“I knew I wasn’t going to Alabama when I met with Coach Saban at my high school a couple of weeks ago,” Taylor told the AJC. “When Coach Saban came down, I just had this feeling in my heart. I prayed about it and God told me … and I know this sounds kind of crazy … but God told me that Alabama was not the place for me.”

Saban told Taylor the revocation of his original offer was due to his torn ACL, but North Atlanta head coach Stanley Pritchett (a former South Carolina star running back) believes otherwise.

“If you look back on it, you see that it was a numbers game, that Alabama really wanted [Taylor] to sit out because of the numbers,” Pritchett said, referring to the SEC-imposed limit of 25 signees per class. “It kind of makes you mad, but you also feel good that he didn’t go there. Because if he had gone to Alabama, he would’ve probably just have been another number.”

Alabama's final class included 26 signees, one of which "back-counted" to the 2011 class, putting the Tide at exactly 25 players for 2012.

Taylor was not the only longtime Tide commitment asked by Saban to grayshirt; Prichard (Ala) defensive tackle Darius Philon signed with Arkansas despite donning an Alabama hat at his school's signing ceremony. Two of Philon's teammates told the Mobile Press-Register that Philon had been asked to grayshirt last week. Philon had switched his commitment from Auburn to Alabama last September and had not visited any other schools since committing. He underwent knee surgery following the high school season.

Philon refused to speak to the media following the signing ceremony and has yet to make any public comment. Taylor, however, was less shy about his feelings regarding the Tide.

“The way they talked to me, they respected me … but as far as pulling the scholarship, I think they did me wrong," he said. "I was the No. 7 to commit, that’s all I’ve got to say. I was committed to them for a year. They could’ve handled it better.” 

Given that Saban's method of "handling" injured commitments appears to be simply finding players he likes better and forcing those commitments to deal with the consequences, we're inclined to agree.

For video of Saban discussing his No. 1-ranked class on the CBS Sports Network's Signing Day special, click here. 

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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: February 1, 2012 8:48 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: SEC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Breaking down who won and who lost in the SEC on National Signing Day:

 

WINNERS

Mike Slive. Anyone who doubted Missouri's conference cred had to fall silent for at least a day as the Tigers introduced the nation's No. 1 recruit into the SEC East. The rest of the Tigers' class may not be as deep as many of their new league rivals', but when said class also includes a star as overpoweringly bright as Dorial Green-Beckham, it's hard to see any flaws.

Players to watch: WR Dorial Green-Beckham, G Evan Boehm, QB Maty Mauk.  

Alabama. Yawn--just another No. 1-ranked class of 25-plus blue-chips for Nick Saban's perpetual recruiting motion machine, with the surprise signing of highly regarded Virginia defensive tackle Korren Kirven the icing on a cake the Crimson Tide had baked long before Wednesday. By his own admission, Saban said they "didn't have any surprises," for worse or -- this being Alabama -- better. Once Kirven had declared and top safety Landon Collins had finally gotten his mother on board, the drama in Tuscaloosa was over.

In fact, after a big Junior Day haul, Saban and Co. are already off and sprinting for 2013. Come next February, it's likely there won't be any surprises then either. It may not be exciting for anyone hoping for stunning announcements, big rankings swings, and overheated speculation -- the Tide may have used it all up in last year's Cyrus Kouandjio saga -- but it's the same lethally efficient formula that's netted Saban two national championships in three seasons. Nothing much changed for Alabama on Signing Day, but unfortunately for the rest of college football, that means nothing much has changed when it comes to the difficulty of knocking the Tide off their perch, either.

Players to watch: S Landon CollinsRB T.J. YeldonCB Geno SmithVideo: Saban on being No. 1 on the recruiting trail. 



James Franklin. When Franklin's blazingly hot start last summer netted him a commitment from All-American running back Brian Kimbrow, the nation's no. 52 player, the response from many observers around the SEC was "That's impressive. It'll be even more impressive if he actually signs."

Not every one of those early Vanderbilt commitments made it across the finish line. But Kimbrow did, along with 20 other quality players that had the 'Dores in the CBS Sports National Signing Day  Top 25 a week beforehand. Vandy couldn't quite hang on to that lofty ranking, but even having the SEC's eternal doormat in a "top 25" conversation is an achievement for Franklin arguably on par with Saban's in Tuscaloosa. 

Players to watch: RB Brian Kimbrow, DE Caleb AzubikeQB Pat Robinette.

Steve Spurrier's nerves. South Carolina isn't traditionally the first team you'd think of when looking for a comparison to Alabama when it comes to recruiting success. But the Gamecocks might be this year, thanks in part to joining the Tide in the team rankings top 10 (believe it or not, Carolina quietly finished third in the SEC). But like Alabama, the Gamecocks also enjoyed a pleasantly uneventful Signing Day, with 19 of the 25 Gamecocks who signed today having already committed before the 2011 season started. 

“It’s been a peaceful Signing Day today, which was kind of nice,” recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said. And when you peacefully land players like Shaq Roland and Jordan Diggs, doubly so.

Players to watch: WR Shaq Roland, RB Mike DavisDB Jordan Diggs. Video: Spurrier talks recruiting impact. 


LOSERS

Mark Richt's nerves. On the other side of the spectrum from Alabama and South Carolina, there was Georgia's National Signing Day. The day started with the disappointment of missing out on receivers Cordarelle Patterson (Tennessee) and JaQuay Williams (Auburn) (leaving the Bulldogs with just one wideout in the class), then picked up with a commitment from Maxpreps top 100 linebacker/safety Josh Harvey-ClemonsBut that a.m. joy dissolved into p.m. worry as Harvey-Clemons grandfather and legal guardian reportedly refused to sign Harvey-Clemons' letter of intent. Adding insult to injury, Richt's premature public comments on Harvey-Clemons may have even constituted a minor NCAA violation.

With or without Harvey-Clemons, the Bulldogs are still going to boast a star-studded class with nearly as many top 100 recruits (five, or six) as any team in the country. But the potential of losing Harvey-Clemons to hated Florida with the Gators already sitting some 15 spots ahead in the team rankings is likely to cause a restless evening (or evenings) in Athens all the same.

Players to watch: OL John TheusRB Keith MarshallDE Jordan Jenkins. Video: Will Muschamp on Florida's Signing Day.

LSU's in-state clout. There's about 105 FBS teams or so that would gladly trade classes with LSU's, especially after the addition of out-of-state gems like Oxford (Ala.) linebacker Kwon AlexanderBut in a somewhat down year for talent in the Pelican State, the Tigers had to lock down the borders to put together a truly elite class, and that didn't happen--not only did Collins and highly-regarded linebacker Denzel Devall stick with their Alabama commitments, Texas shocked Les Miles by snatching away the Tigers' blue-chip linebacker Torshiro Davis. (Davis rubbed salt in Miles's wound by saying LSU's players "don't seem that happy.")

Those were the top three players in the state by many accounts, and LSU didn't land any of them. It's not the end of the world, but for a program built on an annual harvest of blue-chippers from the bayou, it's a worrying sign all the same.

Players to watch: OL Vadal Alexander, WR Avery Johnson, LB Trey Granier.  

Arkansas. As usual under Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks signed a respectable-but-not-spectacular class that Petrino will no doubt turn into something far more than the sum of its parts once it comes together in Fayetteville. But to come as close as they reportedly did to signing the player that would have helped cement their status as a national power and come up short has to sting.

Players to watch: LB Otha Peters, OG Jeremy Ward, RB Jonathan Williams.

SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

Auburn. On the good side: wide receivers JaQuay Williams and Ricardo Louis each stuck with their original commitments to the Tigers, offensive lineman Will Adams flipped from Georgia Tech, and top tackle Avery Young gave Auburn a top-100 cornerstone at Georgia and Florida's expense. On the not so good side: Eddie Goldman, Ronald Darby, Leonard Williams, Alexander and Jordan Moore all had Auburn as one of their finalists and all went in a different direction. Gene Chizik's boom-or-bust Signing Day somehow managed to neither quite boom nor bust.

Players to watch: QB Zeke Pike, RB Jovon Robinson, DB T.J. Davis. And to wrap things up, here's some video of Derek Dooley:


Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:59 pm
 

Top "combo" QB Miles sticks with Washington

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A solid National Signing Day for Washington continued with the Huskies winning a late tug-of-war with USC for quarterback Cyler Miles.

An athletic 6'4", 215-pound prospect from Denver's Mullen High School, Miles committed to Steve Sarkisian last June but considered switching to the Trojans and Lane Kiffin late. In the end, Miles stuck with his commitment to keep the Huskies' 2012 class at 24 members.

That Miles' decision came at the Trojans' expense no doubt makes it particularly sweet for Husky fans, but Miles' skills are reason for enthusiasm alone. Miles ranks as the No. 6 "combo quarterback" in the nation according to Maxpreps, and the 2012 class's No. 102 player overall. Tom Lemming's assessment for Maxpreps:

He looked good down in San Antonio, throws a nice catchable ball and runs better than just about any QB in the country. He's a major threat with both his arm and his legs ... He shows great vision, speed, arm strength, accuracy, and quickness. What more can you ask for in a big-time QB? Not to mention size. He has proven to be one of the country's more athletic QB's, has a strong build, and throws accurately while on the run. He is a legitimate difference maker at the QB position. I was impressed with his ability to thread the needle, hit his receivers on the numbers and using his all around quickness and speed to keep the play going until he finds open receivers.

From the Twitter feed of the Denver Post's Ryan Casey, Miles signing alongside some of his teammates:

 

The Huskies are currently ranked 24th in the CBS Sports National Signing Day top 25

Keep up with all the latest from National Signing Day at CBSSports.com's NSD Central.

Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:00 pm
 

VIDEO: Miss. LB commits with nephew's onesie

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It seemed unthinkable that any recruit could find a cuter prop for a Signing Day announcement than Georgia commitment Isaiah Crowell's bulldog puppy in 2012. But new Mississsippi State linebacker Richie Brown has come up with a serious challenger, and despite the nickname of his new team in Starkville, he hasn't followed in Crowell's footsteps.

Brown instead borrowed his infant nephew, whose Mississippi State onesie helped the Long Beach (Miss.) linebacker announce his pick of the Bulldogs over Southern Miss, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Video:

Brown has more going for him than clever Signing Day announcements, though. Here's Tom Lemming's scouting report on the 6'2", 228-pound linebacker:

Right now he ranks as the #1 LB prospect in the state. He shows good range and a nose for the ball. Has the frame to weigh 240 in college and can run with the best of them. One of the more competitive ball players in the state.

We're guessing you can go ahead and add "creative" to that last sentence, too.

HT: SBNation

Keep up with all the latest from National Signing Day at CBSSports.com's NSD Central.
Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:16 pm
 

WR Jordan Payton makes NSD switch to UCLA

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In one of the most surprising twists yet on National Signing Day, CBSSports.com UCLA RapidReporter Sean Ceglinsky reports that Westlake Village (Calif.) wide receiver Jordan Payton has signed with the Bruins, just one day after publicly committing to Washington.  

Before pledging to the Huskies, Payton had been committed to Cal, putting him on the commitment lists of three different schools in three days. But Payton could easily prove to be worth the fuss--a three-star recruit from Oaks Christian High School, the 6'3", 200-pound wideout also claimed offers from USC, Michigan, Florida, Notre Dame, and other national programs.

Tom Lemming ranked Payton the No. 24 receiver in the 2012 class and evaluated Payton's potential for Maxpreps:  

An athletic WR who can get in and out of his cuts quickly, runs precise routes, has the agility to change directions quickly, and has the burst and speed to get separation on the fastest of defenders. A go-to guy with the ability to become an impact offensive player in college.

Payton finished with 61 catches for 769 yards his senior season at Oaks Christian.

Though his flip takes a little bit of steam out of the Huskies' Signing Day momentum, Payton has only reinforced the stunning job on the recruiting trail done by Jim L. Mora as the new Bruin head coach. The Bruins are now up to 25 recruits in their 2012 class and rank 18th in the updated CBS Sports National Signing Day top 25.

Keep up with all the latest from National Signing Day at CBSSports.com's NSD Central.

Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 12:33 pm
 

Five-star athlete Nelson Agholor headed to USC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Second verse, same as the first: another blue-chip Florida prospect has elected to follow Lane Kiffin to the West Coast.

This time it's top athlete Nelson Agholor, who chose to sign with USC over Florida, Florida State and Notre Dame. A consensus five-star prospect (including at Maxpreps) from Berkeley Prep in Tampa, the 6'2", 185-pound Agholor is ranked No. 13 overall in the Maxpreps top 100 and the No. 1 athlete in the class.

Though Agholor could also have a professional future in the defensive backfield, he is expected to play wide receiver for the Trojans.

"I love to opportunity to play alongside Marqise Lee and Robert Woods," he said in his televised announcement. "I really dealt with some great people over there."

From Tom Lemming's evaluation of Agholor for Maxpreps:
Before I got to Tampa everyone was talking about Mr. Agholor. Like Shaq Roland, he has what it takes to become an outstanding WR or DB at the next level and also a punt and kickoff return specialist. He makes everything look easy and is a natural athlete ... On defense shows terrific instincts, quick reactions, reads quarterbacks well, shows superior quickness, can turn his hips, and has the height, leaping ability, and smooth backpedal to dominate receivers. On the other side of the ball he's a sure handed receiver with all the way kind of speed, and he uses his balance, instincts, and agility that he uses on the defensive side of the ball.
The Trojans' 2012 class currently ranks 12th in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25 but should be due for a move up after the additions of Agholor, Leonard Williams, and Devian Shelton

For updates on the newest Trojans throughout National Signing Day, follow our CBSSports.com USC RapidReports.
Keep up with all the latest from National Signing Day at CBSSports.com's NSD Central.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com