Tag:Mark Stoops
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: July 16, 2011 11:53 pm
 

Loaded DeSoto team takes home Texas 7-on-7 title

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Bryson Echols just couldn't help himself.

Minutes after winning the Texas state Division I 7-on-7 championship, the longtime Texas commitment threw up the 'Hook 'em' sign at Texas A&M's Kyle Field with a very large grin on his face.

"It's very good," Echols said. "I know what they're missing out on.

"It's even better that we won at A&M."

Echols' fellow DeSoto (Texas) teammates were just as happy after the team ran through the competition at one of the biggest events in the state undefeated and in the process, accomplished one of their many team goals.

"It's exciting, we worked hard all summer for this," fellow corner Jalen Mills said. "Now we've got to go out and win the real state championship."

The Eagles were one of the most athletic teams at the event and used their quickness and speed to blow through the rest of the field in impressive fashion. It meant a little bit more to many members of the team after they fell just short of grabbing a medal last year.

"It's special because last year I thought we were going to win it for sure," Echols said. "This year I had a few doubts but we won and that's all that matters."

"It's a rush because you're playing against the best athletes in the state of Texas," Mills added. "You have to bring it every game."

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Echols played well for the second consecutive week after participating in Nike all-star event The Opening in Oregon. While there were not a ton of prospects for him to recruit for the Longhorns at the state tourney, he has been active for the school for several others.

"At The Opening, I was whispering in everybody's ear," he said. "There was the safety, Landon Collins, him. And a running back, he's a sophomore, (Altee) Tenpenny."

Echols is one of two players from DeSoto headed to Austin next fall and one of several FBS-level recruits on a loaded team primed for a run at state later this year. Mills is one of the few uncommitted players on the team and has seen his recruitment pick up following a good summer at 7-on-7 tournaments. 

"I have offers from Pitt, Virginia, Baylor, Houston, Tulsa, UTEP, Louisiana Tech, Memphis and a couple of others," he said. "Coach Norwood at Baylor and Coach Henson at Virginia are coming after me the hardest. And Coach Norvell at Pitt."

Mills says he'll head to Florida State next week and that defensive coordinator Mark Stoops is recruiting him and may offer him soon if he performs well at the Seminoles camp next Tuesday. An offer from the school will certainly change things but at the moment he remains wide open and really only has two schools he knows will make his short list.

"I know I want to visit Virginia and Pitt, those two colleges for sure," said Mills. "Probably later in the season is when I'll end up making my decision."

Given his offer list, it appears the 6-foot, 180-pounder is headed outside the state to play college ball but that isn't a problem for Mills, who says distance is not a factor in his recruitment.

"Not at all," he said. "I just want to go to where the team plays the top level competition every game and goes out there and wins."

Davis enjoying time in Aggieland

If there was one player who really gave it his all this weekend, it was Houston (Texas) quarterback Matt Davis. Ranked 73rd overall in the country by MaxPreps, Davis showed he was fully recovered from a knee injury last season by playing both quarterback and safety for his Klein Forest team in every game despite it being roughly 100 degrees two days in a row.

"It's pretty hot but I'm doing what's best for the team," Davis said. "It's all about athleticism. Anything that comes in the air, we try and snatch it up. We just try and make plays."

The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is a Texas A&M commitment and represented the Aggies well, throwing a nice spiral and really spinning the ball well in the 7-on-7 setting. Being able to grab some wins in the fields near where he will one day play was an experience and just one of the reasons why he'll eventually make his way up to College Station.

"It's great," he said. "I'm always looking back over there at Kyle Field."

"I talked with Coach Williams yesterday, he was just asking how we did. I told him we won all three and had a game tomorrow. He's great."

Though he holds offers from Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma State and others, Davis is a very solid commitment to Texas A&M because of that relationship with the current staff.

"That's the main reason why I committed," Davis said. "They have great coaches here, great fans, great recruits."

In between games and even during them, the four-star signal-caller is one of several Aggie recruiters, hoping to lure the next wave of talent to the program.

"There's a kid on Plano's team, a 2013 kid, so I told him to come to the A&M camp tomorrow," Davis said. "There's a lot of kids out here. I know there's a kid from Arlington, (linebacker) Sam Douglas, they say he's a player. In between possessions, I may talk to him a little bit."

Notes

- Texas A&M, Oregon, USC, Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and others have shown interest in Rosenberg Terry High wide receiver Derrick Griffin. The 2013 prospect was dominant Saturday, powering his team to a consolation game win and using his 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame to shield the ball from defenders. Griffin is already well known from playing AAU basketball (he already holds an Oklahoma offer) but it not surprising when he said he'll likely be playing both sports in college after his performance at the 7-on-7 tournament. He has already camped at Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

- Baylor commit Kiante Griffin played both ways for his team and looked good when observed. He could succeed at the next level at either but it still seems like he'll wind up on offense.

- TCU pledge Kolby Listenbee had on an Oregon shirt Saturday but not to worry TCU fans, he didn't have a Horned Frogs shirt and the Ducks shirt was all that he had in his bag after returning from The Opening last week.

- Texas Tech quarterback commit Clayton Nicholas had a very good tournament, leading his team to the consolation game final and looked very sharp. He was named to the All Tournament team over several other deserving players but easily earned the honor.

- One 2013 player that caught just about everyone's eye was Austin (Texas) Lake Travis wide receiver Dannon Cavil. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound rising junior impressed with size and speed but he has a very good pair of hands. Several colleges are already interested and pursuing him.

Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Harlow commits to Oklahoma

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is a former assistant at Florida and still spends some of his time in the state at a beach house he owns along the coast. His younger brother Mark is an assistant at Florida State and is one of several coaches responsible for recruiting the state. Bob recently received a verbal commitment and one wonders if he made a call or sent a text message to his brother because he ended up pulling tight end Laith Harlow out of Mark's own backyard of Tallahassee (Fla.).

There's no wondering about a call from Harlow however, as he informed the Sooner coaching staff Tuesday evening and made his commitment to the program official.

"I actually talked to coach Stoops," Harlow told SoonerScoop.com. "He was very excited we were just talking about me committing. He was really glad to make me a Sooner and he feels like I do everything that I'm suppose to and he also said I'm the type of player that they needed at Oklahoma. So you know I'm very grateful for being that guy that's for them. I want to take it in and just get better everyday from here on out."

The 6-foot-5, 240 pound Harlow is one of the top tight ends in the country and is part of a strong class of tight ends out of Florida this year. He held offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Miami and UCLA among others but it was the one from Oklahoma that Harlow felt was special.

"With everybody getting offers from all around the country it's hard to take it in but when you get that one offer-the one that feels different than any 30 you have or however many you have-as soon as you get that feeling it's time to go. You can't sleep on it," Harlow said. "This year they only have what 12 offers to give and they are only offering one tight end and if you don't jump on it then it might then become to late so I kind of took it as that."

The Sooner's pitch to Harlow included going to the Oklahoma journalism and communications school, one of the best in the country, because he would like to get into sports journalism after his playing days are over. Although he hasn't visited Norman unofficially yet, a trip to campus is in the cards sometime this summer.

Harlow is the sixth commitment for what will be a small Oklahoma class of 2012. He is also the fifth commitment on the offensive side of the ball and should be a nice target once he steps on the field for the bevy of quarterbacks looking to replace starter Landry Jones in a few years.



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