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Posted on: August 2, 2011 7:40 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 8:36 pm
 

End of July Big East Commitment List

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 East, where every school has a double-digit commitment list.


   Cincinnati (15)

Offensive lineman Deyshawn Bond (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Defensive back Kevin Brown (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Defensive back Drake Burns (Fort Thomas, Ky.)
Running back Deionte Buckley (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Defensive end Jonathan Burt (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Linebacker Errol Clarke (Miami, Fla.)
Quarterback Bennie Coney (Plant City, Fla.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Athlete Alex Dale (Memphis, Tenn.)
Defensive back Marcus Foster (Troy, Ohio)
Wide receiver Jeremy Graves (Maple Heights, Ohio)
Defensive back Andre Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Defensive end Ryan Leahy (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Wide receiver Vincent Miller (Lexington, Ky.)
Defensive end Josh Posley (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Offensive lineman Kyle Williamson (Cincinnati, Ohio)

   Connecticut (13)

Defensive end Brendan Battles (North Eastham, Mass.)
Wide receiver Neally Cunningham (Palm Bay, Fla.)
Running back Montrell Dobbs (New Berlin, N.Y.)
Linebacker Jon Hicks (Paimyra, Pa.)
Defensive back Chauncey Lanier (Davie, Fla.)
Athlete Michael Ellis Marder (Orlando, Fla.)
Defensive back Obi Melifonwu (Grafton, Mass.)
Defensive tackle Mikal Myers (Newburgh, N.Y.)
Linebacker Elijah Norris (Washington, D.C.)
Kicker Bobby Puyol (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
Offensive lineman Tyler Samra (Ramsey, N.J.)
Linebacker Jason Sylva (Plymouth, Mass.)
Defensive back Jhavon Williams (Wellington, Fla.)

   Louisville (12)

Offensive lineman Sid Anvoots (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Kicker Joshua Appleby (Harvest, Ala.)
Athlete Demetrius Frazier (Brunswick, Ga.)
Quarterback Will Gardner (Douglas, Ga.)
Offensive lineman DeAndre Herron (Avon, Ind.)
Defensive back Kevin Houchins (South Eucid, Ohio)
Defensive end Larry Jefferson (College Park, Ga.)
Offensive lineman T.C. Klusman (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Joe Manley (Bowling Green, Ky.)
Defensive back Devontre Parnell (Winnsboro, S.C.)
Linebacker Daqual Randall (Palmetto, Fla.)
Wide receiver Brandon Snell (Miami, Fla.)

   Pittsburgh (11)

Defensive back Marchez Coates (Pomfret, Md.)
Wide receiver Trenton Coles (Clairton, Pa.)
Linebacker Dakota Conwell (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Brandyn Cook (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Wide receiver Chris Davis (Austintown, Ohio)
Athlete Demitrious Davis (Austintown, Ohio)
Defensive back Marzett Geter (McKees Rocks, Pa.)
Defensive end Myles Hilliard (Bedford, Ohio)
Defensive back William Parks (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Quarterback Chad Voytik (Cleveland, Tenn.)
Linebacker Alkwan Williams (Johnstown, Pa.)

   Rutgers (13)

Wide receiver Carlton Agudosi (Franklin, N.J.)
Offensive lineman Brandon Arcidiaconco (Warminster, Pa.)
Kicker Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.)
Tight end Michael Giacone (Jersey City, N.J.)
Athlete Davon Jacobs (Wayne, N.J.)
Linebacker Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.)
Offensive lineman Chris Muller (Boyertown, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Derrick Nelson (Washington, D.C.)
Wide receiver Ruhann Peele (Linden, N.J.)
Running back Desmon Peoples (Warminister, Pa.)
Defensive end Julian Pinnix-Odrick (Montclair, N.J.)
Quarterback Blake Rankin (Bloomsburg, Pa.)
Athlete Delon Stephenson (Parlin, N.J.)

   South Florida (10)

Offensive lineman Kofi Amichia (Powder Springs, Ga.)
Defensive back Chris Bivins (Gainesville, Fla.)
Quarterback Tyler Cameron (Jupiter, Fla.)
Offensive lineman Reno Henderson (Ocala, Fla.)
Wide receiver Rayshawn Jenkins (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Defensive end Daniel Perry (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Tight end Sean Price (Citra, Fla.)
Defensive back Jalen Spencer (Pensacola, Fla.)
Defensive back D.J. White (McDonogh, Ga.)
Athlete LaMarlin Wiggins (Plant City, Fla.)

   Syracuse (16)

Defensive end Poncho Barnwell (Rochester, N.Y.)
Offensive lineman Ben Barrett (Syracuse, N.Y.)
Defensive tackle Harold Brantley (Hershey, Pa.)
Defensive tackle Marcus Coleman (Cherry Hill, N.J.)
Wide receiver Alvin Cornelius (Staten Island, N.Y.)
Defensive end Jason Emerich (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.)
Defensive back Dontez Ford (McKees Rocks, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Kyle Knapp (Portage, Mich.)
Athlete Ben Lewis (Middletown, Md.)
Athlete Devante McFarland (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
Linebacker Leroy Owens (Palatka, Fla.)
Offensive lineman Omari Palmer (Middle Island, N.Y.)
Tight end Joshua Parris (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
Linebacker James Washington (Winter Park, Fla.)
Defensive back Julian Whigham (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
Linebacker Tashon Whitehurst (Gainesville, Fla.)

   TCU (15)

Running back LaDarius Anthony (Kilgore, Texas)
Quarterback Austin Aune (Argyle, Texas)
Running back B.J. Catalon (Houston, Texas)
Wide receiver Ricky Collins (Kilgore JUCO, Kilgore, Texas)
Defensive end Devonte Fields (Arlington, Texas)
Tight end Griffin Gilbert (Austin, Texas)
Defensive tackle Joey Hunt (El Campo, Texas)
Athlete Daje Johnson (Plugerville, Texas)
Running back Rashodrick Linwood (Linden, Texas)
Athlete Kolby Listenbee (Arlington, Texas)
Quarterback Tyler Matthews (McPherson, Kan.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012 Member
Defensive end James McFarland (West Monroe, La.)
Kicker Jaden Oberkrom (Arlington, Texas)
Kicker Ethan Perry (Spring Branch, Texas)
Defensive back Edward Pope (Carthage, Texas)

   West Virginia (17)

Defensive tackle Imarjaye Albury (Miami, Fla.)
Quarterback Ford Childress (Houston, Texas)
Defensive back Da'Quan Davis (Towson, Md.)
Running back Jarrod Harper (Frostburg, Md.)
Linebacker Joseph Jackson (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Wide receiver Darreall Joyner (Miami, Fla.)
Linebacker Sam Lebbie (Hyattsville, Md.)
Offensive lineman Tony Matteo (Akron, Ohio)
Wide receiver Deontay McManus (Baltimore, Md.)
Athlete Brandon Napoleon (Jersey City, N.J.)
Defensive end Bret Niederreither (Lewisberry, Pa.)
Defensive end Noble Nwachukwu (Wylie, Texas)
Offensive lineman Tyler Orlosky (Lakewood, Ohio)
Athlete Albert Reid (Washington, D.C.)
Wide receiver Devonte Robinson (Delray Beach, Fla.)
Athlete J.T. Washington (Satellite Beach, Fla.)
Wide receiver Trevor Williams (Towson, Md.)


Category: NCAAF
Tags: Albert Reid, Alex Dale, Alkwan Williams, Alvin Cornelius, Andre Jones, Austin Aune, B.J. Catalon, Ben Barrett, Ben Lewis, Bennie Coney, Big East, Blake Rankin, Bobby Puyol, Brandon Arcidiaconco, Brandon Napoleon, Brandyn Cook, Branodn Snell, Brendan Battles, Bret Niederreither, Carlton Agudosi, Chad Voytik, Chauncey Lanier, Chris Bivins, Chris Davis, Chris Muller, Cincinnati, D.J. White, Da'Quan Davis, Daje Johnson, Dakota Conwell, Daniel Perry, Daqual Randall, Darreall Joyner, Davon Jacobs, DeAndre Herron, Delon Stephenson, Delonte Buckley, Demetrius Frazier, Demitrious Davis, Deontay McManus, Derrick Nelson, Desmon Peoples, Devante McFarland, Devonte Fields, Devonte Robinson, Devontre Parnell, Deyshawn Bond, Dontez Ford, Drake Burns, Edward Pope, Elijah Norris, Errol Clarke, Ethan Perry, Ford Childress, Griffin Gilbert, Harold Brantley, Imarjaye Albury, J.T. Washington, Jaden Oberkrom, Jalen Spencer, James McFarland, James Washington, Jarrod Harper, Jason Emerich, Jason Sylva, Jeremy Graves, Jhavon Williams, Joe Manley, Joey Hunt, Jon Hicks, Jonathan Burt, Joseph Jackson, Josh Posley, Joshua Appleby, Joshua Parris, Julian Pinnix-Odrick, Julian Whigham, June Commitment List, Kevin Brown, Kevin Houchins, Kofi Amichia, Kolby Listenbee, Kyle Federico, Kyle Knapp, Kyle Williamson, LaDarius Anthony, LaMarlin Wiggins, Larry Jefferson, Leroy Owens, Louisville, Marchez Coates, Marcus Coleman, Marcus Foster, Marzett Geter, Michael Ellis Marder, Michael Giacone, Mikal Myers, Mikal Myers, Montrell Dobbs, Myles Hilliard, Neally Cunningham, Noble Nwachukwu, Obi Melifonwu, Omari Palmer, Pittsburgh, Poncho Barnwell, Rashodrick Linwood, Rayshawn Jenkins, Reno Henderson, Ricky Collins, Ruhann Peele, Rutgers, Ryan Leahy, Sam Lebbie, Sid Anvoots, Steve Longa, Syracuse, T.C. Klusman, Tashon Whitehurst, TCU, Tony Matteo, Trenton Coles, Trevor Williams, Tyler Cameron, Tyler Matthews, Tyler Orlosky, Tyler Samra, UConn, USF, Vincent Miller, West Virginia, Will Gardner, William Parks
 
Posted on: August 2, 2011 11:47 am
Edited on: August 2, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Catching up on a few commitments

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's been a busy few days between Media Days and a short vacation for the Eye on Recruiting blog. Because we haven't put up every commitment on the blog, here's a recap on players who have committed over the past couple of days, sorted by conference.

ACC:

Florida State: defensive tackle Justin Shanks

Georgia Tech: running back Marcus Allen

Maryland: linebacker Avery Thompson

N.C. State: defensive end Joe Wright, receiver Charlie Hegedus

USF: offensive lineman Kofi Amichia

Wake Forest: running back Joshua Wilhite, tight end Zach Gordon


Big East:

Cincinnati: quarterback Bennie Coney, linebacker Erroll Clarke

Pitt: defensive back Marchez Coates, quarterback Chad Voytik

Rutgers: offensive lineman Derrick Nelson

TCU: junior college receiver Ricky Collins

UConn: defensive back Jhavon Williams

West Virginia: receiver Ray Martin and Trevor Williams, linebacker Sam Lebbie, defensive end Noble Nwachukwu, offensive lineman Tony Matteo


Big Ten:

Indiana: offensive lineman Jason Spriggs, quarterback Gunner Kiel

Michigan: defensive end Chris Wormley

Michigan State: receiver Aaron Burbridge, defensive back Jermaine Edmondson

Minnesota: offensive lineman Jonah Pirsig

Purdue: tight end Jonathan Curry, linebacker Andy Garcia


Big 12:

Baylor: cornerback Ryan Reid, defensive end Dominique Banks, linebacker Kendall Erhlich

Iowa State: wide receiver P.J. Harris, linebacker Adam Pavelenko

Kansas: quarterback Bilal Marshall and Seth Russell

Kansas State: offensive lineman Aderius Epps

Missouri: defensive lineman Ed Ray

Oklahoma State: defensive end Victor Irokansi

Texas A&M: defensive end Julian Obioha


SEC:

Arkansas: receiver D'Arthur Cowan, defensive back John Gibson

Auburn: defensive end Gimel President

Mississippi State: cornerback Will Redmond, receiver Frederick Brown

Ole Miss: tight end Austin Ray

South Carolina: linebacker Kaiwan Lewis, offensive lineman Joe Harris

Tennessee: kicker George Bullock, junior college defensive lineman Damien Jacobs


Pac-12:

Arizona: defensive tackle Dwight Melvin

Arizona State: offensive lineman Evan Goodman and Stephon McCray, defensive end Ben Dixon and Jarvis Lewis, running back Russell Hansbrough, linebacker Carlos Mendoza and Matt Rowe
UCLA: offensive lineman Isaiah Folasa

USC: defensive end Pio Vatuvei




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 25, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 11:37 am
 

Gridiron Kings Top Performers: Offense

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ORLANDO -- Some of the nation's top recruits descended upon Disney's Wide World of Sports complex this past weekend for the third annual Gridiron Kings tournament. Here's the best of the best on offense from the final recruiting event of the summer.

Quarterback Matt Davis (Houston, Texas), Committed to Texas A&M

Davis was easily the best signal-caller at the event and a key to the Southwest's victory in the event. The offensive MVP, he threw well at all three levels but was especially sharp making the right decision on intermediate routes that just killed the defense. He fit balls into some small windows and showed he has great arm strength, the ball really zips out of his hand. Davis tossed some beautiful fade routes, and though he didn't throw a perfect spiral every time, he showed he's a much better passer than people think and not just a dual-threat guy.

Running back Duke Johnson (Miami, Fla.), Committed to Miami

Johnson thrives in 7-on-7 events in the open field, and that was certainly the case at Gridiron Kings. He's got soft hands and has the burst you look for out of a cut. Either out of the slot or coming out of the backfield, he was a mismatch for linebackers who couldn't keep up with his speed or quickness. Johnson danced a little bit with the ball in his hands, but he did do a good job of getting up field.

Running back Trey Williams (Spring, Texas), Committed to Texas A&M

Williams was a huge part of the Southwest's strategy to dink-and-dunk down the field while taking a shot or two downfield. He burst out of the backfield on draws and was someone who left defenders grasping at air after making a cut. One of his teammates shouted Williams stops on a dime, and it's hard to argue. He also has a great set of hands, making a couple of terrific catches along the sideline on corner routes and on fades down the seam.

Wide receiver Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla.)

Every time you looked up it seemed as if Agholor was making his way toward the end zone. He is such an athlete that he might be a better fit at safety, but no matter what position he plays, he'll be a great player for whatever school ends up landing him. He's a burner who can get behind the defense and has the quickness to make things happen when he has a defender in front of him. Overall, just a fluid athlete.

Wide receiver Thomas Johnson (Dallas, Texas), Committed to Texas

Johnson started off slowly, but when Cayleb Jones went down, he took off. He didn't seem to catch the ball using his body much and really snagged the ball out of the air. He made a living attacking safeties in the middle of the field and really used his speed to create separation. He's awfully quick and should be a dynamic threat out of the slot in college.

Tight end Griffin Gilbert (Austin, Texas), Committed to TCU

If there was a player who surprised with a great weekend, the unheralded TCU commit Gilbert was the player. He might have had only one drop the entire time and made some tough, tough catches. He's more of a pass-catching threat, but he has a great frame that can add a few pounds of muscle. He was split out most of the time and really showed off his athleticism. Gilbert won plenty of jump balls and made plenty of tough catches in traffic.

Tight end Sean Price (Citra, Fla.), Committed to USF

Price capped off a great summer with another impressive performance at Gridiron Kings. He's gotten better at route running, but it's still impressive how he just seems to be open, especially near the goal line. With his size and speed, he's a mismatch for all but the elite linebackers.

Posted on: July 24, 2011 10:14 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 10:39 pm
 

Texas, A&M recruits key to Gridiron Kings title

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ORLANDO -- The Southeast's run of titles at the Champion Gridiron Kings is over as the Southwest team was the only one left standing and took home the championship Sunday afternoon at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex.

The team's run was fueled by players from the state of Texas, mostly commitments from Texas and Texas A&M. While many of them will be bitter rivals in a couple of years, they banded together to put on an impressive show at the final recruiting event of the season.

"Texas football, it's like religion, there's nothing like it," said Aggie commit Matt Davis, the tournament's offensive MVP. "This award is for the offense as a whole. I can't take credit for this at all, those guys they made me look good."

"It was fun repping our region," defensive MVP and Oklahoma-bound cornerback DeVante Harris said. "Everybody knows that Texas has a lot of talent and to come out and prove that we do is great."

"We knew we were going to win," running back Trey Williams said. "We came in here with a winning attitude. When we first met each other, we were talking and I could just tell from then that we were going to work together."

The Southwest team lost MaxPreps' second-ranked receiver and number three overall player Cayleb Jones early on day one after he broke his ring finger on a freak play. In his absence, fellow Texas commit Thomas Johnson more than filled in, catching everything thrown his way and torching opposing defensive backs using his speed.

"I just wanted to win," Thomas said. "We would have done better with him but, as a team, we just had to come together."

When the Aggies and Longhorns weren't scoring touchdowns on the field they were often discussing strategy off it. Sometimes this strategy involved how to get one another to switch their commitment to the rival school.

"It's a little bittersweet because of Thomas and Cayleb. I have a great relationship with them but... they're going to Texas," Davis said. "It hurts that they're going there but whoever is throwing to Thomas and Caleb, they are blessed because those guys make plays. I'm blessed to have Trey and Bralon (Addison) coming (to A&M) because they were making plays all day too."

"We were trying to recruit the Texas guys," Williams added. "They know good and well they want to be an Aggie."

Williams was working on flipping linebacker Tim Cole while Davis was working on a adding even more offensive firepower to the Aggies class of 2012.

"I wish i could get Thomas and Cayleb," Davis said. "I know we don't have too much room in our class but I'd put them in my suitcase if need be."

Not sure if the 6-foot-4 wide receiver would fit, especially when you consider the suitcase has a crystal MVP trophy in it too.

Price wraps up summer same way he started it

The favorite for the event was the Southeast team that had a perfect record until being upset by the 0-3 (at the time) Midwest bunch. Though the team fell short of the title, they had a strong run led by players such as Citra (Fla.) tight end Sean Price.

"It's ok, we can't hold our head down about it," Price said. "You lose. You win. But the great players they overcome it and get better. They take this as motivation and get hungry for the next game. That's how I feel about it."

Price had a huge week at The Opening and often heard his name called followed by the word touchdown. The two events were quite different with the notable exception being that the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder was a huge threat in the passing game.

"(The Opening) was an all-star team and this was more region-by-region," he said. "It was just a great workout and feels good to be out here."

The talented tight end has excelled at 7-on-7 throughout the summer by being a complete mismatch with linebackers. Drops have not been an issue at all and one can see why when he holds up his very large hands. Price has definitely taken advantage of his opportunities to go from relative unknown to one of the top tight ends in the nation.

"It's been amazing and I'm not going to lie, it does feel good," he said. "At the same time, I've got to stay humble because most players lose who they are and think they're this and that. That's when their game begins to fall because they lose their work ethic. I'm not trying to be like that."

The Southeast team had several players who, like Price, are committed to USF. The biggest draw to the school besides football for Price is the Bulls' medical program because he would one day like to be a radiologist. While he has his future plans squared away on the academic side, getting a glimpse at what it will be like to play with his fellow commits was a welcome opportunity at Gridiron Kings.

"It's great to play with some of my future brothers, they're ballers just like I am," Price said. "I'm pretty sure they're going to work just as hard if not harder than I am when we all get to college."

Notes

- In the upset of the day, the Midwest beat the heavily favored Southeast team 18-14. 2013 quarterback Shane Morris was much better on Sunday than he was Saturday and he a big reason why the team was in contention. He threw a very nice deep ball and made much better decisions. One of his favorite targets was Southfield (Mich.) tight end Ronald Thompson. The big pass catcher was surpassingly agile despite being one of the biggest players on the field. He's down to Michigan, Syracuse and Maryland and will likely announce his decision shortly. Thompson says 'Cuse coach Tyrone Wheatley is recruiting him the hardest but it's still very close among the three.

"Pretty much the same things stand out. I'm pretty comfortable with all the coaches, they're all honest with me and tell me where I stand," Thompson said. "I want to make a decision before the season but I kind of want to take official visits. I'll get it worked out."

- Virginia commit Kwontie Moore probably could have been named the defensive MVP despite being on the losing end of things on the Midwest team. He helped get the team back in the final game with an interception in the end zone and made the defensive play of the day when he took a pick 80 yards to the house.

- The most low key player who made some huge plays was Southwest tight end Griffin Gilbert. The TCU-bound player had reliable hands and skied up for three or four jump balls and ended up with a catch overtime. He also had a great one-handed catch that resulted in a 40-yard gain along the sidelines.

- It was a bit of a quiet weekend for Cal commit Bryce Treggs. The West quarterback, Mike Baker, didn't really look his way but the deep threat did manage to find the end zone a few times by getting behind the defense using his speed and sharp route running ability.

- The two players who really impressed with their speed and quickness were wide receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive back Ronald Darby. It took awhile for Darby, a Notre Dame commit, to get into a rhythm but he was able to shut receivers down in the second half of games. Agholor probably ended up with more touchdowns then anyone this weekend. Agholor avoided talking recruiting this weekend but the scuttlebutt on him was that it remains between USC and several of the Florida schools.

- After Trey Williams zigged and zagged for a big gain on a running play, including reversing field and leaving a defender grasping at air, cornerback Darion Monroe shouted, "He can stop on a dime! He can stop on a dime!"



Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:50 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 9:49 am
 

The Opening: Top Defensive Performers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Linebacker Kwontie Moore (Norfolk, Va.), committed to Virginia

Moore has great size for a linebacker and moved well side-to-side. He made one of the plays of the week when he took an interception at the goal line all the way back to the other end zone and outran some pretty fast offensive players. He's a steal for Virginia.

Linebacker Dillon Lee (Buford, Ga.), committed to Alabama

You wouldn't think someone could move as quickly and as fast as Lee, as big as he is, but his athleticism just jumps out as much as he jumps routes. He can stay with tight ends and even speedy slot receivers and cover a lot of ground. He's the perfect type of player who can drop deep in Tampa-2 coverage from the middle linebacker position.

Linebacker Keith Brown (Miam, Fla.), committed to Miami

Brown has the size and speed to be really good at the next level. It's surprising how rangy he is. He got to the flat quickly and was able to take away a lot of underneath routes just with his ability to quickly break on running backs and tight ends.

Cornerback Cedric Dozier (Lakewood, Wash.)

Dozier could have also played wide receiver and made this list, he's extremely quick and can really change directions in a split second. He likely could come in and play early at most programs at nickel back as he has what it takes to lock down opposing slot receivers.

Cornerback Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif.), committed to Notre Dame

Like his cousin Deontay Greenberry, Shepard was dominant at times. He would get a little lackadaisical at times (one could interpret it as bored) and allow his man to get too far away from him before recovering. It's tough to get any separation from him when he presses from the corner position and he leaves little doubt he's one of the top defensive backs in the country.

Defensive back P.J. Williams (Ocala, Fla.), committed to Florida State

Williams is a smooth cornerback and plays the game effortlessly. He's got good speed and can hit that extra gear when needed. He's a ball hawk and just a really good defensive back overall who can play safety or corner if need be.

Defensive back Travis Blanks (Tallahassee, Fla.), committed to Clemson

If there was a ball in the air, chances were Blanks was around it. And if he wasn't picking them off, he was knocking them down. He nearly came up with four interceptions in his first game on Saturday and was just off the charts in terms of athleticism.

Cornerback Chris Bivins (Gainesville, Fla.), committed to USF

Bivins has done well on the camp circuit and showed he could compete with the best and the brightest at The Opening. He's someone who won't back down from anybody and sees the bigger receivers as a challenge. Aggressive and quick, he was really good breaking on the ball and deflecting it.   

Defensive end Chris Casher (Mobile, Ala.), committed to Florida State

During part of one-on-ones, Casher was pretty much impossible to block. He explodes out of his stance and got to the tackling dummy quicker than just about everyone. He can still add some weight but he has the frame to be a top flight end at the next level.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Day (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Day caught the eye of many with a great performance at the Ohio State Nike Camp might have been twice as good at The Opening. He was a beast up the middle on Saturday and could get around the lineman using either his strength or quickness. His first step is something that has plenty of programs excited about his potential.

Defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif.)

Day and McCarthy were 1 and 1a among the lineman all week and there were times you thought that McCarthy was looking like D-line coach Ndamukong Suh. The fact that he performed as well as he did on Saturday with a  bum ankle shows why he is the top guy at his position in the rankings.

Defensive tackle Korren Kirven (Lynchburg, Va.)

Kirven was overshadowed by some of the bigger names on the line but he nevertheless showed he belonged. He's got a good set of moves that he just needs to polish to be dominant but has all of the physical tools needed to be very, very good.


Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:40 pm
 

The Opening: Top Offensive Performers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Quarterback Tanner Mangum (Eagle, Idaho), committed to BYU

Mangum was the top quarterback at the event and impressed with his strong arm and decision making. He's got a good release that was evident in the 7-on-7 setting and was probably the most accurate signal-caller on the field. He was a leader and was on the same page as his teammates early on, so it's no surprise he guided them to the championship game.

Quarterback Tyler Matthews (McPherson, Kan.), committed to TCU

One of the bigger quarterbacks on the field, he was a big guy who delivered a catchable ball right where the receiver was expecting it. He's got a strong arm that can get the ball downfield and displayed nice touch on corner routes and when trying to hit guys against a cover-2. He seems as if he'll be a perfect fit in Fort Worth with his skill set and football IQ.

Athlete Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla.)

One of the top athletes in the country, Agholor could play on either side of the ball but spent his time at The Opening as a receiver. He's got the size to be very effective and can really flash his speed and create space for the offense. The only thing that we didn't see was for him to take over during 7-on-7 play and dominate but he was certainly a top performer based what he showed last week.

Running back Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas), committed to Texas

It seemed as if Gray touched the ball on just about every series for his 7-on-7 team (fellow Texas commit Connor Brewer was the quarterback by the way) and he ended up showing great burst and change of direction as soon as he snagged the ball out of the air. Ranked at the best running back in the nation, Gray showed he was a complete package and someone Longhorn fans should get very excited about in Brian Harsin's offense in 2012.

Wide receiver Deontay Greenberry (Fresno, Calif.), committed to Notre Dame

Greenberry has put together two dominant performances in back-to-back weeks against national competition. He's athletic and fast and is one of the few players who stood out as really being able to take over a game. He was, quite simply, dominant and able to get any ball he wanted. He sometimes gets a little lazy running his routes, but his talent is off the charts.

Wide receiver Jaydon Mickens (Los Angeles, Calif.), committed to USC

Mickens almost looked as if he was on the JV compared to some of the players at the event but that didn't matter as he is a flat-out player. He turned in the play of the day Friday by zigging across the field several times and stopping on a dime. He's fast enough to pull away from just about anybody, and even if you think you're close to "tackling" him, he more often than not can scoot away.

Tight end Taylor McNamara (San Diego, Calif.), committed to Arizona

There were plenty of weapons on McNamara's 7-on-7 team, but he was its most consistent target. He's got the size to create match-up issues with linebackers and safeties alike. He's still rail thin but has the size and skills to develop into another great tight end in the desert. He gets off the line well and also has a solid pair of hands.

Tight end Sean Price (Citra, Fla.), committed to USF

Every time you turned around it seemed Price was catching a touchdown or making a big play. He's done well in these types of competitions, and against top talent at The Opening, he was no exception. He's got great size and, with is gigantic hands, seemed to nab everything thrown his way. Though he's not the fastest guy, he's got football speed and just finds a way to get open.

Offensive tackle Vadal Alexander (Buford, Ga.)

Alexander showed remarkable improvement from the Georgia Nike Camp over a month ago and was solid throughout the week. He was named position MVP and did so by rarely losing one-on-ones and showing off good athleticism for someone his size.

Offensive tackle Zach Banner (Lakewood, Wash.)

Easily the biggest player at the entire event, the 6-foot-7, 340-pounder was able to handle much quicker defensive ends surprisingly well considering that is something he normally struggles with. Banner was dominant in the run-blocking drills and though he didn't win every one-on-one rep, managed to move his feet well and keep his man in front of him most of the time.

Offensive lineman Josh Garnett (Puyallup, Wash.)

With so many tackles at the event, Garnett decided to move inside and get several reps at guard and he left many observers impressed. One of the calmest, nicest players off the field, he had a mean streak on the field and was like a brick wall. He's got the athleticism to play just about every position on the line and showed it during the event.

Offensive tackle Patrick Miller (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Miller is tall and lean but surprisingly moved well side-to-side and handled fast, big defensive lineman pretty well. He still needs to get stronger but he more than held his own and showed off a bit of a mean streak during drills. There were times when he got a little bit off balance but for the most part, he was a difficult match up for all the defenders. 

Offensive lineman Curtis Riser (Desoto, Texas), committed to Texas

Riser was dominant throughout the entire week, and it was a bit of a surprise that he didn't get MVP honors. He was excited for each rep and had a good celebration whenever he stopped one of the defensive linemen. He's very big and certainly looks to be the part of a guard but still was able to move fairly well. The one thing that stood out was how powerful he was, often driving back the defensive linemen coming at him.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 1:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:33 pm
 

The Opening: Day 3 -- Pads and 7-on-7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Day three of The Opening could not have turned out any better for the assembled campers as wall-to-wall 7-on-7 action and a lineman challenge took place on a picturesque day at the Nike campus.

After NFL players and Nike coaching staff members drafted teams from the nearly 150 players at the event on Thursday night, the pressure was on to gel quickly during round-robin play all day Friday. One of the consistent playmakers at the event with his blazing speed, fluid routes and soft hands was Tampa (Fla.) athlete Nelson Agholor.

A threat at multiple positions on the field, the talented Floridian was a touchdown threat every time he touched the ball on offense. Despite standing out on the field, it was hard to get him to talk about himself off it as he personified the definition of a team player.

"Yeah, I hope we have a good one the next day. We're ready to go and play hard," Agholor said. "We've got a great team."

NFL stars Josh Freeman of Agholor's local team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe were the honorary coaches of “Team Alpha Talon.” The 7-on-7 setting provided the players they picked a chance to spread the field and allow players such as Agholor to go up and make plays.

"We were blessed with two great coaches that put a bunch of athletes on the team," Agholor said. "We're going to do well. There's not one bad guy on our team. Everyone on our team is really good."

Featuring quarterback Chad Kelly (committed to Clemson), receiver Bralon Addison (Texas A&M) and  running back Duke Johnson (Miami) among others, Agholor's team was one of the best in the field. Boasting players from 10 states, the all-star squad was an opportunity for Agholor and others to bond with players they had only heard about.

"These are guys you want to compete against everyday,” he said. “They say everyone around the nation is getting better, these are the guys that they're talking about. Now we're all together having fun and winning together."

Ranked 22nd overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, schools such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas and USC are heavily pursuing the talented athlete as both a receiver and defensive back. With so much attention on the recruiting trail, Agholor is almost to the point where he narrows his list down to a more manageable five to 10.

"I have sort of an idea of a shorter list," he said. "That's between me and my coaches and parents right now. We're going to work something out and hopefully narrow it down soon.

"There's many things I'm looking for. When I first started recruiting, it was all about people and their morals, that was always number one. Academics is number two because I feel like there's a degree out there for everyone, it's up to you to go get it."

In terms of a decision, that will be awhile for the five-star athlete.

"I think I want to sign on National Signing Day," Agholor said. "I really want to think this all through. Schools know, who I'm in contact with, they know what type of interest is coming in and if not, I'm going to make it a little bit clearer soon."

Miller enjoys getting some pad work

While most of the skill position athletes were playing games, the big fellas down in the trenches were also having some fun and it came in something unique to The Opening: pads.

"It was fun, I haven't put pads on in awhile since I didn't play in the spring game," West Palm Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Patrick Miller said. "It was sweet, I got a little hitting time in."

Armed with full shoulder pads and helmets, the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive linemen were one of the highlights of the camp. For some players, such as Miller, who have largely been without contact, it did take a bit of an adjustment.

"Definitely, you're getting the cob webs out," he said. "You kind of forget how to pass set or something like that. But you're with all these great coaches and stuff and you get your technique back to where it was and everything. It's just part of getting ready for the season."

Working with former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley among others, the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Miller has been able to pickup plenty of small tips and tricks that should serve him well going into his senior year.

"There's just so many small, miscellaneous things," Miller said. "I mean a pro tells you, and you're like, alright and you listen to him then. The only people I like to listen to is my head coach, my position coach but obviously, if an NFL player says it, you know it's right."

As one of the top offensive tackles in South Florida, Miller has offers from just about every SEC school, as well as Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami and others. He has taken several unofficial visits recently and will likely take a few more between now and trimming his list down.

"I think I'm going to narrow it down in the middle of the season," Miller said. "I know I'm going to visit Oklahoma and North Carolina. I've already visited Auburn, LSU and Tennessee and Florida too. I liked them all a lot, I liked Auburn a lot obviously. After taking these visits, I definitely was thinking I wanted to commit somewhere but now I realize I just want to wait and weigh my options. There might be something better out there for me."
 
Mangum sharp again in 7-on-7 setting

If you wanted to have a good 7-on-7 team at an event like this, you needed to pick a good quarterback. Noted quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr., who has worked Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton among others, was in charge of drafting “Team Vapor Carbon” with rookie Patrick Peterson. It's no surprise that Whitfield's acumen was on the money as Eagle (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum was the top signal caller throughout the day.

"I'm just doing my best to make them look good," Mangum said. "I know they're talented, they're playmakers, so I'm just doing my best to make good decisions and keep up with them. It's an honor to be playing with them so I don't want to make them look bad."

Mangum team featured Notre Dame-bound receiver Deontay Greenberry, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis and plenty of other impressive skill position players. Being able to throw to such a talented group was nice for the 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback but that wasn't the biggest take away from the event.

"There's so many things but I think it's forming relationships with these guys," Mangum said. "These are the top players from across the country and you wouldn't have any other chance to meet them but here. It's an honor to be considered among them and it's been even better getting to know them."

As a BYU commitment for several months, Mangum is one of several players who are already dead-set on their college of choice. With 11 players on his team who have not made a commitment and plenty more at the event, there has surprisingly not been many conversations asking him for advice on the recruiting process.

"Not too much," he said. "Everyone here is pretty set in where they're going, there's a few guys that aren't committed. There aren't any here, but I'm doing my best to recruit some guys to get to the "Y." Dylan Collie and I are working together to get some guys to BYU. There's some big recruits that have committed there and I think that 2012 recruiting class will be pretty good."

The recruiting class that the pair is apart of is the Cougar's first as a football independent. The opportunity to go out on their own and the advantages with that are a big draw for several recruits according to Mangum.

"I think it's helping a lot, it's a big positive," he said. "It allows us to play some big time teams on national television and I think guys draw to that and want to play for that. It's helping out a lot."

The Opening is not the only national competition Mangum is taking part in. He will head down to Pepperdine in a little over a week for the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp, something he lights up when asked about it.

"I'm very excited," Mangum said. "I've grown up watching that since I was a kid and it's always been a dream of mine. So it's a dream come true for sure."

Dawson sees two recruiting him hard

One of the more physically imposing defenders on the field was 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker Nick Dawson. Flying across the country from Charlotte (N.C.) to the Nike campus was no problem for the talented athlete as he's having a blast so far at The Opening.

"Everything's great," Dawson said. "It's so unique it doesn't make sense. And every day it gets better and better. I'm just out here to compete with the top 150 and I'm doing going good."

Like many players, the opportunity to interact and learn from NFL players has been a moment that often leaves Dawson in awe as he receives tips from the best of the best.

"I'm just getting coached up, you can't ask for any more than this,” he said. “Aaron Curry is out here coaching the linebackers Ray Rice with the running backs. Dwayne Bowe with the receivers, there's just so many unique athletes out here."

Holding offers from schools such as Arkansas, Auburn, Miami, USC and others, Dawson is trying to begin the arduous task of narrowing down his list of programs he is considering.

"Everything is going great with my recruiting," he said. "I'm trying to narrow it down but I don't really have a top five right now."

Just because it's tough to limit his options going forward, doesn't mean a few schools aren't standing out.

"Louisville and Clemson are recruiting me the hardest," he said. "I went to Clemson's camp and Louisville's also. They were great, everything was great. Both of the schools were perfect. I'm just trying to figure out which one is the best, best, best for me. I'm in the process of doing that right now."

Dawson had entertained thoughts of committing during The Opening but could not decide on a school enough to give his verbal pledge. He said he was unsure when he would eventually pull the trigger and commit.

Notes:

- It wasn't a great day of football for USC commitment Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. He banged his head against another player while making a play for a ball and ended up having to sit out most of the day (against his wishes it should be noted) after receiving stitches above his eye.

"Four. It wasn't too bad," Cope-Fitzpatrick said before getting to the bad news. "If football doesn't work out, I'm trying to be a model for Nike."

- Oregon commit Jake Rodrigues struggled mightily during 7-on-7, tossing more interceptions than touchdowns and misreading the defense a few times. He was able to throw the ball better as the day went on but he just wasn't as sharp as he was yesterday.

- USF-bound tight end Sean Price has performed well in 7-on-7 events before and did so once again Friday afternoon. He was able to use his big frame and speed to create mismatches and was a nice target in the red zone.

- All-around athlete Cedric Dozier is really rangy as a defensive back. He grabbed quite a few interceptions, including a nice one off Cal commit Zach Kline. Top ten defensive back Landon Collins also impressed in the secondary.

-  Number one ranked running back Johnathan Gray is a special back. Known for his rushing skills, he was explosive out of the backfield and displayed some soft hands. He lined up next to future Texas teammate Connor Brewer and the pair definitely had some chemistry out on the field.

- Tight end Taylor McNamara, headed to Arizona, had a really nice day and went up and caught some throws that very few people could get to. Ray Rice jokingly started calling him Todd Heap after making so many plays.

- The play of the day came from receiver Jaydon Mickens. The USC-bound athlete took a short pass and turned it into a 40+ yard touchdown by traversing the field three times and leaving several defenders unable to move. Even speedy Dwayne Bowe was impressed and quite excited about the play.

 
 
 
 
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