Archive for June, 2012

Recruiting: Tennessee adds two recruits

Quarterback Riley Ferguson has committed to The University of Tennessee , reports have said.

Ferguson, who plays in Matthews, North Carolina, is a three-star quarterback, was recruited by Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan before opting to play in Knoxville.

Ferguson was ranked 199th in the 2013 class by ESPN, and the sixth overall in North Carolina. He threw for over 3,000 yards and nearly 50 touchdowns in an incredible year in 2011.

Grayson High School (Ga.) linebacker Zach Barnes also committed to the Vols today, too.

BOTTOM LINE: This is quite a coup for Derek Dooley and his recruiting team – especially with the coach on the perennial Vols hot-seat this year.

Recruiting Focus: Why did Robert Nkemdiche opt for Clemson?

The consensus No.1 player in high school football, Robert Nkemdiche,  today stunned the college football world by committing to Clemson over Alabama or LSU. But why did he decided to play his football in the ‘other’ Death Valley for the ‘other’ Tigers?

The defensive end from Georgia – who is seen by some as another DeMarcus Ware – had 18 sacks in a season for Grayson and he’s pretty useful on the other side of the ball, too. To say he’s ‘physically gifted’ is one of the major understatements of the year. He’s incredibly gifted, and he’s going to frighten the beejesus out of an offensive line near you in college.

Many in the SEC were convinced that he’d go to the ‘big SEC schools’, and were stunned – and some seemed to be a little insulted – by the fact that he’d opted to play in that other nasty, small conference known as the ACC.

Gamecocks fans immediately jumped on Twitter reminding Tigers fans that they still managed to get Jadeveon Clowney (and what signing he became), as an effort to tone down the joy of the Clemson fans, who probably turning the bars orange in celebration.

But seriously, why Clemson? He could have been part of a Nick Saban defence (where more than half of the starting line-up graduated to the NFL in the first or second round). He could have been part of a Les Miles defence (where the crowd’s the noisiest in college football….and they’ve also got great players). He could have been part of, er, Ole Miss (where it’s ‘quite a campus’, so we’re told).

So here are our reasons:

1) His buddy David Kamara, a three-star cornerback from the same school was picked up Clemson. Everyone needs a buddy in college. And not many people are expecting Kamara to turn on his commitment, considering he was far lower on the commitment scale than his partner-in-defense. That definitely gave Clemson an advantage.

2) Playing time. With the way that Saban and Miles recruit, Robert Nkemdiche probably wouldn’t have started as a freshman or even a sophomore. At Clemson – like Clowney had a South Carolina – he can be an immediate star and a game-changer, while at the Crimson Tide, he’d probably have to bide his time a little.

3)  It’s not like Clemson has no history of defensive players  Da’Quan Bowers was drafted last year, while Andre Branch, and Brandon Thompson may start in the first years.

4) Clemson just won an ACC title The Tigers just won an ACC title, which means that Dabo Swinney could give ‘Rob’ the story about the continued success story at Clemson.

BOTTOM LINE: Right now, the recruitment of Robert Nkemdiche is a massive coup for not only Clemson, but the much-maligned ACC in general. But this thing isn’t over. Expect the likes of Saban, Miles and Richt to continue to  recruit HARD for Robert Nkemdiche. And Robert Nkemdiche himself had better pray he doesn’t get injured in his final year of high school football. But if  Nkemdiche wants playing time as a freshman, he’ll probably stay in the ‘other’ Death Valley.

Recruiting: Nation’s top player commits to Clemson

According to reports, the Nation’s No.1 recruit, Robert Nkemdiche, has decided to play for the Clemson Tigers instead of LSU, Alabama or Georgia in the SEC.

Twitter was abuzz in the early evening saying the stud defensive end had decided to play his football in the ‘Other’ Death Valley.

The player had been recruited across the country, although more heavily by Alabama, LSU, Georgia, USC, South Carolina and Ole Miss.

247Sports, quoting sources, said the player opted for Clemson after an official visit.

In its reasoning why, 247 said: “A day earlier, his close friend, defensive back David Kamara, committed to Clemson – the team’s second pledge from Grayson. Four-star running back Wayne Gallman committed earlier this spring.

Clemson also has some connection to Grayson in that coach Dabo Swinney was a college teammate and road roommate with the prospects’ high school coach, Mickey Conn.”

Nkemdiche had tweeted the movements of his friends at Clemson, although had given no hint that he had decided to play in South Carolina.

BOTTOM LINE: This is a massive coup for Clemson, who had a great season last season by winning the ACC. This pick-up might keep stopping Clemson being Clemson in 2013 – and continue to reignite the rivalry between the Tigers and the Gamecocks.

Recruiting: Top CB commits to Texas A&M

Top Texas cornerback Tavares Garner has committed to Texas A&M, it has been widely reported.

Garner, who is a four-star cornerback according to Rivals, spurned offers from a number of Big XII schools as well as Mississippi State, de-committed from Texas Tech prior to his decision to move to College Station.

According to ESPN Insider, Garner decided not to play for Tech on Friday.

It’s been a big week for the Aggies, who saw linebacker Reggie Chavis decide to play SEC football at Kyle Field on Tuesday.

Texas A&M now has 19 commitments.

Scheduling: Arkansas adds Southern Miss to 2013 schedule

Arkansas and Southern Mississippi will play their first ever game against each other in 2013, the Golden Eagles said.

Southern Miss. AD Jeff Hammond said in a release: “We look forward to the challenge of going to Fayetteville in 2013 to face a strong Southeastern Conference opponent in the University of Arkansas,” Hammond said. “Playing quality opponents it helps with our national exposure as well as a new regional rivalry that allows our fan base an opportunity to see their team play. We are not strangers to playing teams in the SEC and now we can add Arkansas to that long list.”

The game will be played in Fayetteville, although a date has not been set.

The Golden Eagles already have a connection with the SEC West – former coach Kevin Sumlin coaches there at Texas A&M.

BOTTOM LINE: Great news for Southern Miss., as a game like this will certainly help its strength of schedule, which is already very strong with match-ups against Nebraska and Boise State in September. As for Arkansas? We’re not so sure. With no-conference schedules becoming increasingly important for a team’s route to a National Championship, couldn’t the Razorbacks picked a stronger opponent.


Recruiting: Four-star WR commits to Vanderbilt

Four-star wide receiver Carlos Burse has committed to Vanderbilt.

Burse said on Twitter this morning: “So it’s about that time!! I’d like to let everyone know that…. My commitment goes to the Vanderbilt Commodores! #AnchorDown‬ #VU‬

Burse, who was offered by the likes of Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Oklahoma- and had interest from Alabama, plays his school in Alpharetta, GA.

The player is ranked as the 18th player in the state and 234th nationally – and is a super pick-up for James Franklin and the Commodores, who are starting to make waves on the commitment trail.

Keith Niebuhr, college football analyst at Rivals tweeted: “Quick thoughts on new #Vanderbilt 4-star WR commit Carlos Burse: Good feet. Strong route runner. Excellent hands. Big body.”

BOTTOM LINE: Vanderbilt gets stronger and stronger in its commitments as this goes on, and this could be a dangerous under-the-radar team in the SEC East this year and now – next year.



Recruiting: Georgia loses five-star recruit

We normally don’t do de-commitments, but when it’s one of the nation’s top high school running backs, we’re happy to get some words in.

Derrick Henry, formerly a commitment for the Georgia Bulldogs, decided Athens is not going to be his home after all.

He said in a statement – covered by the AJC said:

“This has been a great experience getting to know so many great coaches and visiting some of the best college football programs in the country. Even though I’ve worked really hard to put myself in this situation, I know I’m blessed to have this opportunity I’m very thankful for that.

“For me personally, this is one of the biggest decisions I’ll make in my life and probably the most important to this point. I want to be 100 percent sure I am making the best choice on where I go to college and to play football. I’m going to open up my recruitment and take some more visits, get as much information as I can, and then decide from there. I was probably a little too quick in making my initial decision and got caught up in the moment so I apologize for that. I’m still considering Georgia and I have nothing but great things to say about their program, but I want to be honest with everyone in the fact that I am going to go over all my options and do what is best for me and my athletic and academic career.

“For the rest of the summer, I am focusing on helping my team have the best season that we can have and achieve our team goals. Please refer any questions about my recruitment to my head coach. I’m not sure when I’ll make a final announcement, but when I have no doubts at all about where I’m going, I’ll let everyone know.”

The de-commitment, while big news in SEC country, probably isn’t that surprising bearing in mind his visit to Alabama last weekend.

BOTTOM LINE: The move follows Henry’s visit to Alabama last weekend, in which he was seen wearing an Alabama shirt. And also, there’s the Nick Saban Factor, in which Saban’s history of great running backs (Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson) definitely seemed to turn Henry’s head. Do not be surprised if he commits to Alabama. 

Auburn Shootings: Leonard turns himself in

Alleged Auburn gunman Desmonte Leonard has been charged for three capital murders and two accounts of assault after turning himself into a Montgomery, Al. courthouse earlier today, it has been reported.

In a press conference police authorities said that Leonard – who was wanted for gunning down three people at an apartment complex near Auburn – negotiated with US Marshal Baylor and turned himself in.

CBS tweeted at the time of his surrender: “CBS 8 NEWS BREAKING NEWS – Montgomery Co. Sheriff D.T. Marshall confirms to CBS 8 that Desmonte Leonard turned himself in to authorities”.

Leonard is alleged to have shot and killed three people (including two Auburn football players) and hurt three others after an argument at a pool party on Saturday when violently out of control was seen fleeing the scene of the shootings and is the No.1 suspect in the shootings.

Two men have also been charged with hindering the police’s search for him.

One of the men is Jeremy Thomas, who fled the scene with Leonard after the shooting, which saw Ladarious Phillips, Ed Christian and Demario Pitts die. Both Phillips and Christian were former players for the Auburn Tigers. Two of the three wounded have been thankfully released from hospital, although John Robertson still lies in hospital after a gunshot wound to the head.

The AJC notes that Thomas was free on bond awaiting a manslaughter trial for the shooting of 14-year old Takira Sada Gaston.

The other man is Gabriel Thomas, who  – according to the Chronicle – was charged “after allegedly having contact with Leonard after the shooting and providing false information to officers.”

Also, it emerged that there had been a shooting incident only last April at the apartments, although thankfully no-one was killed.

Recruiting: Auburn adds four-star DE Tashawn Bower

Auburn has added defensive end Tashawn Bower, according to reports.

The three-star weakside defensive end from New Jersey opted for Auburn on Tuesday.

He said on his Twitter feed: “Just committed to auburn #wareagle“. In another tweet, he asked the media to stop nagging him for an interview: “Dear media please stop calling my phone #it‘s dying”.

He’s thought of as the 8th best defensive end in New Jersey, and had a number of offers, including SEC schools Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky and Ole Miss.

In fact, there weren’t a lot of schools in the country that didn’t chase him.


Recruiting: Mississippi State gets three more commitments

Just when you thought it was safe to put away your cowbell, Mississippi State has just received three more major commitments – both on the attacking side of the ball.

First of all, four-star running back Kailo Moore, who hails from Rosedale, Mississippi, opted to play for Dan Mullen’s 2013 class. Moore ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns for West Bolivar, and he’s got frightening speed. He’s Rivals’ No.12 running back in the nation, and the second in the state.

To make matters worse for in-state rival Ole Miss, he originally committed to play for the Rebels, but decided to go to Starkville instead. He also received offers from Alabama and Vanderbilt- according to Rivals.

“It feels good to be back over here, its been a while since I’ve been here,” said Moore. “It is just the love that I feel when I’m here. The coaches are always happy to see me. And the fans are always glad to see me and wanting me to come here.”

Also added was three-star wide receiver DeAndre Woods from Pinson, Alabama, ranked as the 15th WR in the state. According to Rivals, he’d been offered by Arkansas, Auburn and Vanderbilt- among a slew of others.

But that wasn’t all for Mullen’s men on an incredible day for the Bulldogs.

Three-star athlete Gabe Myles – father of former Bulldogs player Eddie – also made a commitment. He had been a high-performing quarterback in his Starkville high school, but according to reports, he’ll probably play defensively in college.

Again, Ole Miss had made him an offer.

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