Posted on: February 21, 2012 3:43 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 5:18 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
You can finally close the book on the class of 2012.
The country's lone remaining uncommitted top 100 recruit, Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal, ended all of the late drama and committed to Notre Dame after a no-show to a ceremony Tuesday morning.
“Deciding on a college is one of the toughest decisions a young player makes in his life, so we are very pleased with Davonte’s decision to attend Notre Dame,” Brian Kelly said in a school release confirming Neal had faxed in his letter of intent. “Davonte was an electric playmaker in high school and was capable of making the big play any time he had the ball in his hands. He excelled as a receiver, as a running back and as a returner for Coach (Charlie) Ragle at Chaparral High School. I imagine we’ll use him in a similar fashion here.”
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Neal can play either cornerback or slot receiver but will likely wind up taking snaps on the offensive side of the ball at the next level. His recruitment was kept under the radar for most of 2011 before heating up with late official visits and multiple suitors coming in late to make their pitch. In the end, he delayed his decision 20 days after Signing Day to pick Notre Dame over his other finalists Arizona, Arkansas and North Carolina.
Neal was named a MaxPreps first-team All-American as a defensive back while topping the 1,000-yard mark in total offense to go with 35 touchdowns last season as a senior. Many believed he would stay close to home because of numerous ties to Arizona, including the fact that his high school coach, Rangel, was hired by new head coach Rich Rodriguez before Signing Day and several of his teammates are committed to the program.
Bottom line however, the Irish are getting a great player who is ranked as the number four wingback and 67th overall player in the country.
"He is a receiver who must be double-teamed at all times," analyst Tom Lemming said of Neal. "He comes off the ball quickly with speed and strength, gets in and out of his cuts quickly, catches the ball, and then turns up field in a flash. He always takes what the defense gives him, can catch the ball at its highest points, and once he has secured the ball that's when the fun starts. He can out run almost every back he goes up against and shows excellent open field moves."
Neal's pledge gives Notre Dame 17 commitments for the class of 2012.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:53 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 11:17 am
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 11:41 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 11:45 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Notre Dame fans became a bit worried when five-star wide receiver Deontay Greenberry visited Houston earlier this week after giving a verbal commitment to the Irish, and it appears those worries weren't without reason.
CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer confirmed on Wednesday that Greenberry had signed his letter of intent to play at Houston.
This comes as a big surprise as Greenberry had maintained all along that he wanted to go to school with his cousin, cornerback Tee Shepard. Shepard is a Notre Dame signing who signed his letter of intent to the school on Wednesday.
Greenberry is the ranked third amongst all wide receivers by MaxPreps, behind only Dorial Green-Beckham and Cayleb Jones. While losing Greenberry to Houston doesn't kill what's a pretty strong 2012 class for Notre Dame, it's also not the kind of news Brian Kelly and his staff were expecting to hear today.
Keep up with all the latest from National Signing Day at CBSSports.com's National Signing Day Central.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 11:19 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
National Signing Day is almost here and recruits across the country are gearing up for plenty of last-minute pitches and school visits as head coaches look to shape their program for years to come. For a snapshot of the Non-BCS recruiting scene, we will take a close look at independents Notre Dame and BYU, as well as the five schools headed to the Big East in 2013: Boise State, Houston, San Diego State, SMU, and UCF.
1. How quickly will Gunner Kiel see the field at Notre Dame?
One of the storylines of Gunner Kiel's recruitment was the star quarterback's inability to make up his mind. Some have suggested that playing time is a big concern for Kiel, and there is no guarantee on when he may take the starting position. The first-string quarterback spot is there for the taking, but head coach Brian Kelly has already shown a happy trigger finger when it comes to switching signal-callers. How is Kiel, who seemed to be always eyeing greener grass, going take it if and/or when he is sent to the pine.
2. Will there be an effect from the assistant coach changeover at Boise State?
2012 kicked off with Chris Petersen losing two valuable members of his coaching staff to BCS schools. Will Muschamp tapped offensive coordinator Brent Pease to join his staff in Florida, then special teams coach Jeff Choate left to join Mike Leach's staff at Washington State just a week later. Both coaches played a big role in recruiting the 2012 class, and there was some concern that the staff shakeup could have an effect in recruiting. A firm commitment from QB Nick Patti after Pease's move to Florida was a good sign for Boise State. This class still stacks up well against previous groups, but you wonder if/when we will start seeing an on-field effect of this assistant exodus.
3. Schools on the move
Navy recently added themselves to the group of schools headed towards the Big East, leaving Army, BYU, and Notre Dame as the last FBS independents after 2015. The Black Knights have been fairly grounded in their independent status, but both the Irish and Cougars have flirted with the notions of joining one of the power conferences. In announcing their move to the Big East, Navy school officials mentioned the scheduling difficulties associated with being an independent. As more schools hold future dates for conference play, it had become increasingly difficult to assemble a competitive schedule without that built-in slate of opponents. If the Big 12 comes calling again to BYU, Navy's move might have the Cougars reconsidering their options.
Assistant recruiters of note:
Bob Diaco and Mike Denbrock, Notre Dame
Sean Beckton, UCF
Carlton Hall, Houston
Tony White, San Diego State
Jeff Reinebold, SMU
Tags: Arik Armstead, Austin Maass, Ben Weaver, Blake Davis, Bob Diaco, Boise State, Brent Pease, Brian Kelly, Bryan Fischer, Butch Pauu, BYU, Carlton Hall, Central Florida, Chip Patterson, Chris Petersen, D.J. Foster, Damien Neroes, Daniel Roundtree, Deontay Greenberry, DJ Foster, Donald Hopkins, Elijah Shumate, George O'Leary, Gunner Kiel, Houston, Jarron Jones, Jeff Choate, Jeff Reinebold, Jonathan Wallace, June Jones, Kendrick Mathis, Kevin Sumlin, Kwayde Miller, Mike Denbrock, National Signing Day, National Signing Day Overview, National Signing Day Preview, Nelson Agholor, Nick Patti, Non-BCS, Non-BCS Signing Day Overview, Notre Dame, Prescott Line, Rocky Long, Ron Darby, Ronald Darby, Ronnie Stanley, San Diego State, Sean Beckton, Seaver Myers, Sheldon Day, Signing Day, Signing Day Overview, SMU, Southern Methodist, Tanner Mangum, Taylor Oldham, Tee Shepard, Terrence Taylor, Tim Hines, Tomme Mark, Tony Levine, Tony White, Travis Averill, Troy Hinds, UCF
Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:00 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 1:03 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
We're a week away - if you can believe it - from the class of 2012 finally putting pen to paper and ending all of the drama surrounding their recruitment. There's still plenty of uncommitted players out there and lots of teams looking to move up in the class rankings. At the moment, it looks like Alabama has a stranglehold on the top spot but there's a small chance that another team could knock them out if a surprise or two ends up committing.
Below is an overview of the current Maxpreps top 25 class rankings, from the Crimson Tide to the Cardinal, and a few notes on each.
Tags: ACC, Adolphus Washington, Alabama, Andrus Peat, Arkansas, Auburn, Avery Johnson, Avery Young, Barry Sanders, Barry Sanders Jr., Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Brandon Banks, Bri'onte Dunn, Brian Kelly, Brian Kimbrow, Bryce Treggs, Byron Marshall, Cal, California, Carlos Watkins, Cayleb Jones, Chad Kelly, Chaz Elder, Chip Kelly, Chris Casher, Clemson, Cordale Boyd, Courtnye Wynn, Curtis Riser, D.J. Humphries, Daje Johnson, Dante Fowler Jr., Darreus Rogers, Darrion Hutcherson, DeForest Buckner, Deon Bush, Deontay Greenberry, Derrick Woods, Devante Bourque, DeVante Harris, Devonte Fields, Donaldven Manning, Dorial Green-Beckham, Drew Harris, Durron Neal, Dwayne Stanford, Eddie Williams, Eli Harold, Elijah Shumate, Erik Magnuson, Florida, Florida State, Freddie Tagaloa, Geno Smith, Georgia, Germone Hopper, Greg Mattison, Gunner Kiel, J.C. Coleman, Jabari Ruffin, Jadeveon Clowney, Jake Rodrigues, Jameis Winston, JaQuay Williams, Jarontay Jones, Jason Croom, Jelani Hamilton, Jeremy Ward, Jessamen Dunker, John Michael McGee, John Theus, Johnathan Gray, Jonathan Bullard, Jonathan Williams, Jordan Diggs, Jordan Jenkins, Jordan Richmond, Jordan Simmons, Jordan Watkins, Josh Garnett, Jovon Robinson, Justin Meredith, Keith Marshall, Kent Taylor, Kevin Sumlin, Kwontie Moore, Kyle Kalis, LaDarrell McNeil, Landon Collins, Lane Kiffin, Les Miles, LSU, Malcom Brown, Mario Edwards jr., Matt Davis, Max Tuerek, Miami, Michael Moore, Michigan, Mike Davis, Mike Sherman, Mountain West, NCAA, Nelson Agholor, NFL, Nick Davison, Noah Spence, Non-BCS, Noor Davis, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pac-12, Pac-12, Patton Robinette, Randy Johnson, Ray Lewis, Rodd Gurley, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Rueben Randle, SEC, Shaq Roland, Shaq Thompson, South Carolina, Stanford, Stefon Diggs, T.J. Davis, T.J. Yeldon, Tajh Boyd, Taylor McNamara, TCU, team rankings, Tee Shepard, Tennessee, Terry Richardson, Texas, Texas A&M, Thomas Johnson, Tommy Shutt, Torshiro Davis, Tosh Lupoi, Tracy Howard, Travis Blanks, Trey Granier, Trey Williams, Ty Darlington, Tyler Matthews, Tyriq McCord, Urban Meyer, USC, Vadal Alexander, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington, Will Muschamp, Zach Kline
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:44 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 12:47 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
It's officially offiical. Notre Dame sent out the following release conforming Maxpreps' top ranked quarterback Gunner Kiel is enrolled with the Irish along with several other early enrollees and transfers:
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame football team added four players to its roster Tuesday, head coach Brian Kelly announced.
The Irish added one transfer student and three early-enrollee freshmen to the football squad.
Running back Amir Carlisle (Santa Clara, Calif./Kings Academy/USC) transferred to Notre Dame after attending the first semester of his freshman year at the University of Southern California.
Defensive lineman Sheldon Day (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central), quarterback Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind./Columbus East) and defensive back Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif./Washington Union) graduated from their respective high schools last December.
The four players signed their scholarship forms and were enrolled at the University Tuesday, the first day of the 2012 spring semester at Notre Dame.
Carlisle played in eight games for the Trojans in 2011. He totaled 19 rushes for 118 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and posted seven receptions for 41 yards with one touchdown. His best game for USC came at Colorado when Carlisle led the Trojans with 90 yards on 10 carries and caught two passes for 31 yards, including a 19-yard TD reception.
As a senior at Kings Academy, Carlisle was named a 2010 high school All-American by Parade and SuperPrep after gaining 2,110 rushing yards (averaged 10.0 yards per carry) and 28 TDs. He also caught 12 passes for 231 yards (19.3 average) with three TDs. In his high school career, Carlisle rushed for 5,108 yards (11.0 yards per carry) with 73 rushing TDs and posted 26 career 100-yard rushing games in 28 high school games.
"I'm really excited to be here at Notre Dame. I had great respect for the school and football program when I went through the recruiting process a year ago and I'm proud to be enrolled here. I know this will be a great fit for me and I can't wait to get started."
Day was a second-team selection on the SI.com High School All-America team. The Indianapolis Star Super Team Player of the Year for 2011 was also runner-up for 2011 Indiana Mr. Football award chosen by Indiana Football Coaches Association. Day made 55 tackles including 12 for loss, nine sacks, 12 quarterback pressures and recovered two fumbles as a senior. He helped Warren Central to 11-1 record in 2011, with the only loss occurring in the sectional final to eventual Indiana 5A champion Carmel."I'm excited to get here and get started on my classwork and to start the conditioning program with Coach (Paul) Longo," Day said. "I really liked meeting the guys during my recruiting process and I'm excited to start workouts with them this winter."
Many internet scouting services rated Kiel the top quarterback recruit in the nation this year. The 2011 Indiana Mr. Football passed for 2,517 yards and 28 TDs as a senior and rushed for 482 yards and 11 TDs. He helped lead Columbus East High School to the Indiana state 4A semifinals as a senior and was named the Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year. Kiel passed for 7,175 yards in his high school career.
"This recruitment process was a roller-coaster ride at times, but I know I have made the right decision for my family and me," Kiel said. "There were three critical elements I was looking for in my future school: the quality of education I would receive, the distance from home and the comfort level I would have with the players and coaches in the football program. Notre Dame was the perfect fit for me because it hit all three areas.
"Coach Kelly was great throughout my recruitment, as many times our conversations had nothing do with football. That really showed me he had my best intentions in mind. He was persistent yet also patient while recruiting me and I look forward to playing for him the next four years. I couldn't be happier to be a member of the Fighting Irish football team. I'm excited about the future of the program."
Shepard was rated the third-best cornerback in his class by Scout.com and the number-36 player nationally by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming. Shepard was forced to sit out his senior season after transferring from Central East High School in Fresno. He made 10 interceptions in his high school career and played in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix.
"I'm really happy to part of the Notre Dame football family," Shepard said. "This is a special place and I'm excited to finally be here. Getting a jump start on my training and in my classes can only help me for the future."
Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:29 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
It's getting down to crunch time on the recruiting trail, with just over a month until National Signing Day. With most of the Holiday season over with and attention turned to the new year, things are about to pick up even more as the decommits, recommits and surprises start happening.
The Eye on Recruiting has already given you some players ticketed for a rise on offense and defense in the recruiting rankings and now it's time to cast a critical eye on the teams that are looking to move up and a few that could be on their way down.
Team rankings movers
Is there a better recruiter than Nick Saban? Currently, it's hard to argue with the man's success on the field and on the recruiting trail. He could be putting together an all-time great class in 2012 and just recently added lineman Alphonse Taylor and highly regarded running back T.J. Yeldon. Though they already have a quarterback in Alec Morris, the Tide are heavily pursuing dual-threat signal-caller Jameis Winston, one of the best players in the state and at his position, and top safety Landon Collins. If they can add Winston and close in on a few other top targets, Saban's team could vault to the top of the team rankings when everybody signs on the dotted line.
In just a short amount of time, Urban Meyer has made his presence felt in Columbus and nationally thanks to his recruiting acumen. The biggest splash has been made along the defensive line, where's he's grabbed commitments from the number three player in the country Noah Spence, tackle Tommy Schutt and end Se'Von Pittman. Though the NCAA handed out a bowl ban to the program, that probably won't deter too many recruits and playing for Meyer will be enough for some of them. They could land top 100 players like offensive tackle Jordan Diamond and athlete Davonte Neal so expect the Buckeyes to close well.
The Irish and Brian Kelly put together a great group of defensive lineman last year and appear to have a balanced group of quality players at every position this year. California commits Deontay Greenberry and Tee Shepard seem solid and can make an impact right away after getting aclimated to South Bend. As is usual for Notre Dame, plenty of top recruits like Nelson Agholor, Arik Armstead and Gunner Kiel have the Irish on their short list and could turn a good class into a great one.
The Trojans' great year in 2011 has proven they're one of the few schools who can shake off harsh NCAA sanctions and still play and recruit well. Lane Kiffin has a plan to deal with scholarship reductions and it will be put to the test in 2012 with 2012 being the first class limited to 15 players. USC has already signed a few top players early, such as linebacker Scott Starr and top JUCO safety Gerald Bowman. They have a chance at some top national guys Agholor and Andrus Peat so it's possible for it to be a small but great recruiting class for the Trojans.
Like their Pac-12 counterparts, the Bears could come on strong late with some top recruits. They're in good position to land Armstead and most consider five-star safety Shaq Thompson a lock to go to Berkeley. Ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi is a tremendous recruiter and with a great year out West for talent, should do pretty well. Cal's current group of commits, with quarterback Zach Kline and wide receiver Bryce Treggs, is a good start.
Team rankings shakers
This is still a very good group of players but there's no doubt that the Seminoles class has taken hit in the past few weeks - thanks in large part to Alabama. Defensive end Chris Casher is a solid building block but future teammate Mario Edwards is looking hard at Oklahoma and Texas. Losing Winston would be a huge blow and there's a slim chance some, like Dante Fowler and Mario Pender, could pull a switch on Signing Day. Jimbo Fisher has done very well with the 2012 class but fans have a reason to be a little nervous at how they'll close.
A 6-6 season and losing offensive coordinator (and noted recruiter) Charlie Weis to Kansas have caused the Gators to slip a little. It still looks like they'll be a lock for a top 10 class come February with so many top 100 recruits but there's no doubt the uncertainty surrounding the program could come back to bite them. The loss of Weis in particular could hurt with possible pledges like Agholor and put a damper on Will Muschamp's first full recruiting class. Expectations are high with Meyer doing what he's doing in Columbus so a class that isn't filled with five-stars will further the perception that the program is slipping a bit.
Will there be a meltdown on the Plains? It seems as though things haven't been going the Tigers' way recently with rival Alabama in the national championship game and stealing top commit in Yeldon. On top of that, defensive coordinator Ted Roof is gone and big time offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn surprisingly moved on to a head coaching job. This is still a very good class but they'll need to hold the current group together as well as snag a few top recruits to help reload an already young team.
Teams sitting pretty
Mack Brown has pulled in some impressive recruiting classes to Austin but this may be his best yet. The country's top running back and second-ranked wide receiver are headed to the 40 Acres and the depth of the group is one of the reasons why the Longhorns are the top ranked team in the latest Maxpreps rankings. There's no doubt that they should finish among the top three but it still remains to be seen if they can keep the top spot. Texas isn't completely done recruiting and could add a few impact players between now and Signing Day.
Brady Hoke put together the bulk of this class before even coaching a game and has occupied the top team spot for most of the year. From top-to-bottom this might be the best class in the country with plenty of players who should come in and make an impact early The Wolverines have seemingly filled all their holes and are still in the running for a few national recruits that could bolster their ranking so Michigan definitely has a shot at being ranked as the best.
Mora turning heads in Westwood
As soon as Jim Mora was hired in Westwood, the first question would be how well could the longtime NFL coach recruit at the college level? As it turns out, pretty well if early indications are to hold up in the future.
Mora's best recruiting job was the hiring of his assistants, notably ace recruiter Adrian Klemm, secondary coach Demetrice Martin and former Arizona State offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. The trio, among others, have plenty of West Coast ties and have allowed the staff to hit the ground running despite being hired so late in the game. Keep an eye on this group poaching a few recruits from the Sun Devils once-promising class as well as a few Los Angeles natives.
December has seen the Bruins' class add several good players. Defensive backs Marcus Rios and Ishamel Adams are two players who could play early on defense and landing linebacker Kenny Orjioke out of Atlanta is a solid get for the staff. For the most part, the commitments prior to the new staff have hung in and seem sold on the direction of the program.
Though they're not anywhere close to getting elite talent, the signs out of UCLA are encouraging for a relatively inexperienced staff. The problem in the past has not been about recruiting however, it's been talent development and in that area things are still TBD. Still, given the progress on the recruiting trail, the coaching change has given plenty of Bruin fans something to smile about in a relatively dour year.
Video of week
I'm headed out to the Rising Seniors Bowl in Atlanta this year, which features some of the top juniors (class of 2013) in the state of Georgia. Among the headliners this week is linebacker Reuben Foster, an Alabama commit and easily one of - if not the - top players at his position next year. Here's some of his highlights:
Tags: Adrian Klemm, Alabama, Alec Morris, Alphonse Taylor, Andrus Peat, Arik Armstead, Arizona State, Auburn, Brady Hoke, Brian Kelly, Bryce Treggs, Cal, California, Charlie Weis, Chris Casher, Dante Fowler, Davonte Neal, Demetrice Martin, Deontay Greenberry, Florida, Florida State, Gerald Bowman, Gunner Kiel, Guz Malzahn, Ishmael Adams, Jameis Winston, Jim Mora, Jimbo Fisher, Jordan Diamond, Kansas, Kenny Orjioke, Landon Collins, Lane Kiffin, Mack Brown, Marcus Rios, Mario Edwards, Mario Pender, Michigan, Nelson Agholor, Nick Saban, Noah Spence, Noel Mazzone, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pac-12, Reuben Foster, Rising Seniors Bowl, Scott Starr, Se'Von Pittman, SEC, Shaq Thompson, T.J. Yeldon, Ted Roof, Tee Shepard, Texas, Tommy Schutt, Tosh Lupoi, UCLA, Urban Meyer, USC, Will Muschamp, Zach Kline
Posted on: November 23, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 1:05 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
In such an unstable business, it sometimes is still stunning to see how quickly the recruiting landscape can change.
As news circulated Wednesday morning that Ohio State would (finally) hire former Florida and Utah head coach Urban Meyer, it's clear that the though the toughest recruiting battles lie in SEC country, the Midwest is about to become a battleground for some of the top players in the region and elsewhere.
Meyer's recruiting prowess is unmatched, unless your name is Pete Carroll or Nick Saban and want to make an argument. He won two national championships at Florida, took Utah to a 10-2 season in his first year and an undefeated season and BCS bowl in 2003. He knows the Midwest and Ohio State in particular after serving as a graduate assistant under Earle Bruce and head coach at Bowling Green. An Ohio native, he knows how to go into powerhouses such as Glenville High and get some of the best the region has to offer. Connections to the state of Florida and the rest of the Northeast will prove fruitful as well as he transitions the Buckeyes to his spread offense. Meyer recruited NFL players by the dozen to Gainesville and should have no problem doing so to Columbus.
Even rumors of the hire has had an impact on the Buckeyes current recruiting class.
“I believe Urban Meyer,” defensive end Adolphus Washington told the Columbus Dispatch after committing to Ohio State. “I hope so.”
Meyer's hire is the latest move that has quickly turned the Midwest into an SEC-esque recruiting area. Brian Kelly has gone after defensive linemen and some of the nation's best to help put together a top 10 class last year for Notre Dame. The Irish are the favorite to land the top quarterback in 2012 and appear likely to grab another highly regarded class in 2012. Rival Michigan hired Brady Hoke and he has put together the country's best class that will sign this February. His defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, coached with Meyer at Florida and knows him well - an interesting subplot. All three head coaches should also find plenty of success getting recruits from across the country.
Ohio State has always recruited well. Despite likely NCAA sanctions coming, Meyer should be able to do even better than Jim Tressel did given his legendary relentlessness on the recruiting trail. With three big names in the Midwest, numerous issues at Penn State and the NCAA easing up on rules regarding communication with recruits, Meyer should be a big splash that causes little drop off for the Buckeyes when the team rankings are announced after Signing Day.