Tag:USF
Posted on: March 13, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 7:05 pm
 

USF Badger Sports 7-on-7 ends in upset

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TAMPA, Fla. - You could tell how happy the Footballers Fire team was to win the Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 tournament when the players kept asking when they would head to California for the national 7-on-7 finals.

And kept asking 30 minutes after the field cleared. And probably asked a few more times on the ride home.

The Footballers Fire had extra motivation to upset all-star team and number two overall seed South Florida Express. After holding an open try out in Miami for the team, many of the top players who were not chosen were selected to play with the Fire.

"We're a first year team and coming in and beating the defending champions is great," said Pompano Beach (Fla.) cornerback Adrian Burton. "They said we were rejects from their team and we showed them that we're just as good. I say we're better because we beat them."

"We just wanted to win," Plantation (Fla.) athlete Deshawn Lindsay said. "I came in to this game ready to play my heart out and give it everything. I was hoping we'd beat South Florida Express. I went to their tryout and didn't make their team. I was grateful to be picked up by Footballers Fire."

Footballers Fire and South Florida Express played each other in the very first game of the event on Saturday, with the Express pulling out a close game. The rematch in the title game had a key difference however, a more focused and expereinced team taking on the top dog.

"It kind of woke us up," Burton said of the first game. "We talked and said you might beat us once but you're not going to beat us twice. We were a lot more confident this game. The first game I felt we should have won too because we only lost 18-13. It was the first game (in the tournament) so we still had to get our jitters out."

In the end though, it was the repetitions and hard work the team put in before the the tournament that several players credited as the reason they were hoisting the Badger Sports Trophy.

"We practiced every other day for this," Lindsay said. "We just did our thing out here."

Posted on: March 13, 2011 7:06 am
 

Elite 11/Badger Sports 7-on-7 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TAMPA, Fla. - To play against a team of all-stars, bringing your “A game” is a must. Sometimes, even an “A+ game” isn’t enough.

Such was the case at the Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 tournament Saturday night. Despite several terrific - some would even say ridiculous - catches by Citra (Fla.) tight end Sean Price, Team Showtime narrowly lost to all-star travel team South Florida Express in one of the most exciting games in day one round-robin play.

Price nearly pulled off the upset single-handedly, slightly misjudging a deep pass that would have given Showtime a two-score advantage late in the game. Though he didn’t make that play, the talented tight end used it as motivation.

“I’m used to making plays, that’s nothing new,” Price said. “On the last play, I felt kind of disappointed in myself though because I kind of underestimated the ball and what was going to happen. I can’t hold my head on it, it happens. I just have to play better the next game.

The 6-foot-4, 210 pound Price put on a show for much of the evening, bringing down several one-handed catches and showing off his vertical leap by out-jumping more athletic defensive backs. His best quality was the ability to attack the ball in the air and snatch it away from just about everybody. Though the Showtime team was at times relying exclusively on Price for offense, the young tight end said the team was starting to gel as the night progressed.

“We just started and have only had a few practices,” Price said. “End of the night, we’re starting to get our swag and chemistry up. Things started to click. We know we’re just as good as that team and one of the best out here.”

Price and Team Tampa/Land O’Lakes (Fla.) tight end Kent Taylor were both impressive at the position and will likely battle for the title of best in the state at the position throughout the upcoming season. Price already holds scholarship offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State and others.

“Recent offers are Tennessee, Clemson, LSU, Miami and USF,” he said. “Most are looking at me on offense at tight end. A few have said I could play at defensive end if I want to because I play that in high school too.”

Given Price’s frame, adding weight and playing linebacker at the next level could be something for college coaches to consider, especially considering how well he moved in coverage in limited time on defense during the competition. With multiple schools after his services, Price plans on committing after his senior season and has already scheduled an unofficial visit to Miami next week to give a close look at one of his favorites.

“My top four would be Florida, USF, Miami and possibly Alabama,” he said. “I’m going to go wherever they give me love. If it’s out of state, doesn’t matter, I’ll go there too.”

Fuller tries his hand at safety

Another player who caught the eye of several observers with stellar play Saturday was Fort Myers (Fla.) linebacker/safety Tajarvis Fuller. Playing at both linebacker and safety, the junior used the Badger Sports 7-on-7 competition to adjust to his new position in the secondary after playing mostly linebacker in high school.

“I’m working on trying to be a better safety,” Fuller said. “All of the colleges recruiting me are recruiting me as a strong safety. I’ve never played it before so I’m working on my feet, turning my hips and getting my body right. I just want to show everybody that I’m capable of playing the safety position and showing them what I’m capable of doing.”

The 6-foot-2, 185 pound athlete displayed good quickness but was timid at times while in coverage. Thin for a linebacker, Fuller readily admitted that he would try to add some weight despite changing positions.

“I’ll be playing safety in the spring,” he said. “I still want to get bigger and bulk up 10, 15 pounds. I don’t want to get up to like 230 though.”

Holding scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, UCF and UCLA, Fuller wore a Miami hat most of the afternoon and did not shy away from expressing his excitement over his most recent offer from the Hurricanes.

“We went down there last Saturday and again on Thursday,” he said. “That’s two times in one week and we talked with Coach (Al) Golden and (defensive backs coach Paul Williams). I was really excited about it. We went down there for the first spring practice.

“Illinois is recruiting me very, very heavily. Top five, Miami is number one, Clemson number two. Alabama is number three but I don’t have an offer. Georgia Tech maybe and then Illinois.”

Although Miami is firmly in the lead, Fuller’s recruitment also has one other factor that will have an effect on where he plays college football.

“Me and Christian Brown, a defensive tackle at my school, we’re going to go to the same college,” Fuller said. “The plan is to commit, maybe, after spring or right at the beginning of the fall.”

Brown’s offer list doesn’t quite match up with Fuller’s but the two do share several offers and both figure to pick up several more over the next few months.

Crow solid throwing and in commitment

The Elite 11 competition in Orlando featured a spirited competition among many of the top quarterbacks from the region and Miami commit Gray Crow was one of several that stood out from the pack. Although he might not have been the top guy at the event, he did turn in a solid performance even if he thought it wasn’t that great.

“Personally, I’m a perfectionist, so I felt like I left a little out here,” Crow said. “I felt like I could have done better. I’m going to take these drills I learned out here and use them to try and improve every single time I put my cleats on.”

Though several schools have reached out and continued to recruit him, Crow remains firmly committed to the Hurricanes for a number of reasons.

“It was my favorite school as a little kid and the combination of academics and the relationship with Coach (Jedd) Fisch and Coach Golden,” he said. “The type of people they are, match my personality. I really like that and having a pro-style offense. Then you get to play at a school like Miami also.”

“I’m set on Miami, no doubt about it.”

The Clearwater (Fla.) product recently traveled down to see Miami go through spring practice and was impressed with the new direction of the program under Golden.

“The practices are very different, very fast paced,” Crow said. “He just brings the attitude that we want to win. He has very good character like myself and he’s going in there and picking everybody back up.”

News and notes

- In addition to Crow and the other quarterbacks mentioned in an earlier update, Tampa (Fla.) quarterback Greg Windham stood out. Earning a coveted yellow jersey as one of the most accurate passers, Windham was very fluid when throwing the ball and has decent size at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds.

- Orlando (Fla.) quarterback Nick Patti surprised with a great arm despite being about 5-foot-10. A quick release and an accurate arm normally gets attention at Elite 11 competitions and Patti earned a yellow jersey as well on top of being named one of the best at the event. The only knock seems to be his height but he is a player and showed his competitiveness off at the event. He was scheduled to throw at the Badger Sports 7-on-7 later in the day but pulled a muscle according to the Orlando Sentinel.

- Class of 2013 quarterback Akeem Jones displayed a cannon of an arm in both events Saturday. He has great size at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and gets the ball to the receiver in a hurry. Jones is still raw as a passer but making the elite travel team as a sophomore is an indication of just how talented he is. He might end up playing wide receiver in college but he’s got a good head on his shoulders and a great work ethic so it wouldn’t be too surprising if he ended up getting a shot to play quarterback first.

- Former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins is an instructor at the Elite 11 this year. The always enthusiastic Hawkins said he will be attending several spring practices, starting with BYU next week, and instructing at the Elite 11 camps on the weekend. His son, former Colorado quarterback and Elite 11 counselor Cody Hawkins, is in Sweden preparing to play quarterback for a team there.

- Teams from South Florida dominated the Badger Sports event, with three going undefeated in round-robin play. Elite travel team South Florida Express went a perfect 4-0 and had an unbelievable collection of talent at wide receiver, led by LSU commit Avery Johnson and Herb Waters. The South Florida Blur were led by several good performances from wide out Jamie Wilson.

- Florida commit Matt Jones did not play with an undisclosed injury.

- Orlando (Fla.) defensive back Ty Law said he recently picked up offers from N.C. State and West Virginia.

Posted on: March 12, 2011 3:04 pm
 

Update from the Orlando Elite 11 competition

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ORLANDO, Fla. - The annual ESPN RISE Elite 11 quarterback competition kicked off at Central Florida Saturday morning with several of the top quarterbacks from the state of Florida and elsewhere showing up to display their arms.

One of the top quarterbacks at the event was Plant City (Fla.) signal caller Bennie Coney. Despite having to throw into the wind most of the day, Coney displayed a strong arm and very smooth delivery, throwing a perfect spiral on just about every ball. On top of competing against top flight competition, the senior-to-be came into the day just looking to get better.

"Just basic stuff, footwork, progression and learning how to read the field faster," Coney said. "I felt like I did good, accomplished a lot. "I just felt like I got better overall."

The 6-foot-2, 215 pound quarterback was physically the most impressive looking player at the competition. Already drawing scholarship offers from Auburn, Boston College, Florida State, Michigan and Virginia Tech among others, Coney recently picked up two more from two intriguing programs.

"Cincinnati and USF," he said. "I checked out (Cincinnati's) roster and they're low on quarterbacks. Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame are all good schools too. In the summer I know I'm going to take a lot of unofficial visits."

Coney will not make the short drive over to the Badger Sports 7-on-7 in Tampa this weekend but he is scheduled to attend the Josh Freeman Football Camp in a few weeks.

Other quarterbacks impress

After impressing everyone at the Rutgers Badger Sports 7-on-7, Wayne (N.J.) quarterback Kevin Olsen continued to show why he's in the mix to be the top quarterback in the class of 2013. Displaying a strong arm, he had several very nice looking throws on outs and to the flat. The younger brother of Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen, Kevin stood out as one of the few quarterbacks who was a passer and not a thrower at the position.

Miami commit Gray Crow was also one of the better quarterbacks at the event. The Clearwater (Fla.) native displayed a slightly above average arm but was fairly accurate throughout the day. His footworks and mechanics are very sound and the 6-foot-2, 210 pound Crow was easily one of the more polished passers in attendance.

We'll have more on the Orlando Elite 11 competition and the Badger Sports 7-on-7 at USF later today.

Posted on: March 12, 2011 7:36 am
 

3/12 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Tons of great action today with the Elite 11 kicking off at UCF, the Badger Sports 7-on-7 at USF and the Jacksonville Under Armour Combine.

- Coveted athlete Shaq Thompson has re-opened his recruitment just days after committing to Cal.

- A brief look at how recruiting could be impacted at Ohio State in the wake of the Jim Tressel controversy.

- A few names to watch at today's previously mentioned Badger Sports 7-on-7.

- Miami could be one of the schools in the running for 2011 quarterback Jerrard Randall.

- Michigan State is eyeing an Ohio running back William Mahone.

Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:49 am
 

3/8 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Tons of links headed your way in the roundup today. Already appears to be a busy Tuesday in the recruiting world.

- Recruiting services have been thrust to the forefront of the recruiting world with the issues at Oregon. The Seattle Times examined Washington's use of them and how much several of them cost.

- Wide receiver Dwayne Stanford picked up a pair of big offers from USC and Louisville.

- Linebacker Joe Bolden added an N.C. State offer.

- Defensive back Samuel Green added an offer from nearby USF.

- Three Palm Beach County offensive linemen are being recruited by major programs across the country.

- Michigan has scheduled several players to come in for an unofficial visit over the upcoming weeks, including top offensive lineman Dan Voltz.

- More on Alabama commit Brandon Greene. Two other Georgia players, James DeLoach and Jonathan Taylor, are being recruited by several BCS conference schools.

Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:51 am
 

3/7 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- A bunch of Arkansas-related recruiting tidbits.

- Wide receiver Daniel Braverman picked up offers from USF and Kansas this weekend.

- Some more on Clemson commit and defensive end Shaq Lawson at the beginning of this article with tons of nuggets on South Carolina recruiting.

- A look at some of the top talent in the state of Alabama this year.

- All of the class of 2012 commitments from the state of Texas.

Posted on: February 21, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Miami Nike Combine/Ft. Lauderdale NUC Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

FORT LAUDERDALE - Once again, the South Florida region continues to amaze with the sheer amount of skill position talent available. Although it’s a particularly good year for Florida linemen, several unknown skill position players from the region jumped into the spotlight after the Nike Sparq Combine in Miami on Saturday and the National Underclassman Combine (NUC) in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

Coming from out of nowhere, outside linebacker Justin Horton posted the best Sparq score in the nation on Saturday with a 115.95. The Clermont (Fla.) defender ran a 4.58 in the 40 yard dash at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds and was easily the talk of the combine.

“I had gone to a previous combine and I just wanted to come out here and grab a better score,” Horton said. “I didn’t think much of it until I came over and everybody started getting excited. I really didn’t know what to expect today.”

The impressive Sparq score is an indicator of Horton’s athleticism and he certainly looks the part of an outside linebacker at the next level. Although he played mostly at defensive end last year, he racked up 65 tackles and hopes to have an even bigger season in 2011 by playing some linebacker. With only a little interest from schools such as Louisville and USF, expect coaches from around the South to be asking for Horton’s highlight tape this week.

Coral Springs (Fla.) defensive end/linebacker Cameron Smith posted a slightly lower 94.50 Sparq score but certainly looked the part of a Division I player. Although he doesn’t have any offers, several schools are showing interest.

“I want to play (defensive) end,” he said. “Most schools are looking at me as defensive end or outside linebacker. I’ve got a couple of letters, a lot actually, from Boston College. I’ve had some from Iowa State, USF, awhile ago I had some from Miami, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Duke.”

Smith displayed nice side-to-side movement and after racking up double-digit sacks as a junior, could be primed for a breakout senior year if the combine is any indication.

Jones impresses

Sophomore quarterback Akeem Jones stood out from the crowd of skill position players on both Saturday and Sunday. Already receiving interest from the likes Miami, Florida State, Florida and Rutgers, Jones has been a hot name in recruiting circles after making the 7-on-7 travel team South Florida Express two weeks ago.

Recording an 81.12 Sparq score at the Nike Combine, the 6-foot-3, 190 pound Jones showed off his arm at the NUC, throwing a very catchable ball with good accuracy on short to intermediate throws. Jones didn’t play much during the season due to injury so he’s using camps over the summer to get better on the field for his upcoming season.

“I got hurt the fourth game of the season, broke my ankle in three places. I wasn’t able to play the rest of the season,” Jones said. “Right now my mindset is I just want to win a state championship. I want to get my team to that next level and see how I’m going to lead them there. I want people to say, ‘look at how he set an example for a lot of kids.’ That’s my goal.”

Jones looks like a taller version of former Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor with his throwing motion and strong arm. He won the NUC Leadership Award and was almost like another coach on the field by helping out his receivers and correcting their alignment on plays during the one-on-one portion of the combine. Expect to keep hearing Jones’ name as he travels around the country to other camps and competitions.

Speed is the name of the game

South Florida produces some of the fastest players in the country and both camps had two players turn in blazing 40 yard dash times.

At the NUC combine, Hollandale (Fla.) running back Jared Sanders blazed a 4.37 and 4.40 (hand-timed) in the 40 yard dash to grab the fastest man award. A bit small at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Sanders could be a slot receiver in college despite playing running back in high school. He was a terror to cover in one-on-one drills and had better hands than most, if not all, the wide receivers competing.

Sanders has had some interest from Miami, Illinois and FIU and could see even more schools start to take a look as the summer goes on.

Miami (Fla.) receiver John Green was the fastest man at the Nike camp, running a 4.46 (electronically-timed) 40 yard dash, which was the fastest time in the nation among all Nike combines this year.

“My fastest 40 is a 4.33,” he said. “I play slot receiver, kick returner and this year I’ll be the starting safety.”

Also a track star, Green has no offers but is being shown interest from coaches at Florida State, Kansas, Kansas State and Duke but says he hopes to hear from Miami soon. He plans on attending camps at Florida State and Kansas among others.

Burton takes Overall MVP award at NUC

2012 cornerback Adrian Burton attended both combines and made his name known at both of them. Posting a 98.46 Sparq rating at the Nike combine, Burton was hampered by a bit of fatigue from being in the sun all day and still managed to run a 4.67 in the 40 yard dash. He did much better on Sunday at the NUC, running a 4.51 and showing off impressive coverage skills in one-on-ones.

“It felt good to come out here after recovering and show that I am a D-1 prospect,” Burton said.

Burton was very fluid and excelled in press coverage against the top competition at the NUC. He took home Overall MVP honors and is seeing his recruiting pick up as of late. In-state programs like Florida and Florida State have shown interest but Miami is recruiting Burton the hardest. He recently went to the Hurricanes’ Junior Day and expects an offer to come from the staff shortly.

“I went to the one versus North Carolina,” Burton said. “I loved it, it felt just like home. Coach (Al) Golden is a real good coach, he’s really interactive with the players. I feel real comfortable there.”

As one of the top corners in Miami, expect to keep hearing Burton’s name pop up during the summer.

NUC Awards

2012 Quarterback MVP: Chase Bender from Cardinal Gibbons HS.
Running back MVP: Bo Ellis, a 2013 running back from Miami Gulliver Prep who ran a 4.57 in the 40 yard dash.
Defensive back MVP: Deshawd Tucker from Hollandale HS, he has interest from Miami, Oregon, Wisconsin and FIU but no offers at this time.
Wide Receiver MVP: Davaunte Robbins, who ran a 4.55 40 yard dash.
Combine King and Fastest Man: Jared Sanders.
Overall MVP: Adrian Burton.

Top Nike Sparq Scores

Top Sparq Rating: Justin Horton
Top 40 Yard Dash: John Green
Top Vertical Jump: Billy Crook (QB, Naples, Fla.)
Top Agility Shuttle: Kevon Caffey (RB, Miami, Fla.) 
Top Power Ball Toss: Pedro Sibiea (DE, Homestead, Fla.)
Posted on: February 19, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 9:33 pm
 

Florida adds two more for '12

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One is nice, two is twice as nice. That's precisely what head coach Will Muschamp is thinking after grabbing commitments from a pair of players during Florida's Junior Day Saturday.

Stone Mountain (Ga.) running back Mike Davis and Largo-Pinellas Park (Fla.) linebacker Jeremi Powell both committed to Florida, Davis doing so on his 18th birthday. The pair give the Gators five commitments for the class of 2012.

“I just felt at home here,” Davis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I talked to all the coaches and they told me everything I needed to know about the school and their system. So I wanted to go ahead and make my mind up and get on with it.”

Davis is the second running back to head to Florida, almost a week after the commitment of Seffner-Armwood (Fla.) back Matt Jones. The 5-foot-11, 185 pound Davis complements the much bigger Jones in the backfield as more of a speed back. He is also the younger brother of Washington Redskins running back James Davis.

The 6-foot-2, 200 pound Powell recorded 15 sacks his junior year and had interest from Iowa State, Purdue, South Carolina and USF among others.

“It's the best vibe from a visit I've ever had,” Powell told Swamp247.com. “The coaches were off the charts. It was better than I could have thought.”

The commitment of Davis likely means Florida is done recruiting at the running back position. Florida is expected to add at least two more linebackers this class.

 
 
 
 
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