Tag:Brian Kelly
Posted on: August 24, 2011 2:49 pm
 

10 teams that will rise or fall in the rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Five teams looking up (in alphabetical order):

1. Arkansas

It's a bit surprising to see the Razorbacks missing from the MaxPreps Top 25 but that will likely change in the months leading up to Signing Day. They have just 12 commits halfway through August but are in the running for several top 100 players and landing one or two should boost them up when they do. Number one receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has the program on his short list and has already set an official visit to Fayetteville as well.

2. Notre Dame

The Irish are 18th overall in the rankings but expect Brian Kelly and staff to close strong like they did with last year's top five class. Official visits are a big deal for Notre Dame and it wouldn't be surprising to see a few players move the school up on their list after visiting South Bend. If they can beat Michigan on the road under the lights and have a good showing in a win against USC at home later in the season, the program should be in the top 10 by November.

3. Oregon

Has any team been to the national championship game and not seen a recruiting bounce? At the moment, Oregon has not but that should change if the Ducks get the season started. Obviously the NCAA investigation has hampered their recruiting efforts but there are still several players like Jordan Simmons and Zach Banner with Oregon on their short list. Skill position players will want to play in Chip Kelly's offense and it likely won't be long before several of them commit and the Ducks slide into the top 25.

4. Penn State

The Nittany Lions are sitting just outside of the top 25 but, given the uncommitted talent right in their backyard, it wouldn't be too surprising to see JoePa move up. Noah Spence and Rushel Shell are two of top players who could end up in Happy Valley. This class addresses the guys in the trenches more than the skill positions so grabbing a few impact players should push them higher as well.

5. Tennessee

Seems like forever ago that Tennessee had fewer than five commits. Actually it was about a month ago. With the recent news that there would be no further NCAA sanctions beyond what were already self-imposed, Derek Dooley can now go full bore on the recruiting trail with out any impediments or negative recruiting against him. They've been picking up players left and right and will keep sliding up the recruiting rankings throughout he season as they continue to hear recruits sing Rocky Top.

Five looking down:

1. Arizona State

There's a few shaky verbal commits in the Sun Devils' class and that's one reason why they're on this list. There's no doubt that Dennis Erickson is on the hot seat as well and with so many injuries to the team before the season has begun, an average-at-best year could result in a few players looking for a program on more solid footing.

2. Florida

The Gators land on this not because they're going to see some players leave their strong class but because they're simply going to move down the rankings as others move up. They have 17 players committed and a solid group of targets left on their board but it's hard not to see an Alabama or an Auburn to eventually move above them at the moment.

3. Miami

No surprise to see the Hurricanes on this list given the NCAA investigation and surrounding mess following the Yahoo! Sports report. The recruiting class has stuck together so far but it's hard for anyone to imagine that being the case through Signing Day. There's a good talent base around the school but they have not received multiple top 100 commitments before the big news and likely won't afterwards.

4. Rutgers

The team is one of the top classes in the Big East but it will be tough to see them in the top two come Signing Day. The season will be key; if 2011 is another sub-.500 campaign then recruits could start looking elsewhere. Plus, it's not hard to see West Virginia passing them at some point given the momentum they'll have under a first year head coach that is looking to do big things on offense.

5. Vanderbilt

The Commodores have done big things early in the recruiting cycle but it will be interesting to see how long it lasts as they begin the season and other schools start looking to fill out their classes once they end up missing out on other targets. Like others on this list, a bad year on the field could also cause some commits to look to other programs.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:22 am
 

Notre Dame recruiting breakdown

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Notre Dame is 17th in the latest MaxPreps team rankings about halfway to Signing Day but Brian Kelly and staff have their eye on another top 10 class. The current group of 13 commitments is a bit light on linemen but more than makes up for that fact in the skill position department.

Defensive back Ronald Darby has high-end speed and can roam the secondary as either a safety or a cornerback. It might be tough to keep his commitment all the way through Signing Day but he's a five-star player who could come in and play early for the Irish. Cornerback Tee Shepard is a talented cover corner and was a top performer this summer at several 7-on-7 competitions. Shepard's cousin, wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, is also a great pick up for the staff and he can flat-out dominate at times.

The most recent commit is defensive tackle Sheldon Day and he's a big body on the inside but has the quickness of a defensive end. His first step explosiveness is much better than defensive linemen Notre Dame had been getting and he's an Indiana kid to boot. Others of note in this class include Nicky Baratti, who's a big safety prospect out of Texas, and outside linebacker David Perkins, who is a terror as a speed rusher off the edge. Justin Ferguson is a very good looking receiver who can matchup well against some physical defensive backs with his size.

The Irish still have plenty of time to add to their class of 2012. They are in the running for several top players, including big-time running back Keith Marshall out of North Carolina. Several other elite prospects have the Irish in their top five and with the season starting, a good start on the field for Notre Dame could pay dividends off the field. Though it is an away game, there will be a lot of eyes on the Michigan night game and there will be a ton of recruits from all over the country on the sidelines. A home game versus USC will also draw a lot of players that the Irish can impress.

Notre Dame has a solid but not elite recruiting class at the moment but there are several reasons why they are a class that could be on the rise.
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:28 pm
 

The Opening: Day 4 closes out all-star event

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.”

Notes 

-- 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.

Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 10:21 am
 

Badger Sports 7-on-7 Nationals Day 2 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

DALLAS – Right before the championship game, Keyshawn Johnson was hoping this would be his team's moment.

Since starting the 1925 All-Star 7-on-7 team with former NFL veteran Brian Kelly a little over two years ago, his team fell short of the national title last year and had yet to break through and win even a regional title this year.

Sunday afternoon was indeed Johnson's moment however as 1925 got over the hump and finally hoisted a trophy, winning the Badger Sports/New Level Athletics 7-on-7 National Championship at SMU's Gerald Ford Stadium.

“Being in it two years and winning a championship (is great),” said Johnson, a former USC wide receiver, before joking, “I told one of the kids who is going to Notre Dame, I told him if you go to Notre Dame you won't be winning one of these.”

“We were going to championships and we were losing,” said running back Mike Davison. “But nationals were the one we wanted and that's what we need to win. That's the one that matters and I'm glad we won because we're national champs and we've got the bragging rights.”

1925 lost three players due to injury before the tournament but still managed to run through the championship bracket undefeated using plenty of FBS-bound athletes. One of the keys to the team though was actually the smallest player on the field, the 5-foot-3 Davison, and one of the few who didn't hold a major scholarship offer.

“It was a great experience, it was fun. We were working hard at it and I knew we were going to get it done,” he said. “It's very important to me too. I'm trying to get more offers, more exposure. I'm glad I was a big factor in this so now colleges can say this guy can do it. Hopefully I can go D-1.”

Davison holds an offer from Alabama State with several other schools on the verge of offering the speedy scatback. Able to cut a full speed and stop a dime, he was easily the most elusive player on the roughly 115-degree turf the past two days.

Known by his nickname of “Mike-Mike,” Davison was often imitated but no one could come close to the real thing. After a player on the team from Louisiana made a few quick cuts against the 1925 defense, Notre Dame commit and 1925 athlete Deontay Greenberry yelled out, “You're not Mike-Mike!”

After battling the eventual runner up, Team Houston, to a tie at the end of the first of their two games, 1925 failed to complete a play in the sudden-death, longest-yard overtime. As a result, all Team Houston had to do was get a yard on a running play to win the game but it ended up being Davison who saved the day for 1925.

“They were like, 'Mike get on the field' because the other team just needed one play to win the game,” he said. “I ran on to the field and they said 'hike' and I just sprinted into the back field and tackled him. Then we won the game when I got the draw and got a couple of yards.”

Croom down to two

Although his team got knocked out early, Norcross (Ga.) wide receiver Jason Croom put together an impressive two days worth of catches. Using his big 6-foot-5 frame, he was a weapon in the end zone and also made some tough catches in traffic to solidify himself as one of the best options on the Goon Squad.

Scheduled to make a decision later next month, Croom has narrowed down his recruiting list to just two schools as he wraps up a very productive run on the spring and summer camp circuit.

“It's between Mississippi State and Tennessee,” he said.

Croom has already made it down to Knoxville for an unofficial visit and had plenty of good things to say about the Volunteers.

“I really like everything,” said Croom. “I like the coaching staff. When I went down there, I liked the facilities a lot and the academics. That's the most important part, they have a good APR rating and they push you on and off the field. They told me I can make a big impact and all I'll have to do is go down there and show what I can do.”

While Croom wouldn't leave any hints about which school he was leaning towards, it's clear he has a special connection with Mississippi State and that could be a major factor in to his decision.

“I've had a good relationship with them for the longest time because they were my second offer,” he said. “I've been talking to them throughout this whole thing so I've got a good relationship with basically the whole coaching staff. When I went down there I met some of the players and they were real cool, they treat you like family and joke around and stuff. But when I went down there they were also working real hard in the weight room and stuff and I know they help their players academically. They make sure they finish their classwork before they do anything else.”

Croom will commit on August 18th, which is right before his senior season gets underway. He's narrowed his choices down to two and will only take an official visit to whichever program he ends up verbally committing to next month.

Miami, they were in my top three but they're out of it now.” he said. “I'll just take one (official) because I've already got my decision made.”

Marks enjoys his time in Texas

In addition to 1925 capturing the championship, the other California All-Star team, B2G, was very impressive over the two day event. Los Angeles (Calif.) wide receiver Gabe Marks impressed with his route running ability, hands and was savvy enough to know where holes were in the defense. Despite being a fairly polished receiver, he came out to help his team win and improve between the lines.

“I really want to work on my routes and my releases,” Marks said. “I'm just trying to win some games and go against some of the top competition.”

Working alongside Ventura (Calif.) quarterback Marc Evans and teaming up with Upland (Calif.) receiver Kenny Lawler, B2G had quite a day on offense before running out of gas late. For the most part though, the group was clicking in large part because they had been playing with one another throughout the summer.

“We work out with each other all the time and we do all of the events together,” Marks said. “We definitely have a good chemistry. We like sticking with one quarterback so we don't have to worry about that transition if a new guy plays with us.”

Holding offers from several Pac-12, Mountain West and Conference USA programs, Marks is beginning to focus on just a handful of programs to allow time for him to compete during his senior season in high school.

“I'm starting to narrow down my list of schools, I've got SMU, Utah and UCLA as my top three.” he said. “Then I have Colorado and Boston College to finish out my top five.”

The trip to Dallas has allowed him a chance to get an in-depth look at what it would be like if he committed to SMU. Outside of adjusting to the extremely hot weather – especially for someone who lives just a few miles from the beach – the experience was a good one overall.

“SMU is a great school, they're definitely one of the nicer schools I've seen,” said Marks. “The one thing would be the weather, that'd take some getting used to. But I love the coaches, they're great and it's a great system that would be a good fit for me.”

One of the big drawing points for the private school on the field is head coach June Jones' Run and Shoot offense, which has allowed receivers similar to Marks put up big numbers. Off the field, there's a lot of positives as well.

“Their academics are top notch,” he said. “You can have a good career after football and that's what I'm using football for. If I don't make it to the league, I want something to fall back on.”

If Marks is looking to stay closer to home, UCLA offers that option and the Bruins have plenty going for them as they try to land the 6-foot, 170-pounder.

“Their academics and the fact they're so close to home,” Marks said when asked what he liked about the school. “You grow up watching the coaches and the team so they're the hometown school.”

Marks will likely make a decision in December after taking official visits. At the moment, he has already planned three visits, to Utah, SMU and UCLA, during the season.

Liggins looking to stay in the SEC

One of the biggest – if not the biggest – players on the field was actually Oxford (Miss.) quarterback Jeremy Liggins. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound signal caller was sharp for most of day two of the tournament and made several nice throws into tight windows.

“I felt like we did pretty good,” Liggins said. “Keyshawn Johnson's team though, he brought in some ballers. We just kind of threw a team together and we didn't have a practice or anything. I felt like if we practiced, we could come out and compete with these boys.”

Playing for the Louisiana team, Liggins led an overachieving squad that made a very nice, deep run in the double-elimination event. Developing some timing with his newfound receivers was key to moving the ball on Sunday after a bit of a slow start the day before.

“It's pretty hard because I'm not used to how these guys run,” he said. “But after the first game yesterday, we kinda started to connect and I felt pretty comfortable with those guys (today) because I know that once I put the ball out there, they're going to go make plays on the ball.”

Liggins holds several scholarship offers already and figures to pick up more once the season begins. If there's one thing he's locked into with the recruiting process, it's a certain brand of southern football.

“I've got a lot of offers but I'm really just looking at the SEC,” he said. “I've got ones from Florida, South Carolina and others.”

With his size and speed, Liggins knows that plenty of coaches are looking to move him to other positions. He could wind up as a defensive lineman in college at first glance but he's also trying to make it clear that he wants a shot behind center first.

“In 10th grade, they were looking at me as an athlete but now a lot want me at QB,” Liggins said. “I want to play QB. I feel like if I get the right training, I can be a good quarterback. But if I have to move somewhere (to another position) to help a team win, that's what I'll do.”

After a busy spring evaluation period and a summer full of unofficial visits, Liggins has already narrowed down his list of schools in anticipation of making a decision later this year.

“I'd say my top four is LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State,” he said. “I've been to all of them. I like them because they're all pretty nice campuses. Playing with Alabama and LSU, you know you're going to compete for a national championship every year and that's what I'm looking for. And I know they're a pipeline for the NFL.

“Playing time, playing QB and the school. All of it. I'm looking for a school that has good tradition and that put good students out and have a good graduation rate.”

Hutchinson excited to be building at Auburn

While there were plenty of commitments playing in the tournament, it was somewhat rare to have two on the same team. Such was not the case with the Goon Squad, which featured a pair of future Auburn Tigers in Dadeville (Ala.) tight end Darrion Hutcherson and Edgewood (Ky.) quarterback Zeke Pike. The two connected on plenty of throws over the weekend and even when one player hit a rough patch, the other was able help turn things around.

“If I'm struggling, he'll pick me up and if he's struggling, I'll pick him up,” Hutcherson said. “That's just how it is.”

The bond the two developed over the past few months on the 7-on-7 circuit is something Hutcherson expects to have dividends when the two eventually end up on the Plains.

“It definitely allows us to build that relationship early,” he said. “We're going to have a strong relationship at Auburn because we're out here doing (7-on-7). This is just like a vacation and getting extra work in.”

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is aware that Auburn is losing several pieces from their magical run to the BCS championship last year but believes the current group of 2012 commitments can be part of another big run in a couple of years.

“You just have to go somewhere where your heart feels comfortable at,” Hutcherson said of why he picked the school. “Auburn had a great year with Cam Newton and Nick Fairley coming in and winning all the awards and the national championship. They've got a great coaching staff and now they're on a rebuilding year. Me and Zeke are going down there to start the number one recruiting class to get Auburn back rolling like they used to be.”

Hutcherson mentioned that he will an official visit to nearby Auburn and will possibly schedule one to Utah just to visit the school.
 

Posted on: June 27, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: June 27, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Safety John Turner commits to Notre Dame

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The third time was the charm for Indianapolis (Ind.) safety John Turner. After unofficially visiting Notre Dame twice without picking up a scholarship offer, Turner came back one more time to prove he had what it took this week for the Irish's summer camp. He ended up performing well enough to pick up an offer and shortly thereafter he came the programs' newest commitment.

“I just loved the school and the tradition,” Turner told IrishIllustrated.com. “I’m a big tradition person. It just seemed like if I ever got the opportunity I would go there.”

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound defensive back also held offers from schools such as Minnesota, Indiana and Western Michigan. He came back to Notre Dame's campus to deliver the good news of his commitment to the coaching staff in person on Sunday. Turner is obviously pretty familiar with the Irish at this point and had no problems drawing a few comparisons between his current high school and his future college.

“They’re both known for academics and the football team," he said. "Both have great football traditions and football teams. They’re always winning championships. Those are the main reasons why.”

Cathedral High School wears similar uniforms to Notre Dame and are also called the Irish, so the adjustment to the next level won't be too tough for Turner. He snagged four interceptions and had 55 tackles last season as a junior.

Turner gives Brian Kelly and staff 11 commitments in 2012, five of whom are defensive backs.
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Ducks get their quarterback in Rodrigues

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Rocklin (Calif.) quarterback Jake Rodrigues was one of the standouts at the Elite 11 and Nike Camp held at Stanford earlier in May and the performance sent him shooting up several recruiting boards as a result. Oregon had already had their eye on the 6-foot-3, 210 pound quarterback and a full court press by the Ducks during a recent unofficial visit allowed him to feel comfortable enough with the school and the staff to commit.

"It just felt right," Rodrigues told Scout. "It's where I belong. I just knew right when I got out of the car. And after the visit, it just made the feeling stronger." 

Rodrigues had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Miami, Michigan and Nebraska among others. He said earlier that he wanted to make a commitment before the end of the summer so that he could concentrate on his senior season before enrolling in the spring. Oregon offerend him a chance to do that and all the stars seemed to be aligned.

"I talked with Coach (Brian) Kelly and he said I was their number one guy and they were mine, so it worked out perfectly," he said. 

A good fit for the Ducks' spread offense, Rodrigues has a very good arm but can also get out of the pocket and pick up a first down if needed. He threw for over 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior last season while also rushing for almost 1,400 yards and another 21 touchdowns.

Oregon was looking to take at least one quarterback this class after one of two did not qualify last year and eventually signed with LSU. Rodrigues is the fifth commit overall for the Ducks class of 2012 and first from the state they get most of their roster from, California.

Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Harrell heads to Notre Dame

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Notre Dame continues to build their next recruiting class, adding to the 2012 edition Thursday night in Charlotte (N.C.) offensive tackle Mark Harrell.

“I know it’s the right one for me and I’m not going back on it,” Harrell told The South Bend Tribune.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Harrell is a big tight end in high school but will shift to tackle once he arrives in South Bend, similar to Irish 2011 signee Troy Niklas.

“A good, solid, down-the-line guy,” MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming said of Harrell. “A solid prospect. Definitely a Notre Dame type of kid.”

Harrell unofficially visited the school twice before committing. He held offers from Michigan, Tennessee, Stanford, Clemson and North Carolina among others. He is the second offensive lineman for the Irish's class of 2012 and seventh commitment overall.

“I decided to pull the trigger,” he said. “I couldn’t wait any more.”

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has made recruiting offensive and defensive linemen a priority since taking over the reigns of the team. Harrell is the eighth line commitment in the past two classes on the offensive side.

Posted on: April 26, 2011 5:08 pm
 

Green-Beckham has recruiting on back-burner

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's always the little things in recruiting. Take, as just one example, the news that Hillcrest High in Springfield, Mo. scheduled a game at the University of Arkansas on September 1st. Normally this wouldn't be a huge deal as many high school programs are scheduling big out-of-state games in order to get on television and/or receive a decent-sized check.

Hillcrest however, just so happens to have MaxPreps' number one overall player in the country in wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. More than one Razorback fan has taken this to mean that the Hogs are the frontrunners for his services. While Green-Beckham is indeed looking at Arkansas (along with several other SEC schools), they aren't in the lead for his terrific pass catching services.

Recruiting, according to his adoptive father and head coach, is actually something the two rarely discuss.

"People would be shocked about how little we talk about it," John Beckham told the Springfield News-Leader. "It's just not something we discuss often."

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis have already been through Hillcrest to see Green-Beckham play a game and quite a few assistant coaches will stop by with the May Evaluation Period under way. Just don't expect the him to be impressed enough to name a few schools that stand out as a result.

Part of the reason why recruiting has taken such a backseat for the five-star receiver is Green-Beckham's younger brother, Darnell, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. He has unfortunately spent most of his time undergoing treatment at a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The family is holding a charity drive tonight at a local frozen custard shop in order to help raise funds.

Bottom line, no matter what you hear about Dorial Green-Beckham's recruiting, be sure and take it with a grain of salt. The family has its priorities in order and recruiting isn't one of them at the moment.

 
 
 
 
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