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Tag:Chad Kelly
Posted on: July 9, 2011 1:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:33 pm
 

The Opening: Day 3 -- Pads and 7-on-7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Day three of The Opening could not have turned out any better for the assembled campers as wall-to-wall 7-on-7 action and a lineman challenge took place on a picturesque day at the Nike campus.

After NFL players and Nike coaching staff members drafted teams from the nearly 150 players at the event on Thursday night, the pressure was on to gel quickly during round-robin play all day Friday. One of the consistent playmakers at the event with his blazing speed, fluid routes and soft hands was Tampa (Fla.) athlete Nelson Agholor.

A threat at multiple positions on the field, the talented Floridian was a touchdown threat every time he touched the ball on offense. Despite standing out on the field, it was hard to get him to talk about himself off it as he personified the definition of a team player.

"Yeah, I hope we have a good one the next day. We're ready to go and play hard," Agholor said. "We've got a great team."

NFL stars Josh Freeman of Agholor's local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe were the honorary coaches of “Team Alpha Talon.” The 7-on-7 setting provided the players they picked a chance to spread the field and allow players such as Agholor to go up and make plays.

"We were blessed with two great coaches that put a bunch of athletes on the team," Agholor said. "We're going to do well. There's not one bad guy on our team. Everyone on our team is really good."

Featuring quarterback Chad Kelly (committed to Clemson), receiver Bralon Addison (Texas A&M) and  running back Duke Johnson (Miami) among others, Agholor's team was one of the best in the field. Boasting players from 10 states, the all-star squad was an opportunity for Agholor and others to bond with players they had only heard about.

"These are guys you want to compete against everyday,” he said. “They say everyone around the nation is getting better, these are the guys that they're talking about. Now we're all together having fun and winning together."

Ranked 22nd overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, schools such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas and USC are heavily pursuing the talented athlete as both a receiver and defensive back. With so much attention on the recruiting trail, Agholor is almost to the point where he narrows his list down to a more manageable five to 10.

"I have sort of an idea of a shorter list," he said. "That's between me and my coaches and parents right now. We're going to work something out and hopefully narrow it down soon.

"There's many things I'm looking for. When I first started recruiting, it was all about people and their morals, that was always number one. Academics is number two because I feel like there's a degree out there for everyone, it's up to you to go get it."

In terms of a decision, that will be awhile for the five-star athlete.

"I think I want to sign on National Signing Day," Agholor said. "I really want to think this all through. Schools know, who I'm in contact with, they know what type of interest is coming in and if not, I'm going to make it a little bit clearer soon."

Miller enjoys getting some pad work

While most of the skill position athletes were playing games, the big fellas down in the trenches were also having some fun and it came in something unique to The Opening: pads.

"It was fun, I haven't put pads on in awhile since I didn't play in the spring game," West Palm Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Patrick Miller said. "It was sweet, I got a little hitting time in."

Armed with full shoulder pads and helmets, the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive linemen were one of the highlights of the camp. For some players, such as Miller, who have largely been without contact, it did take a bit of an adjustment.

"Definitely, you're getting the cob webs out," he said. "You kind of forget how to pass set or something like that. But you're with all these great coaches and stuff and you get your technique back to where it was and everything. It's just part of getting ready for the season."

Working with former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley among others, the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Miller has been able to pickup plenty of small tips and tricks that should serve him well going into his senior year.

"There's just so many small, miscellaneous things," Miller said. "I mean a pro tells you, and you're like, alright and you listen to him then. The only people I like to listen to is my head coach, my position coach but obviously, if an NFL player says it, you know it's right."

As one of the top offensive tackles in South Florida, Miller has offers from just about every SEC school, as well as Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami and others. He has taken several unofficial visits recently and will likely take a few more between now and trimming his list down.

"I think I'm going to narrow it down in the middle of the season," Miller said. "I know I'm going to visit Oklahoma and North Carolina. I've already visited Auburn, LSU and Tennessee and Florida too. I liked them all a lot, I liked Auburn a lot obviously. After taking these visits, I definitely was thinking I wanted to commit somewhere but now I realize I just want to wait and weigh my options. There might be something better out there for me."
 
Mangum sharp again in 7-on-7 setting

If you wanted to have a good 7-on-7 team at an event like this, you needed to pick a good quarterback. Noted quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr., who has worked Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton among others, was in charge of drafting “Team Vapor Carbon” with rookie Patrick Peterson. It's no surprise that Whitfield's acumen was on the money as Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum was the top signal caller throughout the day.

"I'm just doing my best to make them look good," Mangum said. "I know they're talented, they're playmakers, so I'm just doing my best to make good decisions and keep up with them. It's an honor to be playing with them so I don't want to make them look bad."

Mangum team featured Notre Dame-bound receiver Deontay Greenberry, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis and plenty of other impressive skill position players. Being able to throw to such a talented group was nice for the 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback but that wasn't the biggest take away from the event.

"There's so many things but I think it's forming relationships with these guys," Mangum said. "These are the top players from across the country and you wouldn't have any other chance to meet them but here. It's an honor to be considered among them and it's been even better getting to know them."

As a BYU commitment for several months, Mangum is one of several players who are already dead-set on their college of choice. With 11 players on his team who have not made a commitment and plenty more at the event, there has surprisingly not been many conversations asking him for advice on the recruiting process.

"Not too much," he said. "Everyone here is pretty set in where they're going, there's a few guys that aren't committed. There aren't any here, but I'm doing my best to recruit some guys to get to the "Y." Dylan Collie and I are working together to get some guys to BYU. There's some big recruits that have committed there and I think that 2012 recruiting class will be pretty good."

The recruiting class that the pair is apart of is the Cougar's first as a football independent. The opportunity to go out on their own and the advantages with that are a big draw for several recruits according to Mangum.

"I think it's helping a lot, it's a big positive," he said. "It allows us to play some big time teams on national television and I think guys draw to that and want to play for that. It's helping out a lot."

The Opening is not the only national competition Mangum is taking part in. He will head down to Pepperdine in a little over a week for the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp, something he lights up when asked about it.

"I'm very excited," Mangum said. "I've grown up watching that since I was a kid and it's always been a dream of mine. So it's a dream come true for sure."

Dawson sees two recruiting him hard

One of the more physically imposing defenders on the field was 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker Nick Dawson. Flying across the country from Charlotte (N.C.) to the Nike campus was no problem for the talented athlete as he's having a blast so far at The Opening.

"Everything's great," Dawson said. "It's so unique it doesn't make sense. And every day it gets better and better. I'm just out here to compete with the top 150 and I'm doing going good."

Like many players, the opportunity to interact and learn from NFL players has been a moment that often leaves Dawson in awe as he receives tips from the best of the best.

"I'm just getting coached up, you can't ask for any more than this,” he said. “Aaron Curry is out here coaching the linebackers Ray Rice with the running backs. Dwayne Bowe with the receivers, there's just so many unique athletes out here."

Holding offers from schools such as Arkansas, Auburn, Miami, USC and others, Dawson is trying to begin the arduous task of narrowing down his list of programs he is considering.

"Everything is going great with my recruiting," he said. "I'm trying to narrow it down but I don't really have a top five right now."

Just because it's tough to limit his options going forward, doesn't mean a few schools aren't standing out.

"Louisville and Clemson are recruiting me the hardest," he said. "I went to Clemson's camp and Louisville's also. They were great, everything was great. Both of the schools were perfect. I'm just trying to figure out which one is the best, best, best for me. I'm in the process of doing that right now."

Dawson had entertained thoughts of committing during The Opening but could not decide on a school enough to give his verbal pledge. He said he was unsure when he would eventually pull the trigger and commit.

Notes:

- It wasn't a great day of football for USC commitment Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. He banged his head against another player while making a play for a ball and ended up having to sit out most of the day (against his wishes it should be noted) after receiving stitches above his eye.

"Four. It wasn't too bad," Cope-Fitzpatrick said before getting to the bad news. "If football doesn't work out, I'm trying to be a model for Nike."

- Oregon commit Jake Rodrigues struggled mightily during 7-on-7, tossing more interceptions than touchdowns and misreading the defense a few times. He was able to throw the ball better as the day went on but he just wasn't as sharp as he was yesterday.

- USF-bound tight end Sean Price has performed well in 7-on-7 events before and did so once again Friday afternoon. He was able to use his big frame and speed to create mismatches and was a nice target in the red zone.

- All-around athlete Cedric Dozier is really rangy as a defensive back. He grabbed quite a few interceptions, including a nice one off Cal commit Zach Kline. Top ten defensive back Landon Collins also impressed in the secondary.

-  Number one ranked running back Johnathan Gray is a special back. Known for his rushing skills, he was explosive out of the backfield and displayed some soft hands. He lined up next to future Texas teammate Connor Brewer and the pair definitely had some chemistry out on the field.

- Tight end Taylor McNamara, headed to Arizona, had a really nice day and went up and caught some throws that very few people could get to. Ray Rice jokingly started calling him Todd Heap after making so many plays.

- The play of the day came from receiver Jaydon Mickens. The USC-bound athlete took a short pass and turned it into a 40+ yard touchdown by traversing the field three times and leaving several defenders unable to move. Even speedy Dwayne Bowe was impressed and quite excited about the play.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 11:28 am
 

Elite 11 Roster Unveiled

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The roster for the 2011 Elite 11 quarterback competition has been released, and it features some of the top signal-callers in the country. There are a few changes to the event itself, which expands the roster from 11 to 24 and goes from a four-day event to five. The annual competition will be held at the picturesque Pepperdine campus in Malibu, Calif.

Notable alumni at the event include Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, Troy Smith, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow and Blaine Gabbert. This year's lineup features the following players from the class of 2012:

Austin Appleby (North Canton, Ohio)
Committed to Purdue

Connor Brewer (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Committed to Texas

Neal Burcham
(Greenbrier, Ark.)

Tyler Cameron (Jupiter, Fla.)

Preston Dewey (Austin, Texas)
Committed to Miami

Shane Dillon (El Cajon, Calif.)
Committed to Colorado

Bart Houston (Concord, Calif.)
Committed to Wisconsin

Chad Kelly (Buffalo. N.Y.)
Committed to Clemson

Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.)

Zach Kline (Danville, Calif.)
Committed to Cal

Jeff Lindquist (Mercer Island, Wash.)
Committed to Washington

Tanner Mangum (Eagle, Idaho)
Committed to BYU

Tyler Matthews (McPherson, Kan.)
Committed to TCU

Cyler Miles (Denver, Colo.)
Committed to Washington

Tyler O’Connor (Lima, Ohio)
Committed to Michigan State

Nick Patti (Orlando, Fla.)
Committed to Boise State

Zeke Pike (Fort Mitchell, Ky.)
Committed to Auburn

Patton Robinette (Maryville, Tenn.)
Committed to North Carolina

Jake Rodrigues (Rocklin, Calif.)
Committed to Oregon

Grant Rohach (Moorpark, Calif.)
Committed to Iowa State

Patrick Towles (Fort Thomas, Ky.)
Committed to Kentucky

Chad Voytik (Cleveland, Tenn.)

Travis Wilson (San Clemente, Calif.)
Committed to Utah

Jameis Winston (Hueytown, Ala.)
Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 11:31 am
 

June ACC Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's the final week in June and as the temperature gauge continues to rise and we move into July, it's time to see how schools are building their recruiting class of 2012. Today we'll take a look at the verbal commitments for the ACC, where most of the conference has gone over the double-digit commitment mark.

  Boston College (4)

Offensive lineman Jim Cashman (Haddonfield, N.J.)
Tight end Sam Grant (North Royalton, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Win Homer (Christchurch, Va.)
Linebacker Tim Joy (North Chelmsford, Mass.)
Offensive lineman Frank Taylor (Warminster, Pa.)


  Clemson (12)

Defensive lineman Martin Aiken (Bamberg, S.C.)
Defensive back Travis Blanks (Tallahassee, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 member
Athlete Zac Brooks (Jonesboro, Ark.)
Linebacker T.J. Burrell (Goose Creek, S.C.)
Offensive lineman Patrick Destefano (Roebuck, S.C.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 member
Defensive back Ronald Geohaghan (Fairfax, S.C.)
Offensive lineman Jay Guillermo (Marryville, Tenn.)
Athlete Germone Hopper (Charlotte, N.C.)
Quarterback Chad Kelly (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Defensive end Shaquille Lawson (Central, S.C.)
Kicker Bradley Pinion (Concord, N.C.)
Defensive back Cordrea Tankersley (Aiken, S.C.)


  Duke (11)

Tight end Daniel Beilinson (Cary, N.C.)
Offensive lineman Casey Blaser (Charlotte, N.C.)
Defensive end Allen Jackson (Owings Mills, Md.)
Kicker Ross Martin (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio)
Wide receiver Max McCaffrey (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
Defensive back Dwayne Norman (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Wide receiver Erich Schneider (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
Offensive lineman Tanner Stone (Dallas, Texas)
Linebacker Deion Williams (Orange, Calif.)
Defensive end A.J. Wolfe (Tarrytown, N.Y.)
Defensive end Carlos Wray (Shelby, N.C.)


  Florida State (13)

Kicker Roberto Aguayo (Groveland, Fla.)
Punter Cason Beatty (Charlotte, N.C.)
Athlete Chris Casher (Mobile, Ala.)
Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (Denton, Texas), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 member
Linebacker Ukeme Eligwe (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 member
Offensive lineman James Hamilton (Orlando, Fla.)
Tight end Christo Kourtzidis (Orange, Calif.)
Quarterback Sean Maguire (West Orange, N.J.)
Running back Mario Pender (Cape Coral, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 member
Defensive tackle Dalvon Stuckey (De Funiak Springs, Fla.)
Offensive tackle Alphonse Taylor (Mobile, Ala.)
Defensive back P.J. Williams (Ocala, Fla.)


  Georgia Tech (7)

Athlete Dennis Andrews (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Defensive tackle Pat Gamble (Carrollton, Ga.)
Defensive end Junior Gnonkonde (Lakeland, Ga.)
Defensive end Francis Kallon (Lawrenceville, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Chase Roberts (Norcross, Ga.)
Linebacker Tyler Stargel (Gulf Shores, Ala.)
Athlete Michael Summers (Statesboro, Ga.)


  Maryland (10)

Defensive end Roman Braglio (Owings Mills, Md.)
Offensive lineman Nick Brigham (Atlanta, Ga.)
Linebacker Brock Dean (Harrisburg, Pa.)
Wide receiver Malcolm Culmer (Willingboro, N.J.)
Defensive back Alvin Hill (Locust Grove, Ga.)
Quarterback Perry Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Wide receiver A.J. Liddell (Douglasville, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Mike Madaras (Olney, Md.)
Athlete Joe Riddle (Frederick, Md.)
Quarterback Caleb Rowe (Greer, S.C.)


  Miami (17)

Linebacker Keith Brown (Miami, Fla.)
Wide receiver Jontavious Carter (Cordele, Fla.)
Quarterback Gray Crow (Clearwater, Fla.)
Defensive back Vernon Davis (Miami, Fla.)
Quarterback Preston Dewey (Austin, Texas)
Offensive lineman Ereck Flowers (Miami, Fla.)
Defensive end Jelani Hamilton (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 member
Defensive end Dwayne Hoilett (Vero Beach, Fla.)
Defensive back Larry Hope (Miami, Fla.)
Wide receiver Angelo Jean-Louis (Wellington, Fla.)
Running back Randy "Duke" Johnson (Miami, Fla.)
Wide receiver D'Mauri Jones (Leesburg, Fla.)
Linebacker Raphael Kirby (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Defensive back Amos "A.J." Leggett (Miami, Fla.)
Defensive end Jake O'Donnell (Doylestown, Pa.)
Defensive end Trent Taylor (Lakeland, Fla.)
Quarterback David Thompson (Miami, Fla.)


  North Carolina (10)

Athlete Kedrick Davis (Charlotte, N.C.)
Defensive back Nate Dortch (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Tight end Terrance Knox (Concord, N.C.)
Linebacker Dan Mastromatteo (Absecon, N.J.)
Tight end Justin Meredith (Anderson, S.C.)
Defensive tackle J.J. Patterson (Roanoke Rapids, N.C.)
Linebacker Shakeel Rashad (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Quarterback Patton Robinette (Maryville, Tenn.)
Linebacker Christian Russell (Chatham, Va.)
Athlete Phillip Williamson (Durham, N.C.)


  N.C. State (4)

Defensive back Niles Clark (Marietta, Ga.)
Wide receiver Xavier Griffin (Newark, Del.)
Defensive back Josh Sessoms (Bailey, N.C.)
Defensive back James Summers (Greensboro, N.C.)

  Virginia (11)

Defensive back Demeitre Brim (Lakeland, Fla.)
Athlete Maurice Canady (Richmond, Va.)
Offensive lineman Tyrell Chavis (Richmond, Va.)
Offensive lineman Ryan Doull (Fork Union, Va.)
Linebacker Mark Hall (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Quarterback Matt Johns (Warrington, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Michael Mooney (Malvern, Pa.)
Linebacker Kwontie Moore (Norfolk, Va.)
Defensive end Michael Moore (Hyattsville, Md.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 member
Athlete Max Valles (Hammonton, N.J.)
Athlete Wilfred Wahee (Norfolk, Va.)


  Virginia Tech (12)

Running back J.C. Coleman (Chesapeake, Va.)
Wide receiver Desmond Frye (Chester, Va.)
Athlete Der'Woun Greene (Portsmouth, Va.)
Tight end Dakota Jackson (Roanoke, Va.)
Defensive end Jarontay Jones (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Defensive back Donaldven Manning (Miami, Fla.)
Linebacker Dahman McKinnon (Hope Mills, N.C.)
Athlete Brenden Motley (Christianburg, Va.)
Athlete Mario Nixon (Norfolk, Va.)
Defensive back Donovan Riley (Norfolk, Va.)
Defensive back Davion Tookes (Fairburn, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Jack Willenbrock (Exton, Pa.)


  Wake Forest (3)

Tight end Anthony Rook (Greenville, N.C.)
Offensive lineman Joel Suggs (Randleman, N.C.)
Defensive back LaRonji Vason (Prattville, Ala.)

Category: NCAAF
Tags: A.J. Leggett, A.J. Liddell, A.J. Wolfe, ACC, ACC Commit List, Allen Jackson, Alphonse Taylor, Alvin Hill, Angelo Jean-Louis, Angelo Jean-Louis, Anthony Rook, Boston College, Bradley Pinion, Brenden Motley, Brock Dean, Caleb Rowe, Carlos Wray, Casey Blaser, Cason Beatty, Chad Kelly, Chase Roberts, Chris Casher, Christian Russell, Christo Kourtzidis, Clemson, Cordrea Tankersley, D'Mauri Jones, Dahman McKinnon, Dakota Jackson, Dalvon Stuckey, Dan Mastromatteo, Dan Mastromatteo, Daniel Beilinson, Dante Fowler Jr., David Thompson, Davion Tookes, Deion Williams, Demeitre Brim, Dennis Andrews, Der'Woun Greene, Desmond Frye, Donaldven Manning, Donovan Riley, Duke, Duke Johnson, Dwayne Hoilett, Dwayne Norman, Ereck Flowers, Ereck Flowers, Erich Schneider, Florida State, Francis, Frank Taylor, Georgia Tech, Germone Hopper, Gray Crow, J.C. Coleman, J.J. Patterson, Jack Willenbrock, Jake O'Donnell, James Hamilton, James Summers, Jarontay Jones, jay Guillermo, Jelani Hamilton, Jim Cashman, Joe Riddle, Joel Suggs, Jontavious Carter, Josh Seeoms, June Commitment List, Junior Gnonkonde, Justin Meredith, Justin Meredith, Kallon, Kedrick Davis, Keith Brown, Kwontie Moore, LaRonji Vason, Larry Hope, Malcolm Culmer, Mario Edwards Jr., Mario Nixon, Mario Pender, Mark Hall, Martin Aiken, Maryland, Matt Johns, Maurice Canady, Max McCaffrey, Max Valles, Miami, Michael Mooney, Michael Moore, Mike Madaras, Mmichael Summers, N.C. State, Nate Dortch, Nick Brigham, Niles Clark, North Carolina, P.J. Williams, Pat Gamble, Patrick Destefano, Patton Robinette, Perry Hills, Phillip Williamson, Phillip Williamson, Preston Dewey, Raphael Kirby, Raphael Kirby, Roberto Aguayo, Roman Braglio, Ronald Geohaghan, Ross Martin, Ryan Doull, Sam Grant, Sean Maguire, Sean Maguire, Shakeel Rashad, Shaquille Lawson, T.J. Burrell, Tanner Stone, Terrance Knox, Terrance Knox, Tim Joy, Travis Blanks, Trent Taylor, Tyler Stargel, Tyrell Chavis, Ukeme Eligwe, Ukeme Eligwe, Vernon Davis, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Wilfred Wahee, Win Homer, Xavier Griffin, Zac Brooks
 
Posted on: June 21, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 3:29 pm
 

Clemson adds talented Arkansas athlete

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Clemson recruiting has picked up in the month of June with the Tigers landing six commitments for their upcoming class of 2012. Dabo Swinney and staff grabbed yet another commitment Monday night to make it seven this month as Jonesboro (Ark.) athlete Zac Brooks pledged to cross state lines and commit.

"No. 1 is a place in my heart," Brooks told TigerIllustrated.com. "I was led there by God and I prayed about it and Clemson kept coming back to me. No. 2, I like how they plan to use me in their offense in the backfield. No. 3 is the amazing company and people there."

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Brooks will mostly be a running back once he arrives on campus next fall. He scored 17 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,300 yards as a junior last year. The big draw to the school was playing for new offensive coordinator Chad Morris, who was also his primary recruiter.

"He did an amazing job," Brooks said of Morris. "He kept my head up and gave me real good advice. He was honest with me."

TigerIllustrated.com notes that Brooks is Clemson's first commitment from Arkansas since 1998. He is the 11th commitment overall for Clemson and gives them a solid backfield in the future with the recent commitment of Buffalo (N.Y.) quarterback Chad Kelly.

Posted on: May 31, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: May 31, 2011 10:12 am
 

5/31 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Quite the Memorial Day yesterday, especially if you were a Buckeye fan. Many thanks to all who have served or are serving now, for all that you do to protect this country. Now on to something very American, college football... recruiting links:

- Michigan and Michigan State are poised to take advantage of the issues at Ohio State.

- Tom Lemming talked about all of the Miami commitments and had this to say about them

- Some strong words from Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson on the topic of oversigning. 

- Two Williams, Duaron and Leonard, dominated to win the Under Armour Big Man Challenge

- Offensive line is an area of need for Michigan that the staff has to address. 

- Running back Keith Byars Jr. and quarterback Kevin Anderson will be two players to watch in the Miami area.

- A few Chicago area players who have made a name for themelves this spring

- A look at the rise of tight end Kent Taylor

- Clemson is making a push for quarterback Chad Kelly, newphew of NFL quarterback Jim Kelly. 
Posted on: May 21, 2011 2:00 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 12:59 am
 

Winston, Kiel impress at Ohio State Elite 11

Posted by Bryan Fischer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The sixth and final stop of the Elite 11 quarterback competition turned out to be one of the best stops of the entire spring camp circuit. Three of the top four quarterbacks in the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 showed up and just about everyone met or exceeded expectations.

Hueytown (Ala.) signal caller Jameis Winston had the longest trip out of just about everyone who showed up Friday afternoon but came out throwing and looked sharp throughout the two and a half hour throwing session.

“I think it was a productive day. I did some good things, I could have done better on some things but I don't think I did anything bad,” Winston said.

Ranked as the second best quarterback in the class of 2012 by MaxPreps, the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder threw a very nice ball and was exceptional on fade routes where he could show off his arm. Winston was light on his feet during drills, moving well and showing off improved footwork – one area of his game where he felt he could have improved on even more.

“Drops,” he zeroed in on. “I'm not that comfortable with the five step drops, the seven step drops. When I'd hitch, I was on my back leg a lot. My arm made up for it but I've got to get better at it.

“What people don't know is that my whole life I was a Wing-T quarterback. I've only had two years in a spread system. I've really only had two years throwing the football.”

A true dual-threat quarterback who can beat a team with his arm and his legs, Winston admits he is still a little more comfortable when he's throwing on the run outside of the pocket.

“Well, god gave me the legs to do it,” he said with a smile. “I am comfortable running just because I have more space but I'm more comfortable in the pocket as well.”

Winston doesn't really have a preference for what type of system he plays in college and certainly has his pick of whichever spread or pro-style system suits him best. With well over 25 scholarship offers with his name on it headed to Hueytown once coaches can send written offers, Winston is only beginning to pare down his recruiting.

“I'm starting to narrow it down, but not quite (all the way down) yet,” Winston said. “I plan on committing in July. I've just got to get out more, my parents haven't been out with me a lot.”

The trip to Ohio State for the Elite 11 will afford Winston the opportunity to take an unofficial visit to see the Buckeyes. He'll be visiting with the coaching staff and see all the school has to offer on Saturday before returning home.

“I hope Terrelle Pryor is up there so I can meet that big guy,” he said, only half-joking. “I just want to meet with the coaches, talk with coach (Jim) Tressel a little bit. This is a dream, being up here. I'm practicing on the same field as people like Eddie George and all those guys.”

An unofficial visit to LSU is in the cards for next week and there are several more penciled in on the calendar as Winston looks to keep to his schedule and commit in July.

“I've got to take my parents down to Florida State, I've got to take them down there because that's a place where I could see myself playing at,” he said. “LSU, Florida State and Oklahoma too. Oklahoma is my favorite school growing up so I'm going to try and get down there. And Vanderbilt, I like Vanderbilt a lot too. I'm going to try and go out west and visit schools like UCLA and Stanford.”

Both in-state schools, Alabama and Auburn, are also heavily pursuing the star QB. Winston says he's open to leaving home however, and is searching for a school that meets his criteria because he isn't worried about staying too close to home.

“First of all, people say academics but I actually am looking at academics,” Winston said. “I have a good GPA, I'm at a 4.1 right now. So I'm looking for academics but I'm also looking for players around me that want to win, that's the main thing.”

A two-sport star, Winston is one of the top high school baseball players in the country. A five-tool player who stars in the outfield, at shortstop and as a pitcher, several baseball scouts think he could go in the first three rounds of the upcoming MLB draft. While he is leaving the football/baseball decision for another day, wrapping up spring football at his high school last week means it's time for him to shift gears and go grab his glove.

“Baseball is going great,” he said. “I start summer ball next week. I'm going to be out there hitting home runs and striking people out.”

Winston said Alabama's baseball program is recruiting him the hardest and if he were to redshirt his first year in college football, he'd try and focus on baseball before competing to be the starting quarterback in the spring. While the strength of a school's baseball programs seems to be secondary to that of its football program in terms of Winston's recruitment, it is still a factor.

Based on the way he threw the ball around the Elite 11 however, it would seem that his future belongs on the gridiron first and the diamond second.

Pike not pleased with his performance

Five-star quarterback Zeke Pike came into the Elite 11 excited to prove that he was one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. After nearly three hours of throwing in the humid Columbus air however, the talented player didn't feel like he brought his “A” game to the competition.

“I did alright,” Pike said. “I didn't throw the ball as well as I thought I would. I'm kind of sore, I've been working real hard this week because it's the last week of summer ball. No excuses but I did preform the way I wanted to.

“That's part of being a quarterback, you're going to have a good game and you're going to have a bad game and you've got to bounce back.”

The Edgewood (Ky.) quarterback struggled at times during the competition, usually with his accuracy. He tended to overstride a little and didn't throw as tight a spiral as he normally does. There might be a little bit of truth to his arm being just a little bit tired as he has had a non-stop schedule since the beginning of the year. On top of leading a 7-on-7 travel team, Pike's high school just wrapped up spring practices right before he made the trip up.

“It's going good, we finished our last thing yesterday,” he said. “We're done for the rest of the school year and then we'll start back up June 1st so it's exciting.

“I'm going to 7-on-7 in Dallas later this summer. I'll probably go down to (Auburn's summer camp) and throw. I'll probably go down there a few more times but we'll see.”

As Auburn's only commitment in the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 – he's 30th overall – Pike is the cornerstone in the Tigers' recruiting class. He plans on doing a bit of recruiting for the school at Saturday's Nike Camp and talked glowingly about his connection with the school and the coaching staff.

“It's a place I kind of fell in love with,” he said. “It's where I knew I'd be happy and I'd love going to school there for four or five years. When it all comes down to it, it's about more than just football. It's about where you'll be happy at, where you can be successful at and I felt it there and that's where I felt the most comfortable at too.”

While he's a solid verbal commitment to the Tigers, that hasn't stopped several schools from continuing to pursue the him.

“They still send me a lot of mail and emails and messages,” Pike said. “I don't really read them anymore. I don't talk to as many coaches anymore but I try to keep the lines open with a couple coaches just in case anything ever happens, you never know. But I'm committed to Auburn and I'm going to be loyal to them.”

Kempt an underclassman to keep an eye on

The Elite 11 events are always a good time to see how underclassmen perform against top competition. Massillion (Ohio) quarterback Kyle Kempt was one of several at the event to catch the eye of observers and with good reason as he flashed all the tools he needed to be successful at the next level.

“I felt very good. I felt like I did very well in the drills,” Kempt said. “I was pretty accurate and I didn't try and do something I couldn't do. I just did everything I could to make it a catchable ball for the receiver and come out and show what I've got.”

The 6-foot-5, 190 pound Kempt throws a very catchable ball in a tight spiral. He seemed a bit neverous at the beginning but grew more comfortable as the event went on and was sharp when throwing routes to wide receivers.

“In reality, you're just competing against everybody,” he said. “It's a lot of fun. You have some of the best quarterbacks in the nation here and it's awesome to be able to come out here and compete with them.”

Kempt performed at the Elite 11's first stop, in Orlando, but decided to come back and go through the ringer once again. It's all part of his strategy to go to as many camps as possible to both learn from instructors on how to be a better quarterback and also show off what he can do in hopes of picking up more scholarship offers.

“For college camps, we're going down to Alabama, we're going to go to USC, hopefully Stanford, then Oregon State and Washington.” He continued, “Then we're going to come back here and go to Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. We're going to do Notre Dame and Boston College and any other area camps we can find.”

Just a rising junior, Kempt already holds a verbal scholarship offer from Stanford and plenty of other schools are giving him a look.

“There are other schools showing interest,” he said. “I'm just going out and trying to prove myself and prove that they need to show a lot of interest in me.”

The offer from the Cardinal was a significant one for Kempt, not only because it was a major Division-I offer from a prestigious school, but because of the coach who saw something in him while he was just a sophomore.

“It meant a lot to me,” Kempt said. “Stanford is a great academic school. The guy who offered me was Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and (the offer) is still standing. Just to get it from him, from an NFL guy, it really meant a lot.”

Kempt is originally from Portland (Ore.) and moved to Ohio almost a year ago. While he now has roots in both the Midwest and the West Coast, where he eventually goes to school doesn't matter as much as some of the other criteria he is looking for in a program.

“A great campus, great academics,” he said. “I'm more of a pro-style offense quarterback so that's definitely the type of school I'm looking for. I really want a coaching staff that I can relate to and that I know I can go to for anything.”

Kempt's older brother was a backup quarterback at Oregon a few years ago and while he has talked with the Ducks a little, their spread system isn't the best fit for him so it's unlikely he'll head to his brother's alma matter. He is, however, already knee deep in the recruiting process and is able to go through it with ease thanks to the experience the family had with his brother.

“I've made an unofficial to Oregon State, I've made an unofficial to Washington,” he said. “I was actually here (at Ohio State) when they played Penn State and that was a great game. It was awesome, great atmosphere and some of the nicest people you'll meet.”

Based on his performance on the Ohio State practice fields Friday, don't be surprised to hear Kempt's name come up more and more as he makes his way around the country.

Notes

- Another underclassman who caught just about everyone's eye was Warren (Mich.) quarterback Shane Morris. While it probably had something to do with the way he was spinning the ball during the competition, he made sure everybody knew who he was by wearing a bright yellow Michigan shirt and cap. The recent commit to the school has good size and has an accurate arm. He plans on doing a bit of recruiting for the maize-and-blue at Saturday's Nike Camp.

- The country's top-ranked quarterback and number two overall player Gunner Kiel showed up and did not disappoint. He had to leave as soon as the camp was over but he was impressive from the first snap to the last. He's got a cannon for an arm and throws a really tight spiral. Kiel was the best looking quarterback at any of the Elite 11 stops and was extremely accurate in all phases.

He has plus footwork and physically looks ready to play at the next level immediately at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. He can shave a few ticks off his release but it's pretty good as is. His downfield throws were beauties, turning over the nose of the ball perfectly. Mechanically sound, he kept the ball high and should be a great pickup for whatever school lands him.

- North Canton (Ohio) quarterback Austin Appleby already has a double digit offer list but should see increased interest from BCS-level schools in the near future. He's got great size and a very strong arm. His release is a little long but has the makings of a BCS-level signal caller. His most recent offer was from Miami of Ohio and he's receiving heavy interest from Michigan State, Michigan and others.

“We really covered a lot of Big East schools during the spring,” Appleby said. “Louisville, Syracuse, Connecticut they all said I'm very high on their board. In the SEC, Vanderbilt seemed very impressed. A lot of them are real close and they say they it's just going to take a camp date (to get an offer).”

- Monroe (Conn.) quarterback Casey Cochran was sharp in yet another camp and should continue to get more interest as the year goes on. He just picked up an offer from Boston College and plans to go to camps at UConn, Temple and Syracuse among others.

- Buffalo (N.Y.) quarterback Chad Kelly can really move and has the arm to throw it around the field, he was sharp all day and can really spin it.

- A few others who impressed were TCU commit Tyler Matthews, Matt Alviti from Park Ridge (Ill.), Sean Maguire of West Orange (N.J.) and Brian Blackburn from Detroit (Mich.).

 
 
 
 
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