Tag:Washington
Posted on: July 9, 2011 11:27 am
 

7/9 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Final day at The Opening should be the best yet. Stay tuned for plenty of content coming on the blog.

- Speaking of The Opening, here are five thoughts on recruiting out of the event.

A quick recruiting update on the nation's top player, Dorial Green-Beckham

Vanderbilt, believe it or not, has a recruiting edge on Tennessee

 Alex Hammond has been named the new recruiting coordinator at West Virginia by head coach Dana Holgorsen.

A look at Washington's 2009 recruiting class and how it's panned out so far.

UCLA's recruiting is starting to pick up so here's an update
Posted on: July 8, 2011 12:17 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:37 pm
 

The Opening Day Two Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Day 2 of "The Opening" didn't finish up with a bang like day one did with a national champion being crowned in the SPARQ rating. Instead, some of the top players in the country took to the fields of the Nike campus for what amounted to a regular Nike camp in the middle of the day before getting chance to hang out for several hours before selecting 7-on-7 teams.

No more testing for some of the finest recruits in the country, it was time to get into the actual football part of the camp.

"It's been great. Playing against the top recruits, competing against each other, having fun in the lounge, it's great," Aledo (Texas) running back Johnathan Gray said.  "I expected everything. If you've got the top 150 kids in the country, you expect nothing but the best. That's what you get (from Nike). They're treating us like superstars out here. We're just enjoying our time."

When not outrunning linebackers (he out ran them all on Thursday afternoon), Gray spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the players' lounge relaxing and mingling with other recruits. As one of several players committed to Texas at the event, the 6-foot, 200-pounder has been able to spend some quality time with his future teammates and the bonding they are doing is something Gray hopes will pay off later.

"There's a couple of us here from Texas just playing and going through the drills," he said. "It's fun, I met them earlier so being up here with them, it's fun being with your fellow commits and building that team chemistry up."

Ranked as the best running back in the country and eighth overall in the class of 2012 by MaxPreps, Gray knows there are plenty of eyes on him while he's going through drills, perhaps even more than on his fellow commitments. Despite the added outside pressure, he is saying focused on the task at hand.

"I don't really look at is as number one and all that stuff, I just come out here to have fun and compete," he said. "That's what this is about. Doing your best."

A solid verbal commitment to the Longhorns, there's not much Gray has on his docket football-wise between now and when his high school begins fall camp in August. With an outside shot of breaking the national rushing record, the upbeat running back is just looking to focus on getting better over the coming month.

"This will be the last camp I do," he said. "I'll just go back to my high school and go workout and go through conditioning drills and stuff to get ready for the season."

While 40-yard dashes and weight room sessions will take up a good chuck of his time in the near future, he won't be limiting himself to the football field. Though his high school team qualified for the Texas state 7-on-7 tournament next week at Texas A&M, Gray will be somewhere where there's plenty of lights, action and air conditioning.

"I'll be in Vegas for a basketball tournament," he said. "It's going really good, the team is doing good and they're winning. This will be my first time back with them since surgery and track and all that. I'm waiting to meet up with those guys.

"I'm a defensive guy, they put me in to stop the best player on the other team."

When asked if one of the greatest offensive threats on the football field is like former NBA defensive specialist Bruce Bowen on the court, Gray takes a second to think about it.

"Yeah," he said with a laugh. "You can call me that."

Everybody is recruiting Alexander

As one of the top linebackers in the country with scholarship offers from just about every school, Kwon Alexander knows all about the recruiting process. It follows him everywhere, from his phone to his email to, it appears, The Opening.

"Kwon's a good kid, I love him," Stephenson (Ga.) running back and Florida commit Mike Davis says while wrapping his arm around Alexander. "I just hope he comes to Florida. I'm recruiting him."

"They're up there," Alexander confirms within earshot of Davis. "They're in my top ten."

Such is life for the Oxford (Ala.) five-star linebacker. Luckily Alexander is aware that he can't be as open about schools as he once was. As a result of it getting closer and closer to the season, he has started to narrow down his list and dial in on just a few schools in the recruiting process.

"Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Oregon, USC, Ole Miss," he said. "Distance is not a factor.

"I'm looking for a family. I'm looking for good academics, a great team, some good people to be around and to just play ball."

With one of the schools he is strongly considering just down the highway from Nike's campus in Oregon, Alexander acknowledges that the situation involving the NCAA is making him a little hesitant about the Ducks but not enough to eliminate them.

"I'm still looking at them," Alexander said. "I mean, it's Oregon. They still look good."

While the two West Coast programs are receiving attention, there's still plenty of schools closer to home that are trying hard not to let Alexander get away from the region. With plenty of SEC powerhouses chasing after him, he knows that things are only just beginning to pickup among is selected few schools.

"Of the local schools, probably Auburn is recruiting me the hardest," he said. "Then probably Alabama after that. LSU is coming after me."

It often takes a unique approach to land the signature of an athlete of Alexander's caliber and there's at least one school who has thrown something different at him.

"Ole Miss offered me in basketball," he said. "That stuck out because that's my first offer in basketball. I haven't really thought about (playing both sports). It's nice but I don't know.

"I know it would be a lot of stress and stuff from playing both sports. I know I wouldn't have time to do a lot of things so I really just don't know yet."

Alexander plans to narrow his list down again before the season starts with a decision coming next year.

McCarthy down to five

Monrovia (Calif.) defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy isn't planning on making a final decision on a school until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl but that hasn't stopped him from narrowing down his list to five. With all of that time before making a decision, the top interior defensive lineman in the country is using it to his advantage and taking in a few of the schools on his list.

“Right now, it's USC, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Florida,” McCarthy said. “(Unofficals) to just the close ones like USC. I went to UCLA a couple of weeks ago. It went really well, I just talked to the coaches and they showed me around campus."

With constant contact between him and all five of the schools, the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder is mainly looking for one thing in the recruiting process.

“When I talk to all those coaches, they make me feel comfortable,” McCarthy said. “When I went to Cal, they made me feel reel comfortable with all the players and stuff like that. When I talk with the USC players, they make me feel that way.

“I haven't talked to the (USC) coaches lately. After I get home, I might call them. At USC I talk to Coach “O” (Ed Orgeron). At Cal I mainly talk to coach Tosh (Lupoi).”

Ranked seventh overall in the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012, McCarthy realizes he's a target for plenty of schools as an uncommited player ranked so highly. While it's hard for him to say if a school is standing out, it doesn't take him that long to come up with an answer to who is recruiting him the hardest.

“Probably Cal,” he said. “It's between Cal and USC.”

McCarthy is planning on taking official visits to four of the five schools on his list. The local school, USC, will likely not receive an official visit during the season because he has been to the Coliseum for plenty of games over the years. While on any of his visits however, McCarthy has a few things that he will be looking for and checking off once he gets there.

“I just want to go to a place where I feel comfortable and if I weren't playing football I could stay for four years,” he said. “I want to major in business. It's really important, I might want to go to a really big business school.”

Aziz Shittu is ready for action

With day two of The Opening marking the transition into actual football drills, there was perhaps no player who was happier to stop running 40-yard dashes and start doing some field work than Buhach (Calif.) defensive lineman Aziz Shittu.

"With the testing, I wasn't coming out here looking forward to the testing," Shittu said. "I'm a football player-type of guys, I play football. It was fun though."

The Opening is a unique camp because players will be in football pads, which should make for some great action along the trenches. Count Shittu as one of those that can't wait for full speed, one-on-one drills. In fact, he's already picked out one of the five-star offensive linemen at the event he wants to compete against.

"I'm looking forward to going against Zach Banner," Shittu said. "For reasons he should know. If he sees this, it's Zach Banner."

One of the more outgoing players at the event, the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder is making friends at the event just as quickly as he get to the quarterback.

"Oh yeah, it's great getting acquainted," Shittu said. "Me, I'm a talkative guy. Ellis McCarthy is my roommate, Korren Kirven, Luke (Kaumatule), I'm talking to everybody."

It's not to often you'll find McCarthy and Shittu more than 20 feet away from each other when they are at the same event. The two California defensive lineman have competed before at Nike Camps and it appears the two close friends are looking to ensure that their friendship lasts well through college.

"We're going to go to the same school," Shittu said. "That's the plan, that's what we talk about. 

"Me and Ellis, we just chill. I'll be telling jokes and he'll be laughing and I'll be telling jokes and he'll be laughing. We're just compatible."

On the recruiting front, Shittu recently decommitted from Stanford because it was just too soon in the process for him to be locked into one school. Though the Cardinal are still under consideration, the door is open for several other schools to jump on the talented defensive lineman.

"Stanford is still in the mix," he said. "Everybody is kind of standing out in my top 10. Cal, USC, UCLA, Washington, all those schools are standing out, just to name a few."

Shittu doesn't have any visits planned and is looking to schedule his official visits after week two of the college football season once he gets a better idea of what teams he wants to visit and for what games.

Bivins doesn't mind getting schooled by a legend

Everybody knew he run some routes from the moment they saw that NFL legend Jerry Rice had on cleats and gloves. Rice was much more selective on day two of The Opening however. Though he was mainly a teacher Thursday, coaching many of the wide receivers on how to get a better release off the line for example, everybody knew he'd run a route or two against the defensive backs. 

The only question was who would he go against?

"I was with him at first," Gainesville (Fla.) cornerback Chris Bivins recounted. "But then he ran like a 20-yard comeback. It was the longest comeback I've ever had to guard."

Bivins got the opportunity of the lifetime to defend against Rice. Though the former All-Pro managed to catch the ball, the 6-foot, 170-pound Bivins did a good job of staying close for most of Rice's route before the 'oohs' and the 'ahhs' came from the crowd after he caught it.

"I can tell why he was beating everybody back in the day," Bivins said. 

A South Florida commitment, Bivins fought and clawed his way to the event with a very impressive run during the spring and summer camp circuit. One of the hardest workers in the defensive back group, the talented corner ended up with a great reward for all that he put in over the past few months.

"He only did one rep and that was with me," he said. "It was a real good experience. One of the best to ever play the game."

Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:39 pm
 

"The Opening" Day One Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- With 150 of the best high school football players in attendance and several NFL players and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice looking on, Geismar (La.) safety Landon Collins knew what had to be done and, on the campus of Nike headquarters, embodied the company's motto and simply went out and did it. 

The eventful first day of “The Opening” was capped by Collins winning the Nike SPARQ national championship and hosting a trophy so large that even he admits he'll have trouble getting it home.

“I don't know,” Collins said with big grin. “I don't even know if I can make it to the gates with this.”

Collins, a 6-foot, 210-pound defensive back, ran, jumped and tossed his way to taking home the prize, which awards all-around athleticism. That he beat a majority of the top 100 players from the Class of 2012 came of no surprise to the always confident Collins.

“No I wasn't surprised,” he said. “My fastest time was a 4.39, and I knew I had it in me. After coming out and running a 4.5 (initially), I was like, 'I have to do better than this.'”

Ranked ninth overall in the Class of 2012 by MaxPreps, Collins has started to narrow down his recruiting and is focused mainly on in-state power LSU and powerhouses Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Texas.

“It's a beautiful place,” Collins said of the Longhorns. “It's got all the academics at that spot. The team is great, they always have a chance for the BCS. (Tennessee) same thing. They're coming up with a new strategy for their DBs. They have everything they're looking for. I like Alabama, it's a beautiful place, in Tuscaloosa. I love the coaches. Florida is in a great city, me and my brother came up from there not to long ago. They greeted us with open arms and wanted us to play there.

“Distance will not be a factor for me. I've been on my own at home and when I'm on my own I do everything by myself.”

Collins plans to make his decision at January’s Under Armor All-American game. Despite all of the attention that's surrounded his life over the past year or so, he tries to stay humble in the face of constant pressure from others.

“My parents keep me well trained, they keep me doing everything a kid should be doing and not getting in trouble,” he said. “Not get a big head like most people do.”

Rodrigues staying a Duck

Rocklin (Calif.) quarterback Jake Rodrigues was more excited than most of the other campers to head up to Oregon. As a future commitment to the Ducks, he found The Opening offered him a chance to experience the state where he'll eventually end up moving to.

“It's been great, we're up here in beautiful Oregon and there's a lot of good guys out here, that's for sure,” Rodrigues said. “We're competing and having fun. It's great with all these guys, we all have the same goals, same things we have to worry about and same things we have to work on.

“It's cool that we're up here in Oregon, knowing that I'm going to live here the next four, five years of my life. It's just really cool and the fact that we're up here together having fun is even better.”

Rodrigues is aware of the rumors swirling around the Oregon program about a NCAA investigation. Despite the possibility there could be issues down the road, Rodrigues is sticking with his verbal pledge.

“All that is going on doesn't matter. I'm a Duck and I'm going to be a Duck for life,” he said. “That's where I stand.”

Firm in his commitment, Rodrigues has been able to proudly wear the Green and Yellow around the Nike campus and is turning into a mini-recruiter for the program with so many talented players in town.

“My roommate, Eugene Lewis, just got offered last week, so I'm trying to hit him up,” Rodrigues said. “I'm just talking good about the Ducks because they're the greatest and that's what it's all about.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound signal-caller will likely visit Eugene once more before the season and then take an official visit to Oregon for a game later this fall. For the moment, however, he's focused on getting better at an event filed with great coaching. 

“It's not really about stacking up; it's about getting better out here,” he said. “That's why I'm out here. I've been blessed with the talent to play football. Nike was great and they invited me out here and I'm glad to be out here because I want to get better everyday. These guys have been there before and they know what they're talking about.”

Simmons representing the West

Though Encino (Calif.) offensive guard Jordan Simmons lives nearly three hours by plane from Beaverton, the gorgeous weather during the first day of competition at The Opening wasn't too shabby for him and reminded him a bit of Los Angeles.

“It's pretty good, I love it out here,” Simmons said. “It feels like home a little. It's better (weather) than home right now. There's no weather changes in L.A.”

As one of the top offensive lineman on a West Coast region full of them, Simmons is excited to perform against defensive lineman outside of the area and prove he's the best of the best nationally. 

“Going against the guys from Georgia and Florida and comparing myself against the south,” he said of what he is most looking forward to. “West vs. South, that's all. I've already been against all the West dudes out here so I want to see where I stand against everybody.

“For me, it's not a rivalry, I just like to compete. If I do good, then I do good. It lets me know where I'm at and I can always get better.

Recruiting-wise, the 6-foot-5, 320-pounder is close to narrowing his college options. Holding offers from just about every program in the country, Simmons will cut his list after delaying a decision for roughly two weeks on which programs stay in contention. At the moment, he does know some schools that will make the list for sure.

USC, Oregon, Washington,” he said. “I'll be (at Oregon) on Sunday. I don't really know what to expect. They always have something new so I don't know what to expect. It's a pretty nice campus.”

Simmons is taking the better late than never approach.

“Next week, for sure,” he said. “It's been postponed for two weeks already.”

As someone considering Oregon and programs like Ohio State, the fact that the NCAA might hit the schools with penalties is something in the back of his mind when he is looking at where he wants to play college football.

“A little bit,” Simmons said. “A lot of schools are having NCAA problems that I stopped looking at because of it. Ohio State is still up there though.”

Keeping calm, Murphy enjoying experience

It takes something special for San Clemente (Calif.) offensive tackle Kyle Murphy to truly get excited, but the experience so far at the Nike campus has been good enough to qualify.

“It's just a cool experience with all the top players in the country trying to get better,” Murphy said. “We're just having fun. It was great flying out here to the Nike complex. There's a whole game room, and they're feeding us well and getting us all that cool stuff. It's pretty surreal. They're showing us a bunch of new products, giving us a preview of that stuff.”

With scholarship offers from most of the Pac-12, Michigan, Notre Dame and plenty of others, Murphy is just beginning to take a long look at each of his options and move toward a more manageable four or five schools.

“I'm trying to look at all that,” he said. “I'll probably have a top list pretty soon. I'm not sure who will be on it yet.”

Though he remains open to just about every school, a few of them are already standing out, and for the most part, the programs are not too far from home.

Stanford's always coming after me pretty hard, along with Cal," Murphy said. “USC, Florida too. I've visited USC, Cal, Stanford and Oregon and they all pressed me pretty well.” 

As one of the top offensive tackles who haven't selected a school, the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Murphy has become a target of sorts for plenty of the committed players, who aren't shy talking about why he should join them at their school. 

“There's plenty of guys that are committed and joking around and that stuff,” Murphy said. “Nothing too bad though.”

Adolphus Washington

Cincinnati (Ohio) defensive end Adolphus Washington is a bit of a perfectionist. That's why he wasn't truly happy with the 4.87 40-yard dash he ran during testing Wednesday evening. 

“It could have been a lot better,” Washington said. “I'd like it to be at least a 4.7, 4.6. I just have to get somebody to work with me on it, that's all.”

Taking part in the inaugural “The Opening” is a source of pride for the talented Ohioan. In addition to representing his school, his state and the Midwest, Washington is excited to be part of the initial group to go through the all-star camp.

“It feels good to be the first,” he said. “We're the first to get this thing started. If some of us make it to the league, maybe some of us can come back like (Ndamunkong) Suh and them did and talk to the kids. It could be pretty cool.

“This was a really nice experience to see all of the competition and all the rankings and stuff like that. It's cool to see who's ranked higher and who's where and how they actually look in person.”

On the recruiting trail, things can change daily but as of the moment there's one program that seems to be out in front in Washington’s mind.

“It's going good; I'm really liking Michigan State right now because I've been talking to Se'Von (Pittman),” he said. “Me and him really like the same kind of things so I'm going to start listening to them heavily.”

In addition to being close to Pittman, Washington is very close with Taft High teammate and wide receiver Dwayne Stanford. The two are planning on taking most of their official visits together and the possibility they play at the same college remains high.

“We're definitely trying to go to the same school,” Washington said. “We're probably going to take an official to Alabama. I'm probably going to go to Michigan State but I'll have to talk to him to see if he wants to go. We'll probably take an unofficial to Kentucky and stuff like that.”

With well over 15 scholarship offers from programs around the country, the visits should help the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Washington trim his list but as of the moment, it remains hard to put his finger on the schools standing out.

“Probably by the middle of the football season,” he said. “Then I'll probably make my decision after the football season. There's really not anybody standing out.”

Like plenty of other prospects who are from the state of Ohio, the ongoing NCAA mess in Columbus will have an affect on his decision to consider the school but it is such a deep-rooted connection that the Buckeyes will still be considered.

“I still love Ohio State,” he said. “I just want to see how the probation thing is going to work out. I haven't really been talking to them about it because I don't want to make them seem like I'm not interested anymore. I just talk to them to see how they're doing.”

Posted on: July 3, 2011 1:55 am
Edited on: July 3, 2011 11:54 am
 

Badger Sports 7-on-7 Nationals Day 1 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

DALLAS – The sun was out, the weather was hot and the games were fierce at SMU's Gerald Ford Stadium Saturday afternoon for the Badger Sports 7-on-7 National Championship tournament. Teams from across the country rolled into town with high expectations as round robin play began and while no one made it through the day undefeated, the competition level was high from goal line to goal line.

The most talked about player at the event was easily Westlake Village (Calif.) receiver Jordan Payton. After becoming USC's first commitment for the class of 2012, the savvy wide out spent most of the spring and summer worried more about his own game than the recruiting game. However, since decommitting from the Trojans last week, he's been checking his phone a lot more often for information from college coaches.

“I've been 'monitoring' it,” Payton said with a laugh. “That's what I call it. I've been emailing back and forth with Michigan and several other schools.”

It should be noted that Payton was still out on the fields in the Texas heat running the same routes, making the same great catches and finding the end zone when he wasn't moonlighting as a safety for his 1925 All-Star team. Still, things were just a little bit different now that he was no longer committed.

“All of the schools, it's weird because they offer you and then they didn't talk to me as much because I was committed,” he said. “Now, Michigan, Cal, Arizona State, Florida (are talking to him). I'm interested to hear what Florida State's going to say.

“It's like I'm in a different area, I don't know what to do. I've only been committed. But I'm feeling good and I'm happy and taking it slow.”

The MaxPreps Top 100 receiver is still considering the local team, USC, and will meet with coaches next week to discuss his options. The biggest reason in pulling his verbal pledge back was to give the staff a chance to figure out their limited scholarship numbers and Payton knows that having to sit across from the coaches and talk with them about his place in the program going forwards is going to be a bit awkward when it happens.

“I'll be down there to talk with them so we'll see how that goes,” he said. “I have no idea what to expect to be honest with you.”

Kind of like talking with an ex-girlfriend?

“Exactly,” he said.

Payton does have a short list of schools he's considering and there tends to be a common theme as he tries to figure out where he'll eventually wind up signing with.

“All the schools I'm talking with all have great business schools,” he said. “Second, I just want to feel comfortable. I'm not saying I didn't feel comfortable with USC but I just felt it was that time. I'm just not sure that I want to be in LA.”

The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder will likely play most of his recruitment close to the vest before announcing and one of the key reasons why is the fact that he's trying to orchestrate a few other players to join him at his eventual destination.

“I'm going to tell you this, it's going to be interesting the next couple of weeks for in recruiting,” Payton said. “You're going to see a lot of changes. Just think Fab Five.”

Knowing how the comment would sound, Payton was quick to clarify “like” the Fab Five and that it didn't mean they were for sure headed to Michigan.

Treggs burning up on and off the field

On the field and off, two of the most polished players on any team were Payton and Bellflower (Calif.) receiver Bryce Treggs. The two are friends and with Payton no longer a lock to go to USC, the two have started to explore the possibility of playing together at the next level instead of against each other on the turf at SMU.

“We're actually talking about that,” Treggs said. “That'd be pretty good. I mean, if me and Jordan go to the same school, it'd be pretty much unfair.”

When asked about Payton's 'Fab Five' remarks, the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder opened up a little bit more about the prospect of them playing together.

“Well you have all those players that went to Michigan and made it the program they are today,” Treggs said. “He's basically saying that we might be able to do that. Not necessarily that we're going to do it at Michigan but that's his idea. Him, me, Shaq Thompson, Ishmael Adams, a lot of guys.”

“The Cali Five, I guess.”

Treggs said he unofficially visited Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford and Notre Dame over the past few months. Many observers have read the tea leaves and believe that he will eventually end up playing for his father's alma mater, Cal, though. It's easy to see why they believe that whenever Treggs is asked who is recruiting him the hardest.

“Probably Cal... definitely Cal,” he said. “It's not a lock, I'm going to look at all of my other options. I'm pretty sure I'm going to make a decision before the season so I can get it out of the way and focus on having a good senior year. I hope I can lead my team to a CIF championship.”

Treggs was blowing by corners with ease despite the sweltering heat, scoring several touchdowns by utilizing the fade route along the numbers Saturday. Running routes in 101 degree heat was a bit of an adjustment for someone used to ocean breezes and Santa Anna winds however.

“It was very hot,” Treggs said. “In California, we've got that breeze from the beach and stuff like that. After the first two games we adapted to it so we're fine right now.

“I would say I'm in the zone right now. We have so many receivers on our team, you never know when you're going to get the ball with so many weapons. There's not really one go-to guy so I just run my route hard every time and when Troy (Williams) picks me, I'm ready to make a play.”

Williams, a 2013 player who was one of the sharper quarterbacks at the event, and Treggs easily had the best timing at the event and it was not limited to deep routes. The connection between the two runs deep and was developed over years of playing together.

“The timing has been there since forth or fifth grade,” Treggs said. “We used to play Pop Warner for the Carson Colts together. So the timing is definitely there and it's good to be out here with somebody you know.”

Treggs, it seems, knows just about everybody and it will be interesting to see what coaching staff gets to know him the best through the recruiting process.

Rippy growing as a linebacker

It's often become common place for top recruits to come to camps or combines to be seen and heard but sit on the sidelines when it comes to competition time. MaxPreps Top 100 linebacker Deaysean Rippy, despite being from McKees Rocks (Pa.), was not one such player and battled the heat and humidity of Texas to focus on getting better against some of the best players in the country.

“We played some good teams, they were competitive,” Rippy said. “I'm working on everything, from being a linebacker to playing like a corner or strong safety in coverage. The drops, the backpedal, being aggressive, all of it.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Rippy holds offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Penn State and Tennessee. With so many options to choose from, narrowing down the list is becoming a difficult task and one he's not sure when he'll wind up cutting down to a more manageable ten or fewer.

“I don't know to be honest,” he said. “I've got all these schools and don't get me wrong, they're all great schools and you're bound to go pro from whatever school. People go pro from IUP up in Pennsylvania so any school, it's just about playing.”

Like many recruits nowadays, Rippy has hit the road over the spring and summer to visit schools and see what the coaching staffs are like in person.

“Had a lot of unofficals up till now and I'm about to take a couple more visits,” he said. “I don't know where yet and that's the thing. One of the big things I've learned in the recruiting process is that when you get those first 10 offers, you want all of that attention. Then, once you get 20 or 30, you don't want that attention any more.”

“It's going to be hard to pick a school, it's going to be very hard.”

For a time, there was one program that stood out from the pack but as the attention has increased on his college choice, he's actually broadened his outlook instead of narrowing it down.

“At first, people knew that I favored Florida a lot,” Rippy said. “I came to realize that I'd rather keep it wide open. I'll go to Alabama or Auburn or wherever. Between now and August, I'm just going to going to weigh my options.”

Thompson looking at four

Yet another top 100 player who performed well at SMU was Sacramento (Calif.) safety Shaq Thompson. While he mostly was batting away balls that had too much air on them, day one of the tournament also allowed him to show his offensive attributes. Playing both ways was just one way the talented athlete showed off his love for the game.

“It's too hot out here. The turf is hotter, less wind, it's just a hot day,” Thompson said. “But it's a great day to play football and that always makes it a great day.”

Easily the most impressive defensive back on the field from a physical standpoint, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Thompson has a host of programs who are heavily pursuing him ever since he decommitted from Cal awhile ago.

“I'd say Washington and Cal and Notre Dame,” he said. “Mainly Washington, they've been calling me, hitting me up and see how I'm doing. They're getting there but I'm still open. I'm ready for anything.”

Though it appears there will be no more unofficial visits for the four-star safety, he's already moved on to figuring out who will receive an official visit as the calendar inches closer to the date prospects can begin visiting in a formal capacity.

“During the season I'm probably going to take a trip to Washington,” he said. “Cal, UCLA or Notre Dame, one of those too.”

Thompson said his top four schools were – not surprisingly - Cal, Washington, UCLA and Notre Dame. The distance from home for the two non-California schools likely won't be a huge factor but is still something he's considering.

“Not really, I've got family basically all over,” Thompson said. “It's just the people I grew up with are the people that I'm most comfortable with. So I'll probably stay closer to home.”

Notes

- The most anticipated game of the day matched up B2G and 1925, who have played against each other several times in championship settings like Saturday. There was a little bit of trash talk and a lot of plays being made. Notre Dame commit Deontay Greenberry would probably had taken home an award for most swagger and was nearly unstoppable in the red zone for 1925. Receiver Gabe Marks and Arizona State soft verbal commitment Kenny Lawler starred for B2G.

- Quarterback Jeremy Liggins was the primary signal caller for Team Louisiana and he stood out for his size (6-foot-3 and about 260-pounds) and the ability to get rid of the ball quickly when he wanted to. He was able to get the ball downfield to several speedy receivers as well. Darion Monroe, a Texas A&M commit, was a standout on the defensive side of the ball.

- Five-star quarterback Zeke Pike was a bit inconsistent on intermediate routes but made several nice tosses down the field. He looked better than he did at the Ohio State Nike and Elite 11 camps and had plenty of targets to throw to. Fellow Auburn commit Darrion Hutcherson looks like he could suit up on the Plains tomorrow and tight end Jesse James, who's headed to Penn State, were both big mismatches due to their size and ability to find an open spot on the field. Also on the team was receiver Jason Croom, who said he's nearing a decision and will announce next month.

- It's easy to overlook Detroit (Mich.) athlete Dennis Norfleet when you're walking by him on the sideline but it is not, however, easy to overlook him when he steps on the field. The 5-foot-9 (maybe) scatback was simply a playmaker on Saturday, catching everything thrown his way and making defenders miss often.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 12:56 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:42 pm
 

June Pac-12 Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's the final week in June, and as the temperature gauge continues to rise and we move into July, it's time to see how schools are building their recruiting class of 2012. Today, we'll take a look at the verbal commitments for the Pac-12, which officially becomes a conference on July 1st.

Arizona (7)

Offensive lineman Beau Boyster (Bellflower, Calif.)
Defensive lineman Cayman Bundage (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
Offensive lineman T.D. Gross (Santee, Calif.)
Quarterback Josh Kern (San Antonio, Texas)
Tight end Taylor McNamara (San Diego, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Steven Moore (Elk Grove, Calif.)
Quarterback Nathan Sudfeld (Modesto, Calif.)

Arizona State (12)

Offensive lineman Dejon Allen (Compton, Calif.)
Wide receiver Josiah Blandin (Long Beach, Calif.)
Linebacker Salamo Fiso (Long Beach, Calif.)
Wide receiver Randall Goforth (Long Beach, Calif.)
Defensive back Oliver Johnson (Pierece JUCO/Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Defensive tackle Milo Jordan (Corona, Calif.)
Tight end Kody Kohl (Gilbert, Ariz.)
Wide receiver Kenny Lawler (Upland, Calif.)
Quarterback T.J. Millweard (Fort Worth, Texas)
Linebacker Kimball Niumatalolo (Pasadena City JUCO/Pasadena, Calif.)
Defensive tackle Jake Sheffield (Palm Desert, Calif.)
Wide receiver Richard Smith (Long Beach, Calif.)

California (2)

Linebacker Michael Barton (Concord, Calif.)
Quarterback Zach Kline (Danville, Calif.)

Colorado (5)

Running back Terrence Crowder (Galena Park, Texas)
Quarterback Shane Dillon (El Cajon, Calif.)
Defensive tackle Tyler Henington (Denver, Col.)
Defensive end Clay Norgard (Highlands Ranch, Col.)
Wide receiver Jeffrey Thomas (Ducanville, Texas)

Oregon (7)

Defensive back Eric Amoako (Arlington, Texas)
Defensive back Stephen Amoako (Arlington, Texas)
Defensive end Alex Balducci (Portland, Ore.)
Tight end Evan Baylis (Aurora, Colo.)
Defensive end Cody Carriger (Butte, Mont.)
Wide receiver Oshay Dunmore (Newport, Ore.)
Quarterback Jake Rodrigues (Rocklin, Calif.)

Oregon State
(6)

Offensive lineman Gavin Andrews (Granite Bay, Calif.)
Wide receiver Malik Gilmore (Lakewood, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo (Corvalis, Ore.)
Tight end Dustin Stanton (Marysville, Wash.)
Quarterback Brent Vanderveen (Arroyo Grande, Calif.)
Wide receiver Cleveland Wallace (San Jose, Calif.)

Stanford (9)

Safety Alex Carter (Ashburn, Va.)
Wide receiver Connor Crane (Denton, Texas)
Linebacker Noor Davis (The Villages, Fla.)
Wide receiver Deante' Gray (Houston, Texas)
Wide receiver Dontonio Jordan (Cornith, Texas)
Defensive back Drew Madhu (Tampa, Fla.)
Offensive lineman Graham Shuler (Brentwood, Tenn.)
Athlete Jontrey Tillman (Baldwin, La.)
Wide receiver Kodi Whitfield (Los Angeles, Calif.)

UCLA (6)

Defensive back Shannon Edwards (Bakersfield, Calif.)
Defensive back Raymond Ford (Gardena, Calif.)
Running back Steven Lakalaka (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Tight end Ian Taubler (Fresno, Calif.)
Running back Psalm Wooching (Kailua Kona, Hawaii)
Offensive lineman Mario Yakoo (Spring Valley, Calif.) USC (10)

Defensive tackle Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012
Tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (Rocklin, Calif.)
Athlete Jaydon Mickens (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Wide receiver Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, Calif.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012
Running back Jahleel Pinner (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
Wide receiver Darreus Rogers (Carson, Calif.)
Linebacker Jabari Ruffin (Downey, Calif.)
Linebacker Scott Starr (Norco, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Max Tuerk (Santa Margarita, Calif.)
Running back Kevin York (Fullerton, Calif./Fullerton JUCO)

Utah (9)

Defensive end Hunter Dimick (Syracuse, Utah)
Defensive end Moses Folauhola (West Valley City, Utah)
Athlete Chase Hansen (Highland, Utah)
Defensive back Austin Lee (Sandy, Utah)
Wide receiver Delshawn McClellon (Cerritos, Calif.)
Offensive lineman Nua Poteki (Sandy, Utah)
Offensive lineman Kiha Sai (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Defensive end Sione Tupouata (Ephraim, Utah)
Quarterback Travis Wilson (San Clemente, Calif.)

Washington (15)

Defensive end Kalei Auelua (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Offensive lineman Nathan Dean (Kirkland, Wash.)
Kicker Korey Durkee (Gig Harbor, Wash.)
Athlete Bryan Harper (Ontario, Calif.)
Defensive end Malcolm Jackson (Spring Valley, Calif.)
Defensive back Damontae Kazee (San Bernardino, Calif.)
Wide receiver Taylor Lagace (Arcadia, Calif.)
Quarterback Jeff Lindquist (Mercer Island, Wash.)
Quarterback Cyler Miles (Denver, Colo.), Tom Lemming Top 100 for 2012
Running back Tairen Owens (Pasadena, Calif.)
Wide receiver Michael Rector (Tacoma, Wash.)
Linebacker Blake Rodgers (Las Flores, Calif.)
Athlete Kendyl Taylor (Chandler, Ariz.)
Defensive back Darien Washington (Orange, Calif.)
Wide receiver Dwayne Washington (Cerritos, Calif.)

Washington State
(5)

Quarterback Austin Apodaca (Longmont, Colo.)
Defensive back David Bucannon (Fairfield, Calif.)
Wide receiver Dalen Jones (Woodland, Calif.)
Linebacker Jordan Pulu (Federal Way, Wash.)
Defensive back Taylor Taliulu (Alea, Hawaii)
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alex Balducci, Alex Carter, Arik Armstead, Arizona, Arizona State, Austin Apodaca, Austin Lee, Aziz Shittu, Beau Boyster, Blake Rodgers, Brent Vanderveen, Bryan Harper, Cal, Cayman Bundage, Chase Hansen, Clay Norgard, Cleveland Wallace, Cody Carriger, Colorado, Connor Crane, Cyler Miles, Dalen Jones, Damontae Kazee, Darien Washington, Darreus Rogers, David Bucannon, Deante' Gray, Dejon Allen, Delshawn McClellon, Dontonio Jordan, Drew Madhu, Dustin Stanton, Dwayne Washington, Eric Amoako, Even Baylis, Gavin Andrews, Graham Shuler, Hunter Dimick, Ian Taubler, Isaac Sumalo, Jabari Ruffin, Jahleel Pinner, Jake Rodrigues, Jake Sheffield, Jaydon Michens, Jeff Lindquist, Jeffrey Thomas, Jontrey Tillman, Jordan Payton, Jordan Pulu, Josh Kern, Josiah Blandin, June Commitment List, Kalei Auelua, Kendyl Taylor, Kenny Lawler, Kevin York, Kiha Sai, Kimball Niumatalolo, Kodi Whitfield, Kody Kohl, Korey Durkee, Lemming Top 100, Malcolm Jackson, Malik Gilmore, Mario Yakoo, Max Tuerk, Michael Barton, Michael Rector, Milo Jordan, Moses Folauhola, Nathan Dean, Nathan Sudfeid, Noor Davis, Nua Poteki, Oliver Johnson, Oregon, Oregon State, Oshay Dunmore, Pac-12, Psalm Wooching, Randall Goforth, Raymond Ford, Richard Smith, Salamo Fiso, Scott Starr, Scott Starr, Shane Dillon, Shannon Edwards, Sione Tupouata, Stanford, Stephen Amoako, Steven Lakalaka, Steven Moore, T.D. Gross, T.J. Millweard, Tairen Owens, Taylor Lagace, Taylor McNamara, Taylor Taliulu, Terrence Crowder, Travis Wilson, Tyler Henington, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State, Zach Kline
 
Posted on: June 29, 2011 9:40 am
Edited on: June 29, 2011 10:20 am
 

6/29 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- Running back Greg Garmon has overcome obstacles to become both a cancer survivor and a Top 100 recruit.

One of the top quarterbacks in Georgia, Greyson Lambert, will visit South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Florida State in July.

 Big offensive line recruit Vadal Alexander will visit Geogia but says his leaders are Alabama, LSU and Auburn.

 Offensive lineman Alex Kozan took in the sights and sounds of Arkansas yesterday.

Nebraska is making itself at home in the state of Ohio.

 Notre Dame offered quarterback Jalin Marshall.

 The Orlando Sentinel says Florida State's recruiting class narrowly edges out Florida.

 Running back David Smith could follow his friend Maurice Fleming Jr. to Illinois.


Commitments:

 Al Golden and Miami picked up two players in the 2012 class in linebacker Reggie Northrup and tight end Brandon Holifield.

 Wide receiver Lamarlin Wiggins has pledged to attend USF.

 It was a good day for Washington, which picked up commitments from safety Taylor Lagace, defensive end Kalei Auelua and defensive back Bryan Harper.

 Texas added kicker Nick Jordan to their upcoming class.

 Running back Joe Riddle pulled the trigger on a commitment to Maryland.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 9:42 am
 

6/27 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Arizona State is putting together a very good class of 2012.

 BYU wants the top recruits and it doesn't matter if they're Mormon or not.

 Marcus Allen, a class of 2012 linebacker and not the Marcus Allen, is considering Arkansas for an official visit.

 A couple of updates on some Michigan targets.

 Joe Paterno is not a fan of 7-on-7 camps. At all.


Commitments:


 Indiana has picked up four players for their upcoming class.

 Iowa got a commitment from a 6-foot-6 kicker, Connor Kornbrath, who you probably won't mess with like other kickers. 

 Georgia running back Nick Tompkins is headed north to Michigan State.

 Maryland landed another commitment from the state of Georgia in wide out A.J. Liddell.

 Ole Miss added offensive tackle Jake Meador to their upcoming class.

 Washington picked up a commitment from punter Korey Durkee.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:33 pm
 

On the hot seat: How some coaches are recruiting

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd rolled out his annual Hot Seat Ratings, giving every FBS head coach a grade from 0 (can't be touched) to 5 (it's time to win now). Only one head coach is burning up on the seat with the maximum rating of 5 but there are plenty of others who begin the season feeling some heat. Being on the list puts a lot of the coaches in a tough position on the recruiting trail as they look to turn things around while battling the perception that they won't be there when the recruit steps on campus. Taking a look at several of the coaches on the list, here's how they're doing on the recruiting trail:

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:12
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Kenny Lawler

Erickson is in an interesting position. With a team featuring plenty of upperclassmen and what is expected to be a very good defense, the Sun Devils are likely the favorites for the first Pac-12 South title. Erickson has only had one really good season in Tempe and never has been able to break through and grab elite talent on the recruiting trail. He put together a class last year that mostly addressed needs and was solid but not spectacular. The 2012 class could be one of the better ones Arizona State has pulled in recently, getting off to a good start and leading the Pac-12 with 12 commitments. This is an offense-heavy class with plenty of skill players and he recently added quarterback T.J. Millweard, who was committed to Virginia Tech.

Mark Richt, Georgia
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:10
Top Recruit: Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor

Richt responded to critics and managed to put together what might have been his best recruiting class ever last year. It was a strong year for talent in Georgia and the Bulldogs took advantage, grabbing a "Dream Team" of recruits. The prize was running back Isaiah Crowell, who many think can come in and make an instant impact on offense after the in-state team fought off powers like Alabama and Florida State for his services. The 2012 class hasn't seemed to build off the momentum however, as Georgia has already lost out on some in-state commitments and are behind in others. There's plenty of time for the tide to turn, however, and as Richt proved last year, he can close down the stretch.

Ron Zook, Illinois
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 4
Top Recruit: Defensive back TaJarvis Fuller

Zook is known as a good recruiter and he put together a diverse class last year. It's not a great year for talent in the Midwest and Zook is using the southern ties he had while at Florida to make Illinois active in the South, especially in Georgia. He made a nice pickup with Fuller and with a bit of instability in the Big Ten, could nab a prospect or two that might have gone elsewhere. Zook will ultimately have to win to keep Illinois in the minds of the rising seniors but he's on pace to pull in another solid class this year.

Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Hot Seat Rating: 4.5
2012 Commitments: 0

New Mexico is New Mexico so it will always be tough to get recruits to come, especially in the midst of a 2-22 run under Locksley. But credit to the head coach and his staff, they were able to reach into California, Florida and Maryland among other places to get some talent. Known as a superb recruiter in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, the fact that Locksley got five-star tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to make a visit to the school and keep the Lobos in his final five was quite the accomplishment. The school doesn't have any commitments in 2012 and it will be interesting to see how many wait to see if the hot seat gets too hot for Locksley to stay on it.

Luke Fickell, Ohio State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments: 8
Top Recruit: Running back Warren Ball

Fickell had his fingerprints all over Ohio State's last recruiting class as co-defensive coordinator and was the lead recruiter for one of the Buckeyes' key linebacker commitments, Ryan Shazier from Florida. He is dropped into a very difficult situation however, first following a beloved and successful head coach in Jim Tressel and second, dealing with the looming threat of NCAA sanctions. While he managed to keep the prize of the 2012 class, top 100 offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, in the the fold for awhile, he ended up decommitting and now the Buckeyes are seeing the state of Ohio raided by other Big Ten programs like Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State. Fickell is a tried and true Buckeye so he knows how to sell the school, the only question is if he'll be successful at it and that remains to be seen.

Rick Neuheisel, UCLA
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 3
Top Recruit: Running back Steven Lakalaka

Just about everybody thought UCLA was on the right track when Neuheisel managed to pull in two top 20 classes in 2008 and 2009. Since then however, things have reversed course on the field and off. Last year's class did manage to get two big talents from out-of-state in defenisve tackle Kevin McReynolds and top 100 quarterback Brett Hundley but it was by no means a deep and talented class. While it was going to be small due to scholarship numbers, Neuheisel just didn't seem to be able to close with some players and the Bruins are barely on the map in California this year, taking a back seat to Arizona State, Washington, Oregon and their crosstown rival USC. It's getting close to a make or break year for UCLA and Neuheisel and he can only hope that Hundley is as advertised and can make a difference in the win column this season.

Paul Wulff, Washington State
Hot Seat Rating: 5.0
2012 Commitments:5
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Dalen Jones

It's not easy to recruit to the Palouse though Wulff has added some nice pieces over the years, but just can't seem to find enough of them. Wulff reached into Florida and California very well last year and even managed to grab highly regarded offensive lineman Alex Mitchell out of nearby Portland. That said, Wulff is on the hot seat (a very hot seat) and, because it's the hot seat at Washington State, that generally takes the school out of the running for any big time recruits. They've done well all things considered and have extended early scholarships to several California and Florida athletes in hopes of building up an early relationship. It will always be tough for Wulff to recruit and doing so while worried about job security is extra tough.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com