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Tag:Mario Edwards
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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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 11:28 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: ACC



Posted by Chip Patterson

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

WINNER: Florida State

For the second year in a row, multiple top uncommitted prospects picked Florida State in widely publicized National Signing Day announcements. Cornerback Ronald Darby (pictured above, No. 3 athlete in 2012 class) never even told head coach Jimbo Fisher he was definitely coming to Florida State, but when decision time came he reached for the Seminoles' hat. It started with Mario Edwards, Jr. signing his letter on ESPN in the morning, then on to Eddie Goldman's commitment and Jameis Winston's public recruitment of Darby just before the cornerback's announcement. For Florida State, the revolution was televised.



LOSER: North Carolina schools

Recently, high school football in the state of North Carolina has been on the rise. Unfortunately, it has not resulted in a boost to any of the North Carolina schools in the ACC. North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, and Duke missed out on every North Carolina prospect in Tom Lemming's Top 100 Players, and allowed 31 of the 55 in-state prospects to sign with out-of-state schools. If these football programs want to shake the "basketball school" reputation of Tobacco Road, they need to stop letting the best in-state talent get poached by other programs.

WINNER: Miami

The Hurricanes got a jump start on the competition due to self-imposed bowl ineligibility, and those early verbal commits helped secure enough to talent to keep the Hurricanes as a Top 10 class despite some defections. Miami also got a much-needed boost in the secondary with the commitment of Tracy Howard, and defensive end Tyriq McCord signed his letter despite rumors he may flip to USC or South Carolina. The heart of Golden's 2012 recruiting class lies right in Miami's backyard, with over half of the class from Southern Florida - many from Broward-Dade County area. Several Hurricanes' signees openly spoke about expecting NCAA action, and are willing to follow Golden's plan for success anyway.



LOSER: Georgia Tech

Recruiting is just not a great time for the public image of Georgia Tech football. Head coach Paul Johnson was publicly critical of oversigning again, and the Yellow Jackets' stiff academic requirements have become a topic of conversations when competing against the SEC for in-state talent. But Georgia Tech did have a hat on the table when defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson was making his decision between the Yellow Jackets, Alabama, and Georgia on National Signing Day. Tomlinson, one of the top uncommitted in-state recruits, paused on the Georgia Tech hat, only to publicly spurn the Yellow Jackets and commit to Alabama. Additionally, Georgia Tech offensive line coach Todd Spencer resigned amidst potential NCAA violations from impermissible text messaging. Just not a good PR day for Georgia Tech.

WINNER: Maryland

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (No. 14 overall prospect) did not commit on National Signing Day. The top ranked unsigned recruit is strongly considering Florida, Auburn, and Maryland. While many believe the Gators are in the lead for Diggs, MaxPreps' Stephen Spiewak writes that Maryland still might have a chance. Former Illinois head coach Ron Zook believes that new Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who has a great relationship with Diggs' family, could convince the Olney, Md. standout to stay in-state. With Locksley playing catch up in the recruiting game, every day without a Diggs commitment is likely to Maryland's advantage.

LOSER: Virginia Tech

While the Hokies pulled in another solid class, including talented wide receiver Joel Caleb, there was one decommit that caused an unwanted scene. Linebacker Jawand Blue, a Boca Raton, Fla. native, was committed to the Hokies until an opportunity arose at the last minute to jump in with Miami. When he called Virginia Tech, the phone conversation apparently did not go well. Unfortunately, a local reporter heard the conversation (from Blue's end) and began tweeting quotes "from Frank Beamer." A Virginia Tech spokesperson later clarified it was not Beamer, but assistant coach Charley Wiles. For more on the interaction, you can check out ACCSports.com's Signing Day blog. Blue was not a make-or-break recruit for Beamer, but the whole situation was a loss on a very public day for all recruiting news.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:27 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:26 pm
 

Florida State wins big on National Signing Day



Posted by Chip Patterson


Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher injected new life into the Seminoles' football program a year ago, grabbing top recruits at nearly every position on the field and finishing with a top three class. After a few 2012 verbal commits decided to look elsewhere, it appeared as though Fisher and his staff might not be able to recreate the top ranking of 2011 National Signing Day. Even worse, the Seminoles might fall behind Miami in the ACC.

Note to self: never doubt Jimbo Fisher and his staff on the recruiting trail.

Florida State arguably was the biggest winner in the ACC on National Signing Day, securing commitments from six players in Tom Lemming's Top 100 and moving above Miami to No. 6 in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25. Only Alabama and Ohio State have as many top players in their 2012 recruiting class as the Seminoles.

The day began at 9 a.m. when Florida State's staff got to watch defensive end Mario Edwards (No. 4 overall prospect) physically sign his letter-of-intent on national television. Edwards, along with defensive end Chris Casher, were going to be the backbone of a strong group of defensive prospects. With just Casher and Edwards on board to join star quarterback Jameis Winston, the Seminoles already had a Top 10 class.

Then things began to start falling Florida State's way when defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (No. 17 overall prospect) announced his decision to join the Seminoles, giving the camera a big smile and tomahawk chop. Around the same time, Miami verbal commit Reggie Northrup, the No. 14 inside linebacker in the class of 2012, flipped his commitment to Florida State. For the second year in a row, National Signing Day surprises were favoring Florida State.

Then with the bases loaded, Florida State hit a grand slam with the commitment of Notre Dame decommit Ronald Darby. The two-sport athlete from Potomac, M.D. gave credit to the Florida state coaching staff for making Tallahassee feel like home. Darby will have the opportunity to run track at Florida State, where he said he hoped to improve "as an athlete and an as a person."

With Goldman, Northrup, and Darby all joining an already highly ranked class - and only losing defensive end Dante Fowler - Florida State avoided a let down from the memorable 2011 National Signing Day. Once again, Jimbo Fisher and his staff were able to put in the work to secure the big names at the last minute. All that is left for the good folks in Tallahassee to do is receive that letter from Jameis Winston. Winston told ESPN, "I'm a 'Nole," and said he planned to send his letter in when he returned home.  The quarterback also said he had worked hard to recruit Ronald Darby to join him at Florida State.

After watching Darby's announcement later in the day, Florida State fans already feel like the pieces are in place for something special in 2012.

For more on Florida State check out Seminoles RapidReports. Keep up with all the latest announcements around the nation throughout the day at Signing Day Central.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:29 pm
 

National notes: Movers & shakers in team rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's getting down to crunch time on the recruiting trail, with just over a month until National Signing Day. With most of the Holiday season over with and attention turned to the new year, things are about to pick up even more as the decommits, recommits and surprises start happening.

The Eye on Recruiting has already given you some players ticketed for a rise on offense and defense in the recruiting rankings and now it's time to cast a critical eye on the teams that are looking to move up and a few that could be on their way down.

Team rankings movers

Alabama

Is there a better recruiter than Nick Saban? Currently, it's hard to argue with the man's success on the field and on the recruiting trail. He could be putting together an all-time great class in 2012 and just recently added lineman Alphonse Taylor and highly regarded running back T.J. Yeldon. Though they already have a quarterback in Alec Morris, the Tide are heavily pursuing dual-threat signal-caller Jameis Winston, one of the best players in the state and at his position, and top safety Landon Collins. If they can add Winston and close in on a few other top targets, Saban's team could vault to the top of the team rankings when everybody signs on the dotted line.

Ohio State

In just a short amount of time, Urban Meyer has made his presence felt in Columbus and nationally thanks to his recruiting acumen. The biggest splash has been made along the defensive line, where's he's grabbed commitments from the number three player in the country Noah Spence, tackle Tommy Schutt and end Se'Von Pittman. Though the NCAA handed out a bowl ban to the program, that probably won't deter too many recruits and playing for Meyer will be enough for some of them. They could land top 100 players like offensive tackle Jordan Diamond and athlete Davonte Neal so expect the Buckeyes to close well.

Notre Dame

The Irish and Brian Kelly put together a great group of defensive lineman last year and appear to have a balanced group of quality players at every position this year. California commits Deontay Greenberry and Tee Shepard seem solid and can make an impact right away after getting aclimated to South Bend. As is usual for Notre Dame, plenty of top recruits like Nelson Agholor, Arik Armstead and Gunner Kiel have the Irish on their short list and could turn a good class into a great one.

USC

The Trojans' great year in 2011 has proven they're one of the few schools who can shake off harsh NCAA sanctions and still play and recruit well. Lane Kiffin has a plan to deal with scholarship reductions and it will be put to the test in 2012 with 2012 being the first class limited to 15 players. USC has already signed a few top players early, such as linebacker Scott Starr and top JUCO safety Gerald Bowman. They have a chance at some top national guys Agholor and Andrus Peat so it's possible for it to be a small but great recruiting class for the Trojans.

California

Like their Pac-12 counterparts, the Bears could come on strong late with some top recruits. They're in good position to land Armstead and most consider five-star safety Shaq Thompson a lock to go to Berkeley. Ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi is a tremendous recruiter and with a great year out West for talent, should do pretty well. Cal's current group of commits, with quarterback Zach Kline and wide receiver Bryce Treggs, is a good start.

Team rankings shakers

Florida State

This is still a very good group of players but there's no doubt that the Seminoles class has taken hit in the past few weeks - thanks in large part to Alabama. Defensive end Chris Casher is a solid building block but future teammate Mario Edwards is looking hard at Oklahoma and Texas. Losing Winston would be a huge blow and there's a slim chance some, like Dante Fowler and Mario Pender, could pull a switch on Signing Day. Jimbo Fisher has done very well with the 2012 class but fans have a reason to be a little nervous at how they'll close.

Florida

A 6-6 season and losing offensive coordinator (and noted recruiter) Charlie Weis to Kansas have caused the Gators to slip a little. It still looks like they'll be a lock for a top 10 class come February with so many top 100 recruits but there's no doubt the uncertainty surrounding the program could come back to bite them. The loss of Weis in particular could hurt with possible pledges like Agholor and put a damper on Will Muschamp's first full recruiting class. Expectations are high with Meyer doing what he's doing in Columbus so a class that isn't filled with five-stars will further the perception that the program is slipping a bit.

Auburn

Will there be a meltdown on the Plains? It seems as though things haven't been going the Tigers' way recently with rival Alabama in the national championship game and stealing top commit in Yeldon. On top of that, defensive coordinator Ted Roof is gone and big time offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn surprisingly moved on to a head coaching job. This is still a very good class but they'll need to hold the current group together as well as snag a few top recruits to help reload an already young team.

Teams sitting pretty

Texas

Mack Brown has pulled in some impressive recruiting classes to Austin but this may be his best yet. The country's top running back and second-ranked wide receiver are headed to the 40 Acres and the depth of the group is one of the reasons why the Longhorns are the top ranked team in the latest Maxpreps rankings. There's no doubt that they should finish among the top three but it still remains to be seen if they can keep the top spot. Texas isn't completely done recruiting and could add a few impact players between now and Signing Day.

Michigan

Brady Hoke put together the bulk of this class before even coaching a game and has occupied the top team spot for most of the year. From top-to-bottom this might be the best class in the country with plenty of players who should come in and make an impact early  The Wolverines have seemingly filled all their holes and are still in the running for a few national recruits that could bolster their ranking so Michigan definitely has a shot at being ranked as the best.

Mora turning heads in Westwood

As soon as Jim Mora was hired in Westwood, the first question would be how well could the longtime NFL coach recruit at the college level? As it turns out, pretty well if early indications are to hold up in the future.

Mora's best recruiting job was the hiring of his assistants, notably ace recruiter Adrian Klemm, secondary coach Demetrice Martin  and former Arizona State offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. The trio, among others, have plenty of West Coast ties and have allowed the staff to hit the ground running despite being hired so late in the game. Keep an eye on this group poaching a few recruits from the Sun Devils once-promising class as well as a few Los Angeles natives.

December has seen the Bruins' class add several good players. Defensive backs Marcus Rios and Ishamel Adams are two players who could play early on defense and landing linebacker Kenny Orjioke out of Atlanta is a solid get for the staff. For the most part, the commitments prior to the new staff have hung in and seem sold on the direction of the program.

Though they're not anywhere close to getting elite talent, the signs out of UCLA are encouraging for a relatively inexperienced staff. The problem in the past has not been about recruiting however, it's been talent development and in that area things are still TBD. Still, given the progress on the recruiting trail, the coaching change has given plenty of Bruin fans something to smile about in a relatively dour year.

Video of week

I'm headed out to the Rising Seniors Bowl in Atlanta this year, which features some of the top juniors (class of 2013) in the state of Georgia. Among the headliners this week is linebacker Reuben Foster, an Alabama commit and easily one of - if not the - top players at his position next year. Here's some of his highlights:

Posted on: November 22, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: November 22, 2011 2:40 pm
 

National Notes: Who ends up where?

Posted by Bryan Fischer

We're a little over two months away from Signing Day and with the end of the regular season - both high school and college - approaching, now's a good time to survey recruits in the top 50 and look at who they're considering and where they might end up. The list will see plenty of players verbally commit in January with several all-star games and the pressure to publicly announce so don't be surprised to see this list shrink quickly.

Rank Player Notes Best Guess
1. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR
6-6/225
Considering: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Auburn, Alabama
2. Gunner Kiel, QB
6-4/215
Kept quiet since decommitting from Indiana. Visited Notre Dame, looking at Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee and USC as dark horses.
3. Noah Spence, DE 6-4/245 Considering: Penn State, Maryland, Florida, Notre Dame, N.C. State (Dad's alma mater) and USC.
4. Mario Edwards, DE 6-4/285 Committed to Florida State, but watch out for Oklahoma.
5. Shaq Thompson, DB/RB 6-2/210 Two horse race between California and Washington. Shock if he goes anywhere but Berkley.
7. Andrus Peat, OL 6-6/310 Considering: Nebraska (Brother plays there), Notre Dame, Texas, Florida State, Stanford and Arizona State.
8. Ellis McCarthy, DT 6-4/310 Crosstown battle between USC and UCLA.
12. Landon Collins, DB 6-1/205 Comes down to LSU/Alabama.
15. Barry Sanders, RB 5-11/195 Considering: Oklahoma State (Dad's alma mater), Stanford, Alabama, Florida State.
16. Zach Banner, OL 6-8/295 Considering: Michigan, Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame, Washington.
18. Stefon Diggs, WR
6-1/190
Considering: Auburn, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Florida State among others.
21. Eddie Goldman, DT
6-4/315
Alabama and Florida State are the leaders with Auburn, Cal, Clemson, Maryland and South Carolina under consideration.
22. Nelson Agholor, ATH
6-2/185
Kept recruiting under wraps and doesn't talk schools. Stays in-state it's Florida, leave the state it's USC.
25. Davonte Neal, WR/DB 5-10/180 Waiting until after the season to look at recruiting.
26. Keith Marshall, RB 5-11/190 Looking at Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, North and South Carolina.
31. Kwon Alexander, LB 6-3/215 Tore his ACL during the season.
32. Arik Armstead, OL/DL
6-7/285
Football and basketball recruit, de-commit from USC. Considering Alabama, Cal, Alabama, Notre Dame and Arkansas among others.
37. Darius Hamilton, DL
6-4/250
Rutgers is the favorite but Cal, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech are under consideration.
40. Joel Caleb, ATH
6-3/205
Likely down to Virginia Tech and West Virginia with Penn State issues.
41. Jordan Diamond, OL
6-6/310
Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin seem to be contenders.
43. Josh Garnett, OL 6-5/300 Education is a major factor, looking at Auburn, Miami, Michigan and Washington.
44. Quay Evans, DL 6-3/310 Most of the SEC is after Evans.
49. Ifeadi Odenigbo, DL 6-4/220 Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and late player USC are in the running.

Oregon loses but still wins the weekend

It wasn't a great Saturday for Oregon fans after USC's upset win in Eugene but spirits were brightened as soon as they heard junior Beaverton (Ore.) running back Thomas Tyner committed to the program.

The 6-foot, 210-pound junior was at the game and made his pledge known on Twitter later on. Tyner will be ranked as one of the top backs on the West Coast in 2013 after rushing for 1,821 yards and 19 scores last season.

Running back Byron Marshall also committed to Oregon this week giving the Ducks a combo of speedsters to plug into Chip Kelly's offense. A good weekend despite the loss for the program and it just goes to show that, in cases like Tyner's, atmosphere is just as important as winning a big game. It's one reason why most head coaches don't mind inviting plenty of players in if a top ranked team is in town. In many ways, it's hard to lose if the stadium is rocking.
 
Rich Rodriguez hires will be important but will do well at Arizona


News broke late Monday night that former Michigan and West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez was hired by Arizona. I'd agree with my colleague Dennis Dodd that the hire is a home run. Mike Stoops wasn't a bad recruiter but his staffs did miss on a few players and never seemed to get a marquee in-state recruit. Southern California and Texas were two areas where the Wildcats did well in and expect much of the same under RichRod.

Though his tenure in Ann Arbor didn't end well, Rodriguez still proved he could evaluate and recruit - landing several top 25 classes despite mounting losses. His background has been on the East Coast but he's got connections to Florida and should do well in attracting players to his spread offense. Two priorities when building his staff need to be addressed first however: a good defensive coordinator and someone with West Coast ties.

There's a lot of flash surrounding the hire and Rodriguez has had success just about everywhere he's been outside of Michigan so expect recruits in 2012 to take notice but with Signing Day so close, this hire will make an impact on the class of 2013. With instability at Arizona State and possibly at UCLA plus USC hampered by scholarship reductions, there's a chance he could make a splash and leave his mark early in Southern California.

Video of the week

Some highlights of Oregon's latest pledge.










Posted on: October 31, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 11:59 pm
 

National Notes: Recruiting the recruited

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Three months. Three stress-filled, long months until Signing Day.

To complicate things, it's the stretch run of the season, the holidays and bowl game time. Coaches have to worry about filling out a recruiting class as well as keeping their current commitments from looking around. Surprise official or unofficial visits can sometimes throw staffs for a loop. It's a complicated time of numbers juggling, keeping kids happy and, oh yeah, coaching.

With all that in mind, here's a run down of the top commitments from the ACC, Big 12 and Big East that each school has to keep in the fold and sign in February.

ACC

Boston College: Steven Daniels, linebacker. He signed with the Eagles last year but didn't qualify and could be looking around, they need the tackling machine quickly.

Clemson: Travis Blanks, defensive back. One of the top defensive backs on the East Coast, he can play right away with his coverage skills.

Florida State: Mario Edwards, defensive end. They've got a great defensive line class but no one like Edwards, who is strongly considering Oklahoma.

Maryland: Mike Madaras, offensive linemen. A local kid from a power conference at an area of need, the staff has burned some bridges locally and making sure Madaras stays in the fold is big.

N.C. State: K'Hadree Hooker, defensive tackle. The staff is on shaky ground but they'd be wise to keep the in-state DT.

Wake Forest: Jared Crump, wide receiver. 6-foot-3, 4.5 receivers don't grow on trees nor come from Florida to the Triangle often.

Duke: Deion Williams, linebacker. He's a tad undersized but a great cross-country get for the Blue Devils.

Georgia Tech: Tyler Stargel, linebacker. Would be a big interior presence with his size.

Miami: Jelani Hamilton, defensive end. One of the top players in the area, keeping him home would do wonders for the rest of the class.

North Carolina: Patton Robinette, quarterback. The Elite 11 signal-caller has already taken a few visits elsewhere.

Virginia: Kwontie Moore, linebacker. The complete package, he'd be a much-needed upgrade on defense.

Virginia Tech: Jarontay Jones, defensive end. One of the top players in Georgia, it's possible he could pull a late switch.

Big 12

Baylor: Kiante' Griffin, athlete. Could come in and play on either side of the ball.

Iowa State: Grant Rohach, quarterback. It's not too often ISU gets a quarterback like Rohach out of California.

Kansas: Brian Beckmann, offensive lineman. Big body like Beckmann is someone they must have to build around.

Kansas State: Aderius Epps, offensive lineman. See above.

Missouri: Jonathan Williams, running back. Henry Josey has done a great job and Williams is that type of player.

Oklahoma: Polo Manukainiu, defensive end. He's already a shaky commitment and is taking visits elsewhere.

Oklahoma State: Kendall Sanders, athlete. He would be a great fit for the Cowboys.

Texas: Johnathan Gray, running back. He's pretty solidly committed but that still doesn't mean you stop recruiting #1 RB in the country.

Texas Tech: Dominique Wheeler, wide receiver. He should play early with his speed.

TCU: Daje Johnson, defensive back. You need defensive backs in the Big 12 and Johnson is one of the fastest in Texas.

Big East

Cincinnati: Dennis Norfleet
, running back. He's small but he's dynamic in space a great fit for the offense.

Connecticut: Casey Cochran
, quarterback. Grabbing the best in-state player is always a good start for a new head coach.

Louisville: Larry Jefferson,
defensive end. He could provide a nice boost on either side of the ball.

Pittsburgh: Rushel Shell
, running back. He was likely to end up at Pitt all along but they need to keep the five-star happy.

Rutgers: Leonte Carroo,
wide receiver. One of the top players in the state, he could help them with his Don Bosco teammates.

South Florida:
Chris Bivins, defensive back. One of the better corners in Northern Florida, one wonders if the Gators came in with a later offer.

Syracuse: Tashon Whitehurst,
linebacker. Not the fastest player, he's still a nice get from Florida at his position.

West Virginia: Deontay McManus
, wide receiver. He's a great fit in Dana Holgorsen's offense but the commitment isn't super strong.

Notre Dame sees Perkins decommit

First it was USC that saw a high-profile decommit and now the team they recently beat is suffering the same thing. South Bend (Ind.) linebacker David Perkins opened things up Monday, a loss for the Irish on the defensive side of the ball.

“There are a lot of good schools out there interested in me, and Notre Dame doesn’t let you take visits, and I want to take visits,” Perkins told 247Sports. “I feel like I committed too fast and didn’t give myself a chance to go through the whole recruiting process. I’m going to reopen it and go through the process and see what all is out there."

It's not unusual to hear this kind of thing from kids as we draw closer to Signing Day but interesting to hear it from a local player like Perkins. He has several programs such as LSU, Michigan State, Tennessee and Oregon that could be players if he doesn't keep Notre Dame in the mix.

The Irish have 15 commitments for 2012 as of now.

Video of the week

Here are some highlights of Texas commit Cayleb Jones, the second best wide receiver in the country and a five-star prospect.



Recruiting Roundup

Guito Ervilus has North Carolina as his leader after a visit.

Georgia Tech impressed a good number of recruits in their game against Clemson.

UCLA is the latest offer for running back Fabian Moreau.

Does playing Florida in Jacksonville hurt Georgia's recruiting?

Offenisve lineman Brandon Fanaika is interested in Arkansas.

 Brian Kelly wants easier access to recruits.


Posted on: August 30, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: August 30, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Top 25 recruiting classes & the recruiting title

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Senior Writer Dennis Dodd tackled the difficult task of putting together the CBSSports.com preseason top 25. One of the common themes is that the national champ usually has to come from behind in the polls. Taking a look at the recruiting rankings, it's usually the opposite. Sure there are the Signing Day closers, such at USC or Florida, but the Alabama's, Texas' and Florida State's of the world put together a good class early and head to February with a good idea of who they're signing while holding out hope a top guy will put on their hat late in the process.

Here's a breakdown of the current MaxPreps Top 25 recruiting rankings and a little bit of insight as to who will eventually be declared recruiting national champion.

The favorites

1. Michigan (top recruit: #33 Terry Richardson)

2. Texas (#3 Cayleb Jones)

3. Florida (#12 D.J. Humphries)

4. Florida State (#5 Mario Edwards)

6. Alabama (#19 Geno Smith)

One Big Ten team, one Big 12 team, two SEC teams and the ACC banner-carrier are the favorites to take home the mythical February title. It's no surprise to see some of the names on this list but newcomer Michigan is one considering Brady Hoke has yet to coach a game. It's not a deep year for Midwest talent but the Wolverines have certainly grabbed the creme of the crop and as a result sit in the pole position past the halfway point.

The contenders

5. Miami (#77 Jelani Hamilton)

7. Texas A&M (#51 Trey Williams)

9. Auburn (#30 Zeke Pike)

10. LSU (#58 Avery Johnson)

11. Virginia Tech (Donaldven Manning)

15. Clemson (#16 Travis Blanks)

18. Notre Dame (#13 Jarron Jones)

The next group of teams has an outside shot of moving up into the top five and challenging for the title with a strong close. Miami is in a difficult position in that they have a strong class filled with local talent but given the NCAA investigation swirling around the program, no one knows how long Al Golden can keep things up. With recent news that the Aggies would be moving to the SEC, one figures they could see a bounce and grab one or two top prospects by selling playing time in the nation's best football conference. Auburn has done well again this year and is seeing a championship bounce with their current group and could see other prospects come around to playing on the Plains. LSU and Virginia Tech have put together under the radar classes but they're both strong enough to put them in position to move up with a top 100 recruit committing. Clemson and Notre Dame both have small classes but have shown they can get things done between now and players putting pen to paper.

The pretenders

8. Virginia (#50 Michael Moore)

12. Penn State (#36 J.J. Denman)

13. South Carolina (#20 Shaq Roland)

14. Arizona State (#45 Evan Goodman)

16. Oklahoma (#47 Durron Neal)

This group of teams look like they can make a strong push to finish in the top five but it will be a steep up hill battle. Virginia is ranked highly due to the numbers they have and when others catch up in that department, they'll slide back down to the middle of the pack. Penn State has been solid but not spectacular in a good year for Pennsylvania talent. South Carolina is comfortable with their class but likely won't grab a top 10 player to push them up and Arizona State will likely not finish as the top Pac-12 class at the end of the day. Oklahoma is limited in terms of numbers this year and while they might sneak in the top group, it will be hard to go much further.

No chance

17. Cincinnati (#72 Bennie Coney)

19. Missouri (#91 Jonathan Williams)

20. Michigan State (#63 Sevon Pittman)

21. Wisconsin (#67 Dan Voltz)

22. Indiana (#2 Gunner Kiel)

23. Rutgers (#71 Leonte Caroo)

24. Washington (#70 Cyler Miles)

25. West Virginia (Brandon Napoleon)

It's a nice year for this group of team but it will be tough for any of these schools to move above 15 in the rankings. Likewise, it might be tough for Indiana, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Michigan State to stay in the top 25 as other schools start filling out their class with 20 or more recruits.


Posted on: June 14, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 5:15 pm
 

The Class of 2012 and their famous fathers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Father's Day is coming up on June 19 and in anticipation, CBSSports.com has declared it to be"Dad Week" on the site. Join us over the next few days as we take a look at some of the fatherly influence seen throughout the sporting world.

One place where dads are seemingly an omnipotent presence is in football recruiting. Plenty of players are sons of coaches, some have their dad at every camp they go to and a surprisingly large number of players let their father handle every detail of their recruitment. The class of 2012 in particular has quite a few players who have famous fathers and also happen to be top 100-level recruits. Here's five players who have the bloodlines but are making a name for themselves on the gridiron.

Andrus Peat, offensive tackle, Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol

Father: Todd Peat Sr. was an offensive lineman at Northern Illinois and had a six-year NFL career with the Cardinals and Raiders.

The younger Peat is ranked 17th overall in the MaxPreps Top 100 and holds well over 40 offers from just about every powerhouse in the country. He might be one of the players best prepared for the next level after receiving coaching from his father and having to play against his brother - Todd Jr., who signed with Nebraska in 2011 - on a daily basis over the past few years. Andrus recently visited Michigan and Notre Dame unofficially and is expected to narrow down his list of schools shortly.

Kyle Kalis, offensive tackle, Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward, committed to Ohio State

Father: Todd Kalis, who played his college ball for John Cooper at Arizona State and lead the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl in his three years as a starter. He played 103 games in the NFL over eight years for the Vikings, Steelers and Bengals.

Kyle was an early commitment to the Buckeyes and once Jim Tressel resigned, thought about decommitting. A phone call from interim head coach Luke Fickell convinced him to remain committed and he's really the foundation their class of 2012 is built on. Ranked 61st overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, he is the third best player from the talent-producing state of Ohio. The younger Kalis can play either tackle or guard, which his father excelled at in college.

Mario Edwards Jr., defensive end, Denton (Texas) Ryan, committed to Florida State

Father: Mario Edwards Sr. was a six-year NFL veteran and known mostly for his time with the Dallas Cowboys. The cornerback was also part of some successful Florida State teams in the late 90s but had his career hurt by injuries.

Edwards Jr. is physically not a whole lot like his father at 6-foot-4, 280 pounds. As big as a defensive tackle but with speed and moves like a defensive end, he is the top defensive end in the country and ranked fifth overall by MaxPreps. Edwards is literally following in his father's footsteps, though, after making a solid committment to Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles earlier this year.

Deion Sanders Jr., athlete, Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus

Father: Deion Sanders needs no introduction but the NFL Hall of Famer would probably want one anyway. One of the great athletes of his time, Sanders played in the NFL for 16 years, most notably with the Cowboys and Falcons. "Prime Time" also played baseball for four teams and is the only man to play in both the World Series and the Super Bowl.

Neon Deion's son is not as highly recruited as some of the others on this list but he's quite the playmaker for his high school team. With the same blazing speed as the elder Sanders, Deion Jr. is a wildcat quarterback/wide receiver and a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. His height might keep him from playing major college football (he's 5-foot-7) but he already has an offer from Houston and will likely pick up a few more with a strong senior campaign.

Barry Sanders Jr., running back, Oklahoma City (Okla.) Heritage Hall

Father: NFL Hall of Famer and one of the greatest running backs ever, Barry Sanders Sr. was a 10 time All-Pro and won the Heisman Trophy in 1988. He played his entire career with the Detroit Lions after they took him with the No. 3 overall pick.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound prep running back has film that is simlar to his father (but is much, much clearer thanks to modern technology). A shifty back who can make cuts at full speed, the younger Sanders has plenty of potential at the college level. Holding offers from Alabama, Auburn and Florida State among others, it looks like he will go out-of-state and not head to his father's alma mater of Oklahoma State despite the Cowboys recruiting him heavily.

One name that might ring a bell in the class of 2013 is Ray Lewis III, son of the Ravens linebacker with the same name. He's a running back who put on an impressive showing last season when he racked up 504 total yards and two touchdowns in a big win.

Check out some highlights of Barry Sanders Jr. (above) and his father (below) and see how they compare:








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