Tag:Korren Kirven
Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:53 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 11:17 am
 

Signing Day Coast-to-Coast Wrap



Posted by Bryan Fischer


It's time to pick up the wrapping paper, survey the damage and get excited to play with your new toys as Signing Day - i.e. Christmas in February for college football coaches and fans - has come to a close. Here's a broad overview of what happened from coast-to-coast.

Houston, we have a five-star

If there was one big - to borrow a metaphor from another sport - curve ball on Signing Day that made everybody scratch their head in disbelief it was word that Fresno (Calif.) wide receiver Deontay Greenberry had surprisingly signed with Houston during the middle of the day. It's normally a bit unusual when a program like UH signs anybody from outside the states of Texas or Louisiana and even more puzzling when they sign a highly rated player. But Greenberry? In addition to becoming the highest-ranked recruit the program has ever inked, the switch was cause for celebration inside the football office for a coup of epic proportions.

In short: Houston stole a five-star recruit on the week before Signing Day from Notre Dame.

This wasn't a local big time kid, this was the state of California's best wide receiver and somebody the Irish were counting on to play early and often with the departure of guys like Michael Floyd. The Cougars were not only closer to a BCS game than the storied program but they picked their pockets for one of their top recruits. It should have been a big day for Brian Kelly to trumpet guys like number two overall player and Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel or Greenberry's cousin, cornerback Tee Shepard. Instead it was Kelly who was trying to spin the loss during his annual press conference.

"It is hard for me to feel disappointed about something I have never had, or someone I have never coached," Kelly said. "I'm more excited about the 16 who did sign."

The reason the 6-foot-3, 187-pound wide out flipped was primarily due to Houston receivers coach Jamie Christian, who came over from Arizona State. Christian had kept the Sun Devils in the running (Greenberry took a visit in October and considered them as late as December) despite a commitment to Notre Dame until Dennis Erickson's staff was fired and deserves the lion's share of the credit for getting Greenberry on campus last weekend and for ultimately landing a top-ranked guy. Cougars' head coach Tony Levine has developed some very successful wide receivers over the past several years and it appears he's got somebody a lot more talented than he's ever coached coming in with the class of 2012.

One in January, another in February

Texas coach Mack Brown has picked up the title Mr. February due to his penchant for winning a recruiting title but lack of success in translating that into a national title. After the run Nick Saban has had at Alabama recently, it might be time to find something that accurately describes his dominance in the first two months of the year because he's not limited to one or the other. As expected, the Crimson Tide took home the top recruiting class in the country in 2012 but perhaps the only thing that was surprising about it was that it wasn't, well, surprising.

"We knew exactly pretty much what we were gonna get," Saban said. "We didn't really have any surprises."

The only thing that even registered on the meter was when defensive tackle Korren Kirven decided to go away from home and play for the Crimson Tide (part of the reason why a numbers crunch led to some like defensive tackle Darius Philon signing at Arkansas). All told, 28 players will be considered part of yet another recruiting title for a program that seems to land any recruit they want, including an impressive six top 100 players.

The headliner is Geismar (La.) defensive back Landon Collins, who signed sans drama Wednesday and even seems to have patched things up with his mother following the bizarre reaction she had when he committed at the Under Armour All-American Game early last month. A ball-hawk who isn't afraid to lower the shoulder and stick the ball carrier, Collins is bound to find a role early on in the secondary. This class didn't really load up on offensive lineman but filled out just about everywhere else was stacked. The front seven in particular could see plenty of recruits turn into All-Americans, led by the impressive Reggie Ragland and Dillon Lee. Offensively there are some speedsters at wide out and T.J. Yeldon might be the best running back coming into the conference.

The Tide, it appears, just can't stop rolling.

M-I-Z-D-G-B

Though the news had broken that the country's top overall player in the class of 2012 would likely be headed to Columbia, nobody was truly sure until the the 6-foot-6 Dorial Green-Beckham put on the Missouri hat and officially sent his LOI in. The announcement seemed a little ho-hum despite the nearly 1,000 people watching locally and the national television audience but that's mainly a testament to the reserved Green-Beckham himself.

With many analysts calling him the second coming of Randy Moss, there's immense pressure on the top-ranked wide receiver and for good reason. There are few prospects as impressive physically as Green-Beckham and though he doesn't have great hands and needs some polish, the underlying natural talent is a good reason why he was highly regarded and highly recruited. Missouri has had success building around taller, bigger pass catchers in their offense and it looks like they'll have three years to see what kind of eye popping numbers

It can't be understated how big this is for a program like Mizzou. Landing the top recruit in the country is not just about getting a good player, it's about adding a level of prestige to the program. A talent like DGB only comes along once in a generation and for the Tigers to keep him at home is understandably huge, especially with the move to the SEC. Gary Pinkel has had plenty of success over the past several years even if it hasn't resulted in a championship and everybody understands that the competitions is about to be ratcheted up several notches going forward. With the signature of Green-Beckham, Pinkel and Mizzou proved that even if guys like Mack Brown, Bob Stoops and Nick Saban really want a kid, the Tigers can compete off and - hopefully - on the field in their new league going forward.

Nerd Search 2012

Outside of alumni and those that have to write about the Pac-12, there weren't too many mentions of Stanford on Signing Day every year.

My how times have changed.

Not only did the Cardinal tie for the national lead with six top 100 prospects, but they landed multiple five-stars and had people talking less about Andrew Luck and more about the fact that maybe this program can indeed sustain excellence going forward. There's no denying that it was one of the best years for talent on the West Coast in some time and the big reason why was the number of elite offensive lineman. If this were a few years ago, many of them would be penciled in to go to USC or Oregon or out of the area to programs like Notre Dame but instead it was Stanford who reeled the majority of the elite guys in this year (Josh Garnett, Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy). If you were to call this the best offensive line class in recent recruiting history, you wouldn't find too many who would argue. That's just how much of a difference the school was this year and the coaches' efforts were rewarded with a top 10 class ranking.

It wasn't just an academic powerhouse like Stanford who made waves either. Northwestern landed a pair of top players in Malin Jones and Ifeadi Odenigbo. Vanderbilt brought in what some called the best class in school history. Duke landed a lightly recruited guy who, according to recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick on the CBSSports.com Signing Day Central Show, runs a sub-4.3 40 yard dash. Lots of recruits talk about wanting academics but it appears they're finally following up.

Pocket squares and pads seem to be the latest thing on the recruiting trail.

More recruiting SECcess

It wasn't quite the banner year for the league that it could have been but 2012 certainly was a great Signing Day for the best conference in the country. Eight of the SEC's 14 teams finished in the final top 25 class rankings, highlighted by Alabama at the top and both of the league newcomers turning in great first efforts. Texas A&M ended up stealing defensive tackle Edmund Ray from Missouri and added wide receiver Thomas Johnson, a former Texas commitment, to a group that finished 14th. Florida was a top five class despite missing out on some guys and even a few programs that have recently struggled did well with Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn grouped together from 20-22.

The Bulldogs had to land just about every target left on their board and they did ok, notably beating Florida State late for linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons despite a little issue with his grandfather not signing his letter of intent until Thursday. The Bulldogs missed out on Juco wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (who went to Tennessee) and offensive tackle Avery Young (to Auburn) but also landed five-star offensive lineman John Theus and what might be the best one-two punch at running back in the class with Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. It wasn't a "Dream Team" but Georgia still showed you can have a very good class and it only be alright in such a deep league.

Kentucky brought in what might be the top quarterback in the state this year in Patrick Towles and took advantage of Alabama's number crunch in grabbing running back Justin Taylor. The state of Georgia was a big producer of talent for a lot of the league's schools and is quickly becoming the go-to state for most FBS programs after the big three of California, Texas and Florida. The theme this year was even if a school didn't pick up a commitment from a kid, there's a high chance he went to another SEC school.

Quality over quantity

This was finally the year that we'd see NCAA sanctions limit USC and Lane Kiffin had to be creative in how he managed the numbers on top of grabbing the best talent available. Even though the Trojans missed out on linemen Peat and Murphy, it was still a good haul with Zach Banner, Jordan Simmons and Max Tuerk on top of skill position talent like five-star Nelson Agholor, linebacker Jabari Ruffin, end Leonard Williams and wide receiver Darreus Rogers. Given the way the staff has recruited over the past two years, it's looking more likely that the school can get through harsh NCAA sanctions better than was previously thought. Missing out on three guys may seem like a lot but it should help next year by giving Kiffin those scholarships to use for early enrollees in 2013.

Meyer Mayhem

FYI to coaches across the country, if Urban Meyer starts circling your recruits, you better be prepared to bring your A+++ game if you want to land them. The master recruiter took Ohio State's class from middling prior to his hire to tying the nation's lead with six top 100 recruits and a number three overall class ranking. This was, mind you, with only two months on the job to recruit with a program that just got slapped with a bowl ban from the NCAA. Meyer really attacked the defensive line and looks like he'll be importing a high quality, SEC-caliber defensive line with Se'Von Pittman, Tommy Schutt, Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington. He's already jumped on several top 2013 players and if this year was any indication, it could be a long couple of years for his Big Ten counterparts.

Seminole DLight

Mark Stoops is the defensive coordinator at Florida State and he might be the happiest man in the state of Florida. As good as Ohio State's defensive line class was, FSU's might be the best in the country. Though they lost Dante Fowler Jr., they still signed Chris Casher, Mario Edwards, Eddie Goldman, Justin Shanks and should get Dalvon Stuckey in a year or two after he goes to a Juco. The thing about the Seminoles is that they don't need every guy to come in and play right away but each is talented enough to make an impact in certain situations. Edwards has the pedigree and drive to become a high first round draft pick with his skill set and Stoops should use him in multiple spots. Adding guys like Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams are also huge gets for the program in the secondary. Whoever plays the best defense likely has a leg up in the ACC and it appears that's where Florida State did the best on Wednesday.

More on Signing Day
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Dennis Dodd

Urban strikes gold right away; stigma of Tressel scandal already gone



Brett McMurphy

Forget suspense and excitement, it's just another 'Bama Signing Day
Related links
The Golden Touch

The early indication that things would be going Miami's way came when one of the country's top uncommitted recruits, Miramar (Fla.) cornerback Tracy Howard, flashed the "U" sign on national television and made, to some, the surprising decision to stay home and play for the Hurricanes. Although Howard's recruitment was a bit difficult to read, it appeared there was only a slim chance that he'd leave the state and most were predicting he was Florida's to lose down the stretch.

Much like Stanford this year, there weren't a whole lot of recruits the program missed out on that they were after hard - a remarkable accomplishment given what's swirling around Coral Gables. The loss of linebacker Reggie Northrup hurts because he could play multiple positions and is easily one of the top linebacker prospects in the state. That he switched to archival Florida State stung a little but that was one of the rare occasions were the Hurricanes were slowed down. This was the largest class in the country and plenty of the recruits should see early playing time with guys like Duke Johnson making an impact from the moment they step on campus. Al Golden had to climb a mountain but did a great job grabbing the guys he did.

Tosh.Ohhh

Not sure any assistant had a greater impact on multiple programs than new Washington coach Tosh Lupoi. California's class imploded, Washington landed the #5 player in the country in Shaq Thompson, UCLA added Jordan Payton and Oregon picked up Arik Armstead due to the uncertainty. One wonders if Lupoi had been hired earlier how much more impact he would have had for the Huskies' class but it's clear he shifted the recruiting trail in the conference in just a few short weeks.

In addition to Washington, USC, Stanford, plenty of other Pac-12 programs landed strong classes in what was a very, very good year for talent West of the Rockies. Oregon managed to flip several recruits, such as wide receiver Chance Allen from Oklahoma State and a terrific pick up in Bralon Addison from Texas A&M (who took a late visit and should fit perfectly in Chip Kelly's system). Though many were skeptical of the hire initially, Jim Mora grabbed a terrific class and fellow newcomers Rich Rodriguez and Mike Leach also had good first efforts. There really wasn't a "bad" class among the bunch and even lowly Colorado landed a top 100 player.

Texas being Texas

The Longhorns finished in a familiar spot right at the top of the class rankings and even though they couldn't push Alabama off the top spot, this has some major players who can play early and often. Malcom Brown is a beast at defensive tackle and Manny Diaz' defensive staff pulled one of the big surprises in taking Torshiro Davis away from LSU. The class has the top running back in the country with record-setter Johnathan Gray and the state's top wide out in Cayleb Jones. Mack Brown also closed very well, grabbing speedy Daje Johnson and linebackers Dalton Santos and Bryce Cottrell in addition to Davis. It will be a young Texas team in 2012 but with this class and the current roster, it will certainly be a talented one.



Category: NCAAF
Tags: Adolphus Washington, Al Golden, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Andrus Peat, Arik Armstead, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Avery Young, BCS, Big Ten, Bob Stoops, Bralon Addison, Brian Kelly, Bryce Cottrell, Cal, California, Cayleb Jones, Chance Allen, Chip Kelly, Chris Casher, Colorado, Cordarrelle Patterson, Daje Johnson, Dalton Santos, Dalvon Stuckey, Dante Fowler Jr., Darius Philon, Darreus Rogers, Dennis Erickson, Deontay Greenberry, Dillon Lee, Dorial Green-Beckham, Duke, Duke Johnson, Eddie Goldman, Edmund Ray, Florida, Florida State, Gary Pinkel, Georgia, Gunner Kiel, Houston, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Jabari Ruffin, Jamie Christian, Jim Mora, John Theus, Johnathan Gray, Jordan Payton, Jordan Simmons, Josh Garnett, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Justin Shanks, Justin Taylor, Keith Marshall, Kentucky, Korren Kirven, Kyle Murphy, Landon Collins, Lane Kiffin, Leonard Williams, LSU, Mack Brown, Malcom Brown, Malin Jones, Manny Diaz, Mario Edwards, Mark Stoops, Matt Lubick, Max Tuerk, Miami, Michael Floyd, Mike Leach, Missouri, NCAA, Nelson Agholor, Nick Saban, Noah Spence, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, P.J. Williams, Pac-12, Patrick Towles, Randy moss, Reggie Northrup, Reggie Ragland, Rich Rodriguez, Ronald Darby, Se'Von Pittman, SEC, Shaq Thompson, Signing Day Wrap, Stanford, T.J. Yeldon, Tee Shepard, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Thomas Johnson, Todd Gurley, Tommy Schutt, Tony Levine, Torshiro Davis, Tosh Lupoi, Tracy Howard, UCLA, Under Armour All-American Game, Urban Meyer, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington, Zach banner
 
Posted on: February 1, 2012 8:45 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 8:54 am
 

Virginia DT Korren Kirven picks Alabama

Posted by Chip Patterson

Alabama added more beef to their 2012 class early on National Signing Day when Korren Kirven picked the Tide over in-state favorite Virginia Tech.

Kirven had also considered Maryland and Tennessee before narrowing his choices and announcing and making his announcement on Wednesday at Brookville High in Lynchburg.

The 6-foot-3, 270 pound defensive tackle attends the same high school as current Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas and defensive end Zack McCray, but chose to commit to Nick Saban and the defending national champions.

Kirven is considered a top defensive end prospect by MaxPreps.com's Tom Lemming, and adds plenty of depth to an already healthy Crimson Tide recruiting class. The announcement is a much bigger blow to the Hokies, who had Kirven as one of their last big prospects yet to commit.

For more on Kirven check out Crimson Tide RapidReports and the SEC Eye On Recruiting. Keep up with all the latest announcements around the nation throughout the day at Signing Day Central.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 12:07 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 6:14 pm
 

Uncommitted recruits' signing times

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Let the hat show begin! Below is a list of some of the top uncommitted prospects in the country and what time they are scheduled to sign on National Signing Day. This list will be constantly updated with the latest information as it becomes available.

Time (ET) Player Position Schools
8 AM Korren Kirven Defensive tackle Signed with Alabama
9 AM Josh Harvey-Clemons #3 Outside linebacker Signed with Georgia
9:30 AM Joel Caleb #6 Athlete Signed with Virginia Tech
  Tracy Howard #8 Cornerback Signed with Miami (Fla.)
10 AM Eddie Goldman #2 Defensive tackle Signed with Florida State
10:15 AM Dorial Green-Beckham #1 overall player Signed with Missouri
11 AM Kwon Alexander #4 Outside linebacker Signed with LSU
  Trae Elston #5 Safety Signed with Ole Miss
12:15 PM Nelson Agholor #1 Athlete Signed with USC
  Kyle Dodson Offensive tackle Signed with Ohio State
12:20 PM Thomas Johnson #8 Wide receiver Signed with Texas A&M
1:35 PM Andrus Peat #2 Offensive tackle Signed with Stanford
2 PM Avery Young #12 Offensive tackle Signed with Auburn
2:30 PM Ronald Darby #3 Athlete Signed with Florida State
4:30 PM Jordan Payton
#24 Wide receiver Signed with UCLA
4:45 PM Kyle Murphy #7 Offensive lineman Signed with Stanford
5 PM Aziz Shittu #4 Defensive tackle Signed with Stanford


Don't forget to also check the MaxPreps' Team Recruiting Rankings page to see how the teams stack up as the players put pen to paper on Signing Day. You can also sort the committed recruits by conference and check out Tom Lemming's Top 100 Recruits for the class of 2011. More Recruiting Coverage




Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:50 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 9:49 am
 

The Opening: Top Defensive Performers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Linebacker Kwontie Moore (Norfolk, Va.), committed to Virginia

Moore has great size for a linebacker and moved well side-to-side. He made one of the plays of the week when he took an interception at the goal line all the way back to the other end zone and outran some pretty fast offensive players. He's a steal for Virginia.

Linebacker Dillon Lee (Buford, Ga.), committed to Alabama

You wouldn't think someone could move as quickly and as fast as Lee, as big as he is, but his athleticism just jumps out as much as he jumps routes. He can stay with tight ends and even speedy slot receivers and cover a lot of ground. He's the perfect type of player who can drop deep in Tampa-2 coverage from the middle linebacker position.

Linebacker Keith Brown (Miam, Fla.), committed to Miami

Brown has the size and speed to be really good at the next level. It's surprising how rangy he is. He got to the flat quickly and was able to take away a lot of underneath routes just with his ability to quickly break on running backs and tight ends.

Cornerback Cedric Dozier (Lakewood, Wash.)

Dozier could have also played wide receiver and made this list, he's extremely quick and can really change directions in a split second. He likely could come in and play early at most programs at nickel back as he has what it takes to lock down opposing slot receivers.

Cornerback Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif.), committed to Notre Dame

Like his cousin Deontay Greenberry, Shepard was dominant at times. He would get a little lackadaisical at times (one could interpret it as bored) and allow his man to get too far away from him before recovering. It's tough to get any separation from him when he presses from the corner position and he leaves little doubt he's one of the top defensive backs in the country.

Defensive back P.J. Williams (Ocala, Fla.), committed to Florida State

Williams is a smooth cornerback and plays the game effortlessly. He's got good speed and can hit that extra gear when needed. He's a ball hawk and just a really good defensive back overall who can play safety or corner if need be.

Defensive back Travis Blanks (Tallahassee, Fla.), committed to Clemson

If there was a ball in the air, chances were Blanks was around it. And if he wasn't picking them off, he was knocking them down. He nearly came up with four interceptions in his first game on Saturday and was just off the charts in terms of athleticism.

Cornerback Chris Bivins (Gainesville, Fla.), committed to USF

Bivins has done well on the camp circuit and showed he could compete with the best and the brightest at The Opening. He's someone who won't back down from anybody and sees the bigger receivers as a challenge. Aggressive and quick, he was really good breaking on the ball and deflecting it.   

Defensive end Chris Casher (Mobile, Ala.), committed to Florida State

During part of one-on-ones, Casher was pretty much impossible to block. He explodes out of his stance and got to the tackling dummy quicker than just about everyone. He can still add some weight but he has the frame to be a top flight end at the next level.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Day (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Day caught the eye of many with a great performance at the Ohio State Nike Camp might have been twice as good at The Opening. He was a beast up the middle on Saturday and could get around the lineman using either his strength or quickness. His first step is something that has plenty of programs excited about his potential.

Defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif.)

Day and McCarthy were 1 and 1a among the lineman all week and there were times you thought that McCarthy was looking like D-line coach Ndamukong Suh. The fact that he performed as well as he did on Saturday with a  bum ankle shows why he is the top guy at his position in the rankings.

Defensive tackle Korren Kirven (Lynchburg, Va.)

Kirven was overshadowed by some of the bigger names on the line but he nevertheless showed he belonged. He's got a good set of moves that he just needs to polish to be dominant but has all of the physical tools needed to be very, very good.


Posted on: July 8, 2011 12:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:37 pm
 

The Opening Day Two Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Day 2 of "The Opening" didn't finish up with a bang like day one did with a national champion being crowned in the SPARQ rating. Instead, some of the top players in the country took to the fields of the Nike campus for what amounted to a regular Nike camp in the middle of the day before getting chance to hang out for several hours before selecting 7-on-7 teams.

No more testing for some of the finest recruits in the country, it was time to get into the actual football part of the camp.

"It's been great. Playing against the top recruits, competing against each other, having fun in the lounge, it's great," Aledo (Texas) running back Johnathan Gray said.  "I expected everything. If you've got the top 150 kids in the country, you expect nothing but the best. That's what you get (from Nike). They're treating us like superstars out here. We're just enjoying our time."

When not outrunning linebackers (he out ran them all on Thursday afternoon), Gray spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the players' lounge relaxing and mingling with other recruits. As one of several players committed to Texas at the event, the 6-foot, 200-pounder has been able to spend some quality time with his future teammates and the bonding they are doing is something Gray hopes will pay off later.

"There's a couple of us here from Texas just playing and going through the drills," he said. "It's fun, I met them earlier so being up here with them, it's fun being with your fellow commits and building that team chemistry up."

Ranked as the best running back in the country and eighth overall in the class of 2012 by MaxPreps, Gray knows there are plenty of eyes on him while he's going through drills, perhaps even more than on his fellow commitments. Despite the added outside pressure, he is saying focused on the task at hand.

"I don't really look at is as number one and all that stuff, I just come out here to have fun and compete," he said. "That's what this is about. Doing your best."

A solid verbal commitment to the Longhorns, there's not much Gray has on his docket football-wise between now and when his high school begins fall camp in August. With an outside shot of breaking the national rushing record, the upbeat running back is just looking to focus on getting better over the coming month.

"This will be the last camp I do," he said. "I'll just go back to my high school and go workout and go through conditioning drills and stuff to get ready for the season."

While 40-yard dashes and weight room sessions will take up a good chuck of his time in the near future, he won't be limiting himself to the football field. Though his high school team qualified for the Texas state 7-on-7 tournament next week at Texas A&M, Gray will be somewhere where there's plenty of lights, action and air conditioning.

"I'll be in Vegas for a basketball tournament," he said. "It's going really good, the team is doing good and they're winning. This will be my first time back with them since surgery and track and all that. I'm waiting to meet up with those guys.

"I'm a defensive guy, they put me in to stop the best player on the other team."

When asked if one of the greatest offensive threats on the football field is like former NBA defensive specialist Bruce Bowen on the court, Gray takes a second to think about it.

"Yeah," he said with a laugh. "You can call me that."

Everybody is recruiting Alexander

As one of the top linebackers in the country with scholarship offers from just about every school, Kwon Alexander knows all about the recruiting process. It follows him everywhere, from his phone to his email to, it appears, The Opening.

"Kwon's a good kid, I love him," Stephenson (Ga.) running back and Florida commit Mike Davis says while wrapping his arm around Alexander. "I just hope he comes to Florida. I'm recruiting him."

"They're up there," Alexander confirms within earshot of Davis. "They're in my top ten."

Such is life for the Oxford (Ala.) five-star linebacker. Luckily Alexander is aware that he can't be as open about schools as he once was. As a result of it getting closer and closer to the season, he has started to narrow down his list and dial in on just a few schools in the recruiting process.

"Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Oregon, USC, Ole Miss," he said. "Distance is not a factor.

"I'm looking for a family. I'm looking for good academics, a great team, some good people to be around and to just play ball."

With one of the schools he is strongly considering just down the highway from Nike's campus in Oregon, Alexander acknowledges that the situation involving the NCAA is making him a little hesitant about the Ducks but not enough to eliminate them.

"I'm still looking at them," Alexander said. "I mean, it's Oregon. They still look good."

While the two West Coast programs are receiving attention, there's still plenty of schools closer to home that are trying hard not to let Alexander get away from the region. With plenty of SEC powerhouses chasing after him, he knows that things are only just beginning to pickup among is selected few schools.

"Of the local schools, probably Auburn is recruiting me the hardest," he said. "Then probably Alabama after that. LSU is coming after me."

It often takes a unique approach to land the signature of an athlete of Alexander's caliber and there's at least one school who has thrown something different at him.

"Ole Miss offered me in basketball," he said. "That stuck out because that's my first offer in basketball. I haven't really thought about (playing both sports). It's nice but I don't know.

"I know it would be a lot of stress and stuff from playing both sports. I know I wouldn't have time to do a lot of things so I really just don't know yet."

Alexander plans to narrow his list down again before the season starts with a decision coming next year.

McCarthy down to five

Monrovia (Calif.) defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy isn't planning on making a final decision on a school until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl but that hasn't stopped him from narrowing down his list to five. With all of that time before making a decision, the top interior defensive lineman in the country is using it to his advantage and taking in a few of the schools on his list.

“Right now, it's USC, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Florida,” McCarthy said. “(Unofficals) to just the close ones like USC. I went to UCLA a couple of weeks ago. It went really well, I just talked to the coaches and they showed me around campus."

With constant contact between him and all five of the schools, the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder is mainly looking for one thing in the recruiting process.

“When I talk to all those coaches, they make me feel comfortable,” McCarthy said. “When I went to Cal, they made me feel reel comfortable with all the players and stuff like that. When I talk with the USC players, they make me feel that way.

“I haven't talked to the (USC) coaches lately. After I get home, I might call them. At USC I talk to Coach “O” (Ed Orgeron). At Cal I mainly talk to coach Tosh (Lupoi).”

Ranked seventh overall in the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012, McCarthy realizes he's a target for plenty of schools as an uncommited player ranked so highly. While it's hard for him to say if a school is standing out, it doesn't take him that long to come up with an answer to who is recruiting him the hardest.

“Probably Cal,” he said. “It's between Cal and USC.”

McCarthy is planning on taking official visits to four of the five schools on his list. The local school, USC, will likely not receive an official visit during the season because he has been to the Coliseum for plenty of games over the years. While on any of his visits however, McCarthy has a few things that he will be looking for and checking off once he gets there.

“I just want to go to a place where I feel comfortable and if I weren't playing football I could stay for four years,” he said. “I want to major in business. It's really important, I might want to go to a really big business school.”

Aziz Shittu is ready for action

With day two of The Opening marking the transition into actual football drills, there was perhaps no player who was happier to stop running 40-yard dashes and start doing some field work than Buhach (Calif.) defensive lineman Aziz Shittu.

"With the testing, I wasn't coming out here looking forward to the testing," Shittu said. "I'm a football player-type of guys, I play football. It was fun though."

The Opening is a unique camp because players will be in football pads, which should make for some great action along the trenches. Count Shittu as one of those that can't wait for full speed, one-on-one drills. In fact, he's already picked out one of the five-star offensive linemen at the event he wants to compete against.

"I'm looking forward to going against Zach Banner," Shittu said. "For reasons he should know. If he sees this, it's Zach Banner."

One of the more outgoing players at the event, the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder is making friends at the event just as quickly as he get to the quarterback.

"Oh yeah, it's great getting acquainted," Shittu said. "Me, I'm a talkative guy. Ellis McCarthy is my roommate, Korren Kirven, Luke (Kaumatule), I'm talking to everybody."

It's not to often you'll find McCarthy and Shittu more than 20 feet away from each other when they are at the same event. The two California defensive lineman have competed before at Nike Camps and it appears the two close friends are looking to ensure that their friendship lasts well through college.

"We're going to go to the same school," Shittu said. "That's the plan, that's what we talk about. 

"Me and Ellis, we just chill. I'll be telling jokes and he'll be laughing and I'll be telling jokes and he'll be laughing. We're just compatible."

On the recruiting front, Shittu recently decommitted from Stanford because it was just too soon in the process for him to be locked into one school. Though the Cardinal are still under consideration, the door is open for several other schools to jump on the talented defensive lineman.

"Stanford is still in the mix," he said. "Everybody is kind of standing out in my top 10. Cal, USC, UCLA, Washington, all those schools are standing out, just to name a few."

Shittu doesn't have any visits planned and is looking to schedule his official visits after week two of the college football season once he gets a better idea of what teams he wants to visit and for what games.

Bivins doesn't mind getting schooled by a legend

Everybody knew he run some routes from the moment they saw that NFL legend Jerry Rice had on cleats and gloves. Rice was much more selective on day two of The Opening however. Though he was mainly a teacher Thursday, coaching many of the wide receivers on how to get a better release off the line for example, everybody knew he'd run a route or two against the defensive backs. 

The only question was who would he go against?

"I was with him at first," Gainesville (Fla.) cornerback Chris Bivins recounted. "But then he ran like a 20-yard comeback. It was the longest comeback I've ever had to guard."

Bivins got the opportunity of the lifetime to defend against Rice. Though the former All-Pro managed to catch the ball, the 6-foot, 170-pound Bivins did a good job of staying close for most of Rice's route before the 'oohs' and the 'ahhs' came from the crowd after he caught it.

"I can tell why he was beating everybody back in the day," Bivins said. 

A South Florida commitment, Bivins fought and clawed his way to the event with a very impressive run during the spring and summer camp circuit. One of the hardest workers in the defensive back group, the talented corner ended up with a great reward for all that he put in over the past few months.

"He only did one rep and that was with me," he said. "It was a real good experience. One of the best to ever play the game."

 
 
 
 
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