Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:14 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The class of 2012 is, with one notable exception, signed and done with. That means it is time to turn everybody's attention to the class of 2013 and keep it there. Here are a few storylines to follow on the road to the first Wednesday in February next year - in no particular order.
1. Will Nick Saban be able to close on the country's top prospect?
Nick Saban has certainly earned the title of the country's top recruiter after pulling in the top overall class (or close to it) since arriving in Tuscaloosa. The one thing he hasn't done, however, is land the nation's top recruit. In the class of 2012, he went after Dorial Green-Beckham but couldn't make the final cut. A year before Saban narrowly lost out on Jadeveon Clowney to South Carolina. Is the third time the charm in Grayson (Ga.) defensive end Robert Nkemdiche?
One of the top athletes to play the position coming out of high school, Nkemdiche can play multiple positions in college and has something that you rarely see in some recruits - the drive to be great. At this point, most expect him to sign with the Crimson Tide but in recruiting, as in life, things sometimes have a way of making an unexpected turn. His high school head coach played on an Alabama national championship squad and Nkemdiche has gotten the full court press from the staff for a while. Still, he's listed other schools, taken visits to some like Georgia and has his brother at Ole Miss. It looks good for Saban but we won't find out for sure until next February.
2. Who wins the battle of the Midwest behemoths?
The past year has seen Midwest recruiting go from some yawns and a few eyebrow raises to must-read headlines on a daily basis thanks to Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer recruiting like mad. Hoke had the country's top recruiting class before ever coaching a game and Meyer was able to land an impressive class doing the same. It's been an interesting transformation in the Big Ten over the past few months and turned the conference into two programs and a cloud of dust.
Both are off to a very solid start with the class of 2013 with plenty of momentum from signing top five classes earlier this month. The Buckeyes have landed elite guys like Trotwood (Ohio) linebacker Cam Burrows and are certainly in the mix for plenty of top 100 players. The Wolverines had a monster recruiting weekend to power them to a total of 11 commits, and have a headliner (and one of the top quarterbacks in the country) in Shane Morris. Should be a fun few months as each program jockey's to out do the other on the recruiting trail.
3. Is this the class where being in the SEC really comes into play for Missouri and Texas A&M?
There's no doubt the move to the SEC played a role in the Aggies landing a top 15 class and the Tigers getting a commitment from the number one player in the country but the class of 2013 can really be a selling point for both staffs. More than anything, it gives recruits a chance to watch A&M play Alabama and Florida, see how their fans travel, what the coverage of the team is like and if Mizzou's James Franklin can top Vanderbilt's James Franklin.
Already Kevin Sumlin has jumped out to a big start and has more commitments than anybody in the country right now. He's gotten quality as well as quantity to boot. What remains to be seen is what happens if things take a turn for the worse this season on the field. Will doubts creep into recruits' minds if either school has issues and struggles to get wins? It's something to keep an eye on but, for the moment, things are looking good as each joins the best conference in the country.
4. How will realignment help/hurt West Virginia?
Realignment has made the Mountaineers very interesting on the recruiting trail. There was a lot to like about Dana Holgorsen's first year, capped off with a blowout win in the Orange Bowl and Geno Smith likely entering 2012 as a legitimate Heisman candidate. The staff had a solid effort in recruiting and really got some speedsters out of Florida and from close by (such as Deontay McManus to the right) to sign up for the ride to the Big 12. Yet it's clear that there will be a emphasis on recruiting Texas and the South more with the change in conferences.
As my colleague Bruce Feldman pointed out to me yesterday, all but one of the assistants on staff has ties to the Big 12 footprint and several know the back roads in Oklahoma and Arkansas very well too. Holgorsen's wide open offense will no doubt be a good selling points for kids running the spread across the South and maybe, by hiring defensive staff members with area ties the recruits on the other side of the ball will take a look at the Mountaineers in this cycle as well. Should be an interesting look at how the program handles playing in the Big 12 this year and going forward and whether that translates in terms of recruiting as well.
5. How many does USC sign in year two of scholarship cuts?
If you doubted Lane Kiffin's ability to recruit, well, you must not pay a ton of attention. Despite getting slapped with deep scholarship cuts, the oft-bashed head coach enters 2012 with a preseason top two team and just signed a top 10 class with some elite talent. A pair of All-Americans at wide out were no deterrent to Nelson Agholor, who was lured to USC from Florida. There were a few offensive line targets that the Trojans missed out on late - they still signed a great class at the position - but that might turn out to be a blessing in disguise because they can take a few early enrollees to boost numbers.
Bottom line, who and how many Kiffin's staff sign will be a storyline worth following on the West Coast.
6. Who emerges during the spring and summer camp circuit?
One of the reasons why recruiting evaluation have tended to improve over recent years is the rise in getting a look at top players competing against other top players on the offseason camp circuit. It's also allowed those in the industry to discover more guys who don't back down from a challenge and have the speed and skills to be FBS-caliber talent. Because recruits are not in pads, we don't get a complete picture of a player but we can find out even more about how they play and how their recruitment is going. In many ways, the camps and combines that happen across the country from late February through early July will allow everybody to see who's an elite recruit and who we need to keep an eye on when the pads come on during the fall.
7. What impact will social media have on the class of 2013?
Ask any of the class of 2012 about Twitter and Facebook and they'll say it's changed recruiting. Players from across the country are getting to know each other more and more, going beyond just texting back and forth to DMing and Wall posting as early commitments explain to others why their school is the place to be. Recruiting is becoming more and more interconnected and there is no doubt that the 2013 group will be at the forfront of the new wave of change.
Forget hat dances, keep an eye on how many top 100 guys commit via Twitter. Should be a lot more than last year.
8. Who is the top quarterback nationally?
Upside, production, measurables, arm strength... there are plenty of things that go into deciding who the top quarterback in the country is. The candidates are out there and it will likely boil down to one of Max Browne, Tyrone Swoopes, Shane Morris, Ryan Brurns, Kevin Olsen and a handful of others competing to be the top signal-caller in the final rankings. It's important to keep in mind that quarterback is one position that should see plenty of movement as players go through spring ball, camps, 7-on-7, Elite 11 competitions and finally their senior season.
Olsen, Burns and Browne are your typical pro-style quarterbacks with the size coaches look for and big arms to boot. Swoopes is a dual-threat who some have compared to Robert Griffin III or Vince Young because of how electric he is with the ball in his hands. Morris is the rare lefty that is vying for top billing. Several others are hot on their heels in order to be considered part of the elite QB group in 2013 and will be interesting to see how each does as the pressure mounts each passing week.
9. Can Stanford keep things going?
When was the last time you talked about Stanford recruiting? Prior to the class of 2012: rarely if ever (provided you are not the type that tailgates with wine). All the Cardinal did this year was snag a top 10 class and land one of the best group of offensive line recruits in the modern recruiting era. But can the program keep the momentum going with out Andrew Luck leading the charge on the field? That's a question everybody is asking and at first glance, the answer appears to be yes.
Since David Shaw, a former Stanford player himself, returned to Palo Alto as an assistant under Jim Harbaugh, the program has had a remarkably high success rate when recruiting. If an offer goes out and that player qualifies, there's a very good chance that player will end up signing. The hit rate for Stanford the past few years has been nothing short of remarkable considering the restrictions the staff is under but there's no doubt the education, new stadium, major league and BCS-level success that has happened in the Bay Area has turned the program from doormat to door opener. Should be fun to follow over the next few years.
10. Does somebody finish their class before the season?
Michigan, Texas A&M, Florida and Texas are off to hot starts. The Longhorns are taking a very small class this year so they could wind up filling up with only limited room for recruits based on who leaves for the NFL early. The other schools are recruiting at a pace that will have local analysts taking a vacation much earlier than normal. So, we're left to wonder, could somebody actually get 90% or more of their commitments before the season starts?
Tags: Alabama, Andrew Luck, Big 12, Brady Hoke, Bruce Feldman, Bryan Fischer, Cam Burrows, Dana Holgorsen, David Shaw, Deontay McManus, Dorial Green-Beckham, Elite 11, Florida, Geno Smith, Jadeveon Clowney, James Franklin, Jim Harbaugh, Kevin Olsen, Kevin Sumlin, Lane Kiffin, Max Browne, Michigan, Missouri, Nelson Agholor, NFL, Nick Saban, Ohio State, Orange Bowl, Robert Griffin III, Robert Nkemdiche, Ryan Burns, SEC, Shane Morris, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, Tyrone Swoopes, Urban Meyer, USC, Vince Young, West Virginia
Posted on: February 18, 2012 9:00 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Brady Hoke had assembled, at the time, the nation's best class last year prior to ever coaching a game. With a full season and BCS game victory under his belt, it appears the Michigan head coach and his staff are going about replicating the feat with the class of 2013. Hosting a Junior Day on Saturday, the Wolverines added four commitments with Wheaton (Ill.) offensive lineman Kyle Bosch, right, Detroit (Mich.) offensive lineman David Dawson, Detroit (Mich.) defensive back Jourdan Lewis and Novi (Mich.) athlete Wyatt Shallman the latest to become Michigan men.
"I am now committed to the University of Michigan," Bosch told Scout. "Michigan’s really impressive. Their coaching staff is fantastic. Their facilities are fantastic. Everything there is really top of the line. Their academic support is great."
The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Bosch was the top prospect out of the bunch and held offers from Notre Dame, Florida and Alabama among others. Dawson and Lewis are teammates at Detroit Cass Tech, which has been a pipeline full of quality recruits for Michigan as of late. Shallman can play multiple positions on both sides of the ball at 6-foot-3, 250-pounds but will likely end up as a big tailback as offensive coordinator Al Borges continues to develop a downhill running game in Michigan's pro-style offense.
"It's just ridiculous. You cannot ask for a bigger stage," Shallman said. "That's what I want, to play in the bigger games. That's why you play football as a kid and pretend you caught a game winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. You want to play in atmospheres like that and Michigan consistently has 115,000 people in their stands even when they're playing UMass. It's a better place and a better atmosphere."
The four recent commits attended Junior Day in Ann Arbor with, among others, Michigan's first in the class of 2013, Warren (Mich.) quarterback Shane Morris. All told, the program has seven players publicly committed for the upcoming class and appears well on the way to matching or exceeding the class of 2012, which was ranked fourth overall by Maxpreps.
Posted on: February 18, 2012 2:09 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Michigan State added the program's first 2013 defensive commitment on Friday as Bloomfield (Mich.) linebacker Jon Reschke pledged to become a Spartan.
“I’ve been thinking about it for about three weeks,” Reschke told Scout. “I sat down and talked with my dad and family. My dad was asking me questions and there were about a dozen schools that wanted me to come to Junior Days and possibly at least half of them would have offered."
The 6-foot-2, 223-pound outside linebacker only held an offer from Toledo before one from Michigan State came in. Reschke is good friends with Michigan quarterback commit Shane Morris so donning the green and white will make for an interesting relationship going forward.
“I’ve been texting Shane and I thought he was a little mad at me,” said Reschke. “He texted me and I was like I’m sorry man, but this is what I’ve got to do for myself. I have to make the right decision for myself just like you did. He completely understood and was more than happy for me. He’s happy I’m at the right school.”
Reschke's pledge gives Michigan State two commitments in the class of 2013. He had an impressive 140 tackles last season as a junior.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:26 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:50 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The class of 2012 was so last week and it's time for everybody to turn their attention to the Class of 2013. This class may or may not be as talented as last year's group but it has a lot of high end talent even if it's not as deep. Here are 25 recruits just about everybody should know from coast-to-coast.
Photo by Dennis Carter/MaxPreps.com
Tags: ACC, Adam Breneman, Alabama, Altee Tenpenny, Auburn, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Cameron BUrrows, Dee Liner, Derrick Griffin, Derrick Henry, Eddie Vanderdoes, Georgia, Greg Bryant, Jake Raulerson, Kendall Fuller, Kenny Bigelow, Laremy Tunsil, Marquez North, Max Browne, Max Redfield, Michael Hutchings, Michigan, Non-BCS, Ohio State, Ole MIss, Oregon, Reuben Foster, Robert Nkemdiche, SEC, Shane Morris, Su'a Cravens, Texas, Texas A&M, Thomas Tyner, Ty Isaac, Tyrone Swoopes, USC, Vernon Hargreaves
Posted on: September 21, 2011 1:45 pm
By Maxpreps' Stephen Spiewak
Steve Elmer attended the instant classic between Notre Dame and Michigan two weeks ago on an unofficial visit with the Wolverines, in which Michigan won 35-31 in the game's closing seconds.
One week later, the 6-foot-6, 290-pound tackle from Midland (Mich.) committed to the Fighting Irish.
Elmer made the verbal pledge to Brian Kelly and the Irish over the weekend during a visit to South Bend, Ind. He chose Notre Dame over Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State.
According to his father, Steve Sr., Elmer made the call when the time was right for him.
"He has been on many campuses many times. We told him to pick one when he felt comfortable and when he knew with certainty, but don't rush it," he told MaxPreps. "He's a smart kid, very analytical by nature. We are confident and pleased with his decision."
According to Elmer, his trip to the Big House solidified his feelings about Notre Dame.
"I went to the Michigan-Notre Dame game last weekend at the Big House (in Ann Arbor)," Elmer told the Midland Daily News. "I'm being recruited by Michigan. I should be jumping around like the other 115,000 people. But I wasn't happy. I was a little bit upset that Notre Dame lost.
"I just knew, walking out to the car after the game, that I was going to go to Notre Dame. ... That was the defining moment. I really like Michigan too, but when I was upset (after that game), I knew that I couldn't go to Michigan because I loved Notre Dame too much."
Elmer's recruiting stock has skyrocketed over the last six months, where he's emerged as a top offensive linemen in the Class of 2013.
It seemed like Elmer's recruitment would be a photo finish between Michigan and Notre Dame, though Elmer did a great job of not tipping his hand. In retrospect, Notre Dame clearly had the inside track.
"I'm not sure how close it really was between Notre Dame and Michigan," Steve Sr. said. "He really liked the football programs at all four schools, but he followed our original plan and chose the best school for him, the one he would choose even if he wasn't playing ball."
Elmer becomes Notre Dame's first recruit for the class of 2013.
Landing him is an impressive recruiting victory for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish beat out a team in Michigan that currently has the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2012 and a blue-chip recruit already in the fold for 2013, Shane Morris.
This will likely not be the last time the two schools do battle in the 2013 cycle.
Both schools would love to pluck Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio) defensive back Cam Burrows from Ohio State's backyard. Burrows told MaxPreps that he was in Ann Arbor when the Wolverines took on Notre Dame, like Elmer, and similarly made the trip to South Bend the following week.
Texas offensive lineman Jake Raulerson also has early offers from Michigan and Notre Dame, though it may be difficult to pull the Celina (Texas) junior from Texas.
Taco Charlton, from Pickerington Central (Ohio), also attended the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game in Ann Arbor. He has an offer from Michigan, but also plans to visit South Bend this fall.
Posted on: September 21, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 10:07 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
- Top tight end recruit Kent Taylor could return to the field from a broken hand soon.
What do Georgia Tech recruits think about ACC expansion?
Moving to the ACC has made James Washington's commitment to Syracuse firmer.
West Virginia and Wake Forest offered 2013 running back Greg Bryant on Tuesday.
Offensive lineman Adam Pankey will take an unofficial visit to Pitt this week.
Will Muschamp's rant against the NCAA earned him some recruiting currency.
A recruiting trip to Ohio State ended up making Colorado head coach Jon Embree a Buff.
Shane Beamer discussed recruiting at Virginia Tech and the NCAA allegations at his previous stop, South Carolina.
Quarterback Shane Morris is both a recruit and a recruiter for Michigan.
Offensive lineman Jackson Bounamia committed to Air Force.
Kentucky landed athlete Fred Tiller out of Georgia.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 1:47 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Get kids on campus.
Visits, whether they be of the unofficial or the official variety, are the single biggest recruiting tool coaching staffs have and their best opportunity to leave a lasting impression on recruits. A big win at a full stadium while players are lined up on the sideline? Nothing goes further in terms of moving one school up to the top of the list or gathering a commit.
Brady Hoke had turned around Michigan's fortunes on the recruiting trail before even coaching a game in Ann Arbor, pulling in the top recruiting class in the nation before the season started. Following the team's last second win against Notre Dame Saturday in the first ever night game at home, Hoke made an even louder statement to the nation and, most importantly for his future, to recruits.
When Rich Rodriguez took over the program, one of the first things he tried to do was get a night game scheduled against a big name opponent. Why? It was all about recruiting and bringing in some big names for recruiting purposes. Though RichRod is no longer the head coach, his mission was certainly accomplished and Hoke will be the one to taste the fruits of his labor.
The list of visitors at the Big House this weekend was impressive and will be hard to top by any school this year. Five star offensive tackle Zach Banner, 2013 tackle Steven Elmer, 2013 running back Berkley Edwards (younger brother of Braylon Edwards), former USC commit Jordan Payton and 2013 receiver Laquon Treadwell were among the notable names in town for the game. Current UM commits Pharaoh Brown, Jeremy Clark, Allen Gant, Matt Godin, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Erik Magnuson, Mario Ojemudia, Terry Richardson and others were in attendance as well.
With the school's current recruiting class sitting at 23, Michigan is nearly finished with the class of 2012. As a result, the big win under the lights wasn't so much about this year but next. Following the game, 2013 safety Dymonte Thomas pulled the trigger and committed and he probably won't be the last to commit in the near future either.
Given that fellow Big Ten recruiting powerhouse Ohio State is dealing with an interim head coach and faces possible NCAA sanctions, Michigan is not only the class of the conference for the next couple of years but they appear to be back as a national power. The Midwest hasn't had the depth of previous years in terms of talent but Hoke has grabbed the best of the best and is looking to cherry-pick some of the best players in the West. His staff has several ties out there having coached at San Diego State and with the program rolling so far in 2011, don't be surprised to see more and more kids nationally taking visits to Michigan in the near future. Given the success of the game this past weekend, look for Michigan to continue to host a night game at least once a year going forward.
Following the game, 2013 quarterback Shane Morris tweeted Ann Arbor was the place to be. Based on the visitor list, it certainly was.
Don Bosco routs California's Mission Viejo
The game of the week as far as high schools go was probably the cross-country showdown between top ranked Don Bosco Prep and California powerhouse and 23rd-ranked Mission Viejo. One would expect a team as well coached as the Diablos to be pretty competitive despite going up against superior competition but they were blown off the field by Don Bosco. Quarterback Alex Bridgeford, a top Southern California quarterback, was sacked six times and threw four interceptions. Boston College commit Michael Strizak had two sacks by himself as the team applied pressure all night that Mission Viejo just couldn't handle.
It wasn't just Bridgeford that had trouble getting going against a nasty defense either. USC-bound running back Jahleel Pinner, a good-sized back who has no trouble running down hill, was limited to 47 yards on 18 carries. Considering the team has at least three FBS-caliber offensive linemen on the team, it was a bit surprising there were so many problems up front.
The Mission defense didn't help out at all during the game either, allowing Don Bosco running back John Wilkins to rush for 114 yards and two scores. Featuring two Big East commits, an ACC-bound linebacker and stud defensive end Darius Hamilton, this is a talented team that earned their ranking. Several players have mentioned competing for a mythical national championship this year and, based on the start of their season, might be well on their way to accomplishing the goal.
Gray runs into the record books
Ever since taking over as the primary rusher for Aledo (Texas), Johnathan Gray has been scoring touchdowns and racking up the yards at a record pace. The Texas commit set an impressive record on Friday and passed some pretty good players while doing so. Gray scored four times as his team fell to 4A powerhouse Lake Travis but that was still good enough to become the state's all-time leader in touchdowns scored with 148 over his career.
It's an impressive list of names he climbed over to take the record. Traylon Shead of Cayuga (Texas) was the previous record holder with 146. Former Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers had 136 touchdowns in high school. Cedric Benson and legend Kenneth Hall of Sugar Land (Texas) both had 127. Considering that Gray still has most of his season and a playoff run ahead of him, he should extend the record to where it won't be broken in a long time.
Allen tops Longview
Staying in the Lone Star State, huge win for Allen over one of the state's best teams in Longview. The Eagles are led on offense by Alabama-bound quarterback Alec Morris and Missouri commit Jonathan Williams, who both helped the team roll 42-23 on Friday. Morris threw for five touchdowns and the big signal caller is looking at making a big jump in the national rankings based on how he's performed during the summer camp circuit and into his senior year.
Big game Brian
Auburn commit Jovon Robinson and Vanderbilt-bound Brian Kimbrow are good friends and some of the top players in the state of Tennessee. The two played each other on Friday and Kimbrow put on a show, rushing for 367 yards and five (count 'em, five) touchdowns. Amazingly, he has over 1,100 yards through four games.
Video(s) of the week
There were so many good plays this week in high school games across the country that I had to select two videos. The first comes from Chatham (N.J.) as a broken play turns into fumble, pass and eventual 73 yard touchdown.
Florida running back commitment Mike Davis rushed for over 200 yards against Tifton County but this was the best run he had bar none.
- Several top prospects hold the key to winning the SEC recruiting battle.
Oklahoma State is making recruiting inroads into the Tulsa area.
Across the state, Oklahoma is developing a pipeline from Euless (Texas) Trinity High.
The Alabama game made for an epic recruiting weekend for Penn State even though the Nittany Lions fell short.
2013 receiver Ahmad Fulwood loved his visit to Florida last week.
TCU commit Tyler Matthews pulled out a win and threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns over the weekend.
Florida State and Miami coaches were out at the Miramar-Blanche Ely high school game to watch several top recruits.
Great profile of quarterback Luke Falk, who has Stanford, Arizona State and Utah at the top of his list.
Tags: ACC, Ahmad Fulwood, Alabama, Alabama, Alec Morris, Alex Bridgeford, Allen, Allen Gant, Arizona State, Auburn, Berkley Edwards, Big East, Big Ten, Boston College, Brady Hoke, Braylon Edwards, Brian Kimbrow, Cedric Benson, Darius Hamilton, Don Bosco Prep, Dymonte Thomas, Erik Magnuson, Florida, Florida State, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jahleel, Jeremy Clark, John Wilkins, Johnathan Gray, Jonathan Williams, Jordan Payton, Jovon Robinson, Kenneth Hall, Laquon Treadwell, Longview, Luke Falk, Mario Ojemudia, Matt Godin, Miami, Michael Strizak, Michigan, Mike Davis, Mission Viejo, Missouri, NCAA, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Penn State, Pharaoh Brown, Rich Rodriguez, Royce Jenkins-Stone, San Diego State, SEC, Shane Morris, Stanford, Steven Elmer, TCU, Terry Richardson, Texas, Traylon Shead, Tyler Matthews, USC, Utah, Vanderbilt, Zach Banner
Posted on: July 24, 2011 10:14 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 10:39 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
ORLANDO -- The Southeast's run of titles at the Champion Gridiron Kings is over as the Southwest team was the only one left standing and took home the championship Sunday afternoon at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex.
The team's run was fueled by players from the state of Texas, mostly commitments from Texas and Texas A&M. While many of them will be bitter rivals in a couple of years, they banded together to put on an impressive show at the final recruiting event of the season.
"Texas football, it's like religion, there's nothing like it," said Aggie commit Matt Davis, the tournament's offensive MVP. "This award is for the offense as a whole. I can't take credit for this at all, those guys they made me look good."
"It was fun repping our region," defensive MVP and Oklahoma-bound cornerback DeVante Harris said. "Everybody knows that Texas has a lot of talent and to come out and prove that we do is great."
"We knew we were going to win," running back Trey Williams said. "We came in here with a winning attitude. When we first met each other, we were talking and I could just tell from then that we were going to work together."
The Southwest team lost MaxPreps' second-ranked receiver and number three overall player Cayleb Jones early on day one after he broke his ring finger on a freak play. In his absence, fellow Texas commit Thomas Johnson more than filled in, catching everything thrown his way and torching opposing defensive backs using his speed.
"I just wanted to win," Thomas said. "We would have done better with him but, as a team, we just had to come together."
When the Aggies and Longhorns weren't scoring touchdowns on the field they were often discussing strategy off it. Sometimes this strategy involved how to get one another to switch their commitment to the rival school.
"It's a little bittersweet because of Thomas and Cayleb. I have a great relationship with them but... they're going to Texas," Davis said. "It hurts that they're going there but whoever is throwing to Thomas and Caleb, they are blessed because those guys make plays. I'm blessed to have Trey and Bralon (Addison) coming (to A&M) because they were making plays all day too."
"We were trying to recruit the Texas guys," Williams added. "They know good and well they want to be an Aggie."
Williams was working on flipping linebacker Tim Cole while Davis was working on a adding even more offensive firepower to the Aggies class of 2012.
"I wish i could get Thomas and Cayleb," Davis said. "I know we don't have too much room in our class but I'd put them in my suitcase if need be."
Not sure if the 6-foot-4 wide receiver would fit, especially when you consider the suitcase has a crystal MVP trophy in it too.
Price wraps up summer same way he started it
The favorite for the event was the Southeast team that had a perfect record until being upset by the 0-3 (at the time) Midwest bunch. Though the team fell short of the title, they had a strong run led by players such as Citra (Fla.) tight end Sean Price.
"It's ok, we can't hold our head down about it," Price said. "You lose. You win. But the great players they overcome it and get better. They take this as motivation and get hungry for the next game. That's how I feel about it."
Price had a huge week at The Opening and often heard his name called followed by the word touchdown. The two events were quite different with the notable exception being that the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder was a huge threat in the passing game.
"(The Opening) was an all-star team and this was more region-by-region," he said. "It was just a great workout and feels good to be out here."
The talented tight end has excelled at 7-on-7 throughout the summer by being a complete mismatch with linebackers. Drops have not been an issue at all and one can see why when he holds up his very large hands. Price has definitely taken advantage of his opportunities to go from relative unknown to one of the top tight ends in the nation.
"It's been amazing and I'm not going to lie, it does feel good," he said. "At the same time, I've got to stay humble because most players lose who they are and think they're this and that. That's when their game begins to fall because they lose their work ethic. I'm not trying to be like that."
The Southeast team had several players who, like Price, are committed to USF. The biggest draw to the school besides football for Price is the Bulls' medical program because he would one day like to be a radiologist. While he has his future plans squared away on the academic side, getting a glimpse at what it will be like to play with his fellow commits was a welcome opportunity at Gridiron Kings.
"It's great to play with some of my future brothers, they're ballers just like I am," Price said. "I'm pretty sure they're going to work just as hard if not harder than I am when we all get to college."
- In the upset of the day, the Midwest beat the heavily favored Southeast team 18-14. 2013 quarterback Shane Morris was much better on Sunday than he was Saturday and he a big reason why the team was in contention. He threw a very nice deep ball and made much better decisions. One of his favorite targets was Southfield (Mich.) tight end Ronald Thompson. The big pass catcher was surpassingly agile despite being one of the biggest players on the field. He's down to Michigan, Syracuse and Maryland and will likely announce his decision shortly. Thompson says 'Cuse coach Tyrone Wheatley is recruiting him the hardest but it's still very close among the three.
"Pretty much the same things stand out. I'm pretty comfortable with all the coaches, they're all honest with me and tell me where I stand," Thompson said. "I want to make a decision before the season but I kind of want to take official visits. I'll get it worked out."
- Virginia commit Kwontie Moore probably could have been named the defensive MVP despite being on the losing end of things on the Midwest team. He helped get the team back in the final game with an interception in the end zone and made the defensive play of the day when he took a pick 80 yards to the house.
- The most low key player who made some huge plays was Southwest tight end Griffin Gilbert. The TCU-bound player had reliable hands and skied up for three or four jump balls and ended up with a catch overtime. He also had a great one-handed catch that resulted in a 40-yard gain along the sidelines.
- It was a bit of a quiet weekend for Cal commit Bryce Treggs. The West quarterback, Mike Baker, didn't really look his way but the deep threat did manage to find the end zone a few times by getting behind the defense using his speed and sharp route running ability.
- The two players who really impressed with their speed and quickness were wide receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive back Ronald Darby. It took awhile for Darby, a Notre Dame commit, to get into a rhythm but he was able to shut receivers down in the second half of games. Agholor probably ended up with more touchdowns then anyone this weekend. Agholor avoided talking recruiting this weekend but the scuttlebutt on him was that it remains between USC and several of the Florida schools.
- After Trey Williams zigged and zagged for a big gain on a running play, including reversing field and leaving a defender grasping at air, cornerback Darion Monroe shouted, "He can stop on a dime! He can stop on a dime!"
Tags: Bralon Addison, Bryce Treggs, Cal, Cayleb Jones, Darion Monroe, DeVante Harris, Gridiron Kings, Gridiron Kings 2011, Griffin Gilbert, Kwontie Moore, Maryland, Matt Davis, Michigan, Mike Baker, Nelson Agholor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ronald Darby, Ronald Thompson, Sean Price, Shane Morris, Syracuse, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, The Opening, Thomas Johnson, Tim Cole, Trey Williams, Tyrone Wheatley, USC, USF, Virginia