Alabama Crimson Tide: Joe Mixon

UCLA flips ESPN 300 ILB Whitley 

January, 4, 2014
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UCLA coach Jim Mora didn't take the Texas head coaching job, but that didn't stop him from making an impact in the Lone Star State, as the Bruins gained a commitment from ESPN 300 linebacker Zach Whitley Jr. (Houston/North Shore) on Friday night.

Whitley had been committed to Alabama since early May, but the Bruins -- led by assistant coach Adrian Klemm -- had been pushing hard for the nation's No. 189 overall prospect and No. 8 inside linebacker. Momentum truly began building for the Bruins when the four-star defender took an official visit to Westwood in early December.

Recruits react: Alabama-LSU 

November, 10, 2013
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Many top recruits where in attendance for the annual slugfest between Alabama and LSU on Saturday night. Though the Crimson Tide eventually pulled away and won 38-17, recruits saw an exciting and competitive game between two great programs.

Several recruits took to Twitter to express their thoughts on the game.

The No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation, Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) hung out with Louisiana native and Alabama commit Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe). The two top-five players took a moment to pose for a picture together.


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Early Offer: Mixon all mixed up 

November, 7, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Just when it seemed clear on what four-star running back Joe Mixon was thinking, an official visit to Florida State has seemingly brought his decision back to square one; two of the top recruits in Ohio were hoping to make a decision in early January, but the success of their high school teams might change those plans; Missouri and Tennessee made nice climbs in the latest RecruitingNation class rankings.

Mixon mixed up

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Movers, shakers in updated ESPN 300

October, 29, 2013
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The Class of 2014 has had two months to show what it’s made of on the field. How are the nation’s elite prospects faring as we approach signing day? Here’s a look at the biggest names and notes from the most recent update of the ESPN 300:

The Big Movers

No. 37 Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South), ILB
Prior ranking: No. 59
The 6-foot-2, 224-pound Garrett jumped more than 20 spots in the rankings as he has added bulk to his frame, and at the same time retaining quickness and his fast-filling, downhill ability. Garrett has impact-type ability with a blend of lateral quickness, discipline and a nose for the ball.

Davion Hall
Max Olson/ESPNAthlete Davion Hall, who is committed to Baylor, jumped 30 spots in the latest update of the ESPN 300.
No. 45 Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), ATH
Prior ranking: No. 75
The 6-2, 194-pound Hall is one of the most impressive athletes in the class. He has a long, stoutly-built frame, is explosive, has physicality filling the alley at safety and very good ball skills at receiver. When he settles into one position at the next level, his upside is very high.

No. 64 Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), RB
Prior ranking: No. 106
The Georgia commit is putting together a sensational senior campaign with more than 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns through eight games. The 5-11, 217-pound tailback continues to add strength to his compact body structure while maintaining his speed, overall athleticism and ability to bend.

No. 70 Chad Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington), DE
Prior ranking: No. 125
The Miami commit has flashed his high-ceiling ability, even though he is playing inside more than half the snaps as a senior. His combination of first-step quickness, arm length and the ability to play with low pad level sets him apart from most ends in the class.

No. 84 Rashaan Evans (Auburn Ala./Auburn), OLB
Prior ranking: No. 150
The 6-3, 217-pound Evans has filled out physically, and displays the quick-twitch burst and speed combination to be a factor off the edge. Evans has been dominant off the edge as a senior with double-digit sacks.

No. 92 Markell Pack (Purvis, Miss./Purvis), WR
Prior ranking: No. 144
The Florida State commit continues to flash the initial quickness, ability to get to top-end speed quickly, ability to play the ball in the air and elusiveness that makes the 6-2, 180-pound wideout one of the top playmakers in the class.

No. 128 Brad Kaaya (Hollywood, Calif./Chaminade College Prep)
Prior ranking: No. 171
The 6-4, 213-pound Miami commit is one the fastest rising quarterbacks in the class. Has added bulk to his tall frame, and continues to show the foot quickness, foot work and quick release that will be demanded of him at the next level.

Other Big Movers

WR Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp): From No. 99 to 49.
Texas A&M ATH commit Nick Harvey (Richmond, Texas/William B. Travis): From No. 101 to 60.
RB Joe Mixon (Berkeley, Calif./Freedom): From No. 100 to 72.
Georgia QB-DT commit Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford): From No. 157 to 94.
Oregon RB commit Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial): From No. 154 to 99.
RB Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock): From No. 176 to 108.
Ole Miss S commit C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian): From No. 201 to 134.
Alabama C commit J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge): From No. 246 to 188.
Georgia DT commit Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton): From No. 266 to 201

ESPN 300 debuts
No. 89 Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westbury), WR
The 6-6, 215-pound pass catcher returned to the football field as a senior after playing only basketball as a junior, and has quickly become one of the most coveted uncommitted prospects in the country featuring deceptive initial quickness, and the high-point timing and size to win 50-50 balls in the air.

No. 287 Darrion Owens (Orange Park, Fla./Oakleaf), OLB
The 6-3, 220-pound Owens has transitioned from safety to outside linebacker as a senior without skipping a beat. Long, rangy and with edge-rush ability, the Miami commit is a top senior riser.

No. 295 Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland), WR
The 6-1, 196-pound Georgia commit was a standout at Mark Richt Camp in June. Williams is blessed with straight-line speed, change-of-direction ability, strong hands and the physicality and strength to play through contact.

[+] EnlargeJoe Mixon
Tom Hauck for Student SportsTailback Joe Mixon is ranked No. 72 in the latest update of the ESPN 300.
More Who Moved Into The ESPN 300

Ohio State ATH commit Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus Hall): No. 148.
LSU DE commit Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass): No. 298.
Baylor WR commit Ishmael Zamora (Alief, Texas/Elsik): No. 245
Alabama OLB commit Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest): No. 284.
DT Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes): No. 257.
DT Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin): No. 292.
Minnesota RB commit Jeff Jones (Minneapolis/Washburn): No. 181.
Virginia Tech DT commit Ricky Walker (Hampton, Va./Bethel): No. 299.

Injured Reserve

David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North), QB
The Alabama commit suffered a season-ending knee injury. The 6-5, 241-pound Under Armour All-American is No. 44 after being 32nd previously.

Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech), RB
The Tennessee commit suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener, requiring a second shoulder operation in less than a year. The 6-4, 222-pound Hurd is now No. 62 after being 39th.

Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian), WR
The 6-3, 172-pound Harris hasn't played this season due to a lingering hamstring issue. The Michigan commit checks in at No. 85 after previously being 72nd.

Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), DT
The 6-6, 295-pound Shaw has been sidelined with a neck injury this season. He checks in at No. 186 after a prior ranking of 82nd.

Sharieff Rhaheed (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central), OLB
The 6-2, 202-pound Rhaheed missed the first six games of the season before returning to the field in late October. The former LSU commit is No. 260 after being ranked 133rd previously.

Kyle Berger (Cleveland/Saint Ignatius), OLB
The Ohio State commit was sidelined his senior season with an ACL tear. He dropped out of the ESPN 300 after being ranked No. 281.

Treyvon Paulk (Milton, Ga./Milton High), RB
The Tennessee running back commitment recently suffered a season-ending knee injury. He dropped out of the ESPN 300 after previously being ranked No. 294.

Early Offer: Top 5 had big weeks 

October, 28, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: With the newest edition of the BCS rankings released, we take a look at the biggest headlines of the top five teams from the recruiting trail.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: With the first edition of this year’s BCS rankings released Sunday, we take a look at how the top five teams in are faring on the college football recruiting trail.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Five-star running back Leonard Fournette proved why he’s ranked as the nation’s No. 1 player; Oklahoma didn’t land any commits, but its official visit weekend was still a big hit with many high-profile recruits; and Florida running back commit Dalvin Cook continues to set up visits, which has to be making Gator coaches nervous.

He’s the real deal
Leonard Fournette (New Orleans, La./St. Augustine) erased any doubt as to who the true No. 1 player in the country is on Friday night with a Herculean effort against defending national championship River Ridge (La.) John Curtis on ESPN2. Fournette rushed for 262 yards on 36 carries and had a 27-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter that led to the game-winning two-point conversation. Fournette used everything in his repertoire -- highlighted by his speed, vision and pure brute strength -- to lead his team to victory. “I had to put my foot on the gas, put the pedal to the medal,” Fournette told the NOLA.com. His performance in front of a national television audience went noticed by many, including rapper Lil Wayne, who tweeted “Leonard Fournette is the truth.”

SEC recruiting storylines: Sept. 19 

September, 19, 2013
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Fans in the SEC are still trying to catch their breath after a wildly entertaining game between Alabama and Texas A&M. With that said, there are plenty of hot topics on the recruiting front throughout the SEC.

[+] EnlargeLaurence Jones
Greg Ostendorf/ESPNLaurence Jones will be one of the big names in attendance when LSU opens SEC play with Auburn on Saturday.
Impressive visitor list for Florida
Last week it was Texas A&M hosting a star-studded group of visitors. This week, it will be Florida when the Gators play host to Tennessee. On the official visitor list are the No. 11-ranked prospect overall Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), who has a top three of Alabama, Georgia and Florida; No. 25 Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), No. 59 Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) and three-star tight end DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, Kan./Derby), who had an official visit to Oklahoma on Sept. 6. Among the uncommitted unofficial visitors in the 2014 class are three-star defensive tackle Cory Thomas (McCalla, Ala./McAdory) and No. 257 overall Jordan Sims (Birmingham, Ala./Homewood). The class of 2015 list of unofficial visitors scheduled to be in attendance includes No. 2 overall and LSU commitment Kevin Toliver II (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy), No. 6 Martez Ivey (Apopka, Fla./Apopka), No. 13 Jeffery Holland (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy), No. 48 CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, Fla./Baker County), No. 77 Kendrick Norton (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy) and No. 158 Jake Fruhmorgen (Tampa, Fla./Plant), among many others.

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SEC recruiting storylines: Sept. 12 

September, 12, 2013
9/12/13
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After a terrific start to the college football season with big games and potential momentum changing wins and performances, this weekend features the most hyped game yet -- Alabama at Texas A&M. The visit list of what could be dubbed “Super Bowl Saturday” in College Station continues to grow with the Aggies expected to host the most talented visit weekend in the programs history. Here is a closer look at some of the hot topics throughout the SEC:

Five-star visit list in College Station
Texas A&M is taking full advantage of the long-awaited rematch with Alabama. The visitor list for Saturday can only be defined with the word “loaded.” Whether it’s official visitors in the 2014 class or unofficial visitors for 2015, the list of who's expected is star-studded in the recruiting world. Expected to visit College Station over the weekend include the likes of No. 1 overall Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine High), No. 7 Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin High), No. 8 Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr), No. 25 Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron High), No. 29 Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr), No. 81 Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/James Bowie High) and No. 158 Joshua Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Har Ber High). On the unofficial visit list are ESPN 300 members Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton High) and Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton High) in the 2014 class, along with a number of ESPN Junior 300 members, including running back commitments Rodney Anderson (Katy, Texas/Katy High) and Jay Bradford (Splendora, Texas/Splendora High) as well as uncommitted quarterback Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas/Allen High).

Gators all in on Sharpe
If there was any question if the Florida Gators were all in on No. 15 overall prospect David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School), it was answered earlier this week when four-star offensive tackle Benjamin Knox (DeLand, Fla./DeLand High) decommitted from Florida.

"At this very moment, I'm decommitting," Knox said. "Reason why because I haven't heard from them in over a month."

The Gators are making it clear to Sharpe that he is the top priority at offensive tackle. Florida currently has three offensive line commitments, all projected guards at the next level, and remain in the mix for No. 257 overall Jordan Sims (Birmingham, Ala./Homewood High).

Tennessee adds No. 25
Tennessee added commitment No. 25 this week with the addition of senior cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (Greensboro, N.C./Page High), but the Volunteers are not done in 2014. Four-star lineman Charles Mosley (Brighton, Tenn./Brighton High) is set to decide on Oct. 4 with the Vols squarely in the mix along with Alabama. Tennessee also remains in the mix for ESPN 300 prospects Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp High), defensive end DeWayne Hendrix (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon Township High), linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South High), cornerback D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton High) and end Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett High) among others with defensive line and linebacker being a top remaining priority. Hendrix and Garrett are set to officially visit Knoxville on Oct. 4.

Visit list for Tennessee-Florida taking shape

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SEC recruiting storylines: Aug. 29 

August, 29, 2013
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The long awaited college football season is set to kick off tonight. And while the start to the year has been at the forefront this week, a few storylines have developed on the recruiting front. Here is a closer look at some of the hot topics throughout the SEC:

Tennessee’s top recruit lost in season opener
Record-setting running back Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech) saw his senior season come to end following Beech’s 42-39 victory over Station Camp. The 6-foot-4, 222-pound playmaker re-injured his surgically repaired right shoulder early in the game. He played through the pain and rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns and played significant snaps at safety. Hurd is set to undergo surgery Sept. 9 to repair the partially torn labrum with a recovery expected to take between four to six months. The No. 39-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 plans to enroll at Tennessee in January. Hurd set a state single-season rushing record with 3,357 yards, and 43 touchdowns in 2012.

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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Michigan isn’t the only Big Ten team to make waves with 2015 recruits, as Ohio State landed a big junior commitment Monday; Garden City C.C. Dontavius Blair could be the most heavily recruited juco lineman in the nation; and Joe Mixon’s big reveal becomes a social media event.

No need to wait
After watching rival Michigan make a lot recruiting noise in the 2015 class, it was Ohio State’s turn to make news Sunday night. ESPN Junior 300 standout Eric Glover-Williams (Canton, Ohio/McKinley) had been leaning toward Ohio State for quite some time and decided to pledge to the Buckeyes. Glover-Williams, who is ranked 29th overall and fourth at athlete, had double-digit offers, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Tennessee and Pittsburgh, but he said he could only see himself playing at Ohio State. "It means a lot to me, to come in and help them build Ohio State toward winning a national championship," Glover-Williams said. "Most definitely I'll be involved in recruiting. I want the best of the best to come to Ohio State. I'll get the best players I can to Ohio State."

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SEC recruiting storylines: Aug. 22 

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
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The college football season is only seven days away, but there is still a lot of recruiting action happening around the SEC. Here is a closer look at some of the hot topics throughout the conference:


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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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The Opening: Alabama storylines 

June, 27, 2013
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There are 162 recruits nationwide who will venture to Oregon next week for The Opening, the nation’s premier camp event. The group includes four Alabama commitments and several Crimson Tide targets who will compete against the best of the best.

Here are five storylines for Alabama fans to keep an eye during the camp:

New recruiter

When ESPN 150 quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) committed to Alabama, he immediately reached out to five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe). He wanted his blind side protected for the next four years. Ever since his commitment, Cornwell has taken an active role recruiting for the Tide, doing his part to put together a special recruiting class. What better place to recruit than in Oregon at The Opening? Cornwell won’t find out what team he’ll be playing for until Sunday, but it’s safe to assume he’ll be chatting it up with several Alabama targets and commitments throughout the week as he hopes to bring a third consecutive No. 1 class to Tuscaloosa.


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The Opening, presented by Nike, will feature 162 of the best high school football players in the country. The event, which will include linemen, 7-on-7 and SPARQ testing competitions, is set to run from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The following events from The Opening will be televised on ESPNU:

July 1: SPARQ Rating National Championship, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET

July 2: 7-on-7 Pool Play, 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET

July 3: Linemen Challenge Finals and 7-on-7 semifinal and championship games, 9 p.m.-midnight ET

The players will be divided in to six teams -- Alpha Pro, Apocalypse, Field Generals, Land Sharks, Super Bad and Vapor Carbon. Here is a closer look at how the teams match up.

Team: Alpha Pro
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Jordan Palmer, defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson

The Alpha Pro team will have plenty of targets to spread the ball around. Ermon Lane and Tyler Luatua, the No. 1-ranked receiver and tight end in the country respectively, bring size and playmaking ability to the passing game. ESPN 300 athletes Corey Holmes, Jalen Hurd, John "JuJu" Smith, Ja'Von Harrison, and Derrell Scott are all explosive offensive weapons.

Defensively Alpha Pro is led by Andrew Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, ESPN 150 cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Andrew Williams, Ohio State linebacker commit Dante Booker and LSU cornerback commit Chris Hardeman.

Complete Alpha Pro roster.

Team: Apocalypse
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Adam Tafralis, defensive coordinator Donovin Darius

The first thing that jumps out about team Apocalypse is the talent in the defensive front seven. Team Apocalypse will be led by five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Hand, from Woodbridge, Va., is the No. 4-ranked player in the country, while McMillan was recently bumped up to a five-star linebacker. Joining Hand and McMillan along the front seven are ESPN 300 defensive linemen Anthony Moten and Ainuu Taua, and linebackers D.J. Calhoun and Rashaan Evans.

Offensively, team Apocalypse has no shortage of playmakers. ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott, K.D. Cannon and Michiah Quick will provide explosiveness in the passing game, while athletic running backs Joe Mixon and Royce Freeman will provide athletic and reliable targets out of the backfield.

Complete Apocalypse roster.

Team: Field Generals
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Michael Fletcher

Seven-on-seven events are always geared towards the offense, but with five-star defensive back Adoree' Jackson, No. 3-ranked safety Jamal Adams, and ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary, the Field Generals should more than hold their own. New Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes and the No. 6-ranked defensive end in the country, Solomon Thomas, will be two to watch along the defensive line.

Offensively, the Field Generals are led by ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, ESPN 300 wide receivers Austin Roberts and Thaddeus Snodgrass and explosive Notre Dame running back commit Elijah Hood.

Complete Field Generals roster.

Team: Landsharks
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Craig Nall, defensive coordinator Keith Bulluck

The Landsharks have some big-time talent along each line of scrimmage. Led by five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the Landsharks also feature ESPN 300 offensive guard Corey Martinez. ESPN 300 defensive linemen Gerald Willis III and Thomas Holley, as well as ESPN 300 defensive end Chad Thomas, will form a very physical and athletic defensive line.

In the secondary, the Landsharks will have three defensive backs -- Arrion Springs, Chris Lammons and Tony Brown -- that are ranked among the top 85 players in the country. The defense also features ESPN 150 linebacker Nyles Morgan.

Offensively, explosive running backs Dalvin Cook, a Florida commit, and Racean Thomas form a dangerous tandem out of the backfield, and wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jalen Harvey are solid receiving threats.

Complete Landsharks roster.

Team: Superbad
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Dennis Gile, defensive coordinator Harold Nash Jr.

The Superbad defense line is led by five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson. The linebacking corp is stacked with three ESPN 300 members, including Clifton Garrett, Christian Miller and Edwin Freeman. Cornerback Jalen Tabor is the No. 19-ranked player in the country.

Offensively, Superbad has a huge advantage with the No. 1-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette. This team is loaded on offense, with wide receivers Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Speedy Noil all in the mix.

Complete Superbad roster.

Team: Vapor Carbon
Coaches: Offensive coordinator George Whitfield, defensive coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Vapor Carbon will be tough to throw against with defensive backs Quin Blanding, Naijiel Hale and Ed Paris roaming the field. The linebacker group is just as impressive, with Ohio State commit Kyle Berger, Kain Daub and Dillon Bates all leading the way.

The offense for Vapor Carbon could be lethal with running back Joseph Yearby and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Spreading out wide receivers T.V. Williams, Justin Brent and tight end Ian Bunting on the outside could prove to be an awesome combination for this squad.

Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of pieces to make a long run in the 7-on-7 tournament, but then again, every team is stacked in this competition.

Complete Vapor Carbon roster.

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