Tag:North Carolina
Posted on: January 30, 2011 12:16 pm

1/30 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The week of National Signing Day has officially arrived. Some fans are already planning to be “sick” on Wednesday just to get off work and follow all of the coverage.

- Ohio State picked up commitment number 22…  from a long snapper. As this story notes, this is believed to be the first time a long snapper has come to Columbus with a scholarship.

- The NCAA investigation into North Carolina hasn’t necessarily slowed the Tar Heels recruiting efforts.

- Missouri’s efforts to comply with NCAA rules while recruiting has become tricky thanks to cell phones and technology.

- Great insight into the various recruiting services and the who, what, where and why.

Posted on: January 28, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 5:47 pm

Savon Huggins picks Rutgers

By MaxPreps Senior Writer Mitch Stephens

One down, four to go. 

Savon Huggins, the No. 5 recruit in the nation from St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.), picked Rutgers over North Carolina on Friday afternoon.

Higgins was one of five of the nation's top-six recruits who had yet to announce their college choices. National Signing Day is Wednesday.

The 6-foot, 200-pound senior made the announcement at the St. Peter's Prep library and ended much anticipation where the rising star would land.

An impressive senior season and showings at all-star games helped Huggins jump 45 spots in CBS/MaxPreps recruiting expert Tom Lemming's preseason rankings, all the way to the fifth slot.

"Out of all the backs I saw on tape and in person, Huggins impressed me the most," Lemming said.

MaxPreps National Football Editor Stephen Spiewak said Huggins, a well-balanced 3.8 student who recorded a reported 1,400 on his SAT exams, was as impressive in the recruiting process as he was on the field. Huggins rushed for 1,893 yards and scored 35 touchdowns his senior season.

"Savon handled the recruiting process extremely well," Spiewak said. "He truly entered the process with an open mind, weighed all of his options, and ultimately arrived to his decision."

Spiewak said Huggins' choice to go to Rutgers wasn't just about pleasing his local friends and family. Though some have said that Higgins signing would be the biggest in Rutgers school history.

"While many players around the state tried to convince Huggins to go to Rutgers, I believe it's a decision he made on his own," he said. "He was able to block out numerous distractions and do what he felt was right for him."

It was a crucial addition for Rutgers.

"Huggins was a must-have recruit for Rutgers," Spiewak said. "Not only will he provide immediate help and do well in Rutgers' style of offense, but it helps negate the perception that top players in New Jersey need to go out of state for college.

"Rutgers did an outstanding job recruiting him. Early on in Huggins' career, it seemed like he was bound to leave New Jersey. Greg Schiano and staff did a great job developing a relationship with him and ultimately gaining a commitment from him."

The other four top recruits who have yet to commit are No. 1 Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end from South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.), No. 3 Cyrus Kouandjio, an offensive lineman from DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), No. 4 Stephone Anthony, a linebacker from Anson (Wadesboro, N.C.) and No. 6 Tony Steward, a linebacker and running back from Menendez (St. Augustine, Fla.).

Photo by Daniel Coppola/MaxPreps.com
Posted on: January 28, 2011 2:23 pm

ACC needs, commits and hopes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Boston College    
Biggest need: Linemen. Three offensive line starters depart, including talented tackle Anthony Castonzo. Things are great depth-wise on the defensive line either. The Eagles have already lost out on lineman Brandon Clemons to Michigan State. 

Best verbal commit: Defensive back Albert Louis-Jean.

Hope to get: Linebacker Graham Stewart, who is being persued by Florida and Syracuse.


Biggest need: Defensive line. Clemson loses one of the best defensive ends in the country in Da’Quan Bowers to the NFL Draft while depth for the future is somewhat lacking beyond the upcoming season. The two quarterbacks who enrolled early will be a big help for a team that had just one on scholarship beforehand. 

Best verbal commit: Running back Mike Bellamy

Hope to get: Linebackers Tony Steward or Stephone Anthony.


Biggest need: Defensive line. The Blue Devils have to replace two starters and will likely have to replace two more after this season. Finding some quality D-line guys will also go a long ways in helping other positions on defense. 

Best verbal commit: Athlete Blair Holliday

Hope to get: Tight end Cameron Clear.

Florida State 

Biggest need: Offensive line starters Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon will be tough to replace with freshmen but the key to continued success will lie in grabbing offensive lineman on Signing Day. 

Best verbal commit: Running back James Wilder Jr. 

Hope to get: Linebacker Tony Steward or defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

Georgia Tech 

Biggest need: Outside linebacker/defensive end. Defensive coordinator Al Groh plays a 3-4 scheme so the outside linebackers are key in getting pressure on the quarterback as well as mixing things up in the passing game. Higher caliber athletes and more of them are big this recruiting class. 

Best verbal commit: Linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days. 

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Darian Cooper.


Biggest need: Secondary. Safety Antwine Perez graduated and at least two starters will be seniors in 2011 so finding a few players who might be ready to contribute early will be key. 

Best verbal commit: Offensive lineman Nathaniel Clarke 

Hope to get: Cornerback Jeremiah Hendy, who has also looked at Virginia and Iowa following the coaching change.


Biggest need: Quarterback. Jacory Harris is a senior and Stephen Morris figures to challenge or win the starting spot but beyond that, the pickings are slim. Grabbing a quarterback, at the very least for depth, is a must. 

Best verbal commit: Defensive end Anthony Chickillo

Hope to get: Quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

North Carolina 

Biggest need: Running back. It was tough last year with the injuries that hit the team but one group that seemed to really get banged up was the running backs. Ryan Houston returns as a redshirt senior but finding a nice, young compliment to him will be key. 

Best verbal commit: Offensive lineman Kiaro Holts.

Hope to get: Linebacker Curtis Grant.

North Carolina State 

Biggest need: Kicker. Laugh if you will but the Wolfpack must replace their starting kicker and punter. 

Best verbal commit: Wide receiver Hakeem Flowers

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Ty McGill.


Biggest need: Defensive line. After Zane Parr's puzzling defection to the NFL Draft, the Cavaliers will need to find quality guys to replace him and at least one defensive tackle.

Best verbal commit: Defensive back Brandon Phelps.

Hope to get: Linebacker Curtis Grant.

Virginia Tech 

Biggest need: Running back. The double whammy of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans leaving for the NFL has created a big hole for a team that will also be breaking in a new quarterback. 

Best verbal commit: Defensive tackle Kris Harley

Hope to get: Linebacker Stephone Anthony.

Wake Forest 

Biggest need: Linebacker. More than anything, Wake needs to find athletes at this position if they are to improve defensively. 

Best verbal commit: Quarterback Kevin Sousa.

Hope to get: Athlete Darius Jennings.
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:57 pm

Where's Curtis Grant going?

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Who: Richmond (VA) linebacker Curtis Grant. MaxPreps' 19th-ranked player overall and second-ranked inside linebacker.

What's the big deal: As MaxPreps' Stephen Spiewak details, Grant is one of the best and most heavily recruited linebackers in the country. After racking up 331 tackles over his final two years at Hermitage High, Grant has impressive size for a high school senior at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. Unlike a lot of linebackers at his level, Grant reads plays well and attacks the line of scrimmage with his speed and power. It's no stretch to say he could play as a freshman, at the very least on special teams, but he has all the tools to become a future star wherever he goes.

When: He will announce on Signing Day around 1:30 ET at his high school.

Considering: Florida, Ohio State, Virginia and North Carolina.

Best guess: Ohio State. Spiewak says Grant likely ends up at either Ohio State or Florida, adding that head coach Will Muschamp has worked hard to establish a bond with Grant. While Florida has made a push, ultimately the Buckeyes snatch Grant up to add to an impressive and young linebacking core for the sweater vest.
Posted on: January 23, 2011 1:56 pm

NFC Championship players a long way from recruits

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Today’s NFC Championship game between Green Bay and Chicago pits two great rivals and many of the NFL’s best players against each other. Although some were all-world recruits coming out of high school, most were not. Just listen to the players when they announce their alma maters, mixed in with the USC’s and Florida’s are Abilene Christian and a few directional schools.

B.J. Raji was a two-star, 6-foot-2, 295 pound defensive tackle from Washington Township (NJ) in the class of 2004. His only other offers were from Rutgers and Wisconsin and he selected Boston College shortly after his official visit there. An anchor for the Eagles defense, he was a third-team AP All-American and first-team All-ACC pick his senior year. The Packers selected him ninth overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers was jealous of Raji’s offer list. After having zero Division I offers out of high school in Oroville, CA, Rodgers went to Butte Junior College. Cal coach Jeff Tedford noticed Rodgers while recruiting a tight end at Butte and eventually turned him into one of the most productive quarterbacks in Cal history. After some thought he could be the overall number one pick in 2005, he slid to Green Bay with the 24th overall pick and the rest is (fairly recent) history.

Despite having a famous last name, Clay Matthews was an unranked linebacker in the class of 2004 coming out of high school. He walked-on at USC and used the weight room to transform himself. He eventually received a scholarship in 2006 and was part of a fearsome front seven at USC in 2009 that was one of the best defenses in college football. The Packers grabbed Matthews with the 26th pick in 2009 and he will likely end up as the NFL’s defensive player of the year.

Similar stories are abound on the Bears as well. Brian Urlacher was actually a wide receiver coming out of high school and only held offers from New Mexico and New Mexico State. After heading to New Mexico, head coach Dennis Franchione flipped Urlacher to linebacker and he eventually led the nation in tackles his junior year. Selected ninth overall in 2000, the seven time Pro-Bowler has been a mainstay on the Bears and one of the most recognizable defenders in the league.

Unlike the aforementioned players, Julius Peppers might be the player with the most hype coming out of high school and college. A Parade All-American coming out of South Nash Senior High (NC), Peppers went on to finish second on the all-time sacks list at North Carolina and won the Bednarik and Lombardi Awards. The second overall pick in 2002, Peppers was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and hasn’t looked back since.

Numerous other players took off-the-beaten paths to get to the NFC Championship game though. Bears running back Matt Forte was a two-star back who went to Tulane. Starting tackle J’Marcus Webb was a top recruit from the Dallas-area who signed with Texas. He eventually transferred to a junior college before finishing up at West Texas A&M. Devin Hester was a five-star corner who took his talents to ‘The U’ and had great success there. The Packers A.J. Hawk was a three-star linebacker from Centerville (OH) who eventually became one of the best Ohio State linebackers in recent memory and a first round pick.

As many of these players will tell you, it’s not about where you start, it is how hard you work and how you finish. A win today and another in a few weeks and any star ratings they may have had in high school will just look funny while they're holding up the Lombardi Trophy.

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