Tag:Al Golden
Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:16 am
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2/12 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Several players are headed to USF's Junior Day.

 Pitt and Penn State had so-so recruiting classes in 2012 but here's how the Panthers can wind up in the top 20.

 Texas' first recruit Jake Raulerson is going from recruited to recruiter. One target should be tight end Durham Smythe.

 Q&A with Al Golden, who discusses recruiting at Miami among other things.

 Several of UCLA's Georgia recruits remembered when Jim Mora won a playoff game with the Atlanta Falcons.

 Recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt described Louisville’s recruiting strategy.


Posted on: February 5, 2012 12:02 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 12:08 pm
 

So. Florida Express tryout brings out top talent

Posted by Bryan Fischer

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- The ink on the class of 2012 letters of commitment was barely dry before the next crop of top recruits took to the field at Saturday's South Florida Express tryout as the recruiting cycle begins anew. One of the most popular 7-on-7 travel teams, the tryout brought nearly 200 players from all over the Miami-area to see if they could make the cut, led by a familiar face.

"It was exciting, there was a lot of competition and a lot of stuff that I saw last year cover-wise," Miami (Fla.) quarterback Akeem Jones, a member of last year's squad, said. "It's the same plays and same scheme so I felt comfortable."

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound signal-caller was a backup last year as the team traveled across the south to 7-on-7 tournaments. This year however, his heart is set on taking over and leading the team - and himself - to new heights.

"E.J. (Hilliard) was who I studied last year," said Jones. "I watched him as a youngster and studied under him. Now I can take over and become the nation's best. I want to prove a lot and prove a lot of people wrong. Most of all I want to do it for myself.

"I'm putting the work in."

Jones has bulked up slightly during the football season and brought his trademark canon of an arm. He's already drawing noticeable interest from colleges with two verbal scholarship offers already on the table.

"Right now I have two offers, Rutgers and Middle Tennessee," Jones said. "Florida State is close, South Florida is close, (Miami) is close."

With a smile always on his face when not laser-focused between the lines, Jones wasn't as sharp throwing the ball on a cloudy South Florida Saturday but was still the most advanced quarterback of those that showed up for the tryout. Though his talent will earn him a college scholarship, his mental makeup are what will drive him to making the best decision among what likely will be a double-digit offer list and Jones is already considering a few factors that he is looking for.

"Education and character," he said. "I want to surround myself with great coaches and get a good education. I also want to feel comfortable. Character is the biggest part, that will take you a long ways."

Though he projects at several different positions, the athletic Jones is looking to play the only one he's known the past few years: quarterback.

"That's what I want to play," he said. "I'm like (West Virginia quarterback) Geno (Smith)."

The comparison to Smith, who hails from nearby Miramar (Fla.) and is of similar build, is one reason why Jones has West Virginia at the top of his list.

"If they offer, I'm coming," he said. "I've already visited, it was very nice. If they offered, I'm signing.

"I think I can bring more excitement (to the offense) and ability with my legs. I would just carry on what Geno's doing basically and bring the program up. There's still a lot I can learn but it's a good fit."

Grace ready for what's next

One of the most impressive defenders at the event was Miramar (Fla.) linebacker Jermaine Grace. A fluid athlete with a great build, he was all over the field on Saturday and went out of his way to show coaches that was good enough to be an integral part of the team this year.

"I was out here last year but they told me I was too young to play so I came back this year and said I'm going to make it this time. The coaches basically told me I'm already on the team but I still have to go tryout," Grace said. "My coach had me playing different positions, like DB and receiver, just positions I don't normally play. I was able to experience new things and was able to do just as well."

The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has a good frame to add weight and the athleticism of a safety. Grace is already one of the most highly recruited athletes in South Florida and is a top 2013 prospect to watch.

"I've got (offers from) Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia," he said. "I think Alabama is close. I've talked to the coaches a lot so that's a school I've talked with that hasn't offered."

Grace has been part of a successful Miramar High program so he knows a lot of the ins and outs of the recruiting process and as such, is already beginning to figure out what he's looking for in a college football program and university.

"I want a good business program, good coaching staff, good teammates," he said. "I want to be able to learn and make it to the next level. I don't really mind (leaving home) but I don't want to get too far away from my family. If I have to I'll do it if it's best for me. But for right now, I'm not looking to go too far."

It's that time of year where Junior Days are quickly popping up on the calendar and Grace is receiving invites from several schools across the South. He won't venture outside of the state for one but did recently check out Miami's and enjoyed his time there.

"Yeah I went and it was a new experience for me," he said. "I talked with Al Golden one-on-one and with my family. It was cool. I was able to talk to players and different coaches. It was very exciting."

Grace could play at a variety of positions but appears set at playing linebacker for the South Florida Express and in college.

Shelton's experience shines

There are not too many players committed in the class of 2013 but Plantation (Fla.) cornerback Sojourn Shelton is certainly one of them and he is already building bonds with several of his classmates to make sure they know all the virtues of Florida State.

"There's so many kids, every time I get around a good one I ask if Florida State is recruiting them and tell them to let me know," Shelton said. "It's good to build bonds with player, there are a lot of players that have a chance."

One of the top corners at the event on Saturday, Shelton was a marked man as others were looking to prove something against the big time commit. Though he is "solid" to the Seminoles, he's still keeping his options open with over a year before actually signing.

"I'm definitely going to take an official to LSU," he said. "I know that's a place I want to go to because they are producing DB's. Down the road I'll have my five (official visits) listed out.

"I just want to make sure it's the best fit for me. You only get one shot."

Shelton recently picked up an offer from Wisconsin and should have plenty more despite his verbal to Florida State. With Signing Day earlier in the week, having a chance to see what kind of talent Jimbo Fisher and staff were able to bring in made the 5-foot-9, 160-pound corner quite excited for the future of the program.

"With Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards Jr., they picked up a great defensive line class," he said. "I think that gives the corners a lot more comfort because it starts with the pressure from those guys. As far as bringing in (Ronald) Darby, P.J. Williams and (Collin Blake), we did a great job as far as recruiting. I think all Noles fans should be pretty excited about the year coming up."

Michel rehab going well

The best player on the field at the tryout didn't even participate. That's because Plantation (Fla.) running back Sony Michel, one of the top 2014 prospects in the country, was still recovering from an ACL tear suffered early in the season last year. Though he wasn't able to be a part of the activities, he came to support several of his teammates at the event as he took a break from rehab.

"It's going good for me right now," Michel said. "I'm probably about 80%. I know I'll be 100% by the season, probably before it. I'm just getting prepared until then."

Michel expects to be released in March but will not take part in Plantation's spring practice. Although doctors have given him a solid timetable, the state's top running back appears well ahead of schedule.

"I'm doing some running right now," he said. "I've been lifting weights since day one. I didn't get out of the weight room even when I was hurt. I'm always lifting."

Because he still has two years before he ultimately has to decide where to go to school, Michel is taking the recruiting process slow while still doing his homework.

"I get a lot of interest from the Florida schools," he said. "I'm looking for a great program. I want a good head coach and coaching staff, especially the running backs coach since I'm going to spend a lot of time with him. Also the atmosphere."

With a bit of free time during the summer, Michel might take a few unofficial visits but is undecided as to where. He's leaning on a few of the upperclassmen who have committed to major programs to help guide him over the next few years.

"I ask for some people's opinions," he said. "I also ask for people that go to school there what their opinion is. I ask how they like it and stuff like that."

Michel mentioned that he grew up a Miami fan and has already visited the hometown program a few times and seen several games.

A few other standouts

Miami (Fla.) linebacker Wendell Dunn, Pompano Beach (Fla.) wide receiver Devante Peete, Winter Garden (Fla.) defensive back Roman Tatum, Opa Locka (Fla.) defensive back Anthony Walker Jr.


Posted on: February 3, 2012 10:05 am
 

2/3 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Signing Day and its aftermath appear to be over so it's time to recap everything that happened with the latest and greatest.

Great look at what went on behind the scenes in the recruitment of Dorial Green-Beckham. Emptying the Missouri Signing Day notebook.

Georgia's record-breaking recruiting rankings streak appears to be over.

 Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas staff talked about their recruiting class.

 Florida struck out on Signing Day with some uncommitted prospects.

 Great story about Vanderbilt's recruiting class with a behind the scenes look.

 Negative recruiting was a hurdle for Miami leading up to Signing Day but if Al Golden can keep it up, watch out for the Canes.

 It was smooth sailing for Oregon despite the Chip Kelly uncertainty.

 Here's everything new Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had to say about his recruiting class.

 Some recruiting wins notwithstanding, Derek Dooley needs to win at Tennessee now.

 Darius Philon was more committed to Alabama than the school was to him.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:01 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 6:07 pm
 

Class of 2012 Recruiters of the year

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The letters have been faxed and the recruiting classes set so it's time to assess how each and every team did. While the program and head coach played huge roles in recruits committing to a school, the assistants who developed a bond with them are just as big - if not bigger - of a reason as to why they're headed to the college campus of their choice by the fall. Here are the top assistants who hauled in their fair share of top prospects in the class of 2012, sorted by each conference.

ACC: Brennan Carroll
  Tight Ends coach & Recruiting Coordinator
School: Miami
Class: #7 overall
Background: 2nd year at the school
Comment: Landing 33 commitments is notable but the quality of guys Carroll was able to help land - with the NCAA hovering over the program - is pretty remarkable. The fact that the Hurricanes landed just about every target is also impressive. Though he was mainly involved with the out-of-state guys personally, he helped Al Golden plan and execute a strategy for the class of 2012.
Notable recruits
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) defensive end Jelani Hamilton
Miramar (Fla.) defensive back Tracy Howard
Miami (Fla.) running back Duke Johnson
Runner ups
Florida State's Dameyune Craig, Virginia's Chip West
Big East: Jeff Hafley
  Secondary coach
School: Rutgers
Class: #23 overall
Background: 2nd year at the school
Comment: The fact that Rutgers was able to not only keep an impressive class together but add to it following the departure of Greg Schiano is very impressive. Hafley was the man at Don Bosco and he cleaned up most of the top targets there and in the area with new head coach Kyle Flood.
Photo courtesy of Rutgers



Notable recruits
Ramsey (N.J.) wide receiver Leonte Carroo
Ramsey (N.J.) defensive end Darius Hamilton
Saddle Brook (N.J.) linebacker Steven Longa
Runner ups
Louisville's Clint Hurtt, USF's Phil McGeoghan
Big Ten: Mike Vrabel
  Defensive line coach
School: Ohio State
Class: #3 overall
Background: 2nd year at the school
Comment: One of the holdovers from the previous staff, Vrabel is a big name among recruits from his playing days. He was instrumental in landing the #3 overall player in the country and teamed with Urban Meyer to land one of the top defensive classes in the country.






Notable recruits
Harrisburg (Pa.) defensive end Noah Spence
West Roxbury (Mass.) linebacker Camren Williams
 
Runner up
Michigan's Fred Jackson
Big 12: Jay Norvell
  Wide receivers coach
School: Oklahoma
Class: #8 overall
Background: 5th year at the school
Comment: If there was one area of need for the Sooners with the class of 2012 it was at wide receiver. Norvell not only kept highly ranked recruit Trey Metoyer from last year in the fold, but added four others that are good fits for the system and all highly regarded. Norvell has landed players from all over the country and did so once again this year.



Notable recruits
St. Louis (Mo.) wide receiver Durron Neal
Oklahoma City (Okla.) wide receiver Sterling Shepard
Inglewood (Calif.) wide receiver Derrick Woods
Runner ups
Texas' Major Applewhite, Baylor's Jim Gush
SEC: D.J. Durkin
  Linebackers coach & Special Teams Coordinator
School: Florida
Class: #5 overall
Background: 3rd year at the school
Comment: When a school like Florida (and a coach like Durkin) owns a state - in this case North Carolina - better than any of the BCS programs there, that's notable. The fact that the talented recruiter had a haul that fueled the Gators top five finish and added significant depth is the reason why he's in this spot.




Notable recruits
Shelby (N.C.) defensive end Jonathan Bullard
Bowling Springs (N.C.) safety Rhaheim Ledbetter
Venice (Fla.) defensive tackle Dante Phillips
Runner ups
Alabama's Jeremy Pruitt, UGA's Bryan McClendon
Pac-12: Tosh Lupoi
  Defensive line coach
School: Washington
Class: #24 overall
Background: 1st year at the school
Comment: Lupoi is easily the top choice in the Pac-12 where his departure from Cal affected the recruiting trail out West just as much as he did Washington's class. Arik Armstead going to Oregon and several decommits from the Bears are a few of the big waves his move caused and shows how good and well connected a recruiter Lupoi is.




Notable recruits
Sacramento (Calif.) safety Shaq Thompson
 
 
Runner ups
UCLA's Adrian Klemm, Stanford's Lance Anderson

Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:53 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 11:17 am
 

Signing Day Coast-to-Coast Wrap



Posted by Bryan Fischer


It's time to pick up the wrapping paper, survey the damage and get excited to play with your new toys as Signing Day - i.e. Christmas in February for college football coaches and fans - has come to a close. Here's a broad overview of what happened from coast-to-coast.

Houston, we have a five-star

If there was one big - to borrow a metaphor from another sport - curve ball on Signing Day that made everybody scratch their head in disbelief it was word that Fresno (Calif.) wide receiver Deontay Greenberry had surprisingly signed with Houston during the middle of the day. It's normally a bit unusual when a program like UH signs anybody from outside the states of Texas or Louisiana and even more puzzling when they sign a highly rated player. But Greenberry? In addition to becoming the highest-ranked recruit the program has ever inked, the switch was cause for celebration inside the football office for a coup of epic proportions.

In short: Houston stole a five-star recruit on the week before Signing Day from Notre Dame.

This wasn't a local big time kid, this was the state of California's best wide receiver and somebody the Irish were counting on to play early and often with the departure of guys like Michael Floyd. The Cougars were not only closer to a BCS game than the storied program but they picked their pockets for one of their top recruits. It should have been a big day for Brian Kelly to trumpet guys like number two overall player and Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel or Greenberry's cousin, cornerback Tee Shepard. Instead it was Kelly who was trying to spin the loss during his annual press conference.

"It is hard for me to feel disappointed about something I have never had, or someone I have never coached," Kelly said. "I'm more excited about the 16 who did sign."

The reason the 6-foot-3, 187-pound wide out flipped was primarily due to Houston receivers coach Jamie Christian, who came over from Arizona State. Christian had kept the Sun Devils in the running (Greenberry took a visit in October and considered them as late as December) despite a commitment to Notre Dame until Dennis Erickson's staff was fired and deserves the lion's share of the credit for getting Greenberry on campus last weekend and for ultimately landing a top-ranked guy. Cougars' head coach Tony Levine has developed some very successful wide receivers over the past several years and it appears he's got somebody a lot more talented than he's ever coached coming in with the class of 2012.

One in January, another in February

Texas coach Mack Brown has picked up the title Mr. February due to his penchant for winning a recruiting title but lack of success in translating that into a national title. After the run Nick Saban has had at Alabama recently, it might be time to find something that accurately describes his dominance in the first two months of the year because he's not limited to one or the other. As expected, the Crimson Tide took home the top recruiting class in the country in 2012 but perhaps the only thing that was surprising about it was that it wasn't, well, surprising.

"We knew exactly pretty much what we were gonna get," Saban said. "We didn't really have any surprises."

The only thing that even registered on the meter was when defensive tackle Korren Kirven decided to go away from home and play for the Crimson Tide (part of the reason why a numbers crunch led to some like defensive tackle Darius Philon signing at Arkansas). All told, 28 players will be considered part of yet another recruiting title for a program that seems to land any recruit they want, including an impressive six top 100 players.

The headliner is Geismar (La.) defensive back Landon Collins, who signed sans drama Wednesday and even seems to have patched things up with his mother following the bizarre reaction she had when he committed at the Under Armour All-American Game early last month. A ball-hawk who isn't afraid to lower the shoulder and stick the ball carrier, Collins is bound to find a role early on in the secondary. This class didn't really load up on offensive lineman but filled out just about everywhere else was stacked. The front seven in particular could see plenty of recruits turn into All-Americans, led by the impressive Reggie Ragland and Dillon Lee. Offensively there are some speedsters at wide out and T.J. Yeldon might be the best running back coming into the conference.

The Tide, it appears, just can't stop rolling.

M-I-Z-D-G-B

Though the news had broken that the country's top overall player in the class of 2012 would likely be headed to Columbia, nobody was truly sure until the the 6-foot-6 Dorial Green-Beckham put on the Missouri hat and officially sent his LOI in. The announcement seemed a little ho-hum despite the nearly 1,000 people watching locally and the national television audience but that's mainly a testament to the reserved Green-Beckham himself.

With many analysts calling him the second coming of Randy Moss, there's immense pressure on the top-ranked wide receiver and for good reason. There are few prospects as impressive physically as Green-Beckham and though he doesn't have great hands and needs some polish, the underlying natural talent is a good reason why he was highly regarded and highly recruited. Missouri has had success building around taller, bigger pass catchers in their offense and it looks like they'll have three years to see what kind of eye popping numbers

It can't be understated how big this is for a program like Mizzou. Landing the top recruit in the country is not just about getting a good player, it's about adding a level of prestige to the program. A talent like DGB only comes along once in a generation and for the Tigers to keep him at home is understandably huge, especially with the move to the SEC. Gary Pinkel has had plenty of success over the past several years even if it hasn't resulted in a championship and everybody understands that the competitions is about to be ratcheted up several notches going forward. With the signature of Green-Beckham, Pinkel and Mizzou proved that even if guys like Mack Brown, Bob Stoops and Nick Saban really want a kid, the Tigers can compete off and - hopefully - on the field in their new league going forward.

Nerd Search 2012

Outside of alumni and those that have to write about the Pac-12, there weren't too many mentions of Stanford on Signing Day every year.

My how times have changed.

Not only did the Cardinal tie for the national lead with six top 100 prospects, but they landed multiple five-stars and had people talking less about Andrew Luck and more about the fact that maybe this program can indeed sustain excellence going forward. There's no denying that it was one of the best years for talent on the West Coast in some time and the big reason why was the number of elite offensive lineman. If this were a few years ago, many of them would be penciled in to go to USC or Oregon or out of the area to programs like Notre Dame but instead it was Stanford who reeled the majority of the elite guys in this year (Josh Garnett, Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy). If you were to call this the best offensive line class in recent recruiting history, you wouldn't find too many who would argue. That's just how much of a difference the school was this year and the coaches' efforts were rewarded with a top 10 class ranking.

It wasn't just an academic powerhouse like Stanford who made waves either. Northwestern landed a pair of top players in Malin Jones and Ifeadi Odenigbo. Vanderbilt brought in what some called the best class in school history. Duke landed a lightly recruited guy who, according to recruiting coordinator Matt Lubick on the CBSSports.com Signing Day Central Show, runs a sub-4.3 40 yard dash. Lots of recruits talk about wanting academics but it appears they're finally following up.

Pocket squares and pads seem to be the latest thing on the recruiting trail.

More recruiting SECcess

It wasn't quite the banner year for the league that it could have been but 2012 certainly was a great Signing Day for the best conference in the country. Eight of the SEC's 14 teams finished in the final top 25 class rankings, highlighted by Alabama at the top and both of the league newcomers turning in great first efforts. Texas A&M ended up stealing defensive tackle Edmund Ray from Missouri and added wide receiver Thomas Johnson, a former Texas commitment, to a group that finished 14th. Florida was a top five class despite missing out on some guys and even a few programs that have recently struggled did well with Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn grouped together from 20-22.

The Bulldogs had to land just about every target left on their board and they did ok, notably beating Florida State late for linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons despite a little issue with his grandfather not signing his letter of intent until Thursday. The Bulldogs missed out on Juco wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (who went to Tennessee) and offensive tackle Avery Young (to Auburn) but also landed five-star offensive lineman John Theus and what might be the best one-two punch at running back in the class with Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. It wasn't a "Dream Team" but Georgia still showed you can have a very good class and it only be alright in such a deep league.

Kentucky brought in what might be the top quarterback in the state this year in Patrick Towles and took advantage of Alabama's number crunch in grabbing running back Justin Taylor. The state of Georgia was a big producer of talent for a lot of the league's schools and is quickly becoming the go-to state for most FBS programs after the big three of California, Texas and Florida. The theme this year was even if a school didn't pick up a commitment from a kid, there's a high chance he went to another SEC school.

Quality over quantity

This was finally the year that we'd see NCAA sanctions limit USC and Lane Kiffin had to be creative in how he managed the numbers on top of grabbing the best talent available. Even though the Trojans missed out on linemen Peat and Murphy, it was still a good haul with Zach Banner, Jordan Simmons and Max Tuerk on top of skill position talent like five-star Nelson Agholor, linebacker Jabari Ruffin, end Leonard Williams and wide receiver Darreus Rogers. Given the way the staff has recruited over the past two years, it's looking more likely that the school can get through harsh NCAA sanctions better than was previously thought. Missing out on three guys may seem like a lot but it should help next year by giving Kiffin those scholarships to use for early enrollees in 2013.

Meyer Mayhem

FYI to coaches across the country, if Urban Meyer starts circling your recruits, you better be prepared to bring your A+++ game if you want to land them. The master recruiter took Ohio State's class from middling prior to his hire to tying the nation's lead with six top 100 recruits and a number three overall class ranking. This was, mind you, with only two months on the job to recruit with a program that just got slapped with a bowl ban from the NCAA. Meyer really attacked the defensive line and looks like he'll be importing a high quality, SEC-caliber defensive line with Se'Von Pittman, Tommy Schutt, Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington. He's already jumped on several top 2013 players and if this year was any indication, it could be a long couple of years for his Big Ten counterparts.

Seminole DLight

Mark Stoops is the defensive coordinator at Florida State and he might be the happiest man in the state of Florida. As good as Ohio State's defensive line class was, FSU's might be the best in the country. Though they lost Dante Fowler Jr., they still signed Chris Casher, Mario Edwards, Eddie Goldman, Justin Shanks and should get Dalvon Stuckey in a year or two after he goes to a Juco. The thing about the Seminoles is that they don't need every guy to come in and play right away but each is talented enough to make an impact in certain situations. Edwards has the pedigree and drive to become a high first round draft pick with his skill set and Stoops should use him in multiple spots. Adding guys like Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams are also huge gets for the program in the secondary. Whoever plays the best defense likely has a leg up in the ACC and it appears that's where Florida State did the best on Wednesday.

More on Signing Day
Columns
Dennis Dodd

Urban strikes gold right away; stigma of Tressel scandal already gone



Brett McMurphy

Forget suspense and excitement, it's just another 'Bama Signing Day
Related links
The Golden Touch

The early indication that things would be going Miami's way came when one of the country's top uncommitted recruits, Miramar (Fla.) cornerback Tracy Howard, flashed the "U" sign on national television and made, to some, the surprising decision to stay home and play for the Hurricanes. Although Howard's recruitment was a bit difficult to read, it appeared there was only a slim chance that he'd leave the state and most were predicting he was Florida's to lose down the stretch.

Much like Stanford this year, there weren't a whole lot of recruits the program missed out on that they were after hard - a remarkable accomplishment given what's swirling around Coral Gables. The loss of linebacker Reggie Northrup hurts because he could play multiple positions and is easily one of the top linebacker prospects in the state. That he switched to archival Florida State stung a little but that was one of the rare occasions were the Hurricanes were slowed down. This was the largest class in the country and plenty of the recruits should see early playing time with guys like Duke Johnson making an impact from the moment they step on campus. Al Golden had to climb a mountain but did a great job grabbing the guys he did.

Tosh.Ohhh

Not sure any assistant had a greater impact on multiple programs than new Washington coach Tosh Lupoi. California's class imploded, Washington landed the #5 player in the country in Shaq Thompson, UCLA added Jordan Payton and Oregon picked up Arik Armstead due to the uncertainty. One wonders if Lupoi had been hired earlier how much more impact he would have had for the Huskies' class but it's clear he shifted the recruiting trail in the conference in just a few short weeks.

In addition to Washington, USC, Stanford, plenty of other Pac-12 programs landed strong classes in what was a very, very good year for talent West of the Rockies. Oregon managed to flip several recruits, such as wide receiver Chance Allen from Oklahoma State and a terrific pick up in Bralon Addison from Texas A&M (who took a late visit and should fit perfectly in Chip Kelly's system). Though many were skeptical of the hire initially, Jim Mora grabbed a terrific class and fellow newcomers Rich Rodriguez and Mike Leach also had good first efforts. There really wasn't a "bad" class among the bunch and even lowly Colorado landed a top 100 player.

Texas being Texas

The Longhorns finished in a familiar spot right at the top of the class rankings and even though they couldn't push Alabama off the top spot, this has some major players who can play early and often. Malcom Brown is a beast at defensive tackle and Manny Diaz' defensive staff pulled one of the big surprises in taking Torshiro Davis away from LSU. The class has the top running back in the country with record-setter Johnathan Gray and the state's top wide out in Cayleb Jones. Mack Brown also closed very well, grabbing speedy Daje Johnson and linebackers Dalton Santos and Bryce Cottrell in addition to Davis. It will be a young Texas team in 2012 but with this class and the current roster, it will certainly be a talented one.



Category: NCAAF
Tags: Adolphus Washington, Al Golden, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Andrus Peat, Arik Armstead, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Avery Young, BCS, Big Ten, Bob Stoops, Bralon Addison, Brian Kelly, Bryce Cottrell, Cal, California, Cayleb Jones, Chance Allen, Chip Kelly, Chris Casher, Colorado, Cordarrelle Patterson, Daje Johnson, Dalton Santos, Dalvon Stuckey, Dante Fowler Jr., Darius Philon, Darreus Rogers, Dennis Erickson, Deontay Greenberry, Dillon Lee, Dorial Green-Beckham, Duke, Duke Johnson, Eddie Goldman, Edmund Ray, Florida, Florida State, Gary Pinkel, Georgia, Gunner Kiel, Houston, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Jabari Ruffin, Jamie Christian, Jim Mora, John Theus, Johnathan Gray, Jordan Payton, Jordan Simmons, Josh Garnett, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Justin Shanks, Justin Taylor, Keith Marshall, Kentucky, Korren Kirven, Kyle Murphy, Landon Collins, Lane Kiffin, Leonard Williams, LSU, Mack Brown, Malcom Brown, Malin Jones, Manny Diaz, Mario Edwards, Mark Stoops, Matt Lubick, Max Tuerk, Miami, Michael Floyd, Mike Leach, Missouri, NCAA, Nelson Agholor, Nick Saban, Noah Spence, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, P.J. Williams, Pac-12, Patrick Towles, Randy moss, Reggie Northrup, Reggie Ragland, Rich Rodriguez, Ronald Darby, Se'Von Pittman, SEC, Shaq Thompson, Signing Day Wrap, Stanford, T.J. Yeldon, Tee Shepard, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Thomas Johnson, Todd Gurley, Tommy Schutt, Tony Levine, Torshiro Davis, Tosh Lupoi, Tracy Howard, UCLA, Under Armour All-American Game, Urban Meyer, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington, Zach banner
 
Posted on: February 1, 2012 11:28 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: ACC



Posted by Chip Patterson

Breaking down who won and lost in the ACC on National Signing Day

WINNER: Florida State

For the second year in a row, multiple top uncommitted prospects picked Florida State in widely publicized National Signing Day announcements. Cornerback Ronald Darby (pictured above, No. 3 athlete in 2012 class) never even told head coach Jimbo Fisher he was definitely coming to Florida State, but when decision time came he reached for the Seminoles' hat. It started with Mario Edwards, Jr. signing his letter on ESPN in the morning, then on to Eddie Goldman's commitment and Jameis Winston's public recruitment of Darby just before the cornerback's announcement. For Florida State, the revolution was televised.



LOSER: North Carolina schools

Recently, high school football in the state of North Carolina has been on the rise. Unfortunately, it has not resulted in a boost to any of the North Carolina schools in the ACC. North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, and Duke missed out on every North Carolina prospect in Tom Lemming's Top 100 Players, and allowed 31 of the 55 in-state prospects to sign with out-of-state schools. If these football programs want to shake the "basketball school" reputation of Tobacco Road, they need to stop letting the best in-state talent get poached by other programs.

WINNER: Miami

The Hurricanes got a jump start on the competition due to self-imposed bowl ineligibility, and those early verbal commits helped secure enough to talent to keep the Hurricanes as a Top 10 class despite some defections. Miami also got a much-needed boost in the secondary with the commitment of Tracy Howard, and defensive end Tyriq McCord signed his letter despite rumors he may flip to USC or South Carolina. The heart of Golden's 2012 recruiting class lies right in Miami's backyard, with over half of the class from Southern Florida - many from Broward-Dade County area. Several Hurricanes' signees openly spoke about expecting NCAA action, and are willing to follow Golden's plan for success anyway.



LOSER: Georgia Tech

Recruiting is just not a great time for the public image of Georgia Tech football. Head coach Paul Johnson was publicly critical of oversigning again, and the Yellow Jackets' stiff academic requirements have become a topic of conversations when competing against the SEC for in-state talent. But Georgia Tech did have a hat on the table when defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson was making his decision between the Yellow Jackets, Alabama, and Georgia on National Signing Day. Tomlinson, one of the top uncommitted in-state recruits, paused on the Georgia Tech hat, only to publicly spurn the Yellow Jackets and commit to Alabama. Additionally, Georgia Tech offensive line coach Todd Spencer resigned amidst potential NCAA violations from impermissible text messaging. Just not a good PR day for Georgia Tech.

WINNER: Maryland

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (No. 14 overall prospect) did not commit on National Signing Day. The top ranked unsigned recruit is strongly considering Florida, Auburn, and Maryland. While many believe the Gators are in the lead for Diggs, MaxPreps' Stephen Spiewak writes that Maryland still might have a chance. Former Illinois head coach Ron Zook believes that new Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who has a great relationship with Diggs' family, could convince the Olney, Md. standout to stay in-state. With Locksley playing catch up in the recruiting game, every day without a Diggs commitment is likely to Maryland's advantage.

LOSER: Virginia Tech

While the Hokies pulled in another solid class, including talented wide receiver Joel Caleb, there was one decommit that caused an unwanted scene. Linebacker Jawand Blue, a Boca Raton, Fla. native, was committed to the Hokies until an opportunity arose at the last minute to jump in with Miami. When he called Virginia Tech, the phone conversation apparently did not go well. Unfortunately, a local reporter heard the conversation (from Blue's end) and began tweeting quotes "from Frank Beamer." A Virginia Tech spokesperson later clarified it was not Beamer, but assistant coach Charley Wiles. For more on the interaction, you can check out ACCSports.com's Signing Day blog. Blue was not a make-or-break recruit for Beamer, but the whole situation was a loss on a very public day for all recruiting news.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:27 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:26 pm
 

Florida State wins big on National Signing Day



Posted by Chip Patterson


Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher injected new life into the Seminoles' football program a year ago, grabbing top recruits at nearly every position on the field and finishing with a top three class. After a few 2012 verbal commits decided to look elsewhere, it appeared as though Fisher and his staff might not be able to recreate the top ranking of 2011 National Signing Day. Even worse, the Seminoles might fall behind Miami in the ACC.

Note to self: never doubt Jimbo Fisher and his staff on the recruiting trail.

Florida State arguably was the biggest winner in the ACC on National Signing Day, securing commitments from six players in Tom Lemming's Top 100 and moving above Miami to No. 6 in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25. Only Alabama and Ohio State have as many top players in their 2012 recruiting class as the Seminoles.

The day began at 9 a.m. when Florida State's staff got to watch defensive end Mario Edwards (No. 4 overall prospect) physically sign his letter-of-intent on national television. Edwards, along with defensive end Chris Casher, were going to be the backbone of a strong group of defensive prospects. With just Casher and Edwards on board to join star quarterback Jameis Winston, the Seminoles already had a Top 10 class.

Then things began to start falling Florida State's way when defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (No. 17 overall prospect) announced his decision to join the Seminoles, giving the camera a big smile and tomahawk chop. Around the same time, Miami verbal commit Reggie Northrup, the No. 14 inside linebacker in the class of 2012, flipped his commitment to Florida State. For the second year in a row, National Signing Day surprises were favoring Florida State.

Then with the bases loaded, Florida State hit a grand slam with the commitment of Notre Dame decommit Ronald Darby. The two-sport athlete from Potomac, M.D. gave credit to the Florida state coaching staff for making Tallahassee feel like home. Darby will have the opportunity to run track at Florida State, where he said he hoped to improve "as an athlete and an as a person."

With Goldman, Northrup, and Darby all joining an already highly ranked class - and only losing defensive end Dante Fowler - Florida State avoided a let down from the memorable 2011 National Signing Day. Once again, Jimbo Fisher and his staff were able to put in the work to secure the big names at the last minute. All that is left for the good folks in Tallahassee to do is receive that letter from Jameis Winston. Winston told ESPN, "I'm a 'Nole," and said he planned to send his letter in when he returned home.  The quarterback also said he had worked hard to recruit Ronald Darby to join him at Florida State.

After watching Darby's announcement later in the day, Florida State fans already feel like the pieces are in place for something special in 2012.

For more on Florida State check out Seminoles RapidReports. Keep up with all the latest announcements around the nation throughout the day at Signing Day Central.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 10:52 am
 

Report: Darius Hamilton choosing Miami or Rutgers

Posted by Chip Patterson

One of the advantages of Rutgers promoting interim head coach Kyle Flood to the full time position has been his ability to continue the recruitment of top prospects after Greg Schiano's exit.

Arguably the top uncommitted prospect left on the Scarlet Knights' wish list is defensive end Darius Hamilton, the top ranked player in New Jersey and one of the best in the nation at his position. According to The Star-Ledger, Hamilton has narrowed his choices to Rutgers and Miami.

Scarlet Knights' fans felt good about their chances to keep Hamilton in-state, but the 6-foot-4, 250 pound defensive end just returned from an official visit to Miami this past weekend. The Hurricanes have already received some verbal commitments from Hamilton's group, and head coach Al Golden is hoping to add Hamilton to his strong 2012 recruiting class.

Rutgers is expected to formally announce Kyle Flood as the next head coach on Tuesday, and Hamilton will announce his decision on Tuesday night. Flood is reportedly a popular choice among New Jersey high school coaches, but he faces a tough challenge recruiting against Golden - who has already assembled a group currently ranked No. 6 in the MaxPreps Top 25 classes.

To catch up on Miami and Rutgers, check out the ACC Signing Day Overview and Big East Signing Day Overview at the Eye On Recruiting

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