Tag:Mack Brown
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

Alabama

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.

USC

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.

California

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.

Florida

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.

Auburn

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

Texas

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.

Michigan

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 8, 2011 11:36 am
 

Texas dips into JUCO ranks for two commitments

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's rare for Mack Brown to recruit any players from a junior college given the abundance of high school talent in-state but due to numbers and needs, went after two of them in 2012. Northwest Mississippi JUCO offensive tackle Donald Hawkins and East Mississippi JUCO defensive tackle Brandon Moore both committed to Texas on Wednesday to give the Longhorns much-needed depth on both lines.

"I just felt comfortable there," Moore told Orangebloods.com. "With coach (Bo) Davis, he was already my defensive line coach one time in my career, so this second time I already know what to expect and he knows what I need to improve on."

Scheduled to be an early enrollee, Moore originally signed with Alabama out of high school and held offers from Auburn, Michigan and Miami among others this year. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Hawkins held offers from several SEC schools but the draw of playing for the Longhorns was too much.

"The chances of me playing here are very high," he told Orangebloods.com following his visit to the school. "The expectations of me here are very high. I was impressed with the recruiting class they have coming in. By my senior year, the should be a national championship contender. That's something I want. Another thing that stood out to me was how the players embraced me. They made me feel welcome. They want me to come here, said they need me. They said the missing link is me. I was impressed by that."

The pair gives Texas 23 commitments for the class of 2012, of which they're the only ones not going to Austin from high school. Moore had 38 tackles and three sacks in helping his team to a junior college national championship this season.
Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:46 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2011 10:46 pm
 

Texas two-step as Longhorns add to class late

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A recruit making a commitment to Texas in the month of December is pretty rare given that Mack Brown usually has the entire class locked up by the end of the spring. The Longhorns added two players over the weekend however, as Athens (Texas) athlete Kendall Sanders and Clear Springs (Texas) wide receiver Marcus Johnson.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Johnson has been on a wild ride the past month with his recruitment. Originally a Texas Tech commitment, he pledged to Texas A&M following the team's Thanksgiving night loss to Texas. The Longhorns got involved with a late offer and after head coach Mike Sherman was let go, it was only a matter of time before he committed elsewhere.

“I picked Texas because I've grown up loving the program,” Johnson told Hookem.com. “It's an honor to receive an offer from Texas. It really is a dream come true.”

Sanders also went through much the same process as Johnson. Maxpreps' 23rd-ranked athlete decommitted from Oklahoma State on Monday after being a part of the the Cowboys class since right after Signing Day in February. But Sanders simply had to change his pledge once the Longhorns coaching staff extended the four-star an offer.

"Really, I was like Texas?! Texas?! It was my dream," he told Orangebloods.com. "I got this opportunity to see my dream, take it or go somewhere else? So I was like, I have to go with my dream. I have to complete my dream."

Both players add to what will likely be the top wide receiver groups in the country with MaxPreps 2nd-ranked receiver Cayleb Jones and 13th-ranked Thomas Johnson. Texas has 21 commitments for the class of 2012, which is ranked second overall.

"Sanders shows very good speed to the ball, great range, and he's an aggressive defender who attacks the line of scrimmage in run support and delivers hard hits," analyst Tom Lemming said. "He can read and react with the best of them and does a good job when playing the ball. Considered to be one of the top three prospects in northeast Texas and is an explosive ball player who reads and reacts well and is as active as they come."

Posted on: November 1, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Texas adds second quarterback in Jalen Overstreet

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Rarely does Mack Brown take two quarterbacks in one recruiting class but a numbers crunch thanks in part to the transfer of Garrett Gilbert has left the Longhorns looking for another signal-caller in 2012. They found one over the weekend in Tatum (Texas) quarterback Jalen Overstreet, who committed to Texas following a visit to Austin.

"I liked the environment. It was crazy. The facilities are just really, really nice there. I've been before, but first was my first time really going in depth," Overstreet told Orangebloods.com. "I liked the environment, how close knit everything is. It's like one big family. Everyone there is well taken care of."
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is much more of an athletic dual-threat quarterback, a contrast to long-time commitment Connor Brewer. Overstreet held offers from Arkansas, Texas Tech and Michigan among others but stayed in-state and will remain a quarterback for the Longhorns.

"A lot of people think I'm not good as a quarterback just because of some of the things I need to do at Tatum to help us win," he said. "But I believe I can do a good mixture of run and pass. I can throw a lot better than people might think."

Overstreet's pledge gives Texas 19 commitments for the class of 2012. The Horns are currently second in the Maxpreps team rankings three months from Signing Day.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 1:58 pm
 

Recruiting Showdown: Texas vs. Oklahoma

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's Red River Rivalry week in Dallas and what better time to take a look at the recruiting battles between the two flagship universities of each state, Texas and Oklahoma. Using Rivals' listing of scholarship offers, we found recruits who held scholarship offers from both the Longhorns and the Sooners and committed to one school over the other. The results:

Johnathan Gray Lemming Top Player    
Cayleb Jones Lemming Top Player    
Thomas Johnson    
Malcom Brown Lemming Top Player    
Paul Boyette Jr.    
Daniel Brooks    

Head-to-head winner: Texas

Mack Brown appears to beat Bob Stoops like he did back in 2005 (45-12 at the Cotton Bowl), winning five of six recruiting battles. But don't fret Oklahoma fans, there's an explanation behind the scoreboard even if Texas fans will continue to point to it no matter what happens on the field Saturday.

First, Texas offers players - especially those in-state - extremely early and gathers most of their commitments within the first few months of the recruiting cycle. As a result, Oklahoma and other schools rarely even offer players or commits they know they are unlikely to get a verbal commitment from. Some, like Brooks, they will compete over but for the most part the Horns jump on their players early while the Sooners pick out who they want on their own terms. Also keep in mind that Stoops has diversified his recruiting base to not rely only on his Texas pipeline, grabbing players from Florida and California among others in 2012.

Posted on: September 22, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Recruiting & Realignment: How does it shake out?


Posted by Bryan Fischer

Peering into the crystal ball is something recruitniks do all the time. Which kid goes where? Is this recruit leaning toward school X or school Y? He talked about early playing time but he also wants to play with his friend in the Big Ten.

There are so many data points but it is still an inexact science. It's hard, but someone has to do it.

With all of the conference realignment news still swirling around college football, it's time once again to look into the future (The future? Yes, the future) and see - at least for the short term - what the landscape might look like. CBSSports.com has gathered up all of our experts on both the football side and the basketball side to project what all six of the current BCS automatic qualifying conferences will look like in 2014.

RapidReports: Up to the minute realignment updates
Eye on College Football: Conference Realignment Central

From the looks of it, no conference is going kaput. There is some shrinking and some bloating but all-in-all, it's just a few alteration from what the landscape will look like in 2012. Here are our projections for further conference realignment once the current wheeling and dealings are complete:

  • Big Ten -- remains at 12 teams
  • Pac-12 -- remains at 12 teams
  • SEC -- Adds Texas A&M and Virginia Tech
  • Big 12 -- Adds BYU to replace Texas A&M, but only in football
  • ACC -- Adds Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Loses Virginia Tech to the SEC
  • Big East -- loses Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Adds TCU, Houston and UCF; Navy and Air Force as football schools.

So we’ve got six conferences ranging in size from 12 to 16 programs. Which is strongest on the recruiting trail? Which is the deepest? Most top-heavy? Let’s take a look in alphabetical order.




Current picture: Four top 25 teams, 2-3 coaches on the hot seat.

#4 Florida State
#6 Virginia
#7 Miami
#17 Clemson

Future outlook: Jimbo Fisher appears to have the Seminoles back and recruiting like they were in the 1990's. Not only is Florida State attracting top talent, they're closing well and look to be a perennial contender with top five class after top five class. Clemson has recruited very well under Dabo Swinney but that hasn't translated into the bowl games the Tigers want to be playing in - which is one reason 2011 is make or break for him. One figures that Miami will get hit with serious NCAA sanctions that will hamper their recruiting abilities going forward. At the same time, the Hurricanes getting fewer players out of their own backyard could allow other schools in the conference to come in and grab better players - which could be a nice boost for schools such as Virginia or Maryland. The additions of UConn, Pitt and Syracuse don't do too much but do provide increased access to both states for the northern end of the conference.




Current picture: Three top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#2 Texas
#16 Oklahoma
#19 Missouri

Future outlook: The conference everybody is talking about will continue to be the conference everybody will be talking about. Texas and Oklahoma will still be Texas and Oklahoma as long as Mack Brown and Bob Stoops are on the sidelines for the Red River Rivalry every year. The Big 12 staying together means that schools such as Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri and others will continue to have access to a good number of Texas high school players - key in any success any of them have had over the years. Texas will still grab the best players in the state, that much won't change no matter what happens. There could be increased competition however, with Texas A&M being able to play the 'We're in the SEC' card. That probably hurts Oklahoma and Oklahoma State more than anyone. BYU will enjoy reaching into the Southwest even more than they currently do.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#18 Cincinnati
#24 Rutgers

Future outlook: The realignment shakeup is all about the survival of the fittest but the Big East is, without a doubt, the least fit. They have had schools make waves in the national picture before but they've done so largely by coaching up players, not grabbing five-star recruits. Cincinnati has done a good job in the Midwest and should be helped out by nearby powerhouse Ohio State being down slightly. Rutgers is on shaky ground if Greg Schiano is let go but, if he sticks around, they should be a program that is helped by the trickle affect of Miami being down since they recruit Florida well. Not much is lost with the three schools going to the ACC, a good number of programs will still continue to recruit in states such as Pennsylvania and New York for players. TCU and West Virginia will probably be the top dogs in the rankings with both having strong ties to Texas and Dana Holgorsen's reputation proceeding him. UCF is a hidden gem that adds the most since Orlando has really come along in terms of number of BCS players the area produces.





Current picture: Five top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#1 Michigan
#13 Penn State
#20 Indiana
#21 Michigan State
#23 Wisconsin

Future outlook: Oh how the tables have been turned (off the field) in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. No one in the Big Ten has taken advantage of the turmoil in Columbus than the Wolverines under Brady Hoke. Given the quick turnaround, national prominence of the program and Hoke's ties to California, don't expect to see much drop off in Michigan recruiting over the next few years if they continue to win. Joe Paterno figures to retire at some point but Penn State sits in the middle of a talent-rich state and will continue to a solid job on the recruiting trail going forward. New Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson has done good job early on in locking up in-state talent and landing the number one quarterback in the country is a giant block to build on with future recruiting classes. Ohio State has been hampered with all that has gone but if they hire a top flight coach - as one would expect - all bets are off. The recruits in the state of Ohio alone will be able to keep them in the upper echelon of the conference regardless. Also watch out for Wisconsin, which will likely start getting better quality recruits the next few years following their success on the field.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, five coaches on the hot seat.

#15 Arizona State
#25 Washington

Future outlook: A few strong years of West Coast talent will form the basis of a strong conference going forward. The biggest cause for concern is the number of coaches who are on the hot seat and can lose their jobs. For some programs, that means starting over in recruiting. For others, it could be an upgrade. With both Los Angeles programs each dealing with some issues, the amount of talent available to programs like Washington, Utah, Colorado and others has never been higher. NCAA issues at Oregon might hamper the Ducks a little but as long as they're wearing a crazy uniform and have Phil Knight writing checks, they'll be ok. USC has continued to get top talent despite and should rebound from sanctions quicker than most programs because of that. If anything though, California will become much more of a battleground state with more programs looking at the recruits coming out the next few years.




Current picture: Eight top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#3 Florida
#5 Alabama
#8 Texas A&M
#9 Auburn
#10 Virginia Tech
#11 LSU
#14 South Carolina
#22 Vanderbilt

Future outlook: The nation's best conference on the field and the recruiting trail will only get better with the additions of Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. It's scary, actually, to think about. LSU, the Mississippi schools, Florida and Alabama should all benefit to increased access to Texas and the Aggies won't be any slouch by telling recruits that they can stay home and play in the SEC. The same is true of the state of Virginia, which has annually produced plenty of great players. Other schools have taken advantage of Georgia's increase in FBS talent the past several years and even though UGA has a coach on the hot seat, they'll be able to recruit well because of who's nearby. Will Muschamp has shown there's no drop off in the state of Florida for the Gators going forward and the Alabama-Auburn rivalry is becoming just as fierce on the recruiting trail going forward as the Iron Bowl has been on the field. Bottom line, no one recruits like the SEC and they're only getting stronger with their recent additions.




Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:27 am
 

Ranking the Big 12 Recruiting Classes

Posted by Bryan Fischer
1. Texas (Ranked #2 overall by MaxPreps)

It's no surprise to see the Longhorns occupy the top spot in the conference recruiting rankings and this year they have a particularly strong class. Mack Brown has collected five top 100 recruits, including the top running back and a wide receiver who happens to be the number three overall prospect.

2. Texas A&M (#6)

The Aggies have taken advantage of the turn around in College Station on the field with success on the recruiting trail. Quarterback Matt Davis and running back Trey Williams impressed over the summer and there are several explosive players on defense headed to Aggieland.

3. Oklahoma (#15)

A smaller class than normal when all is said and done, Bob Stoops has searched far and wide for some great talent. They managed to grab two top 100 players and several others who certainly could be in the final rankings.

4. Missouri (#16)

This class is a little under the radar with the top-heavy Big 12 rankings but it's a very solid class with some good players to build around. Running back Jonathan Williams is ranked in the top 100 and quarterback Maty Mauk is one of the most prolific high school passers in the country.

5. Texas Tech

Pretty impressive haul for Tommy Tuberville and company. Stealing offensive lineman Michael Starts out of Waco from several other teams was a coup and both lines will be restocked with this group.

6. Baylor

The Bears have a surprisingly big class at this point in the year with 18 commitments. Kiante Griffin is a terrific athlete who can play either wide receiver or defensive back and Thaddeus LaGrone is an athletic and rangy linebacker.

7. Oklahoma State

This class has seen some defections and Mike Gundy has finished bridesmaid to several prospects but this is still a solid, if small, group. There's plenty of time for this class to move up, especially if they can land legacy running back Barry Sanders Jr.

8. Iowa State

It's surprising to see such a diverse group headed to Ames with players from Florida to California to Texas. Grant Rohach could compete for the starting quarterback job early.

9. Kansas State

As one would expect, this class will eventually be made up of several junior college transfers so it's hard to figure out just how well the Wildcats are doing on the recruiting trail. Linebacker Will Davis is a good pick up though.

10. Kansas

One of the smallest classes in the country, the Jayhawks have work left to do. There's two quarterbacks so it looks like that need is filled and it's time to move on to others.

Posted on: August 4, 2011 12:42 am
 

Halfway to Signing Day: Big 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 Big 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.

Big 12 Commitment List

Best class: Texas

It's no surprise to see the Longhorns occupying the top spot in recruiting at this point in the year as they've once again jumped out and grabbed a number of top in-state commitments. They've nabbed the best running back in the state for the second year in a row in Johnathan Gray and the top receiver as well in Cayleb Jones. There's a lot of depth at multiple positions and it wouldn't surprise anyone if a number of players can make an early impact once they get to Austin.

Work left to do: Kansas

The Jayhawks obviously are not going to be like a Texas or an Oklahoma and get a ton of quality commitments early on but it still seems like the program is a bit behind their peers. They have one of the smallest classes in the country to begin with and that includes two players who are quarterbacks. Things will likely pick up once the season gets going but there's a lot of work left to do.

Under the radar class: Oklahoma

The Sooners won't take a full class based on their scholarship numbers but they've assembled a good group so far. It doesn't have the flash as their Red River rivals but it fills needs and brings in quality players. They've gone all over the country and have simply added a lot of good athletes that should develop into quality players down the road. For being a top 15 class, they are not really talked about like they should but Bob Stoops is doing a really great job this year.

Top commit: Wide receiver Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas), committed to Texas.

Loading up: Texas Tech on offensive linemen (5), Baylor on defensive backs (5), Texas A&M on defensive ends (4).

Frequent Fliers: Iowa State with commitments from six states.

Fence builders: Baylor and Texas Tech, all of the schools' commitments are from Texas.

Road to Signing Day storyline: Will Texas finish on top?

There's no doubt that year-in and year-out, Texas is in the top 10 nationally when Mr. February himself, Mack Brown, has been directing things down on the 40 acres. After a season in which everything that could have gone wrong did, it's remarkable for the Longhorns to be sitting at the halfway point with the number two class in the country. They're still in the running for some other top prospects, such as offensive lineman Andrus Peat, so there's still a very good chance the program could finish with the best class come Signing Day.

Top 25 Teams:

2. Texas
4. Texas A&M
13. Oklahoma
15. Missouri
23. Texas Tech
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com