Tag:UCF
Posted on: August 23, 2011 4:01 pm
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Ranking the Conference USA recruiting classes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

1. SMU

The Mustangs have gone out-of-state a lot for their 2012 commitments and received several verbals from the state of California. With a solid base of Texas talent, especially on defense, to go with skill position players from out-of-state, SMU is doing well under June Jones on the recruiting trail.

2. Tulsa

There's a trio of solid wide receivers coming in 2012 for an offense that is without offensive coordinator Chad Morris (who's now at Clemson) so it will be interesting to see if they can eventually put up numbers like those in the past. Running back Quinton White is small but quick and a good fit at Tulsa.

3. Southern Miss

Offensive lineman Caleb Peterson is the headliner of this class as Southern Mississippi snatched him away from Auburn (the city that is). This is a good mix of players that fills needs while also bringing in good size and speed at the skill positions.

4. Memphis

This class would be a lot higher if they had more commitments but keeping dual-threat quarterback Will Gross at home is big for a program without a lot of success the past few years. Corner Sheldon Dawson is another local player the Tigers have picked up who is going to contribute early.

5. Houston

No surprise to see the Cougars grab several local commitments given the depth of talent in the Houston area. Steven Aikens is an underrated linebacker who has size and speed to play at a high level in college.

6. Rice

A smaller class but one that relies on underrated Texas talent. Darrion Pollard is a really speedy, sharp wideout and the program should continue to receive a few verbals once they have a chance to evaluate players during their senior season.

7. Tulane

It's rare for a program like Tulane to get a player as fast as Walker Van Hooser but the 5-foot-11 wide receiver will bring 10.6 100-meters speed to the team in 2012. Plus his nickname is "Fudge" so that's worth at least a little bump in the rankings.

8. UAB

Pretty quiet on the recruiting front for UAB with a class relying mostly on Alabama and Georgia for recruits. Kelton Brackett is a solid pick up at the corner spot.

9. Marshall/ECU/UCF/UTEP

All four of these schools have fewer than five commitments so it's tough to do anything but lump them together at the bottom of the conference rankings.
Posted on: August 22, 2011 10:03 am
 

8/22 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- Wide receiver Trey Griffey has seen his offer list grow as he's gotten more aggressive.
Notre Dame's performance on the field will be a big factor in recruiting.

Wisconsin's recruiting classes aren't highly ranked but that's ok by them.

Virginia Tech may have to wait for their next few commitments.

Pitt offered underclass quarterback Chandler Kincade.

Florida State has raided Alabama and recruited well, which is having an impact on the in-state programs.

Prized recruit Jelani Hamilton is sticking with Miami for now.

Recruiting in Texas would heat up if Texas A&M moves to the SEC.

UCF will have 17-19 spots in their upcoming recruiting class.

Commitments:

Junior Scott Orndoff committed to Wisconsin.

Running back Leonard Aikens pledged to Ole Miss.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: August 3, 2011 10:32 am
 

8/3 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- It could be a big day for Big Ten recruiting on Friday with several Detroit area stars set to commit.

  Defensive tackle Trae Clark added an offer from Illinois.

  Top 2013 receiver Richard Benjamin received an offer from Florida.

  Michigan's recruiting class has a strong Ohio flavor.


Commitments:


UCF added two nice pickups on offense in quarterback Kedric Bostic and receiver Drico Johnson.

Bostic wasn't the only quarterback to commit to a Florida program as Tyler Cameron selected USF. A look at Cameron's possible impact on the program.

Arizona strayed from their usual recruiting grounds to add defensive tackle Gerron Borne from Louisiana.

Joker Phillips and Kentucky received a commitment from athlete Daniel Ross and offensive tackle T.J. Jones.

Virginia continued to impress on the recruiting trail, getting a verbal pledge from defensive end Eli Harold over Penn State and Florida.

Iowa State reached into Florida to pull out receiver P.J. Harris.

Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:26 am
 

7/29 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- Interesting story on recruiting services for players.
Quarterback Faton Bauta took an unofficial visit to UCF.

Athlete Janarion Grant was one of the top performers at USF's Sling and Shoot 7-on-7 Tournament.

Miami head coach Al Golden talks a little recruiting.

 Minnesota seeks an in-state recruiting coup.

  West Virginia is hoping to close out their summer with a commitment or two out of their summer camp.

With North Carolina coach Butch Davis gone, Virginia Tech lost a recruiting thorn in their side.

Commitments:

Mississippi State added receiver Fred Brown and speedster Brandon Holloway to their class.

 Offensive lineman Joe Harris selected South Carolina over Georgia and Clemson.

 Corner Jhavon Williams will head to UConn to play ball.

 Kansas picked up quarterback Bilal Marshall from South Florida.

  Receiver D'Arthur Cowan made it official: he was going to Arkansas.

Number 18 is in for Arizona State and it's defensive end Jarvis Lewis.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 9:52 am
 

7/22 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

-- Recruiting services were a topic at SEC Media Days.

Michigan has been the biggest benefactor on the recruiting trail from Ohio State's troubles. 

Recruiting is an everyday process, according to Will Muschamp.

Karl Joseph is down to six schools, including UCF.

Florida State commit Mario Edwards Jr., all 6-foot-3, 270-pounds of him, can do a backflip.

Commitments:

Devin Vandyke has committed to Virginia Tech. 

Virginia added local player Kyle Dockins and might pick up another player. 

Texas cornerback John Gibson committed to Arkansas.
Posted on: July 17, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: July 17, 2011 10:44 am
 

7/17 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

-- Good, in-depth look at oversigning.

Tennessee extended an offer to local athlete Cody Blanc.

Notre Dame's current recruiting class just isn't as impactful as last year's.

Despite an NCAA investigation, Auburn recruiting is continuing to roll.

West Virginia's new recruiting coordinator has a better understanding of NCAA rules than recruiting ins and outs and that isn't a bad thing.

Ohio State might not get a top 10 player from the state of Ohio.

Michigan State, however, is doing very well in the state of Ohio.

Receiver DeAndre Jasper loved his visit to UCF.

Michigan has done well in-state, landing five of the top seven recruits.

Some notes from Arkansas' latest summer camp.

- The inside story on how Georgia turned Dawg Night into a commitment-fest.

Some highlights of new Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight.

Georgia Tech's NCAA troubles could cost them a quarterback recruit.

Commitments:

Arizona State added California linebacker C.J. Dozier.

Florida grabbed a commitment from safety Rhaheim Ledbetter.

Offensive lineman Joe Spencer committed to Illinois.

Half of Colorado's class is from Texas after wideout Peyton Williams committed.

Defensive athlete Jason Thompson is the latest Washington Husky.

South Carolina received a commitment from offensive lineman Cody Waldrop.

Kicker Bobby Puyol committed to UConn.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 3:10 pm
 

High school teammates pledge to Miami

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There were six Miami commitments at The Opening this past week at the Nike Campus in Oregon. Competing with the best of the best, the group represented the Hurricanes with a variety of hats, shirts and even eye black with the "U" on it.

On top of all of that, they were also Al Golden's recruiters on the road and did a pretty good job if you consider the results: Fellow Opening players and high school teammates James Burgess and Herb Waters both made verbal commitments to Miami upon returning home from the event Sunday.

"I couldn't feel any better," Waters told CaneSport.com. "Today was the best day of my life becoming a family with the rest of the kids and knowing we have a championship to win."

Waters had scholarship offers from Ohio State, Florida State, UCF and others before selecting Miami. His Homestead High teammate Burgess said the pair literally selected the 'Canes over their other offers on the way back from The Opening.

"We decided today at the airport when we landed," Burgess told the site. "We decided on the plane. When we got settled we called coach Golden. We talked to him for 10 minutes. He was out of town, said best of luck and welcome to the U family."

The pair give the Hurricanes 22 commitments for the Class of 2012. Burgess finished last season with 132 tackles and an interception; Waters played multiple positions as a junior, including quarterback, receiver and running back.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:22 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:27 pm
 

Heath Evans 7-on-7 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Plenty of top players from high school teams all over the state of Florida were in action this past weekend at the 6<sup>th</sup> Annual Heath Evans Foundation 7-on-7 Tournament. Featuring two teams from MaxPreps' Preseason Top 25 for 2011 and several members from Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2012, the fields at the King's Academy were filled with fast paced action and plenty of scoring.

One of the standouts was Tampa (Fla.) wide receiver Austin Aikens, who helped propel his team to the title and was one of the top players at the event.

"It felt real good,” Aikens said on Saturday. “I was out there making plays my team needed during the clutch."

While Plant High ended up taking the taking the title for the first time, it was just as satisfying toppling last year's state champion St. Thomas Aquinas, which beat Plant for the championship last fall. Aikens knows, however, that beating Aquinas in the summer is a different matter from beating them in the fall and he's trying to step his game up as a result.

"I'm looking to gain some more weight and polish off my route running and catching skills that I've got as a receiver so I can help my team,” he said. “We're pretty much getting there, we're starting to gel together and become one team and know what each other is thinking. Players are starting to step up when we need them to step up."

Events like Heath Evans are designed not only to give players an outlet to compete but also to showcase their skills. With the spring evaluation period over and the summer camp schedule picking up, Aikens already holds several scholarship offers and is starting to see plenty of attention from college coaches.

"It's going good,” he said. “I have offers from Missouri, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Western Kentucky, Temple, Boston College. So it's going pretty well for me. I'm still wide open."

While the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder is still sorting out his offer list, he maintains he'll likely make a decision after the football season is over. He recently took an unofficial visit to several schools in North Carolina and could be leaning towards heading out of state for college.

"About four weeks ago I went up and visited Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest,” Aikens said. “It was good, I really liked North Carolina's campus and facilities. North Carolina has some interest in me too."

Bauta shines in race to become starter

Palm Beach (Fla.) athlete Faton Bauta is trying to shed the label of “athlete” and get people used to calling him a quarterback. The dual-threat signal caller certainly impressed on the field during the tournament, showing off a strong arm and hitting some tight windows on some of his throws. The transfer from New York is not assured of the starting job just yet so the extra time with his teammates leading up to the season was crucial to developing some chemistry before the pads come on in August.

"It's going very well just being out here with them and competing with them,” Bauta said. “I like the way these guys play and I enjoy throwing the ball to them.

"I usually throw with them a lot on weekends or whenever we get the chance during the week. But out here, it's definitely good to work on the timing, there's more real game situations because you have
defenders."

Dwyer High, ranked 17<sup>th</sup> in the country by MaxPreps, is breaking in several new players into the mix and face the added challenge of moving into a new classification this season. Bauta knows the team needs to gel in the offseason if they want to go from good to great during the regular season.

"We look great but obviously we have a lot to work on,” he said. “We're working towards perfection and we still have a lot of work to do but hopefully we'll be a great team this season. Hopefully we'll win that state championship."

Bauta already holds offers from Alabama, Louisville, Miami and West Virginia among others and a few recent unofficial visits netted him some more.

"Georgia and UCF, that's about it,” he said. “(Georgia) was huge, I went on a pretty big SEC tour and went there and threw for them. They like be a lot and they offered me, I sat down with coach (Mark) Richt and he's a great guy. All of the coaches were great. They're a great school and have top of the line everything. It was great to go out there and see what they're all about."

While several schools continue to recruit Bauta as an athlete, he's a quarterback at heart and that's what he wants to play at the next level.

“That's why I went on the tour, just to show these guys I can throw the ball,” he said. “Hopefully I can show the guys out here that I can throw the ball."

Bauta participated at the Florida State camp on Sunday after wrapping up things in Palm Beach at the Heath Evans tournament. While he doesn't have an offer from the Seminoles at the moment, it's possible they could break into his recruiting with one. Right now however, he's starting to narrow down his list based on a few of his big offers.

"I have a top seven and if you looked at the offers I have, you'd be able to figure it out,” Bauta said. “I'm really just keeping my options open right now in case something pops up with a school. I'm just seeing who likes me and who has the best chance of winning and having the most success during the four years I'm there. I want to get the best connection to the coaches and the players."

Howard makes plays on both sides of the ball

Cornerback Tracey Howard of Miramar (Fla.) knows he doesn't have much left to prove after a stellar junior year and a very good offseason on the all-star travel team South Florida Express. But there he was out in the heat, running routes on offense and playing receivers tight on defense.

"I think it's good because I'm out here with my team rather than as an individual,” Howard said. “I'm on my team getting better, developing chemistry on my team is a good feeling."

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound corner is working on getting stronger in the offseason and wants to improve his tackling before the season begins. At the same time he's looking to get better as an individual, Howard constantly has to fight off college recruiters looking to land his services.

"It's picking up,” he said. “It's getting kind of crazy right now but I try to stay humble about it and stay focused about it. I get help from my coaches and my family.

"I'm just staying open with the process. I won't say I have a long time to think about it like a year but I'm just trying to stay open.”

Howard plans on visiting Miami and Florida State soon and has already visited the other in-state power, Florida, for a spring practice. He plans on committing during the middle of the season or on Signing Day, depending on how his visits work out and if he's comfortable with a certain school. In the mean time, he's just doing what's asked of him to help his team win.

"It was good to play some receiver and make plays for my team,” Howard said. “I don't really play offense but I'm out here with my team having fun."

Notes

- One of the underclassmen who had an intriguing blend of size and speed was Tampa (Fla.) linebacker Paris Bostick of Plant High. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder looks like a big safety but he could continue to grow into an outside linebacker. Schools are already interested with him playing safety and while he doesn't have any offers yet, is looking to have a big season after concentrating on getting better this offseason.

"Just get faster and bigger,” Bostick said. “I'm in the weight room a lot with the team but I like to work harder than everybody else. I see people trying to up their game so I'm going to try and up my game more than them and keep my head on and not get into any trouble."

- Virginia Tech commit Donaldven Manning was sporting his future college's logos on some eye black.

- Booker T. Washington was a team full of underclassmen who impressed. They made it to the championship game against Plant but fell just short. Former Miami director of football operations “IceHarris is the head coach at the school now.

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