Tag:SEC
Posted on: July 5, 2011 9:07 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 9:13 am
 

7/5 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July. Now back to the recruiting grind with plenty of links:

- The Sporting News has released their list of 125 of the top recruits from the class of 2012 and starts out with Nos. 125-76.

- Depth at offensive tackle is one of the things this year's recruiting class has that last year's didn't.

Defensive back Chaz Elder is down to Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Maryland wide receiver commit Malcolm Culmer is a speedy deep threat for the Terps.

Oklahoma State has lost several commits and that's something Mike Gundy calls 'disappointing.'

Texas and Texas A&M seem to be out front nationally according to some analysts.

  Some updates on Michigan targets Josh Garnett, Aziz Shittu and Jordan Payton. The Wolverines still need some help at defensive tackle.

Commitments:

Defensive back Julian Whigham committed to Syracuse.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 10:21 am
 

Badger Sports 7-on-7 Nationals Day 2 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

DALLAS – Right before the championship game, Keyshawn Johnson was hoping this would be his team's moment.

Since starting the 1925 All-Star 7-on-7 team with former NFL veteran Brian Kelly a little over two years ago, his team fell short of the national title last year and had yet to break through and win even a regional title this year.

Sunday afternoon was indeed Johnson's moment however as 1925 got over the hump and finally hoisted a trophy, winning the Badger Sports/New Level Athletics 7-on-7 National Championship at SMU's Gerald Ford Stadium.

“Being in it two years and winning a championship (is great),” said Johnson, a former USC wide receiver, before joking, “I told one of the kids who is going to Notre Dame, I told him if you go to Notre Dame you won't be winning one of these.”

“We were going to championships and we were losing,” said running back Mike Davison. “But nationals were the one we wanted and that's what we need to win. That's the one that matters and I'm glad we won because we're national champs and we've got the bragging rights.”

1925 lost three players due to injury before the tournament but still managed to run through the championship bracket undefeated using plenty of FBS-bound athletes. One of the keys to the team though was actually the smallest player on the field, the 5-foot-3 Davison, and one of the few who didn't hold a major scholarship offer.

“It was a great experience, it was fun. We were working hard at it and I knew we were going to get it done,” he said. “It's very important to me too. I'm trying to get more offers, more exposure. I'm glad I was a big factor in this so now colleges can say this guy can do it. Hopefully I can go D-1.”

Davison holds an offer from Alabama State with several other schools on the verge of offering the speedy scatback. Able to cut a full speed and stop a dime, he was easily the most elusive player on the roughly 115-degree turf the past two days.

Known by his nickname of “Mike-Mike,” Davison was often imitated but no one could come close to the real thing. After a player on the team from Louisiana made a few quick cuts against the 1925 defense, Notre Dame commit and 1925 athlete Deontay Greenberry yelled out, “You're not Mike-Mike!”

After battling the eventual runner up, Team Houston, to a tie at the end of the first of their two games, 1925 failed to complete a play in the sudden-death, longest-yard overtime. As a result, all Team Houston had to do was get a yard on a running play to win the game but it ended up being Davison who saved the day for 1925.

“They were like, 'Mike get on the field' because the other team just needed one play to win the game,” he said. “I ran on to the field and they said 'hike' and I just sprinted into the back field and tackled him. Then we won the game when I got the draw and got a couple of yards.”

Croom down to two

Although his team got knocked out early, Norcross (Ga.) wide receiver Jason Croom put together an impressive two days worth of catches. Using his big 6-foot-5 frame, he was a weapon in the end zone and also made some tough catches in traffic to solidify himself as one of the best options on the Goon Squad.

Scheduled to make a decision later next month, Croom has narrowed down his recruiting list to just two schools as he wraps up a very productive run on the spring and summer camp circuit.

“It's between Mississippi State and Tennessee,” he said.

Croom has already made it down to Knoxville for an unofficial visit and had plenty of good things to say about the Volunteers.

“I really like everything,” said Croom. “I like the coaching staff. When I went down there, I liked the facilities a lot and the academics. That's the most important part, they have a good APR rating and they push you on and off the field. They told me I can make a big impact and all I'll have to do is go down there and show what I can do.”

While Croom wouldn't leave any hints about which school he was leaning towards, it's clear he has a special connection with Mississippi State and that could be a major factor in to his decision.

“I've had a good relationship with them for the longest time because they were my second offer,” he said. “I've been talking to them throughout this whole thing so I've got a good relationship with basically the whole coaching staff. When I went down there I met some of the players and they were real cool, they treat you like family and joke around and stuff. But when I went down there they were also working real hard in the weight room and stuff and I know they help their players academically. They make sure they finish their classwork before they do anything else.”

Croom will commit on August 18th, which is right before his senior season gets underway. He's narrowed his choices down to two and will only take an official visit to whichever program he ends up verbally committing to next month.

Miami, they were in my top three but they're out of it now.” he said. “I'll just take one (official) because I've already got my decision made.”

Marks enjoys his time in Texas

In addition to 1925 capturing the championship, the other California All-Star team, B2G, was very impressive over the two day event. Los Angeles (Calif.) wide receiver Gabe Marks impressed with his route running ability, hands and was savvy enough to know where holes were in the defense. Despite being a fairly polished receiver, he came out to help his team win and improve between the lines.

“I really want to work on my routes and my releases,” Marks said. “I'm just trying to win some games and go against some of the top competition.”

Working alongside Ventura (Calif.) quarterback Marc Evans and teaming up with Upland (Calif.) receiver Kenny Lawler, B2G had quite a day on offense before running out of gas late. For the most part though, the group was clicking in large part because they had been playing with one another throughout the summer.

“We work out with each other all the time and we do all of the events together,” Marks said. “We definitely have a good chemistry. We like sticking with one quarterback so we don't have to worry about that transition if a new guy plays with us.”

Holding offers from several Pac-12, Mountain West and Conference USA programs, Marks is beginning to focus on just a handful of programs to allow time for him to compete during his senior season in high school.

“I'm starting to narrow down my list of schools, I've got SMU, Utah and UCLA as my top three.” he said. “Then I have Colorado and Boston College to finish out my top five.”

The trip to Dallas has allowed him a chance to get an in-depth look at what it would be like if he committed to SMU. Outside of adjusting to the extremely hot weather – especially for someone who lives just a few miles from the beach – the experience was a good one overall.

“SMU is a great school, they're definitely one of the nicer schools I've seen,” said Marks. “The one thing would be the weather, that'd take some getting used to. But I love the coaches, they're great and it's a great system that would be a good fit for me.”

One of the big drawing points for the private school on the field is head coach June Jones' Run and Shoot offense, which has allowed receivers similar to Marks put up big numbers. Off the field, there's a lot of positives as well.

“Their academics are top notch,” he said. “You can have a good career after football and that's what I'm using football for. If I don't make it to the league, I want something to fall back on.”

If Marks is looking to stay closer to home, UCLA offers that option and the Bruins have plenty going for them as they try to land the 6-foot, 170-pounder.

“Their academics and the fact they're so close to home,” Marks said when asked what he liked about the school. “You grow up watching the coaches and the team so they're the hometown school.”

Marks will likely make a decision in December after taking official visits. At the moment, he has already planned three visits, to Utah, SMU and UCLA, during the season.

Liggins looking to stay in the SEC

One of the biggest – if not the biggest – players on the field was actually Oxford (Miss.) quarterback Jeremy Liggins. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound signal caller was sharp for most of day two of the tournament and made several nice throws into tight windows.

“I felt like we did pretty good,” Liggins said. “Keyshawn Johnson's team though, he brought in some ballers. We just kind of threw a team together and we didn't have a practice or anything. I felt like if we practiced, we could come out and compete with these boys.”

Playing for the Louisiana team, Liggins led an overachieving squad that made a very nice, deep run in the double-elimination event. Developing some timing with his newfound receivers was key to moving the ball on Sunday after a bit of a slow start the day before.

“It's pretty hard because I'm not used to how these guys run,” he said. “But after the first game yesterday, we kinda started to connect and I felt pretty comfortable with those guys (today) because I know that once I put the ball out there, they're going to go make plays on the ball.”

Liggins holds several scholarship offers already and figures to pick up more once the season begins. If there's one thing he's locked into with the recruiting process, it's a certain brand of southern football.

“I've got a lot of offers but I'm really just looking at the SEC,” he said. “I've got ones from Florida, South Carolina and others.”

With his size and speed, Liggins knows that plenty of coaches are looking to move him to other positions. He could wind up as a defensive lineman in college at first glance but he's also trying to make it clear that he wants a shot behind center first.

“In 10th grade, they were looking at me as an athlete but now a lot want me at QB,” Liggins said. “I want to play QB. I feel like if I get the right training, I can be a good quarterback. But if I have to move somewhere (to another position) to help a team win, that's what I'll do.”

After a busy spring evaluation period and a summer full of unofficial visits, Liggins has already narrowed down his list of schools in anticipation of making a decision later this year.

“I'd say my top four is LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State,” he said. “I've been to all of them. I like them because they're all pretty nice campuses. Playing with Alabama and LSU, you know you're going to compete for a national championship every year and that's what I'm looking for. And I know they're a pipeline for the NFL.

“Playing time, playing QB and the school. All of it. I'm looking for a school that has good tradition and that put good students out and have a good graduation rate.”

Hutchinson excited to be building at Auburn

While there were plenty of commitments playing in the tournament, it was somewhat rare to have two on the same team. Such was not the case with the Goon Squad, which featured a pair of future Auburn Tigers in Dadeville (Ala.) tight end Darrion Hutcherson and Edgewood (Ky.) quarterback Zeke Pike. The two connected on plenty of throws over the weekend and even when one player hit a rough patch, the other was able help turn things around.

“If I'm struggling, he'll pick me up and if he's struggling, I'll pick him up,” Hutcherson said. “That's just how it is.”

The bond the two developed over the past few months on the 7-on-7 circuit is something Hutcherson expects to have dividends when the two eventually end up on the Plains.

“It definitely allows us to build that relationship early,” he said. “We're going to have a strong relationship at Auburn because we're out here doing (7-on-7). This is just like a vacation and getting extra work in.”

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is aware that Auburn is losing several pieces from their magical run to the BCS championship last year but believes the current group of 2012 commitments can be part of another big run in a couple of years.

“You just have to go somewhere where your heart feels comfortable at,” Hutcherson said of why he picked the school. “Auburn had a great year with Cam Newton and Nick Fairley coming in and winning all the awards and the national championship. They've got a great coaching staff and now they're on a rebuilding year. Me and Zeke are going down there to start the number one recruiting class to get Auburn back rolling like they used to be.”

Hutcherson mentioned that he will an official visit to nearby Auburn and will possibly schedule one to Utah just to visit the school.
 

Posted on: July 2, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 3:33 pm
 

SEC Recruiting Breakdown

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was an active month on the SEC recruiting trail as we near the halfway point to Signing Day. Here's a quick take on a few of the teams as we enter July.

Alabama
The Crimson Tide added two players in June and have continued to load up on athletes that could end up helping out at multiple positions in college. Defensive tackle Darren Lake is a bit under the radar but he is the type of nose tackle that fits into Nick Saban's defense and frees up the rest of the players to make plays. The class is a bit defensive-heavy, so there could be more emphasis on offensive players in the next few months.

Auburn

June was a good month for the Tigers as they added some talented skill position players to surround quarterback Zeke Pike. JaQuay Williams is going to be a nice red zone target and T.J. Yeldon should help with running back depth once he gets to campus.

South Carolina

The Gamecocks doubled their class in June and they added quality pieces at the same time. The big pickup was Kelvin Rainey out of Florida who was drawing a bunch of attention from some powerhouse programs. The staff also has made some nice gains with several Georgia prospects and it wouldn't be all that surprising if they reel in one or two more from the state in the coming months.

Tennessee

Derek Dooley and the Vols are surprisingly the SEC recruiting runts at the moment with only three commitments. They were in on several players that ended up making commitments elsewhere, which is a bit of a blow, especially since some of them went to SEC rivals. It's not a great year for in-state talent but what players there are, the Vols have had somewhat of a hard time keeping. There's plenty of time to turn things around but the staff has their work cut out for them.

Vanderbilt

The new regime in Nashville is not backing down from anyone and there's certainly a new attitude under head coach James Franklin. They're actually the top dogs in-state at the moment and they've raided Georgia successfully for a few solid building blocks. The 'dores grabbed the top player in the state in running back Brian Kimbrow and have plenty of momentum nearing the halfway point of the recruiting season.
Posted on: July 2, 2011 1:07 pm
 

June SEC Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The temperature gauge continues to rise and, as we move into July, it's time to see how schools are building their recruiting classes of 2012. Today, we'll take a look at the verbal commitments for the SEC.

   Alabama (14)

Defensive end Ryan Anderson (Daphne, Ala.)
Defensive tackle Dakota Ball (Lindale, Ga.)
Athlete Kenyan Drake (Powder Springs, Ga.)
Athlete Casey Gladney (Columbia, S.C.)
Offensive lineman Brandon Greene (Ellenwood, Ga.)
Kicker Adam Griffith (Calhoun, Ga.)
Defensive end Caleb Gulledge (Prattville, Ala.)
Athlete Tyler Hayes (Thomasville, Ala.)
Defensive tackle Darren Lake (York, Ala.)
Linebacker Dillon Lee (Buford, Ga.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Linebacker Reggie Ragland (Madison, Ala.)
Running back Justin Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.)
Athlete Justin Thomas (Prattville, Ala.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Athlete Eddie Williams (Panama City, Fla.)

   Arkansas (7)

Offensive lineman Cordale Boyd (Memphis, Tenn.)
Wide receiver Jalen Cobb (Warren, Ark.)
Athlete Nathan Holmes (Port Arthur, Texas)
Running back Donovan Roberts (Norman, Okla.)
Defensive end Jeremy Sprinkle (White Hall, Ark.)
Linebacker A.J. Turner (Lepanto, Ark.)  
Offensive lineman Jeremy Ward Pottsville, Ark.)

   Auburn (10)

Offensive lineman Shane Callahan (Parker, Colo.)
Defensive back Joshua Holsey (Fairburn, Ga.)
Athlete Darrion Hutcherson (Dadeville, Ala.)
Wide receiver Ricardo Louis (Miami Beach, Fla.)
Defensive end Cassanova McKinzy (Birmingham, Ala.)
Tight end Ricky Parks (Hogansville, Ga.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Defensive tackle Darius Philon (Prichard, Ala.)
Quarterback Zeke Pike (Edgewood, Ky.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Wide receiver JaQuay Williams (Tyrone, Ga.)
Running back T.J. Yeldon (Daphne, Ala.)

   Florida (13)

Defensive back Willie Bailey (Hallandale, Fla.)
Running back Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Kicker Austin Hardin (Atlanta, Ga.)
Running back Matt Jones (Seffner, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Defensive tackle JaFar Mann (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Defensive tackle Dante Phillips (Venice, Fla.)
Linebacker Lorenzo Phillips (Patterson, La.)
Wide receiver LaTroy Pittman (Citra, Fla.)
Defensive back Brian Poole (Bradenton, Fla.)
Linebacker Jeremi Powell (Largo, Fla.)
Tight end Colin Thompson (Warminster, Pa.)
Defensive tackle Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, Ga.)

   Georgia (10)
 
Kicker Collin Barber (Cartersville, Ga.)
Wide receiver C.J. Curry (Gainesville, Ga.)
Defensive end James Deloach (Millen, Ga.)
Defensive end Jalen Fields (Milledgeville, Ga.)
Athlete Leonard Floyd (Eastman, Ga.)  
Athlete Quayvon Hicks (Blackshear, Ga.)
Kicker Marshall Morgan (Miami, Fla.)
Wide receiver Lonnie Outlaw (Milledgeville, Ga.)
Tight end Ty Smith (Moultrie, Ga.)
Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor (Millen, Ga.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member

   Kentucky (11)

Offensive lineman Darone Bailey (Coahoma JUCO/Clarksdale, Miss.)
Defensive back Daron Blaylock (Marietta, Ga.)
Defensive back Shawn Blaylock (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Defensive back Zach Blaylock (Marietta, Ga.)
Defensive tackle Thomas Chapman (Louisville, Ky.)
Defensive tackle Patrick Graffree (Elizabethtown, Ky.)
Defensive back Josh Harris (Maysville, Ky.)
Offensive lineman Zach Myers (Miamisburg, Ohio)
Defensive back Jonathan Reed (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Wide receiver DeMarcus Sweat (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Quarterback Patrick Towles (Fort Thomas, Ky.)

   LSU (15) 

Athlete Devante Bourque (Crowley, La.)
Defensive end Torshiro Davis (Shreveport, La.)
Wide receiver Travin Dural (Beaux Bridge, La.)  
Defensive end Ronnie Feist (Edgard, La.)
Offensive lineman Reid Ferguson (Buford, Ga.)
Tight end Dillon Gordon (River Ridge, La.)
Linebacker Trey Granier (Thibodaux, La.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Defensive end Jerald Hawkins (Baldwin, La.)
Wide receiver Kavahra Holmes (Breaux Bridge, La.)
Wide receiver Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Athlete Lamar Lewis (Lafayette, La.)
Defensive back Derrick Raymond (Metairie, La.)
Defensive back Jerquinick Sandolph (Boutte, La.) 
Defensive back Dwayne Thomas (New Orleans, La.)
Tight end John Thomas (Bossier City, La.)

   Ole Miss (7)

Defensive back Jordan Batiste (Lutcher, La.)
Quarterback C.J. Beathard (Franklin, Tenn.)
Defensive tackle Issac Gross (Batesville, Miss.)
Offensive lineman Jake Meador (Whiteland, Ind.)
Offensive lineman Ben Still (Memphis, Tenn.)
Defensive end Temario Strong (Batesville, Miss.)
Running back Jaylen Walton (Memphis, Tenn.)

   Mississippi State (8)

Defensive end Nelson Adams (Brandon, Miss.)
Defensive back Quadry Antoine (Belle Chasse, La.)
Linebacker Torrey Bell (New Oreleans, La.)
Defensive end Ryan Brown (Marrero, La.)
Offensive lineman Cole Carter (Caledonia, Miss.)
Offensive lineman Devon Desper (Madison, Miss.)
Athlete Deonte Evans (McComb, Miss.)
Defensive back Cedric Jiles (Clinton, Miss.)

   South Carolina (10)

Defensive end Darius English (Powder Springs, Ga.)
Defensive back Kyle Fleetwood (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Linebacker T.J. Holloman (Atlanta, Ga.)
Defensive tackle Carlos Hood (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Athlete Rico McWilliams (Hampton, Ga.)
Tight end Kelvin Rainey (Yulee, Fla.)
Running back Kendric Salley (Williston, S.C.)
Offensive lineman Brock Stadnik (Greensboro, N.C.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Offensive lineman Clayton Stadnik (Greensboro, N.C.)
Offensive lineman Mason Zandi (Chapin, S.C.)

   Tennessee (3)

Running back Imani Cross (Gainesville, Ga.)
Linebacker Khalid Henderson (Austell, Ga.)
Wide receiver Corey Smith (Akron, Ohio)

   Vanderbilt (11)

Defensive end Caleb Azubike (Nashville, Tenn.)
Defensive end Ladarius Banks (Dallas, Ga.)
Wide receiver Cory Batey (Nashville, Tenn.)
Defensive end Josh Dawson (Tucker, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Barrett Gouger (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Defensive end Tre Griffin (Kennesaw, Ga.)
Defensive back Paris Head (Buford, Ga.)
Linebacker Darreon Herring (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Running back Brian Kimbrow (Memphis, Tenn.)
Linebacker Jacob Sealand (Tucker, Ga.)
Defensive end Stephen Weatherly (Atlanta, Ga.)

Category: NCAAF
Tags: A.J. Turner, Adam Griffith, Alex Taylor, Arkansas, Auburn, Austin Hardin, Avery Johnson, Barrett Gouger, Ben Still, Brandon Greene, Brian Kimbrow, Brian Poole, Brock Stadnik, C.J. Beathard, C.J. Curry, Caleb Azubike, Caleb Gulledge, Carlos Hood, Casey Gladney, Cassanova McKinzy, Cedric Jiles, Clayton Stadnik, Cole Carter, Colin Thompson, Collin Barber, Cordale Boyd, Cory Batey, Dakota Ball, Dante Phillips, Darius English, Darius Philon, Daron Blaylock, Darone Bailey, Darren Lake, Darreon Herring, Darrion Hutcherson, DeMarcus Sweat, Deontay Evans, Derrick Raymond, Devante Bourque, Devon Desper, Dillon Gordon, Dillon Lee, Donovan Roberts, Dwayne Thomas, Eddie Williams, Florida, Georgia, Imani Cross, Issac Gross, Jacob Sealand, JaFar Mann, Jake Meador, Jalen Cobb, Jalen Fields, James Deloach, JaQuay Williams, Jaylen Walton, Jerald Hawkins, Jeremi Powell, Jeremy Sprinkle, Jeremy Ward, Jerquinick Sandolph, Jessamen Dunker, John Thomas, Jonathan Reed, Jonathan Taylor, Jordan Batiste, Josh Dawson, Josh Harris, Joshua Holsey, June Commitment List, Justin Taylor, Justin Thomas, Kavahra Holmes, Kelvin Rainey, Kendric Salley, Kentucky, Kenyan Drake, Khalid Henderson, Kyle Fleetwood, Ladarius Banks, Lamar Lewis, LaTroy Pittman, Lemming Top 100, Leonard Floyd, Lonnie Outlaw, Lorenzo Phillips, LSU, Marshall Morgan, Mason Zandi, Matt Jones, Mike Davis, Mississippi State, Nathan Holmes, Nelson Adams, Nick Saban, Ole Miss, Paris Head, Patrick Graffree, Patrick Towles, Quadry Antoine, Quayvon Hicks, Quinteze Williams, Reggie Ragland, Reid Ferguson, Ricardo Louis, Ricky Parks, Rico McWilliams, Ronnie Feist, Ryan Anderson, Ryan Brown, SEC, Shane Callahan, Shawn Blaylock, South Carolina, Stephen Weatherly, T.J. Holloman, T.J. Yeldon, Temario Strong, Tennesee, Thomas Chapman, Torrey Bell, Toshiro Davis, Travin Dural, Tre Griffin, Trey Granier, Ty Smith, Tyler Hayes, Vanderbilt, Willie Bailey, Zach Blaylock, Zach Myers, Zeke Pike
 
Posted on: July 2, 2011 8:22 am
 

7/2 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Headed out to the Badger Sports 7-on-7 National Finals to check out some of the top talent in the country. Full report on the blog later tonight. In the mean time, some recruiting links:

 James Franklin is turning Vanderbilt's academics into a big recruiting tool.

 For Georgia commit C.J. Curry, football is a family game.

Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr talked about the success Brady Hoke is having on the recruiting trail.

 Alton 'Pig' Howard has narrowed his college choices down to six schools, with Tennessee standing out.

Georgia Tech's new indoor facility will provide the school with an edge.

Commitments: 

Miami added commit number 10 in linebacker Josh Witt.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Vandy - yes Vandy - scores three big commitments

Posted by Bryan Fischer

For ages upon ages, Vanderbilt was looked at as a school that grabbed recruits that either other schools didn't want or because they simply wanted to get a good education. Under new head coach James Franklin, it appears the perception has changed and the school, at least for a few 2012 recruits, is a place to get a good education and play SEC football.

The Commodores made their biggest statement on the recruiting trail in years (probably decades) Friday afternoon as Nashville (Tenn.) defensive end Caleb Azubike, wide receiver Corey Batey and running back Brian Kimbrow all committed to the school in a big ceremony that was carried live on a state-wide radio station.

“The reason I made that decision is I like to be different,” Kimbrow, right, told 247Sports.com. “I like a challenge. I don’t want anything to be given to me. It’s close to home and it felt like home and it gave me an opportunity to be successful after football.”

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound running back is considered the top prospect in the state of Tennessee and ranked 38th in the MaxPreps Top 100. He spurned scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Arkansas, Notre Dame and USC to play for Vandy and while some see the decision to go to the school as a mistake, Kimbrow sees it as an opportunity.

“It’s very exciting, very exciting,” he said. “Most people might say I’m making a bad decision but I feel like it’s the best decision for me. Coach Franklin told me that fe feels like he can put me in a good situation and we can write our own destiny. That’s something that interests a lot of players around here.”

For Azubike, a 6-foot-4 pass rushing threat, the school that Coach Franklin was selling seemed to fall perfectly in-line with what he was looking for in his future program.

“I’ve been thinking about committing for a long time,” Azubike said. “I really liked Boston College and Mississippi State those are great schools. I decided Vandy was better. I still plan on taking visits to see what out there in the fall but right now Vandy is the best school for me.“

The trio puts Vanderbilt over the double-digit commitment mark for the class of 2012 with 11 total. All of the players in the class are from either Tennessee or Georgia so it's clear that Franklin and his staff are hitting two states for the majority of their talent.

Given the way Stanford has successfully pitched academics with competitive football over the past few years, perhaps it's time to think about Vanderbilt following in their footsteps.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 12:11 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:25 am
 

Tight end Rainey selects South Carolina

Posted by Bryan Fischer

South Carolina fans, still celebrating from the Gamecocks' victory in the College World Series, got another dose of good news when Yulee (Fla.) tight end Kelvin Rainey committed to the school Thursday afternoon.

"I just really liked South Carolina," Rainey told TheBigSpur.com. "I've visited there and there wasn't anything that I didn't like. The academics are great. I liked the whole coaching staff. I have been building a relationship with that coaching staff since my sophomore year. There really hasn't been a school that stuck with me like South Carolina."

The heavily pursued Rainey, who held offers from schools such as Florida, Florida State, USC and Notre Dame, is a major victory for South Carolina on the recruiting trail. He credited receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. as a key factor in his decision.

"Coach Spurrier Jr. was pretty big during this process," Rainey said. "He has been there the whole time. We have always kept in touch with each other and he is always keeping me updated on things. He let me know how they are going to use me. He is like a close friend."

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Rainey is South Carolina's ninth commitment for 2012 but only the second skill position player. He had 20 catches for 413 yards and 5 touchdowns last year as a junior.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 1:24 pm
 

SEC proposing major changes to recruiting model

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Southeastern Conference is proposing several major changes to NCAA bylaws concerning football recruiting, according to a letter obtained by CBSSports.com.

The letter, from SEC commissioner Mike Slive to Leeland Zeller, the NCAA's associate director of Academic and Membership Affairs, was sent June 15 ahead of the Recruiting and Personnel Issues Cabinet meeting that was held this past weekend.

In it, Slive details the SEC's position on several hot-button recruiting issues after they were discussed at conference meetings in Destin, Fla.

Among the highlights:

  • The SEC endorses the return of text messaging. Currently, coaches cannot text with recruits (at all) but they can email them or send them a Facebook message. The current rules have already caused several coaches to self-report violations after accidentally texting a prospective student-athlete and some coaches privately gripe this is one of the rules they'd like to seen thrown out sooner rather than later. In talking with several administrators from other conferences, there should be plenty of support if the SEC puts forth a proposal to allow texting. The letter does note that while the conference's position is to allow texts, there should be limits in order to not overwhelm prospective recruits.
  • An earlier date for the first off-campus contact by coaches with recruits.
  • Current rules force compliance to monitor follower requests on Twitter and friend requests on Facebook sent to institutional staffers (coaches, administrators, etc.). The SEC says this monitoring "presents a significant compliance challenge" and wants staff members to be able to accept them without having to go through compliance first.
  • The SEC will introduce a proposal for the upcoming NCAA legislative cycle that will permit any coach or staff member to receive phone calls placed by recruits, recruits' parents or recruits' coaches. Phone calls to and from recruits is currently tightly regulated and the SEC proposal would expand contact with recruits as a way to alleviate some compliance concerns associated with monitoring and reporting. Essentially, the SEC is looking to deregulate a lot of the legislation concerning phone calls and texting.
  • The conference would like to redefine the four recruiting periods (Contact, Evaluation, Quiet and Dead) on the calendar into three (Off-campus, on-campus and dead). The SEC wants the off-campus period to be a combination of the current contact and evaluation periods with the rationale that they would eliminate the media from blowing up reports of the so-called "bump" rule being violated. The bump rule, the letter states, "is a source for media reports questioning the integrity of involved coaches, create the expectation that high school coaches arrange incidental contact during an evaluation period, and place college coaches intent on following the rules at a distinct disadvantage." The change is significant and would allow spring football recruiting to take on an even greater importance in the recruiting cycle. Coaches would be able to talk to players freely when they visit campuses in the spring and it wouldn't be all that surprising to see the number of verbal commitments to skyrocket as recruits commit when a coach comes to visit.
  • Although the letter states the conference supports earlier official visits - especially taking visits during the summer - they do not propose a specific date the visits should start because "no clear consensus exists around the date that might be established." Slive notes that there is some concern that summer official visits would allow some schools to pay for recruits to come to campus and then allow them to participate in their summer camp at the same time, thus covering travel costs for recruits to camps where players would be evaluated.
  • It has been previously discussed, but the SEC will submit an NCAA-wide proposal that bans 7-on-7 and other so-called "non-scholastic" events from college campuses. The conference also will submit a proposal that bans coaches from involvement in local sports clubs.
Needless to say, the SEC is making a major legislative push to alter many of the rules governing recruiting. Given the way the NCAA legislative cycle operates, it will likely be awhile before proposals turn into bylaws, but the SEC is certainly sending a message that its members want changes to the way things are currently operating.
 
 
 
 
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