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Tag:Elite 11
Posted on: August 4, 2011 7:33 pm
 

Halfway to Signing Day: Pac-12 Edition

Posted by Bryan Fischer

We're right about halfway to Signing Day and that means it is time to take a look at the Pac-12 and see how the conference is shaping up on the recruiting trail. Here's a few accolades for a few of the programs who are making head way (or not) at this point in August.

Pac-12 Commitment List

Best class: Washington

Hard to believe in such a good year for talent in the West but the Pac-12 is home to only two Top 100 commits at the halfway point and one of them belongs to the Huskies (the other is committed to USC). Steve Sarkisian has mined California well for some players and added a pair of Elite 11 quarterbacks for the future. This class could still add some talented in-state linemen so the program could get even better by Signing Day.

Work left to do: Cal

The Bears have one of the smallest classes in the country and though they have four very good players in it... there's just four players. They have a possible freshman starter in quarterback Zach Kline and perhaps this summer's best wide receiver Bryce Treggs but there's been little movement in adding to them. The Bears are in on a lot of prospects and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi is one of the better recruiters out there but things need to pick up in Berkeley.

Under the radar class: USC

It doesn't get the flash that it used to due to NCAA sanctions but the Trojans have a very good class that is getting close to being full. Arik Armstead can be an elite offensive tackle if he goes that route and Jabari Ruffin and Scott Starr are two very nice players who could log some major minutes down the road. Lane Kiffin has talked about not missing evaluations and so far, he's got a good class that may not be big on star power but does have a lot of talented athletes in it.

Top commit: Athlete Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif.), committed to USC.

Loading up: Arizona and Arizona State on offensive linemen (4), Arizona State on linebackers (4), Stanford on wide receivers (4).

Frequent Fliers: Stanford with commitments from seven states.

Fence builders: USC, all of the school's commitments are from California.

Road to Signing Day storyline: Will anyone break into the top 10?

With USC on the sidelines due to a numbers crunch, the conference is looking for someone to step up and fill the void in a very good year for talent out on the West Coast. Arizona State is close to being full but they don't have any elite talent committed yet. Washington could certainly get there if they can pull one of the two Top 100 lineman from in-state. Oregon hasn't yet received any championship game bounce but they've been able to get some surprises late in the game recently. It's kind of hard to figure out if anyone will be able to crack the top 10 but there should be a few schools with a shot at it on Signing Day.

Top 25 Teams:
17. Arizona State
18. Washington

Posted on: August 3, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Top quarterback Winston commits to Florida State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

If you are a college head coach looking for a Top 100 quarterback in the class of 2012, that ship has pretty much sailed.

The nation's top dual-threat quarterback and number two overall at the position, Hueytown (Ala.) signal-caller Jameis Winston made his decision and came off everyone's recruiting board as he verbally committed to Florida State Wednesday afternoon.

"I'm just comfortable that's where I want to be," Winston said on national television. "I'm very confident and see myself there in the near future."

The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder is a threat to beat you with his arm and his legs. He was recently named an MVP at the Elite 11 quarterback competition in California and has a terrific blend of athleticism that just gives defenses fits. Winston is still a bit raw but provides the Seminoles with a future star at the position.

While at the Elite 11 last month, he was able to get a glimpse at his future by asking current Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel about what it takes to be the quarterback in Tallahassee.

"I've asked him about Florida State and their program," Winston said. "He's been pretty real with me. He's told me the ups and downs - there's not many downs but he told me some."

Alabama and LSU were Winston's other finalists. Living about an hour from Tuscaloosa, it was tough to pass on the local football powerhouse but the talented quarterback is extremely happy with his decision even if a few others are not.

"Alabama fans, they're probably going to hate me," he said on television. "But my job right now is not to please the fans in general. I'm just focused on leading my high school team to a state championship."

Winston is also an excellent baseball player and has said he would bypass football if he was drafted high enough. Although he's projected to go anywhere to the middle rounds to the first, baseball was not the first thing on his mind Wednesday as he made his decision. If he does end up enrolling in college, he will play both sports and, by going to Florida State, will likely redshirt with Manuel firmly entrenched as the starter this season.

"I'm thinking about it, the baseball draft is coming soon," Winston said. "But right now I'm just focused on leading my team to a state championship and baseball will come later."

Last season as a junior, Winston threw for 2,334 yards and 17 touchdowns against just four interceptions. He is Jimbo Fisher's 16th commitment for the class of 2012 and second quarterback to join the fold.


Image for MaxPreps Video.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 4:12 pm
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Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:14 pm
 

Elite 11 quarterback makes the call for Pitt

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Just over a week ago at the Elite 11, Cleveland (Tenn.) quarterback Chad Voytik said he was down to Pitt and Vanderbilt. On Thursday, he made his choice and verbally committed to the Panthers.

"It fit in every area," Voytik told Panther-Lair.com. "The staff and I have always clicked, they've got the same beliefs as I do, I really like the offense they run there, and there's a great opportunity that I'm going to have. Plus, it's a great school."

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound quarterback displayed a strong arm during the competition in Malibu and outperformed other highly recruited quarterbacks at the event. Time after time he cited his ability to fit into head coach Todd Graham's offense and did so again after committing.

"It's like our high school's offense, it really is," Voytik said. "They ran it at Tulsa, and I feel like I fit in that really well. I think I can work in a pro-style, but the offense that they run, they throw it and put up big numbers and win games. I'm excited about that." 

Voytik is the 11th commitment in the Panthers' class of 2012 and is joined on offense by two wide receivers among others.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 7:40 am
 

7/27 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- It's still early but the son of former UFC fighter Kimbo Slice, Kevin Ferguson, is not too bad at football.

- Funny video from the smart guys over at The Solid Verbal on the Elite 11 quarterback camp, featuring Trent Dilfer.

USC commit Arik Armstead is exploring playing both football and basketball for the Trojans.

Some video of new Oklahoma recruit Charles Tapper.

 Brady Hoke is continuing the tradition Rich Rodriguez started of having a BBQ at the Big House.

 It's been a bit of a role reversal at N.C. State and North Carolina and that has affected recruiting.

 Arizona has offered athlete Jonavaughn Williams.

 A look at some remaining targets on the board for Ohio State.

 Florida extended an offer to defensive end Bryan Cox Jr.

Commitments:

Big, big pickup for Memphis by keeping running back Sheldon Dawson close to home.

 The nephew of Olympian Gail Devers, cornerback C.J. Moore, has committed to play for Virginia.

 Defensive end Evan Winston has committed to Missouri and wants to... deliver babies?

 Michigan got their fullback for 2012 in Sione Houma.

 Quarterback A.J. Bilyeu will play his college ball at Air Force.
Posted on: July 23, 2011 5:03 pm
 

Elite 11 Top Performers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

MALIBU, Calif. -- The 2011 edition of the Elite 11 quarterback competition wrapped up on Friday on the gorgeous campus of Pepperdine University. With 24 of the country's best signal-callers in attendance, it was tough to narrow down the list to 11. The staff at the event had their list of 11 and here's a breakdown of how CBSSports.com saw it after watching everyone throw (in alphabetical order).

Neal Burcham (Greenbrier, Ark.)

Burcham rolled into the Elite 11 as an unknown with only one offer (from Central Arkansas) but left with everyone excited to see how his recruitment will take off - because it will. There was no glaring hole in his game and he was able to make all the throws. He's got good height but might be a tad on the thin side, nothing to scare teams off though. He makes a quick decision during 7-on-7 drills and 99% of the time it's the right one. The coaching staff were shaking their heads at how he could be so lightly recruited and after seeing him, so were we.

Bart Houston (Concord, Calif.), Committed to Wisconsin

If there's one thing you think when watching Houston, it's how he really is a perfect fit for Wisconsin. He's cerebral in the pocket and can diagnose what is going on quickly, then delivers a precision strike. There's nothing that jumps off the page with him but that's because he's solid in every area you look at. He knows when to check down and didn't seem to force anything all week.

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

Kelly has had a productive July, looking good at The Opening and turning in another good performance at the Elite 11. He has a strong arm and was able to get the ball to the perfect spot. Kelly was outgoing on the sidelines with his fellow campers but once he was on the field, he got very serious. Just an overall good performance by the Clemson commit.

Zach Kline (Danville, Calif.), Committed to Cal

Kline had the best arm out of anyone in Malibu and one of the receivers even remarked he was surprised at how quickly the ball got to him. He tossed some beautiful fade routes and there really wasn't any spot on the field he couldn't get it to. There are times where he'll be a bit wild or take a chance he shouldn't but Kline no doubt proved he was the top quarterback on the West Coast.

Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.)

Kiel is the nation's top quarterback and number two overall player and did nothing at the Elite 11 to suggest otherwise. He's one of the most polished prospects to come out of high school in some time and has great mechanics and a very strong arm. He lapsed at times but nevertheless showed everything you look for in a future all-conference quarterback.

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

Lindquist turned in his best performance of the summer and showed why it might be a tighter battle with fellow Washington commit Cyler Miles when they both get to campus. He was actually one of the few quarterbacks to have the arm strength to complete one drill that focused on using only the upper body. Lindquist threw a tight spiral all week and delivered a really catchable ball to the right spot just about every time.


Tanner Mangum (Eagle, Idaho), Committed to BYU

Not sure anyone has had a better month of July than Mangum. He proved he could not only hang with players more nationally recognized but that he was in the conversation to join them. Mangum has a really strong arm, sound mechanics and was a cerebral type who got the ball to where it needed to go. After watching him in action, he might be a better prospect out of high school than current Cougars starter Jake Heaps was.

Cyler Miles (Denver, Colo.), Committed to Washington

Miles was one of the bigger players at the event and looked more like some of the college players then the other high schoolers. Miles didn't have the strongest arm but he can make the throws. He had a really good week during 7-on-7 and was making the right reads. The event didn't allow him to show off his athleticism but he used it to showcase his quarterback IQ.

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

Patti wasn't perfect all week but still threw the ball well enough to get on this list. Everyone brings up his height and if he were a few inches taller, he'd be on everybody's radar. Based on what he showed at the Elite 11, it doesn't matter how tall he is, he's a flat-out player. Patti can deliver the ball on a rope but also knows when to put some touch on the ball. He was a little off on downfield throws but very good on short to intermediate routes.

Chad Voytik (Cleveland, Tenn.)

Voytik is very compact and drops back very quickly and fluidly. There's no doubt he had one of the strongest arms at the camp and the ball just flew out of his hands. It was really impressive to seem him spin the ball and he proved that he deserved the national recognition that he was craving.

Jameis Winston (Hueytown, Ala.)

Winston really had a good week and was at the top of his game. He's been playing mostly baseball and was a bit skinny but still could spin the ball well. Watch Winston in a game and his athleticism pops out but in a different setting this week, he showed in he is a complete player by making reads and every throw the playbook.

Just missed the cut: Shane Dillon, Zeke Pike, Patrick Towles, Travis Wilson.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:50 am
 

7/21 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One of the top 2013 running backs, Altee Tenpenny, has picked up offers from Alabama and Auburn but is staying grounded.

A mid-July Minnesota recruiting update.

Derrick Henry's commitment to Georgia is surprising to all, even his high-school coach.

Michigan State commit Tyler O'Connor is one of the players in the Elite 11.

Mississippi State's Dan Mullen spoke out about recruiting services.

Commitments:

Wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo committed to Maryland.

Nice pick up for Missouri in offensive lineman Simon Goines.

Offensive lineman Chester Brown is a big body for Georgia.

Nose guard Shelldon Lewinson committed to Wake Forrest.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 2:34 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 3:31 pm
 

Double the fun on Day 3 of the Elite 11

Posted by Bryan Fischer

MALIBU, Calif. -- As if the picturesque Pepperdine campus was not enough for the Elite 11 campers, the competition literally moved within steps of the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday as 24 of the top quarterbacks in the country were put through two workouts and the first 7-on-7 drills of the five-day long process to determine the best high school quarterback in the country.

For Scottsdale (Ariz.) five-star Connor Brewer, the Elite 11 was yet another stop on the busy summer camp schedule and one, when he stopped to think about it, that was among the best he's attended.

"A couple of weeks ago I was at The Opening and played with the best athletes, and here I'm playing with the best quarterbacks in the nation," Brewer said. "It's a couple of great camps in a row. This one is really special for me."

In addition to a slight location change to a nearby off-campus field, there were several notable differences between Wednesday's workouts and the previous two days of competition.

"The main difference today was we woke up and Coach (Trent) Dilfer told us we were ranked 1-24 based on how we preformed," Brewer said. "Luckily I was No. 5, tied with Gunner Kiel. That's not fine for me, I definitely want to be that No. 1. It's something to keep working towards.

"The 7-on-7 drills, it got a little hectic. It got better as it went on but it's a fun day."

Brewer has been sharp but has struggled at times to be consistent with his accuracy on intermediate to deep throws. Looking to move from fifth up to first by the end of camp, Brewer has already identified a few areas he will work on the final two days in hopes of ascending to the top spot.

"I think I need to participate more in film sessions, answer more questions and definitely start picking their brain," he said. "I also need to start making some of the deep passes. I just have to keep up the hard work and keep competing with all these guys."

Although the Texas commit's recruitment has been shut down for some time, that hasn't stopped the Longhorns' first class of 2012 commitment from recruiting others. One of his top targets has been fellow Arizonan and offensive tackle Andrus Peat.

"I think in about a week he's visiting Texas," Brewer said. "He was going to go on the 23rd then he changed it to the 25th so I was going to make it up with him but our school camp was at that time. But he's going up there and it's going to be a lot of fun for him, I know he's going to love it and I'm excited for him to see Texas.

"I know he can get in there and play at an early stage, which is big for him. Everybody we have committed, all the guys we've got, he would fit in perfectly. His personality, he's a great kid. Coach (Mack) Brown recruits only the best kids. He's been talking to some of our recruits and I think just getting that familiarity with everybody is going to help him."

Peat isn't the only high-profile target Brewer has his sights on, as he thinks another out-of-state player would look pretty good in burnt orange on Signing Day

"Nelson Agholor, I'm trying to get him," Brewer said. "Whether he's playing safety or wide receiver, he can do it all. We'll see how that works out."

There's been plenty of talk about The Longhorn Network recently, and as one of the first commits that will see the channel on the air, the out-of-state player is looking forward to the opportunity for the school.

"It's really exciting to know that everyday there's going to be a whole ESPN channel just for you and your team," he said. "It's going to be sweet and a lot of publicity obviously. It could be good and could be bad sometimes but I think it's going to be pretty awesome.

"I've heard that they are going to find a (high school football) game, probably do it on one of our games. It's going to be fun. I definitely want to be in a broadcast, that's awesome. I'm excited to go compete, especially on that network and that stage."

Many people have talked about the recruiting advantage Texas will have with a channel dedicated to them. Brewer was quick to point out that the coaching staff never promised he'd be on the network in exchange for his verbal pledge to the school.

"No they never said that," he said. "Just kind of once it came along, obviously the first commit, the quarterback commit, that kind of started coming up. That's just kind of how it went on. The coaches really never said anything to me but if they did, I would have liked that."

Kelly fitting right in - as himself

If there was one person who truly, truly appreciated the temperate climate in Southern California this week, it was Buffalo (N.Y.) signal-caller Chad Kelly. Despite a little fog from the marine layer in the morning session, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder had no problems enjoying himself tossing the football around Wednesday.

"This is great, to be out in Malibu, you don't see weather like this in Buffalo," Kelly said. "It's just great to be out here with all these quarterbacks, you've talked with some of them before but now to be playing football with them, it's just great."

Like many of his fellow quarterbacks looking to make the jump from high school to the college after this upcoming season, the chance to pick up on certain things that their high-school coaches aren't teaching has been a big takeaway from the event.

"Just the progressions, PSLs, pure progression stuff, that's big time," Kelly said. "Coming from someone like Coach Dilfer, that's key. Being in high school and playing against teams that are good, that will come in handy, and against teams that are bad, that just means putting up more points. It's excellent just learning out here."

As the nephew of Hall-of-Famer Jim Kelly, the young quarterback has always avoided treading too much on his uncle's legacy and is determined to make sure he's on his own path to success -- hopefully, with nobody even knowing about the connection between the two.

"I try not to think about it, but it's always in the back of your mind," he said. "He's one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, ever, in the NFL. You try not to think about (the comparison). I don't tell people, I'd rather nobody know. All these quarterbacks out here, I doubt half of them even know who he is or know I'm related to him. I really just try to play it off and be me as much as I can."

Committed to Clemson since the middle of June, Kelly is part of another very good recruiting class for Dabo Swinney and the Tigers. After a few unofficial visits down South, he found the Clemson program was simply the fit for him.

"Everything. From the stadium to the people to the coaching staff," he said. "Everybody is passionate about football, they want their people to graduate, they want them to be good people in society. There's so much that went into it and I knew right from the start when I got there that it was the right place."

Recently hired from Tulsa, new Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is a big factor in Kelly choosing the school, and the pair have become close despite not knowing each other for that long.

"We talk all the time," he said. "He's always messaging me on Facebook. He's awesome and everybody there is, too. He's new but the offense that they run is perfect for me, I run it in high school. It's going to be a lot of fun."

The good-natured Kelly has no problem representing his school, having shaved the Tigers logo into his head a few weeks ago at The Opening and reminding fellow Elite 11 camper and Auburn commit Zeke Pike who would win the game between the two schools this upcoming season.

"Clemson," Kelly says with a smile. "For sure. With the athletes they've got this year… it's going to be fun watching them, it's going to be a show."

Voytik down to two

The Elite 11 isn't just about the players who reside in recruiting services' top 100 lists; it's also a chance for some lesser-known prospects to get their chance to prove themselves on a national stage. Cleveland (Tenn.) quarterback Chad Voytik has been a bit under the radar to some fans, but the talented player has proved he belongs over the past few days at the competition.

"I came out strong and I felt like I built on that," Voytik said. "There’s a lot of good quarterbacks out here so I’m really trying to focus on my self and not worry about the other guys. Of course I want to compete and know what I’m up against, but I’m going to stick to what I know and who I am."

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound signal-caller has one of the strongest arms at the camp and a compact throwing motion that can really deliver the ball quickly.

“I feel like I’m right at the top with my accuracy and arm strength. I think I'm with the best guys out here," he said. "I know I’m not the tallest, but I feel like I make up for it with my intangibles.”

Voytik holds scholarship offers from several schools in the South but has narrowed his recruiting options to two schools as he looks to make a decision soon, possibly after the Elite 11 is over.

“It’s Pitt and Vandy," Voytik said. "I’m down to those two schools for the most part. I really like Pitt right now. They’re probably the leader. But Vandy’s close behind.”

New Panthers coach Todd Graham has not been afraid to expand the program's recruiting to grab quality prospects such as Voytik. On the quarterback's end, the school has plenty of things going for it as he looks at the positives and negatives of each option.

“It’s just the fit, the coaching staff and the kind of offense they run,” he said. “They opportunity (to play early) is the main factor. I’ve been there twice, and I loved it when I was up there.”

In-state program Vanderbilt has built some momentum on the recruiting trail with a string of quality commitments recently, and that is certainly something working in the school's favor.

“They’re getting some great recruits,” Voytik said. “They’ve got a bunch of Tennessee kids like (running back Brian) Kimbrow. That’s a good program, I feel like they’re on the rise. It may be a year or two, but I feel like they’re going to turn things around and it’s a good school.”

Based on all indications however, it looks like the Tennessee native will head to the northeast to play his college ball.


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