Miami Wardogs football
|0 - 10||0 - 5||0 - 5||.000||63||390|
|2012-08-31||vs||Grove||L||13 - 26|
|2012-09-07||vs||Claremore||L||6 - 37|
|2012-09-14||@||Pryor||L||7 - 43|
|2012-09-21||@||Tulsa-McLain||L||15 - 41|
|2012-09-28||@||Catoosa||L||0 - 54|
|2012-10-05||vs||Wagoner||L||7 - 48|
|2012-10-12||@||Cleveland||L||0 - 41|
|2012-10-18||vs||Vinita||L||8 - 34|
|2012-10-26||@||Oologah||L||0 - 38|
|2012-11-02||vs||Tulsa Webster||L||7 - 28|
|Player Name||Number||Year||Height||Weight||Position (main)|
|There are no players associated with this team.|
Miami football News
NewsOK articles about Miami football, or articles mentioning current or former Miami football players.
Miami High School Varsity Boys Football
The Dallas Cowboys, on their final pick of the three-day draft, announced someone who hadn’t played organized football since he was in middle school.That would be Baylor basketball star Rico Gathers, the 6-foot-6, 276-pound power forward who statistically was the best offensive rebounder from a major conference the past two seasons.He was the 217th pick of the draft and the ninth tight end...
Baylor basketball's Rico Gathers drafted by Dallas Cowboys as tight end
Suzanne Halliburton, Associated Press | Apr 30, 2016The Dallas Cowboys, on their final pick of the three-day draft, announced someone who hadn’t played organized football since he was in middle school. That would be Baylor basketball star Rico Gathers, the 6-foot-6, 276-pound power forward who statistically was the best offensive rebounder from a major conference the past two seasons. He was the 217th pick of the draft and the ninth tight end selected. Bears coach Art Briles tried to lure Gathers to the football team for the fall. But Gathers, who is married, decided he needed a paycheck to support his family. He worked out with former LSU quarterback Matt Flynn in Baton Rouge once Baylor lost in the NCAA Tournament. Gathers ran for pro scouts at the New Orleans Saints football complex and had a private workout session with the Cowboys. Dallas has taken chances on basketball players before. Legendary offensive lineman Rayfield Wright was a basketball player for Fort Valley State College, and All-Pro cornerback Cornell Green was an All-America basketball player at Utah State. Thanks to Gathers, Baylor was able to claim the most draft picks of any school in the Big 12 and in the state of Texas. There were six Bears drafted, including four Saturday when the NFL finished off rounds four through seven. Andrew Billings, who was projected as a possible first-rounder by some draft analysts, slipped to the fourth and was picked by Cincinnati. He conceded that the draft snub will serve as motivation. “It’s huge,” Billings said. “I can’t even explain how huge it is. I like the feeling, though.” Bengals coach Marv Lewis said teams might have dropped Billings because of his height. He’s only 6-1. “His height is restrictive in some ways for some people,” Lewis said. “But we’ve done pretty well with these guys that we’ve been able to find that have certain characteristics that catch our eye. Then you get to know the player a little bit more, and you really like everything about him. We couldn’t be happier.” Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango, a former Cedar Park High School star, was the sixth-round choice of Cleveland. Drango was attending a friend’s wedding when he got the draft call. Texas defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway was another Big 12 lineman whose draft status didn’t meet projections. Ridgeway, like Billings, was a fourth-rounder. He’s headed to Indianapolis, a team that he said he hadn’t talked to before coaches called him Saturday. Ridgeway said he had an anxiety-filled Friday night after he didn’t go in round two or three. “That was rough,” Ridgeway said. “I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through that. That was not fun.” TCU and West Virginia each had five players selected, while Texas Tech produced three. Red Raider receiver Jakeem Grant, who is 5-5, was the shortest player selected. He’s headed to the Miami Dolphins after being drafted in the sixth round. Tailback DeAndre Washington was a fourth-round choice of Oakland. Horned Frog star quarterback Trevone Boykin was overlooked in the draft, as were Oklahoma standout linebacker Eric Striker and Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman. Boykin posted on his Twitter account that he’d signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Striker agreed to a deal with Buffalo. Oakman’s pro future is unclear. He was arrested on a sexual assault charge in early April. BIG 12 DRAFT PICKS First round Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia, Raiders, 14th Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor, Browns, 15th Josh Doctson, WR, TCU, Redskins, 22nd Second round Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State, Browns, 32nd Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor, Dolphins, 38th Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma, Giants, 40th Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State, Bears, 56th Third round Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia, Panthers, 77th Le’Raven Clark, OL, Texas Tech, Colts, 82nd Fourth round Charles Tapper, DL, Oklahoma, Cowboys, 101st Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, West Virginia, Bears, 113th Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas, Colts, 116th Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor, Bengals, 122nd Derrick Kindred, FS, TCU, Browns, 129th Fifth round Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma, Carolina, 141st DeAndre Washington, RB, Texas Tech, Raiders, 143rd Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia, Eagles, 153rd K.J. Dillon, DB, West Virginia, Texans, 159th Halapoulivaati Vaita, OL, TCU, Eagles, 163rd Spencer Drango, OL, Baylor, Browns, 168 Sixth round Devante Boyd, LB, Oklahoma, 183, Bucs Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU, Bills, 192nd Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech, Dolphins, 186th Jimmy Landes, DS, Baylor, Lions, 210th Joey Hunt, OL, TCU, Seahawks, 215th Rico Gathers, TE, Baylor, Cowboys, 217th ——— ©2016 Austin American-Statesman, Texas Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at www.statesman.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. _____ Topics: t000007123,t000046469,t000007067,t000003194,t000007083,t000003183,t000002776,t000049144,t000153594,t000002786,t000007089,t000007151,t000007073,t000007065,t000003195,t000158172,t000007093,t000007143,t000007087,g000362661,g000065603,g000066164,g000143140,g000065562
Apr 28, 2016
MIAMI (AP) — Tackle Laremy Tunsil's surprising and costly slide in the NFL draft ended with the 13th pick Thursday, where he was taken by the Miami Dolphins.Tunsil was once considered a potential No. 1 overall pick, but he fell after a bizarre video was posted on his Twitter account minutes before the start of the draft showed a person smoking from a mask equipped with a bong.Dolphins general...
Laremy Tunsil's slide in draft ends when Dolphins pick him
By STEVEN WINE, Associated Press | Apr 28, 2016MIAMI (AP) — Tackle Laremy Tunsil's surprising and costly slide in the NFL draft ended with the 13th pick Thursday, where he was taken by the Miami Dolphins. Tunsil was once considered a potential No. 1 overall pick, but he fell after a bizarre video was posted on his Twitter account minutes before the start of the draft showed a person smoking from a mask equipped with a bong. Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said the team had been aware of the video's existence well before the draft. Grier and Tunsil both said the video was two years old. The approximately 30-second video was quickly deleted from Tunsil's Twitter account, which was then deactivated. "Man, it was a mistake," Tunsil said. "It happened years ago. Somebody hacked my Twitter account, and that's how it got on there." Tunsil said his Instagram account was also hacked, and he didn't know who was responsible. He said he wasn't angry, even though his tumble in the draft cost him millions of dollars. He chuckled several times as he discussed the situation an hour after finally being selected. "I don't know why they hacked my account. I didn't do nothing to nobody. I'm harmless," he said. "I'm ready to play football, man. It's a love for the game. It's not all about the money." The pick created a buzz on social media, including tweets of the team logo with a mask over the dolphin's head while using a bong. Tunsil said he doesn't have a drug problem, but the video reinforced his off-the-field issues. Tunsil said he took money from coaches at Mississippi. He sat out the 2015 season's first seven games after the NCAA ruled he received improper benefits, including the use of three loaner cars over a six-month period. His stepfather reportedly filed a lawsuit against him Tuesday related to a confrontation in June, when the men were both charged with domestic violence against each other. Those charges were eventually dismissed. Tunsil attended the draft in Chicago and waited more than 90 minutes until his name was finally called. He then exhaled and shook his head, and after accepting congratulations from Commissioner Roger Goodell, Tunsil managed a smile. "Man, it's just a crazy world, and things happen for a reason," Tunsil said. "I'm glad to be in Miami. I'm going to work my butt off man and give it everything I've got." Tackle wasn't considered a priority for the Dolphins, but they decided the 6-5, 310-pound Tunsil was too good to pass on. He was a three-year starter at Ole Miss. Grier said the Dolphins knew the story behind the video, but declined to share it. He said the team had heard rumors regarding Tunsil's background, and careful research allayed concerns. "He's a smart kid," Grier said. "He's very football-intelligent. This guy is one of those grinders. There's no doubt this guy loves football, and football is very important to him." When asked if Tunsil loves football more than he loves drugs, Grier said, "Yes." Miami made Dion Jordan the overall No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft, and he sat out last season serving a suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy. Tunsil's situation is different, said Grier, who added the pick prompted a celebration in the team's draft room. Grier said the Dolphins had Tunsil ranked No. 2 overall and didn't expect him to fall to them. Others were surprised by his tumble, too. "If we took players off the board because they smoked pot in college or marijuana, half the board would be gone," Detroit Lions GM Bob Quinn said. Tunsil said the Dolphins didn't need to worry about his character. "I'm going to show everybody what type of person I am, despite all the mistakes," he said. "They're getting a great man. I'm going to put everything on the line. I'm going to give it my all. They don't have to worry about nothing." Tunsil was a prep star at Columbia High School in Lake City, Florida, and remains close to his small hometown near Jacksonville. ___ AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL ___ Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/steven-wine
CHICAGO (AP) — Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott will be surrounded by several familiar faces for the first round of the NFL draft.Elliott is one of five Buckeyes planning to attend the proceedings at the Auditorium Theatre on Thursday night. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer also will be on hand.If Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple, defensive end Joey Bosa, offensive tackle Taylor Decker and...
Buckeyes galore in first round of NFL draft.
By The Associated Press, Associated Press | Apr 27, 2016CHICAGO (AP) — Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott will be surrounded by several familiar faces for the first round of the NFL draft. Elliott is one of five Buckeyes planning to attend the proceedings at the Auditorium Theatre on Thursday night. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer also will be on hand. If Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple, defensive end Joey Bosa, offensive tackle Taylor Decker and linebacker Darron Lee go in the first round, it would tie two other schools for the second-highest total since 1967. Southern California (1968), Miami (2002) and Ohio State (2006) also had five players go in the first round, trailing only Miami in 2004 with six. "It's special just because we jokingly, three of us, used to talk about this," Elliott said Wednesday. "Darron, myself and Joey, we were roommates freshman year and we jokingly used to talk about this, and just to see 2 1/2 years later that we're here, we're all here together, sharing the moment together, and that collectively our dreams did come true." HOMETOWN FUN: Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil was a prep star at Columbia High School in Lake City, Florida, before playing his college ball at Mississippi. Tunsil, expected to go in the first half of the first round on Thursday night, remains connected to his small hometown near Jacksonville. "I'm doing it for them," he said. "I got the city on my back, man. ... It's got my back, too, so that's pretty exciting." ABOUT THOSE QUARTERBACKS: Four quarterbacks from non-FBS schools have been drafted in the first round since 1979; Joe Flacco (2008), Steve McNair (1995), Ken O'Brien (1983) and Phil Simms (1979). Carson Wentz of North Dakota State almost certainly will join that list on Thursday night, expected to be one of the top two selections. "I've always believed in myself to be right there at the top," Wentz said. "But obviously for some people it took longer to figure that out, and that kind of just is what it is. But I believed in myself through this whole process." ___ LOVE THE MONSTER: Ohio State DE-LB Joey Bosa could be the first defensive player selected Thursday night. He recognizes that playing for a national champion (in 2014) in a challenging conference (Big Ten) and for one of college football's winningest coaches (Urban Meyer) helped his draft status. "The difference in the way OSU players work out is that they are more physically and mentally prepared for the next level of competition," Bosa says. "When you are playing in the Big Ten, you have to compete every single week or you are going to get beat. So getting to play great games with great tradition and compete against the best players has been awesome." As for Meyer, Bosa couldn't be more complimentary: "At first, it is hard to have a relationship with him because it takes a lot for him to get him to trust people, but once you gain his trust and you trust him, there is nothing he wouldn't do for you." Bosa knows it will take more than a solid resume and strong bloodlines — his father was a first-round selection by Miami in 1987, his brother will be a Buckeye this season — to make a mark in the NFL. He recently signed his first endorsement deal with sports nutrition company Met-Rx, which Bosa was introduced to as a teenager by his father, who then owned a local gym.. "Ever since I've been training back here in South Florida, after every workout, I've come home and my mom would make me chocolate, banana, and peanut butter Met-Rx protein shake," Bosa says. "It is nice having her there to make it for me to recover after every workout. I've learned a lot at Ohio State that hydration isn't about just drinking a lot of water, and that there are a lot of other different vitamins and electrolytes that you need to perform at the highest level like I have to everyday when I train." ___ EXOTIC LOCALES: Not all of this draft's picks will be disclosed first in Chicago. On Saturday, all 32 teams will announce picks from special locations around the world. The Colts will use Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Sage Karam revealing choices. Kansas City's selections will be announced by servicemen at Whiteman Air Force Base, while the Titans' will be disclosed by military personnel from the 118th Wing at Berry Field Air National Guard Base. Even Mexico will get in the act. Raiders alumni Jim Plunkett and Lincoln Kennedy will do the honors from Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, where the Raiders will host the Texans in November. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Apr 26, 2016
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Desperate for a quarterback, Justin Fuente heard of Paxton Lynch thanks to a note an administrator left on the new Memphis coach's desk.Few video clips existed of the quarterback actually throwing a football, so Fuente sent assistant Darrell Dickey to Florida to meet Lynch."Luckily for us, he didn't have a lot going on recruiting-wise," Fuente said. "We went ahead and...
NFL DRAFT: Lynch could be highest QB drafted from Memphis
By TERESA M. WALKER, Associated Press | Apr 26, 2016MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Desperate for a quarterback, Justin Fuente heard of Paxton Lynch thanks to a note an administrator left on the new Memphis coach's desk. Few video clips existed of the quarterback actually throwing a football, so Fuente sent assistant Darrell Dickey to Florida to meet Lynch. "Luckily for us, he didn't have a lot going on recruiting-wise," Fuente said. "We went ahead and offered him, and obviously happy that we did." Now Lynch is poised to be among the top quarterbacks drafted Thursday night, and the highest ever selected from a school best known for basketball. Not bad for someone who taught himself the mechanics of playing quarterback and who learned how to throw a football by how he tossed a baseball. "I definitely taught myself how to do everything as a quarterback," Lynch said. "I never had a quarterback coach growing up in high school or anything like that." The quarterback who had only two offers coming out of Trinity Christian Academy in Deltona, Florida, has visited with 12 NFL teams ranging from Philadelphia, now picking No. 2 overall, to the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos at No. 31. Winning MVP at the Central Florida All-Star game may have been the performance that helped Lynch get noticed after he missed the first half of his senior season with an injured knee. Once Memphis called, Lynch started studying, too. Memphis sent running back DeAngelo Williams and defensive tackle Dontari Poe to the NFL, but Steve Matthews was the last quarterback drafted from the Tigers back in 1994 — a fifth-round pick by Kansas City. "I just knew Memphis because I'd seen their basketball team," Lynch said. "I didn't know anything about the football team." Fuente's work with Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton at TCU persuaded Lynch to sign with Memphis, even when Central Florida made a last-minute offer. "I knew he did a good job with Andy Dalton, developing him and giving him a chance to go to the next level, and I knew I'd have an opportunity to do the same thing," Lynch said. Lynch arrived on campus a gangly 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds. Fuente promptly redshirted the quarterback despite being in the midst of rebuilding a program that went 3-21 before the coach was hired. Lynch improved rapidly, growing another inch and packing on 20 more pounds. "The other part of it was that as he became stronger, he became a better athlete," Fuente said. "That's not always the case." Lynch moved into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2013 and never left. He beat BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl to end the 2014 season and was even better in 2015. He led an upset of Mississippi and tied an NCAA record by throwing seven touchdown passes to seven different receivers against SMU in his final home game. Lynch threw for 3,778 yards, completing 69.1 percent of his passes with 28 TD passes and only four interceptions. Then Fuente left for Virginia Tech, leaving Dickey to coach Lynch and the Tigers in the Birmingham Bowl. Memphis lost to Auburn with Lynch having an ugly performance, completing just 16 passes for 106 yards against the Southeastern Conference defense. "Paxton's too professional and too proud to make excuses for it, but I will," Fuente said. "That was just a tough deal." Lynch bypassed his senior season and entered the draft, signing with agent Leigh Steinberg. He prepped for the NFL combine by working with Charlie Taaffe to refine everything from calling plays, working under center and dropping back to pass. He drew about 25 NFL scouts to his pro day April 6 and visited with teams through April 20. Steinberg said Lynch has been showing just how well he has mastered the three-, five- and seven-step drop. "Paxton has the highest upside of any of the quarterbacks in the draft and fits into the new vogue of quarterbacks Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger," Steinberg said. "Great size, strength. But in his case, the athleticism to move out of the pocket and escape the rush. You rarely see someone that's that tall, that's that size, with the ability to run like a much smaller player." Lynch certainly feels Memphis prepared him for the NFL. Fuente had him dropping back to pass, throwing from a moving pocket, huddling his teammates and calling plays under center over his three seasons while also running the spread offense. "I've tasted everything and (it) showed me I could do anything as long as I had an opportunity to work at it," Lynch said. He'll get his chance to prove that soon enough. ___ This story has been updated to add a dropped word to clarify the quote in the next to last paragraph. ___ Online: AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL ___ Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker
Pearcy led the Tigers to a 201-84-4 record over 26 years at the school.
Tributes: Derrel Pearcy was coaching legend at Maud High School
By Scott Munn | Apr 4, 2016A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed the game day experience: *Derrel Pearcy, 76, of Slapout was one of the most successful high school football coaches in Oklahoma. He spent 26 years at Maud, guiding the Tigers to a 201-84-4 record, 14 district championships and 13 conference titles. Maud had 12 All-State players under Pearcy, who was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997. *Luan Brown Boggs, 88, of Edmond was the wife of former Oklahoman sports editor and columnist Frank Boggs. During 67 years of marriage, she had a unique understanding of a sportswriter's abnormal work hours. Luan loyally followed as her husband made newspaper stops in Topeka, Kan.; Dallas; San Diego; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and back to OKC. *Jeff Lukas, 58, of Atoka was in the thoroughbred race horse industry. He was the trainer for the 1986 Horse of the Year Lady's Secret and 1988 Kentucky Derby champion Winning Colors. According to a tribute in Sports Illustrated, he suffered a brain injury in 1993 after being run over by a horse. Lukas spent the rest of his life as a bank courier. *Dan Pilcher, 96, of Oklahoma City was a Tulsa Central High School graduate who excelled in wrestling and track. He continued to run while in the Army and was part of a relay team that set a track record at the Drake Relays. A retired landman for Texaco. *Neoma Work Richter, 88, of Jones. She saved pocket change for two years to help buy equipment for the first Little League baseball team in town. *Mike George, 70, of Harrah built dirt track race cars. Son-in-law Mark Graham raced one of George's cars and won several heat races. *Billy Sharp, 82, of Piedmont taught jujitsu and other forms of self defense. *Helen McBride Rappe, 96, of Oklahoma City was an OU football season ticket holder for more than 60 years. Until this last year, Rappe never missed a home game. At age 95, she insisted on climbing stairs to her regular seat at Owen Field. *Greg Wolfe, 54, of Bentonville, Ark., was the son of legendary Northeastern A&M football coach Glen Wolfe. Greg followed in his father's footsteps and coached all levels of football — from junior high to college. He died during a trip to play golf. *Dorcas Carden Birdsong of Midwest City died on her 94th birthday. The Pulaski, Tenn., native was an exceptional athlete as a youngster, earning a college basketball scholarship to Birmingham-Southern. She also had a strong golf game and belonged to the Hole in One Club. Birdsong was a longtime secretary at Monroney and Carl Albert middle schools in Midwest City. *Mike Shoulders, 69, of Collinsville was a bull rider in his younger years. *David Bonner, 87, of Lawton. He excelled in football, basketball and tennis in his native Crane, Texas. Spent 63 years preaching the gospel. *Stephen Billy, 67, of Finley played and coached softball. He was a Vietnam veteran. *Dorothy Mango Onofrio Lippincott, 91, of Round Rock, Texas, was a longtime resident of Oklahoma City. She and husband Jack founded the Jack Onofrio Dog Shows company; it grew into the premier dog show producing company in the U.S. *Jack Rusher, 84, of Tulsa. He played football for Tulsa Webster High School, Northeastern A&M Junior College and Northeastern State University. He coached football at Miami High School and NEO, before becoming a sporting goods manufacturer's representative. He was inducted into the Northeastern State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003. Also an avid fundraiser for the NSU Athletic Association. *Patricia Phelps Bonar, 87, of Ada was a tournament-winning tennis player. *Don Williams, 87, of Eakly. The Alex High graduate attended Cameron Junior College in Lawton, where he played football. The OU Sooner and Dallas Cowboy fan was a peanut and wheat farmer. *Jack Phelps, 90, of Weatherford. He played football, basketball and tennis while attending high school in Perryton, Texas. Phelps later taught math and coached at Oklahoma schools in Griggs, Turpin and Baker. He coached Baker — located in the panhandle — to a six-man state football championship. *Phillip Tomlinson, 77, of Shawnee played football and basketball while in school in Anadarko and Perkins. Once served as Secretary of Transportation under Gov. Brad Henry.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Kansas and Michigan State are participating in the Final Four after all, albeit on a much smaller scale than expected.While the Jayhawks and Spartans didn't make it to Houston after getting eliminated from the NCAA tournament, student managers of those programs will be there playing in their own tournament along with Iowa State and Tennessee."We were hoping we'd be with the...
Student managers staging their own version of Final Four
Wire Reports, Associated Press | Mar 31, 2016KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Kansas and Michigan State are participating in the Final Four after all, albeit on a much smaller scale than expected. While the Jayhawks and Spartans didn't make it to Houston after getting eliminated from the NCAA tournament, student managers of those programs will be there playing in their own tournament along with Iowa State and Tennessee. "We were hoping we'd be with the main team for the main event," Iowa State student manager Tyler Schaul said, "but it will certainly be a cool kind of consolation prize." The student managers' version of the Final Four may be the biggest March Madness Cinderella story of them all. For several years, student managers took a break from their grueling schedules to stage pickup games against one another. For instance, if Tennessee and Vanderbilt were scheduled to play on a Saturday afternoon, student managers for the schools would play each other the night beforehand, either in the main arena or at a practice facility. This year, the games got a bit more serious. The teams had their own power rankings, with celebrity followers, supporters and fundraisers -- thanks in large part to the efforts of Michigan State assistant athletic director Kevin Pauga. Pauga started using a mathematical formula -- the KPI -- which he created in 2003 to rank NCAA men's basketball teams during his years as a student manager at Michigan State, to rate the managers' teams for each program. He put his rankings up on a Web site (http://www.KPISports.net). "We kind of wanted to add some fun to it," Pauga said. Word spread about Pauga's system. Pauga said more than 130 schools from 25 conferences played a total of 275 games this season, trying to move up his rankings. "We'd thought it was a joke, that no one really did that, no one sat down and took the time," Tennessee senior Parker Ratcliff said. "But we checked it and it was legit. Then we just decided to try to keep going up from where we started" in the rankings. The next step was to have the managers' own version of a postseason tournament. Pauga set up a bracket with help from Michigan State trainers Andrew Novak and Ian May. Logistical restraints prevented most schools from actually playing their assigned games in the tournament the vast majority of the time. When a game couldn't be played, a team's ranking in Pauga's system and a fan vote would determine who advanced. Pauga said more than 150,000 votes were cast over the course of the tournament. The voting got particularly hectic when Tennessee met Georgia in a semifinal. Los Angeles Rams running back and former Georgia star Todd Gurley sent out a tweet asking fans to vote for Georgia's managers. Tennessee football coach Butch Jones and quarterback Joshua Dobbs and Miami Heat guard and Tennessee alum Josh Richardson tweeted in support of the Volunteers' managers. The Atlanta Hawks and Tennessee Titans used their Twitter accounts to stump for their home-state schools. And in the biggest celebrity coup of all, Kevin Durant also sent out a tweet in support of Tennessee. Durant played for Tennessee coach Rick Barnes' staff at Texas and was informed of the contest by Volunteers assistant Chris Ogden. That Tennessee-Georgia matchup received 23,393 votes. Kansas manager Tim Skoch believes he knows why these games have started to catch on with the general public. "Everyone loves an underdog story -- and the managers are just the people who do the laundry," Skoch said. "People like to rally around things, good causes. ... It's cool to see the managers have an opportunity to play." The semifinals and championship game will take place Friday at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, where the NCAA Fan Fest is taking place. Pauga has set up a GoFundMe page that has raised over $1,800 for travel costs. As for the quality of the basketball, well, it's probably best described as running the gamut from so-so to pretty good. Most of the managers at the Final Four at least played in high school, but Tennessee's team might be an indicator of the talent. The Vols squad includes 5-foot-6 I.J. Poole as well as Drazen Zlovaric, a 6-9 graduate manager who played collegiately at Georgia and Chattanooga and had a three-year professional career overseas. But they all figured their playing days were behind them after becoming managers and performing such grunt work as monitoring video and setting up practice drills. Now they're stepping out of the shadows of laundry rooms at college basketball's biggest event. Said Poole, "I would have never thought I'd be going to the Final Four to play." Follow @MERCnewsroom ——— ©2016 The Manhattan Mercury (Manhattan, Kan.) Visit The Manhattan Mercury (Manhattan, Kan.) at www.themercury.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. _____ Topics: t000003277,t000040506,t000003183,t000404471,t000008056,g000362661,g000065584,g000066164,g000065619,g000065571
Mar 27, 2016
MOORE — Two years ago, Conner Uselton appeared to be the future star in two sports at Southmoore. He was Southmoore's starting quarterback as a freshman and a starter on the baseball team. He was already 6-foot-3 and showing signs of impressive athleticism. As a sophomore, he quit football while entrenched in a starting battle with Casey Thompson to focus on baseball. “I think that's what's...
High school baseball: Southmoore's Conner Uselton becoming a star
By Jacob Unruh Staff Writer email@example.com | Mar 27, 2016MOORE — Two years ago, Conner Uselton appeared to be the future star in two sports at Southmoore. He was Southmoore's starting quarterback as a freshman and a starter on the baseball team. He was already 6-foot-3 and showing signs of impressive athleticism. As a sophomore, he quit football while entrenched in a starting battle with Casey Thompson to focus on baseball. “I think that's what's best for me,” said Uselton, a junior outfielder. “I think I made the right decision. I didn't want to take a chance on getting injured or anything like that.” While Thompson has exploded on the football field, Uselton has perhaps caught even more attention on the baseball field. Uselton turned heads at a tournament in Jupiter, Fla., and multiple showcases. He's earned a spot in this summer's Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field and was recently named a Rawlings Perfect Game Preseason Underclass All-American. He's also receiving interest from around 30 Division I colleges, including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Wichita State, Miami, LSU and Texas. The odds that he arrives at one of those campuses in 2017 are dropping each game. The odds he's selected in the first round of the MLB Draft seem to be rising. “If Conner stays healthy, he'll do what he wants,” Southmoore coach Craig Troxell said. Uselton has hits in 16 of 34 at-bats this spring, with five home runs and 17 RBIs. He's also developing on the mound — consistently throwing 88-91 mph and coming in as a reliever in high-leverage situations for saves — despite his future being in the outfield. His rapid development makes it easy to forget he's still got one year left. “I keep forgetting he was just a sophomore last year,” Troxell said. “Class 6A baseball, you're not going to dominate in every facet as a sophomore. But he's a force to be reckoned with at the plate. He's by far the best player I've ever had.” Southmoore is off to an equally hot start as well at 11-1. “He was a good football player,” Troxell said. “He could go out and probably play basketball and do really well if he wanted to. He's always been able to play (baseball). He could play when he got here. “What it's really helped is he's gotten to get in the weight room and put some size on, and he gets to train for baseball more."
Mar 21, 2016
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — The Rooney Rule that has helped diversify front office and coaching jobs in the NFL has been such a success that the league has expanded it to include interviewing women for all executive positions at the league office.This weekend, the league conducted a women's career development symposium where aspiring executives gathered to share ideas, participate in panel...
NFL looks at Rooney Rule for women in league
By BARRY WILNER, Associated Press | Mar 21, 2016BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — The Rooney Rule that has helped diversify front office and coaching jobs in the NFL has been such a success that the league has expanded it to include interviewing women for all executive positions at the league office. This weekend, the league conducted a women's career development symposium where aspiring executives gathered to share ideas, participate in panel discussions and breakout sessions, network and encourage one another to seek advancement. "It only made sense to extend the rule to include gender diversity for league office executive positions," said Robert Gulliver, the NFL's chief human resources officer. "If you think outside the NFL, a lot of major organizations have announced in the last year similar efforts to extend something like the Rooney Rule. Here's an opportunity for clubs to adopt this as a best practice, and we are excited about the opportunity to have some more thoughtful dialogue with the clubs." Among the 41 participants was Hannah Gordon, the 49ers' general counsel. Gordon, who also has worked for the league office, was impressed by the wide spectrum of sessions at the symposium, citing specifically the balance of academicians coming in to talk about what can be applied at the 32 clubs, and league personnel emphasizing what already is being done. "I think we can always do more, and if we ever stop looking at how can improve diversity, we are dead in the water," Gordon said. "When I started at the league office in 2009, Robert Gulliver had been hired around then and I got the sense this was a new focus for the league. And if you look at the way their programming has grown over the last seven years, there's no question they are looking to lead, and that this is an important issue across the board. "Being that I work for a woman-owned team and the team that had Bill Walsh as the head coach, a team having Dr. Harry Edwards still advising us 30-plus years later, our diversity is something we are very aware of and proud of. But we're always looking to improve on it. Having active discussions about what more we can do to go attract the talent and develop that talent is very important and helpful." The NFL is filled with women in key positions, ranging from senior vice president Renie Anderson, chief football operations strategy officer Kimberly Fields and chief marketing officer Dawn Hudson at its headquarters to such team executives as Dawn Aponte in Miami, Jeanne Bonk in San Diego, Allison Maki in Detroit and Katie Blackburn in Cincinnati. All of them took part this weekend, as did faculty members from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth. In all, one woman from every club and nine women from the league office and partner organizations attended sessions focusing on topics ranging from negotiation and persuasion to communications to meeting the challenges the NFL faces. "I am sure everyone has their own messages," Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn said. "The main message is there are opportunities there. Anyone interested in pursuing any sort of course should feel empowered to pursue those opportunities. "I don't know what timeframe you look at. I personally went to Dartmouth 10 years after it went coed; even the high school I attended at one point in time was all male. Things change, the NFL has changed. The opportunities for women available at a team, there are more areas I would say, such as the marketing department, or in the growth of IT, all of these areas that are important to a football team. A symposium like this is just an opportunity to encourage them and see if there are areas they feel we can assist them." Might such presentations become an annual occurrence? "We will see what comes out of this and what comes out of some others," Blackburn says. "I think we keep an open mind and try to continue to do things that will actually be impactful or make a difference." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Media notes: Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski and Jaime Maggio assigned to broadcast Oklahoma City tournament games
The new broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Carter Blackburn, analyst Mike Gminski and sideline reporter Jaime Maggio have been assigned to broadcast the NCAA Tournament games from Oklahoma City on Friday and Sunday. The trio will make its tournament debut on Wednesday night, calling two First Four games from Dayton, Ohio.
Media notes: Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski and Jaime Maggio assigned to broadcast Oklahoma City tournament games
By Mel Bracht Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org | Mar 14, 2016The new broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Carter Blackburn, analyst Mike Gminski and sideline reporter Jaime Maggio have been assigned to broadcast the NCAA Tournament games from Oklahoma City on Friday and Sunday. The trio will make its tournament debut on Wednesday night, calling two First Four games from Dayton, Ohio. An Austin, Texas, resident, Blackburn began his broadcasting career while in high school in Kerrville, Texas at KERV-AM calling high school football. A Syracuse University graduate, he is broadcasting his first NCAA Tournament. The 6-foot-11 Gminski is a former Duke standout who played 14 seasons in the NBA. Maggio, a native of Long Island, N.Y., who graduated from Cal-Santa Barbara, also works for the NFL Network. Other assignments this week: First Four, Tuesday, Dayton, Ohio — Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas and Jamie Erdahl. Providence, R.I., Thursday and Saturday — Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore and Evan Washburn. Raleigh, N.C., Thursday and Saturday — Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Lewis Johnson. Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday and Saturday — Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson. Denver, Thursday and Saturday — Catalon, Lappas and Jamie Erdahl. St. Louis, Friday and Sunday — Brian Anderson, Steve Smith and Dana Jacobson. Brooklyn, N.Y., Friday and Sunday — Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce. Spokane, Wash., Friday and Sunday — Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb and Ros Gold-Onwude. Short takes •No. 2 seed Oklahoma will be one of five NCAA Tournament teams that will be spotlighted in NCAA March Madness Confidential, providing behind-the-scenes access. Also featured will be No. 1 seed Oregon, No. 3 seed Miami, No. 3 seed Texas A&M and No. 5 seed Purdue. Production crews have been embedded with the teams beginning Selection Sunday. Features will air during studio coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV throughout the tournament, as well as on NCAA.com. •ESPN will televise every match from the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships from Madison Square Garden this week. ESPN will televise the semifinals Friday and finals Saturday in prime time, and ESPNU will televise the first and second rounds Thursday, quarterfinals Friday and medal round Saturday. ESPN3 will carry individual mat feeds throughout the entire tournament allowing fans to choose which wrestlers and/or schools to follow at any time. Adam Amin and Shawn Kenney will call the action, and Quint Kessenich will be a reporter. Analysts include Jim Gibbons, Tim Johnson, Anthony Robles and Billy Baldwin. •Fox Sports Southwest is scheduled to televise 155 Texas Rangers regular-season games, while the other seven games are slated for national broadcast on Fox (two games) and FS1 (five games). Steve Busby will continue his role as primary play-by-play announcer and will also serve as analyst on selected telecasts. Newcomer Dave Raymond will be the play-by-play announcer for about 45 regular-season games. Tom Grieve, who enters his 22nd season as a Rangers broadcaster, will once again be the primary TV analyst. Emily Jones is back as the field reporter for most home telecasts and a select number of road games, and Jim Knox will continue as the roving reporter on home games. John Rhadigan and Dana Larson will be the primary hosts on "Rangers Live" pregame and postgame shows. Serving as analysts will be Rangers Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, former Rangers infielder Mark McLemore and former pitcher Mike Bacsik.
Mar 14, 2016
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Manny Diaz is not an overly patient person.That might be a good thing for Miami.The Hurricanes' new defensive coordinator understands the enormity of the job that awaits starting Tuesday, when Miami opens spring practice for the first time under new head coach Mark Richt and a revamped staff. Diaz is inheriting a defense that has underperformed for years, one that has...
A 'Canes homecoming begins for Miami DC Manny Diaz
By TIM REYNOLDS, Associated Press | Mar 14, 2016CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Manny Diaz is not an overly patient person. That might be a good thing for Miami. The Hurricanes' new defensive coordinator understands the enormity of the job that awaits starting Tuesday, when Miami opens spring practice for the first time under new head coach Mark Richt and a revamped staff. Diaz is inheriting a defense that has underperformed for years, one that has often looked nothing like what Miami featured when the program was at its peak. "We didn't come here to wait five years to get this thing rolling," Diaz said. "The first thing we have to do is this has to look like a Miami defense. People from here know what that means. The biggest compliment I can be paid is someone saying 'It looks like the Canes again.'" Diaz is already giving fans something they've wanted for years, a 4-3 scheme. Whether the Hurricanes have the personnel to make it work in 2016 will remain unknown for months, but the defense already has several mandates from its new coordinator — they will play fast, they will play aggressively and freelancing, which has been a huge issue for years, simply won't be permitted. "I've known him for over 20 years," Richt said. "And I've watched him become one of the best defensive minds in the business." Miami went 8-5 last season, former coach Al Golden getting fired in October a day after a 58-0 loss to Clemson that was the worst in the Hurricanes' 90 seasons of football. There's some talent, but spring ball will be critical for Diaz to decide what Miami can realistically do this fall. "We have to get the players to raise their expectation, to be honest," Diaz said. "They have to raise their level of their own accountability and their accountability to their teammates, because that is what's let them down in the past." So Tuesday will be his first official day on the job, at least in the practice sense. It was a long time coming. Diaz's Miami ties run deeper than most. He's a native. His father, Manny Diaz Sr., is a highly regarded former mayor of Miami. He knows how to avoid the worst of South Florida's notorious traffic, knows how to recruit and most importantly perhaps, knows what the city is like when it has a good Hurricane team to enjoy. "These kids in high school now, they have not lived like we have," Diaz said. "They have not seen this city when Miami was rolling. They've read about it. They've heard about it. But they don't really understand what this town is like when the 'Canes are rolling." For his father, the significance of having his kid finally wearing "The U" on his chest again leaves him brimming with pride. "He grew up a 'Cane," Manny Diaz Sr. said. "I'm a big fan. With him we used to basically go to the old Orange Bowl and I can't remember missing many games. As a father and son, we were always there and followed the 'Canes, home and away, the national championship runs. It's just inbred in both of us, really, as 'Canes fans. And now he has this opportunity to be back home." So does Richt, who played at Miami until he graduated in 1982. He and Diaz are both former Florida State as assistants, and Diaz has lived an almost nomadic existence for the last 15 years with stops at North Carolina State, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Texas, Louisiana Tech and then a second stint at Mississippi State. When Richt offered him a chance to come home, the decision wasn't automatic. "I had a good job. I liked the job that I had. I liked the people that I worked with. I liked the opportunity to coach those guys in the future," Diaz said. "But I could not get over the fact that this was home. And in this profession, you can work a long time and maybe never have an opportunity to coach close to home." Here's his chance. "It's a football town," Diaz said. "And it's starving to win."
Mar 7, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Leaving one of the poorest cities in Brazil at 5 a.m., 20-year-old student Luciane Lima traveled from Sao Goncalo to a Copacabana hotel two hours away to join 300 women at an unusual audition in the land of soccer: Cheerleader for the NFL's Miami Dolphins.The Dolphins started auditions last week, and is targeting soccer-crazy countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia...
Miami Dolphins looking for cheerleaders in soccer-mad Brazil
By MAURICIO SAVARESE, Associated Press | Mar 7, 2016RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Leaving one of the poorest cities in Brazil at 5 a.m., 20-year-old student Luciane Lima traveled from Sao Goncalo to a Copacabana hotel two hours away to join 300 women at an unusual audition in the land of soccer: Cheerleader for the NFL's Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins started auditions last week, and is targeting soccer-crazy countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. Although few of the Brazilian candidates knew much about the sport, they found out about the trials via social media and flocked to the tryouts. In exchange for injecting a touch of samba into the Dolphins' cheerleading team, they hope to start new lives in the United States. Lima was raised without her parents and says dancing saved her life. She was among many coming from poor regions where they could never work as dancers. "I haven't slept because I was so anxious," said Lima, dressed in a yellow outfit. "But all this hard work is worth it because just being here is a huge emotion." For 21-year-old student Ana Priscilla Duarte, who enjoys dancing as a hobby, just getting to the second round was a shock. "Every girl sees (cheerleaders) in the movies," she said, and laughed when asked about her knowledge of the NFL. "I will have to study a bit if I get this opportunity," said Duarte, who like Lima didn't make the final selection. While football is a growing sport in Brazil, it's still nowhere near the popularity of soccer and volleyball. Ballerina Nadine Santos, 22, stood out as a genuine Dolphins fan. "Soccer and football are totally different. You can see that when teams come out to play," said Santos, who started watching NFL games three years ago. "Soccer is very outdated to come onto the pitch, with kids hand in hand with the players. Brazil could have cheerleaders." Santos didn't make the final six picked from Rio to go to the finals in Miami on May 1. All of them had to be at least 18 years old, enrolled in high school until June and with a valid passport. Miami Dolphins cheerleaders have traveled to more than 30 countries on five continents over the past decade. Dolphins senior director of entertainment Dorie Grogan told The Associated Press that she wants to create a true international cheerleading squad. "We selected locations where we have already had cheerleaders in the past," Grogan said. "We hope to expand it if it works out." Grogan said those chosen would have to commit to living in Miami for a minimum of nine months. "We have a full process to get them settled in Miami," she said. "We'll assist them in housing and transportation." Miami's cheerleading team has 32 to 36 women. ____ AP Sports Writer Steve Wine in Miami contributed to this report.
So that’s it.Most every year is like this. You see the number of games dwindle. The occasional home-and-home series concludes, topped by a second meeting between Duke and North Carolina. Intellectually you know there’s not much time left, yet the end arrives with the unyielding suddenness of walking into a glass door.Just like that, the college basketball regular season is over. Tournament...
Barry Jacobs: The ACC and the basketball season that was
By Barry Jacobs, Associated Press | Mar 7, 2016So that’s it. Most every year is like this. You see the number of games dwindle. The occasional home-and-home series concludes, topped by a second meeting between Duke and North Carolina. Intellectually you know there’s not much time left, yet the end arrives with the unyielding suddenness of walking into a glass door. Just like that, the college basketball regular season is over. Tournament play, the one-and-done cliff of single-elimination, beckons and all the world is awash in talk of bubbles and seeds, like a Champagne toast at a gardeners’ convention. But before we rush on to the next thing, it’s worth taking a moment to recall and savor where we’ve just been. We can’t say it’s been a vintage ACC season, not with Boston College winless in conference play, just the sixth team to suffer that ignominy in conference history and the first since 1987 and a Maryland squad with a high school coach at the helm in the wake of Len Bias’ death. Not when Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was benched for nine games early in the season as a result of an NCAA probation, and Louisville benched itself at the end in anticipation of NCAA punishment. Not when, despite protestations to the contrary from its coaches, the North Carolina program remains shadowed by ongoing NCAA scrutiny and the irreducible stain of academic fraud. Not when Notre Dame’s women, mimicking the ACC debut of Florida State football in the 1990s, again ran roughshod over the rest of the league. Because women’s basketball is not exactly high on the agenda of most media outlets and fans, Notre Dame’s remarkable dominance has gone largely unnoticed. Muffet McGraw’s Fighting Irish were unbeaten during the 2016 ACC regular season. Since joining the ACC their three-year conference record was 53-1 entering this past weekend’s ACC tournament. No other ACC basketball program ever imposed such suffocating control over so long a span. ——— Stalling and scoring On the men’s side four teams — Louisville, Miami, UNC and Virginia — had a shot at first place entering the final game of the regular season, upper echelon congestion unduplicated since 2007. As for unremarked changes among the men, we’d go with de facto abandonment of the 3-second call. Fully implemented in 1944-45, the rule limits offensive players’ time in the paint, reducing congestion that facilitates rough play, supposedly a recent point of emphasis. Readers are challenged to recall the last time they saw a player penalized for camping in the lane. One rule officially taken off the books was the five-second violation while closely guarded with the ball. The rule’s absence resulted in too much time occupied by dribblers seeking strategic advantage, a maneuver as exciting as watching someone tie a shoelace. Perhaps surprisingly, countenancing the stall tactic didn’t hurt offenses, even with the shot clock reduced to 30 seconds. In fact, increased scoring may be the most important development this season. Compared with final 2015 ACC totals, scoring was up an average of five points per team without noticeably distorting the game. Only Notre Dame did not increase its scoring from last season. One thing that hasn’t changed is that starting lineups rich in experience are apt to be rich in victories. Sure, Duke grabbed last year’s NCAA title while relying on a core of freshman starters, and Mike Krzyzewski continues to note the youth of today’s teams. But that is a basketball elitist’s worldview. Duke has recently relied on one-and-done freshmen more than any league program: Kyrie Irving in 2011, Austin Rivers in 2012, Jabari Parker in 2014, and Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones in 2015. This season’s best ACC freshman, Brandon Ingram, is also presumably an early departee. ——— Veteran leadership That’s not the path taken by most ACC teams, certainly not this year’s most prosperous ones. The first-place contenders in 2016 each started at least two seniors. A majority of starters on each squad in that group except Louisville are upperclassmen. The All-ACC first team celebrates seniors. Moreover, through March 4 seniors comprised half of the league’s top 20 scorers, its six leading rebounders, four official leaders in field goal accuracy, three of its five best foul shooters, and four of the top five in steals. Veteran leadership wasn’t the only ACC constant in 2016. Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils were good enough to earn NCAA Tournament inclusion for the 21st straight season, the most consecutive trips under any coach in history. Duke gets to the NCAAs, and prospers there, while employing a small cadre of players, so don’t be fooled by its modest numbers with Amile Jefferson apparently sidelined for the season by a broken foot. Krzyzewski rarely goes more than six deep in tight circumstances, even with more options at his disposal. In Duke’s half-dozen NCAA contests last year, only against Wisconsin in the championship contest did the Duke coach give seven players extended floor time. The meeting with the Badgers was among just three games in which Grayson Allen played 21 or more minutes as a freshman. This season Allen blossomed as an All-ACC performer and accounted for one of the most dramatic shots of 2016 in a one-point home win over Virginia. The sophomore’s driving basket at the buzzer balanced the scales of basketball justice as far as Wake Forest folks are concerned. In late January the Cavaliers capped a rally to similarly secure a one-point win at Winston-Salem on a banked three by Darius Thompson as time expired. The victory, Virginia’s first in its opening four ACC road games, keyed a seven-game winning streak that thrust the Cavs back into the race for the top spot they occupied in both 2014 and 2015. ——— Miami’s rise N.C. State, out of the NCAA Tournament picture for the first time in five years, also won twice at home in dramatic last-gasp fashion — on a Cat Barber three against High Point in mid-December and a layup by Maverick Rowan against BC last week. Barber, a junior likely headed for the NBA this spring, became the 10th Wolfpack player to lead the ACC in scoring and the second in three years after T.J. Warren in 2014. Barber also paced the league in minutes played, reflecting an overall lack of depth that helped N.C. State join Florida State as the ACC’s major disappointments. Virginia Tech finished at the other end of the spectrum of expectations, making a remarkable turnaround under Buzz Williams, at 43 the youngest coach in the league. Three coaches arrived in 2015 to take over struggling programs. Both Jim Christian at BC and Wake’s Danny Manning are still groping to find success. In contrast, Williams quickly elevated Virginia Tech — the last-place finisher at 2-16 last season — to the middle of the pack in 2016 along with Syracuse, Pitt and Clemson. Less surprising, but no less impressive, was Miami’s rise to the ACC’s front rank. Picked to finish fifth, Jim Larranaga’s mature Hurricanes ranked among the top eight in the national polls as the regular season ended, along with UVa and preseason media favorite UNC. Those three clubs have the best shot at carrying the ACC banner deep into the NCAA afterlife, where the league hasn’t placed members in consecutive Final Fours since UNC and Duke won national championships in 2009 and 2010, respectively. ——— ©2016 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) Visit The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) at www.newsobserver.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. _____ Topics: t000008058,t000008056,t000003183,t000003277,t000040506,t000404496,t000404471,t000413007,g000065577,g000362661,g000066164,g000065650,g000220400,g000220201,g000065627,g000366003,g000065617
Mar 5, 2016
In his 10th season on his sixth team, Foye — a NBA survivor — finds himself in Oklahoma because of a man who found himself in Oklahoma.
OKC Thunder: Randy Foye finds himself in the state where his mentor found himself
By Erik Horne Staff Writer email@example.com | Mar 5, 2016Randy Foye was once a self-described knucklehead. Then he met Bryant Garvin. The Thunder guard was a talented freshman at East Side High School in Newark, N.J., when he crossed paths with the then-assistant football coach and teacher. Even then, according to Garvin, Foye was a “pain in my a--.” But before eventually becoming Foye's basketball coach and a father figure, Garvin saw something in the defiant teen — some of what he did away with while playing college football in Oklahoma. “It's crazy. He's in my old stomping grounds,” Garvin said via telephone. “I was like ‘man, now I've gotta come visit you in my old place.' ” In his 10th season on his sixth team, Foye — a NBA survivor — finds himself in Oklahoma because of a man who found himself in Oklahoma. “B-Garv. That's anywhere from father figure when we did something wrong to Big Unc to Big Bruh,” Foye said, rattling off Garvin's nicknames. "When we wanted to hang out, have fun, or he took us out to eat he was Big Unc … and then when we were playing inside or practicing he was like a big brother. “He got out there with us, he talked trash with us. He was just an unbelievable person.” Foye and Garvin share a similar inner city upbringing. Before Foye turned three, his father died in a motorcycle accident. When Foye was five, his mother disappeared, forcing him to live between family members in Newark. Garvin grew up on Chicago's south side, his mother suffering from mental illness, his father an alcoholic. Like Foye, he was mostly raised by other family members. Coming out of Chicago's St. Rita Cascia High School in 1988, Garvin was 6-foot-2, 214-pound tight end with a scholarship offer to the University of Oklahoma. Garvin wanted to go to OU over offers from Michigan and Notre Dame, but couldn't qualify academically. He considered joining OU once he made the required ACT score, but by then his scholarship would be gone and he'd have to walk-on. He decided to go to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami, Okla. “I made that decision to go down there to try to get re-recruited,” Garvin said. “To get away from Chicago to go to Oklahoma was almost like a peace of mind to regroup.” Garvin played two seasons at NEO before transferring to Temple University in Philadelphia, which started a series of east coast coaching and teaching stops before landing in Newark. When Garvin took over as basketball coach in Foye's sophomore year, he'd keep Foye after practice. “Nah, we're gonna keep on going, because this ain't your show,” Foye recalls Garvin telling him. “He was one of those guys that told me ‘hey, it ain't gonna be your way,' ” Foye said. “ 'Everything you want in life, it ain't gonna be easy.' ” Foye wasn't easy on Garvin, either. Garvin said it was a battle until Foye's senior year when East Side won the state championship. But Garvin broke through. Even after high school, he drove to pick up Foye every weekend from Villanova — a four-hour round trip from his home in South Brunswick, N.J., to Villanova, Pa., outside of Philadelphia. Garvin remembered leaving Chicago for Miami, Okla., how being away from home humbled him. “It taught me to grind and do things on my own …” Garvin said. “… that if I can make this and survive through this I can become successful at anything I choose to be.” Garvin said he still has friends in Tulsa and will try to see a Thunder game after the New Jersey state playoffs. He said he's reliving his youth watching Foye, his surrogate son, playing in the Sooner State. “It's weird,” Garvin said. “I was like ‘I'll be damned. He's going right back to where I started.' ”
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Michigan fans spotted their hero and began to cheer. Jim Harbaugh jogged onto the field and waved his cap to acknowledge his admirers.The Wolverines' spring break at IMG Academy, a one of a kind trip in college football that might never be allowed again, came to an end Friday night with an open-to-the-public practice that about drew about 5,000 members of Harbaugh Nation...
Harbaugh's traveling road show draws 5k to Michigan practice
By RALPH D. RUSSO, Associated Press | Mar 4, 2016BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Michigan fans spotted their hero and began to cheer. Jim Harbaugh jogged onto the field and waved his cap to acknowledge his admirers. The Wolverines' spring break at IMG Academy, a one of a kind trip in college football that might never be allowed again, came to an end Friday night with an open-to-the-public practice that about drew about 5,000 members of Harbaugh Nation to the boarding school's campus. "It really made it closer to a game than a normal practice," Harbaugh said. "It was great to see the stands full. Lots of maize and blue." The Michigan coach's traveling road show has drawn the ire of the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the NCAA president sounded less than thrilled with Harbaugh taking his team south to practice during spring break. But the players seemed to love getting away from the chill of Ann Arbor, and Harbaugh made it clear he doesn't care what others think of how he is running Michigan. "Exceeded expectations," Harbaugh said. "I would recommend this to other football programs. I'd recommend it to us to do it again. There were no negatives." Once again, Harbaugh found a way to stay within the rules while pushing the envelope. He even said he'd consider going on the road for preseason practice, too. "No one else is doing what we're doing. And that makes something special," running back Drake Johnson said. Michigan paid IMG Academy to use its FBS-quality facilities for the week and used its 5,000-seat stadium for the final practice. The Wolverines needed to keep their distance from IMG students to avoid NCAA violations, but IMG football players were allowed to sit in the stands and check out Friday's show. K.K. Hahn, a receiver at IMG who will be going to Ann Arbor as a preferred walk-on in the fall, said the energy around Michigan is palpable. "It definitely feels like something is happening right now," said Hahn, who is from Bethesda, Maryland. Joshua Uche, a linebacker from Miami and a Michigan signee, made the three-hour trip north with his high school coach to watch the Wolverines and spend some time with his future teammates. "(Harbaugh) finding that loophole and doing something different, being outside the box, is pretty cool to me," Uche said. The maize and blue faithful started streaming onto IMG's campus a couple of hours before the Wolverines took the field for a four-hour workout. Several hundred fans gathered outside the gates a half hour before the stadium even opened. One fan fired up the Michigan fight song on a small, old-school boom box to get the crowd going — a little. The vast majority of those in attendance were way past college-eligibility age. Far more retirees and snowbirds than football prospects. Matt Short, 28, and his parents — transplanted Michiganders — drove down three and half hours from Gainesville. Short had a regulation Michigan helmet in hand and he was hoping for Harbaugh's signature. Turns out, Harbaugh had to let down the autograph-seekers after practice. His compliance official told him it could result in an NCAA violation. Short loves that Harbaugh has set up shop in SEC territory. "He's against the grain and I think that's part of the reason he's had the success he's had," Short said. "He's done his satellite camps and you see the increase in our recruits. It speaks for itself when you see what he's done." Aside from the setting, the practice was routine. Tackling dummies. Blocking sleds. Players darting through orange cones. A couple of long touchdown passes had the crowd buzzing. "What was trying to be accomplished was developing as a team, further getting to know each other, getting to know your teammates," Harbaugh said. "Player development. That was one of the main things. I think we accomplished a lot of really good things. That it was unique? It was good. I think we all feel like innovators." Not everybody is impressed with Harbaugh's innovations. The SEC and ACC would like the NCAA to outlaw the satellite camps and spring break trips. Critics look at his signing day starring Tom Brady and Ric Flair and this Florida folly and see a circus. Harbaugh does, too — but in a Harbaugh-kind-of way. "As a youngster I remember the circus. I remember ... looking forward to it. Saving my pennies up and dollars up because the circus was coming to town. Couldn't wait. Every circus that I ever went to, I always left feeling really great about it. Thought it was a lot of fun," Harbaugh said. "That's the way I feel about this. Much anticipated. It was a heck of a lot of fun." ___ Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
Mar 4, 2016
Bill Michael, who sold the University of Arkansas on recruiting Jimmy Johnson, convinced his OU colleagues to sign a smallish recruit named Greg Pruitt and took the fall for the Sooners’ NCAA violations in 1973, died Friday in Columbia, S.C. He was 81. “Hell of a guy, hell of a coach,” said Barry Switzer, who was on Chuck Fairbanks’ OU staff with Michael from 1967-72. Michael was head coach at...
Bill Michael: A football life
Berry Tramel | Mar 4, 2016[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]4130428[/img] Bill Michael, who sold the University of Arkansas on recruiting Jimmy Johnson, convinced his OU colleagues to sign a smallish recruit named Greg Pruitt and took the fall for the Sooners’ NCAA violations in 1973, died Friday in Columbia, S.C. He was 81. “Hell of a guy, hell of a coach,” said Barry Switzer, who was on Chuck Fairbanks’ OU staff with Michael from 1967-72. Michael was head coach at Texas-El Paso from 1977-81 and was on the staffs of UTEP, South Carolina, Texas (for Fred Akers in 1986), Purdue, Southern Miss, OSU (for Pat Jones in 1993-94) and North Texas. Michael resigned from OU in 1973 after NCAA investigators ruled that school officials knew that the transcripts of two players from Galveston Ball High School had been changed. Michael was born in Blytheville, Ark., and was an Arkansas freshman in 1954, a year ahead of Switzer. Michael was a captain on Frank Broyles’ first Arkansas team in 1958. After graduation, Michael joined the staff of Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Texas, and coached Johnson. Michael talked Arkansas assistant Jim Mackenzie into taking Johnson, who became eventually became a head coach with a national championship (Miami) and two Super Bowl titles (Dallas). Mackenzie eventually became OU’s head coach but died in April 1967, and Michael was hired to join the Sooner staff. In 1968, Michael recruited Pruitt out of Houston’s B.C. Elmore High School. “No one else wanted Greg,” Switzer said, “5-(foot)-8, 155 pounds. Couldn’t pass the eye test. Bill said, ‘he’ll be the best athlete on the team.’ We took him. Thank God we did.” Switzer said OU brought in Pruitt on a recruiting visit, and a skeptical Fairbanks told Switzer to take Pruitt out to the practice field to work out with Jack Mildren and Eddie Hinton. “He looked like a little pygmy,” Switzer said. “After 45 minutes of running routes, I went back in. Chuck said, ‘What do you think?’” Switzer told Fairbanks that Hinton, who remains as good a pick as any as the greatest receiver in OU history, was “the second-best athlete out there. Mildren is third.” Pruitt, of course, became an OU superstar and played 12 years in the NFL, making five Pro Bowls. On Thursday, a day before his death, Michael received a phone call from Pruitt, the little halfback who Michael had championed.
Mar 2, 2016
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — It's been almost 25 years since John Parrella played for Nebraska. His heart never left.That's why he called Mike Riley when the defensive line coach's job came open a month ago."I think any former player who had success at his college would want to go back and coach there," Parrella said Wednesday. "It's a no-brainer for any former player, especially with the experiences...
Parrella says his return to Huskers as DL coach 'no-brainer'
By ERIC OLSON, Associated Press | Mar 2, 2016LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — It's been almost 25 years since John Parrella played for Nebraska. His heart never left. That's why he called Mike Riley when the defensive line coach's job came open a month ago. "I think any former player who had success at his college would want to go back and coach there," Parrella said Wednesday. "It's a no-brainer for any former player, especially with the experiences you get here at Nebraska — how they develop you on and off the field." The 46-year-old Parrella gives Riley's staff a throwback to happier times in Big Red country. During his five years as a player, the Cornhuskers won 48 of 60 games and won or shared three Big Eight championships. When he was an All-Big Eight defensive lineman as a senior in 1992, they were a year from starting their 60-3 run with three national titles under Tom Osborne. There weren't any tougher or nastier players than Parrella at Nebraska back then. Having grown up 80 miles from Lincoln, in Grand Island, he not only understood the football culture in the state, he lived it. "It's a long story, but it starts with being dominant up front on the offensive and defensive lines, continuing to get great players and working in the weight room," he said, recalling Osborne's core principles for success. Parrella begins his job in earnest Saturday when Nebraska starts spring practice. The Huskers were 6-7 in Riley's first season, and they haven't won a conference championship since 1999. Parrella played 12 years in the NFL, including 1999-2001 for the Riley-coached San Diego Chargers, before he started coaching high school football in Northern California. He was an assistant in the junior college ranks at Chabot College in California before moving to Division II Northern Michigan two years ago to coach the defensive line. Riley said he was prepared to hire another candidate to replace the fired Hank Hughes, but Parrella wowed him in an interview. Parrella is on a two-year contract that pays him $250,000 annually. "I'm pretty excited to get a coach who played at Nebraska and played on the defensive line," senior end Ross Dzuris said. "He's pretty excited to coach us. I think it's going to be a good match." Like Dzuris, Parrella was an in-state walk-on. Parrella asked Osborne for a spot after Colorado pulled a scholarship offer from him in 1988. Parrella arrived as a tight end and moved to the defensive line his second year. He broke through as a junior, making nine tackles and recording three quarterback hurries on Oklahoma's last possession in a 19-14 win that sent Nebraska to the Orange Bowl, where he made 11 stops in a loss to Miami. Former longtime Nebraska defensive coordinator Charlie McBride has called Parrella one of the top three defensive tackles he coached. Parrella went on to play in Super Bowls for three different teams and was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Parrella said he hasn't had much time to reflect on his return to his alma mater. He said he's mostly been trying to match faces with names. The Huskers had two defensive linemen, Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine, declare for the NFL draft as underclassmen, and Jack Gangwish graduated. Greg McMullen is the only full-time returning starter, and four other players have experience. "I think this is a pretty tough group," Parrella said. "It's extremely talented. We need to get fundamentally sound and get them to know me and me to know them. I've had a chance to meet with them all, and now I'm looking forward to Saturday."
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The most coveted players in the NFL draft are, of course, the franchise-caliber quarterbacks.The most important prospects might be the pass rushers. Just ask the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos how they snagged that shiny trophy."That's pretty much the whole example I have to give. Defense won that game, 100 percent. Von Miller, he really showed what a pass rush can do...
Bosa leads pass-rush pack as teams seek the next Miller
By DAVE CAMPBELL, Associated Press | Feb 27, 2016INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The most coveted players in the NFL draft are, of course, the franchise-caliber quarterbacks. The most important prospects might be the pass rushers. Just ask the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos how they snagged that shiny trophy. "That's pretty much the whole example I have to give. Defense won that game, 100 percent. Von Miller, he really showed what a pass rush can do for a team," said Joey Bosa, the Ohio State defensive end who's first in line to be the next Miller. Widely pegged for the first pick, held this year by the Tennessee Titans, Bosa's 6-foot-5, 269-pound frame ought to fit well in the lineup for some team at the top of the draft seeking an instant impact for the defense. He was an end in a 4-3 scheme in college, but he said Friday at the league's scouting combine that he has incorporated pass-coverage drops into his offseason training to prepare for possibly playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. "I never could have dreamed to be in this situation, being considered the No. 1 pick," Bosa said. "It's kind of mind blowing." Taking an outside pass rusher with the top slot in the draft would hardly be startling. Miller, voted the Super Bowl MVP less than three weeks ago, was the No. 2 pick in 2011 by the Broncos. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was the first selection by the Houston Texans in 2014. These days, the role is even more in demand. "Von Millers aren't just falling out of the sky, all over the place," said Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, whose team could use one. Once elite quarterbacks are established, they rarely go anywhere until retirement. Plus, only one can play at a time. With pass rushers, teams can't have enough. Miller wouldn't have been nearly as dominant had the Broncos not had DeMarcus Ware pressuring the pocket from the other side. "Only so many people are walking the earth with the skill set to be big enough, athletic enough and have the traits to be able to rush the passer," Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said. "That's generally why they are either drafted high or get overpaid in free agency." The players realize this, too. "Watching the Super Bowl, it was evident that the pass rushers took over that game," Northwestern DE Dean Lowry said. "Even with Cam Newton and Peyton Manning, the guys on the defensive lines decided to take over. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware won that game. That just shows how important pass rushers are and how important defensive line pressure on the quarterback is. That focus is not just in the Super Bowl. It's all the way back into the college game." In a deep draft for defensive linemen, tackles included, Bosa is the consensus leader of the pass-rushing pack on a list highlighted by UCLA outside linebacker Myles Jack, Oregon end DeForest Buckner, Clemson end Shaq Lawson, Ohio State outside linebacker Darron Lee, Notre Dame outside linebacker Jaylon Smith, and Eastern Kentucky end Noah Spence. Spence started at Ohio State before being kicked off the team due to a drug problem. Bosa, whose father and uncle were each drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins in the late 1980s, came from the football factory St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which had the most alumni of any high school on NFL rosters last season. His younger brother, Nick, signed with Ohio State for 2016. Bosa's sack total dropped from 13 1-2 as a sophomore to just five as a junior last year, but he pointed to the excess of double-teams he faced. "If I was double-teamed and not getting there, I knew somebody else was going to," Bosa said. "As long as we're succeeding as a defense, I was happy." He was suspended for the season opener, too, for an unspecified violation of athletic department policy. "I really took that opportunity and didn't let it affect me negatively and let it help me grow as a person, as a leader, and as a player," Bosa said. "But I'll discuss that with the teams. I'm sure it'll be a little uncomfortable, but I've got to do what I've got to do." After spring becomes summer and summer turns to fall, Bosa will be back on the edge of the formation, making tackles — and quarterbacks uncomfortable. ___ Online: AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Feb 26, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jack Conklin walked to the podium in Indianapolis, glanced down at the surrounding crowd and shook his head in disbelief.Four years ago, Conklin had only one scholarship offer and was ready to attend prep school. Now the left tackle from Michigan State, who started his college career as an invited walk-on, is one of the most coveted offensive linemen in the nation."It's...
Lightly recruited players now turning heads at NFL combine
By MICHAEL MAROT, Associated Press | Feb 26, 2016INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jack Conklin walked to the podium in Indianapolis, glanced down at the surrounding crowd and shook his head in disbelief. Four years ago, Conklin had only one scholarship offer and was ready to attend prep school. Now the left tackle from Michigan State, who started his college career as an invited walk-on, is one of the most coveted offensive linemen in the nation. "It's crazy just to see how far I've come," Conklin said at the NFL scouting combine. "It's hard to think about to go from being four years ago to have no idea if I was going to be on a Division I team going into the fall. It's hard to take in how far I've come as a person and a player." The odds were certainly stacked against Conklin making it this far. He played for his father, Darren, at a small Michigan high school, where the staff was not well-schooled in the art of selling recruits to college coaches. The book on Conklin was he was too light and not strong enough to be a college lineman, and his resume supported the notion. He played mostly defensive end and tight end in high school and could lift only 225 pounds on the bench press about 10 times in succession. His skill set appeared to be translated better to basketball, where he averaged 17.1 points and 10.4 rebounds as a senior, and if he had taken up Wayne State on its scholarship offer, Conklin might have fallen through the cracks in Division II football. Instead, Conklin bet on himself — just like a surprisingly high number of other big-name players in this year's draft class. "It was always a dream," North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz said. "I didn't think that today, this is where I was going to be. I didn't think like that. It was a goal." Wentz was lightly recruited after moving from receiver to quarterback as a high school senior. His only FBS offer came from Central Michigan, so he wound up staying in his home state and playing for a school that has won five straight FCS national championships. Wentz could be the first quarterback taken in April, but he won't be the only one with this kind of story. The only scholarship offers fielded by Connor Cook, Conklin's college teammate, came from Michigan State, Miami (Ohio) and Akron. He wound starting three years and played on two Big Ten championship teams. Paxton Lynch initially drew interest from schools such as Bethune-Cookman, Florida Tech and Florida A&M until he was chosen MVP of the 2011 Central Florida All-Star game. Then Indiana and Florida jumped on board, but his home state Gators only wanted him as a walk-on. So when Lynch got a late scholarship offer from Memphis, he took it. Both could be first-round picks in April. It's not just a quarterback thing. Some thought Derrick Henry would move to defense in college. Alabama coach Nick Saban kept him at running back and after two seasons as T.J. Yeldon's backup, Henry became the school's second Heisman Trophy winner and led the Crimson Tide to the national championship. Receiver Josh Doctson wanted to play college football in his native Texas, but spent his freshman season at Wyoming. He transferred to TCU, going from walk-on to All-American and now to one of the top receivers in this year's draft. To Doctson, the chance of a combine invite seemed so remote he didn't even consider it until he played his final college game. "I'm not supposed to be standing here in this stadium ... not really being recruited out of high school," Doctson said Friday. "I'm fortunate to be standing here in these shoes." Sure, there are stories like this at every combine. This year, they are more commonplace, more compelling and more eye-popping to those evaluating the prospects, who put a premium on the steady progression in college. "It's a positive evaluation," Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian said. "What it tells you is that the guy has tremendous drive, and in some cases, you see that on tape. What's the difference between Jack Conklin and (former Colts center) Jeff Saturday? Jack's going to get drafted a little higher because he's a little taller." Four years ago, such a comparison seemed improbable. Today, Conklin just smiles, nods his head and appreciates how much has changed. "Four years ago, I was thinking, I had no idea where I was going to be," he said. "To be here now four years later, training for the combine and possibly being a first-round pick, it's crazy." ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Feb 23, 2016
Heritage Hall football coach Brett Bogert said Harris was offered a scholarship at Eastern Illinois by offensive line coach Mike Simmonds, who was the coach at North Texas to offer Harris. The UNT offer was Harris’ first.
High school notebook: Heritage Hall's Luther Harris signs with Eastern Illinois
By Jacob Unruh and Scott Wright | Feb 23, 2016Heritage Hall senior offensive lineman Luther Harris signed with Eastern Illinois last week, Heritage Hall coach Brett Bogert told The Oklahoman. Harris, who is 6-foot-6 and 350 pounds, also had scholarship offers from North Texas, Ohio and Tulsa. He chose to wait until after National Signing Day to make a decision, though. Bogert said Harris was offered a scholarship at Eastern Illinois by offensive line coach Mike Simmonds, who was the coach at North Texas to offer Harris. The UNT offer was Harris' first. Harris was on The Oklahoman's All-State and Little All-City teams after leading the way up front for a powerful Chargers offense that rolled to a second straight Class 3A state championship. He's the second player in the state to sign with Eastern Illinois. Tulsa Edison quarterback Scotty Gilkey also signed there this month. BROILES, ROBINSON, FIELDS, THOMAS ADD OFFERS Lately it seems that not a day goes by without a few Oklahoma high school football players picking up more Division I scholarship offers. Four metro-area juniors added offers recently, starting with Putnam City West receiver Nick Robinson drawing an offer from Baylor late Monday night. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Robinson visited Oklahoma State last week following the Cowboys' offer. He now has 13 offers, including Louisville, Tennessee, Houston, Indiana and Iowa State. John Marshall cornerback Justin Broiles continues to be the hottest commodity on the market locally, now with more than two dozen offers. The 6-foot, 170-pound Broiles was offered by Boise State on Tuesday, following Miami, Cincinnati, Mississippi State and Kansas in the last four days. Texas State joined Tulsa and Arkansas State in pursuit of Midwest City's 6-2, 190-pound safety Evan Fields on Tuesday. Mustang defensive tackle Deontre Thomas was offered by Arkansas State and Wyoming, which recently signed Mustang QB Chandler Garrett in the 2016 class. Thomas, 6-3, 275, also has offers Kansas State, Iowa State, Colorado State and UT-San Antonio. LITTLEJIM POWERING CHRISTIAN HERITAGE Christian Heritage heads into the Class 2A boys basketball regional Thursday night riding the strong play of Caleb LittleJim. The 6-foot-2 senior scored 35 points in last week's 72-61 district championship win over Amber-Pocasset and is averaging 27 points per game during the eighth-ranked Crusaders' 17-7 season. CHA faces Mangum at 8 p.m. Thursday in Amber-Pocasset in the winner's bracket regional semifinal.
Feb 23, 2016
Lately it seems that not a day goes by without a few Oklahoma high school football players picking up more Division I scholarship offers. Four metro-area juniors added offers recently, starting with Putnam City West receiver Nick Robinson drawing an offer from Baylor late Monday night. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Robinson visited Oklahoma State last week following the Cowboys’ offer. He now has 13...
Justin Broiles, Nick Robinson, Deontre Thomas and Evan Fields add offers
scott wright | Feb 23, 2016[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]4109708[/img] Lately it seems that not a day goes by without a few Oklahoma high school football players picking up more Division I scholarship offers. Four metro-area juniors added offers recently, starting with Putnam City West receiver Nick Robinson drawing an offer from Baylor late Monday night. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Robinson visited Oklahoma State last week following the Cowboys’ offer. He now has 13 offers, including Louisville, Tennessee, Houston, Indiana and Iowa State. John Marshall cornerback Justin Broiles continues to be the hottest commodity on the market locally, now with more than two dozen offers. The 6-foot, 170-pound Broiles was offered by Boise State on Tuesday, following Miami, Cincinnati, Mississippi State and Kansas in the last four days. Texas State joined Tulsa and Arkansas State in pursuit of Midwest City’s 6-2, 190-pound safety Evan Fields on Tuesday. Mustang defensive tackle Deontre Thomas was offered by Arkansas State and Wyoming, which recently signed Mustang QB Chandler Garrett in the 2016 class. Thomas, 6-3, 275, also has offers Kansas State, Iowa State, Colorado State and UT-San Antonio.
Feb 23, 2016
Spring comes early in college football — or at least spring practice does.Arizona, Duke and Northwestern have already started spring practice. Stanford does Tuesday. Soon after the calendar flips to March there will be football on college campuses all over the country.Off campus, too. Michigan opens its spring practice on Monday in Bradenton, Florida, at the IMG Academy. Maybe you have...
New coordinators in spotlight as spring football blooms
By RALPH D. RUSSO, Associated Press | Feb 23, 2016Spring comes early in college football — or at least spring practice does. Arizona, Duke and Northwestern have already started spring practice. Stanford does Tuesday. Soon after the calendar flips to March there will be football on college campuses all over the country. Off campus, too. Michigan opens its spring practice on Monday in Bradenton, Florida, at the IMG Academy. Maybe you have heard? Coaches get 15 practices to sort through their rosters and implement new schemes, leading up to a spring game which in some places will pack game day-sized crowds into stadiums. At Arizona, Rich Rodriguez has decided to take a different approach this spring. The Wildcats are focusing almost exclusively on fundamentals instead of schemes, and they won't be playing a spring game. "Half the scrimmages you have, or the spring game, you either don't play your top guys or you cross your fingers that nobody gets hurt," Rodriguez told reporters last month. "It's good to look at schemes, but what are you trying to win? Beat your own team? It's not nearly as important as teaching them how to play." At Pitt, the Panthers are taking their spring game back to the big stage. Pittsburgh will wrap up its workouts with an intra-squad game on April 26 at Heinz Field. It will be the first time since 2011 the Panthers have held a spring game at the home they share with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Construction at Heinz last year forced Pitt to hold its spring game at nearby Highmark Stadium, a 4,000-seat facility used by a professional soccer team. In three seasons under previous coach Paul Chryst, Pitt either played its spring game at local high schools as a way for the new staff to build relationships in the area or did not have one. The Panthers' average attendance last year was 48,150, up 17 percent from the year before as new coach Pat Narduzzi helped excite fans. Coming off an 8-5 season, Narduzzi hopes playing the spring game at Heinz helps Pitt develop a home-field advantage that has been challenging to cultivate off campus. "It's always important to get into your home field and get our kids comfortable with playing in that stadium," Narduzzi said. While Narduzzi and Rodriguez are taking different approaches to spring, they do have something in common: Both are breaking in new coordinators on the side of the ball that is not their specialty. Narduzzi, the architect of Michigan State's great defenses while working under Mark Dantonio, brought in former North Carolina State offensive coordinator Matt Canada to replace Jim Chaney, who left for Georgia. Rodriguez parted ways with longtime assistant Jeff Casteel, who had been his defensive coordinator at West Virginia, and brought in Marcel Yates from Boise State to fix an Arizona defense that ranked 93rd in the nation in average yards allowed per play. Here are six more teams breaking in coordinators for whom much will be expected next season. Brady Hoke, Oregon. Second-year coordinator Don Pellum, who has been on staff for 25 years, was demoted after the Ducks' defense finished 98th in the nation in average yards allowed per play. Oregon prides itself on being a promote-from-within program, but coach Mark Helfrich knew the Ducks were in need of a fresh perspective. Hoke, the former Michigan coach, came through the ranks as a defensive line coach but has never been a coordinator. Joe Moorhead, Penn State The Nittany Lions' first two seasons under James Franklin have produced some ugly offenses, despite having a quarterback with an NFL skill set in Christian Hackenberg. There was plenty of blame to go around, but offensive coordinator John Donovan was the one who got fired. In steps Moorhead, who spent the last four seasons as the head coach at Fordham, leading the Rams to three straight FCS playoff appearances with a high-powered spread offense. Noel Mazzone, Texas A&M The swag left Texas A&M's offense with Johnny Football. Highly recruited quarterbacks have not developed. The running game has been spotty at best. The overall inconsistency led to the dismissal of 30-year-old Jake Spavital, who as it turned out was not quite ready to be the next Kliff Kingsbury. Coach Kevin Sumlin hired the veteran Mazzone away from UCLA hoping to trade some swag for production. Bob Shoop, Tennessee. The Volunteers' defense was OK last season (39th in the country in yards per play) so it was a little surprising when coach Butch Jones fired coordinator John Jancek. Then it all made sense when Jones quickly pulled Shoop away from Penn State. Even burdened by limp offenses, Shoop's Penn State defenses were excellent. The Vols have talent (DL Derek Barnett, CB Cameron Sutton) and high expectations. There will be no patience in Knoxville. Sterlin Gilbert, Texas The Baylor offense has been ripping up the Big 12 for most of Art Briles' eight years as coach of the Bears. But can it save Charlie Strong at Texas? The Longhorns coach plucked the 37-year-old Gilbert from Briles' coaching tree, luring him away from Tulsa, where he was the offensive coordinator last season under former Baylor OC Philip Montgomery. One of the best parts of Baylor's offensive system is it usually doesn't take long to get it up and humming. For Strong's sake, that better be the case for Gilbert in Austin. Manny Diaz, Miami Diaz has fully rehabbed his reputation after it was dragged down by Mack Brown's sinking ship at Texas. The Hurricanes will have one of the best quarterbacks (Brad Kaaya) in the country, leading an experienced offense for new coach Mark Richt. If Diaz can fix a defense that has been an underachieving mess, maybe Miami can finally reach the ACC title game. ___ Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
Feb 10, 2016
Watching Super Bowl MVP Von Miller terrorize the Carolina Panthers on Sunday gave Eddie Paul flashbacks — in a good way.
Prep Parade: Eddie Paul watched the Super Bowl with unique sense of pride
By Scott Wright Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 10, 2016MOORE — Watching Super Bowl MVP Von Miller terrorize the Carolina Panthers on Sunday gave Eddie Paul flashbacks — in a good way. Long before Miller was a star defensive end for the Denver Broncos, he was an up-and-coming high school talent in DeSoto, Texas, at the same time Paul was coaching the offensive line there. “He was fast,” said Paul, who has coached for 43 years, mostly in Oklahoma. “For our guys in practice, it was a chore just trying to get a hand on him. But he made our offensive line better. We weren’t gonna face anybody better than him.” Paul was either a head coach or assistant at Plainview, Lindsay, Woodward, Clinton, Bethel, Enid, Yukon and Velma-Alma, along with Texas stops at DeSoto and Azle. And he served as Norman North’s athletic director until last summer. Now, he's coaching and teaching at Southridge Junior High in Moore. While at DeSoto, he worked under former Clinton coach Dave Meadows as the offensive line coach and offseason coordinator. Seeing one of his former players with such an impressive performance on football's biggest stage, Paul couldn't help but feel proud. “Von was a great athlete, a tough kid. He worked hard,” Paul said. “Watching him play the way he did in the Super Bowl, it makes your chest puff out a little bit.” JOHN MARSHALL'S BROILES ADDING OFFERS It's been a busy week on the recruiting front for John Marshall defensive back Justin Broiles. The 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback picked up scholarship offers from Kansas State and Nebraska this week. Tulsa and Arkansas State had previously offered the John Marshall junior. Broiles had an outstanding performance last month at the U.S. Army Underclassmen Combine, with 247Sports.com selecting him as one of five defensive backs on the all-combine team. Oregon and Miami were among the programs to pay him a visit in the weeks after the combine. The 2017 recruiting class in Oklahoma looks to be particularly strong at defensive back. In addition to Broiles, Tulsa Union's Tre Brown has piled up multiple offers recently. The Midwest City duo of Evan Fields and Demontre Gatewood were each invited to Nike's top recruiting camp, The Opening. OCS' Caleb Powell has an early offer from Navy as well. LONG COMMUTE DOESN'T DERAIL CIOCCA'S COLLEGE GOAL Julia Ciocca has spent most days the last three years driving from her family's home in Lawton to Oklahoma City, where she attends Mount St. Mary and is a competitive rower with OKC Riversport junior crew. All those hours on the highway are going to be paid off with an Ivy League education. Ciocca is headed to the University of Pennsylvania to be a part of their rowing team. She became interested in the sport when she was young living in Rhode Island, but wondered how she'd be able to continue when her father's military career sent him to Lawton. Soon, the family learned about OKC Riversport, and she began making the 90-minute trip daily for school and practice with her mother, who works in Oklahoma City. Three years later, she's college-bound. “I am incredibly excited to attend the University of Pennsylvania,” Ciocca said in a press release from OKC Riversport. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine. Now, being a student-athlete, I get to look forward to not just having that dream become a reality, but also getting to continue my passion for rowing at the next level." COLLEGE POSTCARD: UCO'S AILEY NAMED MIAA WRESTLER OF THE WEEK Central Oklahoma wrestler Joshua Ailey was named the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association Wrestler of the Week, the conference announced Tuesday. Ailey, a Tonkawa native and UCO junior, scored two first-period falls to help the Bronchos to a pair of road wins in Colorado last week. For the season, Ailey is 17-7 with a team-high 11 pins, nine of which have come in the first period. UCO will be at the MIAA Tournament Sunday in St. Charles, Mo. PIEDMONT NAMES MUSKOGEE'S COLEMAN SOFTBALL COACH Longtime Muskogee softball coach Keith Coleman was named the new Piedmont softball coach Monday night, according to the Muskogee Phoenix. Coleman replaces Rick Scott, who resigned in the fall and was not allowed to later rescind his resignation. Scott had coached the Wildcats for 15 seasons, 10 of which ended in the state tournament. Coleman had a lot of success at Muskogee in both slowpitch and fastpitch. He took the Roughers to the state tournament a combined 11 times, winning the 2009 slowpitch state championship. “It's not easy. I've always been a Rougher,” Coleman, a 1997 Muskogee graduate, told the Muskogee Phoenix. “And it wasn't easy telling the girls today. I've had a lot of great relationships here and I think we've still got a tradition and players to continue on what we've all been able to establish. And that hasn't been the work of just one coach or player.” Jacob Unruh contributed to this report.
Feb 5, 2016
Oklahomans who have won Super Bowl rings share their stories with The Oklahoman.
Super Bowl: A look at Oklahomans with their Super Bowl rings
Berry Tramel, Jenni Carlson, John Helsley | Feb 5, 2016[img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]4074717[/img] Super Bowl 50 is Sunday, and by the end of the night more than 50 players from either the Carolina Panthers or Denver Broncos will join the exclusive club of men who can boast of owning Super Bowl rings. We caught up with a few Oklahomans who were fortunate enough to join the illustrious club and picked their brains about what their rings mean to them, where they are now and all the wacky stuff that might have happened to them in between. "For me, it's just a very, very strong sense of achievement," said Clifford Thrift, the former Purcell linebacker who went on to win Super Bowl 20 with Chicago. "When I look at the Super Bowl ring, it's not just the fact that we won a Super Bowl, but I got to be part of something that literally made history. It's not just about that achievement, but all the little achievements getting to that point. That's really why I cherish it so much and wear it all the time. Not a reminder just that we won that game, bit all the little victories." [pagebreak] R.W. McQuarters, Tulsa Washington Super Bowl 42, 44 [img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]2990364[/img] "The ring is called the 'Ten Table Ring.' We had the captains, Michael Strahan, Eli Manning and probably Amani Toomer at that time, plus some of the older guys who had been in the New York system at the time and were a little bit older than I was. They had a meeting and came up with how we want the ring to be, here’s what the owners like, here’s what the players like. It was sort of a voice between the owners and the locker room. "The name of the ring is the 'Ten Table Ring' because you can basically see the ring from 10 tables away. That’s the theory behind the ring. Sometimes people ask to see it when they come by, but I don’t keep it at home. It doesn’t bother me that they ask. There are certain things I’d like to see that I haven’t seen before, and I’m sure if I had an opportunity to see them, I’d probably ask. I pretty much keep it put up. When I first got it, I wore it for a while. Then I put it up. A holiday, I might put it on. For me, it means hard work. A lot of perseverance. A lot of adversity. A lot of good. A lot of bad. Just the process of starting football all the way to the end and everything in between." [pagebreak] Tony Casillas, Tulsa East Central Super Bowl 27, 28 [img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]3025606[/img] “I don’t wear it as much as people think. The first thing they ask you, ‘Where are your Super Bowlrings?’ One, it gives away my age. The ongoing joke around here is, ‘What do you call a Dallas Cowboy with a Super Bowl ring? Ancient.’ I used to wear them a lot more. I wore them quite a bit when I first got ‘em. Believe it or not, I’ll leave ‘em laying around, in my kitchen, on the nightstand, stupid places. I was actually going on a USO Tour about five years ago. I was going to take it with me. I couldn’t find it. I was like, anxiety attack, calling my insurance. Finally caught up with me being careless where I put ‘em. The day before, right after Christmas, sick to my stomach, a space in the very back of my closet, a place under my clothes, there’s my Super Bowl ring, right on a jewelry box. Seems like the last three-four years, kind of bring ’em out, because it becomes a timeless piece. "There’s a market for older players because of what we did in that era. People love ‘em. Wow. Never seen a Super Bowl ring. They’re looking at ‘em, their eyes light up. It’s like Christmas. As you get older, you realize the value of it, what it represents. When you’re actually in the moment, you don’t think about it. Everyone wants to try ‘em on. OK, first time I did that, little more naïve about it. ‘I don’t care.’ I gave my ring to someone, and they dropped it. Four sapphire diamonds, two karats each. And I lost a diamond. I was so (ticked) off. I looked all over it. Wore it about a month, looked like it had a hole in it. Had to get it replaced. So I’m not doing that anymore.” [pagebreak] Spencer Tillman, Tulsa Edison Super Bowl 24 [img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]3534954[/img] “There’s an old Hebraic proverb that says don’t hide your candle under a bushel. I don’t wear it every day, but I will wear it to big events or events where it might be a conversation piece. And when I’m on television, I’ll wear it. I was doing Sean Hannity’s show, and he puts on my ring, and you know how he likes to throw his football? Sean had just lost about 14 pounds. He said, ‘Look, I’m doing the next segment. Give me your ring.’ So, he puts on the ring. He had the ring on and he threw a football to break, and the ring comes flying off. It goes sailing across the corner of the wall. You hear one of the camera people, go, ‘Whoaaaa!’ I’m like, ‘Whoa, what?’ He’s like, ‘Did you see that?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Good.’ So, Sean threw my ring across the studio floor there because his fingers were too small for it. But when I picked it up, it hadn’t been damaged at all. “I remember George Seifert delivering a speech — Bill Walsh had moved upstairs and was in kind of a GM role — and I remember him giving a pregame speech. He went around and related to each player based on their core values. I remember him going to Joe Montana, and saying, ‘Joe, you’ve been taking pilot lessons, I know it’s not cheap. You win this game, they’re paid for. In matter of fact, you may even be able to get yourself a small Cessna or something like that.’ He did that to four or five different guys. He said, ‘Spencer, I know you’re into broadcasting. Believe me, you win a couple of these, your value skyrockets.’ It’s like a degree in some ways — it only gives you an opportunity to compete. How do you convert an asset to a benefit. That, in essence, is what you’re doing with that ring.” [pagebreak] Tony Peters, Pauls Valley Super Bowl 17 [img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]4059879[/img] “When you always have this goal of reaching that pinnacle and, of course, to be recognized as a world champion, it’s quite an honor. You know that a lot of people go their entire career without having an opportunity, so you’re very appreciative of that.” Peters’ son, Justin, said, “He’d let us take it for show and tell when we were kids, so you’d take it to school. He’d just put it in our backpacks. It was always kind of fun having that growing up.” [pagebreak] Jon Kolb, Owasso Super Bowl 9, 10, 13, 14 [img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]635637[/img] “We didn’t even know we got Super Bowl rings. My roommate at Oklahoma State, Terry Brown, was the one who broke the news to me. We had just finished eating dinner the night before the Super Bowl. He said, ‘Oh, look at the ring you’re going to get.’ He showed me his (NFC) championship ring from the year before with the Minnesota Vikings. ‘You’re going to get one of these.’ He was over there laughing at me. I went back to the hotel and told my roommate, Sam Davis, we were getting rings. He said, ‘really?’ Most of us didn’t know you got a ring. It was the game that was important. "One reason Pittsburgh won four Super Bowls in six years, it was never about the ring. It was about the process. Now, it tends to be about the ring. I never wanted it to be just once. It was always, ‘that was fun, let’s do it again.’ My Super Bowl rings are in Oklahoma (in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame). We (the Steelers) were together a month ago. I don’t remember seeing any rings. My son was a wrestler. He won a championship medal, I said, ‘put it in a drawer and move on.’ That’s how we did things.” [pagebreak] Randy Hughes, Tulsa Memorial Super Bowl 12 [img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]2748675[/img] “My Super Bowl ring disappeared out of my house about seven or eight years ago. I don’t know exactly what happened to the ring. It was at Christmas time and all my kids were in college. Must have had 100 people in and out of the house over Christmas. My ring disappeared. I never replaced it. But I haven’t had it in about five years. I am getting ready to re-order it in the next few days. I’m not sure whether mine was taken or I just misplaced it, but it disappeared. I was upset about it. I loved it. I remembered when I had worn it last. Put it on my nightstand. I didn’t wear it every day, so I didn’t notice missing it for a few days. One day I was looking for it, couldn’t find it. Haven’t seen anything on it on the Internet.” [pagebreak] Oklahomans with Super Bowl rings [img width="" height="" style="" render="w620"]4074899[/img] HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER POS. NFL TEAM SUPER BOWL Ada Jeremy Shockey TE N.Y. Giants 42 Broken Arrow Alvin Bailey OL Seattle 48 Douglass Thomas Henderson LB Dallas 10, 12, 13 Edmond Memorial Scott Case S Dallas 30 Edmond Memorial Marcus Nash WR Baltimore 35 Enid Jim Riley DE Miami 6 Henryetta Troy Aikman QB Dallas 27, 28, 30 Lawton Eddie Hinton WR Baltimore 5 Lawton James Trapp DB Baltimore 35 Millwood Donovan Woods LB Pittsburgh 43 Moore Corey Ivy CB Tampa Bay 37 Owasso Jon Kolb OL Pittsburgh 9, 10, 13, 14 Pauls Valley Tony Peters S Washington 17 Pauls Valley T.J. Rushing DB Indianapolis 40 Purcell Cliff Thrift LB Chicago 20 Sand Springs Michael Bowie OL Seattle 48 Shawnee Darrien Gordon CB San Diego Denver 32 33 Tulsa East Central Tony Casillas DT Dallas 17, 18 Tulsa Edison Spencer Tillman RB San Francisco 24 Tulsa Memorial Randy Hughes S Dallas 12 Tulsa Rogers Don Chandler K Green Bay 1, 2 Tulsa Washington R.W. McQuarters DB N.Y. Giants New Orleans 42 44 Tulsa Washington Robert Meachem WR New Orleans 44 Westmoore Billy Bajema TE Baltimore 47
Feb 3, 2016
The latest developments on college football signing day (all times EST):9:25 p.m.COMMITMENT TRACKER: The last major recruit to make a signing-day decision was linebacker Caleb Kelly from California. He picked Oklahoma over Notre Dame and Oregon and became the highest-rated player of Bob Stoops' class.The last remaining five-star player is Demetri Robertson, an athlete from Georgia who has said...
THE LATEST: Oklahoma lands last big recruit of signing day
By RALPH D. RUSSO, Associated Press | Feb 3, 2016The latest developments on college football signing day (all times EST): 9:25 p.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: The last major recruit to make a signing-day decision was linebacker Caleb Kelly from California. He picked Oklahoma over Notre Dame and Oregon and became the highest-rated player of Bob Stoops' class. The last remaining five-star player is Demetri Robertson, an athlete from Georgia who has said he planned to delay his choice. Robertson is considering Georgia and Notre Dame among his options. So with the final unofficial standings using the average of the various web sites that rank that classes looks like this: 1. Alabama 2. Florida State 3. LSU 4. Ohio State 5. Michigan 6. Ole Miss 7. Georgia 8. Clemson 9. USC 10. Auburn 11. Texas 12. UCLA 13. Florida 14. Notre Dame 15. Tennessee 16. Stanford 17. Baylor 18. Texas A&M 19. Michigan State 20. TCU 21. Penn State 22. Oklahoma 23. Nebraska 24. Oregon 25. Arkansas 8 p.m. THE FINAL (unofficial) STANDINGS: Recruiting ratings can move even after signing day if some highly rated players sign late. Demetris Robertson, a top-notch athlete from Savannah, Georgia, rated either a five- or four-star by the recruiting services, has said he won't sign for a few days. When he does, he could move the numbers. But using the numbers available at 5:30 p.m. and taking an average of the four most popular web sites that rank the classes (Rivals, Scout, 247Sports and ESPN) here is a "consensus" top 25. Earlier rankings mistakenly left out Michigan State. The Spartans came in at No. 18 1. Alabama 2. Florida State 3. Ohio State 4. LSU 5. Michigan 6. Mississippi 7. Georgia 8. Clemson 9. USC 10. Auburn 11. Texas 12. UCLA 13. Florida 14. Notre Dame 15. Tennessee 16. Baylor 17. Texas A&M 18. Michigan State 19. TCU 20. Penn State 21. Oklahoma 22. Stanford 23. Nebraska 24. Oregon 25. Arkansas WAITING ON KELLY: The last big-name recruit to commit on signing day will be linebacker Caleb Kelly, whose top choices are Oklahoma and Notre Dame. ____ 4:15 p.m. LES IS MORE: Remember when LSU almost fired coach Les Miles back in November? Well, it didn't hurt recruiting. LSU's highly rated class took a couple of hits on signing day, most notably losing stud linebacker Erick Fowler to Texas. LSU locked up its loaded class filled with the top talent in its state, including nine of the 10 highest rated players, and came away with a class that will rank in the top five national, according to most of the experts. __ 3:55 p.m. RANKINGS QUIP: There was some talk that Michigan State's recruiting class could end up in the top 10 this year — which would be unusually high for a program that has been hugely successful of late despite middling showings in the signing day rankings. By the time coach Mark Dantonio spoke Wednesday, the Spartans were down around the edge of the top 20 in some of the major recruiting rankings — solid, but not spectacular. "When I retire from here, I'm going to get a job in one of those places and I'm going to run my own service," Dantonio joked. ___ 3:50 p.m. BIELEMA DIALS IT BACK: Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze told Sports Illustrated that Arkansas coach Bret Bielema apologized to him for a comment he made earlier in the day on ESPN that sounded as if Bielema was being crictial of the way the Rebels and Florida recruit. Bielema said: "Florida is kind of the new Ole Miss. They're doing some things recruiting that kind of shocks you a little bit." Bielema later said he meant it as a compliment to the Gators: "This past week, we were competing versus them for a lot of guys, and we hadn't seen that before." __ 3:40 p.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: De La Salle (Ca.) High School teammates Devin Asiasi and Boss Tagaloa announced their commitments at the same ceremony. One is staying in California, the other is leaving the state. Asiasi, a tight end, picked Michigan over UCLA and USC. Tagaloa, a defensive tackle, picked UCLA. ___ 3:23 p.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: As it reaches midday on the West Coast, UCLA is poised to finish strong. The Bruins scored big with California five-star linebacker Mique Juarez, who was also considering Ole Miss and Alabama. 3:17 p.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: Not all the best players pick Alabama. Auburn landed one of the top defensive tackles in the country when Derrick Brown from Georgia picked the Tigers over the Crimson Tide and Georgia. No one will cry for the Tide, of course. A little earlier, defensive end Terrell Hall from Washington, D.C., chose the Tide over Maryland. 3:05 p.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: USC went all the way across the country to grab offensive tackle E.J. Price from Atlanta away from Auburn and Georgia. ___ 2:40 p.m. HARBAUGH ON THE ROAD: Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh announced that the Wolverines will hold part of their spring practice in Florida. Always recruiting! MEANWHILE, IN COLUMBUS: While Harbaugh turned Michigan into a signing day spectacle, it was a quiet morning for Ohio State and that was just fine for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. Ohio State lost out on a highly rated defensive back to Florida State, but otherwise a class that came into the signing day figuring to be one of the best in the country ended it as just that. The most notable name in the Buckeyes' latest class — Nick Bosa, the brother of Ohio State All-American Joey. Like his big brother, Nick Bosa is defensive end. ___ 2:10 p.m. BIELEMA BOMB: Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is never shy about sounding off on opponents. During an interview on ESPN2 he took aim at Florida — and Mississippi. "Florida is kind of the new Ole Miss. They're doing some things recruiting that kind of shocks you a little bit." COMMITMENT TRACKER: Another blue-chipper for Alabama. Linebacker Mack Wilson picked the Crimson Tide. Not a big surprise, though when Kirby Smart left Alabama to become head coach at Georgia there was some speculation Wilson could end up in Athens with the former Tide defensive coordinator. Wilson joins buddy and fellow linebacker Ben Davis, who committed to the Tide earlier in the day. The two took their official visit together. ___ 1:40 p.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: The top junior college recruit in the country picks Tennessee. Jonathan Kongbo, a defensive end who played for Arizona Western College, chose the Volunteers over USC and Florida State. Kongbo committed to Tennessee last year, the de-committed earlier this year before ultimately signing with the Vols. ___ 1:12 p.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: Rashan Gary, the nation's No. 1 recruit, picks Michigan. The defensive tackle from Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey made his announcement on ESPN. Michigan was the presumptive front-runner. His old high school coach works for the Wolverines, Michigan's star defensive back Jabrill Peppers also went to Paramus Catholic and there are several other New Jersey players heading to Michigan in this recruiting class. Clemson was in the running, as well as a few Southeastern Conference schools. ___ 12:39 COMMITMENT TRACKER: Offensive tackle Landon Dickerson picks Florida State over Alabama and Tennessee, adding to a great day for Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles. A little earlier, Florida State flipped defensive tackle Shavar Manuel, who had been expected to sign with the rival Gators. Florida State and Texas were in the running for strongest performances signing days. COMMITMENT TRACKER: After losing out to Ole Miss on highly touted receiver A.J. Brown, a Starkville native, Mississippi State got a big win on signing day by landing defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons, who was considered the top prospect in the Magnolia state. 12:11 p.m. SLEEPOVER The sleepover worked. Quinn Nordin, the nation's No. 1 kicker, signed with Michigan. Nordin, you might recall, was previously committed to Penn State but Jim Harbaugh lured him away with a sleepover. During the Wolverines' signing day extravaganza in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh said his bed at the Nordin's home was one of the most comfortable he has ever slept in. ___ NOON COMMITMENT TRACKER: Always nice to take a player from a conference rival. Running back Vavae Malepeai from Hawaii flipped from his Oregon commitment to go to Southern California. The Trojans also lured Jamel Cook, an athlete who could wind up in the secondary, away from his Florida State commitment on signing day and beat Michigan for defensive end Connor Murphy. ___ 11:45 a.m. GARY'S CHOICE Rashan Gary, the top-rated recruit in the country from Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey, was scheduled to announce where he will attend school at about 1:10 p.m ET on ESPN. He was headed to Bristol, Connecticut, by limousine, from his high school. Gary will choose from Michigan, Clemson or an SEC school. ___ THE SCOTT EFFECT? Tennessee added former Miami interim head coach Larry Scott to its staff last month, and the move apparently is already paying dividends. Tennessee signed two Florida residents who previously had been committed to Miami. The two players to make the switch were athlete Tyler Byrd of Naples and wide receiver Latrell Williams of Lake City. Scott, who served as Miami's interim head coach for the final six games of the 2015 season after Al Golden was fired, is Tennessee's new tight ends coach. — Steve Megargee reporting. ___ 11:30 a.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: The scores keep on coming for Texas. Linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch picked the Longhorns over Notre Dame and Stanford. ___ 11:26 a.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: Receiver Drake Davis is heading to LSU. He picked the Tigers over Alabama. ___ 11:20 a.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: Receiver Nate Craig-Myers from Tampa, Florida, pulled out a mini-statue of Aubie, Auburn's costumed Tiger mascot, to choose Auburn over North Carolina. ___ 11:09 a.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: Receiver A.J. Brown is one of the best prospects in the state of Mississippi and he grew up in Starkville, home of Mississippi State. But he's going to Ole Miss. Brown told the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi: "I was going to stay (home), but I felt like they didn't do a good job of recruiting. I didn't feel wanted." ___ 10:50 a.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: Linebacker Dontavious Jackson from Texas is heading to Florida State. Charlie Strong and the Texas made a later push to get Jackson, but the Seminoles closed the deal on him. It's the third big signing day commitment for the 'Noles who also landed defensive end Brian Burns and cornerback Carlos Becker, who was considering Ohio State. ___ 10:45 a.m. COMMITMENT TRACKER: Deontay Anderson won the day as far as spectacular commitments go. The four-star safety released a video on Bleacher Report of him skydiving, landing and opening up his jump suit to reveal and Ole Miss T-shirt. ___ AP College Football website: collegefootball.ap.org
Here are the signing day capsules for Southeastern Conference teams:___ALABAMATop 25 Class: Yes.Best in class: Ben Davis of Gordo, Alabama. The 10th-rated player nationally and top inside linebacker, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.Best of the rest: Lyndell "Mack" Williams (enrolled), Jonah Wilson, Charles Baldwin; RB B.J. Emmons, DB Nigel Knott.Late additions: Davis, Wilson, DB...
SEC football recruiting team capsules
By The Associated Press, Associated Press | Feb 3, 2016Here are the signing day capsules for Southeastern Conference teams: ___ ALABAMA Top 25 Class: Yes. Best in class: Ben Davis of Gordo, Alabama. The 10th-rated player nationally and top inside linebacker, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Best of the rest: Lyndell "Mack" Williams (enrolled), Jonah Wilson, Charles Baldwin; RB B.J. Emmons, DB Nigel Knott. Late additions: Davis, Wilson, DB Shyheim Carter, Knott, DE Terrell Hall, Jamar King. One that got away: OL Landon Dickerson (to Florida State). How they'll fit in: Davis, whose father Wayne is Alabama's all-time leading tackler, and Wilson could help fill the void left by All-America middle linebacker Reggie Ragland. There's room for instant contributions elsewhere, too, including at safety and on the defensive line. ___ ARKANSAS Top 25 Class: Yes Best in class: McTelvin Agim, DE, Hope (Ark.) Best of the rest: Devwah Whaley, RB, Beaumont, Texas; Austin Capps, DT, Star City, Ark.; Briston Guidry, DT, Metairie, La. One that got away: Running back Kyle Porter, who chose Texas. How they'll fit in: Agim was an early enrollee with the Razorbacks, and he hopes to play as a freshman. However, Whaley carries with him more than hope and is expected by himself and Arkansas' coaches to take the field in place of Collins and Williams in 2016. ___ AUBURN Top 25 Class: Yes. Best in class: DT Derrick Brown, Sugar Hill, Georgia is rated as the nation's ninth-best prospect overall in the 247Sports composite rankings. Best of the rest: DE Marlon Davidson, WR Nate Craig-Myers, OL Prince Michael Sammons. Late addition: Derrick Brown, Nate Craig-Myers. One that got away: Auburn recruited LB Ben Davis, who is heading to Alabama. How they'll fit in: The Tigers will have a defensive line rotation featuring five five-star recruits. JUCO quarterback John Franklin III, an early enrollee listed as an athlete, will likely compete with Jeremy Johnson and Sean White for the starting spot during the spring, and multiple receivers need to make impacts. ___ FLORIDA Top 25 Class: Yes Best in class: Antonneous Clayton, DE, Vienna, Georgia. The Gators needed to add depth on the defensive front after losing talented linemen Jonathan Bullard and Alex McAlister to the NFL draft. Clayton had 77 tackles, 27 tackle for loss, 13 quarterback hurries, nine sacks and a forced fumble last year at Dooly County High. Best of the rest: Feleipe Franks, QB, Crawfordville. Franks might just be the pocket-passer McElwain is looking for. The 6-foot-6 Franks threw for 2,766 yards with 35 touchdowns as a senior at Wakulla High last year. Late addition: Tyrie Cleveland, WR, Houston. Cleveland caught 46 passes for 982 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. One that got away: Shavar Manuel, DT, Bradenton. Manuel de-committed Wednesday and later signed with rival Florida State, leaving the Gators with just three defensive lineman and no defensive tackles in the signing class. How they'll fit in: Florida can only hope the offensive additions boost a unit that ranked 100th in the nation in scoring last season. Franks and Trask are expected to battle incumbent starter Treon Harris, Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio and Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby for playing time right away. ___ GEORGIA Top 25 Class: Yes Best in class: Jason Eason, QB, Lake Stevens, Wash.; Mercole Hardman Jr., ATH, Elberton, Ga.; Isaac Nauta, TE, Buford, Ga. Best of the rest: Michail Carter, DL, Jackson, Ga.; Ben Cleveland, OL, Toccoa, Ga.; Chauncey Manac, OLB, Fargo, Ga.; Julian Rochester, DL, Powder Springs, Ga.; Javon Wims, WR, Miami. Late addition: Hardman was a huge coup for the Bulldogs, giving them one of the nation's top-25 prospects to go along with early enrollees Eason and Nauta. Hardman, who has been compared to Southern Cal cornerback Adoree Jackson, picked his home-state school over SEC rivals Tennessee and Alabama. One that got away: DT Derrick Brown, the state's top prospect, went with Auburn over Georgia and several other SEC schools. While Smart was pleased with the players he got on the defensive line, Brown would've made Georgia's class truly special. How they'll fit in: Eason will compete for the starting quarterback job right away. The Bulldogs struggled mightily on offense last season, largely because of their struggles at the most visible position on the field. Incumbent starter Grayson Lambert returns, but it will be an upset if he keeps the job over Eason. Hardman will be expected to start at cornerback and likely handle kick return duties. Depending on how quickly he adapts to the college game, he could work his way into the mix at receiver, as well. ___ KENTUCKY Top 25 Class: No Best in class: Landon Young, OL, Lexington, Kentucky. Rated as a five-star prospect by at least two recruiting services, the 6-foot-7, 305-pounder is considered the state's top player. Best of the rest: Jordan Griffin, DB, Jonesboro, Georgia. Considering the Wildcats' secondary started three freshmen last season, the 6-foot, 175-pound, four-star prospect could quickly become part of the mix as well. He's among a trio of defensive backs Kentucky signed. "I think those guys will have an opportunity to compete for playing time and I look forward to working with them," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said. Late addition: LB Jordan Bonner. The JUCO transfer committed in December but made it official this week. He'll have three years of eligibility remaining. One that got away: Kentucky had pursued DT Kobe Smith before the Lawrence, Georgia, native chose South Carolina. How they'll fit in: Though it takes time for linemen to develop, Kentucky's offensive line issues last season create a chance for Young and 6-6, 310-pound Tate Leavitt to become part of the rotation. ___ LSU Top 25 Class: Yes Best in class: Saivion Smith, DB, St. Petersburg, Florida. Best of the rest: Rashard Lawrence, DT, Monroe, Louisiana. Late addition: Kristian Fulton, DB, Metairie, Louisiana. One that got away: Erick Fowler, LB, Manor, Texas. How they'll fit in: The secondary has been an area of strength for LSU in recent seasons. With three starters returning, players like Smith and Fulton will be able to contribute immediately in the nickel and dime packages. "We have some lockdown corners who are going to be able to be impact players right away," Miles said. "They will give us a lot of flexibility when we move people around in the secondary." ___ MISSISSIPPI Top 25 Class: Yes Best in class: Shea Patterson, QB, Shreveport, Louisiana. Freeze said his opinion of Patterson continues to grow now that he's on campus: "I love everything about that kid." Best of the rest: Greg Little, OL, Allen, Texas. The 326-pound Little could be an immediate replacement for Tunsil at left tackle. Late addition: A.J. Brown, WR, Starkville, Mississippi. Ole Miss managed to coax Brown away from Starkville, which is the hometown of rival Mississippi State. The Rebels hope Brown can turn into the team's new Treadwell, who had the most receiving yards in the SEC last season. One that got away: Jeffery Simmons, DL, Macon, Mississippi. Ole Miss had hoped to bolster its defensive line with one of the Magnolia State's top prospects, but Simmons chose Mississippi State over the Rebels and Alabama. How they'll fit in: Patterson will probably get a year of seasoning behind rising senior Chad Kelly, who threw for more than 4,000 yards last season. Others like Little, Brown and Jones could play right away. ___ MISSISSIPPI STATE Top 25 Class: No Best in class: Jeffery Simmons, DL, Macon, Mississippi. Best of the rest: Kobe Jones, DL, Starkville, Mississippi. Said Mullen: "We are looking for work ethic and high-character young men and he fits that for us." Late addition: Simmons. One that got away: A.J. Brown, WR, Starkville, Mississippi. The Bulldogs couldn't grab an elite prospect at a high school just a few miles from their campus. Instead, he went to rival Ole Miss. How they'll fit in: Simmons and Jones are two guys who could contribute immediately, but Mullen has a reputation of bringing young players along slowly. ___ MISSOURI Top 25 Class: No Best in class: Tre Williams, DL, Columbia, Missouri, Rock Bridge. Four recruits are among the St. Louis Post-Dispatch top 30 list — TE Brendan Scales, P-K Tucker McCann, OL Tre'Vour Simms and RB Jerod Alton. Best of the rest: Christian Holmes, CB, Atlanta, Georgia., McNair High Late addition: QB Micah Wilson, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lincoln Christian High One that got away: None. How they'll fit in: Odom was under the gun to produce after replacing Gary Pinkel in early December. It's not a wow class but it should help the school regain its footing in the SEC. ___ SOUTH CAROLINA Top 25 Class: No. Best in class: Brandon McIlwain, QB, Newton, Pennsylvania. He turned down first-round MLB money to go to college and is already scrimmaging with the Gamecocks baseball team. Best of the rest: Bryan Edwards, WR, Conway, South Carolina; Jamarcus King, DB, Mobile, Alabama Late addition: WR Kiel Pollard of Moultrie, Georgia, was pledged to Arkansas before turning to the Gamecocks last week. One that got away: DT Karamo Dioubate of Philadelphia. Was considered a strong lean to South Carolina. No word yet on where he signed. How they'll fit in: McIlwain should get a chance to show if he can start. Edwards and Pollard will see early playing with receiver Pharoh Cooper off to the NFL. King is expected to bulk up the secondary. ___ TENNESSEE Top 25 Class: Yes Best in class: Nigel Warrior is rated as a five-star prospect by Scout, which had him as the nation's No. 20 overall recruit. 247Sports and ESPN also had him in their top 100. He's the son of former Tennessee and NFL defensive back Dale Carter. Jonathan Kongbo, who redshirted one year at Wyoming before transferring to Arizona Western College, is rated as the nation's No. 1 overall junior-college prospect by 247Sports. Kongbo has three years of eligibility remaining. Best of the rest: Tyler Byrd is rated as a top-100 recruit by most recruiting services. Jarrett Guarantano of Lodi, New Jersey, is rated among the nation's top five dual-threat quarterbacks in his class. Late additions: Warrior's morning announcement gave Tennessee a good start to signing day. The addition of Byrd and Latrell Williams shows that Tennessee's hire of former Miami interim head coach Larry Scott already may be paying off. Scott joined Tennessee's staff as a tight ends coach last month. Kongbo verbally committed to Tennessee in November, reopened his recruitment last month and then announced Wednesday he'd be joining the Vols after all. How they'll fit in: Kongbo could contribute as a pass-rushing complement to Derek Barnett, who has recorded 10 sacks each of the last two seasons. Tennessee replaces its two starting safeties from last season, so Warrior will have a chance to contribute right away. Byrd also has a chance to play immediately, whether it's on special teams or defense. Tennessee didn't get huge production from its wideouts last season, so junior-college receiver Jeff George could get an early look. ___ TEXAS A&M Top 25 Class: Yes. Best in class: Kellen Diesch, OL, Trophy Club, Texas. Best of the rest: Clyde Leflore-Chriss, WR, New Orleans. Late addition: Clifford Chattman, S, New Orleans. One that got away: Brandon Jones, S, Nacogdoches, Texas, who chose Texas. How they'll fit in: Coach Kevin Sumlin has long said that he doesn't recruit players to sit on the sidelines, so expect to see many of these players fill big roles this season like freshmen WR Christian Kirk and DL Daylon Mack did in 2015. ___ VANDERBILT Top 25 Class: No Best in class: JoeJuan Williams, a 6-foot-3 cornerback from Nashville, Tennessee, is a consensus four-star recruit. Williams was rated as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Tennessee according to composite rankings of recruiting websites by 247Sports. Williams already has enrolled at Vanderbilt. Best of the rest: Quarterback Deuce Wallace, a consensus three-star recruit, passed for 3,505 yards and 37 touchdowns last season while leading Sevier County to the Tennessee Class 5A state championship game. Wallace, who had been committed to Northwestern at one point, has already enrolled at Vanderbilt. Sean Auwae, a 6-4, 295-pound offensive lineman, is rated as a four-star prospect by 247Sports,. Auwae didn't allow a sack or a tackle for loss his senior year at Kapolei (Hawaii) High School. Late addition: Josiah Sa'o, a defensive tackle from San Diego, announced Wednesday he was signing with Vanderbilt. The addition of Sa'o helped the Commodores absorb the loss of defensive tackle Brandon Adams, who flipped his verbal commitment from Vanderbilt to Georgia Tech in late January. One that got away: Bradlee Anae, a defensive end from Hawaii, selected Utah over Vanderbilt. Anae was rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout. How they'll fit in: Wallace adds immediate depth to a quarterback position following the transfer of Jonathan McCrary, who lost his starting job to Kyle Shurmur last season. Williams has the talent to make an immediate contribution, and his status as an early enrollee should only help in that regard. Mason is a former Stanford defensive coordinator, and this staff showed its West Coast ties by landing kicker/punter Sam Loy and Sa'o from California as well as Auwae from Hawaii.
Mike Coats Jr. and Jaylon Bowden grew up together and consider each other family. Their fathers Mike Coats and Joe Bowden played together at Oklahoma, becoming best friends.
Recruiting notebook: Sons of former OU linebackers Coats, Bowden joining up at Lamar
By Jacob Unruh, Scott Wright and Jason Kersey | Feb 3, 2016EDMOND — Edmond Santa Fe linebacker Mike Coats Jr. tweeted his commitment to Lamar on Jan. 16. A few minutes later, so did Jaylon Bowden, a Blinn College (Texas) defensive back. It certainly wasn't a coincidence. Coats and Bowden grew up together and consider each other family. Their fathers Mike Coats and Joe Bowden played together at Oklahoma, becoming best friends. “We didn't plan it at all,” Mike Coats Jr. said. “It's been a dream. We always said it would be cool when we were little.” Coats was on The Oklahoman's Big All-City team after recording 104 tackles, a sack and an interception last season. He will also play for former OU center Chuck Langston, who is now Lamar's offensive coordinator. But nothing will top playing with Bowden. “It's kinda like life going in a complete circle,” the elder Coats said. “It's special because a lot of other friends and former Sooners we've talked about that. It's been a blessing for our family and Joe's family to be able to come back together and be able to share that for the next five years.” Another Edmond Santa Fe linebacker, Dillon Hall, signed with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, returning to the town he called home until a couple years ago. Hall didn't base his decision on being able to return to Miami, OK. But it certainly played a small factor. “I had some options, but I felt NEO was best,” Hall said. “My dad went there, and he really enjoyed it. I love Miami. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to go back. But I think my best opportunity lies there, and if I go there and do good I think I have great things ahead of me.” Hall moved from Miami to Edmond before his junior season. He was joined by four teammates in signing with NEO — offensive linemen Jacob Goss, defensive back Charles Gaines, defensive lineman Diamen House and star running back Darran Williams. GARRETT FOLLOWING MUSTANG COACH'S PATH TO WYOMING Two-and-a-half years ago, Mustang's Chandler Garrett stood in a room at coach Jeremy Dombek's home surrounded by Wyoming football memorabilia. Now Garrett is about to be immersed in Wyoming football once again, only this time as a player, following in his coach's footsteps. “It's really ironic, because he was No. 11 and I'm No. 11,” the 6-5, 210-pound Garrett said Wednesday after signing his letter of intent with the Cowboys. “He played at Nebraska , and I'll play there in my second game. There are a lot of cool things like that. I think it's definitely where I'm supposed to be.” Much of the Wyoming coaching staff, led by Craig Bohl, was at North Dakota State when it began its run of Division I FCS national titles. While there, Bohl's staff recruited Carson Wentz, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound quarterback who is being speculated as a potential a top-five pick in this year's NFL Draft. “That coaching staff, they know what they're doing,” Dombek said. “They've sold out to recruiting Oklahoma kids. They like big, physical, tough quarterbacks. “It's a good fit. They think Chandler's a competitor, and they wanted him from the get-go.” Along with Garrett, tight end Bryce Roberts signed with New Mexico State and safety Kiante Miles signed with Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. HERITAGE HALL'S MCDANIEL, LOVE FIND IDEAL FITS Heritage Hall star Tevin McDaniel already has a date circled on his calendar two seasons into his college career at Air Force. Sept. 16, 2017, a game in the Big House against Michigan. “It's not like we're playing other teams,” McDaniel said. “These are teams that compete for national championships and we get to go play them.” McDaniel signed a Certificate of Intent with the Air Force Academy on Wednesday, pledging to join the academy that has hit Oklahoma hard this recruiting season. He was joined Wednesday by Altus star Taven Birdow, Edmond Memorial linebacker Zeke Mammen and John Marshall quarterback Lenard Leviston III. “There's a lot of good places elsewhere, but you look at Air Force and you think benefits,” McDaniel said. But when he first approached his mom Kartina about committing, she wasn't having it. “My initial thought was no way,” she said. “I'm not from a military family. My husband has some members in his family. Man, after the first time going up there, though, being part of the facility and understanding more of what the academy is offering all of those fears went out of my mind.” McDaniel said he wants to be a physical therapist and will major in behavioral sciences. He was especially excited to hear Birdow had signed Wednesday, which could lead to a powerful backfield with the duo that made The Oklahoman's All-State team. “From what I've heard, the dude is an animal on the football field,” McDaniel said. “I can't wait to get down there and get practicing to see what we can do together.” All Heritage Hall running back Terrell Love needed was a visit to Texas Southern's campus in Houston to seal the deal. The powerful senior known as “Tank,” did that last week, met his father's former Langston coach and reaffirmed his commitment to the university. “It played a little role,” Love said about his father, Terrell, playing for offensive line coach John Montgomery. “It was pretty cool I could play for someone who coached my dad. There's some trust between them. They still talk to this day. It's cool to think I'll be able to do that.” The 5-foot-10, 225-pound Love rushed for 1,670 yards and 31 touchdowns last season while helping the Chargers win a second straight state championship. He finished his career fourth on the school's all-time scoring list, behind Wes Welker, Barry J. Sanders and Sterling Shepard. NORMAN NORTH'S HOGAN WAITING TO SIGN Norman North running back Quan Hogan did not sign a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, choosing to wait until after his upcoming visit to Southeast Missouri State to make a decision. Hogan, a two-star prospect according to Rivals.com, held offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Ohio, Tulsa and Wyoming, but those schools' classes filled up while Hogan waited to make a commitment. He recently picked up the offer from Southeast Missouri State, Timberwolves coach Brent Barnes said, and is setting up a visit there soon. Hogan — ranked No. 26 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 list — rushed for 1,309 yards and 28 touchdowns last season for the Timberwolves, and finished his high school career with 5,046 yards from scrimmage with 65 total touchdowns. DEL CITY'S TERRY WILSON SEALS THE DEAL WITH OREGON About six weeks after he made it sort-of-official, Del City's Terry Wilson made it officially official. And next month, it'll be real life. The Eagles' quarterback signed a non-binding financial aid agreement with Oregon in December, but he signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, alongside five of his teammates who signed with other college football programs. Wilson is on track to complete his high school coursework in the next couple of weeks, and he'll enroll at Oregon for the start of their spring term in March to take part in spring practice. “This seals the deal,” Wilson said. “I'll be in Oregon next month. I can't wait to get up there, try to get up the depth chart and possibly get on the field next year.” In addition to Wilson, Walter Watson signed with Missouri State, Sean Talley signed with Emporia State, Jeremiah Wilson and Percy Craig signed with Langston and Asjon Reeves signed with Southwestern Oklahoma State. Over their four-year high school careers, those players helped Del City reach the playoffs each season. “I feel like we left a legacy here,” Watson said. “The four years we were here, we really did big stuff, the whole 2016 class that we had here.”
Here are the signing day capsules for Atlantic Coast Conference teams:___BOSTON COLLEGETop 25 Class: NoBest in class: QB Anthony Brown, from Holmdel, New Jersey, will need to come through for the Eagles if they are going to turn things around long-term. BC turned to fourth-string walk-on John Fadule after Darius Wade broke his ankle in Week 3; Jeff Smith picked up a concussion and missed a...
ACC football recruiting team capsules
By The Associated Press, Associated Press | Feb 3, 2016Here are the signing day capsules for Atlantic Coast Conference teams: ___ BOSTON COLLEGE Top 25 Class: No Best in class: QB Anthony Brown, from Holmdel, New Jersey, will need to come through for the Eagles if they are going to turn things around long-term. BC turned to fourth-string walk-on John Fadule after Darius Wade broke his ankle in Week 3; Jeff Smith picked up a concussion and missed a month. Best of the rest: WR Kobay White of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was a three-time all-state selection. Late addition: TE Korab Idrizi From Fort Lee, New Jersey, changed his mind after initially deciding on Rutgers. Two that got away: After defensive coordinator Don Brown left BC for Michigan, DB/QB Da'vante Cross decommitted from the Eagles. Cross will play quarterback at Virginia instead. How they'll fit in: The five offensive linemen in the recruiting class — including Eastern Illinois transfer Jimmy Lowery — could help return BC to its roots as an incubator of NFL blockers. ___ CLEMSON Top 25 Class: Yes. Best in class: Dexter Lawrence, DE, Wake Forest, North Carolina. Lawrence picked Clemson over Florida State, Florida, Georgia and Notre Dame. Best of the rest: Tavien Feaster, RB, Spartanburg, South Carolina; Tre Lamar, LB, Roswell, Georgia; Zerrick Cooper, QB, Jonesboro, Georgia; John Simpson, OL, North Charleston, South Carolina Late addition: CB Isaiah Simmons of Olanthe, Kansas, also was considering Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri and Louisville. One that got away: Defensive end Rashan Gary of Paramus, New Jersey. Gary, the nation's top prospect, had the Tigers has one of his two finalists before choosing Michigan. How they'll fit in: Lawrence will bid for immediate playing time with linemen Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd off to the NFL. Feaster has speed like former Tiger great C.J. Spiller, Swinney says, and could be the home run hitter Clemson has missed in recent years. ___ DUKE Top 25 Class: On the bubble. Best in class: Scott Bracey, WR, Richmond, Virginia. Best of the rest: Dylan Singleton, S, Lawrenceville, Georgia; Mark Birmingham, TE, Ashburn, Virginia; Brandon Hill, LB, Orangeburg, South Carolina. Late addition: Chidi Okonya, DL, Riverdale, Georgia. One that got away: Quarterback Chazz Surratt, the AP offensive player of the year in North Carolina, signed with the rival North Carolina. He had committed to Duke before switching to UNC over the summer. How they'll fit in: Duke brought in seven linemen — four offensive, three defensive — because Cutcliffe said those are the positions "you can't get short in." This class is marked by its versatility — most players play multiple positions and on both offense and defense. ___ FLORIDA STATE Top 25 class: Yes Best in class: Levonta Taylor, CB, Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was the consensus top-ranked cornerback prospect in the country and committed early enough that he helped attract others to Florida State. He also could end up as a kick or punt returner. At 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, Tyler lacks in size but Fisher said he has a unique skill set, including great ball skills. Best of the rest: Malik Henry, QB, Long Beach, California. Fisher usually has true freshmen run the scout team but the 6-foot-3, 184-pound Henry has enough athleticism and is an early enrollee, meaning he could challenge for the starting spot during spring practice. Late addition: Shevar Manuel, DT, Bradenton, Florida. Manuel had originally committed to Florida but was wavering. Florida State remained in contact with Manuel and convinced him to flip at the last minute. One that got away: Safety Jamel Cook was leaning toward Florida State but the Miami native ended up going to Southern California. How they'll fit in: With the signings, Florida State will have 18 offensive linemen on scholarship when preseason practices begin August. Fisher said that not only benefits the offensive line in terms of building a rotation but should help guys develop faster. ___ GEORGIA TECH Top 25 Class: No Best in class: Jordan Woods, DE, Citra, Florida. Woods picked Georgia Tech over Florida, Tennessee and Miami. Best of the rest: Parker Braun, OL, Hallsview, Texas; Jay Jones, QB, McCalla, Alabama; Xavier Gantt, RB, Buford, Georgia; Dedrick Mills, RB, Waycross, Georgia. Late addition: CB Ajani Kerr of Powder Springs, Georgia, also was considering Central Michigan and Kennesaw State, among other schools. One that got away: Safety Romeo Finley of Niceville, Florida, listed Georgia Tech as his leader before making a late switch to Miami. How they'll fit in: Johnson recruited for immediate help at wide receiver. Stephen Dolphus (6-5, 200) of Westside High in Macon, Georgia, was compared to former Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill. The other receivers in the class are Jalen Camp of Cumming, Georgia and Jair Hawkins-Anderson of Suwanee, Georgia. ___ LOUISVILLE Top 25 Class: No Best in class: Jawon Pass, QB, Columbus, Georgia. The Cardinals bolstered one of their strengths with the 6-foot-4 U.S. Army-All America quarterback, who ranked as the nation's 191st overall prospect by Scout. Pass may not supplant sophomore Lamar Jackson, who became Louisville's starter last season, but he joins his brother Khane, a safety who signed last year. Best of the rest: Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Fitzpatrick committed to Louisville more than a year ago, reconsidered this winter before sticking with his original choice after an official visit last weekend. "He sure made us work hard," Petrino said of the recruitment. The Cardinals beat out Nebraska and Indiana for the 6-2 receiver ranked in the top 220 nationally by Rivals and Scout. Fitzpatrick is one of four receivers signed. Late addition: London Iakopo, S, Long Beach (California) City College. Iakopo is one of two four-star safeties in the class along with incoming freshman P.J. Blue, and could see early action at the back of the Cardinals' defense. "He's very, very mature and he's going to give us a lot of leadership," Petrino said of Iakopo. One that got away: Rodjay Burns, Louisville, Kentucky. Ohio State lured Burns, a two-way standout, away from his hometown in the final week. A finalist for Kentucky's Mr. Football, Burns had 14 touchdowns as a receiver and four interceptions on defense as a high school senior. How they'll fit in: The Cardinals have seamlessly worked in youngsters and transfers on defense without missing a beat, so it wouldn't be shocking if their newcomers became contributors right away. Pass might be Louisville's quarterback of the future, the same thing that was said about Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon before both emerged as starting signal-callers. ___ MIAMI Top 25 Class: No. Best in class: Sam Bruce, WR, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 5-foot-8 star from longtime powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High is considered to be a slot receiver, but the Hurricanes see him getting to the outside as well. Bruce seemed to be wavering on his commitment in recent weeks, but he was the one that Miami fans did not want to see get away. "Very explosive player," Richt said. Best of the rest: Jack Allison, QB, Parrish, Florida and Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Orange Park, Florida. Allison is the heir apparent to Brad Kaaya as Miami's starting quarterback and jumped at the chance to enroll at what he long considered his dream school. And Quarterman — along with fellow mid-year linebacker enrollees Zach McCloud and Michael Pinckney — gives Miami immediate depth at that position and should be in contention for playing time in the fall. Late addition: Ahmmon Richards, WR, Wellington, Florida. He was a Miami commit before the Hurricanes fired Al Golden, and then re-opened his process to the point where some thought he would get away. One that got away: Tyler Byrd, CB, Naples, Florida. The consensus four-star prospect flipped his commitment to Tennessee — where former Miami interim coach Larry Scott is now on staff — on Tuesday night. Byrd was considered someone who would have been a key performer in 2016 for the Hurricanes. How they'll fit in: There's clearly spots to fill, and Richt didn't get all of Miami's needs taken care of in his first class. But there's a slew of talent returning, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Getting that trio of linebackers in early might be critical, and having Miami legacies like TE Michael Irvin Jr., S Jeff James (Edgerrin James' nephew) and DE Pat Bethel (son of former Miami TE Randy Bethel) in this class won't hurt. ___ NORTH CAROLINA Top 25 Class: Yes. Best in class: Kyree Campbell, DT, Woodbridge, Virginia. Best of the rest: Chazz Surratt, QB, Denver, North Carolina; Jay-Jay McCargo, OL, Alexandria, Virginia; Tomon Fox, DE, Lawrenceville, Georgia. Late addition: DB Patrice Rene (Alexandria, Virginia) originally committed to Rutgers but flipped to UNC in January. One that got away: WR Nate Craig-Myers (Tampa, Florida) chose Auburn over UNC on Wednesday. How they'll fit in: After a defensive turnaround last year under coordinator Gene Chizik, the Tar Heels loaded up on defense with 16 signees — including seven defensive backs and four linebackers — after losing seniors in the unit's back seven. ___ NORTH CAROLINA STATE Top 25 Class: No. Best in class: Thaddeus Moss, TE, Charlotte. Best of the rest: Kelvin Harmon, WR, Palmyra, New Jersey. Late addition: Harmon, originally a South Carolina recruit who decommitted amid the Gamecocks' coaching change to Will Muschamp. One that got away: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Wake Forest, signed with Clemson. How they'll fit in: Doeren says he'd like to redshirt all but about six players. Moss and Harmon seem to be extreme talents who should have a chance to play soon. Frazier should be strong enough to make a quick impact. ___ PITTSBURGH Top 25 Class: On the bubble Best in class: Damar Hamlin, DB, Pittsburgh. Blazing fast with what Narduzzi called "the best feet, hips and most athletic corners you can recruit." Best of the rest: DL Keyshon Camp (Lakeland, Florida.), chose Pitt after originally committing to USC. RB George Hill (Youngstown, Ohio). Late addition: Rashad Weaver, DL, Cooper City (Fla.) One that got away: RB Miles Sanders (Woodland Hills) signed with Penn State. How they'll fit in: The beauty for Narduzzi is he's not quite sure. Though Whitehead made an immediate impact at safety last year — he was named the ACC Rookie of the Year after leading Pitt with 99 tackles — but he also saw snaps on offense, averaging 10 yards every time he touched the ball. There are plenty of prospects who could get a shot at similar double duty going forward. ___ SYRACUSE Top 25 Class: No. Best in class: Moe Neal, ATH, Gastonia, North Carolina. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Neal was the nation's 43rd-ranked athlete in 247Sports.com's composite rankings. He scored 103 TDs in high school. Best of the rest: DE Jaquwan Nelson. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Nelson is rated three stars and the No. 54 weak-side defensive end in the Class of 2016 by 247Sports. Late addition: Devin Butler, who had previously committed to Maryland, decided Wednesday morning to go with the Orange. The 6-foot, 185-pound Butler also plans to join the Syracuse track and field team. One that got away: Three-star OG Stewart Reese of Fort Pierce Central High School in Florida. The 6-foot-6, 333-pound Reese, rated the No. 19 offensive guard in the Class of 2016 by 247Sports.com's composite rankings, opted for Mississippi State of the Southeast Conference on Monday. Syracuse, Reese's other finalist, had visited him twice in the past three weeks in addition to hosting him on an official visit in mid-January. How they'll fit in: The big story for the Orange is how quickly Babers can install his offense and who he picks to lead it. Sophomore Eric Dungey, despite at least one concussion and several other hard hits to the head last fall, succeeded Terrel Hunt after the senior starter's college career ended with a torn Achilles in the season opener. ___ VIRGINIA Top 25 Class: No. Best in class: Tre Harbison, RB, Shelby, North Carolina. Ran for 5,770 yards and 100 touchdowns in a high school career that ended with back-to-back state championships and a 32-0 record his last two seasons. Best of the rest: Hasise Dubois, WR, Irvington, New Jersey. A 6-3 receiver who caught 97 passes for 1,976 yards and 26 touchdowns during his high school career and had nine interceptions as a defensive back. Late addition: Trysten Hill, DL, Lee, Florida. One that got away: Laderrian Wilson, RB, Kissimmee, Florida (went to Maryland). How they'll fit in: Mendenhall takes a unique approach to redshirting and want ___ VIRGINIA TECH Top 25 Class: No. Best in class: Evans. He threw for 395 yards per game with 38 touchdown passes and just three interceptions last season, and has already enrolled at Virginia Tech. A dual-threat, he also ran for more than 400 yards. Best of the rest: Khalil Ladler, CB, Stone Mountain, Georgia. A four-star recruit who spent the past season recovering from a torn ACL. Late addition: Eron Carter, LB, Palatka, Florida was being recruited heavily by the service academies, Foster said, describing the 6-2, 230-pounder as "more of a thumper-type guy." One that got away: None. How they'll fit in: With Fuente bringing what Hokies fans hope will be the high-powered offense they have long craved, the quarterback battle will be crucial to how quickly they are able to meet those expectations. Evans and Joshua Jackson join three holdovers — Brenden Motley, Dwayne Lawson and Chris Durkin, and so the winter, spring and summer will be critical times. ___ WAKE FOREST Top 25 Class: No. Best in class: Sulaiman Kamara, DT, Richmond, Virginia. Best of the rest: Byrd; Taleni Suhren, OT, Charlotte; Emmanuel Walker, DE, Holly Hill, South Carolina. Late addition: None. All but a few players have been committed since last September. One that got away: LB Riley Cole, who decommitted late from Alabama and signed late in the afternoon with South Alabama. How they'll fit in: For Wake Forest, the better question is WHEN they'll fit in. The Demon Deacons are at their best when they're patiently redshirting players and allowing them to develop. But during the past few years, they simply didn't have enough bodies to do that, a big reason why they were one of the nation's most inexperienced teams in 2015. Clawson says he would prefer to redshirt 80 percent of the incoming freshmen.
Feb 3, 2016
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Jimbo Fisher pledged to work toward helping Florida State win another title shortly after losing at Clemson last fall. The Seminoles' coach took a major step in that direction Wednesday, landing the top recruiting class in the Atlantic Coast Conference on national signing day.The Seminoles class of 25 players was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally by recruiting services....
Florida State leads the way in the ACC on signing day
By PETE IACOBELLI, Associated Press | Feb 3, 2016CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Jimbo Fisher pledged to work toward helping Florida State win another title shortly after losing at Clemson last fall. The Seminoles' coach took a major step in that direction Wednesday, landing the top recruiting class in the Atlantic Coast Conference on national signing day. The Seminoles class of 25 players was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally by recruiting services. Fisher gave much of the credit to his newest players, who he said helped recruit on-the-fence prospects at camps, college visits and all-star games. "Then they can talk via social media or via the phone. That is critical because, 'Hey, there he goes. I know him and I want to play with him,'" Fisher said. "I think it's even more of a factor now than it's ever been." Florida State's group includes cornerback Levonta Taylor of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was the consensus top-ranked cornerback prospect in the country and committed early enough that he helped attract others to the Seminoles. Fisher said Florida State filled several needs as it works to get back on top. The Seminoles were national champions in 2013 and College Football Playoff participants a year later. This season, though, Florida State lost its surpremacy to Clemson, which won the ACC championship and advanced to the national title game before losing 45-40 to Alabama. Clemson was right behind the Seminoles on signing day, bringing in a 23-person class Tigers coach Dabo Swinney expects to offset the loss of five defensive starters who gave up college early to enter the NFL draft. The Tigers brought in five defensive backs (they lost three starters in the secondary) and four defensive lineman to fill the void created when All-American Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd declared for the NFL draft. "It's amazing when you win games what it means when you step into a high school," said Brandon Streeter, Clemson's recruiting coordinator. ___ Other things about signing day around the ACC: TAR HEEL MO North Carolina's turnaround under defensive coordinator Gene Chizik from one of the worst defenses in school history to a bend-but-don't-break unit was key in that change. And that's why the Tar Heels went heavy on defense with 16 players, including seven defensive backs. "We were selling hope when we first got here: just stay with us and hang in there and we're going to get this done," Chizik said Wednesday. "We were able to say, 'Hey, look, these are the things are we felt we could improve in and would improve in, and they saw kind of the fruits of our labors. So I think a lot of them were excited about the possibility of jumping on board with that." NEW COACHES With Wednesday's national signing day behind them, several new ACC coaches still have to work to do. — Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente went heavy on quarterbacks in hopes of sparking the Hokies offense. But Fuente's class does not include any running backs or tight ends. — Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said he will need to concentrate on attracting more offensive and defensive line help going forward in 2017's class. — Miami's coach Mark Richt kept his first class with the Hurricanes very close to home with 16 of 18 players coming from Florida, but Richt couldn't get all of Miami's needs taken care of in his first class. —Syracuse coach Dino Babers believes the class he signed this year when combined with next year's group will lay a foundation for the Orange to succeed. FAMOUS DADS & GRANDDADS Clemson brought in tight end J.C. Chalk, the grandson of Alabama national championship coach Gene Stallings, and defensive back Brian Dawkins Jr., son of the Clemson and NFL great. North Carolina State signed Thaddeus Moss, the son of former NFL star receiver Randy Moss. Not to be outdone, Miami signed Michael Irvin Jr., the son of Hall of Famer and former Hurricane great Michael Irvin. BC'S INSIDE MAN: KUECHLY Boston College coach Steve Addazio said the best recruiting tool for his program is playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday: former Eagles linebacker Luke Kuechly. "Who more would you want to be out front as the representation of the BC football program, and the Boston College (as a) university," the coach said. "What a great role model and what a great representative. He's just incredibly important to us." TECH STRUGGLES Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson brushes off his recruiting class's low national ranking, hopeful that a rebound from going 3-9 this past year will again perk up the Yellow Jackets. "I think the number that matters is at the end of the year what your record is," Johnson said. "Last year our record wasn't good and the year before it was pretty good. We've got to get back to where we were the year before."
Here are the signing day capsules for Big Ten Conference teams:___ILLINOISTop 25 class: No.Best in class: Dele Harding, LB, Elkton, Maryland.Best of the rest: Zarrian Holcombe, TE, Houston; Eli Peters, QB, Jacksonville, Florida, already enrolled; James McCourt, K, Parkland, Florida.Late addition: Izon Pulley, DL, Olney, Maryland. Cubit expects he will be a defensive end and could play soon.One...
Big Ten football recruiting team capsules
By The Associated Press, Associated Press | Feb 3, 2016Here are the signing day capsules for Big Ten Conference teams: ___ ILLINOIS Top 25 class: No. Best in class: Dele Harding, LB, Elkton, Maryland. Best of the rest: Zarrian Holcombe, TE, Houston; Eli Peters, QB, Jacksonville, Florida, already enrolled; James McCourt, K, Parkland, Florida. Late addition: Izon Pulley, DL, Olney, Maryland. Cubit expects he will be a defensive end and could play soon. One that got away: Several players recently de-committed amid the turmoil in the program, among them Tre Johnson, OL, Orlando, Florida, who chose Miami. How they'll fit in: After playing essentially without tight ends last fall, Illinois signed three players at the position, including Holcombe, one of the top 40 or so in the country. If he can play right away, that could be a big help to the Illini attack. Also important will be the 13 defensive players and whether they can add much-needed depth. ___ INDIANA Top 25 class: No. Best in class: Richard Lagow, QB, Plano, Texas. Over the past two seasons, he threw for 4,496 yards and 38 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. He has two years of eligibility left. Best of the rest: Jonah Morris, athlete, Akron, Ohio. In high school, Morris played receiver and safety and at 6-4, 190 pounds could play either position at Indiana. The Hoosiers must decide where he fits best. Late addition: Shaun Bonner, TE, Moultrie, Georgia. At 6-3, 250, Bonner is expected to start out as primarily a blocking tight end, with the potential to become an offensive lineman. One that got away: Jovan Swann, DT, Greenwood, Indiana. The Hoosiers only had two in-state players, and they didn't get Swann, who picked Stanford. How they'll fit in: Lagow and Thompson should make immediate impacts. But much of this class was recruited to build toward the future. ___ IOWA Top 25 class: No. Best in class: Nathan Stanley, QB, Menomonie, Wisconsin. Stanley will likely be the most scrutinized player in this class over the next few years. Stanley shunned his home-state Badgers for Iowa, and at 6-foot-4 he looks like a prototypical pro passer in Iowa's system. It could be years before Stanley sees the field, with Tyler Wiegers set to take over for Beathard in 2017 and second-year freshmen Ryan Boyle and Drew Cook behind him. Best of the rest: Defensive ends Cedrick Lattimore, a 250-pounder out of Detroit, and Illinois product Romeo McKnight, could be next in line to blossom along Iowa's front. Running back Toks Akinribade had plenty of offers and Alaric Jackson is a 6-foot-7, 285-pound tackle who also played basketball, soccer, baseball and track. Iowa's best linemen have traditionally been multi-sport stars in high school. Late addition: Alaric Jackson, OL, Detroit. He reportedly turned down a late offer from Michigan. One that got away: U.S. Army All-American Bowl pick John Raridon of West Des Moines, Iowa, turned down Iowa and Iowa State in favor of Nebraska. How they'll fit in: Iowa brings back a ton of talent from last season's Big Ten West-winning team and the Hawkeyes usually redshirt most of their freshmen anyway. But Iowa will likely look for a few of them to contribute on special teams. ___ MARYLAND Top 25 class: No. Best in class: Terrance Davis, OG, Hyattsville, Maryland Best of the rest: Tino Ellis, WR, Hyattsville, Maryland, Richard Merritt, OL, Silver Spring, Maryland, Adam McLean, DT, Gaithersburg, Maryland. Late addition: Tyrrell Pigrome, QB, Pinson, Alabama. Pigrome, the Alabama Gatorade State Player of the Year, announced his decision Wednesday. One that got away: Recruited by former Maryland coach Randy Edsall, standout QB Dwayne Haskins flipped his commitment to Ohio State last month. Returning QB Perry Hills threw 13 INTs compared to eight TD passes in 2015, so getting Pigrome and QB Max Bortenschlager (Indiana) was very important. How they'll fit in: Many of these players will have an opportunity to play immediately as new coach DJ Durkin looks to put his stamp on the struggling program. ___ MICHIGAN Top 25 class: Yes. Best in class: DT Rashan Gary chose Michigan over Clemson and Southeastern Conference schools such as Alabama, Mississippi and Auburn. He is the first consensus No. 1 recruit to sign outside of the SEC since 2008, when Terrell Pryor went to Ohio State. Best of the rest: Devin Asiasi, who played for traditional power De La Salle High School in California, will get a chance to make a lot of plays because coach Jim Harbaugh loves having his quarterbacks throw to tight ends. The 6-4, 265 Asiasi is rated as one of the best players at his position in the country. Late addition: Elysee Mbem-Bosse, a linebacker from Georgia, was added relatively recently to the class. He will get a chance to play right away because Michigan will lose some linebackers to graduation. One that got away: Donnie Corley, a wide receiver from Detroit, chose to enroll at Michigan State last month. How they'll fit in: Even though Gary will be in the spotlight next fall, he will be able to ease into a role with a team that has a lot of depth on the defensive line. ___ MICHIGAN STATE Top 25 class: Yes. Best in class: Donnie Corley, WR-CB, Detroit Best of the rest: Josh King, DE, Darien, Ill. Late addition: Luke Campbell, OL-DL, Lewis Center, Ohio One that got away: Michael Jordan, OL, Canton, Mich., who signed with Ohio State. How they'll fit in: The Spartans have to replace QB Connor Cook after last season's run to the national semifinals. Although Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry have been with the program for a while, both are unproven. Michigan State added QB Messiah deWeaver of Huber Heights, Ohio, and Corley could provide immediate help to a receiving corps that loses Aaron Burbridge and Macgarrett Kings from last season's team. ___ MINNESOTA Top 25 class: No. Best in class: Carter Coughlin, LB, Eden Prairie, Minn. Best of the rest: QB Seth Green, Allen, Texas; Tyler Johnson, WR, Minneapolis North HS; Garrison Wright, OL, Butler CC (Kansas); Sam Schlueter, OL, Victoria (Minnesota)/Mayer Lutheran HS; Kamal Martin, LB, Burnsville (Minnesota) HS; Philip Howard, WR, Minneapolis/Robbinsdale Cooper HS; Coney Durr, CB, Geismar (Louisiana) Dutchtown HS; Thomas Barber, LB, Plymouth (Minnesota)/Robbinsdale Armstrong HS; Vincent Calhoun, OL, Southwest Mississippi CC; Merrick Jackson, DL, Iowa Western CC. Late addition: Mark Williams, QB, Jackson (Alabama) HS. One that got away: Dedrick Snelson, WR, Pembroke Pines, Fla. Signed with Central Florida. How they'll fit in: Green will compete with sophomore Demry Croft to be the backup to Mitch Leidner. Calhoun (335 pounds) and Wright (318 pounds) could be in the starting lineup right away. Johnson and Martin are converted QBs marking a focus on athleticism. ___ NEBRASKA Top 25 class: Yes. Best in class: Lamar Jackson, CB, Elk Grove, California. He's a top-100 national recruit and Nebraska's highest-rated West Coast signee in more than a decade. With Jackson and safety Marquel Dismuke of Calabasas, California, among the five defensive backs in the fold, the Cornhuskers met their needs in the secondary. Best of the rest: John Raridon, OL, West Des Moines, Iowa. The 6-4, 271-pound guard is the top offensive line recruit and the son of former Nebraska offensive tackle Scott Raridon. Late addition: Matt Farniok, OT, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Bo Pelini staff started pursuing the 6-foot-5, 319-pounder two years ago and Riley's staff picked up the chase before landing his commitment a week ago. One that got away: Nebraska thought it had locked up four-star receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick of Waterford, Michigan. That was before Fitzpatrick took a visit to Louisville. He announced he would become a Cardinal on Tuesday. The Huskers are left with two receivers in the class. How they'll fit in: All eyes will be on QB Patrick O'Brien in spring practice. It would be premature to say he could challenge incumbent Tommy Armstrong, but he's well-positioned to be the No. 2 QB come fall. Raridon and Farniok beef up the offensive line, and Jackson and Dismuke could play right away. ___ NORTHWESTERN Top 25 class: No. Best in class: Roderick Campbell Jr., DB, St. Louis. Best of the rest: Jeremy Larkin, RB, Cincinnati; Riley Lees, WR, Libertyville, Illinois; Bennett Skowronek, WR, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Aidan Smith, QB, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Late additions: Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, WR, Minneapolis. One that got away: Defensive tackle Jovan Swann from Greenwood, Indiana, picked Stanford. How they'll fit in: With the losses of receivers Miles Shuler and Christian Jones to graduation, Lees, Skowronek and Chiaokhiao-Bowman have the chance to get playing time early. ___ OHIO STATE Top 25 class: Yes. Best in class: Nick Bosa, DL, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The spitting image of his older brother, former Buckeyes All-American Joey Bosa, the 6-foot-3, 250-pounder may step right into the spot vacated by his sibling. Best of the rest: Austin Mack, WR, Fort Wayne, Indiana. The 6-2, 210-pounder can help fill the void following the loss of Michael Thomas, one of nine Ohio State underclassmen leaving early for the pros. Late addition: Malcolm Pridgeon, OL, Nassau County (N.Y.) Community College. The 6-8 303-pounder chose Ohio State over Baylor on signing day. One that got away: Rashan Gary, DT, Paramus, New Jersey. The nation's No. 1 recruit is headed to Michigan, a signing that Wolverines fans will undoubtedly tout as a victory over the Buckeyes as Harbaugh tries to close the talent gap between the bitter enemies. How they'll fit in: Coach Urban Meyer has already identified Bosa and Jonathon Cooper, a 6-2, 234-pound defensive end from Gahanna, Ohio, as freshmen who will get playing time next season. ___ PENN STATE Top 25 class: Yes. Best in class: At 5-11, 200 pounds, four-star running back Miles Sanders of Pittsburgh is the key recruit in James Franklin's class. Best of the rest: Shane Simmons, a 6-4, 221-pounder, could make an immediate impact at defensive end and just might end up giving Sanders a run as the best player in the class. Late addition: Junior-college DT Brenon Thrift can help replenish reserves on defensive line with Austin Johnson, Anthony Zettel and Tarow Barney moving on and recent decommitments from DTs Karamo Dioubate and Michael Dwumfour. One that got away: S Andrew Pryts of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, flipped to Stanford on signing day. How they'll fit in: Penn State had to tread water under Franklin in the waning days of the NCAA sanctions. With a full class and full complement of players available at every position, perhaps Big Ten contention is on the horizon. ___ PURDUE Top 25 class: No. Best in class: Terrance Landers, WR, Dayton, Ohio. The 6-foot-4 receiver could give the offense a new dimension in 2016, and if he does the Boilers will finally have a solid nucleus of skill position players. Best of the rest: Simeon Smiley, DB, Pensacola, Florida. The transition to college is easier for freshmen to make at safety than cornerback and at 6-foot, 195 pounds, Smiley has the build to make an impact. Late addition: Rob Simmons, DE, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The 6-6, 216-pounder waited until the final week to pick Purdue. One that got away: Dylan Powell, OL, Hannibal, Missouri. Powell announced three weeks ago he was looking for other options and wound up choosing Stanford. How they'll fit in: The Boilermakers are losing both starting cornerbacks and may need some of those young DBs on the field in 2016. Barry Larkin and Lorenzo Neal won't be the only junior college players vying for playing time. Jalen Neal, a 6-8, 315-pound offensive lineman, could, too. __ RUTGERS Top 25 class: No. Best in class: Tylin Oden, QB, Columbia, Tennessee. While starter Chris Laviano and backup Hayden Rettig are returning, Oden has the athleticism to run the power spread offense. Best of the rest: Trey Sneed, RB, Orange Park, Fla. He had more than 10 scholarship offers including from North Carolina, Wake Forest and Louisville. Late addition: Ahmed Bah, WR, New York City. He helped Grand Street Campus to a 13-0 record and the school's first-ever New York Public Schools Athletic League State Championship. One that got away: Patrice Rene, DB. He committed to Rutgers in early August but changed his mind after Kyle Flood was fired. He will attend North Carolina. How they'll fit in: First-year coach Chris Ash's guiding rule was to find players who fit his program, who had character, intelligence, toughness and would compete. Four are early enrollees and they are already working out. With little depth, a lot of these players should play a role, even if just on special teams. ___ WISCONSIN Top 25 class: No. Best in class: DL Garrett Rand earned an invite to the 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Rand, who had 92 tackles and 15 sacks as a high school senior, would also give a relatively young position group even more depth. Best of the rest: RB Sam Brodner of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, was one of his state's top players last season. P Anthony Lotti was recruited from Flowery Branch, Georgia and figures to play right away. Late addition: DBs Caesar Williams and Deron Harrell. Harrell might not join the program until January 2017. One that got away: Touted running back prospect Antonio Williams dropped his verbal commitment to Wisconsin in October to commit to Ohio State. How they'll fit in: The sting of losing Williams is eased a bit with the late addition of Brodner, plus the return of Corey Clement to the Wisconsin backfield in 2016. There is depth at the position with Clement joining fellow returnees Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal.
Feb 3, 2016
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Kirby Smart made quite a splash with his first recruiting class at Georgia.Even though he got a late start on the job, Smart landed one of the nation's leading collection of prospects Wednesday. Most notably, the Bulldogs picked up top-rated athlete Mercole Hardman Jr., who announced his decision during a morning ceremony at Elbert County High School in Elberton, Georgia. He...
UGa adds top athlete Hardman to early enrollees Eason, Nauta
Associated Press | Feb 3, 2016ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Kirby Smart made quite a splash with his first recruiting class at Georgia. Even though he got a late start on the job, Smart landed one of the nation's leading collection of prospects Wednesday. Most notably, the Bulldogs picked up top-rated athlete Mercole Hardman Jr., who announced his decision during a morning ceremony at Elbert County High School in Elberton, Georgia. He figures to break into the lineup right away on defense and could wind up playing offense, too. Smart, the former defensive coordinator at Alabama, was hired shortly after Georgia fired longtime coach Mark Richt but wasn't able to take over right away, staying with the Crimson Tide through their victory in the national championship game. Georgia signed plenty of familiar names. Running back Elijah Holyfield is the son of former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, while receiver Riley Ridley is the younger brother of Calvin Ridley, who as a freshman played a key pass-catching role for Alabama's national championship team. The Bulldogs also landed tight end Charlie Woerner, the nephew of former Georgia star Scott Woerner, who was recently elected the College Football Hall of Fame. Smart signed 13 players from within the state but missed out on top prospect Derrick Brown. ___ Other things to know: Top 25 Class: Yes Best in class: Jason Eason, QB, Lake Stevens, Wash.; Mercole Hardman Jr., ATH, Elberton, Ga.; Isaac Nauta, TE, Buford, Ga. Best of the rest: Michail Carter, DL, Jackson, Ga.; Ben Cleveland, OL, Toccoa, Ga.; Chauncey Manac, OLB, Fargo, Ga.; Julian Rochester, DL, Powder Springs, Ga.; Javon Wims, WR, Miami. Late addition: Hardman was a huge coup for the Bulldogs, giving them one of the nation's top-25 prospects to go along with early enrollees Eason and Nauta. Hardman, who has been compared to Southern Cal cornerback Adoree Jackson, picked his home-state school over SEC rivals Tennessee and Alabama. One that got away: DT Derrick Brown, the state's top prospect, went with Auburn over Georgia and several other SEC schools. While Smart was pleased with the players he got on the defensive line, Brown would've made Georgia's class truly special. How they'll fit in: Eason will compete for the starting quarterback job right away. The Bulldogs struggled mightily on offense last season, largely because of their struggles at the most visible position on the field. Incumbent starter Grayson Lambert returns, but it will be an upset if he keeps the job over Eason. Hardman will be expected to start at cornerback and likely handle kick return duties. Depending on how quickly he adapts to the college game, he could work his way into the mix at receiver, as well. ___ For the full list: http://www.GeorgiaDogs.com