Tag:Mike Stoops
Posted on: February 20, 2012 5:12 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 5:39 pm
 

Monday Mailbag - Sooners, Aggies and Davonte Neal



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Starting a new feature on the blog as the recruiting season picks up and spring ball starts across the country: The Monday Mailbag. My colleague Bruce Feldman runs a similar feature on Friday that is a must-read but there are plenty of questions out there that need answering and, well, I'm here to answer them since college football is very much a 24/7/365 sport nowadays. So without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
Great start to the mailbag because it's a chance to bring up Dennis Dodd and Brett McMurphy's early top 25 ballots. I'm sure there's some griping from plenty of fans about how both have the order but I pretty much see eye-to-eye on most of the picks. To answer the question, I see a few teams that are a tad over-hyped going into next year, starting with Oklahoma, especially at number three overall. Are they top-10 worthy? Absolutely with 15 starters coming back and quarterback Landry Jones among them. But the way they struggled down the stretch last season was worrisome, especially with the injuries to Dominique Whaley and Ryan Broyles and how the offense just wasn't the same. I'm guessing the coaching staff will put more emphasis on spreading the ball around and hope for a boost in the run game with all of the tailbacks healthy to provide more consistency. Don't discount the loss of defensive coordinator Brent Venables either, the guys were not around for when Mike Stoops was and he didn't recruit them so it will take a little time to develop some chemistry. With plenty of time to study it, I don't think the 'Belldozer' package will be as effective as it was in 2011 unless there's more passing to keep defenses honest.

One other factor that should be noted is it'll be a tough Big 12 this year with newcomers TCU and West Virginia both having good teams on top of rival Texas taking what should be a step forward this year. It's possible the Sooners have a better team than last year but doesn't mean they'll be able to take advantage. I also expect several of the incoming recruits to see extended playing time, especially among the tight ends and receivers (I'd guess Taylor McNamara and Durron Neal for sure) Stoops signed.

A few others that are a tad over-hyped: Wisconsin, Florida, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. Under appreciated? You're looking at TCU, Kansas State, Nebraska and South Carolina.
Great timing for this question considering what the Aggies did on the recruiting trail over the weekend. Seven commitments is an impressive number and pushes the program to a nation's best 13 total commitments for the class of 2013. After already grabbing a top 15 class with the group they just signed, Kevin Sumlin and his staff have certainly hit the ground running. It helps tremendously that several of the coaches came over from Houston and had already been evaluating some of these recruits and developed a prior relationship. One of the things that I got when talking with Sumlin last month was that he certainly would make it a point to sell the fact that A&M was the only SEC program in the state. While Texas will almost always have the pick of the litter when it comes to in-state guys, you can tell recruits going forward will give a longer look at playing in College Station because of that. With the 2013 class, they have two excellent offensive linemen who are two of the top five or ten guys along the line in the state and they have a handful of speedy playmakers on both sides of the ball committed as well. Bottom line is that the program has jumped out to a big start and probably should be able to hold on and better what they did on Signing Day in 2012.

Darrell, surely you know by now not to go against the great Les Miles. The Mad Hatter had a great team last year that went through a lot off the field that some people forget. I think the national title game helped, in some respects, prepare this team for 2012 because it tempered expectations a little and also gave them a reason for the team to think, 'it's us vs. them,' in some respect.

I'm like most writers and have LSU #1 based on what they return and disagree that they lose "key" players so that prohibits them from taking the top spot in the preseason. It could be, for example, a positive that the rotation of Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson is over and the Tigers stick with talented transfer Zach Mettenberger, who many expect to grab hold of the job this spring.

LSU returns only five starters on defense but they rotated so many players in last season that I don't think it will be an issue for them as younger players like Anthony Johnson get more snaps. Incoming freshmen like Avery Johnson - Patrick Peterson's younger brother mind you - should be able to contribute early on special teams and offense to complement the strong run game the team should have. The national championship game really colored a lot of people's opinion of LSU the wrong way and it's sometimes good to remember that there's a lot of talent on this squad.
Neal is referring to Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal, who will be committing to a school Tuesday morning. His recruitment has been an interesting one, not only waiting nearly a month after Signing Day to pick but because of all the twists and turns he's taken. First off, he's a dynamic playmaker who is built to be a slot guy in a spread offense and get the ball in space. He's also a solid cornerback and should play early on special teams no matter what - there's a reason he's a top 100 player in the class of 2012.

Neal is quiet and it was like pulling teeth for a while to get him to mention a school he had interest in before his senior season ended. He's taken a lot of recent official visits and most have him picking between Notre Dame, Arizona and Arkansas tomorrow. I've heard good things about Notre Dame in this case but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up staying close to home and picking Arizona either. His high school head coach was recently hired there and family is very important to Neal so there are definite draws for the Wildcats. Old CBS Sports pal Rich Rodriguez no doubt told the 5-foot-9, 170-pounder how well he'd fit in the offense down in Tuscon too. I'll stick with a cautious prediction of Neal going to South Bend but I would be surprised for him to state in-state either.

That will wrap things up for the first Monday Mailbag, plenty of others to come in the weeks and months ahead. Tweet your questions to me at @BryanDFischer on Twitter and I'll try and answer as many as I can.

Posted on: January 30, 2012 6:13 pm
 

CB Zack Sanchez switches from Baylor to Oklahoma

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There had been some question as to whether or not cornerback Zack Sanchez would switch his commitment from Baylor to Oklahoma in recent weeks, and Sanchez has put the speculation to an end.

Sanchez took to his Twitter account on Monday to make the announcement official.



Sanchez had originally committed to Baylor when Oklahoma didn't show much interest in him, but that changed once Mike Stoops replaced Willie Martinez as the Sooners secondary coach. Sanchez took an official visit to Norman over the weekend, and obviously he enjoyed the trip.

The 6-foot-1 170-pound corner becomes the 21st member of Oklahoma's 2012 class, and the second player to hop on board Monday, following tight end Sam Grant.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:32 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 10:05 am
 

Big 12 Signing Day Overview



Posted by Bryan Fischer


National Signing Day is almost here and recruits across the country are gearing up for plenty of last-minute pitches and school visits as head coaches look to shape their program for years to come. The Big 12 is once again led by traditional powers Texas and Oklahoma but after that, it's not the drop off that other conferences have with a solid effort by just about every other school. Drawing on the talent-rich state of Texas makes recruiting easier than most but it's interesting to note how schools are developing other pipelines (such as the Sooners and California). The make up and look of the league is different and that makes this Signing Day particularly interesting down in the Big 12.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, Big 12
College Commits Top 100 Moving
2. Texas 24 5
7. Oklahoma 16 4
24. TCU 20 0

Top storylines

1. Does Texas finish number one?

Mack Brown doesn't have the nickname of Mr. February for nothing, as the long-time head coach can certainly recruit. 2012 might be one of the most talented classes he' brought in during his time on the 40 acres, reeling in the state's top running back for the second year in a row, the top wide receiver, some talented front seven athletes and several offensive lineman who might be playing sooner rather than later. The Longhorns are in the running for a handful of national prospects as Signing Day rolls around so it's possible the current group of 24 picks up another top 100 player to give them an impressive six. If so they have a chance to take the top spot from Alabama and/or hold off Michigan, Florida or Ohio State. It's not a big chance but the Horns have a chance nevertheless.

2. Can Oklahoma move into the top five?

This was supposed to be one of Bob Stoops' smaller classes and for a time it looked like he was taking his time building it up. But things have started to pick up and while it's not as flashy as the school's Red River rival to the South, it brings in several quality pieces along the line and at receiver. In the running for the overall number one recruit and a handful of other top 300 players means the Sooners have nowhere to go but up and might be able to crack the top five depending on who they land. If that happens, it would be a major coup for Stoops considering he lost a talented recruiter in Brent Venables and had to help brother Mike readjust to recruiting players back to Norman.

3. How much better is TCU's class with the Big 12 draw?

From the looks of it, Gary Patterson is bringing in one of his most talented recruiting classes during his tenure in Fort Worth. If the Horned Frogs can't compete in the Big 12, it won't be for lack of resources - brand new facilities should be open by the season - or lack of talent. The team was young last season but still wound up taking the Mountain West conference title and upsetting Boise State and they'll add several players with top-end speed to help fill-out the depth chart. There's more skill position talent for TCU than lineman this year so that will be interesting to note going forward but in landing players like tight end Griffin Gilbert or Elite 11 quarterback Tyler Matthews, Patterson has shown that the conference realignment shuffling has paid off for the school on the recruiting trail.

4. Why is everybody Juco crazy?

One sign that this is something to keep an eye on in the conference this year is the mere fact that Brown is bringing a pair of Jucos to Austin for the first time in a decade. Charlie Weis is hoping for a quick talent influx at Kansas by taking on a host of Jucos and at least two transfers at quarterback. Tommy Tuberville has an impressive eight guys from the junior college ranks headed to Lubbock and, of course, Bill Snyder is going to have plenty lining his recruiting class. As things stand right now, all but one school - TCU - will be bringing in two Jucos come Signing Day which is a bit unusual for the Big 12 as a whole and something to keep an eye out for. It will be interesting to hear the coaches give their press conferences to discuss recruits and give the reason why they dipped into the Juco ranks more than usual this year.

Most impressive class: Texas

Most underrated class: TCU

Work left to do: Kansas

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
1. Dorial Green-Beckham WR Uncommitted
9. Johnathan Gray RB Texas
15. Cayleb Jones WR Texas
33. Malcom Brown DT Texas
48. Durron Neal WR Oklahoma
79. Taylor McNamara TE Oklahoma
84. Thomas Johnson WR Uncommitted
86. Kennedy Estelle OL Texas
88. Wes Lunt QB Oklahoma State
114. Connor Brewer QB Texas
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Chris Chuff and Jim Gush , Baylor
Kenneth Pope, Iowa State
Ron Powlus, Rob Ianello and Buddy Wyatt, Kansas
Michael Smith, Kansas State
Josh Heupel, Mike Stoops and Jay Norvell, Oklahoma
Todd Monken and Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
Rusty Burns and Jarrett Anderson, TCU
Major Applewhite, Bruce Chambers, Stacy Searles and Duane Akina, Texas
Neal Brown and Robert Prunty, Texas Tech

Head coach under pressure: Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech

Top Big 12 class prediction: Texas

Top Big 12 signee: Johnathan Gray

Big 12 school-by-school
Program Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
22 WR Kiante Griffin
RB Rashodrick Linwood
DE Javonte Magee
LB Brian Nance
It definitely looks like the Bears experienced a little bounce from their remarkable season and back-to-back years of going to a bowl game. There's some very quick players in this group and Magee and Nance are absolute steals.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 QB Grant Rohach
WR Quan West
OL Duaron Williams
West and Rohach might be hooking up in the passing game a lot down the road as each are very good gets for the Cyclones. After that, there's a lot of 'we'll see.'
- Team page
- Commitment list
13 DB Greg Allen
TE Charles Brooks
Not included but it'd be remiss to not point out is the fact that Weis landed two solid quarterbacks in Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps this year. After that it remains to be see what kind of impact this group can have.
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 WR Marquez Clark
LB Will Davis
Clark and Davis might be able to play early but as usual for Kansas State, it might take a few games or years to assess what the 2012 group can do.
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 OL John Michael McGee
TE Taylor McNamara
WR Durron Neal
WR Derrick Woods
The offense reloads at receiver quite well and Neal has a chance to be a special playmaker with his talent. The offensive line also gets a nice boost with McGee and Ty Darlington in the interior.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 WR C.J. Curry
QB Wes Lunt
OL Michael Wilson
Curry could see plenty of early playing and looks like he's the latest in a long line of talented Cowboys receivers. The defensive players are all very solid with LB/DE Jeremiah Tshimanda a very intriguing player who can pass rush early on.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 DE Devonte Fields
ATH Daje Johnson
QB Tyler Matthews
Very few teams in the country are bringing in as fast, collectively, a group as the Horned Frogs are. Johnson is a special talent and Matthews can take his time to develop into a nice signal-caller.
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 DT Malcom Brown
RB Johnathan Gray
WR Cayleb Jones
OL Curtis Riser
Just another ho-hum group of stars for the Longhorns. The class is highlighted by Gray, who set just about every record imaginable in high school and should be a factor early on in running the ball.
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 QB Clayton Nicholas
OL Michael Starts
WR Dominique Wheeler
Nichols is still a bit raw but is tough and has the tools to be a good quarterback in the Tech offense. Wheeler is a dynamic talent who easily has a chance to start early.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 1:32 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 1:37 am
 

Second-ranked TE McNamara picks Oklahoma

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Over the past few years Oklahoma has developed quite a pipeline from Southern California to Norman, expanding their recruiting base beyond just the state of Texas and the surrounding areas. You can add another player ticketed to play for the Sooners from the region after Wednesday night, as San Diego (Calif.) tight end Taylor McNamara committed to the program.

"Its official, boomer I'm a sooner!," McNamara tweeted.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder is a former Arizona commitment but, following the firing Mike Stoops, opened his recruitment back up. McNamara also considered Colorado but, in the end, ended up flipping from one brother to another with a pledge to Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.

"Colorado is obviously not in a place where they're going to be winning as many games as Oklahoma," McNamara told Rivals. "I'm all about winning. I love winning and I really realized it this year."

McNamara is ranked as the nation's second best tight end in the class of 2012 and sits just outside the Maxpreps top 100. He stared over the summer at various camps and combines before putting together a solid senior season that earned him an invite to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.

"He shows soft hands, natural receiving skills, does a great job of adjusting to the ball in the air, can make a difficult catch look easy, shows good concentration, can extend his arms and catch the ball away from his body, and rarely drops anything within reach," analyst Tom Lemming said.

The pledge by McNamara gives Oklahoma 19 commitments for the class of 2012 and is the third tight end part of the group headed to Norman next season.




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: November 3, 2011 10:35 am
 

11/3 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- New rules and scholarship money could become a recruiting tool.

  Michigan commit Caleb Stacey was selected to the International Bowl.

  Michigan State is looking at a dozen players, including two in particular, as they get closer to Signing Day.

  Greg Schiano says the uncertainty over the Big East has hurt recruiting at Rutgers.

  Wisconsin is recruiting better than ever thanks to plenty of factors.

  Linebacker A.J. Hilliard decommitted from Arizona following the firing of Mike Stoops.

  North Carolina and N.C. State picked up commitments from three players.

Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:50 am
 

10/14 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Mike Sherman finally breaks his silence on Texas A&M's move to the SEC and discusses the impact on recruiting.

Minnesota is the first offer for defensive end Corey Vereen.

Several top 2013 recruits in Georgia are playing at the Rising Seniors Bowl, including Robert Nkemdiche and UGA commit Brice Ramsey.

Junior quarterback Tyrone Swoops holds offers from Texas and Stanford, with Notre Dame about to offer shortly.

Arkansas coaches are hitting the road to recruit with the team on a bye week.

Tough news for BYU commit Phillip Amone, who is out for the year with a torn ACL.

Michigan State is using the Michigan game to host several top juniors.

Safety Leo Thomas decommited from Arizona following Mike Stoops' firing.

LSU has a huge edge recruiting in-state talent.
Posted on: October 12, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: October 12, 2011 10:05 am
 

10/12 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Michigan commit Royce Jenkins-Stone has been selected to the Army All-American game.

A Thursday night, national TV game provides a recruiting opportunity for USC.

Arizona commits react to Mike Stoops mid-season firing.

With West Virginia off this week, it gives Dana Holgorsen and staff a chance to go recruit.

Florida's struggles on the field have resulted in a mixed bag in terms of recruiting.

Georgia is still recruiting the state's top linebackers even if they're committed elsewhere.

Jon Embree says Colorado's 1-5 record isn't hurting recruiting too much.

Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley enjoyed his official visit to Arkansas.

Alton 'Pig' Howard has Tennessee as his leader.


COMMITMENTS:

East Carolina landed linebacker Reece Speight and wide receiver Dayon Pratt.

Wide receiver Cameron Posey commited to Purdue.

Center Cameron Dees becomes the seventh player from his high school to commit to an FBS program, pledging to Marshall.



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