Alabama Crimson Tide: Oklahoma State Cowboys

States of strength: Texas RBs 

May, 15, 2014
When it comes to running backs, the state of Texas is loaded. Ten running backs represent the Lone Star State in the ESPN 300. Of those 10, five are committed. A total of seven running backs in the state have reported FBS commitments.

ESPN 300 RBs from the state:

No. 50 Ronald Jones II: Ranked the nation’s No. 3 running back, Jones is an explosive, game-changing back who -- as scary as it might sound -- will only get better. Jones committed to Oklahoma State on April 6 and finished his junior season with more than 2,400 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns.

1. Given the tenor of the times, the suspension of Alabama defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will cast a dimmer light on the NCAA than on the player. The Tuscaloosa News reported that Clinton-Dix took a loan of less than $500 from assistant strength coach Corey Harris during the summer and repaid it before the season. The bottom line is that Clinton-Dix and Harris knew the rules and ignored them. But the small amount of money, and the fact that it was a one-time transaction, highlight how the needs of student-athletes are not being met.

2. West Virginia's upset of Oklahoma State provided a ray of hope in Morgantown as the Mountaineers prepare to play at No. 17 Baylor, which is 15-1 at home since the beginning 2011. It's no coincidence that the struggles of the Mountaineers coincide with the departure of top recruiter Doc Holliday to become head coach of Marshall three years ago. Holliday is well-known for his ability to recruit in Florida, where the Mountaineers found quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver Stedman Bailey. They left last season, and no one as talented has appeared to replace them.

3. The disappearance of tough intersectional games has led to grade inflation at the football stadium. I looked at the Week 6 AP poll for each of the last 10 seasons. From 2004-11, the average number of undefeated teams is a shade under 14. Last season, 18 teams made it to Week 6 without a blemish. This season, it's 17. It must be the disappearance of tough intersectional games. Let's hope that nine-game conference schedules and the College Football Playoff force teams to play up, and do it earlier.

3-point stance: Why Clemson is No. 3

September, 20, 2013
1. Good teams are good in all three phases of the game. That’s not breaking news, but we saw what it means at North Carolina State on Thursday night. The Wolfpack got to Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd early and the pressure disrupted his rhythm. He didn’t find it until late in the third quarter. But the Tigers’ defense and special teams kept the Wolfpack in check. Once Boyd found his game, Clemson easily pulled away to a 26-14 victory. The Tigers look like No. 3.

2. The Texas regent who called Jimmy Sexton about Alabama head coach Nick Saban reminds me of the Sports Illustrated expose on Oklahoma State. That’s probably not the only phone call that Sexton received that week about a client of his from another school. What has that got to do with Oklahoma State? Both cases are an inside look at how business gets done. Saban said on his radio show last night that he’s “too damn old to start over.” He and Terri are happy in Alabama, and they have learned the hard way how important that is.

3. Three weeks into the season, 22 FBS schools have scored on every trip into the red zone, but only four of them have scored touchdowns on every trip: Oklahoma State, Texas State, Georgia State and Hawaii. Oklahoma State has the most trips, with 15, and winless Hawaii the least -- just one. A special shout out to Dennis Franchione’s Bobcats, who also lead the FBS in red zone defense, allowing only one touchdown and one field goal in seven trips. Texas State plays at No. 25 Texas Tech on Saturday night.

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Notre Dame losing ESPN 300 running back Elijah Hood stings but things will be just fine, could Cameron Sims pull the recruiting shocker of the year and turn down Ole Miss and Alabama, and how are some non-BCS programs that are in talent-rich areas doing on the trail.

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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting each morning. Today's offerings: the recruiting battle in the Big 12 expands beyond the Red River rivalry, Alabama is the new Quarterback U and the Badgers' chances with one of the nation’s best backs.

Frogs, Bears legit Big 12 threats

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2015 DB Sheffield planning SEC visit 

June, 24, 2013
PEARLAND, Texas — June has been a busy month for highly-regarded 2015 cornerback Kendall Sheffield (Missouri City, Texas/Thurgood Marshall).

Since the spring semester concluded, Sheffield took a visit to Texas A&M, traveled to Chicago for the Rivals Five-Star Challenge and he has been working on his other passion, track and field, in anticipation of some big meets this summer.

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Good for David Cornwell. Good for Norman (Okla.) North. Good for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.

The OSSAA informed Cornwell on Friday that he would be eligible to play quarterback this fall during his final year of high school.

ESPN’s No. 1-rated pocket-passer received the news after his family presented new information this week to the OSSAA Board of Directors to further explain his absence from the classroom and football field in the fall of 2011.

Cornwell sat out that season to help his ailing mother. As a result, this year will mark the fifth since Cornwell began ninth grade in Omaha, Neb.

Under normal circumstances, the OSSAA denies requests for hardship waivers without much hesitation.

This case, the OSSAA determined, qualified as something beyond the normal circumstances.

The Cornwells have been saying as much for months.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It’s been a productive week to start the summer for 2015 quarterback Ty Storey (Charleston, Ark./Charleston). He’s already camped at Alabama and Oklahoma, drawing serious interest from the Crimson Tide and Sooners.

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The high school eligibility of Norman (Okla.) North quarterback David Cornwell is still in limbo, but the recruiting process isn’t slowing down.

Cornwell was back in a familiar location last weekend, spending two days at Alabama. It was Cornwell’s fifth trip to Tuscaloosa in the last year.

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- No decision was made regarding the eligibility of Norman (Okla.) North quarterback David Cornwell by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association on Tuesday afternoon.

A motion was unanimously approved by the OSSAA’s board of directors that a special board meeting will be June 12 at 1:30 p.m. if the matter is not resolved by that time.

Cornwell, who is the No. 1-ranked pocket-passing quarterback and No. 24 in the ESPN 150, was hoping to hear an announcement Tuesday regarding whether or not he will be eligible for his senior season at Norman North.

Cornwell is classified as a senior but will be in his fifth year removed from eighth grade in the fall. It is against the OSSAA rules to have a fifth year of eligibility except for extreme cases. The Cornwell family believes it has one of those cases.

Cornwell, his parents and attorneys addressed the OSSAA board at 10 a.m., and the family requested the issue be dealt with in executive session. Fifteen minutes later, the executive session was over, and the board ruled to table the issue.

The Cornwell family brought new information to the case Tuesday, and the board felt it didn’t have enough time to read the information and make a judgment in the ruling.

Following that, attorneys for both the Cornwells and the OSSAA, as well as OSSAA representative David Jackson and the Cornwell family, met in a separate meeting for more than an hour.

After the board reconvened, it was announced that if it is deemed necessary, the June 12 special board meeting would take place.

Cornwell attorney Mitch D. McCuistian said all questions regarding the matter will be answered at a different time and declined to comment Tuesday afternoon.

Cornwell said he still feels confident they have met the criteria for an extra year of eligibility.

“I can't comment, other than to say that I believe we meet the criteria and I expect a positive decision on my eligibility soon,” Cornwell said.

The issue at hand is the 2011-12 school year when the family lived in Florida. Cornwell intended to be homeschooled by his mother. Cornwell did not attend school or play football as his mother, Debbie, battled a debilitating health condition.

Cornwell moved to Jones (Okla.) High for the 2012 season. He threw for 2,742 yards with 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Following the season, the family moved from Jones to Norman, Okla., and Cornwell has enrolled at Norman North.

Cornwell has earned an invite to the Elite 11 quarterback finals next month as well as a spot in The Opening, an all-star showcase of the best recruits in the nation.

Cornwell visited Alabama last weekend and has planned trips to Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech in the next couple of weeks where he hopes he will be ready to make his decision.
Tuesday morning marks a much-anticipated time for ESPN 150 quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North). Tuesday, however, won’t be the end of the world for him.

The nation’s top-ranked pocket-passer quarterback will go before the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s board of directors asking for one more semester of eligibility. By Tuesday afternoon, the four-star player will know if his high school career continues -- or if college football preparation for him begins a little earlier than expected.

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Summer decision for ESPN 150 WR Sims 

June, 1, 2013
Earlier this month, ESPN 150 wide receiver Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish) had what he called a quiet spring game, reeling in only four catches. But what Sims fails to mention is that he took those four completions for more than 160 yards and three touchdowns in front of several college coaches, including University of Georgia receivers’ coach Tony Ball, Billy Napier from Alabama and Cam Cameron from LSU.

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The eligibility dispute of No. 1-rated pocket-passer quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North) goes before the board of directors of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association on Tuesday.

And according to Ed Sheakley, executive director of the OHSAA, it boils down to a decision made by the Cornwells to keep David out of school in 2011 when the family lived near Jacksonville, Fla.

“They made a choice to leave school,” Sheakley said in this article. “They also made a choice not to play football that year.”

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NORCROSS, Ga. -- ESPN 150 defensive end Lorenzo Carter seems to never stop grinning, even on the football field. His 100-megawatt smile calls to mind another affable defensive end, Michael Strahan, complete with the trademark gap. Even a shoving match with a teammate resulted in Carter falling down laughing about it later.

During the Norcross spring game on Friday, Carter and offensive tackle Horatio Walker tangled as they went at each other in the trenches. Walker held Carter’s jersey and was rewarded with a shot to the helmet.

“Well it was a run, and I don’t think Horatio respects me on the run yet, but it is all good,” Carter said between guffaws. “He tried to bully me around, but I was not having that so I had to hit him back. I was having fun out there.”

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The Big 12-SEC dream games

May, 17, 2013
The SEC and Big 12 announced an annual challenge on the basketball court, but colleague Edward Aschoff wondered what it would look like if that challenge extended to the football field.

There are already two games on the schedule this season -- between TCU and LSU, and Oklahoma State and Mississippi State. What else would I like to see?

Let me start by saying that renewing the Texas-Texas A&M and Missouri-Kansas rivalries are a given. I'm omitting those matchups, but I'd love to see them.

Let's get started:

Oklahoma State vs. Alabama: OSU narrowly missed out on playing for the national title back in 2011, and both are among their conference favorites again in 2013. When the BCS "snubbed" the Pokes after the 2011 regular season, OSU coach Mike Gundy half-jokingly suggested these two play for the right to play LSU in the title game. It would be fun to see this one finally played out on the field.

Baylor vs. LSU: Straight up offense vs. defense. That's the Big 12 vs. SEC debate at its heart. Baylor just might be the Big 12's best offense, and LSU will put together another strong defense. These are the matchups we want to see. The Big 12 has faltered on the big stage, helping the SEC stretch its run of national titles, but seeing Bryce Petty sling it around against an athletic defense would be a lot of fun.

Texas vs. Arkansas: Arkansas' exit from the Southwest Conference helped usher in the birth of the Big 12 after the SWC crumbled. Texas has bigger rivals like Oklahoma and Texas A&M, but these two played some of the greatest games in college football history, and as an Arkansas native, I've seen up close how much Razorbacks fans detest the Longhorns to this day. The result would be a great game and a hyped atmosphere.

TCU vs. Texas A&M: Texas A&M fans take exception to the idea that TCU was an on-field "upgrade" over the Aggies in the Big 12. The Aggies largely struggled in the Big 12 after some early success and a Big 12 title under R.C. Slocum. Since leaving for the SEC, the Aggies have gone nowhere but up, and ended 2012 as the hottest team in college football. Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel has a Heisman Trophy. Could he shred the Frogs? Want to prove TCU is not an upgrade? Beat TCU on the field.

Kansas State vs. Florida: Kansas State is perpetually underrated and wins with a bunch of junior college guys, and high school players overlooked by major programs. Florida won big under Urban Meyer, but has been largely overrated since Meyer left and was whacked by Louisville to end 2012. The Gators would be suiting up an army of recruiting stars, but could Bill Snyder, the Manhattan Magician, grab a win for the Big 12?
Oklahoma vs. Georgia: Mark Richt and Bob Stoops have one big thing in common: Neither fan base truly appreciates what their coach has accomplished. Consider this an opportunity for both to quiet the hot-seat talk. It's been a lot more intense for Richt, who endured a 6-7 season back in 2010, but he's won the SEC East in each of the past two seasons. Stoops has averaged just over 10 wins a season at Oklahoma, and Richt has averaged just under 10 wins. Call this the "Underappreciated Bowl."


Alabama Dismisses Jonathan Taylor
Alex Scarborough discusses the Crimson Tide's decision to dismiss defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor after he was arrested on domestic violence charges in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.