Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:04 am

CB Marcus Roberson signs with Florida

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

One of the most up-and-down recruitments of the past few weeks has ended with Marcus Roberson signing with the Florida Gators .

A 6'1", 180-pound cornerback out of Fort Lauderdale, Roberson is Maxpreps No. 10 CB and possesses excellent size and fluidity. After initially committed to Texas Tech (and defensive backs coach Otis Mounds, Roberson's uncle) before backing out and committing to Auburn earlier this week. But that commitment lasted less than 48 hours, leaving Roberson free to makes his final decision between the Gators and USC.

By pulling the trigger for Will Muschamp and Co., Roberson becomes just the third new commitment for the Gators since their new head coach's arrival and could help ease the sting if --as many expect -- other top prospects like Curtis Grant and Tim Jernigan sign elsewhere. It remains to be seen how successful a Signing Day this will be for Muschamp, but thanks to Roberson it's off to a top-notch start; according to Maxpreps' Stephen Spiewak, Roberson's decision has pushed the Gators to the cusp of the top 10 in the Maxpreps team recruiting rankings .
Posted on: February 2, 2011 8:44 am

QB Thourogood switches from Va. Tech to Vandy

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

New Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin needed quarterbacks in his first Commodore signing class. Maybe it's not a surprise that he's been able to find one.

But it almost certainly qualifies as a surprise that he's reportedly been able to find one that was headed to Virginia Tech. According to multiple reports including this one , Virginia Beach (Va.) QB Lafonte Thourogood has made a Signing Day switch, deciding to sign with Franklin and Vanderbilt after having previously committed to the Hokies.

An athletic 6'3", 224-pound QB with mobility, Thourogood becomes one of the biggest prizes in Franklin's first class. But even more impressive is that he was able to pull Thourogood away from an established in-state program like the Hokies. The Commodores are never going to be heavyweights on the recruiting trail, but if this is any indication, Franklin in time may be able to get Vandy to punch a bit above their weight all the same.

Posted on: February 1, 2011 3:18 pm

SEC Signing Day at a glance

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As always, National Signing Day promises to be a seismic day in the nation's most cutthroat recruiting conference, the SEC. Here's a rundown of what you'll need to keep an eye on:

Players to Watch

Isaiah Crowell , RB, Carver (Columbus, Ga.): Potentially the final piece in the puzzle of Mark Richt's "Dream Team" of a 2011 class, Crowell will decide between his home-state Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama. The Maxpreps No. 6 running back and No. 55 player overall, Crowell has all the gifts necessary to make a Marcus Lattimore- esque impact, particularly at a Georgia program desperate for a difference-maker at the tailback position. No recruit at any position at any team in the SEC is as big a "must-get" as Crowell appears to be for the Dawgs.

Cyrus Kouandjio , OT, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): The No. 3 player in the country according to Tom Lemming, the 6'7", 290-pound prototype tackle (pictured) might hail from Maryland but nonetheless appears to be an intra-state battle between Alabama and Auburn. The Tide can offer Cyrus to chance to play alongside brother Arie Kouandjio (a redshirt freshman at Tuscaloosa) and are considered the team to beat, but the Tigers have made a late charge after Cyrus's visit to the Plains last weekend.

Jermauria Rasco , DE, Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.): Les Miles has already put together a stunning collection of homebred Louisiana talent for his 2011 class, but LSU fans may feel it won't be complete without the explosive Rasco, the Maxpreps No. 6 DE and a top-50 player overall. But to keep one of the most hotly-contested recruits in the country at home, Miles will have to fend off a serious charge from Florida State.

Teams to Watch

Few teams in the country (if any) close as well as the Tide, and if Nick Saban can land Crowell, Kouandjio, and consensus national No. 1 recruit Jadeveon Clowney (who you probably know by now will delay his announcement until Feb. 14), Alabama will lay claim to the nation's top recruiting class once again. Then again, even if they sign only one of the three, the Tide's class is so deep already they'll be in the mix for that honor all the same.

Georgia: It's not just Crowell; the Bulldogs are in play for several other major recruits, like Maxpreps No. 4 defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan and mammoth JUCO defensive tackle Johnathan Jenkins, who could have the same impact as the nose tackle in Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense that Terrence Cody once had at Alabama. Putting the finishing touches on what's already a terrific class could prove to be a critical turning point for Mark Richt's Georgia tenure.

Auburn: As much attention as their competition in Tuscaloosa, Athens and Baton Rouge have received of late, it's Auburn that sits at No. 3 in the Maxpreps team recruiting rankings , and the Tigers could move even higher. No. 5 safety Erique Florence and coveted defensive tackle Gabe Wright are both expected to sign with Auburn, and Gene Chizik could also flip Mississippi State commitment Jermaine Whitehead, a prized defensive back. If Auburn can keep Alabama from re-flipping one-time Tide commitment Brent Calloway, their class should rank right alongside their in-state rivals.

The Below-the-Radar Storyline You'll Need to Follow

No one's going to complain too terribly much about Will Muschamp's finish on the recruiting trail, given the limited time with which he and his new staff have had to work. (Not to mention the presence of eye-popping skill position talent like ultra-polished quarterback Jeff Driskel.) But with Georgia and Florida State both poised to bring in substantial hauls, Florida fans still can't be happy about a class that stands at just 16 commitments today, or that Muschamp has added just two players to it since his hire. Finishing with big-time talents like fresh Auburn decommitment Marcus Roberson, blue-chip linebackers Curtis Grant or Stephone Anthony, or defensive tackle Tim Jernigan would go a long way towards soothing any frazzled Gainesville nerves.

Posted on: January 31, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 4:29 pm

New rule changes how some recruits may be counted

Posted by Bryan Fischer

As fans, coaches, administrators, boosters and the media eagerly await National Signing Day on Wednesday, one recently enacted rule change has flown under just about everyone’s radar. While most in the media have talked about a new oversigning rule put in place this year - one that limits schools to 28 signees during the signing period - there’s another impactful rule also on the books.

Passed in early January at the NCAA's annual convention, the new rule – Proposal 2010-78 – specifies that an initial counter (an incoming player who receives financial aid in a sport for the first time) can replace a midyear graduate in either the current or following year's class. Like the rule limiting schools to 28 signees, 2010-78 was sponsored by the SEC.

“We really started it at the institutional level and, on this particular proposal, about a year ago one of our universities submitted the idea to change the rule as it’s presented,” Greg Sankey, SEC Associate Commissioner of Compliance said. “The basis was before 2010-78, if you had a midyear graduate and you’re at your 85 maximum (number of scholarships), you can replace that person but you’d have to count the initial counter forward.

“If they’ve done things well and graduated a player and been under the initial counter limit for the current year, why not allow us the flexibility to count that individual for the current year as an initial counter?”

The proposal sailed through the NCAA pipeline without comment or challenge from any cabinet or committee. NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn confirmed that the rule is in effect now unless an override vote is called for. 

“It was ultimately seen as a good idea nationally based on the outcome of the convention vote,” Sankey added.

In essence, if a school fails to use the full initial counter limit in a recruiting class and graduates a few players early, they can maximize the number of players they can bring in. Oversigning though, is not the term one uses when talking about 2010-78.

“It’s actually tied to not oversigning,” Sankey said. “You would have to have someone on your 85-man limit leave for graduation. I think we all agree that’s a positive. And then you have to have room in your current initial counters to bring someone new in. You’re not, in any way, disenfranchising someone.”

Indeed, the new rule should provide a competitive advantage to schools that graduate players early. Many would consider this a good thing. It could also mean some players are pushed to graduate early in order to get them out and bring new players in. Given the time constraints already placed on some student-athletes, it could be something schools use to push their athletes academically to their detriment and the school's benefit.

Regardless of how the process is played out and the rule used, the topic of signing players is not going away in the near future.

“At our annual meetings, I anticipate there will be some ideas that will alter what was identified as the signing limit in the past,” Sankey said. “It’s been an active issue, certainly before any attention this week.”

With Signing Day approaching, you bet that this is an issue that will continue to be a topic for discussion.

Posted on: January 16, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2011 2:53 pm

Ole Miss commits secondary recruiting violation

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A misinterpretation in NCAA rules has cost Ole Miss contact opportunities with seven recruits for the class of 2012, according to The Clarion-Ledger. 

Legislation enacted on August 1st of last year prohibits written scholarship offers until August 1st of prospective student-athletes’ senior year. Ole Miss mistakenly sent out written offers to players in September of their junior year. 

"I think the NCAA knows where our heart was and where our mind was on this thing, and I feel good about what was said," Nutt told the Clarion-Ledger. 

The violation was deemed a secondary violation by both the school and the NCAA and no further action will be taken. 

“It was very inadvertent,” Nutt added. “It's a brand new rule. This rule just started.” 

Ole Miss has self-imposed several penalties, including prohibiting correspondence with the affected recruits for 60 days and during the first 30 days of their senior years. The SEC office also made the school revoke the written offers and limited contact with coaching staff and recruits to five in-person exchanges. The names of the recruits were not released publicly.
Category: NCAAF
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