Florida Gators: North Carolina State Wolfpack

Notes from South Carolina camp 

June, 16, 2014
Jun 16
11:00
AM ET
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina Gamecocks hosted their annual prospect camp on Friday. With the three consecutive 11-win seasons and top-10 finishes, as well as producing a number of high NFL draft choices led by 2014 No. 1 overall selection Jadeveon Clowney, the level of talent at the camps continues to rise.

Here is some news and notes from the camp:

video
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Florida State already has one of the best 2015 classes in the nation, but after a key prospect says he's ready to commit, it's about to get even better. South Carolina quarterback prospect Kelly Bryant continues to be a hot target with recruiters this spring, but Bryant says only five schools are on the top of his list.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Getting to know Shy Tuttle 

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
10:00
AM ET
Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- When going down the list of the most productive players in the Class of 2015, defensive tackle Shy Tuttle might be at the top.

In three varsity seasons, Tuttle, No. 12 in the ESPN Junior 300, has more than 230 tackles, including over 50 tackles for loss and more than 30 sacks.
According to North Davidson head coach Mark Holcomb, there are more reasons for his success than just raw talent.

“He is stronger and quicker than the kids he’s lined up against, so he’s able to push kids on this level around,” Holcomb said. “But he plays hard, runs to the ball, and effort is something you can’t coach, and he came here with that. He plays hard, lifts hard and just does things the right way.”


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Carolinas event loaded with top prospects 

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
10:11
PM ET

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Carolinas consistently have proved to be one of the top areas in the nation to find gridiron talent. These two states in recent years have produced players like current Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall player in the 2011 class, and Georgia RB Todd Gurley. For the 2014 class, 22 players from these two states are represented in the ESPN 300, and several of them are taking part in the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas here this week.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The numbers continue to show the SEC dominates college football recruiting; North Dakota State could be a thorn in the side of Big 12 teams on the recruiting trail; and even though NC State lost to Clemson last week, it made a big impression with one of the nation’s top defenders.

SCORE-BOARD, SCORE-BOARD
The Class of 2014 recruiting scoreboard continues to show the dominance of the SEC. So far SEC schools have commitments from 83 recruits in the ESPN 300. To put it in perspective, you would have to combine the ACC (39), Big 12 (25) and Big Ten (24) to get more ESPN 300 commits than the SEC. The SEC also has an astounding 106 four-star recruits committed to its schools, which is 44 more than ACC, 62 more than the Big 12 and 77 more than the Pac 12. The ACC -- headlined by impressive hauls by Florida State and Miami -- is the conference closest to the SEC. The ACC and the SEC are the only conferences at this point that have two five-star recruits committed to league teams.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ACC predictions: Week 2

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
8:00
AM ET
Not a bad start to the season for the ACC or us bloggers. Heather Dinich and I each went 11-1 with our picks. Hopefully another strong week awaits.

FRIDAY

Wake Forest (1-0) at Boston College (1-0), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2. The Eagles opened as an early favorite, which is somewhat surprising considering the Deacons have the better team. Both squads had some ups and downs in their openers against FCS competition last week, but from my seat, the Wake defense looked much better than BC's. The Deacs produced six turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown. That is why I give Wake the advantage in this game.

AA picks: Wake Forest 20, Boston College 17

HD picks: Wake Forest 24, Boston College 20

SATURDAY

No. 12 Florida (1-0) at Miami (1-0), noon, ESPN. The Hurricanes have an excellent opportunity to make a statement against their former archrivals in the final scheduled regular-season meeting between the programs. Miami has the best offensive player on the field in Duke Johnson, but he will be playing against a formidable defense -- perhaps the best he will see all season. I do not think Miami can physically match up on the offensive and defensive lines and will get worn down as the game goes on. Florida might not have as many explosive players on offense, but its defense will rise to the occasion.

AA picks: Florida 23, Miami 17

HD picks: Florida 31, Miami 24

Middle Tennessee (1-0) at North Carolina (0-1), 12:30 p.m., ESPN3. The Tar Heels had a disappointing performance in a loss to South Carolina, especially from their defense. UNC's defensive front got no pressure on the quarterback and could not stop the run. The secondary got beat on several long passes downfield. Middle Tennessee upset Georgia Tech last season, but I don't see a similar outcome in this one. North Carolina will get a much better game out of Bryn Renner and its defense.

AA picks: North Carolina 44, Middle Tennessee 20

HD picks: North Carolina 42, Middle Tennessee 21

South Carolina State (0-1) at No. 4 Clemson (1-0), 12:30 p.m., ESPN3. The Tigers have to guard against the letdown factor after such an emotional win over Georgia last week. They now have their highest ranking since 1988, and the nation will be expecting a blowout against an FCS team. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris wants the offense to play faster, so that is one key to watch.

AA picks: Clemson 63, South Carolina State 7

HD picks: Clemson 55, South Carolina State 0

Western Carolina (0-1) at Virginia Tech (0-1), 1:30 p.m., ESPN3. The Hokies have all sorts of issues to work out on offense and special teams. Coach Frank Beamer promises changes to correct the mistakes that allowed Alabama to score twice on kick returns last week. Receivers have got to do more to help out Logan Thomas. One injury note: Virginia Tech hopes to have running back J.C. Coleman available. This is a team the Hokies should dominate. Now, they have to do it.

AA picks: Virginia Tech 41, Western Carolina 3

HD picks: Virginia Tech 35, Western Carolina 3

No. 2 Oregon (1-0) at Virginia (1-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC. Oregon makes its first trip to ACC country on Saturday, becoming just the third top-three nonconference team to play in Charlottesville. The UVa defense looked strong in its Week 1 win over BYU, but the Ducks present quite a different challenge given the pace and production they get out of their offense. Oregon rolled up 772 yards last week in a win over Nicholls State. Gulp. Simply put, the Hoos just do not have the personnel on offense and defense to keep up.

AA picks: Oregon 45, Virginia 17

HD picks: Oregon 45, Virginia 17

Old Dominion (0-1) at Maryland (1-0), 4 p.m., ESPNews. The Terps hope to build off an impressive performance in Week 1. C.J. Brown was terrific in his return to the field, and we all saw what this offense is capable of with Stefon Diggs and Deon Long. Taking a peek ahead, the schedule sets up for Maryland to go 4-0 in nonconference play.

AA picks: Maryland 48, Old Dominion 10

HD picks: Maryland 42, Old Dominion 7

Duke (1-0) at Memphis (0-0), 4:30 p.m., ESPN3. This is not going to be a walk-over for the Blue Devils. Memphis is a much improved team than it was several seasons ago. And much improved over the team Duke beat at the start of last season. The Tigers have a new quarterback but return a majority of their starters, including two standouts on the defensive line in Johnnie Farms and Martin Ifedi. This will be a good early road test for the Blue Devils.

AA picks: Duke 35, Memphis 20

HD picks: Duke 38, Memphis 24

Syracuse (0-1) at No. 19 Northwestern (1-0), 6 p.m., Big Ten Network. The Orange dropped a heartbreaker to Northwestern to open last season. Now they hit the road to face them again after a disappointing loss to Penn State. Syracuse has some problems to fix on offense, and it needs a better effort out of quarterback Drew Allen in this game. The Orange also have to do a better job of establishing the run if they are going to have any chance to win.

AA picks: Northwestern 28, Syracuse 21

HD picks: Northwestern 35, Syracuse 17

Richmond (1-0) at NC State (1-0), 6 p.m. ESPN3. The Spiders are one of the best teams in FCS and have notched wins over Duke in the past, so this is not a team that should be taken lightly -- especially after the FCS upsets in Week 1. Quarterback Pete Thomas gets his shot to start, but keep an eye on the running back rotation now that Shadrach Thornton returns to the lineup. Freshman Matt Dayes had a big game last week against Louisiana Tech, so coach Dave Doeren says he will use a three-man rotation with Tony Creecy, Thornton and Dayes.

AA picks: NC State 38, Richmond 13

HD picks: NC State 41, Richmond 10
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s easily evident to those not inside the Florida locker room every day that Jeff Driskel has changed.

He’s still focused and driven, but he comes across as much more confident and definitely more relaxed, which was obvious when he hammed it up with a significantly shorter member of the media just before doing a video shoot.

That’s an indication that Driskel is much more at ease with who he is and more comfortable and confident in his knowledge and abilities as the Gators’ starting quarterback.

[+] EnlargeJeff Driskel
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsNow the undisputed starter, Jeff Driskel has been a more relaxed presence at QB for the Gators this offseason.
Driskel knows the offense completely now that he’s in his second season under offensive coordinator Brent Pease. He knows where his receivers are supposed to be (even if they don’t), knows his pre-snap reads and adjustments, and feels much more comfortable in the pocket. His fundamentals are better, too.

He should be a better player in 2013, someone capable of putting the team on his shoulders and winning a game instead of being a caretaker whose main directive was to not turn the ball over.

“It’s his football team,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “[Driskel] attacked the offseason the way you’re supposed to as far as his mental preparation, watching film. He understands what we’re doing offensively much better than a year ago, which is expected.”

The main reason for Driskel’s improvement is that he’s no longer fighting for the job. He’s not competing with Jacoby Brissett, who left for N.C. State after the season ended, or worried that a couple of poor drives or games would get him benched.

The biggest benefit of that situation is that he’s essentially getting twice as many practice reps, twice as much time in the film room, and twice as much individual work with Pease. He’s taking all of the first-team snaps instead of sharing them. He’s breaking down every play in the film room. He’s explaining every protection and adjustment and getting nearly all of the feedback.

That showed during the spring, Muschamp said.

“When the game slows down a little bit, you get a little more mental quickness of where to take the ball down the field, first progression read to the second, and understanding where the pressure may come from,” Muschamp said. “That’s part of the growing process of a young quarterback.”

Driskel said he’s gaining a much better rapport with the receivers, which was something that he wasn’t able to do last season because there was always some awkwardness between the quarterbacks and receivers because of the competition between Driskel and Brissett.

“When there’s a competition, you know, some guys are going to -- not be on one side or the other -- but there’s not the as close of a bond because no one wants to step on anyone’s toes and no one wants to get on someone’s bad side,” Driskel said. “When there’s one set quarterback I think everyone responds well to it and everyone kind of is looking at the same person and getting on the same page with one person instead of doing it with two.”

Driskel still has a lot on which to improve, specifically mastering the pass protections and knowing which adjustments to make and when and getting rid of the ball quicker to avoid sacks.

But he appears to be on his way to becoming the kind of quarterback he was projected to be when he came out of Oviedo (Fla.) Hagerty High School in 2011 -- which should keep the Gators in contention for an Eastern Division title.
video

INDIANAPOLIS -- The adidas Invitational is in its fifth year of competition and boasts a notable list of alums, headlined by recent NBA first-round picks Andre Drummond, Cody Zeller and Shabazz Muhammad. This year’s event began on Wednesday and will conclude on Sunday with the championship game, which will air live on ESPNU at 2 p.m. ET.

Thursday marked the first full day of competition and the players’ intensity was apparent from the start, with top-10 junior Stephen Zimmerman and Florida recruit Brandone Francis among the day’s elite performers.

Here’s a look at who stood out among the star-studded list of participants on Thursday.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Finding the Future: Charlotte NFTC 

March, 25, 2013
3/25/13
9:54
AM ET
Editor's note: Finding the Future is a RecruitingNation feature that will appear throughout camps and combine season, ranking prospects strictly on their on-field performance at the particular event. It does not reflect where each will land when the class is ranked by ESPN.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There might have been as many BCS conference-caliber recruits in the 2015 and 2016 classes present at the NFTC Sunday than there were in the 2014 class. It looks like the next couple of classes in the Carolinas will be stocked with top-tier talent, and a few of them stood out on Sunday in the rain.

1. 2015 DT Albert Huggins

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Lessons Learned: Charlotte NFTC 

March, 24, 2013
3/24/13
6:07
PM ET
CORNELIUS, N.C. -- The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour continued in the Charlotte area on Saturday as many top players from the Carolinas and beyond showcased their skills at Hough High School. With deep running back and linebacker groups set to go head-to-head, the weather ultimately might have been the big winner. In spite of cold temperatures and a chilling rain, several players earned MVP honors and many more stood out.

Recruiting Nation writers Miller Safrit and Kipp Adams attended the camp. Here is what they learned:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ESPN 60 PG JaQuan Lyle down to six

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
6:29
PM ET
ESPN 60 junior JaQuan Lyle (Evansville, Ind./Bosse) narrowed his college choices to six schools over the weekend. Lyle confirmed the news via his Twitter account on Saturday.

The 6-foot-4 point guard will decide among Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Louisville, Tennessee and Ohio State. Eliminated were Texas, NC State, Georgetown and Cincinnati.

Lyle's junior season came to an end on Saturday in an 82-65 loss to Greensburg in a regional semifinal. He scored 25 points and added 10 rebounds in the defeat.

Randle trims NC State and Oklahoma 

March, 8, 2013
3/08/13
1:35
PM ET


ESPN 100 No. 3 overall prospect Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian) has cut NC State and Oklahoma from his list of finalists, ESPN.com's Dave Telep has learned.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ESPN 60 SG primed for big spring 

March, 7, 2013
3/07/13
4:41
PM ET
In the coming months, you’re likely to hear the name Grayson Allen (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School) quite a bit. By now, you know 2014 prospects Theo Pinson, Justise Winslow and Rashad Vaughn. Those guys sit at the head of the table in terms of available junior wings, and that’s cool -- they deserve it.

Grayson Allen
Courtesy of mylineagofchampions2014 SG Grayson Allen is the No. 36 player in the ESPN 60.
Then there’s Allen, a 6-foot-4 junior shooting guard who enters the spring armed with ammunition. He has himself a state championship and his team went 31-1. The only loss was to Arlington Country Day (Fla.) and Allen didn’t play in that game due to an ankle sprain. This kid can pass, drive and shoot it enough to be in contention to squeeze himself into a seat at the head of the table.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ATHENS, Ga. -- Considering that running back Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek) is only in his second year of high school but already has 25 scholarship offers, the case can be made that Patrick is one of the most coveted prospects in the Class of 2015.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Julius Randle added to McDonald's game 

March, 6, 2013
3/06/13
12:04
PM ET


It has been an eventful couple of weeks for ESPN 100 No. 3 overall prospect Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian). First, he returned to the court three weeks ago after being out since November with a fractured foot. Then on Monday he announced he would make his college decision March 20.

And on Wednesday, the McDonald's All American Games announced Randle has been added to the McDonald's roster as a 25th player. He will suit up for the East squad in the game, which will be played April 3 at the United Center in Chicago and televised live on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. ET.

[+] EnlargeJulius Randle
John F. Rhodes for ESPN.comJulius Randle was added to the McDonald's All American roster on Wednesday.
The McDonald’s All American Games released the following statement: “Today, the McDonald’s All American Games Selection Committee is pleased to name Julius Randle of Prestonwood Christian Academy to the 2013 McDonald’s All American Team. As promised, we’ve been closely monitoring Randle’s play since his return to the court in February, and it’s been an inspiring return to watch. Randle has not only proven that he is capable of competing at the highest level, but truly deserving of the title McDonald’s All American.”

Why did this happen and what does it mean?

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Bama and UF offenses could be biggest key
Going into Saturday's SEC matchup, Florida has not won at Alabama in 16 years.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 9/18
Saturday, 9/20