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Tag:Alabama
Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:02 am
 

1/5 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Recruiting is the key to dominance for both LSU and Alabama.

 Taylor Decker's status is up in the air after two coaches left Notre Dame.

 It's a good year for talent in the state but Washington is missing out.

 After winning the Rose Bowl, Chip Kelly was right back out on the recruiting trail for Oregon.

 Maryland added a commitment from wide receiver Levern Jacobs.

 Georgia running back target Mike Davis says he is no jersey diva.

- A list of all of the decommits in the state of Georgia.
Posted on: January 1, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Rising Seniors Bowl news and notes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- It was a jam-packed week in the Peach state as top juniors from every corner of Georgia took place in the second annual AT&T Junior Bowl presented by Rising Seniors. A loaded West squad ended up taking home the win Friday night at Grady Stadium but the East made things very interesting and had a chance to win it before falling 27-20.

Stats

- The East was able to move the chains much more successfully than the West, picking up 18 first downs over the course of the game. Though both squads featured plenty of Division I players on defense, the East squad was the better offense, finishing with 363 yards compared to the West's 241. Had it not been for three blocked punts and the resulting good filed position, it's safe to say the there would be a different winner.

- The two offenses were almost complete opposites. The West struggled to pass the ball (105 yards) but ran the ball effectively (165 yards on the ground, taking out sacks). On the flip side, the East couldn't run at all (24 yards net) but was able to throw the ball for 339 yards and average almost six yards an attempt.

- The West ran just 55 plays compared to 80 for their opponent. Time of possession was nearly even.

- Each team missed an extra point and West kicker Harrison Butker missed a 30 yard field goal.

- Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was the offense for the East squad. He led them in rushing with 40 yards, including a nice 25 yard run to pick up a first down and move the offense into scoring position. He also finished 20-of-31 for 227 yards and three touchdowns and wasn't sacked.

- Other quarterbacks included Eddie Printz going 12-of-22 for 92 yards for the East and Parker McLeod going 5-of-9 for 71 yards.

- West running back Tyren Jones led his team in rushing and receiving, racking up 116 all-purpose yards for the game. Alvin Kamara had 113 for the East.

- The leading tackler was Cortez Leonard with 10 and he also had the game's only interception.

- Georgia commit Tray Matthews had a 93-yard kick off return and led everybody in all-purpose yardage.

- Quarterback Cole Segraves and linebacker Reuben Foster both left with an injury.

Top performers

Defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga.)

There weren't too many standouts along both lines but Adams certainly made an impact on defense and special teams. He's got great size and is a square block of mass that fires off low and overwhelmed some of the interior linemen at times. He has an early offer from Clemson but is hearing plenty from schools like Alabama, Florida State and others. Adams plays in a small classification so he answered some questions about going up against good talent this week and is a DT to keep an eye out for.

Wide receiver Carlos Burse (Alpharetta, Ga.)

Burse had the benefit of knowing the quarterback for the East team and that paid off with several big catches. He's got a great wide receiver frame and has long arms with big hands that caught just about everything thrown his way. He went over the middle without hesitation and was a solid route runner. Burse also showed a bit of burst after the catch.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs (Alpharetta, Ga.)

In terms of under-the-radar players who rose to the occasion and played well, Dobbs is tops on the list. He looked comfortable in the pocket despite pressure and was savvy in knowing when to take off and run and when to stay and throw a strike. The thing about him that really impressed was his touch on passes and the fact that he always threw a catchable ball. Well spoken and smart, Dobbs has all the things you look for in a signal-caller.

Linebacker Reuben Foster (LaGrange, Ga.)

Foster was no doubt the headliner of the event with Robert Nkemdiche out and he impressed at the linebacker position. If you heard a big hit, you didn't even have to look up to know who delivered it and was almost too aggressive and hungry at times. He wasn't tested much in terms of coverage skills but has a bright future ahead as a downhill player. He should be a great fit in Alabama's 3-4 scheme as an inside linebacker. He left with a concussion early on so was limited during the game but the affable Foster solidified his status as a top 2013 player.

Running back Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga.)

There wasn't too much separation amongst the running backs but Jones showed speed and burst that will serve him well at the next level. He's not the biggest player so don't expect him to get 30 carries a game but in the right system, he can be very productive. As a wing back or slot receiver, he can do damage in the passing game as well.

Athlete Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga.)

Another under-the-radar player who had a good week and game was Kamara. The thing that caused everybody's head to turn when he got the ball was his speed, which simply allowed him to run by defenders as he hit sixth gear. Kamara also displayed a good set of hands and adjusted to his role as a slot receiver well. He's listed as a running back but after his performance, and based on his size, he could wind up catching more passes at the next level than he thinks.

Safety Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga.)

Though he's known mostly for defense, Matthews really shined on special teams, returning a kick for a touchdown and showing a few moves returning punts as well. He's got great speed that allows him the freedom to roam a little bit more as a safety but also is big enough that it wouldn't be surprising if he ended up growing into an outside linebacker eventually. He's good friends with Foster and the two were the stars of the week.

Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:31 am
 

West wins Rising Seniors Bowl in 2013 showcase

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- The top juniors in the state of Georgia became friends all during the week but as soon as they donned the gray and blue uniforms and took to the field at Grady Stadium, just about everybody flipped a switch and turned into competitors.

Though there was a slight talent disparity in favor of the West squad, the East almost pulled off the upset but couldn't convert a blocked punt into points with under a minute left and fell 27-20 in the 2011 edition of the AT&T Georgia Junior Bowl.

The West roster featured plenty of Division I talent and was heavily favored by practice observers with players such as LaGrange (Ga.) linebacker and Alabama commitment Reuben Foster and Newnan (Ga.) and Georgia commit Tray Matthews. The team struggled on offense all night outside of a few big plays but managed to keep the lead thanks to special teams and defense. Foster didn't play as big of a role as many imagined, leaving with a concussion early in the game after making a tackle for a loss and hitting his head.

The two teams took several drives to get their feet under them in fact, before Alpharetta (Ga.) quarterback Joshua Dobbs was inserted for the East squad. He moved the offense efficiently, kept his eyes downfield and easily finished with the best passing numbers in the game, connecting on 20-of-31 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns.

"It was a great game and I had the opportunity to compete against the best talent around Georgia," Dobbs said. "My goal was just to come out here and prove myself, listen to the great speakers and enjoy the entire experience."

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound signal-caller holds just a scholarship offer from Princeton but is hearing from schools such as Duke, Vanderbilt and Stanford. With a good frame and the ability to take off and run (he led the East in rushing with 40 yards), Dobbs could be the latest under the radar recruit to emerge from the Rising Seniors game.

"There was a lot of good talent on the other side of the football," he said. "It always feels good to be successful in any game you play though."

Several all-purpose threats made a big impact for each side and provided some electrifying plays during the few times anybody was in the open field. Marietta (Ga.) running back Tyren Jones was the leading rusher and receiver for the West squad with 116 all-purpose yards and played a major role in his team's victory.

"We came in pretty cocky, we were figuring we were kind of stacked," said Jones. "We knew we were going to come together as a team and pull through with a win.

Jones already has offers from Duke, Georgia and Vanderbilt and could pick up a few more in the coming months after attending several Junior Days throughout the South. He scored go-ahead touchdown late in 4th quarter on a 44 yard run up the middle that showcased his pull-away speed.

Norcross (Ga.) athlete Alvin Kamara also flashed plenty of speed Friday night and should be in line for several more offers beyond the single one he holds from Syracuse.

"They lined me up in the slot so I just tried to come out here and play it as best that I could," Kamara said. "I really found out this week that I'm pretty versatile. I can play running back, catch, run the ball, do it all.

"I feel like I'm a little underrated so playing on (ESPN3.com) helped increase my stock a little bit hopefully."

Kamara appeared to be the fastest player on the field at times and impressed even his opponents with his quickness and ability to turn the corner. He's currently hearing from Georgia Tech and Maryland and could be close to picking up another offer in the next few weeks.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Vienna (Ga.) defensive tackle Montravious Adams had his name called all night among the players in the trenches. He racked up two tackles, a sack, forced a fumble and blocked a punt. It was a standout performance for a player from one of the smaller schools in the state.

"It was a lot harder than from where I'm from," Adams said. "Where I'm from, they're not that big and they're not that strong. If they play like that in college and I play like I did, I'll be a hall of famer."

Adams already holds a Clemson offer and feels Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Florida State are close.

Special teams was the biggest reason why the West was able to win the game. The squad had three blocked punts - one for a touchdown - and had the field position advantage most of the night. Matthews blocked an extra point on the East's final touchdown of the night and played well roaming the secondary at safety. His biggest impact however, was on a 2nd quarter kickoff return that he took 93-yards for a score.

"I was just hoping I'd find a little crease," Matthews said. "I stuttered stepped a little bit. Then I found that hole and burst through it and show everybody my speed. Hit the hole and score the touchdown."

Georgia's class of 2012 is just a few months from signing letter of intents an is among the deepest classes in recent memory. Based on the Rising Juniors game however, the class of 2013 should have no problem stating their case to be just a little bit better.
Posted on: December 30, 2011 3:06 pm
 

Rochell taking his time during recruitment

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- Walk around the Rising Seniors Bowl this week and McDonough (Ga.) defensive end Isaac Rochell stands out for his joyful personality off the field as much as his size and pass rushing skills do at practice. One of the most heavily recruited players at the event this week, he doesn't feel the pressure of living up to expectations and really just wants to enjoy the event.

"It's been fun and I've really liked it," Rochell said. "I didn't really expect it to be like this but I really like the experience.

"I'm not saying my high school team isn't good but this gives you a different standard to compare yourself to.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder already holds scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Virginia Tech but despite all the attention schools have shown him after a terrific junior year, Rochell is just sitting back and listening and isn't too concerned with narrowing down his choices right now.

"The last offer I got was Oklahoma about a month ago," he said. "I don't necessarily have a top five but I do have schools I think about more so than others. There are also schools I say I probably won't go to. But I don't have a distinct top five where I will pick from yet."

Still, with every offer that does get extended, Rochell is weighing each school against some of the factors he is looking for.

"Location is a big deal," he said. "Obviously my role in the program and the campus feel and atmosphere, things like that too."

Rochell is planning to attend several junior days over the next couple of months but likely will avoid the camp circuit in the spring and summer outside of one or two stops. He does want to do his research before making a decision, which he already has a time frame picked out to make it in.

"I'm going to try to make it before the season," he said. "It's not something I want to rush because you rush it and you'll regret your decision. I'm just going to take my time."

Though there's no leader at the moment, Rochell has already visited Alabama unofficially for the LSU game - he said the Tigers will win the rematch because of, no surprise, their defensive line - and has developed a close relationship with assistant coach Marion Hobby at Clemson.

But, for now, the Maxpreps 2013 Watch List defensive end is just taking his time with recruiting and focusing on the task at hand in the Rising Seniors Bowl.

Posted on: December 30, 2011 12:41 am
 

Four commit at Offense-Defense Bowl

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was a busy Thursday night for commitments at the Offense-Defense Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Four players committed to schools according to reports and each were major additions to their respective recruiting classes.

Westville (N.J.) defensive tackle Jamil Pollard was the first to put the hats on the table and picked up a Penn State one, according to multiple reports. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound interior presence makes up for the loss of Tommy Schutt to Ohio State earlier this month.

Pollard is ranked as the 10th best defensive tackle by MaxPreps in the class of 2012 and selected PSU over Boston College and also held offers from Alabama and Florida among others. He is the 14th commitment for Penn State's class of 2012.

"He shows enormous strength, burst off the ball, and an aggressive, take no prisoners style of play," analyst Tom Lemming said. "This young man never quits, never lets up, and he will chase until the whistle. He just fires off the snap and is an explosive violent tackler. He shows quick hands and surprising range for a 285 pounder. He's also considered a Division I prospect at the tackle position on offense but prefers to play DT."

That wasn't the only big lineman to commit at the game. Las Vegas (Nev.) offensive guard Cedrick Poutasi gave Utah's recruiting class a big boost when he committed to the Utes.

"This guy proves to be very explosive off the line and he's powerful, quick-footed, smart, and tough. Has a take no prisoners' attitude at the LT position and doesn't just like to block players, he likes to bury them," said Lemming. "He does a very good job of getting into position in both the run and pass game, sealing off defenders, and keeps his legs moving while he's finishing off his blocks. He runs exceptionally well for a 325 pounder and will do nothing but get better."

In a good year for linemen out West, Poutasi was one of the better interior linemen and is a notable pickup as the program continues to transition to the Pac-12. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound guard also held offers from Arizona, Oregon and Oklahoma State among others.

Poutasi is Utah's 17th commitment for the class of 2012 and sixth on the offensive line.

In addition, Lyndhurst (Ohio) tight end/defensive end Pharaoh Brown committed to Oregon.

"I was blown away by his pass rushing skills, instincts, and potential," said Lemming. "A tall, lengthy DE, he will gain 40 to 50 pounds over the next couple of years and develop into an All-American pass rusher. He's not yet there but he looks very good on junior film. He's as athletic as they come, can dunk a basketball with either hand, does a great job of playing off blocks, staying on his feet, and getting to the ball."

The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Brown was previously committed to Michigan but recently reopened his recruitment. Maxpreps ranks him as 25th in the class as a defensive end but he'll likely head to Eugene as the Ducks' second tight end in 2012.

Pleasant Grove (Utah) guard/tackle Brandon Fanaika continued the run of linemen committing at the game, pledging to Stanford over local school Utah State. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder can play on either side of the ball for the Cardinal but will likely end up as an offensive guard.

"Shows very good feet, a passion for the game, and an aggressive style of play," said Lemming. "He performs very well at LT and OG and is exceptional at DT. He's one of those types of players with the attitude that he will not stay blocked. Shows exceptional initial quickness off the ball, strong hands, keeps his pads low, and knows how to split the double team. Very strong, he can dominate the point of attack and is known for his ability to stop everything up the middle."

Stanford is losing several offensive linemen so Fanaika will at the very least provide depth for the team. He is Stanford's 16th commit for the upcoming class and fourth to join the line.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 7:34 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 7:37 pm
 

Foster playing well, recruiting hard as all-star

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ATLANTA -- All-star competitions are usually one of the few places that top 100-level players can go at the high school level and not stand out on the field or off next to their teammates. That's not the case for LaGrange (Ga.) linebacker Rueben Foster, an Alabama commitment who has been the center of attention this week at the Rising Seniors Bowl featuring the top players in the state of Georgia in the class of 2012.

"It's been amazing," Foster said of the experience. "I've been meeting new friends and playing on a team with guys I've always wanted to play together with."

With plenty of schools' attention still focused on the upcoming class of 2012, Foster is one of the few recruits in attendance holding a double-digit number of scholarship offers, much less being committed to a program. Having been an Alabama pledge since the middle of July, he is using the chance to talk to other top recruits about the virtues of going to Tuscaloosa to play football.

"We've been texting and talking about playing together. I'm definitely trying to get them to come to my school," he said. "I've been talking to (Georgia commit) Tray Matthews about coming to Alabama. I'm recruiting him the hardest. I want to play with him."

Matthews confirmed that Foster has been in his ear often about the Crimson Tide and admitted the two could see themselves playing together at the same school. There's also another player roaming around the Rising Seniors Bowl who Foster has no trouble selling on Alabama.

"I'm also trying to help (high school teammate) Cortez Leonard play well and get an offer," Foster said. "Coach (Kirby) Smart said he had to come to their camp and do well and he'd get an offer. If he does well and gets an offer, he'll commit with me. I really want him to come."

A MaxPreps 2013 player to watch and future top 100 member when rankings are released, Foster is one of four Tide commits for next year's recruiting class. Though it looks like the 2012 class is destined to be one of the best under Nick Saban, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker thinks that his group can be something special.

"Coach wouldn't let me use the phrase 'Dream Team' because Georgia uses it but we're trying to create a championship team," Foster said. "It's a tradition at Alabama now, because they always win championships and we're trying to be a future championship team.

"With Coach Saban and Coach Smart, who wouldn't want to commit to the #1 head coach and the #1 defensive coordinator? Everybody would and then go to the NFL."

Fast, aggressive and a hard-hitter, Foster has been an impact player on the practice fields in preparation for Friday's all-star game. Although he isn't done growing physically or learning the game, he already has the makings of a prototype Alabama linebacker destined to move on to the next level.

"It's a big deal because they've got some nice linebackers now and are known for putting them in the NFL," he said. "That's my dream."

Although other colleges recruiting him has slacked off plenty with his commitment earlier in the year, Foster is still keeping in contact with several coaches and will take some visits and possibly go to some camps in the spring and summer. He doesn't want to worry Alabama fans however and simply wants to get a glimpse of other programs.

"I'm going to take most of the official visits," he said. "I'm still in love with Alabama but of course I'm going to do my visits. It doesn't make a difference though, I know who I'm true to."

10 days after Foster plays in the Rising Seniors Bowl, Alabama will of course be taking on LSU in the BCS National Championship game and it's no surprise who he expects to win when he sits down to watch the game.

"Alabama is going to take it," he says with a smile, "by three. But it won't be 9-6."

His West squad is hoping they'll be able to produce a similar defensive effort from the first meeting in the game on Friday however.

Photo courtesy of Rising Seniors
Posted on: December 27, 2011 6:28 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 7:06 pm
 

Top quarterback Gunner Kiel commits to LSU

Posted by Bryan Fischer

After decommitting from Indiana and delaying his decision several times, Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel has finally pulled the trigger and committed to LSU.

"I can't wait to play in the SEC," Kiel told 247Sports. "A lot of people call it the NFL of college football and it will be an exciting time. It would mean a lot to be a starting quarterback in such a great conference at a great school. I really love the players and the coaching staff. They were all great to me on my visit and seemed very welcoming."

Ranked as the top signal-caller in the class of 2012 and number two overall recruit by Maxpreps, Kiel holds scholarship offers from just about every program in the country, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan, USC and others. He surprised plenty of folks by committing to Indiana in late July and new head coach Kevin Wilson but opened things back up in October. He quickly scheduled official visits to each of his finalists, Notre Dame, LSU and Vanderbilt.

"To be honest I'm just reevaluating my decision," Kiel told CBSSports.com at the time. "I just want to go out and see other places and see if IU is the right place."

The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder threw for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns this season while also rushing for 11 scores. He led Columbus East to an 11-2 record his senior year and was named Indiana's "Mr. Football" by the Indianapolis Star.

Kiel's brother, Dusty, is a sophomore at Indiana and his uncle, Blair, played at Notre Dame.

The strong-armed and aptly named Gunner will enroll early in Baton Rouge after playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7th.

The commitment of the top quarterback in the country is another big boost for the Tigers class of 2012, which now sits at 22 commits. LSU took three quarterbacks with last year's class and Kiel figures to battle talented junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger for the starting job upon arriving on campus. Prior to Kiel's pledge, Les Miles' next recruiting class was ranked 9th overall in the MaxPreps team rankings.



Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:29 pm
 

National notes: Movers & shakers in team rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's getting down to crunch time on the recruiting trail, with just over a month until National Signing Day. With most of the Holiday season over with and attention turned to the new year, things are about to pick up even more as the decommits, recommits and surprises start happening.

The Eye on Recruiting has already given you some players ticketed for a rise on offense and defense in the recruiting rankings and now it's time to cast a critical eye on the teams that are looking to move up and a few that could be on their way down.

Team rankings movers

Alabama

Is there a better recruiter than Nick Saban? Currently, it's hard to argue with the man's success on the field and on the recruiting trail. He could be putting together an all-time great class in 2012 and just recently added lineman Alphonse Taylor and highly regarded running back T.J. Yeldon. Though they already have a quarterback in Alec Morris, the Tide are heavily pursuing dual-threat signal-caller Jameis Winston, one of the best players in the state and at his position, and top safety Landon Collins. If they can add Winston and close in on a few other top targets, Saban's team could vault to the top of the team rankings when everybody signs on the dotted line.

Ohio State

In just a short amount of time, Urban Meyer has made his presence felt in Columbus and nationally thanks to his recruiting acumen. The biggest splash has been made along the defensive line, where's he's grabbed commitments from the number three player in the country Noah Spence, tackle Tommy Schutt and end Se'Von Pittman. Though the NCAA handed out a bowl ban to the program, that probably won't deter too many recruits and playing for Meyer will be enough for some of them. They could land top 100 players like offensive tackle Jordan Diamond and athlete Davonte Neal so expect the Buckeyes to close well.

Notre Dame

The Irish and Brian Kelly put together a great group of defensive lineman last year and appear to have a balanced group of quality players at every position this year. California commits Deontay Greenberry and Tee Shepard seem solid and can make an impact right away after getting aclimated to South Bend. As is usual for Notre Dame, plenty of top recruits like Nelson Agholor, Arik Armstead and Gunner Kiel have the Irish on their short list and could turn a good class into a great one.

USC

The Trojans' great year in 2011 has proven they're one of the few schools who can shake off harsh NCAA sanctions and still play and recruit well. Lane Kiffin has a plan to deal with scholarship reductions and it will be put to the test in 2012 with 2012 being the first class limited to 15 players. USC has already signed a few top players early, such as linebacker Scott Starr and top JUCO safety Gerald Bowman. They have a chance at some top national guys Agholor and Andrus Peat so it's possible for it to be a small but great recruiting class for the Trojans.

California

Like their Pac-12 counterparts, the Bears could come on strong late with some top recruits. They're in good position to land Armstead and most consider five-star safety Shaq Thompson a lock to go to Berkeley. Ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi is a tremendous recruiter and with a great year out West for talent, should do pretty well. Cal's current group of commits, with quarterback Zach Kline and wide receiver Bryce Treggs, is a good start.

Team rankings shakers

Florida State

This is still a very good group of players but there's no doubt that the Seminoles class has taken hit in the past few weeks - thanks in large part to Alabama. Defensive end Chris Casher is a solid building block but future teammate Mario Edwards is looking hard at Oklahoma and Texas. Losing Winston would be a huge blow and there's a slim chance some, like Dante Fowler and Mario Pender, could pull a switch on Signing Day. Jimbo Fisher has done very well with the 2012 class but fans have a reason to be a little nervous at how they'll close.

Florida

A 6-6 season and losing offensive coordinator (and noted recruiter) Charlie Weis to Kansas have caused the Gators to slip a little. It still looks like they'll be a lock for a top 10 class come February with so many top 100 recruits but there's no doubt the uncertainty surrounding the program could come back to bite them. The loss of Weis in particular could hurt with possible pledges like Agholor and put a damper on Will Muschamp's first full recruiting class. Expectations are high with Meyer doing what he's doing in Columbus so a class that isn't filled with five-stars will further the perception that the program is slipping a bit.

Auburn

Will there be a meltdown on the Plains? It seems as though things haven't been going the Tigers' way recently with rival Alabama in the national championship game and stealing top commit in Yeldon. On top of that, defensive coordinator Ted Roof is gone and big time offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn surprisingly moved on to a head coaching job. This is still a very good class but they'll need to hold the current group together as well as snag a few top recruits to help reload an already young team.

Teams sitting pretty

Texas

Mack Brown has pulled in some impressive recruiting classes to Austin but this may be his best yet. The country's top running back and second-ranked wide receiver are headed to the 40 Acres and the depth of the group is one of the reasons why the Longhorns are the top ranked team in the latest Maxpreps rankings. There's no doubt that they should finish among the top three but it still remains to be seen if they can keep the top spot. Texas isn't completely done recruiting and could add a few impact players between now and Signing Day.

Michigan

Brady Hoke put together the bulk of this class before even coaching a game and has occupied the top team spot for most of the year. From top-to-bottom this might be the best class in the country with plenty of players who should come in and make an impact early  The Wolverines have seemingly filled all their holes and are still in the running for a few national recruits that could bolster their ranking so Michigan definitely has a shot at being ranked as the best.

Mora turning heads in Westwood

As soon as Jim Mora was hired in Westwood, the first question would be how well could the longtime NFL coach recruit at the college level? As it turns out, pretty well if early indications are to hold up in the future.

Mora's best recruiting job was the hiring of his assistants, notably ace recruiter Adrian Klemm, secondary coach Demetrice Martin  and former Arizona State offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. The trio, among others, have plenty of West Coast ties and have allowed the staff to hit the ground running despite being hired so late in the game. Keep an eye on this group poaching a few recruits from the Sun Devils once-promising class as well as a few Los Angeles natives.

December has seen the Bruins' class add several good players. Defensive backs Marcus Rios and Ishamel Adams are two players who could play early on defense and landing linebacker Kenny Orjioke out of Atlanta is a solid get for the staff. For the most part, the commitments prior to the new staff have hung in and seem sold on the direction of the program.

Though they're not anywhere close to getting elite talent, the signs out of UCLA are encouraging for a relatively inexperienced staff. The problem in the past has not been about recruiting however, it's been talent development and in that area things are still TBD. Still, given the progress on the recruiting trail, the coaching change has given plenty of Bruin fans something to smile about in a relatively dour year.

Video of week

I'm headed out to the Rising Seniors Bowl in Atlanta this year, which features some of the top juniors (class of 2013) in the state of Georgia. Among the headliners this week is linebacker Reuben Foster, an Alabama commit and easily one of - if not the - top players at his position next year. Here's some of his highlights:

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