Florida Gators: Arizona State Sun Devils

BRADENTON, Fla. — There were as many as 10 games going on at the same time at the IMG 7v7 National Championship over the weekend, and at times it was difficult to determine just who the top performers were. After all, there were more than 30 prospects in the ESPN 300 who participated. Here's a closer look at several seniors who stood out during the two-day event.

ATH Deon Cain
Committed to Clemson
ESPN 300 rank: 25
Cain helped lead his team, Unsigned Preps from Tampa, to the championship game with several acrobatic catches. The trio of Cain, Ray Ray McCloud III and junior-to-be wide receiver Nate Craig proved to be too much for teams to handle. Cain is solidly committed to Clemson and said he is not considering any other schools at this time.
S Derwin James
Committed to Florida State
ESPN 300 rank: 26
James is known for his physical play, but he showed he is more than just a big hitter. James broke up several passes and just always seemed to be around the ball. Like Cain, he is solid with his commitment, but in this case to the Seminoles.
CB Iman Marshall
Uncommitted
ESPN 300 rank: 20
Marshall played wide receiver and defensive back for his team, B2G, and excelled at both. The four-star prospect teamed with another ESPN 300 receiver, Trent Irwin, to form a dangerous pass-catching combo. Marshall is still narrowing his choices but knows he will take visits in the fall to Florida State and Notre Dame.

Notebook: IMG 7v7 Championship 

June, 23, 2014
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- The IMG 7v7 National Championship held at IMG Academy over the weekend featured some of the top 7-on-7 teams from all over the country and even a few teams from Canada. The event, which included 12 prospects ranked in the top 50 of the ESPN 300, showcased some of the best talent you will find in a single tournament. Led by Alabama verbal commits Calvin Ridley and Shawn Burgess-Becker, the Florida Fire from South Florida defeated Tampa’s Unsigned Preps 20-18 in the championship game to take home the title.

Quarterbacks shine

There were several high-profile quarterbacks in attendance, and they lived up to the hype for the most part. Deondre Francois, who recently transferred to IMG Academy, made numerous impressive throws. The 6-foot-2, 188-pound signal-caller has a top three of Oregon, Auburn and Florida State and is planning to make his decision at the end of July.


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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.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: With coaches on the road visiting high schools in the spring, they bump into prospects all the time wearing gear of a rival school. So does that make coaches think differently of those prospects? Plus, one of the nation's top quarterbacks makes his decision Friday.


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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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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 20, 2014
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The dead period is over, and this was the first of three official visit weekends remaining before national signing day on Feb. 5. Several top prospects visited SEC schools, there were some commits, and there will be a few announcements this week. Here’s a closer look at the latest recruiting news from around the SEC:

Biggest commits: Georgia is already feeling the effects of new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on the recruiting trail. The Bulldogs were able to land two ESPN Junior 300 commitments, Rico McGraw (Nashville, Tenn./The Ensworth School) and Terry Godwin (Hogansville, Ga./Callaway), over the weekend.


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Early Offer: Florida gets Sharpe 

December, 13, 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: After a few days off, the Early Offer is back with news on Florida adding one of the best offensive linemen in the country; a road trip that takes fans inside the world of coaches on the road; and an avalanche of commitments from junior college prospects is coming in the next week.

Gators get their guy

It took a little bit longer than anticipated, but Florida landed highly coveted offensive lineman David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence) on Thursday. Sharpe, the No. 18 player in the country and second-ranked offensive tackle, pushed back a scheduled decision before Thanksgiving to Thursday, but in the end it was worth the wait for Florida fans.


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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: Washington has a chance to turn its 2014 recruiting efforts around with key Pac 12 games; Texas Tech running back commit Justin Stockton found himself in a problem this week; and will the New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr duo of Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis III visit Gainesville this weekend?


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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: Da'Shawn Hand changing his visit schedule up is good news for Wolverine fans and bad news for Alabama fans; Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M fans can see big pieces of their 2014 recruiting classes on television Friday night; and one of the top juco recruits in last year’s class is going to redshirt at Kansas.

Looking good for the Wolverines
Five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) was set to visit Florida on Oct. 4 for its game against Arkansas and Alabama on Nov. 8 for its game against LSU with national title implications on the line. However, the SAT is on Oct. 5, causing Hand to alter his schedule. Hand is still ironing out the final details, but it looks like he will visit Alabama on Oct. 25 when its hosts Tennessee, and he'll trip to Florida on Nov. 8 when the Gators host Vanderbilt. He’s already taken a visit to Michigan and will announce his decision on Nov. 14. The Wolverines have been his leader for quite some time with Florida and then Alabama next in line. Some observers have long-worried what a visit to Alabama for what could be the game of the year would do to Hand’s process. But a college coach close to the situation believes the change now gives Michigan a major edge and puts Bama clearly third in the pack. “I would say this puts it at about 80 percent for Michigan,” the coach said. “The biggest question left is whether or not Florida can wow him enough right before his announcement to get him to change his mind.”

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3-point stance: Embracing tradition

September, 6, 2013
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1. The more that college football progresses, the more schools that seem to be reaching back into their tradition. Arizona State has put up a portrait of College Football Hall of Famer Pat Tillman at the end of the tunnel the team goes through to the Sun Devil Stadium field. I hope more schools do something like that. It ties the players and the fans to the school’s history. College football, without history and tradition, would be a far duller sport.

2. Good news is that Stanford and San Jose State have christened Saturday’s game the Bill Walsh Legacy Game. Walsh played at and graduated from San Jose State. He started and finished his legendary head coaching career at Stanford. The bad news is that the two schools, only 25 minutes apart, are putting the series on the shelf after playing nearly annually since 1948. The rivalry may not be Notre Dame-Michigan, but this is one more sign that progress leaves casualties in its wake.

3. Florida-Miami is another one that should be played more but won’t be. As Pat Dooley wrote at GatorSports.com, since Florida plays one neutral-site conference game (Georgia) already, the Gators have a greater financial imperative to play home games against the three non-conference opponents that aren’t Florida State. Florida’s last non-conference road game? Miami in 2003, and the Gators lost. The last non-conference road game out of state? Syracuse in 1991, and the Gators lost. No wonder they want to play at home.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- When Abu Lamin and DaVonte Lambert heard they would be paired for an official visit to Florida this past weekend, they sought each other on social media and struck up the beginnings of a friendship. After all, the juco prospects have a lot in common.

They're from the South, they play on the defensive line and they're coveted prospects itching to prove themselves at college football's highest level.

"We've got a real strong bond now," Lamin said on Sunday as he headed home. "We've been with each other all weekend, we all went out together, so we're definitely close now."

Abu Lamin
Jeff Barlis/ESPNJuco prospect Abu Lamin is a 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle.
They now have one more thing in common. After a weekend with the Gators, Lamin and Lambert each emerged with Florida as his top school.


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Sunshine State OT names leader 

March, 17, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Former Michigan offensive lineman commit Denzel Ward (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academies) was one of the standout linemen at Saturday's Orlando NFTC.


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Rising Seniors Day 2 notebook 

December, 29, 2012
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One of the standouts for the Rising Seniors East offense on the first day of practice was tight end Milan Richard (Savannah, Ga./Calvary Day). The 6-3, 230-pound junior did not get a lot of passes thrown his way this season, but was still able to catch 22 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns, and he enjoyed the added repetitions at Grady Stadium on Friday.

“I think I picked up the terminology well, but my route-running needs to sharpen up,” Richard said. “I am able to stretch the field as a big receiver, but I need to do better in a three-point stance because I am used to working out of a spread.”

[+] EnlargeMilan Richard
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.com2014 tight end Milan Richard has Clemson and South Carolina on top, but several others, including home state Georgia, in the mix.
The ESPN Watch List selection has double-digit offers, but he said two schools are standing out in his mind.

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After decommitting from Colorado in October, three-star tight end Mitchell Parsons (Parker, Colo./Chaparral) has been all about finding a college home that fits him. Whether that decision comes sooner or later is still the question.

Parsons said that while he is still open with his process, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss are current front-runners. Both schools have offered the 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end, in addition to Arizona State, Cal and Northern Colorado.

“I want it over with badly,” Parsons said of the process, "but I’m going to make an educated choice. It’s stressful, for sure, but I mean, I’m glad I opened it up.”

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ESPN 150 defensive end Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) spent the last two weekends in Mississippi visiting each of the state's BCS programs. This weekend it was Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss's turn to host Daniel, a former Clemson commitment.

"It was good," said Daniel, who returned home from his visit Sunday. "It was pretty cool, really cool, like the walk of champions to being inside the stadium."

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