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Tag:Virginia Tech
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: February 19, 2012 12:14 pm
 

Virginia Tech grabs first two commitments

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Virginia Tech is on the board for 2013. The Hokies picked up their first two commitments in the class on Saturday with pledges from Midlothian (Va.) defensive back Holland Fisher and Richmond (Va.) athlete Cequan Jefferson.

"I was just sitting here thinking to myself, out of all the places I've visited, everywhere I've been, nowhere made me feel as good as Virginia Tech did," Fisher told HokieHaven.com. "I feel like I fit in perfectly."

The 6-foot-2, 198-pound safety also held offers from Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia among others but will follow his senior teammate Joel Caleb to Blacksburg. Shortly after Fisher committed, Jefferson did the same after a great experience on his unofficial visit during Junior Day.

"One was their foundation there, it's awesome and then another one is the fact they have a great football team," Jefferson said. "Also, their academic program is out of this world and they will provide all the help you can get. You can't leave there without getting a diploma and I don't want to be just a football player, I want to graduate too. That is a huge part of why I chose Virginia Tech."

Hokies assistant Shane Beamer was responsible for landing both players to kick off Virginia Tech's recruiting in the class of 2013.
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.

Posted on: February 7, 2012 9:39 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 9:55 am
 

2/7 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Louisville intends to spread a wider net for recruits going forward.

 A look at some of Georgia's top 2013 targets.

 Ohio State and Michigan are back to being major players in recruiting thanks to their head coaches.

 Quarterback Kenny Hill could be the top 2013 player in the Dallas area and already has Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas Tech offers.

 Comparing Virginia Tech and Virginia's recruiting classes.

 Florida State's big time defensive line class could lead to fearsome play out of the unit.

 Chuck Martin gave some insight into the Notre Dame recruiting process.

 The recruitment of James Gray was a lot different than his son Johnathan's to Texas.

 Alabama comes out on top in a re-ranking of 2009 classes.

 Bo Pelini's first recruiting class is striving to go out with a bang.

 An Australian weightlifter is looking at playing football, possibly at Michigan State.

Posted on: February 3, 2012 5:11 pm
 

ACC Signing Day Grades



Posted by Bryan Fischer


CBS Sports Top 25 Team Rankings
College Commits Top 100
6. Florida State 23 6
7. Miami 33 1
12. Clemson 21 2
16. Virginia Tech 28 1
20. Virginia 25 2

ACC school-by-school
Atlantic Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 LB Steven Daniels C- Small and without a big time athlete, this class is lacking quite a bit. If you're looking for an impact player, look at others.
- Team page
- Commitment list
21 DB Travis Blanks B+ It was a relatively quiet day for the Tigers but they still reeled in a very good class. There are a few guys who will redshirt and wait their turn but also a few like Blanks who will play right away.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 DE Mario Edwards Jr. A+ As much as people talk about Stanford's OL class, they should also be discussing the FSU DL class with both ends and tackles forming an imposing bunch. Jameis Winston, if he doesn't go to the MLB Draft, is a quarterback who could be special if he utilizes all his talent.
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 RB Wes Brown B- Mike Locksley was supposed to grab some high profile talent but outside of Brown, there's not a ton of guys. Solid? Yes. But not impact guys and only a handful who should play early.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 DE Kenderius Whitehead B- It's actually kind of impressive that the Wolfpack didn't land one top in-state guy. They still put together a decent class but missing on talent close to home with your rival in a state of flux isn't a good thing.
- Team page
- Commitment list
19 QB Tyler Cameron C+ Because so many will redshirt, it will be awhile before we really know how this class will turn out but adding Cameron is a big pick up because after that it's a lot of under the radar guys that may grow into the system there.
Coastal Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 RB Shaquille Powell B This looks like one of Duke's better classes in recent year with a few recruits who went a bit under the radar but are just plain old good football players.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 QB Justin Thomas C+ There were several players who the Yellow Jackets whiffed on and they simply didn't go a great job of capitalizing on the deep talent base in the state this year.
- Team page
- Commitment list
33 RB Randy 'Duke' Johnson A- The 2012 group will be remembered for picking the Hurricanes despite the NCAA cloud hanging over the program. There are some guys that aren't truly Miami-level guys but also plenty of impact players who should see lots of playing time as freshmen.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 OL J.J. Patterson B All things considered - a staff change and looming NCAA report - this was a good class. It's not deep but you can tell there are some nice players like Patterson. Losing a quarterback late hurts though.
- Team page
- Commitment list
25 DE Eli Harold A- Relative to what Virginia recruiting has been, this is a terrific class. Mike London really made in-roads in the Tidewater and has several guys on defense that have a nice blend of speed and size to develop into big time players.
- Team page
- Commitment list
28 ATH Joel Caleb B+ Landing a talented athlete like Caleb on Signing Day is a big boost. There a lot of speed in this class and a healthy handful of guys who will take some time to develop in addition to guys like Caleb and Drew Harris, who will play early.

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.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:17 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 9:24 am
 

ATH Joel Caleb to sign with Virginia Tech

Posted by Chip Patterson


Wide receiver Joel Caleb, the No. 6 athlete (No. 46 overall prospect) in the 2012 class, has committed to Virginia Tech over West Virginia and Ohio State.

Caleb was a dual-threat quarterback and defensive back at Clover Hill (Midlothian, Va.), throwing for 747 yards and rushing for 737 in a senior season shortened by injury.  He is expected to play wide receiver for the Hokies, and is one of Virginia Tech's top ranked commits in the 2012 class. 

Virginia Tech had a few top prospects left uncommitted heading into National Signing Day, and Caleb was at the top of the wish list. As of his commitment, the Hokies have the No. 17 recruiting class in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25.



For more on Virginia Tech's 2012 class, check out Hokies RapidReports. Keep up with all the latest announcements around the nation throughout the day at Signing Day Central.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 8:45 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 8:54 am
 

Virginia DT Korren Kirven picks Alabama

Posted by Chip Patterson

Alabama added more beef to their 2012 class early on National Signing Day when Korren Kirven picked the Tide over in-state favorite Virginia Tech.

Kirven had also considered Maryland and Tennessee before narrowing his choices and announcing and making his announcement on Wednesday at Brookville High in Lynchburg.

The 6-foot-3, 270 pound defensive tackle attends the same high school as current Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas and defensive end Zack McCray, but chose to commit to Nick Saban and the defending national champions.

Kirven is considered a top defensive end prospect by MaxPreps.com's Tom Lemming, and adds plenty of depth to an already healthy Crimson Tide recruiting class. The announcement is a much bigger blow to the Hokies, who had Kirven as one of their last big prospects yet to commit.

For more on Kirven check out Crimson Tide RapidReports and the SEC Eye On Recruiting. Keep up with all the latest announcements around the nation throughout the day at Signing Day Central.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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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