Tag:Kwon Alexander
Posted on: November 4, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 5:52 pm

Impressive visitor list in Tuscaloosa for LSU-ALA

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Just a few weeks ago, recruitniks were impressed with the quality and quantity of high level recruits that were in South Bend for the USC-Notre Dame game. Several people termed it Brian Kelly's 'Super Bowl.'

This Saturday is college football's actual Recruiting Super Bowl (well, not actual Super Bowl but as close as one gets in the regular season). On the sidelines, a truly star-studded cast, topping the century mark in terms of number of official and unofficial visitors. Though Nick Saban and his staff will no doubt be occupied with the team in purple and gold, they'll be spending some time hosting the biggest recruiting weekend Tuscaloosa has seen in years.

The biggest visitor coming in is five-star safety Landon Collins. Both LSU and Alabama are battling for his services but it will be tough to lure him out-of-state. A big win over the Tigers and an impressive visit however, might be enough to leave a lasting impression that will pay off on Signing Day. Collins isn't the only five-star or big name headed in for the game though, as illustrated by the partial list below.

Official visitors

DT/OT Arik Armstead
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama commit
DB Landon Collins
LB Noor Davis, Stanford commit
DB Travell Dixon, JUCO
DT Eddie Godlman
DE Jordan Jenkins
OT Avery Young

Unofficial visitors

LB Kwon Alexander
DE Torshiro Davis, LSU commit
DE Denzel Devall
DB Trae Elston
DT Quay Evans
TE Kurt Freitag
DT Issac Gross, Ole Miss commit
OT Brandon Hill
QB Jeremy Liggins
RB Barry Sanders Jr.
DT Justin Shanks, Florida State commit
DB Dwayne Thomas, LSU commit
DT Dalvin Tomlinson
DL Channing Ward
DE Jamichael Winston, Arkansas commit
DB P.J. Williams, Florida State commit
QB Jameis Winston, Florida State commit
RB T.J. Yeldon, Auburn commit

Alabama commitments

DE Ryan Anderson
DT Dakota Ball
WR Chris Black
RB Kenyan Drake
WR Casey Gladney
OL Brandon Greene
K Adam Griffith
OL Caleb Gulledge
LB Tyler Hayes
DT Darren Lake
LB Dillon Lee
QB Alec Morris
DT Darius Philon
LB Reggie Ragland
DB Geno Smith
ATH Justin Thomas
DB Eddie Williams

2013 Recruits:

OL Bradley Bozeman, Alabama commit
DB Cameron Burrows
LB Reginald Carter
DB Antonio Conner
LB Rueben Foster, Alabama commit
RB Derrick Henry, Georgia commit
TE O.J. Howard, Alabama commit
DL Dee Liner, Auburn commit
QB Johnathon McCrary
DE Robert Nkemdiche
OL Lovell Peterson
WR Earnest Robinson
RB Kelvin Taylor (Alabama-Florida battle)
DB Tramel Terry
RB Altee Tenpenny

2014 Recruits:

RB Sony Michel
WR Bo Scarborough
LB Tre Williams
DE Gerald Willis

Posted on: July 8, 2011 12:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:37 pm

The Opening Day Two Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Day 2 of "The Opening" didn't finish up with a bang like day one did with a national champion being crowned in the SPARQ rating. Instead, some of the top players in the country took to the fields of the Nike campus for what amounted to a regular Nike camp in the middle of the day before getting chance to hang out for several hours before selecting 7-on-7 teams.

No more testing for some of the finest recruits in the country, it was time to get into the actual football part of the camp.

"It's been great. Playing against the top recruits, competing against each other, having fun in the lounge, it's great," Aledo (Texas) running back Johnathan Gray said.  "I expected everything. If you've got the top 150 kids in the country, you expect nothing but the best. That's what you get (from Nike). They're treating us like superstars out here. We're just enjoying our time."

When not outrunning linebackers (he out ran them all on Thursday afternoon), Gray spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the players' lounge relaxing and mingling with other recruits. As one of several players committed to Texas at the event, the 6-foot, 200-pounder has been able to spend some quality time with his future teammates and the bonding they are doing is something Gray hopes will pay off later.

"There's a couple of us here from Texas just playing and going through the drills," he said. "It's fun, I met them earlier so being up here with them, it's fun being with your fellow commits and building that team chemistry up."

Ranked as the best running back in the country and eighth overall in the class of 2012 by MaxPreps, Gray knows there are plenty of eyes on him while he's going through drills, perhaps even more than on his fellow commitments. Despite the added outside pressure, he is saying focused on the task at hand.

"I don't really look at is as number one and all that stuff, I just come out here to have fun and compete," he said. "That's what this is about. Doing your best."

A solid verbal commitment to the Longhorns, there's not much Gray has on his docket football-wise between now and when his high school begins fall camp in August. With an outside shot of breaking the national rushing record, the upbeat running back is just looking to focus on getting better over the coming month.

"This will be the last camp I do," he said. "I'll just go back to my high school and go workout and go through conditioning drills and stuff to get ready for the season."

While 40-yard dashes and weight room sessions will take up a good chuck of his time in the near future, he won't be limiting himself to the football field. Though his high school team qualified for the Texas state 7-on-7 tournament next week at Texas A&M, Gray will be somewhere where there's plenty of lights, action and air conditioning.

"I'll be in Vegas for a basketball tournament," he said. "It's going really good, the team is doing good and they're winning. This will be my first time back with them since surgery and track and all that. I'm waiting to meet up with those guys.

"I'm a defensive guy, they put me in to stop the best player on the other team."

When asked if one of the greatest offensive threats on the football field is like former NBA defensive specialist Bruce Bowen on the court, Gray takes a second to think about it.

"Yeah," he said with a laugh. "You can call me that."

Everybody is recruiting Alexander

As one of the top linebackers in the country with scholarship offers from just about every school, Kwon Alexander knows all about the recruiting process. It follows him everywhere, from his phone to his email to, it appears, The Opening.

"Kwon's a good kid, I love him," Stephenson (Ga.) running back and Florida commit Mike Davis says while wrapping his arm around Alexander. "I just hope he comes to Florida. I'm recruiting him."

"They're up there," Alexander confirms within earshot of Davis. "They're in my top ten."

Such is life for the Oxford (Ala.) five-star linebacker. Luckily Alexander is aware that he can't be as open about schools as he once was. As a result of it getting closer and closer to the season, he has started to narrow down his list and dial in on just a few schools in the recruiting process.

"Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Oregon, USC, Ole Miss," he said. "Distance is not a factor.

"I'm looking for a family. I'm looking for good academics, a great team, some good people to be around and to just play ball."

With one of the schools he is strongly considering just down the highway from Nike's campus in Oregon, Alexander acknowledges that the situation involving the NCAA is making him a little hesitant about the Ducks but not enough to eliminate them.

"I'm still looking at them," Alexander said. "I mean, it's Oregon. They still look good."

While the two West Coast programs are receiving attention, there's still plenty of schools closer to home that are trying hard not to let Alexander get away from the region. With plenty of SEC powerhouses chasing after him, he knows that things are only just beginning to pickup among is selected few schools.

"Of the local schools, probably Auburn is recruiting me the hardest," he said. "Then probably Alabama after that. LSU is coming after me."

It often takes a unique approach to land the signature of an athlete of Alexander's caliber and there's at least one school who has thrown something different at him.

"Ole Miss offered me in basketball," he said. "That stuck out because that's my first offer in basketball. I haven't really thought about (playing both sports). It's nice but I don't know.

"I know it would be a lot of stress and stuff from playing both sports. I know I wouldn't have time to do a lot of things so I really just don't know yet."

Alexander plans to narrow his list down again before the season starts with a decision coming next year.

McCarthy down to five

Monrovia (Calif.) defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy isn't planning on making a final decision on a school until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl but that hasn't stopped him from narrowing down his list to five. With all of that time before making a decision, the top interior defensive lineman in the country is using it to his advantage and taking in a few of the schools on his list.

“Right now, it's USC, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Florida,” McCarthy said. “(Unofficals) to just the close ones like USC. I went to UCLA a couple of weeks ago. It went really well, I just talked to the coaches and they showed me around campus."

With constant contact between him and all five of the schools, the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder is mainly looking for one thing in the recruiting process.

“When I talk to all those coaches, they make me feel comfortable,” McCarthy said. “When I went to Cal, they made me feel reel comfortable with all the players and stuff like that. When I talk with the USC players, they make me feel that way.

“I haven't talked to the (USC) coaches lately. After I get home, I might call them. At USC I talk to Coach “O” (Ed Orgeron). At Cal I mainly talk to coach Tosh (Lupoi).”

Ranked seventh overall in the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012, McCarthy realizes he's a target for plenty of schools as an uncommited player ranked so highly. While it's hard for him to say if a school is standing out, it doesn't take him that long to come up with an answer to who is recruiting him the hardest.

“Probably Cal,” he said. “It's between Cal and USC.”

McCarthy is planning on taking official visits to four of the five schools on his list. The local school, USC, will likely not receive an official visit during the season because he has been to the Coliseum for plenty of games over the years. While on any of his visits however, McCarthy has a few things that he will be looking for and checking off once he gets there.

“I just want to go to a place where I feel comfortable and if I weren't playing football I could stay for four years,” he said. “I want to major in business. It's really important, I might want to go to a really big business school.”

Aziz Shittu is ready for action

With day two of The Opening marking the transition into actual football drills, there was perhaps no player who was happier to stop running 40-yard dashes and start doing some field work than Buhach (Calif.) defensive lineman Aziz Shittu.

"With the testing, I wasn't coming out here looking forward to the testing," Shittu said. "I'm a football player-type of guys, I play football. It was fun though."

The Opening is a unique camp because players will be in football pads, which should make for some great action along the trenches. Count Shittu as one of those that can't wait for full speed, one-on-one drills. In fact, he's already picked out one of the five-star offensive linemen at the event he wants to compete against.

"I'm looking forward to going against Zach Banner," Shittu said. "For reasons he should know. If he sees this, it's Zach Banner."

One of the more outgoing players at the event, the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder is making friends at the event just as quickly as he get to the quarterback.

"Oh yeah, it's great getting acquainted," Shittu said. "Me, I'm a talkative guy. Ellis McCarthy is my roommate, Korren Kirven, Luke (Kaumatule), I'm talking to everybody."

It's not to often you'll find McCarthy and Shittu more than 20 feet away from each other when they are at the same event. The two California defensive lineman have competed before at Nike Camps and it appears the two close friends are looking to ensure that their friendship lasts well through college.

"We're going to go to the same school," Shittu said. "That's the plan, that's what we talk about. 

"Me and Ellis, we just chill. I'll be telling jokes and he'll be laughing and I'll be telling jokes and he'll be laughing. We're just compatible."

On the recruiting front, Shittu recently decommitted from Stanford because it was just too soon in the process for him to be locked into one school. Though the Cardinal are still under consideration, the door is open for several other schools to jump on the talented defensive lineman.

"Stanford is still in the mix," he said. "Everybody is kind of standing out in my top 10. Cal, USC, UCLA, Washington, all those schools are standing out, just to name a few."

Shittu doesn't have any visits planned and is looking to schedule his official visits after week two of the college football season once he gets a better idea of what teams he wants to visit and for what games.

Bivins doesn't mind getting schooled by a legend

Everybody knew he run some routes from the moment they saw that NFL legend Jerry Rice had on cleats and gloves. Rice was much more selective on day two of The Opening however. Though he was mainly a teacher Thursday, coaching many of the wide receivers on how to get a better release off the line for example, everybody knew he'd run a route or two against the defensive backs. 

The only question was who would he go against?

"I was with him at first," Gainesville (Fla.) cornerback Chris Bivins recounted. "But then he ran like a 20-yard comeback. It was the longest comeback I've ever had to guard."

Bivins got the opportunity of the lifetime to defend against Rice. Though the former All-Pro managed to catch the ball, the 6-foot, 170-pound Bivins did a good job of staying close for most of Rice's route before the 'oohs' and the 'ahhs' came from the crowd after he caught it.

"I can tell why he was beating everybody back in the day," Bivins said. 

A South Florida commitment, Bivins fought and clawed his way to the event with a very impressive run during the spring and summer camp circuit. One of the hardest workers in the defensive back group, the talented corner ended up with a great reward for all that he put in over the past few months.

"He only did one rep and that was with me," he said. "It was a real good experience. One of the best to ever play the game."

Posted on: May 27, 2011 2:27 pm

Auburn's Big Cat Weekend hosting plenty of talent

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's Big Cat Weekend for Auburn and if you haven't heard about it (there were a few secondary violations at the event in 2009 that made the news), you might want to get up to speed quickly because there's plenty of talented headed to the Plains for the 2011 edition. This weekend is the Tigers' biggest recruiting effort of the year and involves a huge number of top prospects from all over the country. Given that the school just won the BCS national championship, this year's edition could be the most sucessful.

Below is a list of notable recruits expected to be there via of The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

WR Stefon Diggs, Olney, Md.
OL D.J. Humphries, Charlotte, N.C.
LB Kwon Alexander, Oxford, Ala.
OL Vadal Alexander, Buford, Ga.
CB Travis Blanks, Tallahassee, Fla.
OL Shane Callahan, Parker, Col.
OL Kyle Dodson, Cleveland, Ohio
CB Joshua Holsey, Fairburn, Ga. (Auburn commit)
CB Cyrus Jones, Baltimore, Md.
ATH Brian Kimbrow, Memphis, Tenn.
WR Ricardo Louis, Miami, Fla.
LB Cassanova McKinzy, Birmingham, Ala. (Auburn commit)
TE Justin Meredith, Anderson, S.C.
OL Patrick Miller, West Palm Beach, Fla.
LB Javierre Mitchell, Leeds, Ala.
TE Ricky Parks, Hogansville, Ga.
QB Zeke Pike, Edgewood, Ky. (Auburn commit)
RB Jovon Robinson, Memphis, Tenn.
DL Justin Shanks, Prattville, Ala.
CB Geno Smith, Atlanta, Ga.
TE Kent Taylor, Land O’Lakes, Fla.
WR JaQuay Williams, Franklin, Ga.
RB T.J. Yeldon, Daphne, Ala.
ATH Evan Berry, Fairburn, Ga. (class of 2014)
ATH Elliott Berry, Fairburn, Ga. (2014)
RB Jordan Huff, Mobile, Ala. (2013)
DL Dee Liner, Muscle Shoals, Ala. (2013)
DL Henry Poggi, Baltimore, Md. (2013)
LB Tre’ Williams, Mobile, Ala. (2014)

Posted on: April 16, 2011 5:36 am
Edited on: April 16, 2011 2:51 pm

Nkemdiche stars at Georgia Nike Camp

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATHENS, Ga. -- Hundreds of players from all over the Southeast braved an oncoming thunderstorm to showcase their skills at the University of Georgia in the latest edition of the Nike Football Training Camp and Elite 11 Quarterback Competition Friday night.

Once again, Georgia had a strong display of BCS-caliber talent at the camp and the state continues to show why recruiters from across the country are anxious to get a look at the next wave of talent coming out of the Peach State. The class of 2012 is loaded with talent along the defensive line and several of the state's 33 recruits with FBS offers made their way down to the camp.

While many of the highly regarded juniors flashed their skills during drills, it was not hard to see that Grayson (Ga.) sophomore defensive end Robert Nkemdiche was not only the most talented of the group, but easily the top player at the camp.

"They called me out and I did it," Nkemdiche said matter of factly. "It felt good."

His home state might end up sending close to 50 players to an FBS school from the defensive line come February but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who looks as good as Nkemdiche does at first glance. The 6-foot-4, 265 pound end was a physical specimen, showing up fit and ready to dominate older competition.

On top of a quick initial burst, he displayed several polished pass rush moves that even much older college players don't have. Making the most of a lightning quick spin move or just relying on a straight speed rush, Nkemdiche was impossible to stop in one-on-ones all night long. Thought he will continue to grow and mature at the position, the gifted pass rusher is already thinking ahead at what he wants to work on the rest of the summer.

"I want to work on my speed," Nkemdiche said. "I real fast right now, like a 4.5 (40 yard dash) but I want to drop my time. I want to be the best I can be and the coaches want that too."

Nkemdiche's high school coaches also want to win, which is why he'll also try his hand at running back next season for Grayson. As terrifying as it might be to some opposing players to see someone of his size and skill running at them, Nkemdiche is equally excited at getting the chance to run over (and past) a few defenders to reach the end zone on offense.

"I can't wait," he said. "It's going to be great."

In spite of having almost two years before inking his signature on a letter of intent, the talented sophomore is already sitting on multiple scholarship offers. Given his unique blend of size, speed and pass rushing ability, it's easy to see why some schools feel the need to extend an offer early in hopes of making Nkemdiche's recruitment a quick one.

"Auburn was the last offer I got, maybe late January or early February," he said. "I don't know how many but I have over ten.

"Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and that's all I know off the top of my head right now."

Several programs' annual Spring Game is Saturday and Nkemdiche was planning on going to Alabama's "A-Day" but will instead catch most of the day's action at home. He'll continue to exploit offensive linemen on Sunday however, when he'll head to the Atlanta Under Armour Camp.

Utilizing his unique skill set is something Nkemdiche will continue to do throughout the summer and has already planned out a few unofficial visits and camp stops between now and the end of July.

"In the summer I'm going to go to a couple schools," he said. "LSU, Alabama and Auburn's camps. Just (visit) as many schools as I can."

Nkemdiche was one of only two sophomore to walk off the field as a position MVP but based on his performance Friday night, he might as well have been holding the title of top recruit in the Southeast for 2013.

And you'd find few who would be willing to argue if he snagged it either.

Alexander, Eligwe share the spotlight

Just as impressive as the defensive line group, the linebackers in attendance received their share of publicity and right fully so. With eight players holding multiple BCS offers, there might not have been a better position group all year. In fact, many of the camp instructors had a hard time thinking of a better group of linebackers in the decade long history of the Nike Camps.

Fittingly, the position MVP award was one of the toughest decisions of the night so the coaches ended up making Oxford (Ala.) stud Kwon Alexander and Stone Mountain (Ga.) linebacker Ukeme Eligwe co-MVPs.

"I feel like I did great and showcased my talent," Eligwe said. "There was a lot of great players out here today."

"I really just wanted to do my best and learn from everybody," said Alexander.

Eligwe made the case to be the top linebacker in the state - if he wasn't already - thanks to his size and very good quickness. He opened his hips well and hardly let anything get past him during drills. A top performer in all of the one-one drills, the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder also wouldn't mind an extra rep or two against Alexander to settle who really was the top linebacker at the event.

"That would be nice," Eligwe said with a smile. "He's a good player also so I don't feel different, it's all good. I came out here to have fun and do what I have to do."

The speedy Alexander was quite confident who would eventually prevail and would have loved to see another play to decide top dog.

"Yeah I want another," he said with a grin. "I want to be the best out there."

Both players have seen the amount of offers rolling in slow to a trickle due mostly to the fact that they have a scholarship awaiting from pretty much every major school in the country. Alexander is known for his speed out on the field and is mainly focusing on track this offseason and keeping recruiting in the outside lane for the time being. Despite being 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Alexander runs an 11.2 second 100 meters and also stars in the 200 meters. All of the time spent on the track working to shave off a few seconds means the bulk of his recruitment will come during the summer and into the fall.

"There's no one standing out right now," he said. "Everybody's still the same. After track season I'm going to do a few unofficial (visits) and then once the season starts I'll do my official visits.

"I'll take all five official visits. I'm going to take one to Oregon, USC, UCLA. I'll take a couple of them down (in Alabama)."

Eligwe isn't as involved with track as Alexander and as a result is able to narrow down his list of suitors somewhat.

"My most recent offer was last week but I can't really remember," he said, adding that they've all blended together a bit. "Florida State's standing out. More than likely I'll be at their Spring Game."

Florida and Georgia are also standing out according Eligwe, who received an early morning phone call Friday from South Carolina's staff on the first day of the May Evaluation Period. With so many schools vying for his attention Eligwe is starting to look a bit closer to home as to where he might attend college.

"More than likely yes but I wouldn't just say I'm going to stay in the area," he said. "Those are just some of my top schools right now"

Alexander also received an early morning phone call Friday and the SEC staff who made it ended up making an impression on the talented linebacker.

"Arkansas called me about six," he said. "It was good because they were the first team that called me. I didn't know that today was there time to call me so that surprised me when they called. They just asked what's up and everything."

The Hogs are not the only school who is in hot pursuit of Alexander, though. Several schools from both the Pac-12 and the SEC are heavily recruiting him.

"Oregon, Auburn, Alabama, USC, LSU," Alexander said. "I don't mind where I go, it's just where it makes me feel a part of a family."

No stranger to campus, Elder looks solid at the camp

There are few players who actually are defensive backs. You have safeties, you have corners and a few times you even find a nickel corner among the bunch. College Park (Ga.) defensive back Chaz Elder however, lives up to the label.

The 6-foot-2, 290 pound Elder played a bit of both Friday during drills and one-on-ones and displayed the speed and agility to excel as either a big corner or a prototypical safety. Even he didn't get caught up in what position he ran out on to the field for, it was all about the reps.

"I actually have no idea, I just play," Elder responded when asked which position he's better at.

It's hard to disagree, especially if you're a college coach. Holding a double-digit offer list, Elder has his pick of the litter and has schools recruiting him at both safety and corner.

"Some colleges say I'll be a good-sized corner,” he said. “Others say I'd be good at safety. It doesn't matter to me. Again, I just want to play."

Elder recently picked up another offer, the latest being from Southern Miss. Even though the offers keep rolling in, the Georgia native is starting to narrow down his list and sees three schools separating from the pack.

"It's between Illinois, Clemson and Georgia," Elder said. "It's mostly Clemson and UGA because I've visited them the most. I came up (to Georgia) for one of the spring practices. At Clemson, it's mainly the coaches and the people (I like)."

Despite his top two being pretty close to home, Elder added that he would have no reservations about heading off aways for school if he found the right fit.


- Position MVPs were McDonough (Ga.) defensive back D.J. White, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis of Stone Mountain (Ga.), Alexander and Eligwe at linebacker, Lithonia (Ga.) offensive lineman Joe Harris and Nkemdiche on the defensive line.

- Gainesville (Ga.) wide receiver C.J. Curry was looking forward to going up against Tallahassee (Fla.) defensive back Travis Blanks and the two did not disappoint, waging several good battles during one-on-ones.

"I'm not going to make any excuses, he got me," Curry said. "He had a good day and worked hard to get the W today."

A Georgia commit, Curry also didn't mind bringing up the Bulldogs to a few of more well known recruits at the camp.

"It's always fun," Curry said. "I was trying to talk to Blanks (about Georgia). Other than going against him, I didn't really see him though."

With Georgia's class of 2011 nicknaming themselves the “Dream Team,” Curry said he was working on a nickname for the class of 2012.

- It was not a particularly strong group of quarterbacks for either the Nike Camp or the Elite 11 and the howling winds and light rain didn't help things either. Orlando (Fla.) quarterback Nick Patti showed off his arm again and continues to impress on the camp circuit. If it were not for his height (5-foot-10) he'd be getting offers from a lot of BCS programs. Cleveland (Tenn.) signal caller Chad Voytik also impressed with his accuracy and was probably the top guy at the event but did not participate in the Nike Camp portion. The finals of the Elite 11 were cut off due to inclement weather.

- Buford (Ga.) offensive tackle Vadal Alexander, who has offers from just about everybody, was one of several recruits to get a 6 A.M. phone call from the USC coaching staff. Alexander said he spoke to Ed Orgeron and James Cregg for several minutes and was surprised by the call. At this point, he has already been to LSU, Alabama and Auburn but says all schools are in the race to land his services.

- If you were looking for Louisville commit Larry Jefferson, you wouldn't find him catching passes Friday night. Although he is being recruited at tight end, Jefferson made the trip to Athens to learn a few new tricks for his other position.

"I'm a tight end but I went to defensive end because I play D-end in high school too," he said. "I just wanted to learn more stuff about the position."

When asked why he wants to play on offense in college, Jefferson was quite honest with his answer.

"I love getting the ball," he said with a nice laugh. "I like scoring touchdowns and everything. I'm committed and done, stress is off my shoulders."

- A few others who impressed were linebacker Dillon Lee out of Buford (Ga.), Powder Springs (Ga.) offensive tackle Kofi Amichia, Dublin (Ga.) 2013 linebacker Johnny O'Neal, Stepheson (Ga.) linebacker Raphael Kirby, Norcross (Ga.) receiver Jason Croom, 2013 defensive end Reginald Carter out of Stephenson (Ga.), Hillgrove (Ga.) athlete Kenyan Drake, 2013 Autauga (Ala.) tight end O'Terrius Howard and Charlotte (N.C.) linebacker Nick Dawson among others.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 2:12 pm

2012 Linebackers to Watch

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Oxford (Ala.) star Kwon Alexander is the top linebacker in the nation according to CBS Sports/MaxPreps Recruiting Analyst Tom Lemming but there's a lot of football to be played between now and Signing Day. Here's five other linebackers - in no particular order - who you need to keep an eye out for this year. Each of them has a chance to move Alexander off the top spot and become the top linebacker for the class of 2012.

Deaysean Rippy (Sto-Rox High, McKees Rocks, Pa.) 
Height: 6-foot-2 
Weight: 210 pounds 
Offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Colorado, UConn, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Wisconsin

What's to like: It's no surprise to see Rippy become one of the most recruited athletes in the country after watching his film. He has been on the radar since his sophomore year and is a really versatile player as an outside linebacker. His pass rush skills are exceptional and he is fast enough to even be a safety at the next level. Rippy is one of the best players in coverage among this group of linebackers.

Needs to work on: Rippy is still a bit undersized if he wants to play outside linebacker in a 4-3 and could add a bit of weight.

Noor Davis (The Villages High, The Villages, Fla.) 
Height: 6-foot-4 
Weight: 225 pounds 
Offers from: Alabama, Boston College, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pitt, Purdue, USF, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCF, UCLA, USC, Virginia

What's to like: Davis is an exceptional prospect at the outside linebacker position and it's hard not to like what you see when you see him in person or on film. He is a smart player on the field who reads the play quickly and almost always takes a good angle to make the tackle. It's almost funny to see him standout on the field due to his size and the way he hits.

Needs to work on: Davis needs to learn some of the nuances of playing outside linebacker and move beyond a pass rusher from the outside.

Jabari Ruffin (Downey High, Downey, Calif.) 
Height: 6-foot-3 
Weight: 245 pounds 
Committed to USC

What's to like: Ruffin certainly looks the part and is probably the best linebacker west of the Mississippi. He looked sharp at the recent LA Nike Camp and his athleticism jumps out at you when you realize he played offense last season. Not only does he have speed to burn but his explosiveness is really apparent when you see him get ready to deliver a big hit.

Needs to work on: There's not a whole lot more that Ruffin needs to do to be successful but he should benefit from playing only linebacker in college. Becoming a read and react player instead of relying mostly on his athleticism to make plays is the next step for him to become a great player.

Reggie Ragland (Bob Jones High, Madison, Ala.) 
Height: 6-foot-4 
Weight: 235 pounds 
Committed to Alabama

What's to like: Ragland's size and speed make him a very, very good prospect manning the middle linebacker position. He's instinctive and when he reads his keys is one of the best in the country. He fills gaps very well and usually ends up blowing people up rather than just tackling them. He also does a good job of engaging a defender and then getting said defender out of his way.

Needs to work on: Ragland is a bit of a lose cannon at times and sometimes tries to do too much. He'll need to improve his coverage skills as well, especially if he's to be a middle backer in a Cover-2 scheme that requires him to run down the field.

Cassanova McKinzy (Woodlawn High, Birmingham, Ala.) 
Height: 6-foot-2 
Weight: 230 pounds 
Committed to Auburn

What's to like: McKinzy's name first of all. Beyond that though, there's plenty of things that Auburn coaches saw in McKinzy, including great size and speed at outside linebacker. He's very athletic and could play running back at the next level if he wanted to. McKinzy wraps up very well when tackling and is very instinctive.

Needs to work on: McKinzy may have all the measurables but he is still a bit raw at linebacker. He'll need to refine his coverage skills and improve his ability to read and react.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:39 pm

MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 Offer Update

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There's still over a month to go before coaches hit the road and begin to see recruits up close and personal in the May Evaluation period. Although that's usually the time when you'll see scores of scholarship offers head out, many of the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 are up to double digit offers a little less than a year before Signing Day.

We'll be taking a glance over the next few days at the Top 100 and provide an overview of just what offers are out there for some of the top players in the upcoming class.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander (Oxford, Ala.) 
Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas Tech, UAB, UCLA.

Offensive tackle Vadal Alexander (Buford, Ga.) 
Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Nebraska, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, USC.

Running back LaDarius Anthony (Kilgore, Texas) 
Committed to TCU
Offers: Baylor, SMU, Tennessee.

Offensive tackle Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif.) 
Committed to USC. 
Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Fresno State, Miami, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington State.

Running back Warren Ball (Columbus, Ohio) 
Committed to Ohio State. 
Offers: Cincinnati, Iowa, Northwestern, Pitt, Purdue, Wisconsin.

Offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 
Offers: UConn, Michigan State, Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia.

Wide receiver Chris Black (Jacksonville, Fla.) 
Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee.

Cornerback Deion Bonner (Columbus, Ga.) 
Offers: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina, USC.

Athlete Carnell Boyd (Atlanta, Ga.) 
Offers: UCF

Quarterback Connor Brewer (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 
Committed to Texas
Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Washington.

Posted on: February 9, 2011 6:33 pm

MaxPreps: Class of 2012 Top 10 football recruits

By MaxPreps Stephen Spiewak

With a full year remaining before these players will sign, MaxPreps identifies recruits from the class of 2012 who have already established themselves as elite players with extremely bright futures.

1. Dorial Green-Beckham
School: Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.)
Position: Wide receiver
Early Offers: Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Florida, et al
Analysis: We first wrote about Green-Beckham after his freshman season, when he was named to our Fresh Faces Top 100 for the Class of 2012 and likened to a young Randy Moss. Since then, he's only gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and downright scarier. He's on pace to shatter receiving records in Missouri, and is college-ready right now.

2. Zach Banner 
School: Lakes (Lakewood, Wash.)
Position: Offensive tackle
Early Offers: Washington, Oregon, Alabama, USC, et al
Analysis: Banner could be the top offensive lineman in a class that features the likes of D.J. Humphries, Vadal Alexander, John Theus, and Arik Armstead (who may play on the defensive side of the ball for USC.) He's still somewhat raw, but his ceiling is sky-high. He has a great build, long arms, and is very agile for his size, as he's also a star basketball player. One college coach called him the best recruit in the state as a junior.

3. Mario Edwards
School: Ryan (Denton, Texas)
Position: Defensive end
Early offers: Florida State, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, et al
Analysis: Arguably the best defensive player in the state of Texas as a junior, Edwards was the total package at defensive end last season. He displayed supreme athleticism and quickness on the outside pass rush but was also strong enough to shed blocks and make tackles. He could end up being recruited as highly as 2009 top recruit Jackson Jeffcoat.

4. Johnathan Gray
School: Aledo (Texas)
Position: Running back
Early offers: Texas Tech, TCU, Texas A&M
Analysis: Gray earned an early reputation as a freshman by flashing outstanding speed in limited varsity reps. He simply exploded after that, winning the MaxPreps National Sophomore of the Year and Junior of the Year in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Gray has terrific burst to the outside, but also runs well between tackles. He has displayed an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well.

5. Rushel Shell 
School: Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.)
Position: Running back
Early offers: Pitt, Ohio State, West Virginia, Florida, et al
Analysis: Shell was the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year in 2008 after he burst onto the scene in Pennsylvania's well-respected WPIAL, rushing for 1,516 yards and 14 scores as a ninth-grader. A patient back with superb vision, Shell has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of the last two seasons.

6. Eddie Goldman
School: Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.)
Position: Defensive tackle
Early offers: Maryland, Alabama, Florida, et al
Analysis: Per capita, Washington D.C. produces some of the most talent in the country. In 2012, the nation's capital boasts Goldman, an absolute bully on the defensive line. With his 6-4, 300-pound frame, Goldman is powerful yet agile. On film, he simply overpowers offensive linemen, and as he continues to refine his technique, he'll be extremely difficult to stop.

7. Arik Armstead
School: Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.)
Position: Offensive tackle/defensive end
Early offers: Committed to USC
Analysis: Armstead is big, strong, and athletic. The brother of current Trojan Armond Armstead, Arik is a two-way star for Pleasant Grove, dominating on both sides of the line. While he wants to play defensive end at USC, Armstead's value may be higher at offensive tackle.

8. Shaq Thompson
School: Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)
Position: Athlete
Early offers: California, USC, UCLA, et al
Analysis: Thompson is a physical player who lined up at running back and safety for Grant, one of the country's top teams for much of last season. He can play all over the field at the next level, but is probably going to be utilized in the secondary.

9. Kwon Alexander
School: Oxford (Ala.)
Position: Linebacker
Early offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, et al
Analysis: Alexander is a missile on the field, stretching sideline-to-sideline and delivering punishing tackles. He has outstanding closing speed and the quickness to drop back into coverage. With 147 tackles and 17 sacks as a junior, Alexander was one of the most productive juniors in the country.

10. Noah Spence
School: Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.)
Position: Defensive end
Early offers: Pittsburgh, Penn State, USC, et al
Analysis: With 41 career sacks, the three-year starter has proven that he's the next major recruit to emerge from Bishop McDevitt, which has also produced Rickey Watters, LeSean McCoy and most recently, Jameel Poteat. Spence explodes off the ball and is a sure tackler. He has plenty of room to add weight to his 6-4, 240-pound frame.

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