Tag:Jameis Winston
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:35 am

1/17 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Texas had six recruits enroll early this week.

 Tennessee can sign a full 25 players with the roster they currently have.

 More on the Cal/Tosh Lupoi saga and the impact on Shaq Thompson and Arik Armstead.

 UCF grabbed two quarterbacks, including transfer maven Tyler Gabbert.

 Can Brent Pease recruit at Florida? Seems like it.

A recruiting profile of USC-bound safety Gerald Bowman.

 Arizona State's loss is Arizona's gain.

 Jameis Winston could be a boon to Florida State's offense.

 Utah grabbed two players out of Texas, a wide receiver and a defensive back.

 Josh Manley committed to Syracuse on Sunday.

 Xavier Stephens is going to be calling Nevada home.

 Playing time was a factor so defensive end Javonte Magee picked Baylor.

 Running back Anthony Wales is going to make his way to Louisville.

Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:20 pm

2012 All-star game top performers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The three major all-star games are over and the recruits are all on their way back home as they settle into a big three week stretch before Signing Day rolls around. As the last high school competitions of the 2011 season, the games also gave us a chance to see how players do against future FBS talent. Based on the performances during the Semper Fi game, Under Armour All-American game and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, here's a few standouts at each position.


Jeff Lindquist, committed to Washington
Semper Fi game

The Huskies commits shined during all-star game week and Lindquist started things off by being the best QB in the Semper Fi game, tossing two touchdowns and keeping some plays alive with his feet when needed. He's got great pocket awareness and a strong arm, perfect fits in his future college system.

Cyler Miles, committed to Washington
Army All-American Bowl: 7-of-8, 155 yards, two total touchdowns

The co-MVP of the game, Miles was a savvy signal-caller who got the start for the West and was on point most of the game. He took some sacks but generally got the ball out quickly and was accurate in hitting his receivers. He throws a great deep ball and hit Dorial Green-Beckham for the play of the game on the longest touchdown pass in bowl history in the 2nd quarter.

Jameis Winston, committed to Florida State
Under Armour All-American game: 8-of-9, 178 yards and two touchdowns

The MVP, Winston is best described as a gamer. He wasn't perfect but used his legs to escape a collapsing pocket several times and nearly turned in some Michael Vick-esque plays. He was accurate in the passing game and delivered a beautiful deep ball to hit his target in stride for a 75-yard touchdown. If he sticks to football, the sky's the limit based on how good he is despite being raw.


Mike Davis, undecided
Army All-American Bowl: six carries for 16 yards, two catches for 31 yards

Davis showed a great blend of speed and power and had the burst to get out of the hole and into daylight. He had a nice move that he bounced to the sideline for a 26 yard gain and was one of the few East offensive players who could get things going.

Randy 'Duke' Johnson, committed to Miami
Under Armour All-American game: nine carries for 50 yards, three catches for 18 yards, 161 all-purpose yards

It's pretty clear who the best back in the state of Florida is after Johnson put his moves on display for a national audience. His ability to weave in and out of tackles is remarkable and he's got the vision and moves to take advantage of even the smallest amount of space. His 83-yard kick return had him cutting across the field at least three times before being pushed out just short of the end zone. Johnson is clearly a threat to score every time he has the ball in his hands.

T.J. Yeldon, committed to Alabama
Army All-American Bowl: five carries for 16 yards, three catches for 39 yards

The Tide get another great back in Yeldon, who seemed to kick it in an extra gear whenever a defender came near him. He's got great athleticism and showed it off with a leaping try for the endzone that came up just short. He is an every down back with the way he can come out of the back field to catch passes or run between the tackles.


Marvin Bracy, committed to Florida State
Under Armour All-American game: two catches for 56 yards and a touchdown

Need speed? Bracy has plenty of it and flaunted it by getting behind several defensive backs as a deep threat. His touchdown came on a 32 yard catch that was easily one of the highlights of the week as he twisted around to grab the ball and held on for the score.

Amari Cooper, committed to Alabama
Under Armour All-American game: two catches for 95 yards and a touchdown

Cooper produced a play to start off the game for the White with a 75-yarder from Winston that set the tone in the Under Armour game. He ended up snagging the ball in stride over a defender and was off to the races after that. His blend of good hands and speed make him one of the top players in the country and underrated by anybody who doesn't think he can make a big impact in Tuscaloosa.

D.J. Foster, undecided
Semper Fi game

Foster was a multipurpose tool during the game and played at receiver, running back and took some snaps as a wildcat quarterback. He's a solid guy who can take the ball downhill while using his speed and quickness in the open field.

Dorial Green-Beckham, undecided
Army All-American Bowl: two catches, 88 yards and a touchdown

Green-Beckham had a pair of drops but the one-handed, record-setting grab he had in the first half was enough to overcome them. The first thing that stands out is his size, dwarfing anybody but one or two offensive linemen, and speed (definite two-stepper) that are some of the reasons why he's the top player in the class of 2012. He's still raw but his physical tools are unmatched by any wide out.

Jaydon Mickens, undecided
Semper Fi game

Mickens caught a touchdown and was named the MVP after doing just about everything he could in the West's victory. He nearly had a touchdown pass but the ball went off the receiver's hands but had several nice catch-and-runs to make up for it. He's shifty in traffic and if he's in open space, good luck catching him.


Jonathan Bullard, committed to Florida
Army All-American Bowl: one sack, three tackles

Bullard surprised with his strength and size from the end spot and gave the tackles trouble all game long. He was able to apply a constant stream of pressure and played the run well - a rarity in some of these games. He committed to Florida during the game and should be someone who plays early given how ready he looks for college.

Jordan Jenkins, uncommitted
Under Armour All-American game: eight tackles, two for loss, two sacks

Jenkins was playing out of position at tackle but made an impact with his quickness to get by offensive linemen with ease. He moved outside for a play or two but the ability to handle the interior line like he did was just another sign of a great player.

Noah Spence, committed to Ohio State
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, four for a loss, three sacks

There's a reason he's the number one defensive end in the nation as he was quick off the snap, had the power and agility to pass rush and could play the run well. Spence filled the stat sheet and was in the backfield just about every play. With his size at the moment combined with polished pass rush moves, it won't be too long before every Big Ten quarterback knows his name and number.

Adolphus Washington, committed to Ohio State
Army All-American Bowl: two tackles, two sacks

Another great performance out of Washington is one reason why the Buckeyes' defensive line class looks absolutely frightening in 2012. He displayed a terrific first step and chased players down from the backside like a man on a mission. Though the West offensive line was pretty solid, Washington was a thorn in their side all game long.

Channing Ward, committed to Ole Miss
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, three for a loss, two sacks

Ward was unblockable and terrorized opposing quarterbacks all night long so much that the coaches need to take him out to give the other team a chance. He led the White team defense in every category and had even more pressure than what showed up in the box score. He looked an awful lot like DeMarcus Ware against some talented offensive linemen down in Tampa.


Joe Bolden, committed to Michigan
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, one for a loss

Bolden wasn't the most impressive linebacker at the even but he was extremely solid and among the most sound defensive players at the game. He racked up seven tackles and fit the gap well after recognizing run plays.

Reggie Ragland, committed to Alabama
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, half for a loss

The first thing that stands out is Ragland's size and ability to be just an absolute load coming downhill. He'll fit in well as an inside linebacker playing the run as I didn't see too much of him in coverage.


Landon Collins, committed to Alabama
Under Armour All-American game: four tackles, interception

Collins is one of the top players in the country and proved it against all-star competition. He can hit - delivering a touchdown-saving, loud hit at the goal line - and cover. He's instinctive and beyond all else hits another level once the bright lights come on.

De'Vante Harris, undecided
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles

Harris made waves after the game by decommitting from Oklahoma but that shouldn't overshadow his performance on the field. He was able to play wide receivers well and came up to tackle well when needed in run support. What really impressed were his instincts, knowing just when to come off his man and when to sink back.

Tracy Howard, undecided
Army All-American Bowl: one tackle

Howard is as close as it gets to being a shutdown corner for this class and opposing quarterbacks rarely looked his way during the game. What stands out about him is how fluid he is in coverage and the ability to play his man while reading the quarterback. He's savvy and understands the game better than most.

Marcus Maye, committed to Florida
Under Armour All-American game: seven tackles, fumble recovery

Normally a safety, Maye slid up and played linebacker in the game and impressed with how well he did in traffic. He was flying all around and used his speed to track down some speedy players. He was, naturally, solid in coverage and showed plenty of range that will serve him well at safety. He did a great job of turning his hips and changing directions quickly too.

Kendall Sanders, committed to Texas
Army All-American Bowl: two tackles, two interceptions

Sanders picked off two passes during the game and was roaming around like a ball-hawk that he could be. His position isn't set in college but based on the Army Bowl, cornerback or nickelback is a good start when he arrives in Austin. He turns his hips well and did a good job of sinking off his man into the throwing lane.

Tee Shepard, committed to Notre Dame
Semper Fi game

Shepard locked down his opposing receiver and was rarely tested by opposing quarterbacks all night. He's so lengthy that he can play the press coverage well or back off and roam a little to play ball-hawking corner. He turns his hips so well that he can change directions quicker than a receiver can sometimes.

Shaq Thompson, committed to Cal
Army All-American Bowl: five tackles, two for loss

Thompson was all over the field on Saturday and backed up his number five overall ranking with his play against some of the best in the country. His size stands out but he can run and was a hard hitter that you didn't want to go over the middle in front of. He led the West in tackles and was the enforcer in the secondary.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:29 pm

National notes: Movers & shakers in team rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's getting down to crunch time on the recruiting trail, with just over a month until National Signing Day. With most of the Holiday season over with and attention turned to the new year, things are about to pick up even more as the decommits, recommits and surprises start happening.

The Eye on Recruiting has already given you some players ticketed for a rise on offense and defense in the recruiting rankings and now it's time to cast a critical eye on the teams that are looking to move up and a few that could be on their way down.

Team rankings movers


Is there a better recruiter than Nick Saban? Currently, it's hard to argue with the man's success on the field and on the recruiting trail. He could be putting together an all-time great class in 2012 and just recently added lineman Alphonse Taylor and highly regarded running back T.J. Yeldon. Though they already have a quarterback in Alec Morris, the Tide are heavily pursuing dual-threat signal-caller Jameis Winston, one of the best players in the state and at his position, and top safety Landon Collins. If they can add Winston and close in on a few other top targets, Saban's team could vault to the top of the team rankings when everybody signs on the dotted line.

Ohio State

In just a short amount of time, Urban Meyer has made his presence felt in Columbus and nationally thanks to his recruiting acumen. The biggest splash has been made along the defensive line, where's he's grabbed commitments from the number three player in the country Noah Spence, tackle Tommy Schutt and end Se'Von Pittman. Though the NCAA handed out a bowl ban to the program, that probably won't deter too many recruits and playing for Meyer will be enough for some of them. They could land top 100 players like offensive tackle Jordan Diamond and athlete Davonte Neal so expect the Buckeyes to close well.

Notre Dame

The Irish and Brian Kelly put together a great group of defensive lineman last year and appear to have a balanced group of quality players at every position this year. California commits Deontay Greenberry and Tee Shepard seem solid and can make an impact right away after getting aclimated to South Bend. As is usual for Notre Dame, plenty of top recruits like Nelson Agholor, Arik Armstead and Gunner Kiel have the Irish on their short list and could turn a good class into a great one.


The Trojans' great year in 2011 has proven they're one of the few schools who can shake off harsh NCAA sanctions and still play and recruit well. Lane Kiffin has a plan to deal with scholarship reductions and it will be put to the test in 2012 with 2012 being the first class limited to 15 players. USC has already signed a few top players early, such as linebacker Scott Starr and top JUCO safety Gerald Bowman. They have a chance at some top national guys Agholor and Andrus Peat so it's possible for it to be a small but great recruiting class for the Trojans.


Like their Pac-12 counterparts, the Bears could come on strong late with some top recruits. They're in good position to land Armstead and most consider five-star safety Shaq Thompson a lock to go to Berkeley. Ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi is a tremendous recruiter and with a great year out West for talent, should do pretty well. Cal's current group of commits, with quarterback Zach Kline and wide receiver Bryce Treggs, is a good start.

Team rankings shakers

Florida State

This is still a very good group of players but there's no doubt that the Seminoles class has taken hit in the past few weeks - thanks in large part to Alabama. Defensive end Chris Casher is a solid building block but future teammate Mario Edwards is looking hard at Oklahoma and Texas. Losing Winston would be a huge blow and there's a slim chance some, like Dante Fowler and Mario Pender, could pull a switch on Signing Day. Jimbo Fisher has done very well with the 2012 class but fans have a reason to be a little nervous at how they'll close.


A 6-6 season and losing offensive coordinator (and noted recruiter) Charlie Weis to Kansas have caused the Gators to slip a little. It still looks like they'll be a lock for a top 10 class come February with so many top 100 recruits but there's no doubt the uncertainty surrounding the program could come back to bite them. The loss of Weis in particular could hurt with possible pledges like Agholor and put a damper on Will Muschamp's first full recruiting class. Expectations are high with Meyer doing what he's doing in Columbus so a class that isn't filled with five-stars will further the perception that the program is slipping a bit.


Will there be a meltdown on the Plains? It seems as though things haven't been going the Tigers' way recently with rival Alabama in the national championship game and stealing top commit in Yeldon. On top of that, defensive coordinator Ted Roof is gone and big time offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn surprisingly moved on to a head coaching job. This is still a very good class but they'll need to hold the current group together as well as snag a few top recruits to help reload an already young team.

Teams sitting pretty


Mack Brown has pulled in some impressive recruiting classes to Austin but this may be his best yet. The country's top running back and second-ranked wide receiver are headed to the 40 Acres and the depth of the group is one of the reasons why the Longhorns are the top ranked team in the latest Maxpreps rankings. There's no doubt that they should finish among the top three but it still remains to be seen if they can keep the top spot. Texas isn't completely done recruiting and could add a few impact players between now and Signing Day.


Brady Hoke put together the bulk of this class before even coaching a game and has occupied the top team spot for most of the year. From top-to-bottom this might be the best class in the country with plenty of players who should come in and make an impact early  The Wolverines have seemingly filled all their holes and are still in the running for a few national recruits that could bolster their ranking so Michigan definitely has a shot at being ranked as the best.

Mora turning heads in Westwood

As soon as Jim Mora was hired in Westwood, the first question would be how well could the longtime NFL coach recruit at the college level? As it turns out, pretty well if early indications are to hold up in the future.

Mora's best recruiting job was the hiring of his assistants, notably ace recruiter Adrian Klemm, secondary coach Demetrice Martin  and former Arizona State offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. The trio, among others, have plenty of West Coast ties and have allowed the staff to hit the ground running despite being hired so late in the game. Keep an eye on this group poaching a few recruits from the Sun Devils once-promising class as well as a few Los Angeles natives.

December has seen the Bruins' class add several good players. Defensive backs Marcus Rios and Ishamel Adams are two players who could play early on defense and landing linebacker Kenny Orjioke out of Atlanta is a solid get for the staff. For the most part, the commitments prior to the new staff have hung in and seem sold on the direction of the program.

Though they're not anywhere close to getting elite talent, the signs out of UCLA are encouraging for a relatively inexperienced staff. The problem in the past has not been about recruiting however, it's been talent development and in that area things are still TBD. Still, given the progress on the recruiting trail, the coaching change has given plenty of Bruin fans something to smile about in a relatively dour year.

Video of week

I'm headed out to the Rising Seniors Bowl in Atlanta this year, which features some of the top juniors (class of 2013) in the state of Georgia. Among the headliners this week is linebacker Reuben Foster, an Alabama commit and easily one of - if not the - top players at his position next year. Here's some of his highlights:

Posted on: December 12, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 8:36 pm

National Notes: On the way up on offense

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The class of 2012 rankings won't be updated for a few more weeks but with most high school seasons over, it's not too hard to see what players might be moving their way up in the rankings and who might slide down a little bit. Here's a look at each position group and some players that might be a little higher on the board come January.


On the way up: Hueytown (Ala.) dual-threat quarterback Jameis Winston (Committed to Florida State)

What did he do: Winston threw for over 2,400 yards and 28 touchdowns against just two interceptions. He also rushed for over 1,000 yards and had 15 touchdowns on the ground at a pace of nearly one every 10 carries. He was co-MVP of the Elite 11 over the summer and will play in the Under Armour All-American game. He recently performed well in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.

The case: He can't move up much further but there's little doubt that he's been the most impressive quarterback in the country since the summer on. He can make plays with his legs and has improved significantly as a passer. There's no doubt that he should be in the top 10 and there's a good case to be made for him to leap-frog Gunner Kiel as the top signal-caller overall.

Also on the way up: Maty Mauk (committed to Missouri), Zach Kline (committed to Cal)

On the way down:
Zeke Pike (committed to Auburn)


On the way up: Houston (Texas) running back Trey Williams (committed to Texas A&M) and Daphne (Ala.) running back T.J. Yeldon (committed to Auburn).

What did they do: Williams has been putting up eye-popping numbers at Dekaney to the tune of over 3,600 yards and 45 touchdowns. He had six touchdowns in his last outing to lead his team to the state title game. Yeldon finished the regular season with close to 2,200 yards and 31 touchdowns.

The case: As much press as top-ranked running back Johnathan Gray gets in Texas, Williams has been doing just as good - if not better - in a tougher district. Both are the focal points for their teams but Williams has done extremely well as an all-around runner. Yeldon has dominated the state of Alabama on the ground and easily has been one of the best backs in the entire country this season.

Also on the way up: Mike Davis, Randy Johnson (Committed to Miami)

On the way down: Johnathan Williams (committed to Arkansas), Malin Jones (committed to Northwestern)


On the way up: Buford (Ga.) tight end Kurt Freitag (committed to Alabama)

What did he do: Playing for powerhouse Buford, Freitag was an integral part of the offense in the passing game and running game this season. He had several touchdowns as a red zone threat and was a nasty blocker. He also played on defense.

The case: Freitag displayed soft hands and ran solid routes all season - drawing the attention of plenty of major colleges. He's got great size at 6-foot-3, 245-pounds and in a weak year at the position, should be moving way, way up.

Also on the way up: Sean Price (committed to USF), Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (committed to USC).


On the way up: Bellflower (Calif.) wide receiver Bryce Treggs (committed to Cal) and Carson (Calif.) receiver Darreus Rogers (committed to USC)

What did they do: Offensive line and wide receiver were extremely deep position groups out on the West Coast and Treggs and Rogers were both among the best of the best. Treggs continued to impress after a terrific summer and finished with close to 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns. Despite being triple-teamed at times, Rogers racked up 1,251 yards and eight touchdowns, including three 200+ yard performances in Carson's biggest games. He stepped up when needed and looked primed for a jump.

The case: Both are ranked as top 15 wide outs but should be ticketed for a jump, possibly into the top 100. Treggs is not the biggest guy but still shows flashes of DeSean Jackson with his ability to get behind defenses and Rogers was a flat-out gamer.

Also on the way up: Amara Darboh (committed to Michigan), Chris Black (committed to Alabama)

On the way down: Jordan Payton


On the way up: DeSoto (Texas) offensive lineman Curtis Riser (committed to Texas) and Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) offensive tackle Max Tuerk (committed to USC).

The case: It's always hard to project certain linemen but these two stated why they're the top linemen in their respective states. It's a good year for versatile players at the position in Texas but Riser had most of the regular season to show why Longhorns fans and coaches are excited about him going to the 40 acres. He got hurt near the end of the season but he was a rock for a big time DeSoto squad. Tuerk started the year overshadowed in Southern California by Erik Magnuson and Kyle Murphy but out played each during the season, including Murphy head-to-head last week.

Video of the week

Since he was mentioned as someone on the rise, here's some senior highlights of running back Trey Williams.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:36 pm

National Notes: Top assistants to keep an eye on

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Welcome to December, otherwise known as closing time. Bowl practices and holidays make things a little more complicated for some coaches but others enjoy the grind as they hit the home stretch two months out from Signing Day. Here's a list of four recruiters in each part of the country to keep an eye on in each part of the country.


Ed Orgeron, USC

Does any recruiter have a better reputation than Ed Orgeron? Probably not. The Trojans defensive line coach has been relentless in the recruiting trail and instrumental in helping manage the program's numbers situation with limited scholarships to hand out. He's hit SoCal hard and been a big reason why plenty of offensive (Max Tuerk, Jordan Simmons) and defensive (Ellis McCarthy, Noah Spence) are committed to, or looking at, USC. Also note that linebackers coach Joe Barry has done a great job with his position group, Orange County (Calif.) and Arizona during his time in LA.

Tosh Lupoi, California

It's been pretty amazing to see Lupoi's rise as a recruiter and coach at Cal but you can see why when looking at his handiwork. He's a younger Orgeron but is quickly becoming his equal after landing players such as Brennan Scarlett and Viliami Moala last year. As a Bay Area-native, he's done a great job of getting talent close to home while also going national and bringing players in. Though the Bears class is somewhat small, expect it to grow in a cover as Lupoi enters the home stretch. His top target right now is five-star Arik Armstead.

Demetrice Martin, Washington

The Huskies staff has lots of Southern California connections but Martin has been a great closer down the stretch with kids. He's relatable as a young guy and knows many of the high school coaches in the area. Don't be surprised if he lands some skill position talent for UW's class this year from the LA area.

John Neal, Oregon

One of the Ducks' ace recruiters, Neal has hit other areas of the country with success and does well in the cities. He landed nearby athlete Oshay Dunmore and had a hand in defensive backs Eric and Stephen Amoako committing from the Dallas-area. Several athletes from the East and Southern California are in contact with him and don't be shocked to hear his name come up some more.


Dameyune Craig, Florida State

Not sure anybody has gone into another powerhouse's backyard and raided it like Craig has Alabama's. The big star was quarterback Jameis Winston but he's also been instrumental in landing Chris Casher and Justin Shanks. There's a few more targets on the Seminoles board and don't be surprised if Craig is the one helping get them to Tallahassee.

Mike Bobo, Georgia

It's funny but Bobo's on the field duties have caused a few Georgia fans to want him out of the program but his time spent in recruits' homes and on the trail has been a big asset to the Bulldogs. He was one of the people behind last year's 'Dream Team' and has managed to sell stability at a program that only got it with 10 straight wins during the regular season. This year appears to be another time for him to shine with in-state recruits once again.

Tee Martin, Kentucky

That Martin has done a good job as a recruiter should surprise no one but given that he the former Tennessee star has done it at Kentucky is a little bit. He managed to get a huge surprise last Signing Day in wide out Daryl Collins and might be able to pull off the same magic again this year. Martin has done a great job in Alabama in particular and the only question seems to be if he can resist heading back to Knoxville with a staff opening there.

Frank Wilson, LSU

Last year he was a machine, with a hand in landing offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and running back Kenny Hilliard among others (all three saw plenty of playing time in LSU's run to New Orleans). Easily the Tigers' best recruiter, Wilson has been one reason why there's a figurative fence around the state of Louisiana. Linebacker Trey Granier was one of his big gets with the 2012 group and don't be surprised if he gets a few others as well.


Tony Alford, Notre Dame

Don't be surprised if Alford can snag a big fish for Notre Dame late in the process. He got a commitment from Justin Ferguson out of Florida and appears to be focusing his time on the state to land a few others. With some issues at Florida, he could be one person to take advantage given his ties in the northern part of the state.

Fred Jackson, Michigan

The Wolverines have put together the best class of 2012 in the country and Jackson is a big part of it. He's mainly an in-state guy and lucky for him he's got a great group coming out and done an even better job of keeping them home. He's plucked two out of Farmington Hills (Mich.) in Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia and played a role in Royce Jenkins-Stone's pledge. He's been at the school a long time and knows how to sell Michigan to players.

Adrian Klemm, SMU

Klemm is not a household name by any means but should be based on what he's done this year. Though SMU isn't exactly a powerhouse, June Jones has engineered a turnaround in Dallas and Klemm has been a big part as recruiting coordinator. Though the school is located in a talent-rich area of a talent-rich state, the former New England Patriot has done a great job getting talented Los Angeles-area players to come East. Six SoCal natives are committed to the Mustangs class of 2012 at the moment and more could be coming. With rumors of Jones taking the Arizona State job, expect Klemm to come along to really ramp up the LA ties.

Urban Meyer/Luke Fickell, Ohio State

Yes, Meyer's not an assistant coach. But he hasn't really assembled his staff at this point and thus is going a significant share of the recruiting himself. He has certainly been active and because Fickell is remaining on staff, we'll count these two as one super-recruiter. Though recruiting hasn't been up to Ohio State standards with the 2012 group, that was to be expected given the turnover at head coach and NCAA violations in Columbus. Fickell landed Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier last year and did a good job with Adolphus Washington this year. The two are going to be a very good asset despite what amounts to a false start with the upcoming class. Things have already paid off dividends and the Buckeyes are in the running for defensive end Noah Spence.

Davis decommits from Florida

Been a wild few days down in the South. Stone Mountain (Ga.) running back Mike Davis was one of the recent invites to the Army All-American Bowl and had the jersey ceremony for himself and fellow teammate Raphael Kirby on Thursday. At the time, rumors started to surface that he was having issues with the staff and would soon decommit.

Over the weekend he went on an official visit to Tennessee and finally on Sunday night, he made the new official that he was no longer a Florida pledge.

"My mind right now is open," Davis told Rivals. "My recruitment has opened back up. I've talked to my parents, my mom, my brother, all my family. Right now it's Florida State, South Carolina, Alabama and Miami. But things can change."

From the sounds of things, the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder is completely wide open and will not be considering the Gators despite being in their 2012 class since February and one of their biggest supporters.

"I can't really talk about it," he said cryptically. "Some things happened that I don't want to comment on between me and the coaches. All I'll say is that it was a miscommunication between them, me and my brother. Some things that weren't supposed to happen." 

Ranked as the 10th-best running back in the country by Maxpreps, losing Davis is big blow to Florida as the new staff tries to remake the team using more of a pro-style offense. One of the central pieces of the class and expected to compete early on for some playing time as a change of pace guy, Charlie Weis is now down to just Matt Jones at running back in 2012. With their top 2013 target off the board to Georgia in Derrick Henry, Florida now has to scramble to get another player back into the fold at the position.

Busy week for Armstead

After decommitting from USC, the recruitment of Pleasant Grove (Calif.) lineman Arik Armstead has steadily picked up. He's been going on several official visits the past few weeks and has kept his phone close by.

USC and Notre Dame are among the schools that have already stopped by for an in-home and several more are lined up over the next few days. Among the scheduled ones this week are Washington, Oregon and Auburn. He'll be making the short trip to Cal at some point during the weekend. Also keep in mind that Armstead wants to play basketball and that will be a factor in his decision.

Video of the week

Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:03 am
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Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: December 1, 2011 10:04 am

12/1 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

  Auburn is recruiting quarterback Jameis Winston, despite their self-imposed restrictions.

 Coaching changes at like Arizona State, Illinois, UCLA and Washington State have recruits concerned about the future.

 Missouri quarterback commit Maty Mauk was named Mr. Ohio.

 Urban Meyer should instantly enhance recruiting at Ohio State.

 Georgia will have its chance to impress defensive back Chaz Elder.

 Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman is ramping up recruiting on defense.

 Tom Bradley is out selling the positives of Penn State to recruits.

Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 3:06 pm

SEC quarterback recruiting more misses than hits

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Look up and down the depth charts of NFL teams and you'll find five starting quarterbacks from SEC schools. 15% of the league seems like a good number but for a conference that has won five straight national championships and is widely considered to be home to the best football in the country, it's much smaller than you'd expect. After all, one school - USC - has three starting quarterbacks in the league and one was a career backup in college.

In light of the so-so quarterback play around the SEC this year (apart from Arkansas' Tyler Wilson and generally from Georgia's Aaron Murray), the question should be asked: Why can't SEC teams recruit great quarterbacks? There's not a single SEC quarterback in the top 20 in passing efficiency and a signal-caller has thrown for more than 350 yards in a game this season just twice. Twice. They play great defense in the league but that doesn't explain why Jarrett Lee throws up easy interceptions from time-to-time or the position is an open door at schools like Ole Miss.

One reason the league has struggled to churn out good quarterbacks is schools generally don't find many good ones in their own backyards. Tennessee feels great about their (now injured) quarterback Tyler Bray but remember he's from California. Of those starting quarterbacks in the NFL, Matthew Stafford is from Texas and Jay Cutler played high school football in Indiana. Both had solid careers in college but have blossomed at the next level while Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow has struggled to produce at the next level. Is it conservative coaching (or lack of any good QB coaching), systems, too much defense or something in the water? States like Florida have been known to produce a good quarterback from time-to-time but it's just not a strength of the region. In the end, it comes down to recruiting a quality player and there just haven't been enough of them headed down South.

This season for example, Alabama lost out on five-star quarterbacks Gunner Kiel and in-state prospect Jameis Winston. Sure a big time quarterback commits to an SEC school from time-to-time but generally, you don't have top high school players at the position flocking to play at schools in the league. Meanwhile, Pac-12 and Big 12 schools, among others, keep churning out great passers. Increasingly, it seems, the high-flying offenses elsewhere have attracted the good ones and resulted in diminished play at SEC schools. Even when they do grab a big name, such as Florida's John Brantley, things just haven't worked out. Russell Shepard went to LSU with great fanfare but is now a play-making wide receiver as another example.

In the class of 2012, Auburn has the highest rated prospect at the position in Zeke Pike but there are plenty of questions about his mechanics, arm strength and maturity. Newcomer Texas A&M might have the best recruit in dual-threat Matt Davis. In 2011 the Gators grabbed two of the best in the country but we'll see how they play down the road after being thrown to the wolves as freshmen. One of them, Jeff Driskel, is the first consensus top quarterback to go a league school in years. Recruiting is an inexact science - look at powers like Texas struggle to find "the guy" - but it seems like more schools have a QB lab with issues in the SEC.

It's tough to succeed with great defenses but you can't fault lack of skill position on offense for lack of production if look at the rosters and incoming classes. There are plenty of reasons why each school in the SEC has struggled with quarterback play over the years - from development to playing against tough defenses - but ultimately it comes down to recruiting the right guys. There is a secret to success and conference schools have seemingly found it at every position but one. We'll see if things improve going forward but for now, no one is confusing the SEC as the cradle of quarterbacks.
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