Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:33 am
Edited on: November 1, 2011 12:33 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Ohio State is turning their season around on the field and that's paying off elsewhere as well. Hours after the Buckeyes upset victory over Wisconsin, Woodland Hills (Calif.) receiver Michael Thomas committed to the program.
“The game was electrifying,” Thomas told the Columbus Dispatch. “The stadium was rocking. Who would not want to play in front of these great fans?”
Thomas did not sign out of high school and has spent the year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. He is the nephew of NFL All-Pro receiver Keyshawn Johnson and held offers from Nebraska, Notre Dame and UCLA among others. Possible issues with the NCAA didn't deter him from committing to Ohio State over his other offers however.
“The future is very bright for the program, and I can come in early and contribute right away,” he said.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Thomas is the third wide receiver and 14th commitment for Ohio State.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 10:21 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
DALLAS – Right before the championship game, Keyshawn Johnson was hoping this would be his team's moment.
Sunday afternoon was indeed Johnson's moment however as 1925 got over the hump and finally hoisted a trophy, winning the Badger Sports/New Level Athletics 7-on-7 National Championship at SMU's Gerald Ford Stadium.
“Being in it two years and winning a championship (is great),” said Johnson, a former USC wide receiver, before joking, “I told one of the kids who is going to Notre Dame, I told him if you go to Notre Dame you won't be winning one of these.”
“We were going to championships and we were losing,” said running back Mike Davison. “But nationals were the one we wanted and that's what we need to win. That's the one that matters and I'm glad we won because we're national champs and we've got the bragging rights.”
1925 lost three players due to injury before the tournament but still managed to run through the championship bracket undefeated using plenty of FBS-bound athletes. One of the keys to the team though was actually the smallest player on the field, the 5-foot-3 Davison, and one of the few who didn't hold a major scholarship offer.
“It was a great experience, it was fun. We were working hard at it and I knew we were going to get it done,” he said. “It's very important to me too. I'm trying to get more offers, more exposure. I'm glad I was a big factor in this so now colleges can say this guy can do it. Hopefully I can go D-1.”
Davison holds an offer from Alabama State with several other schools on the verge of offering the speedy scatback. Able to cut a full speed and stop a dime, he was easily the most elusive player on the roughly 115-degree turf the past two days.
Known by his nickname of “Mike-Mike,” Davison was often imitated but no one could come close to the real thing. After a player on the team from Louisiana made a few quick cuts against the 1925 defense, Notre Dame commit and 1925 athlete Deontay Greenberry yelled out, “You're not Mike-Mike!”
After battling the eventual runner up, Team Houston, to a tie at the end of the first of their two games, 1925 failed to complete a play in the sudden-death, longest-yard overtime. As a result, all Team Houston had to do was get a yard on a running play to win the game but it ended up being Davison who saved the day for 1925.
“They were like, 'Mike get on the field' because the other team just needed one play to win the game,” he said. “I ran on to the field and they said 'hike' and I just sprinted into the back field and tackled him. Then we won the game when I got the draw and got a couple of yards.”
Although his team got knocked out early, Norcross (Ga.) wide receiver Jason Croom put together an impressive two days worth of catches. Using his big 6-foot-5 frame, he was a weapon in the end zone and also made some tough catches in traffic to solidify himself as one of the best options on the Goon Squad.
Scheduled to make a decision later next month, Croom has narrowed down his recruiting list to just two schools as he wraps up a very productive run on the spring and summer camp circuit.
“It's between Mississippi State and Tennessee,” he said.
Croom has already made it down to Knoxville for an unofficial visit and had plenty of good things to say about the Volunteers.
“I really like everything,” said Croom. “I like the coaching staff. When I went down there, I liked the facilities a lot and the academics. That's the most important part, they have a good APR rating and they push you on and off the field. They told me I can make a big impact and all I'll have to do is go down there and show what I can do.”
While Croom wouldn't leave any hints about which school he was leaning towards, it's clear he has a special connection with Mississippi State and that could be a major factor in to his decision.
“I've had a good relationship with them for the longest time because they were my second offer,” he said. “I've been talking to them throughout this whole thing so I've got a good relationship with basically the whole coaching staff. When I went down there I met some of the players and they were real cool, they treat you like family and joke around and stuff. But when I went down there they were also working real hard in the weight room and stuff and I know they help their players academically. They make sure they finish their classwork before they do anything else.”
Croom will commit on August 18th, which is right before his senior season gets underway. He's narrowed his choices down to two and will only take an official visit to whichever program he ends up verbally committing to next month.
“Miami, they were in my top three but they're out of it now.” he said. “I'll just take one (official) because I've already got my decision made.”
Marks enjoys his time in Texas
In addition to 1925 capturing the championship, the other California All-Star team, B2G, was very impressive over the two day event. Los Angeles (Calif.) wide receiver Gabe Marks impressed with his route running ability, hands and was savvy enough to know where holes were in the defense. Despite being a fairly polished receiver, he came out to help his team win and improve between the lines.
“I really want to work on my routes and my releases,” Marks said. “I'm just trying to win some games and go against some of the top competition.”
Working alongside Ventura (Calif.) quarterback Marc Evans and teaming up with Upland (Calif.) receiver Kenny Lawler, B2G had quite a day on offense before running out of gas late. For the most part though, the group was clicking in large part because they had been playing with one another throughout the summer.
“We work out with each other all the time and we do all of the events together,” Marks said. “We definitely have a good chemistry. We like sticking with one quarterback so we don't have to worry about that transition if a new guy plays with us.”
Holding offers from several Pac-12, Mountain West and Conference USA programs, Marks is beginning to focus on just a handful of programs to allow time for him to compete during his senior season in high school.
“I'm starting to narrow down my list of schools, I've got SMU, Utah and UCLA as my top three.” he said. “Then I have Colorado and Boston College to finish out my top five.”
The trip to Dallas has allowed him a chance to get an in-depth look at what it would be like if he committed to SMU. Outside of adjusting to the extremely hot weather – especially for someone who lives just a few miles from the beach – the experience was a good one overall.
“SMU is a great school, they're definitely one of the nicer schools I've seen,” said Marks. “The one thing would be the weather, that'd take some getting used to. But I love the coaches, they're great and it's a great system that would be a good fit for me.”
One of the big drawing points for the private school on the field is head coach June Jones' Run and Shoot offense, which has allowed receivers similar to Marks put up big numbers. Off the field, there's a lot of positives as well.
“Their academics are top notch,” he said. “You can have a good career after football and that's what I'm using football for. If I don't make it to the league, I want something to fall back on.”
If Marks is looking to stay closer to home, UCLA offers that option and the Bruins have plenty going for them as they try to land the 6-foot, 170-pounder.
“Their academics and the fact they're so close to home,” Marks said when asked what he liked about the school. “You grow up watching the coaches and the team so they're the hometown school.”
Marks will likely make a decision in December after taking official visits. At the moment, he has already planned three visits, to Utah, SMU and UCLA, during the season.
Liggins looking to stay in the SEC
One of the biggest – if not the biggest – players on the field was actually Oxford (Miss.) quarterback Jeremy Liggins. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound signal caller was sharp for most of day two of the tournament and made several nice throws into tight windows.
“I felt like we did pretty good,” Liggins said. “Keyshawn Johnson's team though, he brought in some ballers. We just kind of threw a team together and we didn't have a practice or anything. I felt like if we practiced, we could come out and compete with these boys.”
Playing for the Louisiana team, Liggins led an overachieving squad that made a very nice, deep run in the double-elimination event. Developing some timing with his newfound receivers was key to moving the ball on Sunday after a bit of a slow start the day before.
“It's pretty hard because I'm not used to how these guys run,” he said. “But after the first game yesterday, we kinda started to connect and I felt pretty comfortable with those guys (today) because I know that once I put the ball out there, they're going to go make plays on the ball.”
Liggins holds several scholarship offers already and figures to pick up more once the season begins. If there's one thing he's locked into with the recruiting process, it's a certain brand of southern football.
“I've got a lot of offers but I'm really just looking at the SEC,” he said. “I've got ones from Florida, South Carolina and others.”
With his size and speed, Liggins knows that plenty of coaches are looking to move him to other positions. He could wind up as a defensive lineman in college at first glance but he's also trying to make it clear that he wants a shot behind center first.
“In 10th grade, they were looking at me as an athlete but now a lot want me at QB,” Liggins said. “I want to play QB. I feel like if I get the right training, I can be a good quarterback. But if I have to move somewhere (to another position) to help a team win, that's what I'll do.”
After a busy spring evaluation period and a summer full of unofficial visits, Liggins has already narrowed down his list of schools in anticipation of making a decision later this year.
“I'd say my top four is LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State,” he said. “I've been to all of them. I like them because they're all pretty nice campuses. Playing with Alabama and LSU, you know you're going to compete for a national championship every year and that's what I'm looking for. And I know they're a pipeline for the NFL.
“Playing time, playing QB and the school. All of it. I'm looking for a school that has good tradition and that put good students out and have a good graduation rate.”
Hutchinson excited to be building at Auburn
While there were plenty of commitments playing in the tournament, it was somewhat rare to have two on the same team. Such was not the case with the Goon Squad, which featured a pair of future Auburn Tigers in Dadeville (Ala.) tight end Darrion Hutcherson and Edgewood (Ky.) quarterback Zeke Pike. The two connected on plenty of throws over the weekend and even when one player hit a rough patch, the other was able help turn things around.
“If I'm struggling, he'll pick me up and if he's struggling, I'll pick him up,” Hutcherson said. “That's just how it is.”
The bond the two developed over the past few months on the 7-on-7 circuit is something Hutcherson expects to have dividends when the two eventually end up on the Plains.
“It definitely allows us to build that relationship early,” he said. “We're going to have a strong relationship at Auburn because we're out here doing (7-on-7). This is just like a vacation and getting extra work in.”
The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is aware that Auburn is losing several pieces from their magical run to the BCS championship last year but believes the current group of 2012 commitments can be part of another big run in a couple of years.
“You just have to go somewhere where your heart feels comfortable at,” Hutcherson said of why he picked the school. “Auburn had a great year with Cam Newton and Nick Fairley coming in and winning all the awards and the national championship. They've got a great coaching staff and now they're on a rebuilding year. Me and Zeke are going down there to start the number one recruiting class to get Auburn back rolling like they used to be.”
Hutcherson mentioned that he will an official visit to nearby Auburn and will possibly schedule one to Utah just to visit the school.
Tags: 1925, 1925 All-Stars, Alabama, Alabama State, Auburn, B2G, Badger Sports 7-on-7 National Championship, Badger Sports National Championship, Boston College, Brian Kelly, Cam Newton, Colorado, Conference USA, Darrion Hutcherson, Deontay Greenberry, Florida, Gabe Marks, Goon Squad, Jason Croom, Jeremy LIggins, June Jones, Kenny Lawler, Keyshawn Johnson, LSU, Marc Evans, Mike Davison, Mississippi State, Mountain West, New Level Athletics, NFL, Nick Fairley, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Pac-12, Run and Shoot, SEC, South Carolina, Team Houston, UCLA, USC, Utah, Zeke Pike
Posted on: April 14, 2011 8:26 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Another round of camps coming up tomorrow with the Nike Elite 11 and Training Camp at Georgia tomorrow night. Should be fun under the lights in Athens.
- Great story from Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples about 7-on-7 and the sport's most famous coach, Keyshawn Johnson.
- Quarterback Kendric Bostic visited Princeton unofficially and is hearing from UCF and Northwestern the most.
- Florida State and LSU are the latest to offer defensive end Jordan Jenkins.
- Offensive lineman Trey Keenan holds 16 offers and is very high on Arkansas after visiting there.
- Wide out Marvin Bracy is having success on the track and on the field as well.
- Linebacker Joe Bolden recently visited Michigan and had a few impressions of the visit.
Posted on: March 22, 2011 9:04 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 9:05 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
LAS VEGAS - One of the top corners at the Las Vegas Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 tournament this past weekend was Ishmael Adams of event runner-up Team 1925. A big reason why he was routinely shutting down opposing teams' best receivers is the on and off the field work he puts in.
"I never feel like I'm at the peek of my game," Adams said. "I'm working on my speed with Maurice Greene. Out on the field, Brian Kelly is helping me with my footwork and hands. Keyshawn Johnson is helping me with my alignment and reading wide receivers and what they're going to do. Kelly helps a lot with cover-two because he's been to the pros where they practice that a lot."
Holding offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Oregon, SMU and Washington, Adams is planning on taking a few unofficial visits to get to know some schools a bit better.
"I'm going to Oregon's Junior Day," he said. "I'm going to visit Washington and try and go to a Cal camp. I'm going to try and get to UCLA, I think I'm going to try and get up there next week or the week after that. I'm also trying to get to a USC camp."
"With Adams' recruitment figuring to heat up over the coming months, especially with the May Evaluation period on the horizon, the 5-foot-10, 185 pound corner is looking at all schools but does see one standing out from the pack.
Not yet, I'm just keeping everything open right now," Adams said. "Washington talks to my family a lot so I talk with them and they're being real with me."
One of the first things Adams is looking for in a school is a strong dentistry program, which is what he would like to major in. Facilities and coaching staff are two other factors that will influence his eventual decision.
Utah athlete Hansen impressing at multiple positions
One of the most intriguing players at the competition was Highland (Utah) athlete Chase Hansen. A true embodiment of the athlete label, the talented recruit was working on one side of the ball during most of the tournament.
"I've been working on a lot of quarterback things but I'm out (at 7-on-7) mainly working all defense," Hansen said. "I'm definitely trying to work on defensive back/linebacker type stuff like footwork and whatever else I need."
Hansen likely projects best as a safety on defense with his 6-foot-3, 210 pound frame and good speed. However, he displayed a strong arm in limited action as a junior and has seen a number of teams also give him a look on the offensive side of the ball.
"It's been mixed. Basically what they've been saying is athlete," he said. "Some schools have said quarterback, other schools have said linebacker. Utah has said athlete while Washington has said just quarterback.
"Whatever position I'll be best at but I've been kind of working towards quarterback. We'll see what happens because I feel like I can play defense. But quarterback is definitely something I'll be working towards."
Holding just two scholarship offers, Hansen is starting to see interest from several Pac-12 schools increase and could be on the verge of several more offers.
"Just BYU and Utah right now," he said. "Stanford is recruiting me pretty heavily as a safety/quarterback and Washington as just a quarterback. As far as BYU and Utah, I'm just waiting to see what happens and get an idea of what I want to do."
Hansen is planning on taking in one-day camps at Stanford, USC, BYU and Utah over the next few months to continue to get noticed by college coaches. He recently took an unofficial visit to see the Cardinal in person and is in the process of planning several others.
"I just took one to Stanford and might take one to Washington as well as Oregon," he said. "Stanford was awesome. I mean it's Stanford. I've always kind of wondered what the visit would be like and it was good, if not better than I thought it would be. The facilities, the tradition, the field was awesome. The city where it's located is awesome too."
Hansen plans on taking his time and waiting for more offers to come in before making a decision.
Cope-Fitzpatrick sees recruiting pickup
Rocklin (Calif.) tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is one of the top pass catchers on the West Coast and is starting to see his list of scholarship offers reflect as much.
"I picked up two from Colorado and Nebraska," Cope-Fitzpatrick said. "It's nice getting an offer from Nebraska, outside the Pac-12. Florida said they are going to offer in May. A lot of schools said when they come out (for the May Evaluation Period) they're going to offer."
Though the May Evaluation period may see his stock take off even further, Cope-Fitzpatrick is planning to tone things down between now and then on the recruiting front.
"It looks like I'm going to take a break right now," he said. "I've got spring ball so no visits or anything. Right around May things should pick back up again. I'm going to the Stanford Nike Camp because it's closer to where i live in the Sacramento area. It's convenient so I can take more trips. I'm going to do some college camps but I don't know which ones yet. Maybe to some ones that I don't have an offer to so I can show them."
Cope-Fitzpatrick recently took in Cal's Junior Day and throughly enjoyed his visit the Berkley. The Bears are one of his five Pac-12 offers but he doesn't plan on narrowing the list anytime soon.
"My main thing right now is to just get quantity," he said. "I'd like to get as many as I can until July and then cut it down to eight and stick with my eight all the way through December. Then I'll make my decision in early December. Definitely before Signing Day, I want schools to know I'm their guy."
News and Notes
- 2013 Bingham (Utah) defensive end Lowell Lotulelei was named Defensive Line MVP while Encino (Calif.) tackle Jordan Simmons was named Offensive Line MVP.
- Upland (Calif.) wide receiver Kenny Lawler said his recent commitment to Arizona State, "Was a soft verbal." He'll take all five of his official visits in the fall and will visit UCLA's spring practice and go to the Nike Camp at USC. Lawler also plans on attending the Arizona State Junior Day on April 2nd.
- Marc Evans was the top quarterback at the event and led his team, B2G, to a comeback win in the championship game. Though he doesn't have an offer, he said Cal and Oregon State are the front runners. He added that he plans on taking in Oregon State's spring game next month.
- Wide receiver Bryce Treggs said he was still sitting at eight offers, including ones from Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Stanford and UCLA. He is in the process of attending Junior Days over the next few months in order to get to know the coaching staffs of several schools.
"I'm going to ASU Junior Day and Notre Dame on the 16th," he said. "I was at Cal Junior Day and that was pretty good."
- Quarterback Jeff Lindquist reported offers from Washington, Washington State, Stanford and Northern Colorado but it appears that the Huskies might have the upper hand in his recruitment.
"It's really exciting, that's been my childhood school," he said. "I like the coaches and it's a really good school. Both my parents went there and I like that it's close to home."
- Wide out Kodi Whitfield is holding an Arizona State offer and recently picked up one from Washington. The Atlanta-born Whitfield said he plans on checking out several SEC schools such as Georgia in addition to taking a closer look at several Pac-10 schools.
"I have a lot of interest in Washington and I want to take a visit up there and will probably go up there for their spring game on April 30th," he said. "I'm thinking about going to Arizona State's Junior Day on the 2nd. I've taken a Junior Day visit to UCLA and have been receiving mail from Pac-10 schools like Oregon, Stanford, USC, Cal and some Big 10 schools like Northwestern."
Tags: Arizona State, Badger Sports, Badger Sports 7-on-7, Big Ten, Brian Kelly, Bryce Treggs, BYU, Cal, Chase Hansen, Colorado, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech, Ishmael Adams, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Jeff Lindquist, Jordan Simmons, Kenny Lawler, Keyshawn Johnson, Kodi Whitfield, Lowell Lotulelei, Marc Evans, Maurice Greene, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-10, Pac-12, SEC, SMU, Stanford, Team 1925, Team B2G, UCLA, UNLV Badger Sports, UNLV Badger Sports 7-on-7, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State
Posted on: March 21, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 1:22 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Elite travel teams B2G and Keyshawn Johnson's 1925 staged a back and forth competition for the Badger Sports 7-on-7 West Region Championship at UNLV on Sunday.
Check out some highlights of the game featuring B2G quarterback Marc Evans, wide receiver Gabe Marks, tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, cornerback Kevon Seymour and 1925 standout wide receivers Jordan Payton, Kodi Whitfield, Bryce Treggs, corrnerback Ishmael Adams and linebacker Jeremiah Allison.
Posted on: March 20, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 12:31 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
LAS VEGAS - On another dreary day on the campus of UNLV, defending champion Team B2G proved that - especially in Las Vegas - it's hard to knock off the champ. Running the two minute drill to perfection to tie the game, the defending Las Vegas Badger Sports 7-on-7 champions pulled out the narrow victory over Keyshawn Johnson's Team 1925 in a thrilling, back and forth game between California based all-star teams.
Following the game-tying touchdown with no time left on the clock, B2G grabbed a quick 10 yard completion to pull out the win in a longest yard-format overtime. The come from behind victory over rival 1925 made holding up the trophy that much sweeter for many on the team.
"it was amazing. To win twice, I feel like this one was even better than last year," Rocklin (Calif.) tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. "We did so bad yesterday and this is my last time out and I'm going out a winner. I'm going out on top.
"This should have been a TV show."
There were plenty of camera crews in attendance at the popular event but Cope-Fitzpatrick would likely tell them to erase the tape of B2G's round-robin play from Saturday, when the team went 1-3. They ended up seeded 27th out of the event's 34 teams but the talented group of all-stars ended up pulling things together for day two.
Thanks to several great plays from USC-bound wide receiver Jordan Payton early in the game, Team 1925 took a 22-16 lead ahead of B2G's final posession. Though they gave up the game tying touchdown, 1925 almost had a chance to win the game in overtime but highly regarded wide receiver Bryce Treggs couldn't quite get to a deep pass along the sidelines for the win.
"I tried to adjust to it but the wind pushed it a little bit," Treggs said. "You just have to adjust to it, you can't use the wind as an excuse."
B2G ran through their section of the bracket to reach the championship game, finding the end zone with ease using a move-the-chains attack. The impressive play Sunday afternoon was a much different sight from the day before when the team struggled to score offensively.
"We were a lot more focused today. We fixed a lot of the little things, looking the ball in, coverages and everybody's energy was up," Cope-Fitzpatrick said. "(Marc Evans) lit it up. Michael Bercovici did the same thing last year."
Evans, a lightly recruited quarterback stole the show from many of his talented teammates. Rarely throwing an incompletion, the 6-foot-2, 210 pounder out of Ventura (Calif.) displayed poise and a strong arm as he led his team to the championship.
"It was really fun out here with all my teammates," Evans said. "All these players are D-1 talent and I can go to any one of them. It's really just what the defense gives me. Just take what they give you because sometimes you don't know what coverage they're going to be in. I always just look for the open man."
Evans played well throughout the day and took the reigns of his team as the only quarterback taking snaps once single elimination play began. He had good touch and was impressive in looking off defenders and going through his progression. The very humble Evans never seemed to get caught up in the moment and came into the day focused on just getting better.
"Mainly working my deep ball," he said. "Quicker release, throwing off my back foot too."
Though Evans does not hold any offers, Cal and Oregon State are among the schools that have showed interest. He plans to unofficially visit the Beavers while they go through spring practice. Likely to receive more attention based on his performance the past two days, Evans is looking for one offer in particular.
"UCLA is probably my main one," he said. "I've always liked them ever since I was a little kid. I went to the Oregon State-UCLA game and I really liked it. I've always wanted to play there."
Based on his performance at the Badger Sports 7-on-7 tournament, it wouldn't be all that surprising if the now championship-caliber signal caller gets his wish.