Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:42 pm

Shamire DeVine relaxed and keeping options open

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- All-star games are generally a time for players to get to know each other and face competition much more like recruits will face in college. For East Point (Ga.) offensive lineman Shamire DeVine, the best part about being at the Rising Seniors game this week was not the game or the time to talk with other players, but something that happened upon arrival.
"Maybe the first day," DeVine said. "That's when we had all of the good food and got to relax."

The affable 6-foot-7, 320-pounder didn't mind taking an extra plate during the buffet line and certainly enjoyed the multiple practices with coaches from across the state of Georgia.

"Everybody's been nice and friendly and cool," he said. "The funnest part has been practice when the coaches walk you through things. They kind of do it in a funny manner that they don't know about. Both of my high school coaches are out here too."

DeVine is one of the most heavily recruited offensive linemen in the South and currently holds offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and others but is still keeping his options open as to where he'll attend college.

"My latest offer is Florida," he said. "I'm looking at Florida and all the schools. Any school that has approached me or sent me email, I'm looking at."

Though DeVine has some bad body weight, he held his own at the Rising Seniors Bowl as a tackle. He still needs to improve his drop step but did a good job creating leverage and using his hand placement effectively. Georgia Tech is the only school looking at him as a guard while most schools have him projected as a right or left tackle. More than the position schools want him at however, DeVine has a certain set of criteria he's looking for before committing.

"First, I'm looking at (location)," he said. "Second is education, then third is football. With location, it's how far you are from my home and my parents. It won't be a problem but I just want to make sure the campus is safe so I can show my little sister and little brother."

Though it is unlikely he makes a decision anytime before the summer, there is one relationship that has stood out among all of the other schools recruiting him.

"Coach (Al "Buzz" Preston) at Georgia Tech. Anytime I come visit, me and him just sit somewhere and talk," DeVine said.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 10:14 am

12/27 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

 Vanderbilt's recruiting is starting to impact Tennessee's.

 A look at five top Georgia Tech targets in the weeks leading up to Signing Day.

 Florida is hoping to connect with top Jacksonville area recruits while in town for the Gator Bowl.

 Oregon recruiting is hitting the home stretch.

 Some of Nebraska's top targets on the recruiting trail.

 Alabama's team ranking continues to rise with a few of their latest additions.

Posted on: December 23, 2011 5:15 pm

12/23 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Former Tennessee commit Imani Cross has no hard feelings toward the Vols coaching staff.

 An update on KeiVarae Russell, deciding between Washington and Notre Dame and Zach Banner.

 Alabama offered 2013 tight end Hunter Henry.

 #1 overall recruit Dorial Green-Beckham is looking at a January visit to Arkansas.

 New Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is known for his recruiting skills.

 Arizona hired successful local high school coach Charlie Ragle.

 Davonte Neal now open to Arizona State, Arizona and will visit Ohio State.

 Mike Leach talked a little recruiting at Washington State.

 Michigan State hosted an impressive Junior Day.

 An Ohio State recruiting notebook.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 7:55 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 8:58 pm

SEC junior college early signees

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Wednesday, December 21st is the first day Junior College players can sign with schools across the country and the faxes are already in for several commitments. Here's a list of each SEC team and who has signed or is expected to sign paperwork soon. This is for the early period only.


Los Angeles Harbor C.C. (Calif.) defensive end Austin Flynn


Eastern Arizona C.C. (Ariz.) cornerback Travell Dixon




East Mississippi C.C. (Miss.) defensive tackle Damien Jacobs


Coffeyville C.C. (Kan.) offensive lineman Mark Beard


East Central C.C. (Miss.) defensive back Kory Brown




Coahoma C.C. (Miss.) offensive lineman Darone Bailey
City College of San Francisco (Calif.) offensive lineman Pierce Burton
Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) defensive back Dehendret Collins

Mississippi State

East Mississippi C.C. (Miss.) defensive end Denico Autry
Gulf Coast C.C. (Miss.) offensive lineman Dylan Holley
Butte C.C. (Calif.) offensive lineman Charles Siddoway



South Carolina



Gulf Coast C.C. (Miss.) defensive end Darrington Sentimore

Texas A&M

Gulf Coast C.C. (Miss.) defensive back Otis Jacobs



Posted on: December 12, 2011 12:07 pm

Vols flip tight end Meredith from North Carolina

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's getting late in the recruiting process and with last-minute pitches and visits, several recruits are starting to flip their pledge from one school to another. Anderson (S.C.) tight end Justin Meredith became the latest, changing his commitment from North Carolina to Tennessee over the weekend.

"It just felt right in my heart," Meredith told VolQuest.com.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound pass catcher had been committed to the Tar Heels for months but was keeping his options open with a new head coach coming in and possible NCAA sanctions. Meredith held scholarship offers from schools such as Auburn, Clemson, Notre Dame and others but just felt comfortable with the people in Knoxville.

"Just the coaching staff (at UT), and it felt like home. It just didn't feel right in my heart (at UNC anymore), and Tennessee felt right," he said.

Meredith is the only tight end in the Vols class of 2012 and 21st overall commitment. The early enrollee is ranked 4th at his position by MaxPreps.

"Justin runs great routes, catches everything within reach, is a tremendous lead blocker, and can split out and even play WR," analyst Tom Lemming said. "A hybrid in high school who will wind up playing TE in college. When I watched Justin on film I was impressed with his lightning quick reactions, and his ability to quickly avoid traffic, find the open space, catch the ball, and immediately turn up field."
Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:07 pm

Alton 'Pig' Howard set for Tennessee

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was kind of a thud to the end of the season for Tennessee but things might be looking up on the recruiting trail. Orlando (Fla.) athlete Alton 'Pig' Howard committed to the Vols on Wednesday and plenty of fans hope he's just the beginning of a string of players to verbally pledge to the school.

"As far as decision making, it took the man above and myself just sitting back and looking at the process of the coaching connection and how the college overall made me feel," Howard told the Orlando Sentinel. "It wasn't easy, but I have to do what's best.”

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound speedster held plenty of offers from major programs but where he wanted to go to school ultimately came down to UCF and Tennessee.

"I couldn't go wrong with my decision," Howard told VolQuest.com. "I had a strong connection with UCF since my sophomore year. My family was here so I had nothing to lose by picking UCF. With Tennessee, it was about the connection I had with the program. They recruited me hard and showed how bad they wanted me. They were loyal to me and they stood by me every step of the way. That is why I chose Tennessee"

'Pig's' pledge gives the Vols 20 commitments for the class of 2012 and another versatile offensive threat. Maxpreps slots him in as the 13th-best wingback in the class after Howard wrapped up his senior year with 36 catches for 691 yards and six touchdowns.

"He just explodes out of his stance and gets on top of the corner in the blink of an eye," analyst Tom Lemming said of Howard. "He shows great cuts, runs crisp routes, and consistently gets separation from defenders. A burner who can do it all, he can run, catch, and return kicks."
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 10:07 am

12/7 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- Plenty of good players at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic as one state looks to maintain the advantage.

  Defensive lineman Mike Pennel decommitted from Arkansas.

  Alton 'Pig' Howard will pick between Tennessee and UCF.

  A look at Oregon State's class of 2012.

  Looking back at Washington's class of 2007.

  South Carolina coach G.A. Mangus will see Eli Shumate and Kaiwan Lewis on Wednesday.

  Defensive end Tyriq McCord made a visit to Miami last weekend.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:36 pm

National Notes: Top assistants to keep an eye on

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Welcome to December, otherwise known as closing time. Bowl practices and holidays make things a little more complicated for some coaches but others enjoy the grind as they hit the home stretch two months out from Signing Day. Here's a list of four recruiters in each part of the country to keep an eye on in each part of the country.


Ed Orgeron, USC

Does any recruiter have a better reputation than Ed Orgeron? Probably not. The Trojans defensive line coach has been relentless in the recruiting trail and instrumental in helping manage the program's numbers situation with limited scholarships to hand out. He's hit SoCal hard and been a big reason why plenty of offensive (Max Tuerk, Jordan Simmons) and defensive (Ellis McCarthy, Noah Spence) are committed to, or looking at, USC. Also note that linebackers coach Joe Barry has done a great job with his position group, Orange County (Calif.) and Arizona during his time in LA.

Tosh Lupoi, California

It's been pretty amazing to see Lupoi's rise as a recruiter and coach at Cal but you can see why when looking at his handiwork. He's a younger Orgeron but is quickly becoming his equal after landing players such as Brennan Scarlett and Viliami Moala last year. As a Bay Area-native, he's done a great job of getting talent close to home while also going national and bringing players in. Though the Bears class is somewhat small, expect it to grow in a cover as Lupoi enters the home stretch. His top target right now is five-star Arik Armstead.

Demetrice Martin, Washington

The Huskies staff has lots of Southern California connections but Martin has been a great closer down the stretch with kids. He's relatable as a young guy and knows many of the high school coaches in the area. Don't be surprised if he lands some skill position talent for UW's class this year from the LA area.

John Neal, Oregon

One of the Ducks' ace recruiters, Neal has hit other areas of the country with success and does well in the cities. He landed nearby athlete Oshay Dunmore and had a hand in defensive backs Eric and Stephen Amoako committing from the Dallas-area. Several athletes from the East and Southern California are in contact with him and don't be shocked to hear his name come up some more.


Dameyune Craig, Florida State

Not sure anybody has gone into another powerhouse's backyard and raided it like Craig has Alabama's. The big star was quarterback Jameis Winston but he's also been instrumental in landing Chris Casher and Justin Shanks. There's a few more targets on the Seminoles board and don't be surprised if Craig is the one helping get them to Tallahassee.

Mike Bobo, Georgia

It's funny but Bobo's on the field duties have caused a few Georgia fans to want him out of the program but his time spent in recruits' homes and on the trail has been a big asset to the Bulldogs. He was one of the people behind last year's 'Dream Team' and has managed to sell stability at a program that only got it with 10 straight wins during the regular season. This year appears to be another time for him to shine with in-state recruits once again.

Tee Martin, Kentucky

That Martin has done a good job as a recruiter should surprise no one but given that he the former Tennessee star has done it at Kentucky is a little bit. He managed to get a huge surprise last Signing Day in wide out Daryl Collins and might be able to pull off the same magic again this year. Martin has done a great job in Alabama in particular and the only question seems to be if he can resist heading back to Knoxville with a staff opening there.

Frank Wilson, LSU

Last year he was a machine, with a hand in landing offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and running back Kenny Hilliard among others (all three saw plenty of playing time in LSU's run to New Orleans). Easily the Tigers' best recruiter, Wilson has been one reason why there's a figurative fence around the state of Louisiana. Linebacker Trey Granier was one of his big gets with the 2012 group and don't be surprised if he gets a few others as well.


Tony Alford, Notre Dame

Don't be surprised if Alford can snag a big fish for Notre Dame late in the process. He got a commitment from Justin Ferguson out of Florida and appears to be focusing his time on the state to land a few others. With some issues at Florida, he could be one person to take advantage given his ties in the northern part of the state.

Fred Jackson, Michigan

The Wolverines have put together the best class of 2012 in the country and Jackson is a big part of it. He's mainly an in-state guy and lucky for him he's got a great group coming out and done an even better job of keeping them home. He's plucked two out of Farmington Hills (Mich.) in Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia and played a role in Royce Jenkins-Stone's pledge. He's been at the school a long time and knows how to sell Michigan to players.

Adrian Klemm, SMU

Klemm is not a household name by any means but should be based on what he's done this year. Though SMU isn't exactly a powerhouse, June Jones has engineered a turnaround in Dallas and Klemm has been a big part as recruiting coordinator. Though the school is located in a talent-rich area of a talent-rich state, the former New England Patriot has done a great job getting talented Los Angeles-area players to come East. Six SoCal natives are committed to the Mustangs class of 2012 at the moment and more could be coming. With rumors of Jones taking the Arizona State job, expect Klemm to come along to really ramp up the LA ties.

Urban Meyer/Luke Fickell, Ohio State

Yes, Meyer's not an assistant coach. But he hasn't really assembled his staff at this point and thus is going a significant share of the recruiting himself. He has certainly been active and because Fickell is remaining on staff, we'll count these two as one super-recruiter. Though recruiting hasn't been up to Ohio State standards with the 2012 group, that was to be expected given the turnover at head coach and NCAA violations in Columbus. Fickell landed Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier last year and did a good job with Adolphus Washington this year. The two are going to be a very good asset despite what amounts to a false start with the upcoming class. Things have already paid off dividends and the Buckeyes are in the running for defensive end Noah Spence.

Davis decommits from Florida

Been a wild few days down in the South. Stone Mountain (Ga.) running back Mike Davis was one of the recent invites to the Army All-American Bowl and had the jersey ceremony for himself and fellow teammate Raphael Kirby on Thursday. At the time, rumors started to surface that he was having issues with the staff and would soon decommit.

Over the weekend he went on an official visit to Tennessee and finally on Sunday night, he made the new official that he was no longer a Florida pledge.

"My mind right now is open," Davis told Rivals. "My recruitment has opened back up. I've talked to my parents, my mom, my brother, all my family. Right now it's Florida State, South Carolina, Alabama and Miami. But things can change."

From the sounds of things, the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder is completely wide open and will not be considering the Gators despite being in their 2012 class since February and one of their biggest supporters.

"I can't really talk about it," he said cryptically. "Some things happened that I don't want to comment on between me and the coaches. All I'll say is that it was a miscommunication between them, me and my brother. Some things that weren't supposed to happen." 

Ranked as the 10th-best running back in the country by Maxpreps, losing Davis is big blow to Florida as the new staff tries to remake the team using more of a pro-style offense. One of the central pieces of the class and expected to compete early on for some playing time as a change of pace guy, Charlie Weis is now down to just Matt Jones at running back in 2012. With their top 2013 target off the board to Georgia in Derrick Henry, Florida now has to scramble to get another player back into the fold at the position.

Busy week for Armstead

After decommitting from USC, the recruitment of Pleasant Grove (Calif.) lineman Arik Armstead has steadily picked up. He's been going on several official visits the past few weeks and has kept his phone close by.

USC and Notre Dame are among the schools that have already stopped by for an in-home and several more are lined up over the next few days. Among the scheduled ones this week are Washington, Oregon and Auburn. He'll be making the short trip to Cal at some point during the weekend. Also keep in mind that Armstead wants to play basketball and that will be a factor in his decision.

Video of the week

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