Tag:LSU
Posted on: January 8, 2012 11:30 am
 

1/8 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Bill O'Brien's hiring isn't deterring Penn State recruits. The focus of the Nittany Lions' recruiting will be in the Mid-Atlantic.

Cal had a big day at the Army All-American Bowl.

 Defensive back De'Vante Harris decommitted from Oklahoma.

 Frank Wilson saw a big recruit get away from LSU but that's ok.

Junior college offensive lineman Will Latu reopened his recruitment and is planning a visit to Florida State.

 Ohio State is back in the picture for Monty Madaris.

Posted on: January 7, 2012 6:12 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2012 1:04 pm
 

West takes Army All-American Bowl 24-12



Posted by Bryan Fischer


SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Plenty of the nation's top recruits defended upon the Alamodome for yet another U.S. Army All-American Bowl and once again they did not disappoint. The final of the three major high school football all-star games wrapped up a busy start to 2012 with a West victory over the East 24-12 before a record crowd of 39,011 that put college bowl games to shame with the amount of talent on the field and the number of people in the stands.

"It was a great week," said Westlake Village (Calif.) wide receiver Jordan Payton. "It's so great to be out here with (the Army), that's the best part. It's an honor to be playing with all these guys, I love them all. I feel like we've been playing forever. It's been the best week of my life and football career."

Payton did not end up with a reception during the game but was one of 14 players to put on a school hat and commit. In the four-star receiver's case, he was one of three players to verbally pledge to California on national television, giving the Golden Bears as big of a win Saturday afternoon as the West squad.

"I think this is going to be real big," Sacramento (Calif.) safety and Maxpreps' number five overall player Shaq Thompson said. "Our class, the 2012 class, is really going to change things."

The top defensive tackle in the country and number eight overall player in the class, Monrovia (Calif.) product Ellis McCarthy was the other commitment.

"I just really like Coach Tosh (Lupoi) ," McCarthy said on NBC. "I like the progam a lot and I've built a relationship with him and the team."

While there was plenty of attention paid to the recruiting story lines taking place behind the end zone, there were also several players who had no trouble finding the area for six points either. The West took the opening drive 44 yards in eight plays and was capped off with a four-yard quarterback keeper by Washington commit Cyler Miles for the game's first points.

The East squad answered right back on the next series, marching down the field in a 10-play, 77-yard drive that saw Norfolk (Va.) linebacker and Virginia commit Kwontie Moore flip over to fullback and take it in for a two-yard touchdown.

"There was some real talent here and it was an honor to be on the same field as them," East quarterback and LSU pledge Gunner Kiel said. "This was the best of the best."

The Columbus (Ind.) signal-caller finished the day 3-of-6 for 71 yards and one interception to lead his team in passing. Kiel was one of several quarterbacks under siege by the opposing defensive line and struggled to stay in the pocket to find time to throw. The number two overall prospect in the class of 2012, he was overshadowed in the game by the only other player above him in the rankings, Hillcrest (Mo.) wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder had what wound up as the deciding touchdown late in the 2nd quarter, connecting with Miles on a 79-yard pass with a one-handed grab over future Clemson defensive back Travis Blanks before pulling away for the score. The play was the longest touchdown pass in the bowl's history.

"It was great, some of these guys will probably start wherever they go to school," Green-Beckham said. "I came out here to get ready for next year and try to be the best worker out here.

"It was a big adjustment speed-wise but I wanted to just come out here and keep competing."

Green-Beckham and Miles were named co-MVPs for the victorious West team but the record that will be in future Army Bowl programs was just as meaningful for the quarterback.

"That's a great honor," Miles said. "It's a great feeling, (Green-Beckham) has such a range. You can put it in a lot of places. 6-6, 225, you really can't miss with him."

East defensive back Yuri Wright, who is uncommitted but considering Notre Dame, Michigan and Rutgers among others, also covered Green-Beckham was equally impressed.

"Dorial Green-Beckham is a really good player," Wright said. "I'm not going to lie, he's really good."

Both teams finished about even in the yardage department (202 for the West, 198 for the East) but turnovers turned a close game into a rout. UCLA-bound corner Ishmael Adams had one interception while Texas pledge Kendall Sanders grabbed two to help shut down the East passing game.

With all-star games typically dominated by defensive lines that can force quarterbacks out of the pocket, the West stood up to the test better and was able to help protect Miles, 7-of-8, 155 yards and two total touchdowns, and buy him plenty of time to find his targets.

"The offensive line did great, I'm proud with those guys," he said. "That goes back to coaching during the week. We prepared great and we showed it. The o-line definitely performed today."

"You have to be ready for this, you knew you were going to play against all-stars from across the country and they play big time football," Uncommitted West offensive tackle Zach Banner said. "For you to come out here and not expect it, you're either cocky or you're stupid. I knew what these guys were going to bring and I think I raised my game."




Posted on: January 7, 2012 10:28 am
 

VIDEO: Tom Lemming on LSU's recruiting class

LSU prepares to take on Alabama for the national title. CBS Sports Network analyst Tom Lemming breaks down LSU's incoming recruiting class including 2nd ranked high school prospect quarterback Gunner Kiel.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:20 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 1:20 am
 

Under Armour game features plenty of drama



Posted by Bryan Fischer


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Talented recruits from across the across the country descended on Tropicana Field for the fifth-annual Under Armour All-American Game and just like past events, there was plenty of drama.

Off the field.

The verbal commitments that take place at the game, televised nationally on ESPN, are one of the draws of the event but the focus is usually on how well the two squads of four- and five-star recruits perform against each other. With a blowout win for Team Blur, 49-16, putting the game in the books well before halftime, attention naturally turned to the biggest announcement of the evening in Blur and Geismar (La.) safety Landon Collins.

Ranked by MaxPreps as the #1 safety in the country and #12 player overall in the class of 2012, the talented Collins was expected to end a tough battle between national title contenders Alabama and LSU.

"I'm going to go Roll Tide Roll," Collins said, putting on an Alabama hat. "I just love the coaches and the coaching staff."

What happened next however, was yet another 'only in recruiting' stories. Collins mother, April, visibly was not happy with the decision and gave an extremely awkward interview following her son's commitment.

"I feel that LSU is a better place for him to be," April Collins said. "LSU Tigers #1. Go Tigers."

The interview overshadowed the 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety's great performance on the field. Collins intercepted BYU commit Tanner Mangum's pass in the middle of the second quarter and racked up four tackles on the night, including a vicious hit that stood up running back and Maryland commit Wes Brown at the goal line to prevent a touchdown.

Collins, on and off Tropicana Field, produced some of the only highlights for Team Highlight. Clad in black uniforms, the squad got off to a bad start by allowing a 75-yard touchdown pass from Florida State-bound quarterback Jameis Winston to speedy Alabama commit Amari Cooper.

"Practice was great and going up against this great competition was just another way to get better before college," Cooper said after the game.

Team Highlight had issues on offense all night, turning the ball over five times and finishing with just 260 yards of offense.

Part of the problem was their lack of quarterback play. Texas commit and top 100 signal-caller Connor Brewer suffered a mild concussion and Miami-bound quarterback Preston Dewey was held out to an injury suffered earlier in the week. As a result, Mangum ended up switching teams at halftime and donning a black #20 jersey with 'Under' on the nameplate.

"That's my new name for the week I guess," Mangum said with a smile. "It was pretty interesting to play for both teams but you just try to go with the flow and do the best that you can."

Mangum finished 5-of-8 for 60 yards and an interception for Team Blur and 2-of-7 with two picks for Team Highlight. Though the final stat line wasn't pretty - he was under siege by the defensive lines most of the night - the opportunity to be the all-star, all-time quarterback was a pretty special experience.

"I guess you could say that," he said. "I didn't expect that when I woke up this morning."

Recent Georgia pledge Keith Marshall led Blur in rushing with 37 yards and added a touchdown while Miami commit Randy Johnson led Highlight with 50 yards on the ground. Winston was named team MVP after completing 8-of-9 for 178 yards and two touchdowns while Mangum was named MVP on the other side.

Oklahoma commit De'Vante Harris was one of four players on Team Blur to have seven tackles, tied with recently committed Ole Miss defensive end Channing Ward who also added two sacks to his total. Playing out of position at defensive tackle, uncommitted recruit Jordan Jenkins led all defenders with eight tackles and had two sacks. Teammate and future Ohio State Buckeye Noah Spence was a terror at the defensive end position and finished with seven tackles and three sacks.

"Both of them are really good," Mangum said, with emphasis, when asked to compare the two defenses. "They have really good players and it didn't really matter what team I was on. It was fun to be here in this environment though."

Cooper added a 93-yard punt return early in the 4th quarter to get the near-record crowd on its feet. The return set the record for the longest punt return for a touchdown in the game's history and tied teammate and Florida-bound cornerback Brian Poole’s 93-yard interception return as the longest touchdown play.

Mangum, who will go on a two-year Morman mission and was playing in his last football game for at least that long, the experience was a once and a lifetime opportunity and one he'll remember for years to come.

"it was a great learning experience that I can take back and learn from," he said. "It was a great test and I'll take a lot from it." 

Including, perhaps, to keep your mother happy.


Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:38 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 12:23 am
 

Top safety Landon Collins commits to Alabama

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There's nothing harder to do in recruiting than pull a highly ranked player out of LSU's back yard but it appears that's just what Nick Saban has done. Geismar (La.) safety Landon Collins made things official at the 2012 Under Armour All-American Game and surprisingly committed to Alabama.

"I'm going to go Roll Tide Roll," Collins said. "I just love the coaches and the coaching staff."

"It's a big weight off.

Things were slightly awkward after the top safety put on the crimson Alabama hat on national television however. Collins mother, April, verbally disagreed with the decision and said that the Tigers were the number one team and where he should be committing to.

"My mom is not going to affect my decision," he said. "I made up my mind two years ago."

Collins informed his mother the decision last week but kept it a secret beyond immediate family members. This included coaches from both schools, undoubtedly watching from New Orleans, with Saban and his staff likely much, much happier than his mother.

"It was kind of funny to me since I knew how she felt already when I told her," Collins said. "She felt kind of bad. She wasn't about to come (to the game) because of my decision. She's genuinely upset, it's not a show."

When asked if his mother could talk him out of the decision by Signing Day, the answer was quite blunt from the top safety.

"No," he said. "Maybe (she'll try). Probably."

April Collins isn't likely to be the only person in the home state upset with the decision. The Tigers have typically had top players on lockdown and rarely do they end up someplace other than Baton Rouge - one of the few notable examples was when number one overall player Joe McKnight left for USC. Collins is confident in his decision though and knows that the support will still be there from those that know him best.

"I'm expecting a lot of backlash," Collins said. "But a lot of people said they'd support me wherever I'd go. I'm not really worried about it, it's my life and my decision and I'm going to have to live it and not them."

Collins was one of the top performers at the annual all-star game, picking off a pass and making a big hit near the goal line to prevent a score. Just days away from the national championship, plenty of Alabama fans were able to get a glimpse of someone who they're hoping can get them back to the title game and make a similar impact - as soon as next season.

"I'm getting playing time no matter what," Collins said. "I'm going to play safety and if I do my thing, I'm going to be a starting safety. I'm planning on going to start at nickel."

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound defensive back took in the 'Game of the Century' between the two schools in November on an official visit to Tuscaloosa and went to LSU in early December. It was pretty much a race between just the two programs for most of the year with the Tide ending up with the talented Louisiana safety.

"I love the place, I always felt at home when I went there," he said. "I love the coaching staff, I love the players and I just wanted to get out of Louisiana I guess.

"I wanted to go to LSU at one point but I decided to go to Alabama to get out of town and see something new."

Collins was selected as the state's 'Mr. Football' after a senior campaign which featured 45 tackles and four interceptions (two for touchdowns) on defense and over 1,200 yards and 21 touchdowns as a running back on offense.

“He’s just a special athlete," Dutchtown coach Benny Saia told MaxPreps. “He makes big things happen.”

Ranked as the top safety in the country by MaxPreps, the five-star is 12th overall in the class of 2012. Collins becomes Alabama's 26th commitment with less than a month to go before Signing Day. Athlete Cyrus Jones committed to the Crimson Tide earlier in the evening.



Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:02 am
 

1/5 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Recruiting is the key to dominance for both LSU and Alabama.

 Taylor Decker's status is up in the air after two coaches left Notre Dame.

 It's a good year for talent in the state but Washington is missing out.

 After winning the Rose Bowl, Chip Kelly was right back out on the recruiting trail for Oregon.

 Maryland added a commitment from wide receiver Levern Jacobs.

 Georgia running back target Mike Davis says he is no jersey diva.

- A list of all of the decommits in the state of Georgia.
Posted on: December 30, 2011 3:06 pm
 

Rochell taking his time during recruitment

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- Walk around the Rising Seniors Bowl this week and McDonough (Ga.) defensive end Isaac Rochell stands out for his joyful personality off the field as much as his size and pass rushing skills do at practice. One of the most heavily recruited players at the event this week, he doesn't feel the pressure of living up to expectations and really just wants to enjoy the event.

"It's been fun and I've really liked it," Rochell said. "I didn't really expect it to be like this but I really like the experience.

"I'm not saying my high school team isn't good but this gives you a different standard to compare yourself to.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder already holds scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Virginia Tech but despite all the attention schools have shown him after a terrific junior year, Rochell is just sitting back and listening and isn't too concerned with narrowing down his choices right now.

"The last offer I got was Oklahoma about a month ago," he said. "I don't necessarily have a top five but I do have schools I think about more so than others. There are also schools I say I probably won't go to. But I don't have a distinct top five where I will pick from yet."

Still, with every offer that does get extended, Rochell is weighing each school against some of the factors he is looking for.

"Location is a big deal," he said. "Obviously my role in the program and the campus feel and atmosphere, things like that too."

Rochell is planning to attend several junior days over the next couple of months but likely will avoid the camp circuit in the spring and summer outside of one or two stops. He does want to do his research before making a decision, which he already has a time frame picked out to make it in.

"I'm going to try to make it before the season," he said. "It's not something I want to rush because you rush it and you'll regret your decision. I'm just going to take my time."

Though there's no leader at the moment, Rochell has already visited Alabama unofficially for the LSU game - he said the Tigers will win the rematch because of, no surprise, their defensive line - and has developed a close relationship with assistant coach Marion Hobby at Clemson.

But, for now, the Maxpreps 2013 Watch List defensive end is just taking his time with recruiting and focusing on the task at hand in the Rising Seniors Bowl.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 7:34 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 7:37 pm
 

Foster playing well, recruiting hard as all-star

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- All-star competitions are usually one of the few places that top 100-level players can go at the high school level and not stand out on the field or off next to their teammates. That's not the case for LaGrange (Ga.) linebacker Rueben Foster, an Alabama commitment who has been the center of attention this week at the Rising Seniors Bowl featuring the top players in the state of Georgia in the class of 2012.

"It's been amazing," Foster said of the experience. "I've been meeting new friends and playing on a team with guys I've always wanted to play together with."

With plenty of schools' attention still focused on the upcoming class of 2012, Foster is one of the few recruits in attendance holding a double-digit number of scholarship offers, much less being committed to a program. Having been an Alabama pledge since the middle of July, he is using the chance to talk to other top recruits about the virtues of going to Tuscaloosa to play football.

"We've been texting and talking about playing together. I'm definitely trying to get them to come to my school," he said. "I've been talking to (Georgia commit) Tray Matthews about coming to Alabama. I'm recruiting him the hardest. I want to play with him."

Matthews confirmed that Foster has been in his ear often about the Crimson Tide and admitted the two could see themselves playing together at the same school. There's also another player roaming around the Rising Seniors Bowl who Foster has no trouble selling on Alabama.

"I'm also trying to help (high school teammate) Cortez Leonard play well and get an offer," Foster said. "Coach (Kirby) Smart said he had to come to their camp and do well and he'd get an offer. If he does well and gets an offer, he'll commit with me. I really want him to come."

A MaxPreps 2013 player to watch and future top 100 member when rankings are released, Foster is one of four Tide commits for next year's recruiting class. Though it looks like the 2012 class is destined to be one of the best under Nick Saban, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker thinks that his group can be something special.

"Coach wouldn't let me use the phrase 'Dream Team' because Georgia uses it but we're trying to create a championship team," Foster said. "It's a tradition at Alabama now, because they always win championships and we're trying to be a future championship team.

"With Coach Saban and Coach Smart, who wouldn't want to commit to the #1 head coach and the #1 defensive coordinator? Everybody would and then go to the NFL."

Fast, aggressive and a hard-hitter, Foster has been an impact player on the practice fields in preparation for Friday's all-star game. Although he isn't done growing physically or learning the game, he already has the makings of a prototype Alabama linebacker destined to move on to the next level.

"It's a big deal because they've got some nice linebackers now and are known for putting them in the NFL," he said. "That's my dream."

Although other colleges recruiting him has slacked off plenty with his commitment earlier in the year, Foster is still keeping in contact with several coaches and will take some visits and possibly go to some camps in the spring and summer. He doesn't want to worry Alabama fans however and simply wants to get a glimpse of other programs.

"I'm going to take most of the official visits," he said. "I'm still in love with Alabama but of course I'm going to do my visits. It doesn't make a difference though, I know who I'm true to."

10 days after Foster plays in the Rising Seniors Bowl, Alabama will of course be taking on LSU in the BCS National Championship game and it's no surprise who he expects to win when he sits down to watch the game.

"Alabama is going to take it," he says with a smile, "by three. But it won't be 9-6."

His West squad is hoping they'll be able to produce a similar defensive effort from the first meeting in the game on Friday however.

Photo courtesy of Rising Seniors
 
 
 
 
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