Tag:West Virginia
Posted on: September 22, 2011 5:47 pm
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Amari Cooper latest Alabama pledge

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Alabama coach Nick Saban has been in the film room all week preparing to stop Arkansas' explosive offense but he turned the channel on his office TV for at least a few minutes to see Miami (Fla.) wide receiver Amari Cooper commit to the Crimson Tide on national television.

"The University of Alabama," Cooper announced around 5 pm Eastern Thursday afternoon. "I just felt like it was the best choice for me. I felt like the opportunities there, that they presented to me were great. It was one of the best campuses I've visted."

The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder is a very fast wide receiver who can really get off the line of scrimmage. Cooper selected Alabama over Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and West Virginia - a group of schools that started recruiting him heavily after a slow start ot his junior year.

"It was very exciting at first and it still is," Cooper said of the process. "In 11th grade, I wasn't being recruited hard. I was disapointed in myself but I still was optimisic. I believed I could still become a star player and I kept working hard. It finally came and it felt good."
Cooper gives Saban 19th commitments for the class of 2012. He joins another top Florida wide receiver, Chris Black, headed to play college football in Tuscaloosa.

"He shows good overall athletic skills," MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming said of Cooper. "Not yet a consistent WR but can out jump and out leap most defenders. Runs good routes, catches the ball with his hands, and is not afraid of contact."
Posted on: September 22, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Recruiting & Realignment: How does it shake out?


Posted by Bryan Fischer

Peering into the crystal ball is something recruitniks do all the time. Which kid goes where? Is this recruit leaning toward school X or school Y? He talked about early playing time but he also wants to play with his friend in the Big Ten.

There are so many data points but it is still an inexact science. It's hard, but someone has to do it.

With all of the conference realignment news still swirling around college football, it's time once again to look into the future (The future? Yes, the future) and see - at least for the short term - what the landscape might look like. CBSSports.com has gathered up all of our experts on both the football side and the basketball side to project what all six of the current BCS automatic qualifying conferences will look like in 2014.

RapidReports: Up to the minute realignment updates
Eye on College Football: Conference Realignment Central

From the looks of it, no conference is going kaput. There is some shrinking and some bloating but all-in-all, it's just a few alteration from what the landscape will look like in 2012. Here are our projections for further conference realignment once the current wheeling and dealings are complete:

  • Big Ten -- remains at 12 teams
  • Pac-12 -- remains at 12 teams
  • SEC -- Adds Texas A&M and Virginia Tech
  • Big 12 -- Adds BYU to replace Texas A&M, but only in football
  • ACC -- Adds Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Loses Virginia Tech to the SEC
  • Big East -- loses Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Adds TCU, Houston and UCF; Navy and Air Force as football schools.

So we’ve got six conferences ranging in size from 12 to 16 programs. Which is strongest on the recruiting trail? Which is the deepest? Most top-heavy? Let’s take a look in alphabetical order.




Current picture: Four top 25 teams, 2-3 coaches on the hot seat.

#4 Florida State
#6 Virginia
#7 Miami
#17 Clemson

Future outlook: Jimbo Fisher appears to have the Seminoles back and recruiting like they were in the 1990's. Not only is Florida State attracting top talent, they're closing well and look to be a perennial contender with top five class after top five class. Clemson has recruited very well under Dabo Swinney but that hasn't translated into the bowl games the Tigers want to be playing in - which is one reason 2011 is make or break for him. One figures that Miami will get hit with serious NCAA sanctions that will hamper their recruiting abilities going forward. At the same time, the Hurricanes getting fewer players out of their own backyard could allow other schools in the conference to come in and grab better players - which could be a nice boost for schools such as Virginia or Maryland. The additions of UConn, Pitt and Syracuse don't do too much but do provide increased access to both states for the northern end of the conference.




Current picture: Three top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#2 Texas
#16 Oklahoma
#19 Missouri

Future outlook: The conference everybody is talking about will continue to be the conference everybody will be talking about. Texas and Oklahoma will still be Texas and Oklahoma as long as Mack Brown and Bob Stoops are on the sidelines for the Red River Rivalry every year. The Big 12 staying together means that schools such as Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri and others will continue to have access to a good number of Texas high school players - key in any success any of them have had over the years. Texas will still grab the best players in the state, that much won't change no matter what happens. There could be increased competition however, with Texas A&M being able to play the 'We're in the SEC' card. That probably hurts Oklahoma and Oklahoma State more than anyone. BYU will enjoy reaching into the Southwest even more than they currently do.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#18 Cincinnati
#24 Rutgers

Future outlook: The realignment shakeup is all about the survival of the fittest but the Big East is, without a doubt, the least fit. They have had schools make waves in the national picture before but they've done so largely by coaching up players, not grabbing five-star recruits. Cincinnati has done a good job in the Midwest and should be helped out by nearby powerhouse Ohio State being down slightly. Rutgers is on shaky ground if Greg Schiano is let go but, if he sticks around, they should be a program that is helped by the trickle affect of Miami being down since they recruit Florida well. Not much is lost with the three schools going to the ACC, a good number of programs will still continue to recruit in states such as Pennsylvania and New York for players. TCU and West Virginia will probably be the top dogs in the rankings with both having strong ties to Texas and Dana Holgorsen's reputation proceeding him. UCF is a hidden gem that adds the most since Orlando has really come along in terms of number of BCS players the area produces.





Current picture: Five top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#1 Michigan
#13 Penn State
#20 Indiana
#21 Michigan State
#23 Wisconsin

Future outlook: Oh how the tables have been turned (off the field) in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. No one in the Big Ten has taken advantage of the turmoil in Columbus than the Wolverines under Brady Hoke. Given the quick turnaround, national prominence of the program and Hoke's ties to California, don't expect to see much drop off in Michigan recruiting over the next few years if they continue to win. Joe Paterno figures to retire at some point but Penn State sits in the middle of a talent-rich state and will continue to a solid job on the recruiting trail going forward. New Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson has done good job early on in locking up in-state talent and landing the number one quarterback in the country is a giant block to build on with future recruiting classes. Ohio State has been hampered with all that has gone but if they hire a top flight coach - as one would expect - all bets are off. The recruits in the state of Ohio alone will be able to keep them in the upper echelon of the conference regardless. Also watch out for Wisconsin, which will likely start getting better quality recruits the next few years following their success on the field.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, five coaches on the hot seat.

#15 Arizona State
#25 Washington

Future outlook: A few strong years of West Coast talent will form the basis of a strong conference going forward. The biggest cause for concern is the number of coaches who are on the hot seat and can lose their jobs. For some programs, that means starting over in recruiting. For others, it could be an upgrade. With both Los Angeles programs each dealing with some issues, the amount of talent available to programs like Washington, Utah, Colorado and others has never been higher. NCAA issues at Oregon might hamper the Ducks a little but as long as they're wearing a crazy uniform and have Phil Knight writing checks, they'll be ok. USC has continued to get top talent despite and should rebound from sanctions quicker than most programs because of that. If anything though, California will become much more of a battleground state with more programs looking at the recruits coming out the next few years.




Current picture: Eight top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#3 Florida
#5 Alabama
#8 Texas A&M
#9 Auburn
#10 Virginia Tech
#11 LSU
#14 South Carolina
#22 Vanderbilt

Future outlook: The nation's best conference on the field and the recruiting trail will only get better with the additions of Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. It's scary, actually, to think about. LSU, the Mississippi schools, Florida and Alabama should all benefit to increased access to Texas and the Aggies won't be any slouch by telling recruits that they can stay home and play in the SEC. The same is true of the state of Virginia, which has annually produced plenty of great players. Other schools have taken advantage of Georgia's increase in FBS talent the past several years and even though UGA has a coach on the hot seat, they'll be able to recruit well because of who's nearby. Will Muschamp has shown there's no drop off in the state of Florida for the Gators going forward and the Alabama-Auburn rivalry is becoming just as fierce on the recruiting trail going forward as the Iron Bowl has been on the field. Bottom line, no one recruits like the SEC and they're only getting stronger with their recent additions.




Posted on: September 21, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 10:07 am
 

9/21 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- Top tight end recruit Kent Taylor could return to the field from a broken hand soon.

What do Georgia Tech recruits think about ACC expansion?

Moving to the ACC has made James Washington's commitment to Syracuse firmer.

West Virginia and Wake Forest offered 2013 running back Greg Bryant on Tuesday.

Offensive lineman Adam Pankey will take an unofficial visit to Pitt this week.

Will Muschamp's rant against the NCAA earned him some recruiting currency.

A recruiting trip to Ohio State ended up making Colorado head coach Jon Embree a Buff.

Shane Beamer discussed recruiting at Virginia Tech and the NCAA allegations at his previous stop, South Carolina.

Quarterback Shane Morris is both a recruit and a recruiter for Michigan.

Commitments

Offensive lineman Jackson Bounamia committed to Air Force.

Kentucky landed athlete Fred Tiller out of Georgia.


Posted on: September 16, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 12:31 pm
 

9/16 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Arkansas running back commitment Jamel James says visiting the Razorbacks just felt like home.

USF commitment Rayshawn Jenkins is still planning to take official visits this year.

Can Georgia get Miami commitment Raphael Kirby to flip his commitment?

Speaking of Hurricanes commits, cornerback Larry Hope suffered a nasty gash in the head.

Running back Roshard Burney has his visit to West Virginia set.

One of the top 2013 running running backs, Greg Bryant, has Florida as his leader.

A Q&A about Penn State recruiting.

Has Utah's being in a BCS conference hurt BYU's recruiting?

Sean Constantine picked up an offer from Washington.

A quick recap of USC's recruiting efforts.

Posted on: September 9, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Combs drawing attention, set for Lemming Report

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Look up and down the top 100 lists for the class of 2012 and a few people out there might spot a famous last name or two among the bunch.

Top quarterback and Indiana pledge Gunner Kiel's a recognizable name to Notre Dame fans who saw his uncle, Blair, play for the Irish. Auburn commit Zeke Pike's dad Mark played several years in the NFL. Mario Edwards Jr. is headed to Florida State because his father starred there under Bobby Bowden.

As much as those players have made a name for themselves on the football field, there's another 2012 recruit who is hoping more and more coaches are noticing him only for his play. If you're wondering where you might have heard of New Rochelle (N.Y.) cornerback Justin Combs, chances are you were likely thinking of his father, Sean "Diddy" Combs. Slowly but surely however, several FBS programs are coming around to see him as a legitimate defensive back prospect at the next level.

UCLA is the most recent scholarship offer for the younger Combs after he took a trip West to unofficially visit the Bruins during a pre-season scrimmage. Virginia, Illinois, Wyoming, Iowa and West Virginia are other programs to extend an offer with several other schools showing legitimate interest depending on how he plays his senior year.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder performed well for the 7-on-7 travel team "Goon Squad" over the summer and was a top performer at the Badger Sports national tournament. Combs was also recently invited to the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in January and joins his friend and top 100 linebacker Deaysean Rippy in the game. He'll be in-studio with his rap mogul father on the Lemming Report on CBS Sports Network Friday at 7 PM ET to discuss the latest with his recruitment and where he can see himself playing.

Click here for an excerpt from the interview. Combs' highlights from last season are below. 



Posted on: August 30, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: August 30, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Top 25 recruiting classes & the recruiting title

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Senior Writer Dennis Dodd tackled the difficult task of putting together the CBSSports.com preseason top 25. One of the common themes is that the national champ usually has to come from behind in the polls. Taking a look at the recruiting rankings, it's usually the opposite. Sure there are the Signing Day closers, such at USC or Florida, but the Alabama's, Texas' and Florida State's of the world put together a good class early and head to February with a good idea of who they're signing while holding out hope a top guy will put on their hat late in the process.

Here's a breakdown of the current MaxPreps Top 25 recruiting rankings and a little bit of insight as to who will eventually be declared recruiting national champion.

The favorites

1. Michigan (top recruit: #33 Terry Richardson)

2. Texas (#3 Cayleb Jones)

3. Florida (#12 D.J. Humphries)

4. Florida State (#5 Mario Edwards)

6. Alabama (#19 Geno Smith)

One Big Ten team, one Big 12 team, two SEC teams and the ACC banner-carrier are the favorites to take home the mythical February title. It's no surprise to see some of the names on this list but newcomer Michigan is one considering Brady Hoke has yet to coach a game. It's not a deep year for Midwest talent but the Wolverines have certainly grabbed the creme of the crop and as a result sit in the pole position past the halfway point.

The contenders

5. Miami (#77 Jelani Hamilton)

7. Texas A&M (#51 Trey Williams)

9. Auburn (#30 Zeke Pike)

10. LSU (#58 Avery Johnson)

11. Virginia Tech (Donaldven Manning)

15. Clemson (#16 Travis Blanks)

18. Notre Dame (#13 Jarron Jones)

The next group of teams has an outside shot of moving up into the top five and challenging for the title with a strong close. Miami is in a difficult position in that they have a strong class filled with local talent but given the NCAA investigation swirling around the program, no one knows how long Al Golden can keep things up. With recent news that the Aggies would be moving to the SEC, one figures they could see a bounce and grab one or two top prospects by selling playing time in the nation's best football conference. Auburn has done well again this year and is seeing a championship bounce with their current group and could see other prospects come around to playing on the Plains. LSU and Virginia Tech have put together under the radar classes but they're both strong enough to put them in position to move up with a top 100 recruit committing. Clemson and Notre Dame both have small classes but have shown they can get things done between now and players putting pen to paper.

The pretenders

8. Virginia (#50 Michael Moore)

12. Penn State (#36 J.J. Denman)

13. South Carolina (#20 Shaq Roland)

14. Arizona State (#45 Evan Goodman)

16. Oklahoma (#47 Durron Neal)

This group of teams look like they can make a strong push to finish in the top five but it will be a steep up hill battle. Virginia is ranked highly due to the numbers they have and when others catch up in that department, they'll slide back down to the middle of the pack. Penn State has been solid but not spectacular in a good year for Pennsylvania talent. South Carolina is comfortable with their class but likely won't grab a top 10 player to push them up and Arizona State will likely not finish as the top Pac-12 class at the end of the day. Oklahoma is limited in terms of numbers this year and while they might sneak in the top group, it will be hard to go much further.

No chance

17. Cincinnati (#72 Bennie Coney)

19. Missouri (#91 Jonathan Williams)

20. Michigan State (#63 Sevon Pittman)

21. Wisconsin (#67 Dan Voltz)

22. Indiana (#2 Gunner Kiel)

23. Rutgers (#71 Leonte Caroo)

24. Washington (#70 Cyler Miles)

25. West Virginia (Brandon Napoleon)

It's a nice year for this group of team but it will be tough for any of these schools to move above 15 in the rankings. Likewise, it might be tough for Indiana, Rutgers, Wisconsin and Michigan State to stay in the top 25 as other schools start filling out their class with 20 or more recruits.


Posted on: August 29, 2011 2:16 pm
 

Jevon Kearse's nephew commits to Auburn

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Former NFL Pro Bowler Jevon Kearse was nicknamed "The Freak" thanks to his size and speed coming off the edge at Florida in the mid-90's. While he'll always be a Gator, he might have to start pulling for Auburn when the two schools are not playing each other after his nephew, Fort Myers (Fla.) athlete Jayron Kearse, committed to the Tigers on Sunday.

"I talked to Coach (Gene) Chizik and told him I am going to be a Tiger," Kearse told AuburnSports.com. "I told him I already knew where I wanted to go to college so I wanted to go ahead and get it out of the way. I knew I wanted to be an Auburn Tiger and I said, 'Why not just go ahead and do it.'"

The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder is a class of 2013 athlete and will likely head to the Plains as a wide receiver. Kearse held offers from Clemson, West Virginia and UCF among others but selected Auburn with the backing of a supportive uncle.

"He told me it was my decision," said Jayron. "He is really supportive of my decision. He told me he wouldn't have a problem with whatever school I chose to go to."

The younger Kearse rushed for 1,049 yards and 18 total touchdowns last season as a sophomore quarterback. He is Auburn's third commitment for the class of 2013 and first on the offensive side of the ball.



Posted on: August 24, 2011 2:49 pm
 

10 teams that will rise or fall in the rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Five teams looking up (in alphabetical order):

1. Arkansas

It's a bit surprising to see the Razorbacks missing from the MaxPreps Top 25 but that will likely change in the months leading up to Signing Day. They have just 12 commits halfway through August but are in the running for several top 100 players and landing one or two should boost them up when they do. Number one receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has the program on his short list and has already set an official visit to Fayetteville as well.

2. Notre Dame

The Irish are 18th overall in the rankings but expect Brian Kelly and staff to close strong like they did with last year's top five class. Official visits are a big deal for Notre Dame and it wouldn't be surprising to see a few players move the school up on their list after visiting South Bend. If they can beat Michigan on the road under the lights and have a good showing in a win against USC at home later in the season, the program should be in the top 10 by November.

3. Oregon

Has any team been to the national championship game and not seen a recruiting bounce? At the moment, Oregon has not but that should change if the Ducks get the season started. Obviously the NCAA investigation has hampered their recruiting efforts but there are still several players like Jordan Simmons and Zach Banner with Oregon on their short list. Skill position players will want to play in Chip Kelly's offense and it likely won't be long before several of them commit and the Ducks slide into the top 25.

4. Penn State

The Nittany Lions are sitting just outside of the top 25 but, given the uncommitted talent right in their backyard, it wouldn't be too surprising to see JoePa move up. Noah Spence and Rushel Shell are two of top players who could end up in Happy Valley. This class addresses the guys in the trenches more than the skill positions so grabbing a few impact players should push them higher as well.

5. Tennessee

Seems like forever ago that Tennessee had fewer than five commits. Actually it was about a month ago. With the recent news that there would be no further NCAA sanctions beyond what were already self-imposed, Derek Dooley can now go full bore on the recruiting trail with out any impediments or negative recruiting against him. They've been picking up players left and right and will keep sliding up the recruiting rankings throughout he season as they continue to hear recruits sing Rocky Top.

Five looking down:

1. Arizona State

There's a few shaky verbal commits in the Sun Devils' class and that's one reason why they're on this list. There's no doubt that Dennis Erickson is on the hot seat as well and with so many injuries to the team before the season has begun, an average-at-best year could result in a few players looking for a program on more solid footing.

2. Florida

The Gators land on this not because they're going to see some players leave their strong class but because they're simply going to move down the rankings as others move up. They have 17 players committed and a solid group of targets left on their board but it's hard not to see an Alabama or an Auburn to eventually move above them at the moment.

3. Miami

No surprise to see the Hurricanes on this list given the NCAA investigation and surrounding mess following the Yahoo! Sports report. The recruiting class has stuck together so far but it's hard for anyone to imagine that being the case through Signing Day. There's a good talent base around the school but they have not received multiple top 100 commitments before the big news and likely won't afterwards.

4. Rutgers

The team is one of the top classes in the Big East but it will be tough to see them in the top two come Signing Day. The season will be key; if 2011 is another sub-.500 campaign then recruits could start looking elsewhere. Plus, it's not hard to see West Virginia passing them at some point given the momentum they'll have under a first year head coach that is looking to do big things on offense.

5. Vanderbilt

The Commodores have done big things early in the recruiting cycle but it will be interesting to see how long it lasts as they begin the season and other schools start looking to fill out their classes once they end up missing out on other targets. Like others on this list, a bad year on the field could also cause some commits to look to other programs.

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