Posted on: May 27, 2011 1:50 pm

Not all bad for USC as they add commitment #8

Posted by Bryan Fischer

This week was not the greatest for the USC football program. The school found out it's appeal was denied Wednesday and had to go through the rigors of explaining what was next on Thursday. Things were not all bad this week however, as the Trojans picked up a commitment from Santa Margarita (Calif.) offensive tackle Max Tuerk after recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron stopped by his high school to evaluate him in person.

"Coach 'O' was by my practice watching me," Tuerk told USCFootball.com. "He told coach (Lane) Kiffin about me and it went from there. (Wednesday) morning I was called out of class to talk to (Kiffin) on the phone and that was when they offered me. I have had dreams of going to 'SC and I knew it was literally the perfect fit for me."

Tuerk is one of the top offensive linemen in Southern California in what is a very strong year for the position. He held offers from just about every Pac-12 school and from out of state schools such as Michigan, Nebraska and Notre Dame. Still, the offer that mattered most was from his nearby childhood favorite.

"My first though was this is unreal," Tuerk of the USC scholarship offer. "It was the most exciting moment of my life to this day."

The 6-foot-6, 295-pound tackle is the eighth commitment for the Trojans in the class of 2012. Due to NCAA sanctions, the school can sign a maximum of 15 players to a scholarship for the next three years and cannot have their roster exceed a total of 75 players on scholarship.

Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:33 pm

Colorado adds wide receiver to 2011 class

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There are still a few players out there still available to be signed to a scholarship in the class of 2011 and days after Ole Miss added a cornerback, Colorado picked up DeSoto (Texas) wide receiver Austin Vincent as a late addition to their recruiting class.

"The atmosphere at Colorado is really nice and the coaching staff is great," Vincent told BuffStampede.com. "I think I am going to have a good time up here."

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound receiver took an official visit to see the campus in Boulder and will head back to join the team for summer workouts in late June. Several schools were interested in Vincent and he originally planned to sign with Iowa but was a late qualifier.

UTEP, Kansas and Oklahoma State were among the schools that showed interest once he received a qualifying score but it was Colorado that came out on top.

"I did research on Colorado and looked at the roster and their depth chart and their coaching staff," he said. "They don't have that many receivers. They have a big time sophomore (Paul Richardson), a senior that is going to play in the NFL (Toney Clemons) and a transfer from Georgia (Logan Gray) at receiver. They are expecting me to play, too. They are expecting me to come in and compete. I just have to do my thing."

Buffalos' receivers coach Bobby Kennedy, a former assistant at Texas, was key in getting Vincent to head to the north.

"I already had a relationship and knew Coach Kennedy, who is going to be my position coach at Colorado, before when he was at Texas," Vincent said. "He is really the main reason I decided to visit Colorado and was a big reason why I committed. I am real cool with Coach Kennedy."

Due to NCAA rules with the signing period over, Vincent will not sign a letter of intent and can only sign scholarship grant-in-aid papers. He broke his leg last season but scored six touchdowns on just 16 catches prior to the injury.

Vincent is the 22nd commitment for Colorado in 2011 and third wide receiver to join the Buffs.

Posted on: May 23, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 12:01 pm

Ole Miss gets 2011 corner, hopes for package deal

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Ole Miss picked up a late 2011 commitment over the weekend and the most interesting thing about him might not be his game film or his size but his last name. Loganville (Ga.) defensive back Denzel Nkemdiche took an official visit last week and liked the school enough to so much, he cancelled a visit to in-state power Georgia and pulled the trigger on a commitment to the Rebels.

"They said they thought I could come in and play immediately," Nkemdiche told RebelGrove.com. "If I get (to Ole Miss) in the summer focused and dedicated, there's no reason I can't get on the field this fall. (The visit) was awesome. I loved it. I like what they're trying to do. I like the team they're trying to build. ...It was relaxed. I got a good feel for it. I saw how pretty the atmosphere was, how pretty the campus was."

There were a few eyebrows raised once word of Nkemdiche's commitment broke. Denzel's younger brother, Robert, is one of - if not the - top players in the class of 2013 as a dominating defensive end who starred at the recent Georgia Nike Camp and already holds scholarship offers from Alabama, South Carolina and others. Naturally, everyone thanks that the Rebels took Denzel in hope of getting the inside track to land Robert after both have talked about playing college ball together.

“Robert’s words were ‘I can’t wait to take an official visit to Ole Miss, and have you as my recruiting host,’” Denzel told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s really liking them a lot because he knows I wasn’t too sure about them before my official visit and then I absolutely loved it there. He wants to see what they are all about. He’s excited about coming to my games and everything.”

It's not all about landing the younger brother however, as the Rebels do pick up a 6-foot, 210-pound speedster at corner in Denzel. It was an area of need for the team, which lost two players on Signing Day and has seen a rash of defections on the team to leave them well below the limit of 85 scholarships.

“Ole Miss never put any pressure on me to commit," the older Nkemdiche said. "But when I left there on Thursday, I felt like I was leaving my school. It was just a feeling I had. That’s why I decided to go ahead and commit to Ole Miss. It’s my school.”

Nkemdiche was not expected to qualify for admission earlier in the recruiting process and therefore didn't sign a letter of intent. He is still waiting on test results to meet NCAA Clearinghouse requirements but is expected to qualify, according to the paper. The Ole Miss compliance staff will be working overtime as soon as they receive the results, as Nkemdiche is trying to get enrolled this week so that he can join the team next week for summer school and the corresponding summer workouts.

Though he can only sign scholarship papers with the school, Nkemdiche should be the 29th player in the Rebels' class of 2011 once he officially enrolls. With his brother not expected to select a school until early 2014 after his senior season, that's plenty of time for Denzel and the Ole Miss staff to whisper in the ear of Robert about The Grove, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and what it's like to play football at the school.

Only time will tell if the brothers really become a package deal however.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 12:02 am

USC adds another big back in Pinner

Posted by Bryan Fischer

USC hasn't had to worry about their normally loaded backfield in some time but with some depth chart concerns, the school has put out offers to several running backs in the class of 2012. The Trojans alleviated some cause for concern by grabbing their second tailback in the upcoming class when Mission Viejo (Calif.) back Jaheel Pinner committed on Friday.

"Yup, I committed to USC after I talked it over with my family," Pinner told USCFootball.com. "I like the SC campus, and it's close to home. I like that USC recruits the best and I can compete against the best."

The Trojans were the first one to offer Pinner but he was receiving interest from several other programs such as Arizona and Arizona State. At 6-foot-1, 230-pounds, he will likely play a little fullback for USC as well.

"USC actually uses their fullbacks real well," he told the site. "I think it'd be a real good fit for me to play both because I'd come out of the backfield and do a little bit of single back by myself. I could line up in the slot sometimes and I can do all of those things, so it would be a good fit for me."

Pinner joins another big tailback, 5-foot-11, 225-pound Kelvin York, in USC's 2012 class. Although USC is facing scholarship limits (how many is still up in the air due to the school's ongoing NCAA appeal), the Trojan coaching staff has hit the recruiting trail hard and now has seven early commitments total.

Pinner rushed for 1,007 yards and 12 touchdowns and also caught two scores. He plays for Orange Country powerhouse Mission Viejo High, which has sent several players a few miles north to USC in the past.

Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:32 pm

SEC should look at new official visit legislation

Posted by Bryan Fischer

New oversigning rules are one of the legislative issues that the SEC is expected to focus on during their annual league meetings but the Eye on Recruiting is passing along one suggestion for Mike Slive and company to also look at: official visits for college football recruits.

Recently, the six major conferences made a few suggestions as to how the basketball recruiting model could be changed to the NCAA Leadership Council and Board of Directors. The SEC suggested one plan while the five other major conferences submitted a slightly different one (the differences were minimal). While a lot of the focus was on basketball, some of the suggestions could and should find their way to the football side.

Ideally these would make things easier for the coaches, their compliance offices, the parents and the recruits.

Here's two of the proposed rules as they relate to official visits and how they could be applied to football:

Official visits

Currently: Begin senior of high school.

Basketball proposal: April 15 of a recruit's junior year of high school.

How it could be done in football: Permitting official visits during the spring and summer would have a much greater effect in football than it would for basketball. For one, schools have to host a lot more recruits and in shorter window than basketball does. Spacing them out allows for more one-on-one time with players and coaches and can give the recruit more time to actually see if he fits in at the school instead of being shepherded around as part of a group. Also at issue, most high school seniors simply don't have time to take all of their visits. They play Friday nights and then have to hustle to hop on a plane to get to a school before getting back late Sunday night. Allow them to do it during the summer so they don't have to miss out on school work (a key consideration) and can actually stay long enough to get a good look at the school.

Official Visit Expenses:

Currently: Limited to the recruit.

Basketball proposal: Allow the school to pay for the recruit and two parents/legal guardians.

How it could be done in football: Because there's so many more players, paying for both parents might be a little much but schools should be able to pay for at least one. While official visits are nice, those from poorer backgrounds often can't afford for a parent to go with along on a visit and see where, exactly, their son might go to school. Coaches also talk about getting to know what kind of kids they are recruiting so they don't sign trouble makers and this would give them another chance to meet their parents and see how they're raised.

While they're at it, I'm sure they can also advance some new legislation on a fair enforcement process, coaches lying and on a myriad of other problems plaguing the sport. Official visits might be a small step but it would improve things for recruits and be a step in the right direction for making it easier on the kids.

Posted on: May 17, 2011 2:47 pm

Ohio State lands Cleveland tight end

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Most of the talk around Columbus lately has been centered on Jim Tressel and the Ohio State NCAA case but, at least for today, they can talk about the school's latest commitment. Cleveland (Ohio) tight end Blake Thomas was the latest to pledge to the Buckeyes, verbally announcing Tuesday morning.

“I called coach Tressel," Thomas told Bucknuts.com." I loved the coaches and the people at Ohio State when I visited and I know it’s the right fit for me so I didn’t see any reason to wait.”

Ohio State signed two tight ends in this year's class so it appears Thomas will be the only one at his position to sign next year. He held scholarship offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Louisville and others but the recent offer from Ohio State was just too good to pass up.

"The distance and the facilities and academics and all that stuff is great too," he said. "But what really sold me was the people. I know that is the most important thing."

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Thomas caught 30 passes for 300 yards and five touchdowns last season as a junior. He is yet another in-state talent to be locked up early by the Buckeyes as all seven members of the school's class of 2012 hail from the state of Ohio.

Thomas also becomes the second player to commit to the Buckeyes after the school received a notice of allegations from the NCAA.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 7:13 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 7:18 pm

NCAA looking closer at third parties

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The NCAA hosted a Mock "Enforcement Experience" on Tuesday for several media members in order to better explain how the entire process works. CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd was among those in attendance.

While the day was mostly centered on how the enforcement staff goes about its business and how a case goes to the Committee on Infractions, reporters did get a chance to talk to NCAA President Mark Emmert and Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach. One of the topics that was broached were issues of third parties involving themselves in recruiting.

"Who are these individuals? We're trying to get our arms around that," Roe Lach told The Birmingham News. "And do we do it through legislation or some other means? I imagine there will be some sort of rule change. But it's not a quick fix. It's going to be a multi-faceted solution."

The NCAA sent a select number of the enforcement staff to gather information on the ground at camps and combines around the country earlier this spring. Of particular concern were 7-on-7 events turning into football's version of the AAU basketball scene.

At the heart of the matter are individuals such as Will Lyles, who has been involved in probes at Oregon, LSU and Texas A&M, who act as a go between for highly recruited athletes, their parents and coaches. On top of gathering information about such individuals, defining them for possible legislative proposals is becoming an issue for the association.

"How do you capture that in a definition?" Rachel Newman Baker, NCAA director of agent, gambling and amateurism, said. "The first definition we sent to (the Amateurism Cabinet) they felt was too broad and captured too many people. So now we're trying to narrow that."

The hopes of many at the NCAA is that the definition of an agent will become more sophisticated and that legislation will be introduced that separates legitimate agents and runners or third parties that the NCAA is really targeting.

Really, the only question is not if the NCAA plans on doing something but when. Emmert said in December he would support emergency legislation closing some loopholes and to redefine who an agent is. So far no such emergency legislation has been introduced into the legislative cycle but Emmert called for changes once again on Tuesday.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:45 pm

NCAA: Rivals subscriptions still impermissible

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Ah the NCAA, always full of surprises. A little over a month after the association declared Rivals a recruiting service based on a new interpretation of a bylaw, they've followed it up with a slight clarification Wednesday morning. The waiver the organization issued is aimed mostly at non-revenue sports and exempts all sports but football and men's and women's basketball from the new rule. As a result, several scouting services used in sports such as volleyball that were in peril, are now allowed.

As a result, Rivals subscriptions for schools and athletic department staff are still considered an impermissible recruiting service.

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