Tag:Tee Shepard
Posted on: May 16, 2011 4:11 pm
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Stanford Nike Camp Top Performers: Defense

Posted by Bryan Fischer

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Football is a sport played in the elements and the hundreds of top athletes from all over the West Coast got a dose of rain, wind and hail during Sunday's Nike Training Camp on the Stanford campus. Here's a few of the top performers on the defensive side of the ball:

Defensive linemen

Many expected Stanford commit Aziz Shittu to show up and replicate what he did at the LA Nike Camp but he didn't end up coming. Considering the terrific talent at offensive line, the group along the d-line did pretty good at the camp.

Dwight Melvin

The position group MVP, Melvin looked and played like Shittu-light. He was quick off the line and had a good array of pass rush moves. He's uses his hands well and can really get up field. He's not tall but he's still got good size and should be able to garner multiple BCS offers in the near future.

Jaylen Ruiz

The class of 2013 defensive end had another nice camp and looks ready to play college ball already. He's quick and has a pretty good spin move. Ruiz is flexible and can probably play at either end or tackle but based on what he showed, could use his superior quickness to overwhelm guards and centers inside.

Linebackers

One of the weaker groups at Stanford, there were still a few bright spots. Underclassman Michael Hutchings from nearby powerhouse De La Salle High certainly could be one to watch as he looks like he's a senior headed to college and not into his junior year in high school.

Chris Santini

Still getting into the hang of playing linebacker, Santini was very good in open space and excelled during the 7-on-7 portion. He had a great diving interception, which he caught one-handed after tipping the ball. He's the requisite size for a linebacker and it will be interesting to see what he can do with the pads on. He's already received a lot of interest but some tape at linebacker could mean some big offers headed his way.

Scott Starr

Starr was one of the highest regarded linebackers at the event and he didn't really disappoint. He's good in space and is quicker than one would think given his size. He can improve his strength a bit as he might have trouble with some bigger running backs and offensive linemen.

Defensive backs

From top to bottom, this was probably the best group at the camp. Having elite talent certainly helps but there were high caliber guys all over, which made watching drills much more fun than other camps.

Johnny Johnson

A rising junior, Johnson displayed skills of a much more experienced corner. He was quick and could change direction on a dime. He did a good job of staying close to his man and then sinking off to help when he read the quarterback. He's not the tallest corner on the field but he is the most aggressive and has the swagger all good corners have.

Marcus Rios

A Boise State commit, Rios really impressed with his footwork, especially his backpedal. He got caught out of position once or twice but recovered nicely. He's got good quickness and was very savvy while playing corner. There's no question he's a BCS-caliber guy and it might be hard for the Broncos to keep him.

Tee Shepard

Shepard doesn't have much to prove as he's already one of the top corners in the country. He had a lingering shoulder injury so he played wide out instead of corner and flashed his speed by blowing by some other defensive backs. He's got a good build and is very agile, performing very well during cornerback drills. Shepard's backpedal is smooth and he keeps his center of gravity right where it should be.

Shaq Thompson

Like Shepard, there's not much for Thompson to prove but he exceeded expectations Sunday despite being limited with a bit of a tender ankle. Well developed, he looks like a physical safety at the next level but has the agility to play corner as well. He does a good job of changing directions and is a someone who can contribute early at safety, corner, wide out or running back based on his skill set.

Posted on: May 14, 2011 3:24 am
 

Stanford Elite 11 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Some of the most talented quarterbacks from up and down the West Coast descended upon the beautiful campus of Stanford and in the process, turned the 2011 edition of the Bay Area Elite 11 into the circuit's best stop. While most of the quarterbacks in attendance were already committed to a school, several under the radar players managed to make an impression on observers as well.

The headliner of the group was Cal commitment Zach Kline. The 6-foot-2, 210 pound quarterback had a slow start to the day but finished strong and was easily one of the top performers.

"I actually started the camp out a little shaky," Kline said. "The coaches started to get on me and say I'm better than that. I started to put 100% focus into every throw and you have to do that on every single one at the next level. If you don't, that's when the picks and incompletions happen and that separates the Andrew Luck's from all the other guys. Once I started (focusing better), I had a great camp from then on."

One of the camp instructors was former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer. Although Kline won't get to work with Cal head coach Jeff Tedford - known in the past for quarterback development - for a few more months, being put through the paces by Dilfer at the camp was quite the learning experience.

"He's an intense guy but when he's yelling, it's for a reason," Kline said of Dilfer. "You kind of learn to listen to what he's saying and not how he's saying it. When you listen like that, that's how you get the best things out of when he's coaching you. You listen to what he has to say and then you use it. It helps leaps and bounds."

Normally the Bay Area Elite 11 is held at Cal's Memorial Stadium. Kline preformed well there last year and though he had to throw the ball around in enemy territory at rival Stanford, he did manage to see the bigger picture.

"Well, I'm happy that Cal is getting a new stadium for sure," he said with a smile. "But it's good having the camp here and doing well might mean having a good game in future years. Either way, both places have great facilities."

Kline displayed the strongest arm at the camp and can really throw the ball wherever he wants. He generally throws a tight spiral with plenty of force on the ball and should continue to be in contention for the top quarterback on the West Coast.

Rodrigues makes an impression

While there were plenty of commitments on hand, several of the quarterbacks who held offers but hadn't yet pulled the trigger wanted to show that they had what it takes to compete at the next level. One of the real surprises of the camp was how well Rocklin (Calif.) quarterback Jake Rodrigues threw and he might have ended up the top guy at the entire event as a result.

"I'm ecstatic right now," Rodrigues said after the camp. "I've been wanting to play college football since I was three years old and this is just another step in my long journey I have. It means the world to me."

Like most of the campers, the time spent learning from a Super Bowl-winning quarterback like Dilfer was a great opportunity for Rodrigues to learn from the best.

"It's surreal. You grow up watching him on TV and then you're talking to him and he's coaching you up," he said. "What more can you ask for as a quarterback? Coming out here and competing is the best thing you can do. They're all good out here and to have Dilfer watching us, analyzing us and getting in our faces like how it is in a real game situation; everything out here has been just phenomenal."

The 6-foot-2, 215 pound signal caller even managed to get a personal lesson and help correct a small flaw in his footwork.

"Coach Dilfer said work on my drive step," Rodrigues said. "When you're done with your three, five, seven-step drops, that last step I need to stay off the tips of my toes and really drive it into the arch of my foot. I'll get more power coming off and I got that out of it today which is great."

Rodrigues has a very quick release and compact throwing motion but can still spin the ball well. He already holds offers from Colorado, Michigan, Utah, Oregon State and Washington but is receiving attention from several other big time programs.

"Standing out I would say USC and Oregon but all of them are going hard right now," he said. "They're all doing a great job and I'm open to everything still. I don't even have a top five or top three, I'm just taking it all in. "

Planning on graduating in December, Rodrigues is hoping to settle on a school by July and then concentrate on his senior season. He's already visited Washington and Oregon and will attend USC's Rising Stars Camp later in the summer. A trip to unofficially visit Tennessee might also be in the cards.

Baker the touchdown maker

The coaches seemed to enjoy calling Fresno (Calif.) quarterback Mike Baker the nickname they bestowed upon him while going through drills, particularly the accuracy challenge.

"Mike Baker, the touchdown maker!" they'd shout once he hit a target.

The nickname was apt as the Central California star was among the best performers at the camp, showing off a strong arm and very good mobility.

"I did good, competed well," Baker said. "It's just about seeing what I can do to get better and competing. Then have some fun."

The 6-foot-3, 190 pound signal caller came to the camp excited to play against some of the best quarterbacks in the country but did have one thing he wanted to work on with the instructors.

"My footwork," he said. "Just get all the coaching they offer and there's a lot of good coaches out here. I just want to take their coaching points and try to make me a better QB."

With the Evaluation Period in full swing, several schools are stopping by Central High East but so far Baker holds just one scholarship offer.

"Just San Diego State right now," he said. "I'm waiting on a few other ones. USC wants me to go down to their camp. Just a lot of colleges want to see me live and in person on their campus before they offer.

"I'm going to the Arizona camp and will be at Washington. I want to go to North Carolina because they keep calling."

Receiving interest from several other out of state schools, Baker is focused on evaluating his future schools primarily on two factors. He already has a top five and if one of the schools on the list extends an offer, a commitment will likely follow it.

"I want to go somewhere where I know the coaches are going to stay and go to a pro-style (offense), because I know there's a better chance of going to the pros from there," he said. "If it's one of my top five, then I'm going to commit. If not, I'll let it go through my senior year and make my decision."

Baker is teammates with cornerback Tee Shepard, who is one of the top defensive backs in the nation. With so much attention on Central East High thanks to Shepard, Baker is benefiting from the added attention of having a top player in the same locker room.

"It's great because a lot of college come by to see him and they also know I go to school with him," he said. "They watch film so they call me or talk to me too. The people that are looking at him are basically looking at me too so that's nice."

What can Browne do for you?

The Elite 11 is always a chance to see some up and coming quarterbacks and the Bay Area stop was no exception. Class of 2013 product Max Browne was the top underclassman at the event and displayed a very strong arm and was accurate at all three levels.

"I felt I did good, my feet were real good," Browne said. "It was a good day and great weather."

The Sammamish (Wash.) native is the latest in a long line of top quarterbacks at Skyline High. A legitimate 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Browne looked more like a rising senior throwing the football around the Farm.

"You can't look at it as an underclassman, everyone is here to compete," he said. "You just have to push yourself, whether the guy's a freshman or going to be a senior, it doesn't matter. Every throw, every drop back you do."

Browne already holds an offer from nearby Washington and is receiving a lot of interest from other Pac-12 schools early in the process.

"No other offers but I've had some contact from schools and some guys stop by my high school," he said. "I'll be making a few trips this June and maybe in July. I don't know where I want to go."

Despite receiving a lot of attention from college coaches at an early age, Browne is guided by a high school staff who has been through the process with a host of Division I players.

"It helps because not only have I seen it happen, but my coach knows what to expect," Browne said. "It's not a new process for him so he can help me out. With all of this stuff, I can ask questions and he can provide the answers."

Notes

- Recent Utah commitment Travis Wilson was the most physically imposing quarterback at the event. Every bit of 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. He can spin the ball but does tend to drop his arm angle which is a bad habit.

- Austin Bray, the younger brother of Tennessee starting quarterback Tyler Bray, competed at the camp.

- Lefty Matt Morin out of Temecula (Calif.) followed up his MVP performance at the LA Nike Camp with another strong showing. Morin has a very strong arm and appears on the verge of receiving his first offer in the next few weeks.

- Washington commit Jeff Lindquist was another top thrower at the event. Although he doesn't have the strongest arm in the class, he throws a very accurate ball that still arrives in the receiver's hands quickly. His footwork and throwing motion are also very good.

- Scottsdale (Ariz.) quarterback Connor Brewer was very accurate throughout the three hour camp and though he doesn't have elite arm strength, you can see why Texas coaches made him their quarterback for this recruiting class. Brewer is really a passer and is similar to BYU quarterback Jake Heaps.

- Speaking of BYU, commit Tanner Mangum showed why he was the top prospect out of the state of Idaho with a good showing. He doesn't have prototypical size at about 6-foot-1 but he has a good arm and really drives off his back foot.

- Yet another commit who preformed well was Idaho State pledge and Moorpark (Calif.) quarterback Grant Rohach.

Posted on: April 20, 2011 7:06 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 7:07 pm
 

Updated list of 2012 U.S. Army All-Americans

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The folks at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Rivals have compiled an updated list of all the players in the class of 2012 invited to the prestigious high school all-star game. Here's the list, which will eventually be divided into East and West teams.

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, committed to USC
Defensive end Alex Balducci
Offensive tackle Zach Banner
Linebacker Vince Biegel
Defensive back Travis Blanks
Wide receiver Drae Bowles
Safety Deon Bush
Defensive back Joel Caleb
Wide receiver Leonte Carroo
Linebacker Josh Clemons
Offensive lineman Ty Darlington
Safety Jordan Diggs
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs
Athlete Cedric Dozier
Linebacker Ukeme Eligwe
Athlete Devin Fuller
Offensive tackle Joshua Garnett
Wide receiver Deontay Greenberry
Defensive end Darius Hamilton
Defensive end Eli Harold
Defensive back Tracy Howard
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries
Defensive tackle Jarron Jones, committed to Penn State
Offensive tackle Kyle Kalis, committed to Ohio State
Athlete Brian Kimbrow
Quarterback Zach Kline, committed to Cal
Defensive end Javonte Magee
Offensive tackle John McGee
Defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy
Tight end Taylor McNamara
Safety LaDarrell McNeil
Offensive tackle Chris Muller
Wide receiver Davonte Neal
Wide receiver Durron Neal
Wide receiver Jordan Payton, committed to USC
Running back Mario Pender, committed to Florida State
Quarterback Zeke Pike, committed to Auburn
Linebacker Jabari Ruffin, committed to USC
Athlete Kendall Sanders, committed to Oklahoma State
Running back Barry Sanders Jr.
Cornerback Kevon Seymour
Running back Rushel Shell
Defensive tackle Justin Shanks
Defensive back Tee Shepard, committed to Notre Dame
Defensive tackle Aziz Shittu
Safety Elijah Shumate
Offensive tackle Jordan Simmons
Defensive back Geno Smith
Defensive end Noah Spence
Tight end Kent Taylor
Offensive tackle John Theus
Safety Shaq Thompson
Wide receiver Dominique Wheeler
Running back Trey Williams, committed to Texas A&M
Cornerback Yuri Wright
Running back T.J. Yeldon

Posted on: April 20, 2011 6:36 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 6:39 pm
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Posted on: April 5, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: April 5, 2011 10:18 am
 

2012 Defensive Backs to Watch

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Geismar (La.) star Landon Collins is the top defensive back in the nation according to CBS Sports/MaxPreps Recruiting Analyst Tom Lemming but there's a lot of football to be played between now and Signing Day. Here's five other players - in alphabetical order - who you need to keep an eye out for this year. Each of them has a chance to move Collins off the top spot and become the top defensive back for the class of 2012.

Travis Blanks (North Florida Christian, Tallahassee, Fla.)

Height: 6-foot-2 
Weight: 200 pounds 
Offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, USF, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt

What's to like: Blanks has good height and projects best at safety but can play nickel corner or on the outside. He can turn his hips very quickly and can overpower smaller receivers at the line of scrimmage.

Needs to work on: Blanks is athletic but we're unsure of the competition he is going against. We'd like to see him against some top flight receivers and see how he does. He needs to get stronger as well.

Jordan Diggs (Bishop Verot High, Fort Meyers, Fla.) 

Height: 6-foot-1 
Weight: 195 pounds 
Offers from Auburn, Boston College, UConn, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue, South Carolina, USF, Tennessee, UCF, Vanderbilt, West Virginia

What's to like: Diggs certainly looks the part of a Division-I safety with or without the pads. He has a physical upper body and can come in and lay a big hit. He closes on the ball quickly and is quite cerebral on the field, directing teammates to where they need to be. The best part about Diggs is his passion for the game and willingness to learn about the position.

Needs to work on: Diggs still needs to work on his quickness and at times seems a bit stiff in his hips.

Tee Shepard (Central East High, Fresno, Calif.)

Height: 6-foot-1 
Weight: 175 pounds 
Committed to Notre Dame

What's to like: Shepard will be a bigger corner at the next level and his length will give opposing receivers issues. He is one of the best in terms of covering a player one-on-one and does a good job of knowing where the ball is at all times. He also has surprisingly good hands for a defensive back.

Needs to work on: Thompson is not one to lay a huge hit on an opponent and real seems to hang out on the outside. He'll pursue players but really won't attack them at the line of scrimmage.

Geno Smith (St. Pius X School, Atlanta, Ga.)

Height: 6-foot 
Weight: 170 
Offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech

What's to like: Smith can turn and run with the best of the wide receivers out there and he sticks to them closely. He plays the ball in the air well and is a surprisingly willing and able tackler. He closes on the ball well and could play early on at the nickel corner spot.

Needs to work on: He needs to get stronger and could also work on his press in Cover-2.

Shaquille Thompson (Grant Union High, Sacramento, Calif.) 

Height: 6-foot-1 
Weight: 195 pounds 
Offers from Auburn, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, UNLV, USC

What's to like: Thompson is the younger brother of former All-American corner Syd'Quan Thompson and you can tell that the family knows how to play the defensive back position. The younger Thompson is a terrific athlete and one of the better tacklers in this class. He closes extremely quickly and does well when in press coverage as well. He will likely play safety but he as the ability to play corner as well.

Needs to work on: Thompson still needs to beef up a little as he would be a bit thin at safety in college. There are times when he seems a bit unsure of what he's doing and just reacts but playing a single position in college will help him focus on getting better.

Posted on: March 30, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 6:17 pm
 

Updated list of 2012 U.S. Army All-Americans

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The folks at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Rivals have compiled a list of all the players in the class of 2012 invited to the prestigious high school all-star game. Here's the list, which will eventually be divided into East and West teams.

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, committed to USC
Defensive end Alex Balducci
Offensive tackle Zach Banner
Defensive back Travis Blanks
Wide receiver Drae Bowles
Safety Deon Bush
Defensive back Joel Caleb
Wide receiver Leonte Carroo
Linebacker Josh Clemons
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs
Athlete Cedric Dozier
Athlete Devin Fuller
Offensive tackle Joshua Garnett
Wide receiver Deontay Greenberry
Defensive end Darius Hamilton
Defensive end Eli Harold
Defensive back Tracy Howard
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries
Defensive tackle Jarron Jones
Offensive tackle Kyle Kalis, committed to Ohio State
Athlete Brian Kimbrow
Quarterback Zach Kline, committed to Cal
Defensive end Javonte Magee
Offensive tackle John McGee
Defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy
Tight end Taylor McNamara
Offensive tackle Chris Muller
Wide receiver Davonte Neal
Wide receiver Jordan Payton, committed to USC
Quarterback Zeke Pike
Linebacker Jabari Ruffin, committed to USC
Running back Barry Sanders Jr.
Running back Rushel Shell
Defensive back Tee Shepard, committed to Notre Dame
Safety Elijah Shumate
Offensive tackle Jordan Simmons
Defensive back Geno Smith
Defensive end Noah Spence
Tight end Kent Taylor
Offensive tackle John Theus
Safety Shaq Thompson
Wide receiver Dominique Wheeler
Running back Trey Williams
Running back T.J. Yeldon

Posted on: March 4, 2011 11:44 pm
 

Irish grab commitment number two

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Two days after picking up their first commitment for the class of 2012, Notre Dame didn't have to wait too long to pick up their second.

Vandalia (Ohio) offensive tackle Taylor Decker told the Irish coaching staff on Friday that he would be committing, just over a week after picking up an offer from the school.

"I never really looked to stretch it out per se because I just don't feel like that's the right thing to do," Decker told IrishIllustrated.com. "I definitely didn't think I'd do it this early because my high school coach told me, 'Make sure you go see these other schools.' My dad told me the same thing. I was thinking another month at the least. But I know my mom, she supports whatever I do, and after talking to her about it, I talked to my parents for probably two hours (Thursday) night. It's just where I wanted to go."

The 6-foot-8, 290 pound lineman held offers from Boston College, Michigan, West Virginia, Wisconsin and several others.

Decker missed last week's Notre Dame Junior Day but plans to unofficially visit campus this weekend. He joins cornerback Tee Shepard in the Irish's class of 2012.

Posted on: March 4, 2011 9:25 am
 

3/4 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Obviously most of the news from yesterday centered on several reports examining Oregon's payments to two recruiting services. Here's the Yahoo! Sports, ESPN and Sports Illustrated reports. CBSSports.com' Dennis Dodd also has a take on the mess in Eugene.

- Michigan State extended offers to quarterbacks Tyler O’Connor and Wes Lunt.

- A MaxPreps story on Notre Dame's first commit, Tee Shepard.

- Looking back at Arkansas' success with highly regarded recruits.

- Defensive end Dante Fowler picked up an offer from LSU.

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