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

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."


- 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.

Posted on: June 14, 2011 8:22 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 10:30 am

6/14 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Eye on Recruiting Blog had to do a bit of travel so there's plenty to catch up on today. Here's a bunch of links to keep you occupied for a while:

- For the basketball junkies, be sure and bookmark the Basketball Eye on Recruiting Blog, run by the esteemed Jeff Borzello.

- Interesting story from SI.com's Andy Staples about sports agency IMG getting into high school football and 7-on-7. Speaking of 7-on-7, it's something some players need for exposure.

- A look at BYU's 2012 recruiting class, their first as a football independent. 

- A few tidbits from Arkansas' three-day camp. 

- Michigan is hosting a ton of players this week and are hoping to get a few commitments at the same time.

- Believe it or not, one high school has a whopping 10 players committed to FBS schools.

- Defensive lineman Kyle Kelley is attracting plenty of attention and Cal, USC and Notre Dame might be on the verge of offering.

- Defensive end Kenderius Whitehead was offered by Georgia after defensive coordinator Todd Grantham thought he looked like DeMarcus Ware.


- Washington added three commitments this past week in the aptly named receiver Dwayne Washington, offensive tackle Nathan Dean and cornerback Damonte Kazee.   

- Louisville picked up offensive lineman T.C. Klusman

- Virginia added a big commitment from defensive end Michael Moore, who is also the son of an assistant coach.  

- Florida nabbed a nice cornerback in Brian Poole Jr

- Recruiting at the "U" is going strong as the Hurricanes picked up two this week in defensvie end Dwayne Hoilett and cornerback Vernon Davis.

- Tight end Ricky Parks pledged to Auburn over Georgia and Alabama

- Georgia recruiting received a nice boost this past week, adding four commitments from fullback Quayvon Hicks, punter Colin Barber and the package deal of defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor and athlete James DeLoach.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 11:42 am

Michigan State adds elite quarterback

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Coming off one of the best seasons in school history last year, Michigan State is finally starting to see a bounce in their recruiting. The program added a big pickup to their 2012 class late Monday night when Lima (Ohio) quarterback Tyler O’Connor committed to the Spartans.

“I’m proud to be a Spartan,” O’Connor told SpartanTailgate.com. “I love everything about (MSU).” 

Recently named a finalist to the Elite 11 quarterback competition and invited to participate in the camp in Southern California, O'Connor selected Michigan State over scholarship offers from Northwestern, Boston College, Louisville and West Virginia among others.

"(Mark Dantonio) was very excited and was glad I trusted him and the team," he said. "He said they were ending any other communication with other QB's and looked forward to getting more recruits along my side." 

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound O'Connor not only has a good arm but enough speed to escape from the pocket. He threw for over 2,500 yards and 27 touchdowns last season as a junior. He also rushed for 470 yards and 13 touchdowns.

O'Connor is the fifth commitment for Michigan State's class of 2012 and as he said, will be the only quarterback Dantonio takes this class. The school took just one quarterback in 2011 as well.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 1:20 pm

Another Stephenson High player headed to the SEC

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Stephenson High has been a football factory the past several years and this year's senior class is loaded with as many as 18 FBS-caliber signees. Stone Mountain (Ga.) defensive back Kyle Fleetwood added to the school's number of commitments Sunday night, pledging to South Carolina and giving his high school an impressive seven players who are committed to an SEC school.

“Honestly, the shoe fits me,” Fleetwood told TheBigSpur.com. “The city is great. It is a great city for football. The fans are great. They have great support up there. I also have a chance to play early. I can play multiple positions for them and that increases my chance to play early. They are also graduating most of their players and that was a big thing for my family. It is a great place to be. It fits me the best.”

The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder held offers from LSU, Penn State, Louisville, Stanford and Ole Miss among others. He visited Columbia unofficially Sunday and liked the Gamecocks plan for him in college so much that he left the city as a commitment.

“They told me that I would probably start out at both safety spots when I come in but I could play a little corner as well if I wanted too,” he said. “I also could play Spur later down the line. The told me that they have six defensive backs on the field on passing downs and that sounded great.”

High school teammate and defensive tackle Carlos Hood is also committed to the Gamecocks. Fleetwood's pledge is the sixth for South Carolina's class of 2012 but first defensive back for the school. Assistant coach Lorenzo Ward gets credit for recruiting both Stephenson players and he is still working on landing several more.
Posted on: June 2, 2011 2:20 pm

Miami picks up local corner Hope

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Al Golden's strategy of developing relationships with local high school coaches and recruiting the best of the three counties in the Miami area is continuing to pay off as Miami picked up another local commitment in Hialeah (Fla.) cornerback Larry Hope late Wednesday evening. 

"I just felt like after me and my dad went over it, Miami was the best decision for me," Hope told InsideTheU.com. "It is closer and UM has a lot of history behind it. I just felt I could make the right decision and right now I'm excited to be a part of the family."

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound cornerback picked up an offer from the school on Sunday after performing well at the Hurricanes' football camp. He also held offers from South Florida, Nebraska, Kentucky and Louisville among others. It's was helping out the local powerhouse that had Hope the most excited though.

"Growing up I never really had a favorite team," he said. "My family has always been Hurricanes fans so I knew a lot of about that. UM has a lot of history and a lot of people have done a lot of great things from there. I'm trying to be the next one."

Hope had 45 tackles and three interceptions last season as a junior and becomes the 11th commitment for Miami. He is the 11th commitment in the 2012 class for Miami. Hope is the second corner for the Hurricanes upcoming class and seventh from the metro area.

Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:39 am

Big East May Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The calendar has turned from May to June and it's time to see how schools are building their class of 2012. Today we'll take a look at the verbal commitments for the Big East, where several schools are starting to build momentum on the recruiting trail but TCU is the leader of the pack. 

Cincinnati (6)

Running back Deionte Buckley (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Defensive back Marcus Foster (Troy, Ohio)
Defensive back Drake Burns (Fort Thomas, Kent.)
Defensive end Jonathan Burt (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Defensive back Andre Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Defensive end Ryan Leahy (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Defensive end Josh Posley (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Connecticut (1)

Offensive lineman Tyler Samra (Ramsey, N.J.) 

Louisville (5)

Offensive lineman Sid Anvoots(Indianapolis, Ind.)
Athlete Demetrius Frazier (Brunswick, Ga.)
Defensive end Larry Jefferson(College Park, Ga.)
Defensive end Teko Powell (Miami, Fla.)
Wide receiver Brandon Snell (Miami, Fla.)


Rutgers (5)

Wide reciever Carlton Agudosi (Franklin, N.J.)
Linebacker Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.)
Running back Desmon Peoples (Warminister, Pa.)
Quarterback Blake Rankin (Bloomsburg, Pa.)
Wide receiver Ruhann Peele(Linden, N.J.) 

South Florida (5)

Defensive back D.J. White (McDonogh, Ga.)
Offensive lineman Reno Henderson (Ocala, Fla.)
Defensive back Jalen Spencer (Pensacola, Fla.)
Defensive end Ryan Brown(Marrero, La.) 
Wide receiver Rayshawn Jenkins(St. Petersburg, Fla.)


Offensive lineman Ben Barrett (Syracuse, N.Y.)
Linebacker Myles Davis (New Berlin, N.Y.)
Offensive lineman Omari Palmer (Middle Island, N.Y.)

TCU (11)

Running back LaDarius Anthony (Kilgore, Texas)
Quarterback Austin Aune (Argyle, Texas)
Running back B.J. Catalon (Houston, 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)
Athlete Kolby Listenbee (Arlington, Texas)
Quarterback Tyler Matthews (McPherson, Kan.)
Defensive end James McFarland (West Monroe, La.)
Defensive back Edward Pope (Carthage, Texas)

West Virginia (4)

Defensive tackle Imarjaye Albury (Miami, Fla.)
Quarterback Ford Childress(Houston, Texas)  
Running back Jarrod Harper(Frostburg, Md.)
Linebacker Joseph Jackson(Jacksonville, Fla.)


Posted on: June 2, 2011 12:07 am

UNC gets commitments from two tight ends

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One commitment is nice but two is, of course, twice as nice. North Carolina was lucky enough to reel in not just two commitments but two players at the same position as Anderson (S.C.) athlete Justin Meredith and Concord (N.C.) tight end Terrance Knox both pledged to be Tar Heels Wednesday evening.

“I just wanted to be one of the ones who had the opportunity to go to Carolina," Knox told CarolinaBlue.com. "I didn’t want to look back and have any regrets that I had wished I had gone to Carolina. It’s where I wanted to go. It’s where my heart is.

“I love how they use their tight ends, I love the coaching staff and they have the right degree for me. It’s just a big relief off my shoulders."

Both players are expected to be a hybrid H-back/tight end once they step foot on campus. The 6-foot-5, 230 pound Meredith also has the size to be an impact blocker at the position.

"I chose UNC because of the coaches and the balance of academics and athletics there," Meredith told Scout. "I committed to Coach 'Mo' (Allen Mogridge) and I committed to them over Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, and Duke."

Knox also held an offer from Louisville. Meredith will participate in the Under Armour All-American game next year. The pair give North Carolina seven commitments for the class of 2012 and should allow the coaching staff to focus on filling other positions on offense.

Posted on: May 27, 2011 1:24 pm

Golden gets 10th commitment for Miami

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Miami built itself into a national power by building a fence around the top talent in the area and new head coach Al Golden wants to make sure most of the talent in the area stays at home. They're doing well in the three area counties so far and added a verbal commitment from another local talent in offensive lineman Ereck Flowers.

"I was there 2-3 hours, committed right after the visit," Flowers told CaneSport.com. "I committed to coach Golden - I told him that I was excited, that I wanted to commit to UM. He was fired up."

Flowers picked up a scholarship offer from the Hurricanes just last weekend and was expected to keep an open mind about the recruiting process. The unofficial visit to the school and the fact that two high school teammates are already committed to the school was just too much in Miami's favor.

"The visit made up my mind - I liked everything, all the things they showed me," Flowers said. "We saw all of UM, the facilities, all that.

The 6-foot-6, 305 pound tackle held nearly 20 offers from Florida State, Illinois, Louisville and several others. Flowers is the first offensive line commit for Miami and 10th overall.

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