Florida Gators: Illinois Fighting Illini

While Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) makes it look easy every time he steps on the field, the recruiting process off of it has become anything but.

With 12 schools -- Florida, Florida State, Illinois, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA and USC -- remaining in the hunt for the nation's N0. 5 overall player, the next step for Jackson will be choosing which five will receive official visits.

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Defensive back Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), the No. 5-ranked prospect in the ESPN 150, has narrowed his list to 10 schools.

Florida, Florida State, Illinois, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, UCLA and USC all made the cut, Jackson told ESPN's RecruitingNation in a text message.

Jackson, the second-ranked cornerback in the country, is planning visits to Illinois, Tennessee, Michigan and Notre Dame over the summer. He doesn't have a timeline for his decision, but this cut gets him closer to his final choice.

Jackson breaks them down

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#BlueChipBattles: ESPN 150 release edition

April, 19, 2013
Speedy Noil, Adoree Jackson, Da'Shawn HandStudent Sports, ESPN, ESPNSpeedy Noil, Adoree Jackson and Da'Shawn Hand are three of the most coveted recruits in the Class of 2014.
#BlueChipBattles Insider: RecruitingNation summoned its writers from around the country to outline the recruiting battles for the ESPN 150's top 10 prospects.

Plus, rank the battles in SportsNation.

#TopFBMixtapes: Athlete mixtapes are all the rage in this highlight-crazed era of sports. We reached out to our Twitter followers to find out which 2014 football stars had the best highlight reels on YouTube, then had our staff rank and comment on the top submissions.

Tom Luginbill writes Insider: After talking to many coaches across the country and hearing their frustrations, here are their five biggest complaints about homemade highlight videos.
ATHENS, Ga. -- For most high school players, the end of practice means they get a break from the incessant nagging and ceaseless instruction of their coaches. They go home, eat dinner, study and enjoy the respite until the whistles start blowing next time. For ESPN Watch List safety Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School), that is not the case.

Wilson’s father is the defensive coordinator and the defensive backs coach at the University School, so Wilson jokes that he gets no respite.

“Oh no, there’s no break, there’s no break,” Wilson said. “Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yeah, I get it at practice, before practice, after practice, in the car, at the dinner table ...”

The talented junior laughed about the nonstop instruction but he also credited his father with making him the player he is today -- one of the most coveted safeties in Florida.

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ESPN 60 PG JaQuan Lyle down to six

March, 11, 2013
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.

Jackson likes what he sees from USC 

February, 24, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- A lack of communication leading up to USC junior day nearly prevented ESPN Watch List cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) from attending, but a quick phone call from coach Lane Kiffin on Thursday cleared the air.

Jackson accepted the invite and made the short drive to campus on Sunday to meet the new members of the coaching staff.

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HS hoops on TV: Players to watch 

January, 4, 2013
The Cancer Research Classic, held this weekend in Wheeling, W.Va., is an up-and-coming event with a tremendous amount of talent from a variety of high school teams across the country. And two of the premier games from the event will be televised live on ESPN networks Saturday night.

No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) will take on No. 12 Chicago Simeon at 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. That matchup will be followed by Gonzaga (D.C.) against Salesian (Calif.) at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN.

The two televised games feature a ton of elite talent in the 2013 class, led by No. 2 overall prospect Jabari Parker (Duke), No. 2 point guard Kasey Hill (Florida), No. 1 center Dakari Johnson (uncommitted) and No. 23 overall recruit Jabari Bird (Cal). But there will also be elite underclassmen on display, as well as recruits for Villanova, Illinois and Dayton.

In fact, all four teams feature multiple Division I prospects. So with that in mind, here are 10 players to watch on Saturday night when you tune into ESPN2, ESPNU or WatchESPN.

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The 7th annual Heath Evans Foundation 7-on-7 tournament will be loaded with FBS talent when the first pass is thrown Saturday morning in West Palm Beach, Fla.

ESPN 150/300 Prospects

Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton (No. 4)

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Florida visited one of the top wide receiver prospects in the nation this week -- Robert Foster.

The ESPN 150 star is the No. 2-ranked wide receiver in the country. He already has more than 30 scholarship offers from top schools and still remains open

Foster hasn’t thought much about when he will narrow his list or make a decision. He wants to take the summer to spend time with his family, work out with his team and prepare for his senior season.

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RB Green heading to Tallahassee 

April, 12, 2012
It's been hard to catch St. Pete Catholic (St. Petersburg, Fla.) running back Ryan Green this season because he's been running full speed with the track team.

But the 5-foot-10, 195-pound junior will slow down long enough to check out FSU's spring game this weekend according to Ryan's father, Vader Green.

"We're going to head up to Tallahassee after Ryan's track meet on Friday," said Vader Green. "There's been a lot of back-and-forth conversation between Ryan and the FSU coaches, so things are still good with them."

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Defensive end Carl Lawson of Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton High School wants to make one thing clear: He isn't just a hand-on-the-ground player.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound junior has been working on dropping into coverage and rushing the passer from an outside linebacker spot, and he said it's something he's eager to prove he's capable of doing in summer camps and throughout his upcoming senior season.

"I know people have misconceptions about me whether or not I can stand up or possibly play that outside linebacker position," Lawson said after participating in Florida's junior day. "I've been practicing."

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Billy Donovan in elite company

February, 16, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tuesday's victory over Alabama was a significant one for Florida coach Billy Donovan -- and not only because it snapped a two-game losing streak and helped the Gators remain in second place in the Southeastern Conference.

It was UF's 20th victory of the season, and that extended Donovan's streak of consecutive 20-win seasons to 14. That puts him among some elite company in college basketball history.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Donovan is one of only eight coaches in NCAA Division I history who have won at least 20 games in 14 or more consecutive seasons. It's an impressive list, headed by Dean Smith, who won at least 20 games for a record 27 consecutive seasons at North Carolina from 1971-1997. Arizona's Lute Olson is second with 20 consecutive seasons of at least 20 victories.

Some other interesting tidbits about the list:

Minnesota's Tubby Smith won at least 20 games in 17 consecutive seasons from 1994-2010 while coaching four teams: Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky and Minnesota.

(Read full post)

Valentine closing in on decision 

January, 30, 2012
Vincent Valentine Jr. is trying to take it slow. The problem is he has a little more than 36 hours to make a decision.

The three-star defensive tackle from Edwardsville, Ill., is down to a final three of Florida, Illinois and Nebraska. He took his last official visit on Jan. 20 and spent last week mulling his options over.

“This week has been crazy,” he said. “Nonstop coaches are calling me, Facebooking me and working me all day. All of my [high school] coaches are giving me their opinions.

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Valentine decision coming soon 

January, 23, 2012
With official visits to his final three teams now out of the way, it is decision time for three-star Edwardsville (Ill.) defensive tackle Vincent Valentine Jr.

Florida, Illinois and Nebraska make up Valentine’s finalists.

“I think I’ll have my decision by the end of the week,” Valentine said. “This week is for me to sit down and just think about everything and what are the advantages and disadvantages of me being some places. I was sitting in class [Monday] writing on a piece of paper about the three colleges.”

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Heading into his weekend visit to Florida, Edwardsville, Ill., defensive tackle Vincent Valentine Jr. had Nebraska as his leader by a wide margin.

That is not the case anymore as the Gators have closed in.

“How much I bonded with the coaches,” the three-star Valentine said stuck out the most on his first visit to Gainesville, Fla. “I can see myself playing for them. That really stuck out.”

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ESPN 300 Ranking Motivates Byron Cowart
After a recent rise into the top 10 overall, defensive end Byron Cowart of Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) joins ESPN's Matt Schick to discuss recruiting and the new ESPN 300.Tags: Byron Cowart, Armwood, ESPN 300, RecruitingNation, high school football recruiting, Matt Schick