Alabama Crimson Tide: Virginia Cavaliers

Notebook: Virginia Tech camp 

June, 9, 2014
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BLACKSBURG, Va. -- On Sunday, Frank Beamer hosted the first of two key one-day camps.

While the July camp is considered the marquee event for the Hokies, several targets were on hand Sunday with a pair of key verbal offers going out.

CLIFTON, Va. -- Five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle, No. 10 in the ESPN 300, will not be making an early commitment, that much has been known from the start. What is also known about Settle is that he intends to go through the entire process and take all five of his official visits.

What wasn’t known is that Settle has started to think about what schools will make the cut.

“I’m going to trim it down in August to 14,” said Settle, who earned an invitation to The Opening Saturday after a stellar performance at the Nike Football Training Camp at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. “The reason I’m going to trim it down in August is two-a-days and getting ready for the season. I don’t want a lot of pressure on me. I just want to play and have fun my senior season.


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Top position classes: DB 

February, 18, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)

The top class of defensive backs goes to Alabama, by a landslide. While the Crimson Tide have provided many recruiting firsts in recent years under coach Nick Saban, the 2014 class is the first to have two five-star cornerbacks in the same cycle in the years ESPN has been assigning star rankings. No. 8 overall Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and No. 15 Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) have the size and speed that Saban and his staff made a must in 2014. Add in No. 3 safety and No. 27 overall Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) and Alabama signed three of the very best at defensive back. Factor in that No. 7 athlete Ronnie Clark (Calera, Ala./Calera) seems destined to begin his career at safety and the Crimson Tide dominate in the secondary despite having missed out on coveted safety target C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian).

The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best defensive back class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:


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Ultimate ESPN 300: Future members 

January, 29, 2014
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It’s never too early to look ahead to next year. Here are five current prospects in the 2014 class we feel could make their mark in future editions of the Ultimate ESPN 300.

RB Leonard Fournette (LSU): It’s not just based on the fact that he’s the top-rated player in the ESPN 300, but rather the perfect blend of talent, need and fit that awaits him at LSU. Fournette is an ideal downhill back for LSU's system. He is physically ready to carry the load and should have an immediate chance to make an impression with the Tigers' lack of depth in the backfield.


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As expected, Day 2 at the Under Armour All-America practices were smoother, more concise and much more productive. The players are now starting to think less and play more. Natural ability is starting to come to the forefront, which allows for them to be more productive. There have been fewer dropped passes, fewer misses by the QBs and the offensive lines are starting to jell quicker than expected. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this group is there have not been any true letdowns. They have stepped up and been as advertised almost top to bottom for both squads. Let’s hit the highlights of the day:

Top performers

WR Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish): Sims might not wow anyone with his 40-yard dash time, but it may not matter. Sims is so similar to Mike Evans at Texas A&M. He just makes plays. He has extremely long arms and is outstanding when in contested matchups. The ball will look like it is uncatchable and then next thing you know he jumps out of nowhere, extends and makes a play and the defender is left scratching his head. When it comes down to it, the QBs for Team Highlight can trust that if they need to throw it up, Sims will make a play. The most basic thing about the position is catching the football and Sims has no problem doing that.


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ESPN 300 by the numbers 

November, 1, 2013
11/01/13
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A look at the latest ESPN 300 for the 2014 class, by the numbers:

224: The number of prospects in the ESPN 300 who have committed.

126: The number of ESPN 300 commitments for teams in the latest AP Top 25. Texas Tech, Fresno State, UCF and Northern Illinois don't currently have an ESPN 300 pledge.

96: Days remaining until national signing day, which is Feb. 5, 2014.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tim Settle (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson) already has 17 offers, but the main schools he’s considering are the ones that he’s been to. That’s why it was so important for Alabama to get him on campus this week.

Settle visited Tuscaloosa on Sunday and Monday, where took part in the Crimson Tide’s camp.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Richie Petitbon (Washington D.C./Gonzaga) didn’t know what to expect when he visited the University of Alabama this week for camp. The 2015 offensive lineman was just ready to put in some work.

He competed in both sessions on Monday. Despite the heat and feelings of fatigue, Petitbon geared up for the 1-on-1 drills, where he spent time at all three spots on the offensive line. He caught the attention of Bama head coach Nick Saban, who later called him up to his office and offered him a scholarship from the Crimson Tide.


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RN Top 10: Best of The Opening 

July, 4, 2013
7/04/13
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The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect their overall prospect rankings.

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Opening put 162 of the top prospects in the nation in one place to battle to see who really is the best. During individual drills, one-on-one matchups, 7-on-7 play and even tug-of-war, the elite recruits competed to beat the best.

Every player in attendance was a standout player, but there were some who stood out above the rest. RecruitingNation takes a look at the top players throughout The Opening.

10. Jacob Park
Goose Creek (S.C.) Stratford | QB-DT | 6-4, 206
While other quarterbacks saw their play go up and down through the Elite 11 and The Opening 7-on-7, Park, a Georgia commitment, stayed consistent. He was singled out by Elite 11 head coach Trent Dilfer time after time after time.

“He’s immensely talented,” Dilfer said. “And he gets stuff.”

The only time that Park got dinged by Dilfer was when he tried to force the ball into tight spots, but honestly that happened very little throughout the week. UGA fans will be excited the 6-4, 206-pound four-star quarterback is heading to Athens, because he’s got a pretty complete package. -- Jeremy Crabtree


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DT Andrew Brown commits live, 2 p.m ET

June, 29, 2013
6/29/13
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Five-star Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith), the No. 3 player in the ESPN 300, will announce his college decision during a live chat with RecruitingNation at 2 p.m. ET.

Brown will be choosing between Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Alabama and Clemson. Following his commitment, Brown will head up to Oregon for The Opening.

To ask Brown a question following his announcement, tweet it to @RecruitingESPN and use #AskAndrew.

video
Five-star defensive tackle Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith) will make his college decision on Saturday. The No. 3-ranked player in the country will announce his decision during a live chat with RecruitingNation.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound athlete, who will compete in The Opening this weekend, said he is ready to end the recruiting process.

"I decided to go ahead and make my decision so I could focus on my senior season," Brown said. "I just don't want to be stressing out about everything."

Brown, who will decide between Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Alabama and Clemson, said there are several factors that will go into his decision.


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ESPN 150 OT has top eight in mind 

May, 20, 2013
5/20/13
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It was a Thursday night in late April and Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mount Lebanon) was watching the NFL draft. A 6-foot-6, 295-pound prospect, Bookser is being recruited as a lineman on both sides of the ball.

Bookser was an offensive lineman by the end of the night Thursday.

“Ever since I saw the draft I decided to go O-line,” said Bookser, referring to the run on tackles in the first round, including three among the first five picks. “That was the biggest draft I’ve ever seen, so I was like if I can get that far it’ll definitely pay off.”

With more than 20 offers to his name, Bookser was already being recruited mostly as an offensive tackle, where he is ranked No. 14 nationally. As a two-way player for Mount Lebanon, Bookser likes defense a little more because he can play with a little more emotion on the defensive line. He understands why coaches project him best on offense, though.


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SEC foes target sophomore DT Tuttle 

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Viewers who tuned into last year’s SEC championship game were treated to an epic battle between Alabama and Georgia that was not decided until the last play of the game. It was the latest in a series of battles between schools that clash again and again on the recruiting trail, year after year. Both have targeted a sophomore defensive tackle from North Carolina. In fact, both programs offered Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) on the same day.


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RN Top 10: D.C. NFTC 

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
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The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect their overall prospect ranking.

ASHBURN, Va. – The East Coast and mid-Atlantic states represented well on Sunday as eight players earned invites to The Opening at the Nike Football Training Camp outside of Washington, D.C. Defense ruled the day, led by two five-star prospects from Virginia.

10. Nick Scott
Fairfax (Va.) Fairfax |RB| 5-11, 180

Scott stood out among a field of backs who were overshadowed by the prospects at nearly every other position. He earned the attention of coaches for his strong play and versatility but missed the MVP award, which went to Vincent Lowe (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield), who also posted the top SPARQ score.

Scott committed to Penn State in February over an offer from Boston College.

ESPN national recruiting analyst Craig Haubert’s take: “He’s got a great frame, and what I like about him as a Penn State verbal, he’s a versatile player. He may not run by you, but he does a good job in route-running.”


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KincadeJared ShankerChandler Kincade remains committed to Pitt but recently visited Alabama and Tennessee.
Following two days of visits to Alabama and Tennessee, quarterback Chandler Kincade (Beaver Falls, Pa./Blackhawk) added a few physical and mental exercises he can take back to Western Pennsylvania with him.


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