Posted on: August 30, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: August 30, 2011 12:31 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Senior Writer Dennis Dodd tackled the difficult task of putting together the CBSSports.com preseason top 25. One of the common themes is that the national champ usually has to come from behind in the polls. Taking a look at the recruiting rankings, it's usually the opposite. Sure there are the Signing Day closers, such at USC or Florida, but the Alabama's, Texas' and Florida State's of the world put together a good class early and head to February with a good idea of who they're signing while holding out hope a top guy will put on their hat late in the process.
Here's a breakdown of the current MaxPreps Top 25 recruiting rankings and a little bit of insight as to who will eventually be declared recruiting national champion.
1. Michigan (top recruit: #33 Terry Richardson)
2. Texas (#3 Cayleb Jones)
3. Florida (#12 D.J. Humphries)
4. Florida State (#5 Mario Edwards)
6. Alabama (#19 Geno Smith)
One Big Ten team, one Big 12 team, two SEC teams and the ACC banner-carrier are the favorites to take home the mythical February title. It's no surprise to see some of the names on this list but newcomer Michigan is one considering Brady Hoke has yet to coach a game. It's not a deep year for Midwest talent but the Wolverines have certainly grabbed the creme of the crop and as a result sit in the pole position past the halfway point.
5. Miami (#77 Jelani Hamilton)
7. Texas A&M (#51 Trey Williams)
9. Auburn (#30 Zeke Pike)
10. LSU (#58 Avery Johnson)
11. Virginia Tech (Donaldven Manning)
15. Clemson (#16 Travis Blanks)
18. Notre Dame (#13 Jarron Jones)
The next group of teams has an outside shot of moving up into the top five and challenging for the title with a strong close. Miami is in a difficult position in that they have a strong class filled with local talent but given the NCAA investigation swirling around the program, no one knows how long Al Golden can keep things up. With recent news that the Aggies would be moving to the SEC, one figures they could see a bounce and grab one or two top prospects by selling playing time in the nation's best football conference. Auburn has done well again this year and is seeing a championship bounce with their current group and could see other prospects come around to playing on the Plains. LSU and Virginia Tech have put together under the radar classes but they're both strong enough to put them in position to move up with a top 100 recruit committing. Clemson and Notre Dame both have small classes but have shown they can get things done between now and players putting pen to paper.
8. Virginia (#50 Michael Moore)
12. Penn State (#36 J.J. Denman)
13. South Carolina (#20 Shaq Roland)
14. Arizona State (#45 Evan Goodman)
16. Oklahoma (#47 Durron Neal)
This group of teams look like they can make a strong push to finish in the top five but it will be a steep up hill battle. Virginia is ranked highly due to the numbers they have and when others catch up in that department, they'll slide back down to the middle of the pack. Penn State has been solid but not spectacular in a good year for Pennsylvania talent. South Carolina is comfortable with their class but likely won't grab a top 10 player to push them up and Arizona State will likely not finish as the top Pac-12 class at the end of the day. Oklahoma is limited in terms of numbers this year and while they might sneak in the top group, it will be hard to go much further.
17. Cincinnati (#72 Bennie Coney)
19. Missouri (#91 Jonathan Williams)
20. Michigan State (#63 Sevon Pittman)
21. Wisconsin (#67 Dan Voltz)
22. Indiana (#2 Gunner Kiel)
23. Rutgers (#71 Leonte Caroo)
24. Washington (#70 Cyler Miles)
25. West Virginia (Brandon Napoleon)
It's a nice year for this group of team but it will be tough for any of these schools to move above 15 in the rankings. Likewise, it might be tough for Indiana, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Michigan State to stay in the top 25 as other schools start filling out their class with 20 or more recruits.
Tags: ACC, Al Golden, Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Avery Johnson, Bennie Coney, Big 12, Big Ten, Brady Hoke, Brandon Napoleon, Cayleb Jones, Cincinnati, Clemson, Cyler Miles, Dan Voltz, Dennis Dodd, Donaldven Manning, Durron Neal, Evan Goodman, Florida, Florida State, Geno Smith, Gunner Kiel, Indiana, J.J. Denman, Jarron Jones, Jelani Hamilton, Jonathan Williams, Leonte Caroo, LSU, Mario Edwards, Miami, Michael Moore, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, NCAA, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Pac-12, Penn State, Rutgers, SEC, Sevon Pittman, Shaq Roland, South Carolina, Terry Richardson, Texas, Texas A&M, Travis Blanks, Trey Williams, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Zeke Pike
Posted on: August 26, 2011 12:49 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
There are a ton of great high school football games this weekend and the biggest reason they are, well, big games are the recruits leading their teams into action. MaxPreps took a look at the top 10 games on Friday and Saturday and here's a list of the recruits to watch in five of the games.
St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Prattville
Keep an eye on: Florida State commit and defensive tackle Justin Shanks, Alabama-bound athlete Justin Thomas and defensive end Caleb Gulledge and corner/Wake Forest verbal LaRonji Vason for Prattville. St. Thomas Aquinas is powered by defensive end/Miami commit Jelani Hamilton, uncommitted running back Dami Ayoola and defensive end Bryan Cox Jr.
Armwood vs. Bishop Gorman
Keep an eye on: Armwood is loaded with talent, including offensive lineman Cody Waldrop (going to South Carolina), linebacker Eric Striker (Oklahoma), defensive tackle Sheldon Lewison (Wake Forest) and uncommitted defensive back Jarvis McCall. The team will be without Florida-bound running back Matt Jones due to an injury. Gorman has several uncommitted recruits leading the charge, including offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley and Ron Scoggins and running back Shaq Powell.
South Panola vs. Hoover
Keep an eye on: Panola is powered by Ole Miss commits Issac Gross and Temario Strong on the defensive line.
Cedar Hill vs. Allen
Keep an eye on: For Cedar Hill, offensive lineman Aderius Epps is headed to Kansas State next year and defensive end David Harris is drawing some interest. Allen has a trio of commits leading the top five team with quarterback Alec Morris (Alabama), running back Jonathan Williams (Missouri) and linebacker Thaddeus LaGrone (Baylor).
Harrison vs. Cass Tech
Keep an eye on: Cass Tech is loaded once again with Michigan-bound cornerback Terry Richardson and linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone, along with linebacker Laron Taylor (committed to Iowa). There's two future Wolverines on Harrison as well in tight end Devin Funchess and defensive end Mario Ojemudia. Wide receiver Aaron Burbridge is headed to Michigan State.
For more, be sure to check out MaxPreps' weekend preview.
Tags: Aaron Burbridge, Aderius Epps, Alabama, Alec Morris, Baylor, Bryan Cox Jr., Caleb Gulledge, Cody Waldrop, Dami Ayoola, David Harris, Devin Funchess, Eric Striker, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Issac Gross, Jarvis McCall, Jelani Hamilton, Jonathan Williams, Justin Shanks, Justin Thomas, Kansas State, Laron Taylor, LaRonji Vason, Mario Ojemudia, Matt Jones, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, ron Scorggins, Ronnie Stanley, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Shaq Powell, Sheldon Lewison, South Carolina, Temario Strong, Terry Richardson, Thaddeus LaGrone, Wake Forest, Wake Forest
Posted on: August 3, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 1:41 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The month of July has come to a close and what better time to take a broad overview of how a conference is doing on the recruiting trail than the first week in August, roughly six months from Signing Day. Today we'll take a look at the verbal commitments for the Big Ten, where Ohio State is off to a slower start than normal given the problems surrounding the program and Nebraska hasn't taken advantage of the move quite yet.
Wide receiver Elliot Faerber (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)
Defensive back TaJarvis Fuller (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Defensive back Cody Quinn (Middletown, Ohio)
Wide receiver Jason "JJ" Robertson (Mokena, Ill.)
Offensive lineman Joseph Spencer (Mason, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Joey Warburg (Louisville, Ky.)
Offensive lineman Jacob Bailey (Carmel, Ind.)
Wide receiver Caleb Cornett (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Linebacker Mike Cotton (O'Fallon, Ill.)
Wide receiver Kevin Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Offensive lineman Dan Freeney (Orland Park, Ill.)
Defensive back Dawson Fletcher (West Chester, Ohio)
Tight end Tanner Kearns (Lexington, Ohio)
Quarterback Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Defensive end Adam Kranda (New Castle, Ind.)
Linebacker Nick Mangieri (Dunlap, Ill.)
Offensive lineman Wes Rogers (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Tight end Jason Spriggs (Elkhart, Ind.)
Linebacker Darrius Stroud (Streetsboro, Ohio)
Defensive tackle Alex Todd (Streetsboro, Ohio)
Linebacker Jordan Wallace (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Athlete Maurice Fleming Jr. (Chicago, Ill.)
Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (Westchester, Ill.)
Offensive tackle Mitch Kepyy (Port Byron, Ill.)
Kicker Connor Kornbrath (Bridgeport, W.V.)
Athlete Michael Malloy (Sioux City, Iowa)
Defensive end Drew Ott (Giltner, Neb.)
Offensive lineman Ryan Ward (New Lenox, Ill.)
Wide receiver Cameron Wilson (Dublin, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Blake Bars (Nashville, Tenn.)
Linebacker Joe Bolden (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Ben Branden (Rockford, Mich.)
Defensive end Pharaoh Brown (Lyndhurst, Ohio)
Defensive back Jeremy Clark (Madisonville, Ky.)
Tight end Devin Funchess (Farmington Hills, Mich.)
Defensive back Allen Gant (Sylvania, Ohio)
Defensive tackle Matthew Godin (Novi, Mich.)
Running back Sione Houma (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone (Detroit, Mich.)
Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis (Lakewood, Ohio), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Offensive lineman Erik Magnuson (Carlsbad, Calf.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Defensive end Mario Ojemudia (Farmington Hills, Mich.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Defensive back Terry Richardson (Detroit, Mich.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Linebacker Kaleb Ringer (Clayton, Ohio)
Linebacker James Ross (Orchard Lake, Mich.)
Offensive lineman Caleb Stacey (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Defensive back Anthony Standifer (Crete, Ill.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Defensive end Tom Strobel (Mentor, Ohio)
Tight end A.J. Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Defensive back Jarrod Wilson (Akron, Ohio)
Defensive end Christopher Wormley (Toledo, Ohio)
Michigan State (13)
Athlete Riley Bullough (Traverse City, Mich.)
Wide receiver Aaron Burbridge (Farmington Hills, Mich.)
Defensive back Jermaine Edmondson (Canton, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Zach Higgins (Alliance, Ohio)
Tight end Evan Jones (West Lafayette, Ohio)
Wide receiver Kyle Kerrick (Coatesville, Pa.)
Wide receiver MacGarrett Kings Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Linebacker Jamal Lyles (Southfield, Mich.)
Offensive lineman Benny McGowan (Centerville, Ohio)
Quarterback Tyler O'Connor (Lima, Ohio)
Defensive end Se'von Pittman (Canton, Ohio), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Tight end Josiah Price (Greentown, Ind.)
Running back Nick Tompkins (Snellville, Ga.)
Linebacker Josh Ballesteros (Miami, Fla.)
Linebacker Drew Davis (Raleigh, N.C.)
Defensive tackle Scott Ekpe (Lewisvile, Texas)
Wide receiver Isaac Fruechte (Rochester JUCO/Rochester, Minn.)
Offensive lineman Isaac Hayes (Mendota Heights, Minn.)
Tight end Samad Hinds (Miami, Fla.)
Defensive tackle Jordan Hinojosa (Miami, Fla.)
Quarterback Mitch Leidner (Lakeville, Minn.)
Linebacker Jack Lynn (Lake Zurich, Ill.)
Defensive back Dinero Moss (Surprise, Fla.)
Defensive back Eric Murray (Milwaukee, Wisc.)
Quarterback Philip Nelson (Mankato, Minn.)
Linebacker Brian Nicholson (Miami, Fla.)
Offensive lineman Jonah Pirsig (Blue Earth, Minn.)
Defensive end Dominic Twitty (Mount Holly, N.J.)
Tight end Maxx Williams (Waconia, Minn.)
Running back Rodrick Williams Jr. (Lewisville, Texas)
Tight end Sam Cotton (Lincoln, Neb.)
Defensive end Greg McMullen (Akron, Ohio)
Linebacker Michael Rose (Kansas City, Mo.)
Offensive lineman Paul Thurston (Arvada, Col.)
Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp (Lombard, Ill.)
Offensive lineman Adam DePietro (Lancaster, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Chris Fitzpatrick (Lawrenceburg, Ky.)
Defensive back Joseph Jones (Plano, Ill.)
Running back Malin Jones (Naperville, Ill.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Defensive end Dean Lowry (Rockford, Ill.)
Offensive lineman Connor Mahoney (Malvern, Pa.)
Wide receiver Mike McHugh (Kirkwood, Mo.)
Offensive lineman Eric Olson (Cambridge, Mass.)
Offensive lineman Ian Park (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Kenton Playko (Lewis Center, Ohio)
Tight end Jack Schwaba (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Athlete Dan Vitale (Wheaton, Ill.)
Defensive back Dwight White (Cypress, Texas)
Ohio State (11)
Running back Warren Ball (Columbus, Ohio)
Defensive back De'van Bogard (Cleveland, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Jacoby Boren (Pickerington, Ohio)
Running back Bri'onte Dunn (Canton, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Pat Elflein (Pickerington, Ohio)
Wide receiver Frank Epitropoulos (Upper Arlington, Ohio)
Defensive back Najee Murray (Steubenville, Ohio)
Linebacker Josh Perry (Galena, Ohio)
Defensive back Tyvis Powell (Bedford, Ohio)
Linebacker Luke Roberts (Lancaster, Ohio)
Tight end Blake Thomas (Westlake, Ohio)
Penn State (13)
Offensive lineman J.J. Denman (Fairless Hills, Pa.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Defensive tackle Derek Dowrey (Winchester, Va.)
Offensive lineman Brian Gaia (Baltimore, Md.)
Tight end J.P. Holtz (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Tight end Jesse James (McKeesport, Pa.)
Defensive tackle Austin Johnson (Richland, N.J.)
Athlete Jake Kiley (New Hampton, N.H.)
Quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Joey O'Connor (Windsor, Col.)
Offensive lineman Anthony Stanko (Warren, Ohio)
Linebacker Nyeem Wartman (Archbald, Pa.)
Tight end Brent Wilkerson (Hyattsville, Md.)
Linebacker Camren Williams (West Roxbury, Mass.)
Quarterback Austin Appleby (North Canton, Ohio)
Tight end Jonathan Curry (Phenix City, Ala.)
Linebacker Andy Garcia (Hialeah, Fla.)
Kicker Paul Griggs (Charlotte, N.C.)
Linebacker Jimmy Herman (Carmel, Ind.)
Running back Benjamin "BJ" Knauf (Lakeland, Fla.)
Defensive back Steffon Martin (Arizona Western JUCO, Yuma, Ariz.)
Kicker Thomas Meadows (Goochland, Va.)
Tight end Ryan Morris (Barnegat, N.J.)
Defensive back Jordan Shine (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Linebacker Vince Biegel (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Offensive lineman Kyle Dodson (Cleveland, Ohio)
Defensive back Hugs Etienne (Plantation, Fla.)
Defensive tackle Arthur Goldberg (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Quarterback Bart Houston (Concord, Calif.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Running back Vonte Jackson (Kenosha, Wis.)
Athlete Reggie Mitchell (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Dan Voltz (Barrington, Ill.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Tags: A.J. Williams, Aaron Burbridge, Adam DePietro, Adam Kranda, Alex Todd, Allen Gant, Andy Garcia, Anthony Standifer, Anthony Stanko, Arthur Goldberg, Austin Appleby, Austin Johnson, Bart Houston, Ben Branden, Benjamin Knauf, Benny McGowan, Big Ten, Blake Bars, Blake Thomas, Brent Wilkerson, Bri'onte Dunn, Brian Gaia, Brian Nicholson, Caleb Cornett, Caleb Stacey, Cameron Wilson, Camren Williams, Chris Fitzpatrick, Christopher Wormley, Cody Quinn, Connor Kornbrath, Connor Mahoney, Dan Freeney, Dan Vitale, Dan Voltz, Darrius Stroud, Dawson Fletcher, De'van Bogard, De'van Bogard, Dean Lowry, Derek Dowrey, Devin Funchess, Dinero Moss, Dominic Twitty, Drew Davis, Drew Ott, Elliot Faerber, Eric Murray, Eric Olson, Erik Magnuson, Evan Jones, Frank Epitropoulos, Greg McMullen, Gunner Kiel, Hugs Etienne, Ian Park, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Isaac Fruechte, Issac hayes, J.J. Denman, Jack Lynn, Jack Schwaba, Jacob Bailey, Jacoby Boren, Jamal Lyles, James Ross, Jarrod Wilson, Jason Robertson, Jason Spriggs, Jeremy Clark, Jermaine edmondson, Jesse James, Jimmy Herman, Joe Bolden, Joey O'Connor, Joey Warburg, Jonah Pirsig, Jonathan Curry, Jordan Hinojosa, Jordan Shine, Jordan Wallace, Jordan Westerkamp, Joseph Jones, Joseph Spencer, Josh Ballesteros, Josh Perry, Josiah Price, July Commitment List, Kaleb Ringer, Kenton Playko, Kevin Davis, Kyle Dodson, Kyle Kalis, Kyle Kerrick, Lemming 100, Luke Roberts, Macgarrett Kings Jr., Malin Jones, Mario Ojemudia, Matthew Godin, Maurice Fleming Jr., Maxx Williams, Michael Rose, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike Cotton, Mike McHugh, Minnesota, Mitch Kepyy, Mitch Leidner, Najee Murray, Najee Murray, Nebraska, Nick Mangieri, Nick Tompkins, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pat Elflein, Paul Griggs, Paul Thurston, Penn State, Pharaoh Brown, Philip Nelson, Purdue, Reggie Mitchell, Riley Bullough, Rodrick Williams Jr., Royce Jenkins-Stone, Ryan Morris, Sam Cotton, Samad Hinds, Scott Ekpe, Se'von Pittman, Se'von Pittman, Sione Houma, Steffon Martin, TaJarvis Fuller, Tanner Kearns, Terry Richardson, Thomas Meadows, Tom Strobel, Tyler O'Connor, Tyvis Powell, Vince Biegel, Vonte Jackson, Warren Ball, Wes Rogers, Wisconsin, Zach Higgins
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:28 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- As things wrapped up on Day 4 of The Opening, one couldn't help feeling a tinge of sadness on behalf of the nearly 150 athletes at the event. Knowing the end was coming and that they soon would have to hop on a plane home, many players couldn't believe the all-star event had come to a close.
"It's a very humbling, lifetime experience," Yulee (Fla.) running back Derrick Henry said. "I'll never forget it. All this competition, the whole 150, it's a blessing. It's nice getting guys' prospectives on different colleges and stuff like that, it's been good."
As one of three sophomores at the event, Henry was just trying to soak in the event. Playing with some of the top players in the country, The Opening was a chance to learn from the best in anticipation of coming back next year as the elder statesman.
"This is my first time coming up here, and I'm starting to enjoy the whole thing," he said. "But next time it's going to be business."
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Henry was one of the most impressive athletes, physically, at the event. Though he plays running back in high school, if he continues to grow, he might develop into a tight end -- a position he got reps at during the 7-on-7 portion of the event.
"It just gives me a chance to get out there and catch some balls and get some touchdowns," he said. "I'll do anything to get my team the win."
Though he was split out catching passes instead of running down hill, there's no question what position he wants to play at the next level.
"Oh running back, that's what I play," Henry said. "I'm just doing this because it's 7-on-7. You've got to do what you've got to do to get the ball."
The Opening also gave Henry a chance to talk with plenty of older, heavily recruited athletes such as Nelson Agholor, Terry Richardson and Dillon Lee just on his 7-on-7 team. Already solidified as one of the top players in the Class of 2013, Henry has been picking up scholarship offers at a good clip over the past few months.
"I got an offer from Stanford, North Carolina, Tennessee and some others," he said. "I know I'm over 50. It's a humbling experience. I thank god everyday for this opportunity. I just use it as motivation to keep working hard in the weight room and the classroom and the field. Hopefully I can give back to my teammates by using my talent and my name to get them opportunities for the young guys who are under (the radar)."
Although many had considered him a Florida State lean early on, it's another in-state program that has moved out in front nearly a year and a half before he eventually signs a letter of intent.
"Florida is my leader, then Georgia, Florida State and Alabama," Henry said. "I'm open to any school; it's just where I feel comfortable and at home at, that chemistry I have with the coaches and where my family likes."
Reeves down to two
With so many talented players on the fields at the Nike campus, tempers were bound to flare given the level of competition. But, surprisingly, things were mostly limited to some good-natured trash talking because of the bond the players had formed over the past few days.
"It's very competitive out here,” defensive back Armani Reeves said. “But they're all good guys. When we go inside the lounge in there, we're all family and have a good time. But when we come out to (the fields), that's the time to compete and that's what we do.”
Things have been competitive on the recruiting front for the Roxbury (Mass.) corner. Reeves recently narrowed down his list of schools to two and talked about both, starting with Notre Dame.
"They're a great school academically," he said. "Coach (Bob) Diaco, Coach (Brian) Kelly, they're trying to turn that program around and make it a championship school. When they talked they had a lot to offer. When they showed me around, the campus was beautiful and I got to hang out with a bunch of the players. I had a good time there.”
The Irish are not the only program in the running for Reeves' services, as the Nittany Lions are neck and neck with them in Reeves' eyes.
"As far as Penn State goes, it feels like home," he said. "Coach (Joe) Paterno, I talk to him every time I see him. We even Skype now. All of those coaches treat me like family and express how much they want me. I'm just enjoying the process and trying to think about everything."
Several recruits have reported they have Skyped with the coaching legend and like the others, Reeves feels it's a unique connection to one of college football's icons thanks to a bit of modern technology.
"Yeah it's pretty cool," Reeves said. "He was cracking jokes with me. He's new to the whole thing so when you have an old guy like him doing something like Skype, it's just fascinating. He was just talking and we forgot about recruiting, telling me stories and stuff. It was really fun, I had a good time."
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back returned from unofficial visits to both schools shortly before heading to Oregon for The Opening. While he is officially down to two schools, a timetable for a decision on which one he will commit to is up in the air.
"Hopefully I'll make a decision soon but if not, I don't mind waiting," he said. "I just came back from those visits like two or three weeks ago so I'm just taking this time enjoying my time out here with these fellas."
Elder getting closer to decision
Proving that defensive backs can also have a pair of good hands, College Park (Ga.) corner Chaz Elder made one of the defensive plays of the day when he caught a beautiful over the shoulder interception in the end zone to prevent a touchdown.
“My teammate told me to watch for the corner,” Elder said. “So I went over to try and get over the top. I got over there a little to late, but luckily the wide receiver missed it and I was able to catch it.”
Coming a long way from home and making plays is something new for Elder, but the overall experience in Portland has been a rewarding one for the talented cornerback.
“It's been great,” he said. “This is the furthest I've ever been outside of Georgia. I like it. (The plane ride) is kind of long. It's very long but it's alright.”
One of the top players in a deep pool of talent in Georgia this year, Elder has more than 25 scholarship offers from major powerhouses, but he has narrowed his list to three schools.
“With (Georgia), I like the fact that me and Coach Mark Richt have a good relationship,” Elder said. “South Carolina, I like the fact that they're known for having good DB's. Plus I like the defense they run because it's similar to what I run now in high school. With Vanderbilt, they're upcoming and I could help change the face of the program.”
Vanderbilt is making news in the recruiting world by picking several major commitments, including one from Top 100 running back Brian Kimbrow. The momentum the school has under new coach James Franklin is something that matters to Elder.
“That's a big factor,” he admitted.
Elder won't open up as to which of the three programs is out in front but plans to make a decision soon, likely in August before his senior seasons begins.
Howard staying open
There were plenty of players who had fun at The Opening, but it was hard to top the excitement about the event that Miramar (Fla.) defensive back Tracy Howard had following a 7-on-7 win.
“It's been one of the best experiences of my life,” Howard said. “To come way out to Portland, Oregon, I know I haven't been this far from home. The only place I've been is the Bahamas on a cruise. It's definitely a blessing to get out here with the top talent and compete against those guys.”
A talkative player on the field, Howard doesn't mind finding a player on the opposing team and talking a little trash to back up his coverage skills
“Oh Sean Price,” Howard responds almost instantly about who he talks the most trash with. “We're good friends, it's not bad talk, we're just getting each other better.”
Though Howard has been leaning toward Florida for a good portion of the recruiting process, he's narrowed his list of schools he's considering and looking at all of the options equally.
“I'm just staying open right now,” he said. “I'm down to a few: Miami, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, LSU, South Carolina and Notre Dame.”
-- Very impressive day by defensive linemen Sheldon Day and Ellis McCarthy. Though Day was named position group MVP, McCarthy was unblockable during one-on-ones and went around and through his man, all on a bad ankle. Aziz Shittu rebounded from a sub-par day Friday to perform well. Curtis Riser was the top offensive lineman of the group on Saturday to go with good performances from Vadal Alexander and Issac Seumalo.
-- No matter what position he played, Fresno (Calif.) athlete Deontay Greenberry was a flat-out player. From skying on jump balls in the end zone to intercepting passes during limited time on defense, the Notre Dame-bound Greenberry was consistently a top performer over all three days of competition.
-- Geismar (La.) safety Landon Collins was named the 7-on-7 MVP and overall MVP of The Opening. He was everywhere on the field and quite literally had too many interceptions to count over the two days of 7-on-7. He more than lived up to his billing as a top 10 player in the class of 2012 and might even be underrated based on what he has done this summer.
-- Another defensive back that stood out was Clemson commit and Tallahassee (Fla.) safety Travis Blanks. Blanks had two interceptions in the opening game Saturday (and nearly had two more) and continued his stellar play throughout the day. He is one of the most versatile defensive backs in that he's equally good as a safety and cornerback.
-- There weren't many of them, but the walking wounded on the sidelines generally sported cardinal and gold. USC commits Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (stitches) and Jabari Ruffin (fractured wrist) were both out of action Saturday.
-- Team Alpha Talon, with honorary coaches Josh Freeman and Dwayne Bowe, won the 7-on-7 tournament. The team featured Bralon Addison, Nelson Agholor, Deon Bush, Landon Collins, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Trae Elston, Justin Ferguson, Derrick Henry, Germone Hopper, Chad Kelly, Duke Johnson, Dillon Lee, Kaiwan Lewis, Steven Longa, Lamar Louis, Marcus Maye, Armani Reeves, Terry Richardson and Randy Uzoma.
-- The overall offensive line MVP was Vadal Alexander while Sheldon Day took home the same honors on the defensive line. Offensive tackle Kyle Murphy and defensive end Jamal Marcus were one-on-one champions.
-- The 7-on-7 All-Tournament team was Travis Blanks, Cyrus Jones, Johnathan Gray, Deontay Greenberry, Marcus Maye, Bryce Treggs and Tee Shepard.
Tags: Alabama, Armani Reeves, Aziz Shittu, Bob Diaco, Bralon Addison, Brian Kelly, Brian Kimbrow, Bryce Treggs, Chad Kelly, Chaz Elder, Clemson, Curtis Riser, Cyrus Jones, Deon Bush, Deontay Greenberry, Derrick Henry, Dillon Lee, Dillon Lee, Duke Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Ellis McCarthy, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia, Germone Hopper, Issac Sumalo, Jabari Ruffin, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, James Franklin, Joe Paterno, Johnathan Gray, Josh Freeman, Justin Ferguson, Kaiwan Lewis, Lamar Louis, Landon Collins, LSU, Marcus Maye, Mark Richt, Miami, Nelson Agholor, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Randy Uzoma, Sean Price, Shledon Day, Skype, South Carolina, Stanford, Steven Longa, Tee Shepard, Tennessee, Terry Richardson, The Opening, The Opening 2011, Tracy Howard, Trae Elston, Travis Blanks, USC, Vadal Alexander, Vanderbilt
Posted on: June 29, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 12:59 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Tags: A.J. Williams, Adam DePietro, Adam Kranda, Adarius Rayner, Alex Todd, Allen Gant, Andre McDonald, Anthony Standifer, Anthony Stanko, Arthur Goldberg, Austin Appleby, Austin Johnson, Bart Houston, Ben Branden, Benjamin Knauf, Benny McGowan, Big Ten, Blake Bars, Blake Thomas, Brent Wilkerson, Bri'onte Dunn, Brian Gaia, Caleb Cornett, Caleb Stacey, Cameron Wilson, Camren Williams, Chris Fitzpatrick, Cody Quinn, Connor Kornbrath, Connor Mahoney, Dan Freeney, Dan Vitale, Dan Voltz, Dawson Fletcher, De'van Bogard, De'van Bogard, Dean Lowry, Derek Dowrey, Devin Funchess, Dinero Moss, Drew Davis, Drew Ott, Elliot Faerber, Eric Murray, Eric Olson, Erik Magnuson, Evan Jones, Frank Epitropoulos, Greg McMullen, Hugs Etienne, Ian Park, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Isaac Fruechte, J.J. Denman, Jack Schwaba, Jacoby Boren, Jamal Lyles, James Ross, Jamil Pollard, Jarron Jones, Jason Robertson, Jeremy Clark, Jesse James, Joe Bolden, Joey O'Connor, Jordan Shine, Jordan Wallace, Jordan Westerkamp, Joseph Jones, Josh Ballesteros, Josh Perry, Josiah Price, June Commitment List, Kaleb Ringer, Kenton Playko, Kevin Davis, Kyle Dodson, Kyle Kerrick, Lemming 100, Malin Jones, Mario Ojemudia, Matthew Godin, Maurice Fleming Jr., Maxx Williams, Michael Rose, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike Cotton, Mike McHugh, Minnesota, Mitch Kepyy, Mitch Leidner, Najee Murray, Najee Murray, Nebraska, Nick Mangieri, Nick Rallis, Nick Tompkins, Northwestern, Ohio State, Paul Griggs, Paul Thurston, Penn State, Pharaoh Brown, Philip Nelson, Purdue, Reggie Mitchell, Riley Bullough, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Ryan Morris, Sam Cotton, Scott Ekpe, Se'von Pittman, Se'von Pittman, TaJarvis Fuller, Tanner Kearns, Terry Richardson, Thomas Meadows, Tom Strobel, Tyler O'Connor, Tyvis Powell, Vince Biegel, Vonte Jackson, Warren Ball, Wisconsin, Zach Higgins
Posted on: May 22, 2011 9:06 am
Edited on: May 22, 2011 9:19 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a talent-laden Elite 11 on the campus of Ohio State Friday, the Nike Football Camp on Saturday tried to match the talent level and may have ended up exceeding it overall based on the number of big names in attendance.
The latest stop in the camp circuit attracted several hundred of the nation's top athletes and one of the headliners was Cincinnati (Ohio) defensive end Adolphus Washington, who excelled during one-on-one drills once he got into the swing of things.
“I did pretty good,” Washington said. “I messed up in the one-on-ones the first time but overall I did pretty good. I came and bounced back.”
The 6-foot-3, 260 pound end had really good footwork outside of one rep and had a nice array of pass rush moves. He's compact but explosive and proved he was one of the top guys at his position.
“It's good competition to see who I have to go against in my class,” he said. “It's lets you know that other people are out there working. Just because you are one of the top (guys) in the country doesn't mean much, they're coming after you because you are one of the top guys.”
The Taft High product has the frame to add on weight and perhaps even the ability to move inside for some reps at defensive tackle. With almost too many scholarship offers to count, Washington has seen plenty of schools stop by during the evaluation period, including some big names in the past week.
“Notre Dame on Monday, Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee,” he rattled off. “It was a couple of them.”
As hectic as things have been for Washington, he's managed to trim his list of schools down as he starts to focus on the recruiting process and the journey to eventually making a commitment.
“I actually have a top five: Ohio State, Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan and Miami in Florida,” Washington said. “I'm not really crossing anybody out but that's my top five that I like right now.”
Washington hasn't taken any unofficial visits to see those five schools yet but he is about to put a check mark next to one of those schools pretty soon to indicate he's visited.
“Me and Dwayne (Stanford) are going to Michigan next week,” Washington said. “We're looking forward to looking at their roster, seeing how the social environment is, graduation rates, how do African-American students do at their school and things like that.”
The Wolverines are one of the programs that meet the criteria that Washington is looking for in a school. While he's still a few months away from pulling the trigger, the very confident defensive end knows what he is looking for and won't commit until he's comfortable that the school has all that he's looking for.
“I'm looking into academics first,” he said. “Do they have the major I'm trying to get my degree in? What's the social life there and see how the team works together and stuff like that.”
Washington has not really eliminated any schools but at this point in the process it will be hard for others outside his top five to jockey into position to land his signature on Signing Day. Even within his top five pretty much set, there are two schools who have been on Washington from the beginning and continue to recruit him as a top priority.
“Michigan is actually recruiting me the hardest,” he said. “Coach (Greg) Mattison and Coach (Mark) Smith. Alabama too with Coach Sal (Sunseri).”
Though Washington didn't take home defensive end MVP Saturday, he was among the most polished pass rushers at the camp and you can easily tell why plenty of the nation's top programs are after the talented defender.
Stanford stands out too
While Washington was a stud on defense, his Cincinnati Taft High teammate Dwayne Stanford might have been even more impressive at wide receiver Saturday. With an outstanding frame and polished pass catching skills, it's easy to see why he is also among the country's best at the receiver position.
“I got to see where I was at today against some of the top DB's in the area and I think I showed I did pretty well,” Stanford said. “I didn't know any of them but I know from watching them that they were pretty good and knew what they were doing.”
Like many of the attendees, attending the Nike Camp was about more than just going through one-on-ones and catching passes.
“To get teaching, that's the main reason why I came here,” he said. “The first three hours I got teaching and I learned a lot about my footwork and route running. A lot of good stuff here. And also just to see where I'm at against the other top receivers out here. I'm always looking to get better against the best.”
The 6-foot-4, 200 pound wide out also listed a few of the schools to stop by Taft in the past few weeks and for Stanford, every school that does come by to evaluate him serves as motivation and part of the drive to be one of the best in the country at his position.
“This week we had Tennessee stop by, North Carolina, USC was here, some others,” Stanford said. “It's been busy. I'm working to get better and prove to these colleges that I am what they see.”
With a busy spring full of things to do, Stanford hasn't had a chance to see many of the schools who have extended him a verbal scholarship offer. With school about to be wrapped up, his schedule will be jam-packed with unofficial visits over the coming month or two this summer.
“Basically, I want to get around to all of these colleges on the East Coast,” he said. “Next weekend I'm going to try and make it up to Michigan and see them. I'm going to be on the road all of June.”
One of the things that he is looking to do is continue to play with his close friend and teammate Washington at the next level. While there's always talk of package deals in college football recruiting, it appears that it will be very hard to separate the two from signing with the same program.
“Definitely,” Stanford confirmed of the duo's playing together. “We're going to take most of our visits together. We'll sit down and see where's the best school for us individually and where the best school for us is together. Hopefully our individual schools are the same school that fits us best together. We definitely want to stay together and it's something we'll try and make happen.”
Unlike Washington however, Stanford hasn't narrowed down his list of over 20 offers and counting. It's clear that he wants to be able to do some research on a school and if possible see them for himself before naming a few top teams in the mix for his services.
“No, no really because I haven't taken any visits yet,” he said. “I took one to Cincinnati and Ohio State but those were during the season. Now I'm going to take these visits and really focus on seeing if it's a school that I can really see myself at.”
Academics are important to Stanford and his parents. While that is one of his top criteria in selecting a school, so too is how he fits into a program and the town that he'll live in for four or five years.
“I just want to see how the coaches use me and stuff like that,” he said. “I just want to feel like it's a good fit for me. The atmosphere and how it feels and that I like what's going on there.”
Mahone leaves lasting impression
Already one of the top running backs in the Midwest, Austintown (Ohio) athlete William Mahone didn't need to stop by Ohio State to show what he could do. But there he was at the Nike Camp, showing off a good burst, soft hands and many of the skills that get colleges from across the country excited just thinking about landing him.
“I felt like I did really good today, this is one of the best camps I've been to,” Mahone said. “There was some great competition out there today and I had a really good time.”
The 5-foot-10, 210 pounder was among the bigger running backs to show up and he tried to use that to his advantage during several of the drills. While he was best in the open field and taking on linebackers one-on-one, he did have to make a slight adjustment when it came to blocking individual defenders.
“I picked up on some more footwork drills and I need to work on my blocking,” he said. “I was surprised that we did some blocking today, I really wasn't ready for it. I kind of struggled with that a little bit so I know I need to work on it.
“It's different (without pads). You can't have that mentality where you want to take somebody out, you have to hold back a little.”
Already holding a double-digit offer list, Mahone continues to pick up scholarships weekly. The evaluation period has seen plenty of assistant coaches roll by Fitch High to get a look at him this spring and see how impressive he is in person.
“The most recent would be Minnesota about a week ago,” he said. “We've had Stanford stop by our high school. Pitt, Cincinnati, Michigan, Michigan State and a lot of other schools.”
Most of Mahone's offers come from schools in the Midwest or along the East Coast. While many are several hundred miles away from home, he's still on the fence as to what's an acceptable distance away from home he's comfortable going.
“It would be kind of nice to stay home but then again, if I need to go, I'm going to go,” he said. “I guess you could say I'm on the fence about distance away from home.”
There's plenty of other factors that will go into his decision however.
“I want a good relationship with the coaching staff, I want to feel like a family,” he said. “Coaching stability. I also want to be able to get on the field as soon as I can.”
Mahone has taken a few unofficial visits already this past year and has seen Michigan State, Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia already. He plans on visiting Notre Dame and Boston College in the near future but there already seems to be one school emerging as a leader for his commitment.
“The best relationship I have with coaches is at Pittsburgh,” Mahone said. “They're just warm and embracive. I went down there for my first visit with the new staff and they were real cool. I went back a month later, me and my mom went down there, and it was even better. I saw the campus and feel like I can have great success there.”
The plan is to narrow his list of schools down this summer and then take all five official visits before verbally committing sometime during the season.
Knapp stands out along the offensive line
One of the great things about the Nike Camps are the chance to see a player perform well that might be a little under the radar. Portage (Mich.) offensive tackle Kyle Knapp isn't heavily recruited but he has seen his stock rise as of late and he did nothing to slow it down Saturday, picking up the group's MVP award and shutting down some big time defensive linemen in one-on-ones.
“It's just a great feeling, I've been working at it for a long time, non-stop,” Knapp said. “I'm ready to continue it and keep working my butt off to keep it going.”
The 6-foot-4, 265 pound Knapp has a great frame and looks to be a natural left tackle. He could get a little stronger but is very athletic and moves well, stays balanced when pass blocking and has a very quick drop step. He needed all his skills during the competition given the talent he had to face.
“There were some really good defensive linemen,” he said. “They're quick and big but I feel like I handled myself well. I'm going to continue to work on my pass blocking and keep going. The coaches helped me with everything.”
Knapp is still a bit under the radar in the Midwest but is seeing his stock rise after performing well at several camps this spring. While he has yet to pick up his first BCS offer, he's got a solid group of schools who have extended a scholarship and will likely pick up a lot more once coaches get a hold of his film.
“I've got six right now, Western Michigan, Toledo, Ball State, Bowling Green, FIU and South Alabama,” he said. “There are some other schools talking with me but I'm not sure who's close to offering. Michigan has come by for a transcript visit. Iowa has come by for a transcript visit, Syracuse too.”
It will be a busy summer for Knapp with the trip to Columbus being just a pitstop along the way. He doesn't mind competing and will have plenty of chances to prove he's one of the better prospects in the region along the offensive line.
“I've got a lot of camps coming up,” he said. “I'm going to a one-day Wisconsin camp, Iowa's Elite camp. I'm going to go to Notre Dame... I've got them all, I've got a loaded schedule.”
Knapp said will wait until the fall to see how his recruiting plays out and likely commit halfway through the season.
- While plenty of parents were wearing Ohio State gear on the sidelines of the camp, there wasn't any being worn on the field. Ironically it was archival Michigan's maize and blue that littered the field. Quarterback Shane Morris, linebacker James Ross and cornerback Terry Richardson were among the top performers and represented their future school well on enemy territory. Richardson was the most recent to commit to going to Ann Arbor for college and discussed his verbal pledge last week.
“I committed to Michigan because I felt comfortable with them,” he said. “I did like Alabama and all the other schools but I felt the best at Michigan and that's why I picked them. I have a lot of friends going there and we'll make it happen up there.”
Richardson injured his hamstring at a track meet the night before running the 200 meters but still managed to lock down opposing receivers. He was one of several players whispering in a few recruits' ears about how good it was to be a Michigan man.
- In addition to Knapp taking home offensive line MVP honors, Morris took home quarterback MVP. Kansas City (Mo.) Ondre Pipkins was a terror during one-on-ones and was defensive line MVP while Ray Harris was running backs MVP, Tre Parmalee was wide receiver MVP, Jaylon Smith was linebackers MVP and Sebastian Smith was defensive back MVP.
- Others that impressed along the defensive line were Michigan commit Mario Ojemudia, who should be a very good outside linebacker at the next level, Se'Von Pittman, class of 2013 defensive end Jason Hatcher, tackle Sheldon Day, Pipkins, Alex Pace and Dayrl Goldsmith.
- The defensive backs had a very good day, with Cameron Burrows, Marcus Foster, Shaquille Davis and De'Van Bogard among those that impressed. The linebacker group was also deep and the aforementioned Ross was one of the top players in space. Class of 2013 prospect Mike McCray looked good and David Perkins also impressed with how well he moved.
- Stanford was easily the top guy at the receiver position, using his long arms to snag whatever was thrown his way. He's a good, polished route runner who gets into and out of breaks well and has deceptive speed for someone with his build. Corey Smith, Kevin Davis, Jeremy Graves, Gervon Simon and Urston Smith also performed well. Zeke Pike bounced back from a rough day at the Elite 11 to throw the ball much better. Pat Dill was another signal caller who looked good.
Tags: Adolphus Washington, Alabama, Alex Pace, Boston College, Cameron Burrows, Cincinnati, Corey Smith, David Perkins, Dayrl Goldsmith, De'Van Bogard, Dwayne Stanford, Gervon Simon, Greg Mattison, James Ross, Jason Hatcher, Jaylon Smith, Jeremy Graves, Kentucky, Kevin Davis, Kyle Knapp, Marcus Foster, Mario Ojemudia, Mark Smith, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike McCray, Minnesota, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ohio State Elite 11, Ohio State Nike Camp, Ondre Pipkins, Pat Dill, Penn State, Pitt, Ray Harris, Sal Sunseri, Se'Von Pittman, Sebastian Smith, Shane Morris, Shaquille Davis, Sheldon Day, Stanford, Tennessee, Terry Richardson, tre Parmalee, Urston Smith, USC, West Virginia, William Mahone, Wisconsin, Zeke Pike
Posted on: May 19, 2011 12:49 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Brady Hoke hasn't even coached a game for Michigan yet but he might have already won over the fanbase with his aggressive recruiting that has led to a top ten class early in the recruiting cycle. Hoke added to it this week with news breaking on Thursday that Detroit (Mich.) cornerback Terry Richardson had verbally pledged to the Wolverines.
“I think it’s something big they’re trying to get done there,” Richardson told 247Sports.com. “It’s where I feel the most comfortable. I wouldn’t have felt as comfortable at those other schools. I felt comfortable and wanted. I felt like I’m at home.”
The 5-foot-10, 165 pound Richardson is one of the top corners in the country and held offers from Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Penn State among others. He joins an already loaded class on defense for Michigan, many of whom are close friends with Richardson already. That bond between recruits was another reason why he'll be playing in Ann Arbor next year.
“Most of all, I’m back playing with my boys again,” he said. “We’re going to go up there and make it happen. We’re going to bring some real big-time excitement to Michigan over the next couple years. We’re going to make it happen and that was hard to pass up. For them to commit, it made me really look into it more and I felt comfortable. I felt wanted.”
The five-star player racked up nearly 40 tackles and snagged 12 interceptions last season. Also a threat out of the slot on offense, Richardson has great speed and great quickness. MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming has him ranked as the 33rd best player overall and fourth-best corner in the country for the class of 2012.
Richardson is the 12th commitment for Michigan in the upcoming class of 2012.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 9:49 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Stephenson High's annual spring game is usually full of Division I talent and Tuesday's edition featured as many 10 players who might sign with an FBS-level school. With four players already committed to play at schools like Florida and South Carolina, the high school in Stone Mountain (Ga.) added one more Tuesday night with a verbal pledge from linebacker Raphael Kirby following the spring game.
"Miami, when they offered they immediately jumped to my top," Kirby told CaneSport.com. "It's just such a great school, great tradition. I'm looking to get the U back to where it needs to be."
The Hurricanes offered Kirby just four days ago but have been recruiting Kirby for some time. One of the reasons why the talented linebacker will head south to play college football was running backs coach and co-recruiting coordinator Terry Richardson.
"He said he wanted me to be part of the family," Kirby said of Richardson. "It took them a little while to offer because of the staff changes, which I understood. Having a team offer late, most guys say `screw it.' But I considered what they had to say about why they offered late. And I've always liked the U, so I couldn't turn them down. I've rooted for Miami since I was small. It was something about Miami that I love, and it all started with knowing Ray Lewis went there. He's one of my favorite players."
Florida wound up a close second for Kirby's services and the Gators likely won't back off him given their need for linebackers this class. Two Stephenson players, defensive tackle JaFar Mann and running back Mike Davis, are currently committed to Florida.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Kirby racked up 120 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles last season as a junior. He is the ninth commitment for the Hurricanes' class of 2012 and is planning on enrolling early in Coral Gables.