Florida Gators: Syracuse Orange

Top position classes: QBs 

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
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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 Florida Gators had a major need at quarterback in the Class of 2014, and Will Muschamp and staff more than filled it, signing two of the nation’s top signal-callers. Third-ranked dual-threat prospect Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day School) is already on campus and preparing for spring practice, while No. 7 dual-threat prospect Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) was a huge signing-day flip from Florida State. Both prospects are great athletes who are accustomed to operating uptempo offenses. This should also help newly hired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who will install a similar scheme in Gainesville.

The Gators had the nation's best QB class; here's which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

ACC predictions: Week 2

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
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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
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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The most important position on the basketball court when it comes to winning games is point guard. They come in all shapes and sizes with different talents, but the one common denominator is that a good point guard is a must in recruiting.

Here is a look at five of the nation’s top point guards in the Class of 2013, what each does better than anyone in the country and what they’ll bring to their college teams next season.

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Sometimes it takes a few years for high school prospects to be discovered by major college football programs, but for Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln junior defensive tackle Thomas Holley, it took only eight games.

Holley began his high school career playing basketball at national powerhouse Christ the King in Middle Village, N.Y., but when he began to fill in to his 6-foot-4 frame, he realized his future might be in another sport.


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Georgia offers ESPN Watch List DE 

January, 25, 2013
1/25/13
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video
When Georgia lost defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner to Auburn, the worry amongst the Georgia fans was more focused on how his departure would impact recruiting so close to signing day rather than what would happen on the defensive front. But according to one ESPN Watch List standout, Garner’s replacement will do just fine.


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Hoophall Classic: Players to watch 

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
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The Spalding Hoophall Classic held near the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., is annually the nation’s best in-season high school basketball event -- and this year may be its best field ever. Which is saying something considering the likes of Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger and Kyrie Irving have played in the showcase.

The elite national matchups will get rolling on Saturday and then really kick into gear on Sunday and Monday, when six games will be televised across ESPN, ESPNU and WatchESPN. In those six TV games alone, 25 players ranked in the ESPN 100 and seven teams ranked in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings will be featured, including the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects, six of the top 12 recruits in the country and a showdown between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams. Recruits for Kentucky, Duke, Florida, Syracuse, Indiana, NC State, Georgetown, Washington, Baylor, BYU and more will be on display.

To get you set for all the action, here are the players to watch for each of the 12 teams playing on TV this weekend.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- And then there were five.

Under Armour All-America Game officials have confirmed that Pomfret (Md.) McDonough four-star offensive tackle Na'Ty Rodgers will not announce his decision tonight’s game. Kickoff for the sixth annual game is at 5 p.m. ET and is broadcast on ESPN.

Rodgers tweeted late last night that he wasn’t going to announce his decision and likely would wait until signing day.

“I've decided to not announce tomorrow,” the tweet said. “Sorry folks.”

Rodgers was expected to decide between Maryland and South Carolina at the game, but now he’s going to wait. Oklahoma and Washington have also been in contention with Rodgers, who ranks as the nation’s No. 27 offensive tackle and the No. 9 player in Maryland.

Still scheduled to announce are four-star safety Leon McQuay III, four-star defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko, four-star athlete Max Redfield, four-star linebacker Trey Johnson and four-star athlete Kendell Beckwith.

McQuay is expected to pick between Florida State and USC. Ogundeko lists Syracuse and Clemson as the favorites.

Redfield listed Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC as his finalists, but the Buckeyes aren't actively recruiting him and he should pick between the Irish and Trojans.

Beckwith will decide between LSU and Alabama. Johnson will choose from Ohio State, Tennessee and Florida, but the final pick will be between the Buckeyes and Vols.
SAN ANTONIO -- In recruiting, players can hate the process one day, love it the next.

ESPN 300 defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) has seen both sides, but is looking to make the process a past discussion.

[+] EnlargeJoe Mathis
Damon Sayles/ESPNESPN 300 DE Joe Mathis is expected to commit on Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Mathis is one of seven players expected to announce where they’ll play college football during Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome. While many feel he’s leaning toward one school, Mathis said he’s eyed four schools fairly evenly.

“Truthfully, I really like Alabama, USC, UCLA and Washington,” Mathis said. “They’re like all even. Everybody thinks Washington is in front, but I really like them all.”

Mathis said many feel he’s a Washington lean because of his recent official visit to Seattle and the campus. He left the trip wearing a Washington beanie, but not because of what some fans believe.

“I took an official up there, and I left my hat because it’s cold up north, so I got a nice beanie,” Mathis said. “Since then, people think I’m Washington.”

Mathis, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound end, has an idea of which school he wants to choose, but he said he will take his decision all the way to the morning of the game -- possibly even through his scheduled time to announce.

“It’s going to be a hard decision,” he said. “I mean, it’s the next four years of my life.”

Mathis said he is being recruited by offensive line coach James Cregg (USC), secondary coach Demetrice Martin (UCLA), defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi (Washington) and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (Alabama).

Newsmaker: ESPN 150 wide receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) and ESPN 150 quarterback Asiantii Woulard (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) arrived in San Antonio around lunchtime on Thursday. However, neither player will play in the game per bowl officials.

North (6-3, 210) is the No. 12 receiver and No. 133 player overall. There have been whispers that he could announce at the game. He has taken official visits to Florida (Oct. 5) and Tennessee (Oct. 19). North also has offers from Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and others.

There have also been whispers that Woulard (6-3, 205), the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country, could also announce. Woulard took an official visit to NC State on Nov. 9. In addition to the Wolfpack, he also has offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, Pitt, South Florida, Syracuse, among others.

Notable: Alabama commitment Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga./Walton) didn’t think he would make the trip to San Antonio because of a pre-existing knee injury. However, he decided to fly in Thursday and will be at Saturday’ game but will not play. … After a shortened afternoon practice for the West, ESPN 150 quarterback Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) and three-star wide receiver Corey Robinson (San Antonio/San Antonio Christian) were spotted getting some extra work in by running routes. Browne, a December high school graduate, has signed his scholarship papers to USC, while Robinson, the son of NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, is committed to Notre Dame. … Top-rated offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) didn’t participate in much of practice because of illness. Tunsil, who suits up for the East, is expected to be ready for the game.


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4-star DE Ogundeko eliminates Gators 

December, 30, 2012
12/30/12
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Four-star defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Jefferson) will make his college decision Friday at the Under Armour All-America Game. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound athlete will make his choice between Syracuse and Clemson.


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Johnson flirts with perfection, slices list 

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Chaminade-esque run of Bishop Verot (Fort Myers, Fla.) at the City of Palms Classic ended on Wednesday courtesy of national No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) and a big fella named Dakari Johnson (New York, N.Y./Montverde).

To say the Vikings couldn’t stop Johnson, the No. 1-ranked center in the ESPN 100, isn’t accurate because that would imply they did at least on occasion. Instead, Johnson carve up a depleted Verot frontline for 23 points and 10 rebounds as he went 11-for-11 from the field. Only a 2-for-4 performance from the line cost him offensive efficiency perfection.

Afterward, Johnson still couldn’t miss when he talked recruiting.

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Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson) is down to two schools.

The ESPN 150 defensive end with more than 20 offers has two schools at the top: Clemson and Florida. They are now the only two schools he is looking at.

"Down to those 2," Ogundeko wrote in a text message.

Ogundeko's last two official visits went to the Tigers and Gators, and the official visit to Clemson helped the Tigers catch the Gators at the top of Ogundeko's list.

Clemson assistant coach Marion Hobby made an in-home visit with Ogundeko, the No. 1 player in New York, this week.

"Just things about the campus. The coaching staff and distance. And of course playing time," Ogundeko said of the conversation with Hobby.

Syracuse assistant coach John Anselmo was also in to visit with Ogundeko this week, and as his first BCS offer, he will still officially visit Syracuse the weekend of Dec. 7.

The Gators are supposed to visit with Ogundeko on Friday.


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Ogundeko has Florida on top 

November, 18, 2012
11/18/12
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- ESPN 150 defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Jefferson) has named the Gators his leader after an official visit to Gainesville for the Jacksonville State game.

Ogundeko, an Under Armour All-American, said he enjoyed his trip to Florida because of what he saw out of freshmen defensive ends Dante Fowler Jr. and Jonathan Bullard.

"It went great," Ogundeko said. "Just the people in general were great -- like the players that are going to be at my position like Dante Fowler and Jon Bullard. The coaches were great too. It was a good visit."

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Weekend visits: Hungry Gators 

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
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Apparently, Florida didn’t get the memo. Huge recruiting weekends are supposed to happen around Midnight Madness. Billy Donovan is hosting a prospect party a week early, and he’s invited five five-star recruits. Seriously, you have to be a bona fide stud to be in Gainesville this weekend.

Here’s the ranking of the players the Gators have on campus: No. 3 2013, No. 8 2013, No. 9 2013, No. 4 2014 and No. 1 2015. Donovan already owns commitments from point guard Kasey Hill and power forward Chris Walker. If he can just land one other player from this visit, it would be an historic recruiting weekend.

Elsewhere, there are talented underclassmen on a number of campuses. Pay close attention to Duke and Texas, as they host high-profile big man targets.

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Less than two months ago, Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson) was ready to pull the trigger and commit. He set up a press conference and was going to pick from a final three.

Now Ogundeko has a top four and only two of his original final three teams remains. Arizona State, Florida, Ole Miss and Syracuse are at the top of the leaderboard for Ogundeko, No. 108 in the ESPN 150 and New York’s top prospect.

The Sun Devils and Rebels are new to Ogundeko’s list of favorites, and now Arizona State will host Ogundeko for an official visit beginning Oct. 16 for its Oct. 18 game against Oregon.

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