Posted on: April 28, 2011 3:56 pm

Five-stars and the NFL Draft

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Rankings have been around for years. MaxPreps' own Tom Lemming has been doing them well before the days of the internet made four- and five-star players the gateway for most fans to recruiting. In 2002, recruiting sites Rivals and Scout started the current star system and it's always interesting to go back and see where the creme of the crop players (i.e. five-stars) have gone in the NFL Draft. Jackson Clarion-Ledger columnist Rick Cleveland ran an interesting column about the state of Mississippi's consensus five-star recruits not panning out in the draft and it got us to thinking, just where have all the five-stars been drafted? Here's the list broken down by state from the classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008.


WR Julio Jones (Foley High, Foley, Ala.) - Class of 2008, committed to Alabama - Projected Top 15 pick in 2011.
OT Tyler Love (Mountain Brook High, Mountain Brook, Ala.) - Class of 2008, committed to Alabama - Not projected ot be drafted in 2013.
OL Andre Smith (Huffman High, Birmingham, Ala.) - Class of 2006, committed to Alabama - #6 overall pick in 2009.


DE Everson Griffen (Agua Fria High, Avondale, Ariz.) - Class of 2007, committed to USC - 4th round pick in 2010.
C Kris O'Dowd (Salpointe Catholic, Tucson, Ariz.) - Class of 2007, committed to USC - Projected middle to late round pick in 2011.


QB Mitch Mustain (Springdale High, Springdale, Ark.) - Class of 2006, committed to Arkansas, transfered to USC - Projected late round to undrafted in 2011.


RB Darrell Scott (St. Bonaventure High, Ventura, Calif.) - Class of 2008, committed to Colorado, currently at USF - Not projected to be drafted/drafted in the later rounds in 2013.
OT Matt Kalil (Servite High, Anaheim, Calif.) - Class of 2008, committed to USC - Projected 1st or 2nd rounder in 2012.
OT Tyron Smith (Rancho Verde High, Moreno Valley, Calif.) - Class of 2008, committed to USC - Projected top 15 pick in 2011.
QB Dayne Crist (Notre Dame High, Sherman Oaks, Calif.) - Class of 2008, committed to Notre Dame - Projected middle round pick in 2013.
QB Jimmy Clausen (Oaks Christian High, Westlake Village, Calif.) - Class of 2007, committed to Notre Dame - 2nd Round draft pick.
LB Chris Galippo (Servite High, Anaheim, Calif.) - Class of 2007, committed to USC - Projected late round to undrafted in 2012.
RB Marc Tyler (Oaks Christian High, Westlake Village, Calif.) - Class of 2007, committed to USC - Projected late round to undrafted in 2012.
CB Donovan Warren (Poly High, Long Beach, Calif.) - Class of 2007, committed to Michigan - Undrafted in 2010.
RB Allen Bradford (Colton High, Colton, Calif.) - Class of 2006, committed to USC - Projected middle to late round pick in 2011.
RB Stafon Johnson (Dorsey High, Los Angeles, Calif.) - Class of 2006 - Undrafted in 2010.
RB C.J. Gable (Sylmar Senior High, Sylmar, Calif.) - Class of 2006, committed to USC - Projected late round to undrafted in 2011.


OT Ryan Miller (Columbine High, Littleton, Col.) - Class of 2007, committed to Colorado - Projected middle round pick in 2012.


CB Patrick Peterson (Blanche Ely High, Pompano Beach, Fla.) - Class of 2008, committed to LSU - Projected Top 5 pick in 2011.
DT Marcus Forston (Northwestern High, Miami, Fla.) - Class of 2008, committed to Miami - Projected 1st rounder in 2012.
OT Michael Brewster (Edgewater High, Orlando Fla.) - Class of 2008, committed to Ohio State - Projected 1st or 2nd rounder in 2012.
LB Nigel Bradham (Wakulla High, Crawfordville, Fla.) - Class of 2008, committed to Florida State - Projected middle rounder in 2012.
OT Matt Patchan (Armwood High, Seffner, Fla.) - Class of 2008, committed to Florida - No NFL draft projection at this time.
DT Torrey Davis (Armwood High, Seffner, Fla.) - Class of 2007, committed to Florida, transferred to Jacksonville State - Undrafted in 2010.
OG James Wilson (Nease High, Ponte Vedra, Fla.) - Class of 2007, committed to Florida - Projected middle round pick in 2012.
RB Noel Devine (North Fort Meyers High, Fort Meyers, Fla.) - Class of 2007, committed to West Virginia - Projected 4th or 5th round pick in 2011.
RB C.J. Spiller (Union Country High, Lake Butler, Fla.) - Class of 2006, committed to Clemson - #9 overall pick in 2010.
OT Sam Young (St. Thomas Aquinas High, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) - Class of 2006, committed to Notre Dame - 6th round pick in 2010.
QB Tim Tebow (Nease High, St. Augustine, Fla.) - Class of 2006, committed to Florida - 1st round pick in 2010.


DT Omar Hunter (Buford High, Buford, Ga.) - Class of 2008, committed to Florida - Projected middle rounder in 2012.
ATH Richard Samuel (Cass High, Cartersville, Ga.) - Class of 2008, committed to Georgia - No draft projection, currently a linebacker.
S Eric Berry (Creekside High, Fairburn, Ga.) - Class of 2007, committed to Tennessee - Number five overall in 2010.


LB Martez Wilson (Simeon Vocational, Chicago, Ill.) - Class of 2007, committed to Illinois - Projected 2nd round pick in 2011.


RB James Aldridge (Merrillville High, Merrillville, Ind.) - Class of 2006, committed to Notre Dame - Undrafted in 2010.


LB Arthur Brown (Wichita East High, Wichita, Kan.) - Class of 2008, committed to Miami, attending Kansas State - Projected late round to undrafted in 2013.


RB Joe McKnight (John Curtis High, River Ridge, La.) - Class of 2007, committed to USC - 4th round draft pick in 2010.
S Chad Jones (Southern Lab High, Baton Rouge, La.) - Class of 2007, committed to LSU - 3rd round draft pick in 2010.
DT Al Woods (Elton High, Elton, La.) - Class of 2006, committed to LSU - 4th round pick in 2010.


WR Ronald Johnson (Muskegon High, Muskegon, Mich.) - Class of 2007, committed to USC - Projected middle round pick in 2011.
LB Brandon Graham (Crockett Vocational Tech, Detroit, Mich.) Class of 2006, committed to Michigan - #13 overall in 2010.


WR Michael Floyd (Cretin Derham Hall, Saint Paul, Minn.) - Class of 2008, committed to Notre Dame - Projected 1st rounder in 2012.


WR DeAndre Brown (Ocean Springs High, Ocean Springs, Miss.) - Class of 2008, committed to Southern Miss - Projected late rounds to undrafted in 2011.


OG Baker Steinkuhler (Southwest High, Lincoln, Neb.) - Class of 2008, committed to Nebraska - No draft projection as a defensive tackle.

New Jersey

ATH Will Hill (St. Peters Preps, Jersey City, N.J.) - Class of 2008, committed to Florida - Middle round pick in 2011.
S Myron Rolle (The Hun School, Princeton, N.J.) - Class of 2006, committed to Florida State - 6th round pick in 2010.

North Carolina

LB Brandon Spikes (Crest Senior High, Shelby, N.C.) - Class of 2006, committed to Florida - 2nd round pick in 2010.
OL Carl Johnson (Southern High, Durham, N.C.) - Class of 2006, committed to Florida - Projected middle round pick in 2011.


OL Mike Adams (Dublin Coffman High, Dublin, Ohio) - Class of 2008, committed to Ohio State - Projected as a 1st or 2nd rounder in 2012.
TE Kyle Rudolph (Elder High, Cincinnati, Ohio) - Class of 2008, committed to Notre Dame - Projected 2nd round draft pick in 2011.
WR DeVier Posey (LaSalle High, Cincinnati, Ohio) - Class of 2008, committed to Ohio State - Projected 2nd or 3rd rounder in 2012.
DE Ben Martin (LaSalle High, Cincinnati, Ohio) - Class of 2007, committed to Tennessee - Late round to undrafted in 2012.
RB Beanie Wells (Garfield High, Akron, Ohio) - Class of 2006, committed to Ohio State - 1st round pick in 2009.


DT Gerald McCoy (Southeast High, Oklahoma City, Okla.) - Class of 2006, committed to Oklahoma - #3 overall pick in 2010.


QB Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette High, Jeannette, Pa.) - Class of 2008, committed to Ohio State - Projected as a 2nd or 3rd rounder as an athlete in 2012.
WR Jonathan Baldwin (Aliquippa high, Aliquippa, Pa.) - Class of 2008, committed to Pitt - Projected late 1st round or 2nd rounder in 2011.

South Carolina

DE Da'Quan Bowers (Bamberg Ehrhardt high, Bamberg, S.C.) - Class of 2008, committed to Clemson - Projected top 15 pick in 2011.
WR A.J. Green (Summerville High, Summerville, S.C.) - Class of 2008, committed to Georgia - Projected Top 5 pick in 2011.
DE Carlos Dunlap (Fort Dorchester High, North Charleston, S.C.) - Class of 2007, committed to Florida - 2nd round pick in 2010.
DE Ricky Sapp (Bamberg Ehrhardt High, Bamberg, S.C.) - Class of 2006, committed to Clemson - Fifth round pick in 2010.


LB Chris Donald (Huntingdon High, Huntingdon, Tenn.) - Class of 2007, committed to Tennessee, transferred to Tennessee-Chattanooga - Late round to undrafted in 2012.


DE R.J. Washington (Fossil Ridge High, Keller, Texas) - Class of 2008, committed to Oklahoma - Projected in the later rounds to undrafted in 2013.
RB Jermine Calhoun (Van High, Van, Texas) - Class of 2008, committed to Oklahoma - No NFL Draft projection for 2012.
QB Ryan Mallet (Texas High, Texarkana, Texas) - Class of 2007, committed to Michigan, transferred to Arkansas - Projected 2nd rounder in 2011.
WR Terrance Toliver (Hempstead High, Hempstead, Texas) - Class of 2007, committed to LSU - Projected middle round pick in 2011.
OG Tray Allen (Soth Grand Prairie High, Grand Prairie, Texas) - Class of 2007, committed to Texas - Late round projection in 2012.
CB Curtis Brown (Gilmer High, Gilmer, Texas) - Class of 2007, committed to Texas - Projected 3rd round pick in 2011.
LB Sergio Kindle (Woodrow Wilson High, Dallas, Texas) - Class of 2006, Committed to Texas - 2nd round pick in 2010.
QB Matthew Stafford (Highland Park High, Dallas, Texas) - Class of 2006 - Committed to Georgia - #1 overall pick in 2009.
DE Eddie Jones (Kilgore High, Kilgore, Texas) - Class of 2006, committed to Texas - Late round to undrafted in 2011.


QB Tyrod Taylor (Hampton High, Hampton, Vir.) - Class of 2007, committed to Virginia Tech - Projected middle to late round pick in 2011.
WR Percy Harvin (Landstown High, Virginia Beach, Vir.) - Class of 2006, committed to Florida - 22nd pick overall in 2009.
WR Vidal Hazelton (Hargrave Military Academy, Chatham, Vir.) - Class of 2006, committed to USC, transferred to Cincinnati - Projected to go undrafted in 2011.


S Taylor Mays (O'Dea High, Seattle, Wash.) - Class of 2006, committed to USC - 2nd round pick in 2010.
OL Stephen Schilling (Bellevue High, Bellevue, Wash.) - Class of 2006, committed to Michigan - Projected middle round pick in 2011.

Washington, D.C.

DT Marvin Austin (Ballou High, Washington, D.C.) - Class of 2007, committed to North Carolina - Projected 2nd rounder in 2011.
WR Arrelious Benn (Dunbar High, Washingotn, D.C.) - Class of 2007, committed to Illinois - 2nd round pick in 2010.


OT Josh Oglesby (St. Francis High, Saint Francis, Wisc.) - Class of 2007, committed to Wisconsin - Late round to undrafted in 2012.

Posted on: April 26, 2011 6:59 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 10:00 pm

April Big Ten Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's the final week in April and several schools have already hit the ground running in the class of 2012. Today we'll take a look at the verbal commitments in the Big Ten, where three traditional powers lead the pack in terms of verbal commitments early in the recruiting cycle.

Illinois (1)

Wide receiver Elliot Faerber (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)

Indiana (0)

Iowa (1)

Offensive tackle Mitch Kepyy (Port Byron, Ill.)

Michigan (6)

Offensive lineman Ben Branden (Rockford, Mich.) 
Tight end Devin Funchess (Farmington Hills, Mich.)
Linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone (Detroit, Mich.)
Linebacker Kaleb Ringer (Clayton, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Caleb Stacey (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Tight end A.J. Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Michigan State (0)

Minnesota (3)

Wide receiver Andre McDonald (Minnetonka, Minn.) 
Quarterback Philip Nelson (Mankato, Minn.) 
Tight end Maxx Williams (Waconia, Minn.)

Nebraska (1)

Linebacker Michael Rose (Kansas City, Mo.)

Northwestern (2)

Running back Malin Jones (Naperville, Ill.)
Offensive lineman Kenton Playko (Lewis Center, Ohio)

Ohio State (6)

Running back Warren Ball (Columbus, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Jacoby Boren (Pickerington, Ohio)
Running back Bri'onte Dunn (Canton, Ohio)
Wide receiver Frank Epitropoulos (Upper Arlington, Ohio)

Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis (Lakewood, Ohio), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Linebacker Josh Perry (Galena, Ohio)

Penn State (6)

Defensive tackle Jarron Jones (Rochester, N.Y.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Defensive tackle Jamil Pollard (Westville, N.J.)
Tight end Jesse James (McKeesport, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Anthony Stanko (Warren, Ohio)
Tight end Brent Wilkerson (Hyattsville, Md.)
Linebacker Camren Williams (West Roxbury, Mass.)

Purdue (1)

Defensive back Jordan Shine (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Wisconsin (3)

Running back Vonte Jackson (Kenosha, Wis.)
Linebacker Vince Biegel (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Offensive lineman Dan Voltz (Barrington, Ill.)

Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:05 am

4/26 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The lockout appears to be over and the NFL Draft is inching closer and closer but only the recruiting news is 24/7/365.

- Great job by SI.com's Andy Staples, who went back and compiled a list of how many stars projected 1st round draft picks were coming out of high school.

- Miami is the latest to offer offensive tackle Kyle Murphy.

- Defensive end James Washington picked up offers from Illinois and Iowa State.

- With all the Jim Tressel mess, several experts think Ohio State recruiting won't take a big hit.

- The son of Diddy, Justin Combs, is a defensive back and isn't too shabby.

- Wide receiver Marvin Bracy has been selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

- Michigan seems to be adding players in pairs.

- Finally, here's the Nuggets' J.R. Smith with his best impression of a quarterback. Might be a four-star but needs to work on his feet...

Posted on: April 23, 2011 11:42 pm

Wisconsin adds talented in-state linebacker

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Wisconsin's Spring Game was not only the site to be for a little college football in the Badger state but it was also the place to be if you wanted to make a verbal commitment. At least Wisconsin Rapids (Wisc.) linebacker Vince Biegel thought so, adding his name to the commitment list Saturday afternoon in Madison.

"Wisconsin was on me really early and I always had a little favoritism towards Wisconsin being the in-state school," Biegel told BadgerNation.com They were in my heart the whole time, but I wanted to go through the recruiting process to make sure I wasn’t missing out or overlooking anything. That’s why I took those trips to BYU and Michigan and that’s probably why I took so long to make my decision."

The four-star linebacker is ranked 95th overall in the class of 2012 by CBSSports/MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming. Biegel also held offers from BYU, Illinois, MIchigan, Stanford and Tennessee among others. His father played football at BYU and despite the Cougars recruiting him heavily, it was just too hard to overcome the connection Biegel made with Wisconsin.

"BYU had some great coaches I really like, and Wisconsin does too," he told the website. "Both programs brought different things to the table, which I really like, but it came down to me wanting to play close to home and playing for Coach (Dave) Huxtable. He’s a really good guy, and I really enjoyed him."

The 6-foot-3, 210 pound Biegel is the third commitment for Wisconsin and first on defense. He had over 170 tackles and four interceptions last year as a junior.

Posted on: April 22, 2011 1:08 pm

Michigan picks up pair of talented tight ends

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Why get a commitment from one tight end when you can pick up two? 

Such was the case for Michigan Friday morning as the Wolverines added verbal commitments from Cincinnati (Ohio) tight end A.J. Williams and Farmington Hills (Mich.) tight end Devin Funchess.

“I just enjoyed myself every time I went up there, and my sister is up there and it’ll be nice to be there with her in college," Funchess told 24/7 Sports. “I like how all the alumni come together and have fun even though they didn’t play together. They still get together and their like brothers.”

The 6-foot-6, 260 pound Williams visited Michigan almost a month ago for a Junior Day and seemed to favor them ever since. The commitment also brings an end to the very hectic recruiting process for the talented pass catcher.

"Honestly, for the last couple days I've been calling those coaches non-stop," Williams told Scout. "I just felt it in my heart, and I thought, what's the point in waiting around for anyone else?"

For both players, who are among the best in the midwest at their position, their commitment came with a loud cheer from the coaches in Ann Arbor.

"Everybody at Michigan was excited! I talked to the whole staff," Williams said. "And it feels good."

“They were all excited,” Funchess added. “They said they have so many formations they can put me in.”

Williams held offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan State among others. Funchess held offers from Missouri, Nebraska and Virginia among others. He has been participating in several 7-on-7 tournaments this offseason after coming off a junior year where he caught 36 passes for over 700 yards and six touchdowns.

The pair are the fifth and sixth commitments for Michigan's class of 2012. Talented tight end Chris Barnett signed with the Wolverines last year.

Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:40 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 10:58 am

Florida State Nike Camp Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Perhaps it was no surprise but several Florida State commitments performed well during the latest stop in the Nike Football Training Camp tour just a few miles where they will one day play college football.

The camp was another opportunity for some of the South's best talent to showcase their skills and get discovered but it was Seminole commit Dante Fowler who ended up stealing the show - for the second year in a row.

"It was real good. I'm blessed to get MVP for the second year," Fowler said. "I'm working hard and making sure everybody still remembers who I am."

The St. Petersburg (Fla.) defensive end was not the tallest or biggest defensive lineman at the camp but he did have the best motor. Fowler never lost a rep and seemed to get to the quarterback in one-on-one drills quicker than just about anybody. Part of the reason Fowler did so well was the camp offering the opportunity to go full bore.

"I turn it up a lot," he said. "My offensive linemen in practice want a lot of work and everything but sometimes I just don't want to hurt them. There's a lot of stuff I do out here that I don't do school. But when we get in pads, I'm going to really show everyone what's up."

Fellow Florida State commit and defensive end Chis Casher was also impressive and was Fowler's closest competition for position group MVP. The talented duo of commitments ended up pushing each other to do better throughout the day.

"I think that's the reason neither of us didn't lose any battles," Fowler said. "It was a competition and we didn't want to lose. We were going to get the MVP award and see who the best is. Chris Casher, he's really good. I tip my hat to him."

The 6-foot-2, 230 pound Fowler says he is still committed to the Seminoles but is still picking up offers and being recruited by several schools across the country. His most recent offer is also the one that intrigues him the most.

"The newest offer that I got was USC," Fowler said. "Coach Monte Kiffin and Coach (EdOrgeron are real energetic. They really want me to come out and we'll see about doing that. They called me at 6:15 AM (Friday) and I was still asleep. I left the house around 6:45 and when I came home, I saw that the phone (caller ID) said USC. It shows that they're really interested in me even though I committed to a school. I'm going to show USC some respect."

The recruiting process will continue throughout the spring and summer for Fowler. The talented end is still planning on taking several unofficial visits but will likely save most of his long distance travel for official visits.

"If I do take any unofficials, I'm going to stay in Florida," he said. "Probably Florida and Miami and USF, I've got to show my hometown some love. If I take my official visits, it will be Florida State, USC, Miami and USF."

The weekend also offered the chance for Fowler to get a glimpse at what awaits him once he arrives as a full time student in Tallahassee. The Seminoles Garnet and Gold spring game was not the only thing he did on Saturday however.

"Florida State is a great school and I like what they're doing with their program," Fowler said. "I was at the Spring Game and it was good seeing a lot of people I'm going to be playing with. Seeing some of the recruits that might commit to Florida State, I tried doing a little bit of recruiting. It was nice."

Casher a close second but primed to dominate

One of the players who certainly passed the eye test this weekend was Mobile (Ala.) defensive end Chris Casher. Also a Florida State commitment, he came to this year's Nike Camp determined to use the techniques he learned last year to dominate the competition.

"I had fun. Last year when I went to the Nike Camp, the thing I wanted to work on was my hand technique in tight quarters," Casher said. "In one-on-ones today, I saw it pay off and I did real good at that."

The 6-foot-4, 240 pound end had no problem going up against the plethora of offensive linemen but it was his fellow FSU commit that was his toughest competition on the day. The friendly rivalry - coupled with a few laughs and a bit of boisterous applause - was one of the highlights for the future defensive line mates.

"I feel as though me and Dante were the two best as far as D-line," Casher said. "We're friends but we still compete against each other, he wants to beat me and I want to beat him."

Like Fowler, Casher is still receiving attention from college recruiters who feel they're not out of it yet. Despite the communication that goes on between him and colleges, Casher says he's still sold on Florida State being the place for him.

"Oh yeah," he said. "On Friday's my coach gives me a pile of letters. But I'm solid, I'm not going anywhere.

"I've always sort of been a fan and when I got on campus, it felt like family. I wanted to be a part of that. It was just a connection. I watched and rooted for them because my dad is a Florida State fan. When I got up in age and schools started recruiting me and when Dameyune Craig was going to talk to me, I jumped on it. When I wanted to commit my dad wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing it just because he was a fan and I told him no."

Like many other commitments, Casher attended the Seminoles' spring game and liked what he saw of his future battery-mates.

"The defense was solid, they were real solid," he said of the spring game. "I'm looking forward to being able to join the team and get that jersey. I was looking at (quarterback E.J. Manuel) and E.J. might be bigger than me. I talked with Coach (Jimbo) Fisher too."

Hicks impresses at end but could see future on offense

One of the more intriguing prospects at the camp was Blackshear (Ga.) athlete Quayvon Hicks. A compact but explosive player, Hicks was one of the tougher match ups during one-on-one drills thanks to a quick first step and the ability to bull rush using his tremendous upper body strength.

"I think I did pretty good today," Hicks said of his day. "I wanted to learn how to use my hands better against the offensive line."

As one of over 30 players from the state of Georgia who will be heading to a FBS school, Hicks was determined to not only get better but also prove himself against some of the best in the region.

"I think it makes me better as an athlete to come out here and compete against some of the best athletes in my class and even other classes," he said. "Dante Fowler and an FSU commit (Casher) in my class were out here and we're all going at it. I went at both inside and outside and was just trying to do my thing."

Already holding offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami and Tennessee, more than one school is close to offering according to Hicks.

"A lot of SEC schools are evaluating film and what position I'll play at the next level," he said. "I think some will come through in the spring and see me."

The schools that are close to offering are evaluating him at mainly at fullback and defensive end. The May Evaluation Period will be key for some of them to get a chance to see what skills he has and where he might fit in best. Despite not really knowing where he might play, Hicks is receiving plenty of attention from schools as his recruitment is starting to pick up.

"Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Georgia," he said were his top schools. "I might play fullback or something until my body grows. So after the first year or second year, I think most of them are going to move me to defense."

Hicks is mainly looking at the school and not necessarily the position he will play in college. That said, he does have a position of preference and based on what he showed at the Nike Camp, it's easy to see why.

"I love to rush the quarterback, that's what I live for," he said. "But I wouldn't mind playing where I'm needed at."

The 6-foot-2, 255 pound bowling ball is planning on taking a few unofficial visits in the months leading up to when he can officially visit. Though he didn't have an exact date nailed down in terms of a commitment, he said he wanted to make sure he has seen several schools to get an understanding of everyone that is recruiting him. Alabama and Auburn are two schools who will be receiving a visit in the near future.

Laith more than impressive at tight end

It's often hard for a tight end to stand out at an event like the Nike Camp outside of his size given the abundance of wide receivers and other skill position talent. That said, it wasn't too surprising to see Tallahassee (Fla.) tight end Laith Harlow make play after play against competition he's generally not used to seeing.

"Coming out here meant a lot today because it's the top of the top of the top," Harlow said. "You want to come where you get the most experience and get shown the most. I had a lot of fun out here today and I felt like I got better and worked with the top and competed and overall today was a good day for me."

With well over 20 offers, Harlow is not quite ready to start narrowing down his list. Still open to just about everybody, expect schools to extend an offer if they haven't already done so once they size up Harlow when they stop by Godby High this spring.

"I've got quite a few offers already," he said. "I'm just focused on high school right now and I love every college right now and I'm taking everything into consideration. There's nobody who really stands out or is recruiting me harder than the other."

Because he's still open to just about everybody, Harlow is flexible as far as when he makes a verbal commitment. Right now he has it tentatively pegged for the first Wednesday in February but there's no timetable at the current moment.

"It doesn't really matter to me, I'm not set on Signing Day being the day, I may commit early," he said. "It's whenever you feel that home feeling, that, 'this is it' right now, that's when you commit."

The 6-foot-5, 240 pound tight end looked like he could be a major addition in any offense thanks to his size and flexibility as a blocker in addition to being able to flex out and run routes. Harlow is deceptively fast and runs crisp, precise routes. Although he hasn't started to really begin unofficially visiting schools, he did manage to make a trip all the way to Eugene to visit Oregon this past weekend.

"Oregon was a lot of fun, they showed me a lot of love up there," Harlow said. "It was a good time, the coaches were really nice, the players were really cool and down to earth. Real nice campus and I'm not really afraid of leaving home so that's not a problem for me."

Miller eyes a few SEC schools

It was a strong group of offensive linemen at the camp and the player with the best looking frame was Palm Beach (Fla.) tackle Patrick Miller. You can tell Miller used to play a bit at tight end not because of his height but due to the way he moves his feet. He held his own during limited reps during one-on-ones but didn't live up to his own high expectations for the day.

"Not as well as I wanted to," Miller said. "I just came out to show what I have to offer and check out what Florida State has to offer. I have some friends from here so it was kind of a little vacation too."

The Seminoles are one of several schools who have already offered and Miller used the day before the camp to check out the Garnet and Gold spring game and see just what the school has to offer despite them not recruiting him heavily.

"I went in at the beginning for the tour and then I left and watched the spring game with some of my friends," he said. "I have an offer from FSU but I think they're pretty good on lineman and need a left tackle as much as some other schools."

There are several schools that are looking for a top-flight offensive tackle among the double digit list of offers Miller has. Unlike many players who are just starting to look closely at the recruiting process, the 6-foot-7, 270 pound Miller is primarily looking at schools in the SEC.

"Florida, Auburn, LSU are the three that keep repeating, those are my top three" he said. "Who knows. I just got an offer from Alabama too. They offered me and my quarterback Faton Bauta."

The Florida State visit was not Miller's first nor was it his last. Although he won't travel extensively, he hopes to narrow things down before the season starts so he can take just a select few official visits.

"I've taken a few unofficial visits," he said. "Whenever the time comes around I'll take three officials and I'll just do the top three schools and keep it simple. I know all these schools can show you a good time and try to persuade you but you've got to be smart."

While being in the SEC seems to be requirement number one for the talented offensive lineman, there are a host of other qualities Miller is looking for before he eventually makes a verbal commitment later in the year.

"I'm looking for someone who needs a left tackle," he said of his preference for early playing time. "I'm looking for a good college town to have fun but also able to work hard. Playing time and other people at my position are factors. I want to see a bunch of offensive linemen who are just like me that like to work hard. I don't care where I go, I'll go wherever but I'm trying to stay in the SEC."

Competing is just the name of the game for Patti

If there's a football camp or competition in the South, the chances are good that Orlando (Fla.) quarterback Nick Patti will be there and ready to throw the ball to wherever an open receiver is.

"Coming in and measuring yourself going up against some of the best competition in the country," he said. "I always keep a chip on my shoulder because I'm always proving myself to people. But I love it and it's what I want to do."

Height is always an issue with Patti, who is about 5-foot-10. Despite his small stature, he can sling the football around with the best of them and was one of the most accurate quarterbacks at the event. It's clear that all Patti does is love to compete and he performed well enough in Tallahassee to be named position group MVP.

"It means a lot. Tyler Cameron was out here and I think a lot of him, he's good quarterback," Patti said. "It's good to come out on top every once and awhile."

There is budding interest in the Central Florida signal caller who currently holds offers from Louisiana Tech, Indiana and UCF. Patti expects USF to visit his school to see him on Thursday and has been told some 50 schools will stop by Dr. Phillips to see him and a host of other FBS-level recruits.

"I'm talking to a lot of people right now, pretty much it's UCF, Indiana, Boise State and USF," he said of schools standing out. "I'll be at Boise State on Tuesday and I just got back from Indiana last week. I loved Indiana, I was real surprised about it. It's a real college town, it's old and has a lot of history and you can just feel it. I loved the coaches, Coach (KevinWilson, you can just tell he has a good thing going there and he's going to do great things."

The trip up to Boise offers Patti a chance to see a school that, much like him, is all about playing against bigger competition and often coming out on top.

"They're a hidden gem," he said. "They're like me, they constantly want to prove people wrong and play the big dog and beat the big dog. That's what I want to do."

There's not a throw Patti cannot make and he was one of the most sound quarterbacks mechanically at the event. Although it seems as though his height is an issue, his grit and determination seem to make up for any shortcomings. As more and more schools start to jump in to the picture, Patti is comfortable in his own skin and just looking for a system that allows him to succeed.

"Somewhere where I can come in and play," he said. "I think I can play in any system, whether it's pro-style, spread, option, anything really. I think I can do it and I just want a system where the coach wants me the most."


- In addition to Patti and Fowler winning their respective position group MVPs, Citra (Fla.) running back Jamie Gilmore, Orlando (Fla.) receiver Drico Johnson, Lake City (Fla.) offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, Fleming Island (Fla.) linebacker Cameron McCurry and Tallahassee (Fla.) defensive back Travis Blanks also took home an MVP award.

- In addition to Blanks, cornerback P.J. Williams was particularly impressive at defensive back and made several plays while never seeming to let his man get out of half an arm's reach. Williams sported a Florida State hat that he has frequently worn at events and didn't mind answering any questions fellow recruits had about the local team. Still, he was overshadowed by Blanks, who lived up to his billing as the Maxpreps' top ranked defensive back. Not only did he have an interception after savvily baiting a quarterback and dropping into his zone like a veteran, but Blanks rarely had any receiver even get a look from a quarterback just because he was on him.

- Although the sidelines at the event were quite crowded, there was one parent who stood out from the crowd and it wasn't just because he was taller than most in attendance. Ken Griffey Jr., yes that Ken Griffey Jr., came to support his son Trey, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver who impressed those at the camp regardless of his last name. He has a good frame and runs routes well. He has soft hands and they're so big, you'd think he has on one of his dad's mitts instead of receiver gloves. He recently transferred to Orlando powerhouse Dr. Phillips and if he has a big season, look for him to grab a few BCS offers. Several schools are already interested in him but he is staying grounded thanks to his father.

"He teaches me what i need to do and what I should and shouldn't say," the younger Griffey said. "He wants me to take the SAT and that's the one thing he puts emphasis on. SAT and the ACT and always try your hardest, never give half effort."

- Jupiter (Fla.) quarterback Tyler Cameron was one of the other standouts in the quarterback group that was much better overall than at the Athens Nike Camp (which Cameron also attended). Cameron is getting looks from several quality programs and already holds offers from Boston College, Illinois, Louisville and Rutgers among others. He has the size you look for and was pretty accurate, spinning the ball well throughout the camp. Florida isn't known for producing a ton of great quarterbacks but Cameron could fight to have his name be under consideration as the top guy in-state. He needs to work on getting his arm angle up however because at times he'd get a little lazy and drop it on short to intermediate routes.

- It wasn't a huge surprise to see Jamie Gilmore perform well at this event given it really suits his skillet. He once again showed off quick feet and really seemed to keep his center of gravity low while exploding in and out of breaks. He holds a few offers from Big East and ACC programs but given his production, it might be just a matter of time before teams overlook his height and realize he's a playmaker.

- Although Chris Casher was impressive physically, Yulee (Fla.) 2013 running back Derrick Henry gave him a run for his money. Muscular for someone his age, the 6-foot-3, 230 pound Henry was the SPARQ MVP award winner after putting up eye-popping numbers, including a 4.53 40-yard dash. He looked a little bit stiff as a running back and ran a bit upright but several programs have extended offers, including most of the in-state schools. You could end up seeing Henry as an H-back or on defense as a linebacker or defensive end.

- Several of the local recruits had a good day but Lincoln High teammates Raphael Andrades and Ronald Butler were particularly impressive. Andrades is a 6-foot, 200 pound wide receiver who is well built and is a sleeper prospect as a slot guy. He runs crisp routes and has great hand. The best thing about Andrades is he's pretty polished, looking the ball in at all times, tucking it away quickly and knowing just how to run his routes. He holds offers from Illinois and Stanford at the moment but he should see his list start to grow quickly. Butler performed well at quarterback and was very sharp in all phases. He had a quick drop back and threw a very nice deep ball, turning over a sweet spiral.

- Lake City (Fla.) offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is an up-and-comer but looked good doing drills and in one-on-ones. He has the requisite size and a great frame to add weight. He is just a sophomore so his impressive showing means he's one to watch once the season rolls around. Several schools have already taken notice as he claimed offers from USC, USF, Florida and Arkansas.

- Others who impressed were Orlando (Fla.) offensive lineman Duaron Williams, Jacksonville (Fla.) quarterback Nathan Peterman, Gainesville (Fla.) cornerback Chris Bivins, Tampa (Fla.) quarterback Greg Windham, Birmingham (Ala.) tight end Canon Smith, Southlake (Fla.) receiver James Brooks and Palm Beach (Fla.) defensive tackle Mike Minns among others.

Posted on: April 16, 2011 5:36 am
Edited on: April 16, 2011 2:51 pm

Nkemdiche stars at Georgia Nike Camp

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATHENS, Ga. -- Hundreds of players from all over the Southeast braved an oncoming thunderstorm to showcase their skills at the University of Georgia in the latest edition of the Nike Football Training Camp and Elite 11 Quarterback Competition Friday night.

Once again, Georgia had a strong display of BCS-caliber talent at the camp and the state continues to show why recruiters from across the country are anxious to get a look at the next wave of talent coming out of the Peach State. The class of 2012 is loaded with talent along the defensive line and several of the state's 33 recruits with FBS offers made their way down to the camp.

While many of the highly regarded juniors flashed their skills during drills, it was not hard to see that Grayson (Ga.) sophomore defensive end Robert Nkemdiche was not only the most talented of the group, but easily the top player at the camp.

"They called me out and I did it," Nkemdiche said matter of factly. "It felt good."

His home state might end up sending close to 50 players to an FBS school from the defensive line come February but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who looks as good as Nkemdiche does at first glance. The 6-foot-4, 265 pound end was a physical specimen, showing up fit and ready to dominate older competition.

On top of a quick initial burst, he displayed several polished pass rush moves that even much older college players don't have. Making the most of a lightning quick spin move or just relying on a straight speed rush, Nkemdiche was impossible to stop in one-on-ones all night long. Thought he will continue to grow and mature at the position, the gifted pass rusher is already thinking ahead at what he wants to work on the rest of the summer.

"I want to work on my speed," Nkemdiche said. "I real fast right now, like a 4.5 (40 yard dash) but I want to drop my time. I want to be the best I can be and the coaches want that too."

Nkemdiche's high school coaches also want to win, which is why he'll also try his hand at running back next season for Grayson. As terrifying as it might be to some opposing players to see someone of his size and skill running at them, Nkemdiche is equally excited at getting the chance to run over (and past) a few defenders to reach the end zone on offense.

"I can't wait," he said. "It's going to be great."

In spite of having almost two years before inking his signature on a letter of intent, the talented sophomore is already sitting on multiple scholarship offers. Given his unique blend of size, speed and pass rushing ability, it's easy to see why some schools feel the need to extend an offer early in hopes of making Nkemdiche's recruitment a quick one.

"Auburn was the last offer I got, maybe late January or early February," he said. "I don't know how many but I have over ten.

"Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and that's all I know off the top of my head right now."

Several programs' annual Spring Game is Saturday and Nkemdiche was planning on going to Alabama's "A-Day" but will instead catch most of the day's action at home. He'll continue to exploit offensive linemen on Sunday however, when he'll head to the Atlanta Under Armour Camp.

Utilizing his unique skill set is something Nkemdiche will continue to do throughout the summer and has already planned out a few unofficial visits and camp stops between now and the end of July.

"In the summer I'm going to go to a couple schools," he said. "LSU, Alabama and Auburn's camps. Just (visit) as many schools as I can."

Nkemdiche was one of only two sophomore to walk off the field as a position MVP but based on his performance Friday night, he might as well have been holding the title of top recruit in the Southeast for 2013.

And you'd find few who would be willing to argue if he snagged it either.

Alexander, Eligwe share the spotlight

Just as impressive as the defensive line group, the linebackers in attendance received their share of publicity and right fully so. With eight players holding multiple BCS offers, there might not have been a better position group all year. In fact, many of the camp instructors had a hard time thinking of a better group of linebackers in the decade long history of the Nike Camps.

Fittingly, the position MVP award was one of the toughest decisions of the night so the coaches ended up making Oxford (Ala.) stud Kwon Alexander and Stone Mountain (Ga.) linebacker Ukeme Eligwe co-MVPs.

"I feel like I did great and showcased my talent," Eligwe said. "There was a lot of great players out here today."

"I really just wanted to do my best and learn from everybody," said Alexander.

Eligwe made the case to be the top linebacker in the state - if he wasn't already - thanks to his size and very good quickness. He opened his hips well and hardly let anything get past him during drills. A top performer in all of the one-one drills, the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder also wouldn't mind an extra rep or two against Alexander to settle who really was the top linebacker at the event.

"That would be nice," Eligwe said with a smile. "He's a good player also so I don't feel different, it's all good. I came out here to have fun and do what I have to do."

The speedy Alexander was quite confident who would eventually prevail and would have loved to see another play to decide top dog.

"Yeah I want another," he said with a grin. "I want to be the best out there."

Both players have seen the amount of offers rolling in slow to a trickle due mostly to the fact that they have a scholarship awaiting from pretty much every major school in the country. Alexander is known for his speed out on the field and is mainly focusing on track this offseason and keeping recruiting in the outside lane for the time being. Despite being 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Alexander runs an 11.2 second 100 meters and also stars in the 200 meters. All of the time spent on the track working to shave off a few seconds means the bulk of his recruitment will come during the summer and into the fall.

"There's no one standing out right now," he said. "Everybody's still the same. After track season I'm going to do a few unofficial (visits) and then once the season starts I'll do my official visits.

"I'll take all five official visits. I'm going to take one to Oregon, USC, UCLA. I'll take a couple of them down (in Alabama)."

Eligwe isn't as involved with track as Alexander and as a result is able to narrow down his list of suitors somewhat.

"My most recent offer was last week but I can't really remember," he said, adding that they've all blended together a bit. "Florida State's standing out. More than likely I'll be at their Spring Game."

Florida and Georgia are also standing out according Eligwe, who received an early morning phone call Friday from South Carolina's staff on the first day of the May Evaluation Period. With so many schools vying for his attention Eligwe is starting to look a bit closer to home as to where he might attend college.

"More than likely yes but I wouldn't just say I'm going to stay in the area," he said. "Those are just some of my top schools right now"

Alexander also received an early morning phone call Friday and the SEC staff who made it ended up making an impression on the talented linebacker.

"Arkansas called me about six," he said. "It was good because they were the first team that called me. I didn't know that today was there time to call me so that surprised me when they called. They just asked what's up and everything."

The Hogs are not the only school who is in hot pursuit of Alexander, though. Several schools from both the Pac-12 and the SEC are heavily recruiting him.

"Oregon, Auburn, Alabama, USC, LSU," Alexander said. "I don't mind where I go, it's just where it makes me feel a part of a family."

No stranger to campus, Elder looks solid at the camp

There are few players who actually are defensive backs. You have safeties, you have corners and a few times you even find a nickel corner among the bunch. College Park (Ga.) defensive back Chaz Elder however, lives up to the label.

The 6-foot-2, 290 pound Elder played a bit of both Friday during drills and one-on-ones and displayed the speed and agility to excel as either a big corner or a prototypical safety. Even he didn't get caught up in what position he ran out on to the field for, it was all about the reps.

"I actually have no idea, I just play," Elder responded when asked which position he's better at.

It's hard to disagree, especially if you're a college coach. Holding a double-digit offer list, Elder has his pick of the litter and has schools recruiting him at both safety and corner.

"Some colleges say I'll be a good-sized corner,” he said. “Others say I'd be good at safety. It doesn't matter to me. Again, I just want to play."

Elder recently picked up another offer, the latest being from Southern Miss. Even though the offers keep rolling in, the Georgia native is starting to narrow down his list and sees three schools separating from the pack.

"It's between Illinois, Clemson and Georgia," Elder said. "It's mostly Clemson and UGA because I've visited them the most. I came up (to Georgia) for one of the spring practices. At Clemson, it's mainly the coaches and the people (I like)."

Despite his top two being pretty close to home, Elder added that he would have no reservations about heading off aways for school if he found the right fit.


- Position MVPs were McDonough (Ga.) defensive back D.J. White, Florida-bound running back Mike Davis of Stone Mountain (Ga.), Alexander and Eligwe at linebacker, Lithonia (Ga.) offensive lineman Joe Harris and Nkemdiche on the defensive line.

- Gainesville (Ga.) wide receiver C.J. Curry was looking forward to going up against Tallahassee (Fla.) defensive back Travis Blanks and the two did not disappoint, waging several good battles during one-on-ones.

"I'm not going to make any excuses, he got me," Curry said. "He had a good day and worked hard to get the W today."

A Georgia commit, Curry also didn't mind bringing up the Bulldogs to a few of more well known recruits at the camp.

"It's always fun," Curry said. "I was trying to talk to Blanks (about Georgia). Other than going against him, I didn't really see him though."

With Georgia's class of 2011 nicknaming themselves the “Dream Team,” Curry said he was working on a nickname for the class of 2012.

- It was not a particularly strong group of quarterbacks for either the Nike Camp or the Elite 11 and the howling winds and light rain didn't help things either. Orlando (Fla.) quarterback Nick Patti showed off his arm again and continues to impress on the camp circuit. If it were not for his height (5-foot-10) he'd be getting offers from a lot of BCS programs. Cleveland (Tenn.) signal caller Chad Voytik also impressed with his accuracy and was probably the top guy at the event but did not participate in the Nike Camp portion. The finals of the Elite 11 were cut off due to inclement weather.

- Buford (Ga.) offensive tackle Vadal Alexander, who has offers from just about everybody, was one of several recruits to get a 6 A.M. phone call from the USC coaching staff. Alexander said he spoke to Ed Orgeron and James Cregg for several minutes and was surprised by the call. At this point, he has already been to LSU, Alabama and Auburn but says all schools are in the race to land his services.

- If you were looking for Louisville commit Larry Jefferson, you wouldn't find him catching passes Friday night. Although he is being recruited at tight end, Jefferson made the trip to Athens to learn a few new tricks for his other position.

"I'm a tight end but I went to defensive end because I play D-end in high school too," he said. "I just wanted to learn more stuff about the position."

When asked why he wants to play on offense in college, Jefferson was quite honest with his answer.

"I love getting the ball," he said with a nice laugh. "I like scoring touchdowns and everything. I'm committed and done, stress is off my shoulders."

- A few others who impressed were linebacker Dillon Lee out of Buford (Ga.), Powder Springs (Ga.) offensive tackle Kofi Amichia, Dublin (Ga.) 2013 linebacker Johnny O'Neal, Stepheson (Ga.) linebacker Raphael Kirby, Norcross (Ga.) receiver Jason Croom, 2013 defensive end Reginald Carter out of Stephenson (Ga.), Hillgrove (Ga.) athlete Kenyan Drake, 2013 Autauga (Ala.) tight end O'Terrius Howard and Charlotte (N.C.) linebacker Nick Dawson among others.

Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:00 pm

Cat's out of the bag, Ringer commits to Michigan

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Michigan added a highly regarded linebacker a few days before he made his commitment public thanks to a mistake by the Dayton Daily News yesterday.

Clayton (Ohio) linebacker Kaleb Ringer was supposed to announce that he committed to the Wolverines on Friday, his birthday, but an article announcing the verbal pledge was published beforehand.

"My parents, family and friends were very supportive," he told the paper. "That helps in the process.”

The 6-foot, 200 pound linebacker holds scholarship offers from Iowa, Illinois, Louisville and several others.

Ringer is the nephew of former Michigan State standout running back Javon Ringer. He is the third commitment for Michigan's class of 2012 and the first on the defensive side of the ball.

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