Posted on: April 15, 2011 5:03 pm

Maxpreps: An early look at top 2012 classes

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Like the weather or Les Miles' level of sanity, the world of recruiting can change dramatically in a matter of days or weeks, much less the 10 months still remaining before Signing Day 2012.

Nonetheless, the accelerated pace of modern recruiting means it's not too early to take a look at which teams have jumped out to an early read in the race towards next year's mythical recruiting "national championship." Which is what Stephen Spiewak and our colleagues at Maxpreps have done, compiling a top 10 2012 classes as they stand nearing the end of spring practice.

Many of the usual suspects are there, with Texas topping the list at No. 1, Florida and Florida State waging Sunshine State war at Nos. 3 and 2, respectively, and traditional recruiting powers USC, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State also featuring.

But there's some surprises, too. Perhaps taking their cue from the in-state rival Longhorns' practice of racking up early commitments, both Texas A&M and TCU have sprinted out to quick starts to rank at Nos. 4 and 8. And after a start so slow to the 2011 recruiting cycle that they had to play catch-up to conference rivals like Indiana and Iowa, Penn State has burst out of the gates with some big out-of-state pickups and ranks ninth.

Read the entire rankings breakdown to see what recruits are fueling these fast starts and which ones each team will need to land to stay in the top 10 when next February rolls around.

Posted on: April 11, 2011 7:21 pm

TCU NIke Camp Top Performers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The TCU Nike Camp was loaded with talent from all over Texas and the Southwest Sunday afternoon. While players went through position drills and one-on-one match ups, here are a few names from each position group that caught our eye.

Defensive line

Torshiro Davis, 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Shreveport, La. Committed to LSU.

Breakdown: Davis was lightning quick off the ball and got to the quarterback quicker than anyone else at the camp. He tended to take a good line when speed rushing and did a good job of staying low after firing off. He will probably need to add a few pounds in order to play against better competition but he certainly has the frame to do it. Davis looks like he will fit in well as a pass rushing outside linebacker.

Others of note: Mansfield (Texas) defensive end and Texas commit Hassan Ridgeway certainly looked the part of a top flight defensive end at 6-foot-3, 240. Texas A&M commit Michael Richardson was a bit thin but has a good 6-foot-2 frame and was very explosive. He also took a rep or two at defensive tackle during one-on-ones though he was obviously too small to play that in college, he did show good hand placement. 2013 tackle A'Shawn Robinson out of Arlington (Texas) is someone to keep an eye on.


Peter Jinkens, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Dallas, Texas. Committed to Texas.

Breakdown: With several smaller running backs in attendance, Jinkens was able to show off his athleticism and impressed just about everybody at the camp. He has excellent speed and was easily the quickest linebacker in the group, reading and reacting to everything. He broke down well in the tackling drill and was one of the best in pass coverage by getting a quick drop and sticking to receivers.

Others of note: Nebraska commit and Rockhurst (Mo.) linebacker Michael Rose was short and compact but he proved he could play at the event. He performed well for a middle linebacker and moved well, turning his hips better than players weighing 30 pounds less. Allen (Texas) linebacker Thaddeus LaGrone was a bit thin but had really long arms and turned his hips well. He could be an outside linebacker that also rushes the passer at times.


Kenny Iloka, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Sugar Land, Texas.

Breakdown: There were plenty of cornerback prospects at the camp but Iloka really stood out among the safety group. He has great size and played the center field role of a safety very well in 7-on-7. He stays on his toes and turns his hips to run to the ball in addition to a very nice, smooth backpedal. He is the brother of Boise State safety George Iloka but doesn't hold any offers.

Others of note: Texas commit Bryson Echols didn't seem like much on first glance but once he started going through drills it was clear as to why the Longhorn coaches liked him. Echols has super quick feet and can really close the gap between him and a receiver. He also is very competitive. TCU commit Daje Johnson took home position MVP and was a tough matchup for receivers all day, grabbing at least one interception. Mesquite (Texas) cornerback DeVante Harris also looked smooth and played receivers well.

Offensive line

Michael Starts, 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, Waco, Texas.

Breakdown: Starts was easily the best lineman at the event and was one of the few who held multiple offers among the offensive lineman group. He played both sides of the ball but it was clear from watching him that he is an offensive tackle based on the way he moves his feet and uses his leverage to his advantage.

Others of note: Duncanville (Texas) offensive tackle Adam Butler took home position MVP awards and looked really impressive. He has really long arms, good size and did well in pass blocking drills. Underclassman Jake Raulerson of Celina (Texas) also has a bright future ahead of him but needs to keep adding weight to an otherwise very good 6-foot-5 frame.

Wide receiver

Thomas Johnson, 6-foot, 185 pounds, Dallas, Texas. Committed to Texas.

Breakdown: Johnson was impressive all day long and could get to top gear quicker than just about every other wide receiver or defensive back. He has a soft set of hands and is very polished for someone his age. Johnson might not be very tall but he was a very good looking player against several good defensive backs and generally had his way.

Others of note: Baylor commit Kiante Griffin wasn't polished but he found a way to get open and catch the ball. He's another slot receiver type who could develop into a steal for the Bears. 2013 receiver Ellis Jefferson is a big player who could still fill out his frame but nevertheless was able to catch the ball and move well.

Running back

Bryan Driskell, 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, McKinney, Texas.

Breakdown: One of the smaller backs in the group, Driskell was also the quickest. He could catch the ball and had such a low center of gravity that he able to cut away from the defender like a mini-Barry Sanders. He has a nice burst out of his cut too and the speed to turn the corner and out run everyone.

Others of note: Allen (Texas) back Jonathan Williams was impressive to no one's surprise. Tavarreon Dickerson won position MVP and was another good scat-back. Lawton (Okla.) sophomore Darius Graham also looked impressive but was a little unsure of himself at times.

Posted on: April 11, 2011 9:16 am

4/11 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Good day weekend at TCU for the Elite 11 and Nike Camp. Several Lemming Top 100 players were in attendance and many other players made a name for themselves.

- Offensive lineman Trey Keenan said his visit to Arkansas was very good and a few other tidbits here.

- Johnny Strahl was named quarterback MVP of the Orlando 1on1 Showcase camp.

- A few notes about Michigan recruiting, including an update on top defensive end Noah Spence.

- Despite being early in the process, many of the top inside linebackers are already committed to a school.

Posted on: April 11, 2011 12:43 am
Edited on: April 11, 2011 12:47 am

Texas' best shines at TCU Nike Camp

Posted by Bryan Fischer

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Well over 500 of Texas and the Southwest's finest football players came out for the annual Nike Football Training Camp on the campus of TCU Sunday afternoon. Although perhaps not as deep in terms of talent at some position groups than years past, the camp was nevertheless a destination for several of the top committed and uncommitted players in the area.

Dallas (Texas) linebacker and Texas commit Peter Jinkens was one of the top linebackers at event and it showed at the end when he was awarded the position MVP. He was explosive all day and seemed to ratchet up his game as the competition grew more intense.

"It's an honor and a blessing because there was a lot of good linebackers out here," Jinkens said. "To know that I'm the best one is a source of pride for me."

The 6-foot-1, 210 linebacker had several particularly good match ups with Allen (Texas) running back Jonathan Williams. The two had a few one-on-ones in the pass rush drill with Williams winning the first by getting physical against Jinkens' rush. The next play Jinkens made quick rush and got to the ball after making a move. The third rep could be considered a tie after Jinkens made a move and appeared to have Williams beat before he recovered to block Jinkens just long enough before reaching the ball.

"It was real fun," Jinkens said. "I went against him a lot in the pass rushing drill. I was kind of shocked myself. Today when we were doing pairs, I started crying. I don't know why but I just felt the passion of the game right there. I went in to competition mode and turned it up."

"It's competition all day," Williams said. "Me and Jenkins kept going up against each other in one-on-ones, they wanted us to go every time. It was a good competition."

One of the top linebackers in the state, much less at the Nike Camp, Jinkens was just one of several Longhorn commitments in attendance.

"Yeah, Hassan (Ridgeway), Curtis Riser, Thomas Johnson and I are all real good friends," he said.

The group was also at the camp doing a bit of recruiting and spreading the word about the Longhorns.

"Oh yes, we're trying to get a few more," Jinkens said with a smile before mentioning Johnathan Gray.

Gray is the nation's number one running back and has Texas as one of three schools he is considering.

Allen duo shines

Williams did not come home with the running back MVP award but he was one of the best looking backs competing. He had a slight injury issue that limited him most of the afternoon but showed flashes when he was out on the field.

"I think I did pretty well, I tweaked my groin a little bit so I didn't do all of the drills," Williams said. "I came out here to compete in one-on-ones and I felt I did real good.

"I just wanted to come out here and compete against the best players in the state of Texas. That's the main thing I was looking for."

Ranked 91st in Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2012, Williams has emerged as one of the top players in a deep year at running back in the state of Texas. He recently reached the double-digit scholarship offer mark and has several out of state programs recruiting him heavily.

"I'm up to ten now," Williams said. "Michigan State just offered me for my tenth offer. It's all pretty close right now, I like Missouri right now though."

The 6-foot, 200 pound running back is aiming to commit to a school before the season and possibly even after completing spring football. Although the exact date of a commitment is up in the air, Williams is planning a few unofficial visits to become more familiar with schools.

"I'm going to try and go to Arkansas over the summer," he said. "I know I'm going to Missouri's Spring Game next Saturday. That should be fun. They're recruiting me pretty hard and I like them academically because I want to major in sports broadcasting. They have a real good journalism school."

Williams' teammate, quarterback Alec Morris also performed well at the camp, taking home Quarterback MVP honors after displaying good accuracy and arm strength throughout the day.

"It's a good surprise, I wasn't too sure coming in because this is one of the few camps I've done," Morris said. "I felt like I did well and I'm happy to hear that I was MVP."

The interest in the 6-foot-3, 220 pound quarterback has continued to pick up steam. With several quarterbacks in attendance who held multiple offers, Morris came out to the camp to prove that his skills were right there with them.

"I've actually been working with (former Texas A&M quarterback) Kevin Murray," Morris said. "He was running me through the paces and help me out at this camp. I wasn't really coming to work on anything because I really just came to show I can play at the next level."

Though Morris doesn't hold any offers at the moment, several schools are showing interest in the big signal caller.

"No offers yet but there's a bunch of schools coming down this spring (for the May Evaluation period)," he said. "Oklahoma State, Arkansas, West Virginia, Utah and a few others.

"We'll see how it goes this summer, see what schools come down and figure things out once spring ball is over."

Starts is the offensive line star

A week after several offensive linemen performed well in Los Angeles, the stop in Fort Worth was expected to equal it in terms of star power. Texas commit Curtis Riser didn't participate and Texas A&M pledge Kimo Tipoti didn't show up. In the end it didn't matter because that allowed Waco (Texas) lineman Michael Starts to perform well as both an offensive and defensive lineman.

"I like playing both sides of the ball," Starts said. "I think it's best for me to stay tuned up and in shape."

Starts was best suited as an offensive tackle, displaying a quick drop step and good frame at 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds. He also took a few reps at defensive tackle and though he definitely has the size, still appeared a bit raw at the position.

"I'd love to play defense but if coaches wants me on offense or wherever they need me, that's where I'll play," he said. "They've said they might move me back and forth."

Starts has been on the radar for awhile mostly as an offensive lineman and holds offers from every major school in the state. He is, however, seeing several out of state schools get into the mix for his recruitment but he appears a bit skittish on going to far from home.

"I have Auburn, Notre Dame and Michigan (offers)," he said. "They're all kind of far from home so I really don't know if I'm able to do that. There's a chance that I might but I don't know until I make my decision. We have (official visits) planned."

The big tackle has already taken several unofficial visits the past few months. Though recruiting is picking up among the local schools, Starts has all of the in-state schools on a level playing playing field.

"Unofficially, Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU," he said. "I like them all the same. It's pretty even. I just want to fit in and be around people who accept me for who I am and stuff like that."


- LSU commit Toshiro Davis was one of several players from the state of Louisiana to make the trip north to attend the camp. He said he was solid with LSU and likes that he'll be playing in a hybrid linebacker roll with the Tigers. Davis exploded off the ball and was never really challenged in one-on-ones which is not quite what he wanted after doing much the same his junior year.

"I really came here for the competition," Davis said. "Some of the games I played last year, I really feel like the competition wasn't all that high. I want to expand my game."

- Defensive line MVP was Mansfield (Texas) defensive end Hassan Ridgeway. Offensive line MVP was Duncanville (Texas) tackle Adam Butler. Arlington (Texas) running back Tavarreon Dickerson took home position group MVP as well.

- Austin (Texas) wide receiver Cayleb Jones, Tom Lemming's number three overall recruit, showed up at the camp but did not participate. The Texas commit said he rolled his ankle two weeks ago and was being precautions.

- One of the many scat back types that made an impression was North Little Rock (Ark.) running back Altee Tenpenny. The sophomore was a bit on the lean side but was very quick and very fast. He had the top SPARQ rating at the Nike combine on Saturday and managed to run a 4.52 40-yard dash and a 37-inch vertical jump.

Posted on: April 8, 2011 9:33 am

4/8 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's Friday and we're one step closer to the weekend. On tap for this weekend? Taking a good look at the top talent in Texas at the TCU Elite 11 and Nike Camp.

- Oklahoma is looking to land a terrific duo in Dorial Green-Beckham and Gunner Kiel.

- One of the most talented areas in the country, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and a list of the top 75 football players.

- Iowa and Purdue have offered linebacker Joe Bolden.

- Offensive lineman Adam Pankey will visit Ohio State this weekend.

- Offensive linemen Alex Kozan and Ronnie Stanley talked about recruiting on the radio.

- Good Q&A with USC quarterback Matt Barkley about when he was a recruit.

Posted on: April 6, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 6:05 pm

Top 100 Offers & Leaders: 1-10

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2012 List was released today and it has some of the most talented recruits in the country for the upcoming class. In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at who they have offers from and who might be the leader for their commitment.

1. WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, Mo.)

Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, USC, Wisconsin.

Possible leader: Alabama.

2. QB Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.)

Offers: Alabama, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Purdue, TCU, Tennessee, USC, Wisconsin.

Possible leader: Notre Dame.

3. WR Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas)

Committed to Texas.

4. DE Noah Spence (Harrisburg, Pa.)

Offers: Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, UConn, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech.

Possible leader: Penn State.

5. DE Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas)

Committed to Florida State.

6. OT John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Rutgers, South Carolina, Texas, UCF.

Possible leader: Georgia.

7. DT Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif.)

Offers: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State.

Possible leader: USC

8. RB Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas)

Offers: Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, USC.

Possible leader: Texas.

9. DB Landon Collins (Geismar, La.)

Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC.

Possible leader: LSU.

10. RB Barry Sanders Jr.

Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Florida State, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UCLA.

Possible leader: Alabama.

Posted on: March 28, 2011 7:26 pm

Texas Tech adds in-state wide receiver

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's not often you can say the phrase 'when it rains it pours' about West Texas but it's appropriate when talking about Texas Tech recruiting the past two days. On Sunday, the Red Raiders added two commitments in the class of 2012 and they added another Monday afternoon in Tenaha (Texas) wide receiver Reginald Davis.

"It just felt comfortable," Davis told RedRaiderSports.com. "I got a chance to get really close with Coach (Tommy) Tuberville, Coach (Neal) Brown, Coach (Sonny) Cumbie and Coach (Sam) McElroy."

The 6-foot-1, 185 pound receiver familiarized himself with campus during an unofficial visit over the weekend and enjoyed things so much, he made his verbal commitment to the coaching staff less than 24 hours later.

"Everything is just right there together," Davis told the website. "Their campus is great because everything is so close by. I even had a chance to talk to the Chancellor (Kent Hance) and the new basketball coach (Billy Gillispie)."

Davis held scholarship offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Michigan, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, TCU and Texas A&M. He will play wide receiver for the Red Raiders but will also be featured in other ways on offense, such as a wildcat quarterback.

Davis is the fourth commitment for Texas Tech in the class of 2012.

Posted on: March 27, 2011 11:54 am

3/27 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There was a flurry of commitments on Saturday, we'll see if the same holds true for a busy Sunday in the recruiting world.

- Penn State football is roughly six months ahead of last year's schedule with the commitment of tight end Brent Wilkerson.

- Michigan added offensive lineman Caleb Stacey to their class of 2012 this weekend.

- Some more on TCU's latest commitment, athlete Daje Johnson.

- Highly regarded running back Rushel Shell is planning to take a break from recruiting.

- Some very good recruiting news and notes from the Atlanta MVP Camp.

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