Tag:U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Posted on: January 31, 2012 7:54 am

Shaq Thompson commits to Washington

By Joe Davidson for MaxPreps

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - At long last, a decision and peace.

MaxPreps U.S. Air Force All-American safety/running back Shaq Thompson of Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) announced via text and Twitter that he will accept a football scholarship to Washington, thus ending a whirlwind recruitment that included twists, turns and a Tosh factor.

Said Thompson in his text, "It's where my heart is; second highest grad rate in Pac-12; love the coaches."

One of those coaches is Tosh Lupoi, the former Cal defensive line coach and highly regarded national recruiter who had been hot on Thompson's heels for two years. The two had formed a bond, not uncommon for the popular Lupoi, a former Cal player from the Bay Area.

Thompson was set for Cal with a verbal commitment to the Bears in early January at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, though he admitted later that Washington was a close second and it still wildly intrigued him since his close friend and ex-Grant teammate James Sample was there and for myriad other reasons: tradition, academics, football upside, etc.

He also tweeted Monday night, "Just committed to the UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON #HUSKYNATION," shortly after 10:15 p.m. PST.

Things started to really turn against Cal when Lupoi made a visit to Thompson's home on Jan. 15, telling him he could very well wind up coaching with Washington. The next morning, Jan. 16, Lupoi was indeed headed to the Pacific Northwest with a substantial pay raise. Washington was able to pluck a prime recruiter from under the blue rug of Cal, and the domino effect means Cal ultimately lost Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.) All-American lineman Arik Armstead and Thompson.

Thompson said after he met with Lupoi, he was torn. Even though Lupoi doesn't coach defensive backs, Thompson felt a close connection, and it was enough to make that "50-50" dead heat into a Huskies advantage.

Washington coaches had a home visit with Thompson last week. What really settled it for Thompson, the No. 5 recruit nationally, was an unofficial recruiting trip to Washington over the weekend.

Joe Davidson has covered prep sports at The Sacramento Bee since 1988. Follow him on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

Posted on: January 7, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 7:47 pm

Barry Sanders picks Stanford over Oklahoma State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- With a famous last name, Oklahoma City (Okla.) running back Barry J. Sanders knew there'd be a lot of pressure and interest in where he chose to go to school. There was his dad's alma mater and school down the road, Oklahoma State, of course but also an intriguing program out West that was drawing his attention.

Sanders ended the suspense on Saturday however and committed to Stanford at the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

"I'm going to spend my next few years of college playing at the Farm," Sanders said. "I get a chance to play with the greatest student-athletes in the world. They've been improving each year and have a bright future."

The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder had also considered Alabama and Florida State among other schools but will try to forge his own path in Palo Alto. One of the top running backs in the country, it's clear the junior Sanders has plenty of his father, famous NFL running back Barry Sanders, in him and is a huge addition to the Cardinal's recruiting class.

"He shows remarkable balance, vision, and speed, plus the ability to break tackles," analyst Tom Lemming said. "Quick footed and agile, he shows inherited instincts and breakaway speed. He does a good job of pressing the line, and picking and sliding. As competitive and confident as they come, he can turn a game around with one play. Has the kind of speed and quickness to scare a defense to death."

The five-star back is ranked as the number two tailback in the country by MaxPreps and 15th overall in the class of 2012. Sanders rushed for 1,343 yards and scored 24 touchdowns this past season.

Posted on: January 7, 2012 3:42 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 8:02 pm

DE Jonathan Bullards commits to Florida

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Shelby (N.C.) defensive end Jonathan Bullard had Florida as his leader throughout most of his recruitment but had Clemson surge late to lead many to guess that would be where he'd wind up at in February. He made things public with an announcement Saturday at the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and headed South.

"I will be attending the University of Florida," Bullard said. "QUOTE."

The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder also considered South Carolina but this pretty much came down to a two-school race for his services. Head coach Will Muschamp and staff are getting a good one in Bullard, who turned in a terrific senior season with 16 sacks and over 80 tackles.

"He shows the speed, strength, quickness, burst, and determination needed to become an impact DE at the next level," analyst Tom Lemming said. "This guy dominates from his DE position, has an exceptionally quick first step, and is as explosive as they come. A quick twitch athlete with a great motor, he's highly competitive and relentless when in pursuit. He is a pass rusher who will not stay blocked."

Bullard is rated as the 14th best defensive end and 124th overall in the class of 2012 by Maxpreps.

Posted on: January 7, 2012 3:15 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 7:56 pm

McCarthy commits to Cal but recruitment not over

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Throughout the process, Monrovia (Calif.) defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy had pretty much been tied to staying in the state but which school it would be remained a mystery. The top 10 recruit finally made a public announcement to California on Saturday at the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl but even then, things might not end up that way on Signing Day.

"I just really like Coach Tosh (Lupoi) ," McCarthy said on NBC. "I like the progam a lot and I've built a relationship with him and the team."

The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder had USC as his leader throughout much of his recruitment but Cal made a late push, with commits like Shaq Thompson and Jordan Payton leaning on McCarthy to commit during Bowl practices earlier in the week. While the Trojans are unlikely to stop pursuing him until the end, he is a great pickup for the moment for the Bears.

"He has come out of nowhere to become one of the most recruited defensive players in the nation," analyst Tom Lemming said. "Film shows him dominating at both the end and tackle positions."

The five-star is the top defensive tackle and eighth overall player in the class of 2012 according to MaxPreps. McCarthy racked up 55 tackles and nine sacks despite missing three games because of injury during his senior year.

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: December 27, 2011 6:28 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 7:06 pm

Top quarterback Gunner Kiel commits to LSU

Posted by Bryan Fischer

After decommitting from Indiana and delaying his decision several times, Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel has finally pulled the trigger and committed to LSU.

"I can't wait to play in the SEC," Kiel told 247Sports. "A lot of people call it the NFL of college football and it will be an exciting time. It would mean a lot to be a starting quarterback in such a great conference at a great school. I really love the players and the coaching staff. They were all great to me on my visit and seemed very welcoming."

Ranked as the top signal-caller in the class of 2012 and number two overall recruit by Maxpreps, Kiel holds scholarship offers from just about every program in the country, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan, USC and others. He surprised plenty of folks by committing to Indiana in late July and new head coach Kevin Wilson but opened things back up in October. He quickly scheduled official visits to each of his finalists, Notre Dame, LSU and Vanderbilt.

"To be honest I'm just reevaluating my decision," Kiel told CBSSports.com at the time. "I just want to go out and see other places and see if IU is the right place."

The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder threw for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns this season while also rushing for 11 scores. He led Columbus East to an 11-2 record his senior year and was named Indiana's "Mr. Football" by the Indianapolis Star.

Kiel's brother, Dusty, is a sophomore at Indiana and his uncle, Blair, played at Notre Dame.

The strong-armed and aptly named Gunner will enroll early in Baton Rouge after playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7th.

The commitment of the top quarterback in the country is another big boost for the Tigers class of 2012, which now sits at 22 commits. LSU took three quarterbacks with last year's class and Kiel figures to battle talented junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger for the starting job upon arriving on campus. Prior to Kiel's pledge, Les Miles' next recruiting class was ranked 9th overall in the MaxPreps team rankings.

Posted on: October 28, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 12:43 pm

Green-Beckham breaks record, doesn't set visits

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The country's best wide receiver this year proved he was one of the best to ever play at the high school level Thursday night. Dorial Green-Beckham set the national receiving yards record with an 81-yard touchdown catch and run on route to an 11 catch and 305 yard night.

The five-star recruit now has 276 career catches for 6,211 yards and 69 touchdowns on his career. Green-Beckham also finished his senior season with 98 catches for 1,988 yards and 21 touchdowns before heading into the Missouri state playoffs.

"I feel real good right now," he said after the game. "This means a lot to me. I'm real excited to have this record stand in my name for however many years. I'm real excited. This is the most exciting thing for me."

For more on the record-setting performance, MaxPreps has a full recap of the game.

On the recruiting front, Green-Beckham was rumored to set official visits to Texas and Auburn late next month (he's already visited Arkansas, Missouri and other schools officially and unofficially) but said after the game that he hasn't set anything in stone.

"Not just yet. I haven't talked about any visits with anyone yet," Green-Beckham told Rivals. "I just want to see what goes on from now. I want to see if I have open time to take those visits. There's not a lot of time left but I'm going to take my time and do it right."

Given that he's pushing back his recruiting timetable so late in the season, it's possible that he could be aiming for an announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January if not on Signing Day.

Posted on: October 28, 2011 10:46 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 10:46 am

Kent Taylor commits, get suspended Thursday

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's safe to say that Land O'Lakes (Fla.) tight end Kent Taylor experienced the highs of recruiting and the lows of playing football.

Thursday afternoon, the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder was presented with his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey in a ceremony at his school. He also used the time to announce that he was committing to Florida and the now second-ranked Gators recruiting class. Later that evening Taylor was informed that he was suspended for this week's game according to Florida High School Athletic Association spokesman Corey Sobers.

Taylor was ejected at the end of last week’s 21-10 loss for a personal foul after throwing a punch. According to St. Petersburg Times, that suspension is a level 1 and will allow Taylor to play in the final two games of the regular season.

From high to low, it seems Taylor is already showing his SEC speed. Taylor and Land O’Lakes coach Brian Wachtel did not return requests for comment by the Times.

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