Tag:Ryan Shazier
Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:36 pm

National Notes: Top assistants to keep an eye on

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Welcome to December, otherwise known as closing time. Bowl practices and holidays make things a little more complicated for some coaches but others enjoy the grind as they hit the home stretch two months out from Signing Day. Here's a list of four recruiters in each part of the country to keep an eye on in each part of the country.


Ed Orgeron, USC

Does any recruiter have a better reputation than Ed Orgeron? Probably not. The Trojans defensive line coach has been relentless in the recruiting trail and instrumental in helping manage the program's numbers situation with limited scholarships to hand out. He's hit SoCal hard and been a big reason why plenty of offensive (Max Tuerk, Jordan Simmons) and defensive (Ellis McCarthy, Noah Spence) are committed to, or looking at, USC. Also note that linebackers coach Joe Barry has done a great job with his position group, Orange County (Calif.) and Arizona during his time in LA.

Tosh Lupoi, California

It's been pretty amazing to see Lupoi's rise as a recruiter and coach at Cal but you can see why when looking at his handiwork. He's a younger Orgeron but is quickly becoming his equal after landing players such as Brennan Scarlett and Viliami Moala last year. As a Bay Area-native, he's done a great job of getting talent close to home while also going national and bringing players in. Though the Bears class is somewhat small, expect it to grow in a cover as Lupoi enters the home stretch. His top target right now is five-star Arik Armstead.

Demetrice Martin, Washington

The Huskies staff has lots of Southern California connections but Martin has been a great closer down the stretch with kids. He's relatable as a young guy and knows many of the high school coaches in the area. Don't be surprised if he lands some skill position talent for UW's class this year from the LA area.

John Neal, Oregon

One of the Ducks' ace recruiters, Neal has hit other areas of the country with success and does well in the cities. He landed nearby athlete Oshay Dunmore and had a hand in defensive backs Eric and Stephen Amoako committing from the Dallas-area. Several athletes from the East and Southern California are in contact with him and don't be shocked to hear his name come up some more.


Dameyune Craig, Florida State

Not sure anybody has gone into another powerhouse's backyard and raided it like Craig has Alabama's. The big star was quarterback Jameis Winston but he's also been instrumental in landing Chris Casher and Justin Shanks. There's a few more targets on the Seminoles board and don't be surprised if Craig is the one helping get them to Tallahassee.

Mike Bobo, Georgia

It's funny but Bobo's on the field duties have caused a few Georgia fans to want him out of the program but his time spent in recruits' homes and on the trail has been a big asset to the Bulldogs. He was one of the people behind last year's 'Dream Team' and has managed to sell stability at a program that only got it with 10 straight wins during the regular season. This year appears to be another time for him to shine with in-state recruits once again.

Tee Martin, Kentucky

That Martin has done a good job as a recruiter should surprise no one but given that he the former Tennessee star has done it at Kentucky is a little bit. He managed to get a huge surprise last Signing Day in wide out Daryl Collins and might be able to pull off the same magic again this year. Martin has done a great job in Alabama in particular and the only question seems to be if he can resist heading back to Knoxville with a staff opening there.

Frank Wilson, LSU

Last year he was a machine, with a hand in landing offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and running back Kenny Hilliard among others (all three saw plenty of playing time in LSU's run to New Orleans). Easily the Tigers' best recruiter, Wilson has been one reason why there's a figurative fence around the state of Louisiana. Linebacker Trey Granier was one of his big gets with the 2012 group and don't be surprised if he gets a few others as well.


Tony Alford, Notre Dame

Don't be surprised if Alford can snag a big fish for Notre Dame late in the process. He got a commitment from Justin Ferguson out of Florida and appears to be focusing his time on the state to land a few others. With some issues at Florida, he could be one person to take advantage given his ties in the northern part of the state.

Fred Jackson, Michigan

The Wolverines have put together the best class of 2012 in the country and Jackson is a big part of it. He's mainly an in-state guy and lucky for him he's got a great group coming out and done an even better job of keeping them home. He's plucked two out of Farmington Hills (Mich.) in Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia and played a role in Royce Jenkins-Stone's pledge. He's been at the school a long time and knows how to sell Michigan to players.

Adrian Klemm, SMU

Klemm is not a household name by any means but should be based on what he's done this year. Though SMU isn't exactly a powerhouse, June Jones has engineered a turnaround in Dallas and Klemm has been a big part as recruiting coordinator. Though the school is located in a talent-rich area of a talent-rich state, the former New England Patriot has done a great job getting talented Los Angeles-area players to come East. Six SoCal natives are committed to the Mustangs class of 2012 at the moment and more could be coming. With rumors of Jones taking the Arizona State job, expect Klemm to come along to really ramp up the LA ties.

Urban Meyer/Luke Fickell, Ohio State

Yes, Meyer's not an assistant coach. But he hasn't really assembled his staff at this point and thus is going a significant share of the recruiting himself. He has certainly been active and because Fickell is remaining on staff, we'll count these two as one super-recruiter. Though recruiting hasn't been up to Ohio State standards with the 2012 group, that was to be expected given the turnover at head coach and NCAA violations in Columbus. Fickell landed Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier last year and did a good job with Adolphus Washington this year. The two are going to be a very good asset despite what amounts to a false start with the upcoming class. Things have already paid off dividends and the Buckeyes are in the running for defensive end Noah Spence.

Davis decommits from Florida

Been a wild few days down in the South. Stone Mountain (Ga.) running back Mike Davis was one of the recent invites to the Army All-American Bowl and had the jersey ceremony for himself and fellow teammate Raphael Kirby on Thursday. At the time, rumors started to surface that he was having issues with the staff and would soon decommit.

Over the weekend he went on an official visit to Tennessee and finally on Sunday night, he made the new official that he was no longer a Florida pledge.

"My mind right now is open," Davis told Rivals. "My recruitment has opened back up. I've talked to my parents, my mom, my brother, all my family. Right now it's Florida State, South Carolina, Alabama and Miami. But things can change."

From the sounds of things, the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder is completely wide open and will not be considering the Gators despite being in their 2012 class since February and one of their biggest supporters.

"I can't really talk about it," he said cryptically. "Some things happened that I don't want to comment on between me and the coaches. All I'll say is that it was a miscommunication between them, me and my brother. Some things that weren't supposed to happen." 

Ranked as the 10th-best running back in the country by Maxpreps, losing Davis is big blow to Florida as the new staff tries to remake the team using more of a pro-style offense. One of the central pieces of the class and expected to compete early on for some playing time as a change of pace guy, Charlie Weis is now down to just Matt Jones at running back in 2012. With their top 2013 target off the board to Georgia in Derrick Henry, Florida now has to scramble to get another player back into the fold at the position.

Busy week for Armstead

After decommitting from USC, the recruitment of Pleasant Grove (Calif.) lineman Arik Armstead has steadily picked up. He's been going on several official visits the past few weeks and has kept his phone close by.

USC and Notre Dame are among the schools that have already stopped by for an in-home and several more are lined up over the next few days. Among the scheduled ones this week are Washington, Oregon and Auburn. He'll be making the short trip to Cal at some point during the weekend. Also keep in mind that Armstead wants to play basketball and that will be a factor in his decision.

Video of the week

Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:33 pm

On the hot seat: How some coaches are recruiting

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd rolled out his annual Hot Seat Ratings, giving every FBS head coach a grade from 0 (can't be touched) to 5 (it's time to win now). Only one head coach is burning up on the seat with the maximum rating of 5 but there are plenty of others who begin the season feeling some heat. Being on the list puts a lot of the coaches in a tough position on the recruiting trail as they look to turn things around while battling the perception that they won't be there when the recruit steps on campus. Taking a look at several of the coaches on the list, here's how they're doing on the recruiting trail:

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:12
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Kenny Lawler

Erickson is in an interesting position. With a team featuring plenty of upperclassmen and what is expected to be a very good defense, the Sun Devils are likely the favorites for the first Pac-12 South title. Erickson has only had one really good season in Tempe and never has been able to break through and grab elite talent on the recruiting trail. He put together a class last year that mostly addressed needs and was solid but not spectacular. The 2012 class could be one of the better ones Arizona State has pulled in recently, getting off to a good start and leading the Pac-12 with 12 commitments. This is an offense-heavy class with plenty of skill players and he recently added quarterback T.J. Millweard, who was committed to Virginia Tech.

Mark Richt, Georgia
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:10
Top Recruit: Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor

Richt responded to critics and managed to put together what might have been his best recruiting class ever last year. It was a strong year for talent in Georgia and the Bulldogs took advantage, grabbing a "Dream Team" of recruits. The prize was running back Isaiah Crowell, who many think can come in and make an instant impact on offense after the in-state team fought off powers like Alabama and Florida State for his services. The 2012 class hasn't seemed to build off the momentum however, as Georgia has already lost out on some in-state commitments and are behind in others. There's plenty of time for the tide to turn, however, and as Richt proved last year, he can close down the stretch.

Ron Zook, Illinois
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 4
Top Recruit: Defensive back TaJarvis Fuller

Zook is known as a good recruiter and he put together a diverse class last year. It's not a great year for talent in the Midwest and Zook is using the southern ties he had while at Florida to make Illinois active in the South, especially in Georgia. He made a nice pickup with Fuller and with a bit of instability in the Big Ten, could nab a prospect or two that might have gone elsewhere. Zook will ultimately have to win to keep Illinois in the minds of the rising seniors but he's on pace to pull in another solid class this year.

Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Hot Seat Rating: 4.5
2012 Commitments: 0

New Mexico is New Mexico so it will always be tough to get recruits to come, especially in the midst of a 2-22 run under Locksley. But credit to the head coach and his staff, they were able to reach into California, Florida and Maryland among other places to get some talent. Known as a superb recruiter in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, the fact that Locksley got five-star tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to make a visit to the school and keep the Lobos in his final five was quite the accomplishment. The school doesn't have any commitments in 2012 and it will be interesting to see how many wait to see if the hot seat gets too hot for Locksley to stay on it.

Luke Fickell, Ohio State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments: 8
Top Recruit: Running back Warren Ball

Fickell had his fingerprints all over Ohio State's last recruiting class as co-defensive coordinator and was the lead recruiter for one of the Buckeyes' key linebacker commitments, Ryan Shazier from Florida. He is dropped into a very difficult situation however, first following a beloved and successful head coach in Jim Tressel and second, dealing with the looming threat of NCAA sanctions. While he managed to keep the prize of the 2012 class, top 100 offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, in the the fold for awhile, he ended up decommitting and now the Buckeyes are seeing the state of Ohio raided by other Big Ten programs like Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State. Fickell is a tried and true Buckeye so he knows how to sell the school, the only question is if he'll be successful at it and that remains to be seen.

Rick Neuheisel, UCLA
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 3
Top Recruit: Running back Steven Lakalaka

Just about everybody thought UCLA was on the right track when Neuheisel managed to pull in two top 20 classes in 2008 and 2009. Since then however, things have reversed course on the field and off. Last year's class did manage to get two big talents from out-of-state in defenisve tackle Kevin McReynolds and top 100 quarterback Brett Hundley but it was by no means a deep and talented class. While it was going to be small due to scholarship numbers, Neuheisel just didn't seem to be able to close with some players and the Bruins are barely on the map in California this year, taking a back seat to Arizona State, Washington, Oregon and their crosstown rival USC. It's getting close to a make or break year for UCLA and Neuheisel and he can only hope that Hundley is as advertised and can make a difference in the win column this season.

Paul Wulff, Washington State
Hot Seat Rating: 5.0
2012 Commitments:5
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Dalen Jones

It's not easy to recruit to the Palouse though Wulff has added some nice pieces over the years, but just can't seem to find enough of them. Wulff reached into Florida and California very well last year and even managed to grab highly regarded offensive lineman Alex Mitchell out of nearby Portland. That said, Wulff is on the hot seat (a very hot seat) and, because it's the hot seat at Washington State, that generally takes the school out of the running for any big time recruits. They've done well all things considered and have extended early scholarships to several California and Florida athletes in hopes of building up an early relationship. It will always be tough for Wulff to recruit and doing so while worried about job security is extra tough.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 2:24 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 3:00 pm

Big Ten Recruiting Breakdown

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Signing Day is over and now that there’s been a little time to reflect, we’re ranking the Big Ten recruiting classes (all 12 of them) and breaking them down at the same time.

1. Ohio State

Overview: Bringing in the top class in the Big Ten is nothing new for the Buckeyes. This group is filled with impact players, especially on defense. Linebackers Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant and corner Doran Grant should be terrorizing opposing offenses for years to come.
Hidden gem: Offensive guard Michael Bennett is someone who could develop into an all-league type of lineman. 
Pencil in for the fall: Quarterback Braxton Miller has enrolled early in order to compete for the starting job and could be the guy that fills in for Terrelle Pryor given his skill set.

2. Nebraska

Overview: The transition class to the Big Ten should have no problem coming in and helping the Cornhuskers win a bunch of games over the next few years. It will be interesting to see if star quarterback Bubba Starling chooses to actually enroll in Lincoln and not play professional baseball but for now, he’s part of this talented class. 
Hidden gem: Athlete Jamal Turner can play all over the field but he could be best utilized as a game-breaking receiver. 
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Aaron Green is one of the best backs in the country and should provide a nice complement to Rex Burkhead in Nebraska’s rushing attack.

3. Illinois

Overview: Head coach Ron Zook is known as a terrific recruiter and once again he delivered with a very solid class after rumors swirled early that it would be his last season in Champaign. There’s a good number of players who can compete for playing time right away and the Illini did well in grabbing several out of state players. 
Hidden gem: Dondi Kirby is a great athlete who was wanted by several powerhouse programs. He has the tools to become a great safety in college. 
Pencil in for the fall: With the departure of Mikel LeShoure to the NFL, running back Donovonn Young could come in right away and get some playing time.

4. Michigan State

Overview: This class is headlined by Lawrence Thomas but there are several other very good players coming in. Wide receiver Juwan Caesar should be a favorite target of whoever is under center and Darien Harris has the tools to play special teams right away while eventually taking over at linebacker. 
Hidden gem: Offensive tackle Donavon Clark has the frame to develop into a top flight lineman and is already very good in blocking for the run game. 
Pencil in for the fall: Linebacker Lawrence Thomas is one of the best defensive players to head to East Lansing out of high school. He could play at defensive end and be a nice speed rusher or at linebacker.

5. Iowa

Overview: The news of several Iowa players being sent to the hospital and the negative reaction to how Kirk Ferentz handled the situation didn’t seem to have any effect on this class. There were not a ton of highly rated guys but the ones they did get will fit in very nicely. 
Hidden gem: Quarterback Jake Rudock is likely not going to start right away but he could develop into the signal caller of the future.
Pencil in for the fall: Given the attrition at running back, Rodney Coe should vie for early playing time as the next in the line of impressive freshmen running backs.

6. Michigan

Overview: This class was hurt all year long by the rumors that Rich Rodriguez would be fired. Once the coach eventually was fired, several key commits went out the door as well, such as running back Dee Hart to Alabama. Nevertheless, new head coach Brady Hoke did a great job of keeping most of the class in the fold and even picking up a few kids. 
Hidden gem: Corner Delonte Hollowell isn’t as highly regarded as fellow defensive back Blake Countess but he could still turn out to be a very good player in a secondary that needs all the help it can get. 
Pencil in for the fall: The loss of Dee Hart and the lack of a big time tailback could mean Justice Hayes gets to line up next to Denard Robinson early in his career.

7. Wisconsin

Overview: Another solid but not spectacular class for Wisconsin. Not getting quarterback Jacoby Brissett was a big loss but there are other pieces to build around. The coaching staff did do a good job of putting up a wall around the state and keeping the best players home. 
Hidden gem: Jake Keefer is a very athletic player who should slide in at outside linebacker for the Badgers. He can put his hand on the ground if needed but should be a terror standing up and making plays. 
Pencil in for the fall: A.J. Jordan is probably the most talented player in the class and should be able to provide a boost in the passing because he has terrific hands.

8. Penn State

Overview: Not expected to be a big class, the Nittany Lions still should have done better in terms of quality. They fill needs at offensive line with some great players but there just are not the athletes on defense that Joe Paterno needed to bring in. 
Hidden gem: Bill Belton isn’t the biggest guy on the field but he can play a few different positions on offense and can be a threat just about anywhere. 
Pencil in for the fall: Don’t be surprised if Angelo Mangiro is a quality backup who gets playing time early next season along the interior line. A few injuries could easily lead to a few starts down the road.

9. Northwestern

Overview: Like Penn State, not a large class but there’s some good underlying talent for the Wildcats. Linemen make up the bulk of the class but there are some talented skill position players mixed in as well. 
Hidden gem: Quarterback Zach Oliver might have been a bit overlooked on the recruiting trail but he has all the tools to develop into a very good Big Ten signal caller based on his highlight reel. 
Pencil in for the fall: Wide out Christian Jones would be a starter at a lot of programs and it wouldn’t be surprising if he makes an immediate impact in the Northwestern passing game once he steps on campus.

10. Minnesota

Overview: All things considered, new head coach Jerry Kill did a pretty good job making the recruiting transition from the MAC to the Big Ten. He kept most of the class intact and managed to fill several needs for the Gophers. They may not be four-stars but they’re solid nevertheless.
Hidden gem: Joe Bjorklund not only has a fitting name for a Big Ten offensive lineman but he could turn out to be a good one. A little on the skinny side for an interior lineman, Bjorklund has a very solid frame to add weight, which should only help his physical run-blocking style. 
Pencil in for the fall: Tommy Olson is rated by many as the top lineman from the state of Minnesota so he should be somewhere on the two deep pretty quickly.

11. Purdue

Overview: A very small class but one that should find a few contributors for the Boilermakers over the next few years. 
Hidden gem: Tight end Robert Kugler is the son of Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler and you figure that acumen that comes from being the son of a coach will translate well in college, especially with the younger Kugler’s physical skills. 
Pencil in for the fall: Linebacker Armstead Williams is one of the best defensive recruits to head to Purdue and it would surprise no one to see him playing significant time on defense by the end of the year.

12. Indiana

Overview: Not exactly a huge surprise to see the Hoosiers on this list given their past recruiting history and the added burden of a staff change. Although they’re last in 2011, don’t be surprised if they make a climb on the rankings once Kevin Wilson has a full year to bring in recruits. 
Hidden gem: Linebacker Kyle Kennedy does a good job reading a developing play and wrapping up when making a tackle. He’s also pretty good at shedding a block and seems like a very solid player going forward. 
Pencil in for the fall: Athlete Shane Wynn is a playmaker and should be able to contribute at multiple positions on offense.

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