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Tag:USC
Posted on: March 4, 2012 6:56 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 7:04 pm
 

Pro Impact takes Atlanta NLA 7-on-7 title



Posted by Bryan Fischer

Click here for day one updates

ROSWELL, Ga. -- Despite windy, chilly conditions on the outskirts of Atlanta, 7-on-7 team Pro Impact lived up to their number one seed and won the first New Level Athletics Elite tournament of the year. The national competition drew teams from Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia to feature some of the top recruits in the country making a run at the large NLA trophy at the end.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based Pro Impact had nearly half the team made up of underclassmen but the group was composed throughout their run to the title game and acted like seasoned veterans.   

"It was a lot of fun," wide receiver Isaiah Ford said. "I looked forward to going against some of the top prospects, top performers in the country and seeing how I matched up.

"It's just amazing. It's even better to win."

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound rising junior was one of the top players on the team and had several impressive catches over the middle. Wearing a pair of white-and-black striped socks, Ford and Pro Impact were remarkably consistent on offense, moving the ball down the field before taking shots at the end zone when needed. The team ran into a similarly talented Team Georgia in the final but was able to pull out a win and good seed for NLA 7-on-7 Nationals  in a tough double overtime victory.

"I had fun," Marietta (Ga.) running back and Alabama commitment Tyren Jones said. "I met some new people, it was a good thing and a great experience. Everybody was great, we just have to get the chemistry right and we'll win nationals.

"I think we represented (Georgia) well."

Both teams will have a chance to take home a national 7-on-7 title in the middle of June after earning automatic qualification on Sunday.

Langley enjoys trip to Athens

There was one new face at Centennial High School for the tournament phase of the NLA event on Sunday that only added to the star power at the stadium. Marietta (Ga.) defensive back Brendan Langley was on an unofficial visit to Georgia and missed Saturday's action but his return immediately boosted the secondary for a Goon Squad team that was knocked out in overtime.

"It was pretty fun. I wish I would have been able to come out yesterday," Langley said. "Just from this one game it was a fun experience. Hopefully I'll be able to travel with the team to Pittsburgh and Vegas."

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder played mostly at safety during the event, using his long reach to break up passes when quarterbacks dared to throw to his area. It doesn't take long to see why Langley is one of the top players in the state and a natural defensive back based on how fluid he is in coverage. His skill set is one reason he has a double-digit number of offers and headed up to Athens for what was nicknamed Very Important Dawg (VID) Day.

"It was nice. I tell you, it's different going up there just as a prospect and going up there with an offer is two totally different things," he said. "I went up there for the first Junior Day on the 28th of January and they didn't show me nearly as much love as they did yesterday.

"I brought a friend up there, Josh Fuller, he plays corner. Shaquille Wiggins, Tray Matthews - I was in a DB meeting with them. Tremel Terry was also a friend of mine there. It was fun."

The short drive from home to see the campus and get to know the coaching staff better certainly left an impact on Langley, who had notable excitement in his voice when talking about the trip. Although he did not commit to the program on the way back, it's clear the Bulldogs are certainly a favorite to land one from him at the moment.

"I can't say they are the leader but I can say it's between them and Alabama for the top spot," Langley said. "I think they might be recruiting me just as hard as the other. Yesterday, (Will) Friend the offensive line coach, he had offensive linemen blowing up his phone but he was with me the whole time. It's things like that that I notice."

With almost all of the SEC schools extending an offer and several coaches recruiting him hard, Langley has a difficult decision ahead. He is trying to take in each school and view the positives and negatives with each program before eventually sitting down and making his commitment sometime later this year.

"The number one thing is development," he said. "Where they're going to get me and not just in football, where they're going to get me in the future. It's something I definitely look for."

The only visits Langley has taken is to Tuscaloosa and Athens and figures to return to each for a spring practice or two in addition to a few other stops over the next few months.

"Right now I'm just going day-by-day," he said. "Hopefully I can maybe get down to Gainesville to see Florida, up to South Carolina and up to Knoxville (for Tennessee) and then make a decision after that. I don't want to make any irrational decision right now being that I've only been to Georgia and Alabama."

Mizzell shows off speed to burn

One of the neat parts of events like the NLA Elite 7-on-7 is to see players from different parts of the country play against top-flight competition. Virginia Beach (Va.) running back Taquan Mizzell is one of the top players in the state and came down to Georgia determined to prove he belonged in the conversation as a top recruit.

"This was really a chance for me to better myself and get other people recruited," Mizzell said. "I really wanted to work on my route running and catching abilities, getting up the field faster and things like that."

The speedster did it all for his Team Virginia as they made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Pro Impact. Mizzell was an impact player, using his quickness to pull away from defensive backs and showed soft hands out of the backfield and on routes. Given his performance, it's easy to see why he's grabbing offers just about every week.

"The most recent offer is the University of Cal," he said. "It caught me a little off guard so I was very excited about that one.  Watching college football growing up, their running back Jahvid Best used to be my favorite back. I used to watch his highlight tape all the time. Once they told me they were offering me I was kind of surprised but so happy about it."

While the Bears are a big offer on Mizzell's table with plenty of them on there, a big Midwest power could be the next to pull the trigger.

"I have 13 right now," he said. "The 14th one is basically Notre Dame. They told me they wanted to offer me a scholarship but all I have to do is send my transcript. Once they see that and everything is good, they'll confirm it."

The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder has been hearing from several schools across the country but the recent one to show him extra attention is Ohio State. The Buckeyes have already developed quite a reputation for their recruiting prowess under new head coach Urban Meyer and it appears that Mizzell is the latest the coaching staff is going after with vigor.

"(Running backs coach Stan Drayton) saw my film and said it was a no-brainer to offer me and that I was a guy for them," he said. "They wanted to get me up to the school. They basically want to build up a relationship and offer me a scholarship. Once we talked and he told me what it was, I talked to the head coach (Meyer) and the receivers coach (Zach Smith).

"It was kind of how they recruited Percy (Harvin) out of Virginia and how they used him at Florida. They would use me similarly. Also how they used Chris Rainey."

The success Harvin had in Meyer's offense is a big selling point for Ohio State and the fact that he is from the same area as Mizzell is an important one for the 2013 back because Harvin is one of his role models.

"I always want to see players from our area and Virginia do well," Mizzell said. "I look up to Percy and how he's in the NFL. My old teammate (Virginia cornerback) Demetrious Nicholson was very successful too. Running back-wise, I used to try and be like Jahvid Best but right now, I'd have to say like (LeSean) McCoy."

Mizzell plans to compete in several stops in the spring and summer camp circuit, including the NLA event in Pittsburgh. Although he's not sure what other school visits he'll take, he knows a few things that he is looking for each program when he does wind up on a campus.

"I just want a good education," he said. "I also want a chance to impact the team early on. Transportation, that's no problem because I know wherever I go my family will support me as long as I get a good education. If I can get on the field, that's good because I can try and make it to the next level."

757's future is promising with underclass talent

Mizzell wasn't the only player from Team Virginia to impress at the event. With seven underclassmen on the squad looking to make a name for themselves, no body stood out physically and with their play than Virginia Beach (Va.) defensive back Quin Blanding.

"I just wanted to show people that the 757 has all the talent," Blanding said. "We came in to play our game. Where we come from is the same as everybody else."

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder roamed the secondary quite well on Saturday and Sunday. It's easy to see why the 2014 prospect is already drawing plenty of interest from schools across the country.

"Most recent is North Carolina," he said of his offers. "All the colleges that have offered me, I just look at them the same. I'm not thinking about them as my sophomore year finishes but when my junior year comes around, I'll start going through the process. I've got seven right now: Virginia, Virginia Tech, UConn, UNC, N.C. State, ECU and Vanderbilt.

"Most coaches want me to play safety. I prefer to play that… I like to hit. I had a lot of tackles last year and like seven or eight interceptions. I played receiver too."

Despite the attention almost two years before when he can sign a letter of intent, there are two programs who Blanding wouldn't mind hearing from in the coming months.

"I grew up a Florida State fan with my dad and watching them," he said. "Now I'm an Oregon fan. I just like that fast-paced offense and defense that keeps moving and moving. They haven't show any interest but I look forward to it."

In the meantime, Blanding has plans to go to several camps but hasn't yet figured out his schedule.

Paris impresses once again at NLA Elite

At this point, Mansfield (Texas) defensive back Edward Paris a wiley old veteran of 7-on-7 competitions despite being just a rising junior. Already looking physically like a college player and with 4.4 speed, it's no surprise to hear that colleges are already recruiting him as much as they can in hopes of landing one of Texas' top defenders.

"I just recently got offers from Georgia Tech and Washington State," Parris said. "I think USC is close to offering and Alabama too."

Before this week, LSU and SMU had already extended offers and are two of the schools Paris has been hearing from for some time.

"I'm hearing a little more from LSU and UCLA," he said. "I'm interested in all schools right now. I'm just looking for a school that I can fit in socially and that has a really good education."

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is adept at playing either safety or corner but could continue to grow and wind up as an outside linebacker at the next level.

"I think a lot of them see me as a very physical guy on and off the line," he said. "I also have make-up speed in case I get beat."

Right after the tournament ended, Parris was taking advantage of the trip home by making his way West for two unofficial visits with programs who have been recruiting at a high level and have shown interest.

"After this tournament, we're going to go to Auburn and Alabama for a visit," he said. "I'll go to the Alabama camp and the LSU camp again and maybe Florida also."

Paris figures to have plenty of other opportunities on the travel team Goon Squad over the coming months and could be well beyond the double-digit offer mark by the end of the summer.


Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:52 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 11:55 pm
 

New Level 7-on-7 Day One Updates

Posted by Bryan Fischer

ROSWELL, Ga. -- The recruiting landscape shifted into a higher gear on Saturday as hundreds of players from as far away as Michigan descended upon Centennial High School in suburban Atlanta for the first New Level Athletics Elite 7-on-7 tournament of the year. With 18 teams taking part, the event drew some of the top talent from across the country to show off their skills and allowed several to make a name for themselves, hoping that will translate into scholarship offers down the road.

One player who needed no introduction was Marietta (Ga.) running back and Alabama commitment Tyren Jones. Easily among the 10 best players in the state after a terrific junior year, the speedster was the focal point of Team Georgia's offense as they fought their way out of the round-robin format that made up day one.

"Some people might know who I am but I'm not really worried about it," Jones said. "I just want to go out here and help my team win."

Although he is a multi-purpose back, Jones lined up at receiver for the day and looked like a natural. Though he looks like more a guy that would be utilized out of the slot, he typically was found on the outside against the opposition's top cornerback and still had little trouble finding soft spots in coverage or beating his man deep.

"I just want to prove that I can catch the ball well," he said. "I'm lining up to play receiver even though I'm a running back."

The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder's commitment to the Crimson Tide came after attending a recent Junior Day in Tuscaloosa and picking up an offer from head coach Nick Saban. While the timing surprised a few folks, Jones liked what the program was offering and feels his talents will mesh extremely well within the offense.

"It wasn't really a pitch, they just told me that I fit really well into their system and their system really fits me," he said. "They said I'm an all-purpose running back and that's what they need at Alabama. They watched film and saw me split out some an basically said I'm going to come out of the backfield and catch the ball."

Jones was particularly impressed with the facilities and was sold on how well the program took care of the players in terms of nutrition and weightlifting. Although some might be deterred at Alabama signing the top recruiting class seemingly every year, the tailback is looking forward to the competition and thinks the class of 2013 might come in as the best of the past few years anyway.

"I think it's something special this year," Jones said. "We can win some more national championships. They don't really brag about (winning national titles) but they know they have the talent and the recruiting to win another.

Still, that hasn't stopped a few programs from continuing to make their pitch with plenty of time between now and Signing Day.

"Purdue, Florida and I'd say Georgia," he said of programs still recruiting him hard. "They're all still talking to me and sending letters."

Jones' 7-on-7 teammate - and Georgia commit - Shaquille Wiggins was not with the squad because he was in Athens for the Bulldogs' Junior Day but will return for the championship round on Sunday. The addition not only gives the group a top cornerback but somebody that has been very open about his program being the one everybody should be looking at. Although Jones' recent pledge to Alabama is strong, he still hears it from Wiggins despite him being a bit of a recruiter himself.

"Not really, I talk to him every once and a while but it's not too much," Jones said. "I'm really (recruiting teammate) Brandon Kublanow to come down with me. Other than that, I'm talking to friends and trying to make sure Reuben Foster stays (committed). He's real excited but it sounds like he's going to stay with Alabama."

While recruiting will sort itself out for others, Jones will turn his attention to the field on Sunday with hopes of doing something he's planning on doing a lot in college: winning.

Kamara is cold and hot at the same time

One of Michael Jordan's most memorable games in a career full of them was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Most remember it simply as 'The Flu Game.'

While the stakes were significantly (significantly) less on the fields Saturday, Norcross (Ga.) running back Alvin Kamara was channeling his inner-Jordan. Under the weather with flu-like systems he was still one of the fastest players at the event and helped contribute several big plays and victories for Georgia Elite.

"I'm trying to hang in there I'm so sick," Kamara said. "I dropped a few balls. But I'm bouncing back, we'll have to see with these next games."

On top of a fever and his skin a few shades lighter than what it normally is, the cheerful Kamara also was dealing with the opposition's best shot. As one of several players with multiple FBS offers, he had a bit of a target on his back while he was running routes and catching passes.

"A little bit," he said. "Some guys see me and say, 'Oh he's got all these offers and blah, blah, blah.' But that's just going to make me play harder."  

The cold and windy conditions in the Atlanta area were pretty much the opposite of Kamara's recruitment. Holding just a single offer, from Syracuse, at the Rising Seniors Bowl right before New Year's, the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has turned into one of the hottest prospects in the country.

"It's been crazy," he said. "From one to eleven. It's just crazy."

HIs most recent offer came from the opposite coast and USC, with plenty of other schools close to extending an one. He doesn't have a top group of schools but there have still been a few that have stuck out in his mind and are recruiting him the hardest.

"Alabama and Georgia are up there," he said. "Everybody heard the story about Alabama. With Georgia, their coaches keep up with me real well."

'The story' about Alabama stems from the fact that the school sent him 105 recruiting letters. In one day.

The memorable recruiting strategy certainly left a mark in the running back's mind even if he held the Crimson Tide in high esteem beforehand.

"It was wild, they just fell out of my mailbox and I wasn't even expecting it," Kamara said. "My mom went wild. She was like, 'Can they do that?'"

Kamara doesn't have any unofficial visits planned and isn't counting on going to any junior days in the next few weeks either. In many ways, he's just going with the flow of the recruiting process that he's seen pick up very quickly. Wisconsin and Oklahoma State might be close to adding to his total of offers and while he will add them to his growing pile, Kamara is evaluating all of them based on what he's looking for in a program before making a commitment.

"Just a school that feels like home, coaches that I get along with and somewhere I can just feel like I belong," he said. "I want to fit in. I'm going to make my decision whenever it feels right. I don't have a time frame."

While his timetable for a commitment is still up in the air, Kamara is interested in seeing things outside of his hometown and that means he'll take visits even if he knows where he wants to go.

"I want to get to everywhere I can and see everything," he said. "I don't want to miss anything. Even if I (commit), I definitely will take (official visits)."

Cheek checks in with Cal

Lawrenceville (Ga.) defensive back Trevellous 'Tre' Cheek was one of the standouts from the first day of competition at the NLA Elite 7-on-7. His play between the lines might have had something to do with his good day outside of them after picking up his first offer from California.

"I've always wanted to go to a (school like) Cal," Cheek said. "They're a great school and great at football too. I have family about an hour away."

While it might sound strange for a Georgia corner to be familiar with the Bears and hold them in high regard, there's a reason he is already planning on a visit out West. Cheek has talked with several members of the team already in order to get to know the program better, including McDonough (Ga.) defensive back Avery Sebastian, a 2011 signee from the area. As a result of being the first to offer, Cal has a slight edge at the moment over other schools - including his childhood favorite.

"I grew up a Florida fan since I can remember. I was brought up that way," Cheek said. "Cal beat them (with an offer) though. That first offer is kind of special. Coach (Ashley) Ambrose is a good guy."

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Cheek attended Kentucky's Junior Day last week and enjoyed the trip to see what the Wildcats had to offer. On his way back home, he stopped by Louisville, where their Junior Day had already ended but the coaching staff waited around for his arrival and to talk to him. Cheek believes both are close to offering and is hearing more from Clemson and Arkansas. He will head to the Tiger's April 14th Junior Day and based on the amount of attention schools are giving him, it figures that won't be the only visit Cheek will take this spring.

"West Virginia is close, coach (Daron) Roberts has been talking to me," Cheek said. "Tennessee (receivers coach Darin Hinshaw) said they'll offer me but he was waiting for Coach (Derek) Dooley to sign off on it and it might take a little time. But I'm looking forward to that one."

Though there were no really big wide receivers at the event, Cheek handled just about everyone with ease on Saturday. He often played press coverage and had no problem turning to run after getting a good jam on the line of scrimmage. His ability to play up close to the offense, Cheek said, is one of the reasons several coaching staffs have been talking to him quite a bit.

"Just about everybody is talking to me as a corner," he said. "Most of the coaches I spoke with said that I've very physical and they haven't seen cornerbacks like that. They think that since I'm a very physical corner, they can teach the coverage part. They can teach that, they can't teach the (physicality)."

With an offer from Cal in his back pocket and plenty more sure to come, Cheek's recruitment should be one to follow on the road to Signing Day. At the moment, he has no issues leaving the state to play college football and is looking more at the school than its location.

"Oh no," he said with a big smile and laugh. "As long as I'm getting an education. I want to major in physical therapy and minor in broadcasting or communication."

Posted on: February 27, 2012 11:39 am
 

2/27 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Family appeal could help Ole Miss with top recruit Robert Nkemdiche.

 Nick Saban tried to steal a Georgia commit but the Alabama head coach was rebuffed.

 Auburn had a good Junior Day and now leads for quarterback Jeremy Johnson.

 Top offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil will visit Arkansas in the spring or for a game during the season.

 Penn State's name is popping up everywhere on the recruiting trail.

 USC signee Nelson Agholor can throw it down on the basketball court.

 Torii Hunter Jr. will take a look at UCLA's football program.

 Linebacker Garrett Dooley committed to Wisconsin.

Michigan State added two players for 2013 over the weekend in R.J. Shelton and Jalyn Powell.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 12:01 pm
 

2/25 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Alabama is off to a quick start in the class of 2013.

 Mark Richt says they are always recruiting at Georgia. The Bulldogs picked up a Juco cornerback commit.

 An early look at Washington's recruiting in the class of '13.

 Derek Dooley defended his decision to sign troubled cornerback Deion Bonner.

 Stanford, Michigan could be trying to flip offensive tackle Steve Elmer.

 Stefon Diggs says he is ready to play at Maryland.

 Running back Ryan Green picked up an offer from USC.

 Arizona, Arizona State are out to change the perception of their program among in-state recruits.

 Michigan State is set to host several prospects on their next Junior Day.

 Greg Schiano is happy Rutgers was able to keep the 2012 recruiting class intact.

 Texas commit Ricky Seals-Jones is a top athlete in the state.

 It's a big recruiting weekend for Virginia and Mike London.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:14 pm
 

Class of 2013 Storylines to Watch



Posted by Bryan Fischer

The class of 2012 is, with one notable exception, signed and done with. That means it is time to turn everybody's attention to the class of 2013 and keep it there. Here are a few storylines to follow on the road to the first Wednesday in February next year - in no particular order.

1. Will Nick Saban be able to close on the country's top prospect?

Nick Saban has certainly earned the title of the country's top recruiter after pulling in the top overall class (or close to it) since arriving in Tuscaloosa. The one thing he hasn't done, however, is land the nation's top recruit. In the class of 2012, he went after Dorial Green-Beckham but couldn't make the final cut. A year before Saban narrowly lost out on Jadeveon Clowney to South Carolina. Is the third time the charm in Grayson (Ga.) defensive end Robert Nkemdiche?

One of the top athletes to play the position coming out of high school, Nkemdiche can play multiple positions in college and has something that you rarely see in some recruits - the drive to be great. At this point, most expect him to sign with the Crimson Tide but in recruiting, as in life, things sometimes have a way of making an unexpected turn. His high school head coach played on an Alabama national championship squad and Nkemdiche has gotten the full court press from the staff for a while. Still, he's listed other schools, taken visits to some like Georgia and has his brother at Ole Miss. It looks good for Saban but we won't find out for sure until next February.

2. Who wins the battle of the Midwest behemoths?

The past year has seen Midwest recruiting go from some yawns and a few eyebrow raises to must-read headlines on a daily basis thanks to Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer recruiting like mad. Hoke had the country's top recruiting class before ever coaching a game and Meyer was able to land an impressive class doing the same. It's been an interesting transformation in the Big Ten over the past few months and turned the conference into two programs and a cloud of dust.

Both are off to a very solid start with the class of 2013 with plenty of momentum from signing top five classes earlier this month. The Buckeyes have landed elite guys like Trotwood (Ohio) linebacker Cam Burrows and are certainly in the mix for plenty of top 100 players. The Wolverines had a monster recruiting weekend to power them to a total of 11 commits, and have a headliner (and one of the top quarterbacks in the country) in Shane Morris. Should be a fun few months as each program jockey's to out do the other on the recruiting trail.

3. Is this the class where being in the SEC really comes into play for Missouri and Texas A&M?

There's no doubt the move to the SEC played a role in the Aggies landing a top 15 class and the Tigers getting a commitment from the number one player in the country but the class of 2013 can really be a selling point for both staffs. More than anything, it gives recruits a chance to watch A&M play Alabama and Florida, see how their fans travel, what the coverage of the team is like and if Mizzou's James Franklin can top Vanderbilt's James Franklin.

Already Kevin Sumlin has jumped out to a big start and has more commitments than anybody in the country right now. He's gotten quality as well as quantity to boot. What remains to be seen is what happens if things take a turn for the worse this season on the field. Will doubts creep into recruits' minds if either school has issues and struggles to get wins? It's something to keep an eye on but, for the moment, things are looking good as each joins the best conference in the country.

4. How will realignment help/hurt West Virginia?

Realignment has made the Mountaineers very interesting on the recruiting trail. There was a lot to like about Dana Holgorsen's first year, capped off with a blowout win in the Orange Bowl and Geno Smith likely entering 2012 as a legitimate Heisman candidate. The staff had a solid effort in recruiting and really got some speedsters out of Florida and from close by (such as Deontay McManus to the right) to sign up for the ride to the Big 12. Yet it's clear that there will be a emphasis on recruiting Texas and the South more with the change in conferences.

As my colleague Bruce Feldman pointed out to me yesterday, all but one of the assistants on staff has ties to the Big 12 footprint and several know the back roads in Oklahoma and Arkansas very well too. Holgorsen's wide open offense will no doubt be a good selling points for kids running the spread across the South and maybe, by hiring defensive staff members with area ties the recruits on the other side of the ball will take a look at the Mountaineers in this cycle as well. Should be an interesting look at how the program handles playing in the Big 12 this year and going forward and whether that translates in terms of recruiting as well.

5. How many does USC sign in year two of scholarship cuts?

If you doubted Lane Kiffin's ability to recruit, well, you must not pay a ton of attention. Despite getting slapped with deep scholarship cuts, the oft-bashed head coach enters 2012 with a preseason top two team and just signed a top 10 class with some elite talent. A pair of All-Americans at wide out were no deterrent to Nelson Agholor, who was lured to USC from Florida. There were a few offensive line targets that the Trojans missed out on late - they still signed a great class at the position - but that might turn out to be a blessing in disguise because they can take a few early enrollees to boost numbers.

Bottom line, who and how many Kiffin's staff sign will be a storyline worth following on the West Coast.

6. Who emerges during the spring and summer camp circuit?

One of the reasons why recruiting evaluation have tended to improve over recent years is the rise in getting a look at top players competing against other top players on the offseason camp circuit. It's also allowed those in the industry to discover more guys who don't back down from a challenge and have the speed and skills to be FBS-caliber talent. Because recruits are not in pads, we don't get a complete picture of a player but we can find out even more about how they play and how their recruitment is going. In many ways, the camps and combines that happen across the country from late February through early July will allow everybody to see who's an elite recruit and who we need to keep an eye on when the pads come on during the fall.

7. What impact will social media have on the class of 2013?

Ask any of the class of 2012 about Twitter and Facebook and they'll say it's changed recruiting. Players from across the country are getting to know each other more and more, going beyond just texting back and forth to DMing and Wall posting as early commitments explain to others why their school is the place to be. Recruiting is becoming more and more interconnected and there is no doubt that the 2013 group will be at the forfront of the new wave of change.

Forget hat dances, keep an eye on how many top 100 guys commit via Twitter. Should be a lot more than last year.

8. Who is the top quarterback nationally?

Upside, production, measurables, arm strength... there are plenty of things that go into deciding who the top quarterback in the country is. The candidates are out there and it will likely boil down to one of Max Browne, Tyrone Swoopes, Shane Morris, Ryan Brurns, Kevin Olsen and a handful of others competing to be the top signal-caller in the final rankings. It's important to keep in mind that quarterback is one position that should see plenty of movement as players go through spring ball, camps, 7-on-7, Elite 11 competitions and finally their senior season.

Olsen, Burns and Browne are your typical pro-style quarterbacks with the size coaches look for and big arms to boot. Swoopes is a dual-threat who some have compared to Robert Griffin III or Vince Young because of how electric he is with the ball in his hands. Morris is the rare lefty that is vying for top billing. Several others are hot on their heels in order to be considered part of the elite QB group in 2013 and will be interesting to see how each does as the pressure mounts each passing week.

9. Can Stanford keep things going?

When was the last time you talked about Stanford recruiting? Prior to the class of 2012: rarely if ever (provided you are not the type that tailgates with wine). All the Cardinal did this year was snag a top 10 class and land one of the best group of offensive line recruits in the modern recruiting era. But can the program keep the momentum going with out Andrew Luck leading the charge on the field? That's a question everybody is asking and at first glance, the answer appears to be yes.

Since David Shaw, a former Stanford player himself, returned to Palo Alto as an assistant under Jim Harbaugh, the program has had a remarkably high success rate when recruiting. If an offer goes out and that player qualifies, there's a very good chance that player will end up signing. The hit rate for Stanford the past few years has been nothing short of remarkable considering the restrictions the staff is under but there's no doubt the education, new stadium, major league and BCS-level success that has happened in the Bay Area has turned the program from doormat to door opener. Should be fun to follow over the next few years.

10. Does somebody finish their class before the season?

Michigan, Texas A&M, Florida and Texas are off to hot starts. The Longhorns are taking a very small class this year so they could wind up filling up with only limited room for recruits based on who leaves for the NFL early. The other schools are recruiting at a pace that will have local analysts taking a vacation much earlier than normal. So, we're left to wonder, could somebody actually get 90% or more of their commitments before the season starts?

Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:23 am
 

Valentine's Day Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Michigan opts for the personal approach on Junior Days.

 2014 running back Wadzaire Blanc has snagged a South Carolina offer.

Maryland needs their top recruit to help stop the transfers.

 A Q&A with Houston coach Tony Levine where he talks about recruiting some.

 Urban Meyer says Ohio State's 2012 class lacks speed.

 Offensive tackle Will Allen was invited to Alabama's Junior Day.

 Duke Johnson has been the perfect ambassador for Miami football.

 Linebacker/safety Su'a Cravens was at USC's Junior Day and recently picked up a Clemson offer.

 Running back JoJo Kemp has USF as his early leader.

 Derek Dooley rips the SEC's new oversigning rules.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:26 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:50 pm
 

Top 2013 Recruits to Know



Posted by Bryan Fischer


The class of 2012 was so last week and it's time for everybody to turn their attention to the Class of 2013. This class may or may not be as talented as last year's group but it has a lot of high end talent even if it's not as deep. Here are 25 recruits just about everybody should know from coast-to-coast.

Photo by Dennis Carter/MaxPreps.com

 25 Recruits to Know
Player Position Size Location Notes
Robert Nkemdiche DE/OLB 6-5, 260 Grayson, Ga. Will likely be a consensus #1 overall prospect in this class, Nkemdiche is one of the most talented and driven athletes to come out of Georgia on the defensive side of the ball. He's got the speed to chase down the quarterback and is a savvy player who understands the game. Most expect him to end up at Alabama but Georgia, Ole Miss and others will try hard to land him. Highlights
Kenny Bigelow DL  6-3, 285 Bear, Del. It's rare to see such a talented player come out the Northeast like Bigelow but there's a reason why he picked up a ton of early offers from powerhouse programs from across the country. He is athletic enough to play tight end but will wind up playing a variety of positions along the defensive line and has a nice set of pass rush moves. Committed to USC. Highlights
Adam Breneman TE 6-5, 230 Camp Hill, Pa. The top tight end in the country, Breneman is the next in a wave of prototype players who can split out, block or get releases inside from a three-point stance. His hands are soft and he's a very good route runner. Highlights
Max Browne QB 6-5, 200 Sammamish, Wash. The top quarterback on the West Coast, Browne is the latest Evergreen state signal-caller to impress scouts. He is a bit on the skinny side but has a great frame, strong arm and a very good pocket presence. Not a great runner, his arm more than makes up for it. Highlights
Greg Bryant RB 5-10, 210 Delray Beach, Fla. Bryant has been well known in the state of Florida for sometime and is one of the headliners in a strong year for running backs. As quick as he is fast, he runs well between the tackles and knows how to get to the second level and into the open field. Highlights
Cameron Burrows DB 6-2, 200 Trotwood, Ohio Burrows is one of the top players in Ohio this year and can play pretty much any position in the secondary equally well. He's fast, has hands like a wide out and isn't afraid to come up and hit people. He also has an advanced degree in reading the quarterback because he reacts very well in coverage. Committed to Ohio State. Highlights
Su'a Cravens DB/LB 6-1, 210 Murrieta, Calif. The top defensive player out West, Cravens is a terror at multiple spots. He is fast enough to be a safety but will likely end up at outside linebacker who can rush the passer. His motor is always running and he doesn't seem to stop until the ball carrier is on the ground. Highlights
Reuben Foster LB 6-2, 228 LaGrange, Ga. Foster will be one of the top linebackers in the country and it looks like he's ready to step on campus this fall. He needs to work on his coverage skills a little but he's one of the hardest hitters in this class and is just a load coming downhill at an offensive player. Committed to Alabama. Highlights
Kendall Fuller DB 6-0, 180 Olney, Md. He's talented enough to play multiple positions but will likely end up being one of the Northeast's top recruits at corner. He's fluid DB who can turn and run stride for stride with any receiver and plays the ball well. He has a few things to work on but is someone you want taking away one side of the field. Highlights
Ahmad Fulwood WR  6-4, 200 Jacksonville, Fla. Fulwood really burst onto the scene last summer and drew a host of offers early. He's a bit lean but has a great frame to add weight and still maintain his speed. He's a quarterback's best friend for jump balls and isn't afraid to go over the middle to make a tough catch. Highlights
Derrick Griffin WR 6-6, 215 Rosenberg, Texas Because he's also a highly-ranked basketball star, Griffin is a huge, athletic target but is also a lot faster than most people expect. He's got very good hands and obviously can go up and snag the ball from pretty much anywhere on the field. You could see him adding a few pounds and being a very good tight end. Committed to Texas A&M. Highlights
Vernon Hargreaves DB 6-0, 175 Tampa, Fla. He's got a good case as one of the top corners on the East Coast and certainly has a great teacher considering his father is the secondary coach at USF. He's quick and understands coverages very well, sinking into throwing lanes and coming up in run support if needed. Highlights
Derrick Henry RB 6-3, 230 Yulee, Fla. The most impressive athlete in the class, Henry could play a number of positions in addition to his preferred spot at running back. He is physically bigger than just about everybody in high school and needs at least two defenders to bring him down. Committed to Georgia. Highlights
Michael Hutchings LB 6-1, 205 Concord, Calif. One of the top linebackers in the country, Hutchings is a sound player who has been extremely well coached. He's upper body-heavy and is a sure tackler who can run well. He can read the line and blitz very effectively. Highlights
Ty Isaac RB 6-2, 220 Joliet, Ill. Isaac has good speed even if he's not the quickest prospect out there. He also has good vision and is one of the top players in the Midwest due to his versatility that could see him play a little slot or wing back in college. Highlights
Dee Liner DE 6-4, 260 Muscle Shoals, Ala. One of the top linemen in the South this year, Liner does an excellent job of coming off the ball and keeping his pad level down. He's a big guy who can play either end or tackle and is fast enough to chase guys down from behind the play. Committed to Auburn. Highlights
Shane Morris QB  6-2, 180 Warren, Mich. He has solid arm strength but is very accurate, especially on intermediate passes over the middle. Morris has light feet and a solid pocket presence that can move outside and make throws on the run. He is a smart kid who can read coverages quickly and shows great anticipation. Committed to Michigan. Highlights
Marquez North WR 6-3, 210 Charlotte, N.C. A smooth, fluid receiver who can score at any time, North is used to plenty of attention at his powerhouse high school. He's a two-stepper who can return kicks and punts in addition to being a game-changing wide out. Highlights
Jake Raulerson ATH 6-5, 250 Celina, Texas It's not often you get athletes like Raulerson who could play multiple positions on each side of the ball and be highly ranked at each. His feet are terrific and one reason why he's a great offensive lineman and tight end. In addition, he's good on the defensive line and can play the run very well. Committed to Texas. Highlights
Max Redfield DB 6-3, 195 Mission Viejo, Calif. Probably the top safety on the West Coast, Redfield has the size and speed to be an impact defender patrolling the secondary in college. He reads the quarterback as well as anybody, has a fluid backpedal and can turn on a dime. Highlights
Tyrone Swoopes QB 6-5, 220 Whitewright, Texas An athletic dual-threat, Swoopes has as high an upside as any quarterback in 2013. He can get the ball out quickly with a strong arm and is one of the fastest players at his position. He is a perfect fit for a spread offense. Highlights
Altee Tenpenny RB 5-10, 200 North Little Rock, Ark. Was one of the few underclassmen to attend last summer's The Opening, Tenpenny wows with his athleticism. He missed his junior season but that didn't stop any school in the country from offering. Committed to Alabama. Highlights
Laremy Tunsil OL 6-6, 280 Lake City, Fla. His size stands out but his athleticism is what allows him to be dominant and one of the top tackles in the country. Tunsil isn't stiff and is an advanced pass blocker with excellent feet. He also reaches the second level well and can handle linebackers as easy as he does ends.
Thomas Tyner RB 6-0, 200 Beaverton, Ore. One of the fastest players in the class, Tyner brings his 10.4 100m track speed to the football field. He gets into and out of cuts quickly and seems to hit the extra gear as soon as he sees daylight in the open field. Committed to Oregon. Highlights
Eddie Vanderdoes DL 6-3, 275 Placer, Calif. The Sacramento-area has produced some quality talent the past few years and Vanderdoes is the next elite guy. He has excellent size and gets up the field quickly from an interior line position but flexible enough to rush the passer from outside. Highlights



Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 4:44 pm
 

Star bright? A closer look at rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One of my favorite things after each Signing Day is to go back and look at past classes and see how they turned out. SI.com's Andy Staples re-ranks the classes each year and there are plenty of pieces on various sites (here's one on Auburn and one on Tennessee) analyzing how programs turned out talent and others fizzled with five-stars. I stumbled on this study from 2011 on Twitter today and felt it offered some very interesting information.

Among the notable nuggets:

- There's a direct correlation between a team's home attendance and the number of stars on the team. According to the study, for every five-star recruit on the team, attendance will increase by 885 fans.

- There's no relationship between amount of 3+ star players on a team and overall winning percentage in general. However, the study also controlled for schedule/conference and found that more star players on a team usually means a higher winning percentage than those in their conference with fewer star players. 45% of the time a team with the most stars finished with the best or second best winning percentage.

- Not surprisingly, the survey found Boise State's Chris Petersen as the coach to get the best results from good-but-not-great talent.

- USC, Ohio State and Florida were the top three programs in terms of top recruits drafted. Amazingly, nearly a third of USC's players were drafted into the NFL.

- Virginia Tech was the program singled out for developing non-star recruits into draft picks.

- Looking for a coach that will take to you the next level? Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer and Nick Saban are the best active coaches at it while Pete Carroll was the best from 2006-2010.

Again, read the full thing here and see all the details.

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