Tag:Rising Seniors Bowl
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:52 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 11:55 pm
 

New Level 7-on-7 Day One Updates

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ROSWELL, Ga. -- The recruiting landscape shifted into a higher gear on Saturday as hundreds of players from as far away as Michigan descended upon Centennial High School in suburban Atlanta for the first New Level Athletics Elite 7-on-7 tournament of the year. With 18 teams taking part, the event drew some of the top talent from across the country to show off their skills and allowed several to make a name for themselves, hoping that will translate into scholarship offers down the road.

One player who needed no introduction was Marietta (Ga.) running back and Alabama commitment Tyren Jones. Easily among the 10 best players in the state after a terrific junior year, the speedster was the focal point of Team Georgia's offense as they fought their way out of the round-robin format that made up day one.

"Some people might know who I am but I'm not really worried about it," Jones said. "I just want to go out here and help my team win."

Although he is a multi-purpose back, Jones lined up at receiver for the day and looked like a natural. Though he looks like more a guy that would be utilized out of the slot, he typically was found on the outside against the opposition's top cornerback and still had little trouble finding soft spots in coverage or beating his man deep.

"I just want to prove that I can catch the ball well," he said. "I'm lining up to play receiver even though I'm a running back."

The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder's commitment to the Crimson Tide came after attending a recent Junior Day in Tuscaloosa and picking up an offer from head coach Nick Saban. While the timing surprised a few folks, Jones liked what the program was offering and feels his talents will mesh extremely well within the offense.

"It wasn't really a pitch, they just told me that I fit really well into their system and their system really fits me," he said. "They said I'm an all-purpose running back and that's what they need at Alabama. They watched film and saw me split out some an basically said I'm going to come out of the backfield and catch the ball."

Jones was particularly impressed with the facilities and was sold on how well the program took care of the players in terms of nutrition and weightlifting. Although some might be deterred at Alabama signing the top recruiting class seemingly every year, the tailback is looking forward to the competition and thinks the class of 2013 might come in as the best of the past few years anyway.

"I think it's something special this year," Jones said. "We can win some more national championships. They don't really brag about (winning national titles) but they know they have the talent and the recruiting to win another.

Still, that hasn't stopped a few programs from continuing to make their pitch with plenty of time between now and Signing Day.

"Purdue, Florida and I'd say Georgia," he said of programs still recruiting him hard. "They're all still talking to me and sending letters."

Jones' 7-on-7 teammate - and Georgia commit - Shaquille Wiggins was not with the squad because he was in Athens for the Bulldogs' Junior Day but will return for the championship round on Sunday. The addition not only gives the group a top cornerback but somebody that has been very open about his program being the one everybody should be looking at. Although Jones' recent pledge to Alabama is strong, he still hears it from Wiggins despite him being a bit of a recruiter himself.

"Not really, I talk to him every once and a while but it's not too much," Jones said. "I'm really (recruiting teammate) Brandon Kublanow to come down with me. Other than that, I'm talking to friends and trying to make sure Reuben Foster stays (committed). He's real excited but it sounds like he's going to stay with Alabama."

While recruiting will sort itself out for others, Jones will turn his attention to the field on Sunday with hopes of doing something he's planning on doing a lot in college: winning.

Kamara is cold and hot at the same time

One of Michael Jordan's most memorable games in a career full of them was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Most remember it simply as 'The Flu Game.'

While the stakes were significantly (significantly) less on the fields Saturday, Norcross (Ga.) running back Alvin Kamara was channeling his inner-Jordan. Under the weather with flu-like systems he was still one of the fastest players at the event and helped contribute several big plays and victories for Georgia Elite.

"I'm trying to hang in there I'm so sick," Kamara said. "I dropped a few balls. But I'm bouncing back, we'll have to see with these next games."

On top of a fever and his skin a few shades lighter than what it normally is, the cheerful Kamara also was dealing with the opposition's best shot. As one of several players with multiple FBS offers, he had a bit of a target on his back while he was running routes and catching passes.

"A little bit," he said. "Some guys see me and say, 'Oh he's got all these offers and blah, blah, blah.' But that's just going to make me play harder."  

The cold and windy conditions in the Atlanta area were pretty much the opposite of Kamara's recruitment. Holding just a single offer, from Syracuse, at the Rising Seniors Bowl right before New Year's, the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has turned into one of the hottest prospects in the country.

"It's been crazy," he said. "From one to eleven. It's just crazy."

HIs most recent offer came from the opposite coast and USC, with plenty of other schools close to extending an one. He doesn't have a top group of schools but there have still been a few that have stuck out in his mind and are recruiting him the hardest.

"Alabama and Georgia are up there," he said. "Everybody heard the story about Alabama. With Georgia, their coaches keep up with me real well."

'The story' about Alabama stems from the fact that the school sent him 105 recruiting letters. In one day.

The memorable recruiting strategy certainly left a mark in the running back's mind even if he held the Crimson Tide in high esteem beforehand.

"It was wild, they just fell out of my mailbox and I wasn't even expecting it," Kamara said. "My mom went wild. She was like, 'Can they do that?'"

Kamara doesn't have any unofficial visits planned and isn't counting on going to any junior days in the next few weeks either. In many ways, he's just going with the flow of the recruiting process that he's seen pick up very quickly. Wisconsin and Oklahoma State might be close to adding to his total of offers and while he will add them to his growing pile, Kamara is evaluating all of them based on what he's looking for in a program before making a commitment.

"Just a school that feels like home, coaches that I get along with and somewhere I can just feel like I belong," he said. "I want to fit in. I'm going to make my decision whenever it feels right. I don't have a time frame."

While his timetable for a commitment is still up in the air, Kamara is interested in seeing things outside of his hometown and that means he'll take visits even if he knows where he wants to go.

"I want to get to everywhere I can and see everything," he said. "I don't want to miss anything. Even if I (commit), I definitely will take (official visits)."

Cheek checks in with Cal

Lawrenceville (Ga.) defensive back Trevellous 'Tre' Cheek was one of the standouts from the first day of competition at the NLA Elite 7-on-7. His play between the lines might have had something to do with his good day outside of them after picking up his first offer from California.

"I've always wanted to go to a (school like) Cal," Cheek said. "They're a great school and great at football too. I have family about an hour away."

While it might sound strange for a Georgia corner to be familiar with the Bears and hold them in high regard, there's a reason he is already planning on a visit out West. Cheek has talked with several members of the team already in order to get to know the program better, including McDonough (Ga.) defensive back Avery Sebastian, a 2011 signee from the area. As a result of being the first to offer, Cal has a slight edge at the moment over other schools - including his childhood favorite.

"I grew up a Florida fan since I can remember. I was brought up that way," Cheek said. "Cal beat them (with an offer) though. That first offer is kind of special. Coach (Ashley) Ambrose is a good guy."

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Cheek attended Kentucky's Junior Day last week and enjoyed the trip to see what the Wildcats had to offer. On his way back home, he stopped by Louisville, where their Junior Day had already ended but the coaching staff waited around for his arrival and to talk to him. Cheek believes both are close to offering and is hearing more from Clemson and Arkansas. He will head to the Tiger's April 14th Junior Day and based on the amount of attention schools are giving him, it figures that won't be the only visit Cheek will take this spring.

"West Virginia is close, coach (Daron) Roberts has been talking to me," Cheek said. "Tennessee (receivers coach Darin Hinshaw) said they'll offer me but he was waiting for Coach (Derek) Dooley to sign off on it and it might take a little time. But I'm looking forward to that one."

Though there were no really big wide receivers at the event, Cheek handled just about everyone with ease on Saturday. He often played press coverage and had no problem turning to run after getting a good jam on the line of scrimmage. His ability to play up close to the offense, Cheek said, is one of the reasons several coaching staffs have been talking to him quite a bit.

"Just about everybody is talking to me as a corner," he said. "Most of the coaches I spoke with said that I've very physical and they haven't seen cornerbacks like that. They think that since I'm a very physical corner, they can teach the coverage part. They can teach that, they can't teach the (physicality)."

With an offer from Cal in his back pocket and plenty more sure to come, Cheek's recruitment should be one to follow on the road to Signing Day. At the moment, he has no issues leaving the state to play college football and is looking more at the school than its location.

"Oh no," he said with a big smile and laugh. "As long as I'm getting an education. I want to major in physical therapy and minor in broadcasting or communication."

Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:20 pm
 

UCLA reaches into Georgia for RB Keyante Green

Posted by Bryan Fischer

UCLA hasn't been shy about looking at talent from the state of Georgia under new head coach Jim Mora and the Bruins returned to the area for their latest pledge in McDonough (Ga.) running back Keyante Green, who committed to the program Wednesday night.

"I was talking to Coach Mora about everything at UCLA and it is there," Green told BruinBlitz.com. "He told me that he can see me playing running back at UCLA and that he can see me being a big part of this football team and be able to help out UCLA, so he offered me a scholarship."

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound back was a top performer during last December's Rising Seniors Bowl and held offers from schools such as Florida State, South Carolina and Tennessee. Green's close friend, quarterback Eddie Printz, committed to UCLA last month and can be credited for turning the coaching staff on to him.

"I called Coach Jim Mora on Sunday," Green said. "I told him that my friend Eddie Printz is already committed to UCLA and he put in a couple of words for me and they saw my highlight."

The second commit from the Peach state, Green becomes UCLA's third overall in the class of 2013. The Bruins only signed one running back last month with the 2012 class.

"He has great vision, balance, surprising strength, moves, and instincts," analyst Tom Lemming said of Green. "He follows his blockers well, can always make the first defender miss, uses the stiff arm to his advantage, and gets a good amount of yardage after initial contact."

Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:37 pm
 

Running back Tyren Jones commits to Alabama

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's not surprising but when Alabama starts rolling, there's no stopping the Tide. Nick Saban added another impressive commitment Tuesday night as Marietta (Ga.) running back Tyren Jones made his pledge known.

"I committed to Alabama tonight," Jones told Scout. "I spoke with Coach Saban, coach Smart and coach Burns. They were very excited about my decision. They told me to keep working hard."

The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder is one of the top backs in the Southwest and held scholarship offers from schools such as Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Vanderbilt. Jones was in Tuscaloosa for Alabama's recent Junior Day this past weekend and the trip seemed to be just what was needed in order to produce a commitment.

"Alabama felt like the best place for me. I had the feeling it was the right school," he said. "I really like the situation there. I like the school and the coaches a lot."

Jones was one of the stars of December's Rising Seniors Bowl, leading the victorious West squad in all-purpose yardage. His junior season was a breakout campaign in which he rushed for over 2,300 yards and scored 38 total touchdowns.

Alabama is now up to eight commitments in the class of 2013, with Jones becoming the second running back in the group to go along with Altee Tenpenny. The former can be lined up in the slot and in various other positions on offense as well.




Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:47 pm
 

Shaq Wiggins adds to strong 2013 start by Georgia

Posted by Bryan Fischer

With a slew of Junior Days scheduled by programs across the country, this weekend figures to be a pretty busy one on the recruiting trail. Tyrone (Ga.) cornerback Shaquille Wiggins decided to start things off early however, committing to Georgia on Friday afternoon.

“It felt right; it’s the place for me,” Wiggins told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound defensive back is one of the Peach state's top 10 prospects for the class of 2013 and has shown he can cover receivers of any size on the field. Though he needs to add weight, he showed a lot of toughness at the Rising Seniors Bowl late last year when he battled injuries to be one of the game's top defenders.

Wiggins held offers from schools such as Tennessee, Michigan, Ole Miss and others. He is the fourth class of 2013 commitment for Georgia and joins Newnan (Ga.) safety Tray Matthews in the secondary.

"It's a little bit of everything," Wiggins told CBSSports.com about what he was looking for in a program. "The school itself, the education, the environment - I want to be surrounded by good people. Just things like that. Coaches, players and the team overall too."

Click here to view Wiggins' highlights

Photo courtesy RisingSeniors.com

Posted on: January 5, 2012 3:48 pm
 

Junior Shaq Wiggins drawing plenty of attention

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Though he's a year and a couple of weeks away from signing his name to a letter of intent, Tyrone (Ga.) cornerback Shaq Wiggins is already getting into the thick of recruiting. One of the top players at the Rising Seniors Bowl at the end of last year, the talented defensive back recently picked up several scholarship offers and is seeing plenty of attention as schools turn their sights to the class of 2013.

"The latest are Wake Forest, Virginia and Tennessee," Wiggins said. "Tennessee, Virginia and Michigan are recruiting me the hardest."

"The DB coaches are great. Coach Lance Thomas from Tennessee is a cool guy and Coach (Derek) Dooley is a great guy and a good coach. The environment and the people around the college are great too. I've been down there like three times."

Wiggins exploded onto the scene with a terrific junior year that saw him snag nine interceptions. Schools from across the country are in contact with him and several others are on the cusp of offering.

"I'd say South Carolina, Florida, Michigan State, North Carolina and USC are close," he said. "Schools like that."

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound corner was one of the top competitors at the Rising Seniors Bowl in Atlanta, limited by cramps and a minor knee issue for most of the week before performing well in a game many didn't expect him to play. He had four tackles and led the victorious West team in pass breakups while running onto the field after icing between plays. While Wiggins knows what to look for in games, he also has an idea what he's looking for in colleges.

"It's a little bit of everything," he said. "The school itself, the education, the environment - I want to be surrounded by good people. Just things like that. Coaches, players and the team overall too."

Wiggins is planning on using the spring to get to campuses around the country and already has an idea as to when he wants to sit down and make his commitment.

"I've (already) visited Auburn, Michigan, Florida, Georgia and Georgia Tech," he said. "I might camp out at Alabama. I'm going to South Carolina's Junior Day, Florida's Junior Day, Virginia's Junior Day and maybe one more.

"I would like to get (a decision) done over the summer. I want to focus on my senior season, I want to have fun. Last year of high school, I'd never be able to it again. I plan on committing in June or July, sometime around then. I'll take a few visits during the spring."

Photo courtesy RisingSeniors.com
Posted on: January 5, 2012 3:47 pm
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Posted on: January 1, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Rising Seniors Bowl news and notes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- It was a jam-packed week in the Peach state as top juniors from every corner of Georgia took place in the second annual AT&T Junior Bowl presented by Rising Seniors. A loaded West squad ended up taking home the win Friday night at Grady Stadium but the East made things very interesting and had a chance to win it before falling 27-20.

Stats

- The East was able to move the chains much more successfully than the West, picking up 18 first downs over the course of the game. Though both squads featured plenty of Division I players on defense, the East squad was the better offense, finishing with 363 yards compared to the West's 241. Had it not been for three blocked punts and the resulting good filed position, it's safe to say the there would be a different winner.

- The two offenses were almost complete opposites. The West struggled to pass the ball (105 yards) but ran the ball effectively (165 yards on the ground, taking out sacks). On the flip side, the East couldn't run at all (24 yards net) but was able to throw the ball for 339 yards and average almost six yards an attempt.

- The West ran just 55 plays compared to 80 for their opponent. Time of possession was nearly even.

- Each team missed an extra point and West kicker Harrison Butker missed a 30 yard field goal.

- Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was the offense for the East squad. He led them in rushing with 40 yards, including a nice 25 yard run to pick up a first down and move the offense into scoring position. He also finished 20-of-31 for 227 yards and three touchdowns and wasn't sacked.

- Other quarterbacks included Eddie Printz going 12-of-22 for 92 yards for the East and Parker McLeod going 5-of-9 for 71 yards.

- West running back Tyren Jones led his team in rushing and receiving, racking up 116 all-purpose yards for the game. Alvin Kamara had 113 for the East.

- The leading tackler was Cortez Leonard with 10 and he also had the game's only interception.

- Georgia commit Tray Matthews had a 93-yard kick off return and led everybody in all-purpose yardage.

- Quarterback Cole Segraves and linebacker Reuben Foster both left with an injury.

Top performers

Defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga.)

There weren't too many standouts along both lines but Adams certainly made an impact on defense and special teams. He's got great size and is a square block of mass that fires off low and overwhelmed some of the interior linemen at times. He has an early offer from Clemson but is hearing plenty from schools like Alabama, Florida State and others. Adams plays in a small classification so he answered some questions about going up against good talent this week and is a DT to keep an eye out for.

Wide receiver Carlos Burse (Alpharetta, Ga.)

Burse had the benefit of knowing the quarterback for the East team and that paid off with several big catches. He's got a great wide receiver frame and has long arms with big hands that caught just about everything thrown his way. He went over the middle without hesitation and was a solid route runner. Burse also showed a bit of burst after the catch.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs (Alpharetta, Ga.)

In terms of under-the-radar players who rose to the occasion and played well, Dobbs is tops on the list. He looked comfortable in the pocket despite pressure and was savvy in knowing when to take off and run and when to stay and throw a strike. The thing about him that really impressed was his touch on passes and the fact that he always threw a catchable ball. Well spoken and smart, Dobbs has all the things you look for in a signal-caller.

Linebacker Reuben Foster (LaGrange, Ga.)

Foster was no doubt the headliner of the event with Robert Nkemdiche out and he impressed at the linebacker position. If you heard a big hit, you didn't even have to look up to know who delivered it and was almost too aggressive and hungry at times. He wasn't tested much in terms of coverage skills but has a bright future ahead as a downhill player. He should be a great fit in Alabama's 3-4 scheme as an inside linebacker. He left with a concussion early on so was limited during the game but the affable Foster solidified his status as a top 2013 player.

Running back Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga.)

There wasn't too much separation amongst the running backs but Jones showed speed and burst that will serve him well at the next level. He's not the biggest player so don't expect him to get 30 carries a game but in the right system, he can be very productive. As a wing back or slot receiver, he can do damage in the passing game as well.

Athlete Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga.)

Another under-the-radar player who had a good week and game was Kamara. The thing that caused everybody's head to turn when he got the ball was his speed, which simply allowed him to run by defenders as he hit sixth gear. Kamara also displayed a good set of hands and adjusted to his role as a slot receiver well. He's listed as a running back but after his performance, and based on his size, he could wind up catching more passes at the next level than he thinks.

Safety Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga.)

Though he's known mostly for defense, Matthews really shined on special teams, returning a kick for a touchdown and showing a few moves returning punts as well. He's got great speed that allows him the freedom to roam a little bit more as a safety but also is big enough that it wouldn't be surprising if he ended up growing into an outside linebacker eventually. He's good friends with Foster and the two were the stars of the week.

Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:42 pm
 

Shamire DeVine relaxed and keeping options open

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- All-star games are generally a time for players to get to know each other and face competition much more like recruits will face in college. For East Point (Ga.) offensive lineman Shamire DeVine, the best part about being at the Rising Seniors game this week was not the game or the time to talk with other players, but something that happened upon arrival.
"Maybe the first day," DeVine said. "That's when we had all of the good food and got to relax."

The affable 6-foot-7, 320-pounder didn't mind taking an extra plate during the buffet line and certainly enjoyed the multiple practices with coaches from across the state of Georgia.

"Everybody's been nice and friendly and cool," he said. "The funnest part has been practice when the coaches walk you through things. They kind of do it in a funny manner that they don't know about. Both of my high school coaches are out here too."

DeVine is one of the most heavily recruited offensive linemen in the South and currently holds offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and others but is still keeping his options open as to where he'll attend college.

"My latest offer is Florida," he said. "I'm looking at Florida and all the schools. Any school that has approached me or sent me email, I'm looking at."

Though DeVine has some bad body weight, he held his own at the Rising Seniors Bowl as a tackle. He still needs to improve his drop step but did a good job creating leverage and using his hand placement effectively. Georgia Tech is the only school looking at him as a guard while most schools have him projected as a right or left tackle. More than the position schools want him at however, DeVine has a certain set of criteria he's looking for before committing.

"First, I'm looking at (location)," he said. "Second is education, then third is football. With location, it's how far you are from my home and my parents. It won't be a problem but I just want to make sure the campus is safe so I can show my little sister and little brother."

Though it is unlikely he makes a decision anytime before the summer, there is one relationship that has stood out among all of the other schools recruiting him.

"Coach (Al "Buzz" Preston) at Georgia Tech. Anytime I come visit, me and him just sit somewhere and talk," DeVine said.

 
 
 
 
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