Tag:SEC
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:33 pm
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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: June 24, 2011 9:50 am
 

6/24 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A big international flavor at last night's NBA draft. Wonder how different things would be if college recruiting was a draft instead of its current system?

Five issues that will shape Notre Dame's upcoming recruiting class. 

 Athlete Anthony Brown hopes he'll get a USF offer soon.

 Running back William Mahone visited Michigan State this week.

 LSU has 12 commits in this list of top players in the state of Louisiana.

 Mike Stoops and Arizona have opened a pipeline from the state of Oklahoma.

 Offensive tackle Jordan Diamond said he plans to visit Arkansas in early August.

Commitments:

 Northwestern
added three commitments Thursday night. 


 Fellow Big Ten program Indiana also added three commitments yesterday. 

 Linebacker Jamal Lyles and defensive end Josiah Price both committed to Michigan State. 

 Defensive end James Washington pledged to Syracuse
Posted on: June 23, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 12:02 pm
 

6/23 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- As the No. 2 overall recruit and the top quarterback in 2012, Gunner Kiel is keeping his recruitment low key.

- Running the numbers on SEC recruiting compared to ACC recruiting turns out about how you'd expect.

Arkansas is keeping tabs on speedy wide receiver Eric Hawkins.

Florida State, Florida, South Carolina, USF and Miami are defensive tackle Earl Moore's top five according to this Q&A he did.

The decommitment of Kyle Kalis is just the latest news in Ohio State's recruiting woes.

Offensive lineman Blake Bars visited Michigan and now has a top five.

Wisconsin is off to a fast start in putting together their 2012 recruiting class.


Commitments:

Florida added the commitment of kicker Austin Hardin, who selected the Gators over Auburn and Tennessee.

Cornerback Hugs Etienne committed to Wisconsin over West Virginia.

Pitt added former Ohio State signee Ejuan Price.

Dual threat quarterback Brenden Motley selected Virginia Tech over Virginia and Georgia Tech.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 10:46 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Florida State gets second commitment for 2013

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Florida State is experiencing quite the recruiting haul with Jimbo Fisher's summer camp underway and attracting plenty of talent from all over Florida and the Southeast this week. While most schools use the camps as a time to grab commitments from their upcoming class, Fisher and the Seminoles managed to add to their 2013 class with the verbal pledge of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) cornerback Sojourn Shelton on Wednesday.

"Growing up down in south Florida you either want to go to Miami or Florida State and I always wanted to go to Florida State," Shelton told Noles247.com. "When I was at camp I knew I really loved Florida State."

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound defensive back is one of the top corners in South Florida despite being just a rising junior. He has drawn interest from Florida, Miami and Ohio State among others but they'll have to move on to other recruits for next year's class as Shelton is solidly committed to the Seminoles.

"This is where I want to be," he said. "I made that decision a year ago. I said if I come to camp and FSU offers me, then I was going to pull the trigger. Now I'm a 'Nole and I will be on signing day."

Shelton is actually the second commitment for Florida State's class of 2013, joining Prattville (Ala.) offensive lineman Austin Golson. While Signing Day is over a year and a half away for those two, Fisher and his staff are also busy building their class of 2012, which currently has 12 commitments.




Posted on: June 22, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Kalis decommits from Ohio St., others to follow?

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Ohio State recruitniks have been bracing for bad news ever since the resignation of coach Jim Tressel and lingering questions about the school's NCAA infractions case continued to surface. Things might have gone from bad to worse Tuesday night as Kyle Kalis, the only Top 100 member in the Buckeyes' 2012 class, decommitted and re-opened his recruitment.

"I did speak to (interim coach) Luke Fickell minutes ago, and I told him I was de-committing from Ohio State," Kalis told Scout. "I want to keep all my options open, and will consider several programs going forward, including Ohio State. That's really all I want to say about my recruitment at this time."

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman holds scholarship offers form Alabama, Iowa, LSU, Notre Dame and Wisconsin among others. He is planning a visit to Michigan this week and, given that the Wolverines have been cleaning up on the recruiting trail lately, that has to make some of the Buckeye faithful a little uneasy.

Kalis is friends with defensive end and Michigan commit Tom Strobel, and he'll likely be in Kalis' ear about what to do while he's in Ann Arbor (like, say, committing to the Maize and Blue). With the decommitment, Ohio State currently sits at eight verbal commitments.

But Kalis isn't the only Ohio State commitment thinking about decommitting. Canton (Ohio) running back Bri'onte Dunn has been on shaky ground ever since Tressel's resignation was announced, and his comments have not been reassuring for Ohio State coaches.

Although some players in the recruiting class seem to be on solid footing with the program, they will no doubt be receiving plenty of attention from opposing coaches. With even Michigan State jumping in on some good Ohio talent this recruiting class, it could be a long road to Signing Day for the Buckeyes.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 12:51 pm
 

Washington Nike Camp Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SEATTLE – The 13th and final stop on the annual Nike Training Camp schedule made it's way back to the Northwest, and plenty of elite talent came out to Husky Stadium to compete. While these events are typically a time for the skill-position players to impress, the offensive linemen were actually the ones who stole the show.

Puyallup (Wash.) offensive tackle Joshua Garnett showed why he was a Top 100 prospect by flat-out dominating the opposition.

"I'm just happy to be out here, glad to get the MVP today,” Garnett said. “Definitely glad I didn't lose any one-on-ones, the only lineman that didn't lose any. Went over to the defensive side of the ball and won three of the four reps on defensive line, felt pretty good about that. Definitely showed my athleticism on both sides of the ball."

Garnett wasn't the only top offensive lineman in attendance. One of his good friends, Top 100 tackle Zach Banner, also participated. While the two play the same position and therefore didn't really go head-to-head, Garnett had no problem mentioning that he won the MVP award.

“Oh yeah, it felt good,” Garnett said. “He likes to talk a lot, he's a little louder than I am if you guys didn't notice. I'm definitely a little more calm, more mellow. I think it's good to come out and show people my talent. Just because I'm not 6-9, 350, I can still play and do the same exact stuff.

"When we go out in public, people say, 'Jeez, is that Zach Banner?' then we'll come out here in the drills and they'll see my athleticism. I'm not saying he's not, but he did allow some guys to go inside. Definitely I think it's good to come out here and show the difference."

The pair are so close that as recruiting has taken off, they've been able to talk and bounce ideas off each other. One idea many observers have floated is that the two are a package deal, and Garnett does not shy away from the fact that the two might end up at the same school.

“We're definitely going to be looking at the same schools, we're good friends,” he said. “We're going to look at the same schools just because of that chemistry we have together.

“Looking at Zach's list, there's going to be a couple schools that aren't going to be on (my list), probably about three or four of them. Me and Zach have different goals going to college. I'm really big into the football, don't get me wrong I want to play football, but I'm going to be looking into medical school and looking more at a pre-med program than I am a football power. I know I can can go to Florida or Miami or any SEC school, but I want to look at my life past if I played in the NFL.”

The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder is ranked 43rd in the country for the class of 2012 by MaxPreps. The four-star prospect is focused on life off the field as much as he is on it when it comes to recruiting. The biggest thing he's looking for is a program that allows him to succeed on the field while also preparing him for a career in medicine. Coincidentally, there was a top school across the street from where he was performing Sunday.

“U-Dub, obviously they have a great medical school,” Garnett said. “No. 1 medical school in the nation, so I'll definitely talk to some of the biology teachers and stuff. I'm definitely looking at U-Dub hard, and it helps them an awful lot having this medical school right next to it.

“Next week me and my dad are planning on going down to Stanford and Cal. My uncle lives close to Pasadena, in Upland, so we're going to go to UCLA and 'SC just to see those schools.”

Garnett holds more than 30 scholarship offers from powerhouses across the country, but at least two West Coast programs are sticking out as recruiting him the hardest.

“SC is coming after me hard, and so is Cal-Berkley, probably the hardest,” Garnett said.

Banner narrows list, impresses at Nike Camp

While Garnett is the athletic tackle that coaches look for, Lakewood (Wash.) offensive tackle Zach Banner is the mammoth left tackle prototype that has coaches drooling over his 6-foot-8, 320-pound frame. He performed well Sunday and left no doubts that he was an elite college recruit.

“I feel like I did good, I came out here and worked my tail off,” Banner said. “I got invited to The Opening and it's all a blessing. Me and Josh are going to go down there together. We've been working our tails off this whole spring and summer, and it's paying off for us. I know it's paying off for me, and coaches are seeing it.”

Like his good friend Garnett, Banner enjoys some healthy competition and felt the camp setting brought out the best in the both of them, even if he wasn't the one taking home the MVP award.

“Definitely. Even though we play the same position, we both come out to prove that we're the best,” Banner said. “It's always friendly competition, and we'll go back and laugh at it.”

On a strong year for West Coast linemen, Banner stands out literally and figuratively. Ranked 12th overall in the class of 2012, he has no problem answering who is the top offensive lineman in the state, much less the country.

“Yes, yes I do,” he said, confirming he was the state's top dog. “You think about it, me and Josh, we're best friends. If they were a defensive end or someone who played across from me, then it would be pure battle. Not only do we play the same position, but we work out together, we're good friends, we're getting recruited by the same person.

“We care about getting better, and I know, for sure, both of us got better today.”

On the recruiting front, Banner holds offers from just about every school in the country and has started the process of narrowing things down.

“I gave out my top nine earlier this week and in no particular order, it's U-Dub, Oregon, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, USC, LSU, Florida State and Oklahoma,” he said. “I'm just narrowing it down as we go. I'm about to go into my senior year, so you have to do it sooner rather than later and I just felt like the nine, I'm not cutting anybody off.

“I'm going to narrow it down to a top five in December. I'll take all five of my official visits. No unofficials scheduled, but I do have two officials scheduled ... Michigan on Sept. 10 for the Notre Dame game and I'll be there all weekend for those two days. Then Notre Dame on Oct. 21 and 22 for the USC game. They're both good, and Michigan's game is the first night game there ever and the Notre Dame game will be the first night game in like 25 years. ”

Husky commits have friendly competition

Banner and Garnett were not the only players who had a healthy competition going. The two quarterbacks committed to the University of Washington, Denver signal caller Cyler Miles and Mercer Island (Wash.) quarterback Jeff Lindquist, both threw well this weekend as a preview of what's to come over the next four or five years for the Huskies.

“A little bit I guess,” Miles said when asked about the competition. “He's a cool guy, and I've got a lot of respect for him. He's a great quarterback, and I like him a lot. It's going to be fun. We're going to make each other better and wherever you go, there's going to be quarterbacks so it will be a good competition.”

“I met him today, so it was nice to get that relationship started,” Lindquist said. “In terms of competition, it was more of a friendly competition and trying to make each other better. There was no dirty mouthing or anything like that.”

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Miles enjoyed meeting Lindquist and several other future Washington teammates, who he ended up throwing to on a few occasions once he was warmed up.

“I felt I did all right, I was a little rusty at first,” he said. “It was good to interact with all the guys, a couple of whom have already committed just like me, so it was good to just hang with them. It was nice to see where I'm going to be at the next four years.”

The overcast skies forced the organizers to turn on the lights at Husky Stadium which was fine by Miles. The experience of playing on the turf and throwing into the end zone with big Washington lettering was a nice experience for him.

“It was nice, big old stadium with about 75,000 ...,” Miles trailed off, thinking about playing on the field in a few years. “It's great, though, to picture myself here next year and the year after that. It's exciting and something to look forward too.”

Miles pulled the trigger on a commitment to Washington just a few weeks ago in large part because of the relationship he developed with the coaching staff there.

“I just love the relationships the coaches have with the players,” he said. “It's a good fit for me because of the offense. I love the Pac-12 and the coaches, they were the ones most sincere with me, my mom and dad. I just felt like this fit me best.”

With two quarterbacks in the fold for 2012, both are continuing to spread the gospel about the Pac-12 program and trying to recruit a few others for the upcoming class.

“I'm trying to get Garrnett and Banner,” Miles said. “I'm just talking to them a little bit, at the end it's their choice. I'd love for all of them to come here and help build this program as it's rising up.”

“We'll probably get that coordinated,” Lindquist said of the two tackles. “We'll chip in here and there. I don't want to annoy them, but we'll get in a word here and there.”

Neal impresses once again

Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal is no stranger to the camp circuit. He's performed at both the LA and Stanford Nike Camps among others, and he surprisingly showed up in Seattle, hungry to improve his game.

"I felt I did good, but there's still some things I could work on,” Neal said. “I'm never satisfied, I'm always hungry and try and stay humble and keep working."

Neal's father, who handles all of his recruiting, showed up to watch his son in a UCLA sweatshirt on the chilly day. The younger Neal made sure to remind everybody that his dad was just trying to adjust to the weather, which was just a little bit different from the triple-digit heat at home.

"No, no, no, no indication at all, it's just to keep warm, that's all,” he said. “That's why he's wearing that and I'm wearing it and I have a Nike sweater on."

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound athlete showed off his athleticism all day and played at a high level at both receiver and corner. Schools are recruiting him at both, but Neal has no preference where he'll play at the next level.

"I feel comfortable at both positions," he said. "If they want to put me at receiver, I'll play receiver; if they put me at corner, I'll play corner. It doesn't matter, I just want to get on the field. Either/or, it doesn't matter to me. They're recruiting me as both. Some as receiver, some as corner. It just depends on where they want me to play."

Neal holds offers from more than 25 schools but plans on pushing all his official visits and a decision until after the football season.

"There is no list," he said. "There's only undecided. A lot of people are recruiting me heavily. They're all really pushing hard, but I just let my dad handle the recruiting and I just play football.

"I'm just relaxing until after my senior season. ... I'll take all five officials, but I'm just going to do them all after the season when I have a lot of free time."

Led by quarterback and Texas commit Connor Brewer, Neal is focused on helping Chaparral High, ranked No. 24 in the country by Maxpreps, to success yet again in his senior season.

"We're going to be good. Hopefully we'll get that three-peat,” Neal said. “That's going to be on our shirts."

Notes

-- One of the players who Neal frequently battled against -- on both sides of the ball -- was Lakewood (Wash.) athlete Cedric Dozier. The two would have one rep where Neal was the receiver and Dozier playing the press corner, and then they'd flip around. Their match-up was pretty even, and Dozier felt it helped him improve his all-around game.

“I did all right for the most part,” Dozier said. “I competed with a lot of good players from all over, and it really forced me to step up. There's competition and you've got to play. I didn't come here just to play no nobodies. You've got to come out here to play. There's people from all over that's really good, and that means you have to step up.”

Dozier said he's completely open as to what school he'll attend, but Cal and Washington are recruiting him the hardest. He'll likely make a decision after the season.

-- Washington commit Michael Rector made his pledge public just a few days before the camp and, it turns out, there was a reason for making a commitment earlier than he had originally planned.

“At first my parents and I wanted to wait until July or after school,” he said. “With a new receiver (Dwayne Washington) committing too, they were only going to take two, so we thought about it the day before school was out and thought it wasn't too soon to make the decision.”

Rector tried to hook up with the two Husky quarterbacks as much as he could while at the camp in order to start developing timing before any of them even stepped on campus for college.

“It was fun,” he said. “We got together whenever we could and ran routes and stuff. We like it a lot, and we're looking forward to it.”

The most impressive quarterback at the event was not the pair of commitments to Washington but rising junior Max Browne. He impressed earlier this year at the Stanford Elite 11 and recently picked up an offer from Clemson. He grabbed the MVP award and displayed a very strong arm, fluid motion and was able to make all the throws. Lefty Matt Morin, also a regular on the camp circuit, also impressed.

-- Everett (Wash.) running back Keivarae Russell took home running back MVP honors and showed the ability to get into and out of breaks very quickly. Seattle cornerback Jayshawn Jordan won the defensive back award and performed well, playing his man and the ball closely.

Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:22 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:27 pm
 

Heath Evans 7-on-7 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Plenty of top players from high school teams all over the state of Florida were in action this past weekend at the 6<sup>th</sup> Annual Heath Evans Foundation 7-on-7 Tournament. Featuring two teams from MaxPreps' Preseason Top 25 for 2011 and several members from Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2012, the fields at the King's Academy were filled with fast paced action and plenty of scoring.

One of the standouts was Tampa (Fla.) wide receiver Austin Aikens, who helped propel his team to the title and was one of the top players at the event.

"It felt real good,” Aikens said on Saturday. “I was out there making plays my team needed during the clutch."

While Plant High ended up taking the taking the title for the first time, it was just as satisfying toppling last year's state champion St. Thomas Aquinas, which beat Plant for the championship last fall. Aikens knows, however, that beating Aquinas in the summer is a different matter from beating them in the fall and he's trying to step his game up as a result.

"I'm looking to gain some more weight and polish off my route running and catching skills that I've got as a receiver so I can help my team,” he said. “We're pretty much getting there, we're starting to gel together and become one team and know what each other is thinking. Players are starting to step up when we need them to step up."

Events like Heath Evans are designed not only to give players an outlet to compete but also to showcase their skills. With the spring evaluation period over and the summer camp schedule picking up, Aikens already holds several scholarship offers and is starting to see plenty of attention from college coaches.

"It's going good,” he said. “I have offers from Missouri, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Western Kentucky, Temple, Boston College. So it's going pretty well for me. I'm still wide open."

While the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder is still sorting out his offer list, he maintains he'll likely make a decision after the football season is over. He recently took an unofficial visit to several schools in North Carolina and could be leaning towards heading out of state for college.

"About four weeks ago I went up and visited Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest,” Aikens said. “It was good, I really liked North Carolina's campus and facilities. North Carolina has some interest in me too."

Bauta shines in race to become starter

Palm Beach (Fla.) athlete Faton Bauta is trying to shed the label of “athlete” and get people used to calling him a quarterback. The dual-threat signal caller certainly impressed on the field during the tournament, showing off a strong arm and hitting some tight windows on some of his throws. The transfer from New York is not assured of the starting job just yet so the extra time with his teammates leading up to the season was crucial to developing some chemistry before the pads come on in August.

"It's going very well just being out here with them and competing with them,” Bauta said. “I like the way these guys play and I enjoy throwing the ball to them.

"I usually throw with them a lot on weekends or whenever we get the chance during the week. But out here, it's definitely good to work on the timing, there's more real game situations because you have
defenders."

Dwyer High, ranked 17<sup>th</sup> in the country by MaxPreps, is breaking in several new players into the mix and face the added challenge of moving into a new classification this season. Bauta knows the team needs to gel in the offseason if they want to go from good to great during the regular season.

"We look great but obviously we have a lot to work on,” he said. “We're working towards perfection and we still have a lot of work to do but hopefully we'll be a great team this season. Hopefully we'll win that state championship."

Bauta already holds offers from Alabama, Louisville, Miami and West Virginia among others and a few recent unofficial visits netted him some more.

"Georgia and UCF, that's about it,” he said. “(Georgia) was huge, I went on a pretty big SEC tour and went there and threw for them. They like be a lot and they offered me, I sat down with coach (Mark) Richt and he's a great guy. All of the coaches were great. They're a great school and have top of the line everything. It was great to go out there and see what they're all about."

While several schools continue to recruit Bauta as an athlete, he's a quarterback at heart and that's what he wants to play at the next level.

“That's why I went on the tour, just to show these guys I can throw the ball,” he said. “Hopefully I can show the guys out here that I can throw the ball."

Bauta participated at the Florida State camp on Sunday after wrapping up things in Palm Beach at the Heath Evans tournament. While he doesn't have an offer from the Seminoles at the moment, it's possible they could break into his recruiting with one. Right now however, he's starting to narrow down his list based on a few of his big offers.

"I have a top seven and if you looked at the offers I have, you'd be able to figure it out,” Bauta said. “I'm really just keeping my options open right now in case something pops up with a school. I'm just seeing who likes me and who has the best chance of winning and having the most success during the four years I'm there. I want to get the best connection to the coaches and the players."

Howard makes plays on both sides of the ball

Cornerback Tracey Howard of Miramar (Fla.) knows he doesn't have much left to prove after a stellar junior year and a very good offseason on the all-star travel team South Florida Express. But there he was out in the heat, running routes on offense and playing receivers tight on defense.

"I think it's good because I'm out here with my team rather than as an individual,” Howard said. “I'm on my team getting better, developing chemistry on my team is a good feeling."

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound corner is working on getting stronger in the offseason and wants to improve his tackling before the season begins. At the same time he's looking to get better as an individual, Howard constantly has to fight off college recruiters looking to land his services.

"It's picking up,” he said. “It's getting kind of crazy right now but I try to stay humble about it and stay focused about it. I get help from my coaches and my family.

"I'm just staying open with the process. I won't say I have a long time to think about it like a year but I'm just trying to stay open.”

Howard plans on visiting Miami and Florida State soon and has already visited the other in-state power, Florida, for a spring practice. He plans on committing during the middle of the season or on Signing Day, depending on how his visits work out and if he's comfortable with a certain school. In the mean time, he's just doing what's asked of him to help his team win.

"It was good to play some receiver and make plays for my team,” Howard said. “I don't really play offense but I'm out here with my team having fun."

Notes

- One of the underclassmen who had an intriguing blend of size and speed was Tampa (Fla.) linebacker Paris Bostick of Plant High. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder looks like a big safety but he could continue to grow into an outside linebacker. Schools are already interested with him playing safety and while he doesn't have any offers yet, is looking to have a big season after concentrating on getting better this offseason.

"Just get faster and bigger,” Bostick said. “I'm in the weight room a lot with the team but I like to work harder than everybody else. I see people trying to up their game so I'm going to try and up my game more than them and keep my head on and not get into any trouble."

- Virginia Tech commit Donaldven Manning was sporting his future college's logos on some eye black.

- Booker T. Washington was a team full of underclassmen who impressed. They made it to the championship game against Plant but fell just short. Former Miami director of football operations “IceHarris is the head coach at the school now.

Posted on: June 21, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 6:02 pm
 

English set for South Carolina

Posted by Bryan Fischer

South Carolina is inching closer and closer to the double-digit commitment mark for the class of 2012, adding pledge No. 8 late Monday night from Powder Springs (Ga.), defensive end Darius English. He visited the school unofficially Saturday and made his commitment public two days later to become the latest Gamecock.

“When I finished the tour and everything, I told Coach (G.A.) Mangus that South Carolina is where I want to be,” English told TheBigSpur.com. “He was excited. He said that I was the first defensive end commit for them. I just wanted to talk things over with my parents before I went public. They were excited about it as well. That was the school they wanted me to go to. They live in Augusta so they are close to South Carolina.”

One factor that went into his decision was the fact that two high school teammates, linebacker Marcquis Roberts and tight end Rory Anderson, signed with South Carolina in February and will be able to show him the ropes once he gets to Columbia.

“Yes, I’ve got two people there that I know,” English told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That way, when times get tough, I have two friends there for me. They will keep me going, keep pushing me.” 

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound speedy defensive end lived in the opponent's backfield last season, racking up 17 sacks as a junior. He also held offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Michigan State and Ole Miss among others but will wind up at South Carolina. He is head coach Steve Spurrier's second defensive lineman in the upcoming recruiting class, joining fellow Georgian Carlos Hood.
 
 
 
 
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