Florida Gators: Texas Longhorns

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Nike SPARQ combines have grown with each passing year, and on Saturday there was a record turnout. If the 1,993 prospects who attended weren't impressive enough, the performances by several top prospects who came to compete certainly left spectators turning heads.

Here is a rundown of some of the event's top performers.
  • ESPN Junior 300 running back Taj Griffin posted one of the top SPARQ scores of the day. Griffin checked in at 5-foot-10, 174-pounds, ran a 4.41 40-yard dash and a 4.35 shuttle, had a 46-inch vertical leap and a 36-foot power ball toss for a combined score of 124.29. On the recruiting front, Oregon, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Tennessee continue to stand out the most.

  • No. 3 junior offensive tackle Chuma Edoga posted an impressive score of 94.65. After measuring at 6-4 and weighing 276 pounds, Edoga ripped off a 5.01 40-yard dash, a terrific 4.69 shuttle and had a 33.8-inch vertical jump and 37-foot power ball throw. Following his impressive effort, he said his top four schools in order are Tennessee, Southern California, Georgia and Stanford with a decision likely on May 25, his birthday. The big news might have been that he currently prefers the Volunteers, but his mother is in the corner of the Bulldogs and Cardinal.
  • No. 252 prospect C.J. Sanders made the trip and did not disappoint. He checked in at 5-9 and 176 pounds, ran a 4.57 40-yard dash, had a blazing 4.09 shuttle run, leaped 36.5 inches and tossed the power ball 41 feet. On the recruiting front, USC, Notre Dame and Georgia are the latest to offer, joining Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. He visited USC last week, and lists Reggie Bush as his childhood idol. Sanders is the son of former Ohio State and NFL wide receiver Chris Sanders. His mom played basketball at Michigan. He reports his family favors Duke and USC early on with a decision slated for the summer.
  • Class of 2016 prospect Ben Cleveland is already considered one of the top offensive line prospects in the country, and the 6-7, 317-pounder showed why Saturday. He clocked a very impressive 5.22 40-yard dash and 4.87 shuttle, and had a 25.8-inch vertical leap and 41.5-foot power ball throw for a score of 99.78. He has offers from Georgia, Clemson, Florida, South Carolina and Texas with Alabama expected in the near future. He made an unofficial visit to Clemson two weeks ago.
  • Class of 2015 running back Jaylen Burgess posted a 118.44. The 5-10, 214-pounder ran a 4.66 40-yard dash and a 4.38 shuttle, and had a 36.7-inch vertical leap and 42.5 power ball throw. He is receiving interest from Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Duke and a number of other ACC schools. Duke and Tennessee are the coaching staffs Burgess talks to the most. He posted more than 1,500 all-purpose yards as a junior.
  • Class of 2016 linebacker and defensive end Charles Wiley checked in at 6-3, 203 pounds. He clocked a 4.68 40-yard dash and 4.45 shuttle, and also leaped 35 inches and threw the power ball 34.5 feet. He has an early offer from Virginia Tech.
  • Class of 2015 athlete Jeremiah Mercer is flying completely under the recruiting radar. While he had to sit out the 2013 season due to transfer rules, he made his mark Saturday posting a score of 97.47. The 5-11, 163-pound running back and wide receiver ripped off a 4.48 40-yard dash and 4.18 shuttle, and added a 36.2-vertical leap and 31-foot power ball toss. He is receiving interest from Vanderbilt and Mississippi State and lists Florida State as his dream school.
  • Class of 2016 inside linebacker Tyler Reed posted a very impressive score of 104.91. After measuring 6-2, 234 pounds, Reed ran a 4.96 40-yard dash and 4.59 shuttle, and had a 35.5-inch vertical leap and 41-foot power ball throw. He recorded 130 tackles as a sophomore.
  • Class of 2015 running back Eric Montgomery posted a 115.47, one of the day’s top scores. The tailback checked in at 5-11, 185 pounds, ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and a 4.19 shuttle, and jumped 36 inches and threw the power ball 38 feet. On the recruiting front, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, among others, are showing interest.

The 10 most memorable BCS moments

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
10:30
AM ET

With the door closed on the 16-year reign of the BCS, we dove into the 72 BCS bowl games to find the 10 most memorable moments of the BCS era.

10. Utah’s hook-and-ladder: The first team ever dubbed a “BCS Buster” was the Urban Meyer-coached and Alex Smith-led Utah Utes in 2004. In the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, Utah led Pittsburgh 28-7 late in the third quarter and lined up at the Panthers’ 18-yard line. Smith swung it left to Steven Savoy, who lateraled to Paris Warren, who ran it in for the score as the Utes completed a 12-0 season.

9. Peerless Price down the sideline: Tennessee led Florida State 14-9 with 9:29 remaining in the fourth quarter in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl with the first BCS Championship on the line. UT quarterback Tee Martin found Price down the right sideline, and Price took it the distance for a 79-yard score. Price had 199 receiving yards for the winning Vols, the most ever in the BCS title game.

8. Ginn’s costly return: Ohio State received the opening kickoff from Florida in the 2007 BCS Championship game, and Ted Ginn Jr. wasted no time in getting the game’s first score on a 93-yard return. What will always be remembered, however, is that Ginn suffered a foot injury on the ensuing celebration and was out for the rest of the Buckeyes’ 41-14 loss.

7. Warrick's juggling score: Though the championship of the 1999 season was marked by Virginia Tech freshman QB Michael Vick, it was Florida State’s Peter Warrick who was named the most outstanding player. He had a punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter, and his juggling catch on a 43-yard score midway through the fourth served as the dagger.

6. Vince Young, Part I: Facing Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl, Young was responsible for all five Texas touchdowns in a 38-37 win. Though he had runs of 60, 23 and 20 yards, the most impressive was a 10-yard run in which Young escaped the tackle of Michigan lineman Pat Massey before scampering to the right pylon.

5. Dyer isn’t down: Tied at 19 with Oregon with just more than two minutes remaining in the 2011 BCS Championship Game, Auburn running back Michael Dyer appeared to be tackled for a short gain at the Auburn 45-yard line. Having rolled over the defender, Dyer was never ruled down, and ended up gaining 37 yards on the play before he was taken down at the Oregon 23-yard line. Auburn would win on a field goal as time expired.

[+] EnlargeBoise
Steve Grayson/WireImageIan Johnson's two-point conversion run in overtime propelled Boise State over heavily-favored Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
4. Winston to Benjamin: Trailing Auburn 31-27 in the final BCS Championship Game, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston drove the Noles 78 yards in less than a minute to the Auburn 2-yard line. Receiving the snap with 17 seconds left in a wild fourth quarter, Winston threw a perfect pass to Kelvin Benjamin, who brought it down for the game-winning score to complete an undefeated season.

3. Was it pass interference? Some will remember Maurice Clarett’s game-saving strip of Sean Taylor, but the lasting legacy of the game is the dubious pass interference call in overtime. Miami led 24-17 and Ohio State faced fourth-and-3 from the 5-yard line. Glenn Sharpe was called for pass interference, giving the Buckeyes new life in a game they would win 31-24.

2. Boise State’s trick plays: In the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State trailed heavily favored Oklahoma 35-28 with 18 seconds left and facing fourth-and-18 from the 50-yard line. Jared Zabransky completed a pass to Drisan James just short of the first down, but he lateraled it to Jerard Rabb, who took it the rest of the way for the tying touchdown. In overtime, down 42-35 on fourth down, wide receiver Vinny Perretta completed a 3-yard pass to Derek Schouman for a touchdown. Chris Petersen elected to go for two, and Zabransky faked a throw to his right before handing it behind his back to Ian Johnson on the Statue of Liberty play for the winning two-point conversion. Johnson would propose to his girlfriend, a Boise State cheerleader, on the sideline after the game.

1. Vince Young, Part II: After a Longhorns touchdown and key fourth-down stop, undefeated Texas trailed undefeated USC 38-33 with 26 seconds remaining and faced fourth-and-5 from the 9-yard line, with the 2005 BCS championship on the line. Vince Young dropped back to pass but saw nobody open, and immediately sprinted for the right pylon for the title-winning score in the marquee game of the BCS era.
Get ESPN 150 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) in any competitive environment and you’ll begin to understand very quickly why he’s so coveted.

Take for example the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp in Allen, Texas, on April 7 when he set the tone in 1-on-1 drills by shoving a wide receiver three yards behind the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball.

Adams, the No. 23 player overall and No. 3 safety, isn’t naming any favorites. But we caught up with him to get a sense for where he stands with a few of the programs generally thought to be in the mix.

Poll: Dream nonconference matchup

May, 10, 2013
5/10/13
1:15
PM ET
The team I wanted to see face Alabama last season in the BCS National Championship was Oregon. It's the matchup the entire country wanted to see.

No offense, Notre Dame fans, but seeing that high-octane Oregon offense go up against Alabama's defense would have made for much better theater than what we ended up getting in South Florida in January.

SportsNation

Which nonconference matchup involving an SEC school would be the most attractive?

  •  
    31%
  •  
    18%
  •  
    8%
  •  
    15%
  •  
    28%

Discuss (Total votes: 11,201)

Wouldn't it be great if you could play college football matchmaker and turn some of these dream match-ups into realities during the season?

We've come up with five such matchups and want you to select which one would be the most attractive by voting in our SportsNation poll.

Alabama versus Oregon is one of the choices. Who knows? Maybe we'll finally get to see the Ducks and Tide square off in the final BCS National Championship before we go to a playoff in 2014.

Think Florida versus Ohio State would stir a few emotions with Urban Meyer taking on his old team? It would be the battle of Meyer's two dream jobs. Come to think of it, is it possible to have two dream jobs? In Meyer's world, you can.

I realize that Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, in all of his arrogance, said recently that Texas gets to decide when Texas and Texas A&M play again. Ask anybody in that state, and it can't be soon enough. Surely we'll see those two old rivals playing again sooner rather than later.

Here's one for you: South Carolina and Steve Spurrier going up against Lane Kiffin and the West Coast version of USC. Spurrier's not the biggest Kiffin fan. Then again, who in the SEC is? Something says the buildup to that game could be as entertaining as the game itself.

Finally, LSU and Notre Dame played 10 times between 1970 and 2006 and are all knotted up, 5-5. It's time to break the tie. Talk about two of the best fight songs in all of college sports and two programs steeped in tradition.

Well, you have the rundown. Tell us which matchup you'd most like to see, and we'll go over results next week.
video
With No. 3 overall prospect Julius Randle committing to Kentucky on Wednesday, we’ve decided to take one last look at his game to see what he will offer his team at the next level.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pounder was named a McDonald’s All American and selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic. Randle recently led his Dallas Prestonwood Christian squad to its second consecutive state crown despite missing the bulk of the season with a foot injury.

Here’s a final breakdown of Julius Randle’s game.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Numbers to know from signing day

February, 7, 2013
2/07/13
12:09
PM ET
1 – Alabama’s class rank. Every year that head coach Nick Saban has had a full season to recruit (since 2008), the Crimson Tide have had a top-three class. No other school has even had a top-10 class each of the past six years. Alabama received commitments from three of the top-10 running backs, plus Derrick Henry (No. 9 in ESPN 300, No. 1 Athlete), the leading rusher in high school football history.

3 – Number of Ole Miss’s recruits ranked in the top 20 of the ESPN 300. Since ESPN recruiting rankings were introduced in 2006, Ole Miss had never had a single top-20 recruit. Head coach Hugh Freeze received letters of intent from two of the top five recruits, including the top ranked player in the ESPN 300, DE Robert Nkemdiche.

7 – Number of players since November who have decommitted from USC, and all were in the ESPN 300. USC’s class was ranked No. 1 for more than three months between July and November, but now it's ranked 14th. Two of those decommits, Eldridge Massington (No. 172 in ESPN 300, No. 21 WR) and Kylie Fitts (No. 86 in ESPN 300, No. 8 DE) flipped their commitments to rival UCLA. The Bruins finished the day with the 12th-ranked class, the first time since 2006 they finished ahead of their crosstown rival.

7 – The number of top-10 recruiting classes Urban Meyer has had since 2006, and not one of those classes ranked lower than sixth. The only other coach with seven top-10 classes is Mack Brown. This year, Meyer and Ohio State scored the No. 3 recruiting class, headlined by CB Eli Apple (No. 11 in ESPN 300, No. 3 CB).

7 – The number of top-five recruiting classes Florida has had since 2006, most among all schools. Entering National Signing Day, the Gators had the top-ranked class before finishing the day second. Florida is one of three schools with multiple five-star recruits this year (Ole Miss and Notre Dame).

12 – The number of four-star recruits Vanderbilt has received letters of intent from. The past two seasons, James Franklin has recruited 15 players with a grade of 80 or better. In the previous four seasons, Vanderbilt didn’t recruit a single such player.

14 - The number of SEC schools with top-40 recruiting classes. All 14 schools have top-40 classes, with none lower than 36th (Kentucky). Six of those schools are ranked in the top 10, the most any conference has had since 2006.

(Read full post)

Smythe talks Stanford, visit plans 

December, 26, 2012
12/26/12
10:44
PM ET
HOUSTON -- The decision to decommit from Texas wasn't an easy one for Belton (Texas) High School tight end Durham Smythe. But for him, it was the right decision.

Now, as the weeks pass and national signing day approaches, Smythe is weighing all the options in front of him. He has plenty, but he's still in the process of trying to decide where he'll take his remaining official visits. After checking in for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl -- set for Sunday at Reliant Stadium -- on Wednesday, he discussed all that has been going on since he made his decision.

"The week that I decommitted it was pretty crazy because the dead period was about to start at that point, so toward the end of that week, a lot of coaches and a lot of schools tried to get in contact with me to schedule home visits and stuff like that," Smythe said. "Over the dead period I've been in contact with coaches once a week on Facebook and stuff like that. It's been busy and right now I'm just in a period where I'm evaluating things and I'm trying to pick a couple favorites so I can take official visits there and have a base to compare."

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) announced on Friday he has moved his college decision to Nov. 29. The announcement will be on ESPNU's "Recruiting Nation," which airs at 5 p.m. ET.

The four-star athlete will chose between Florida, Florida State, Texas and Oklahoma. Harris said he wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving to make his decision.

Marcell Harris
Derek Tyson/ESPN.comMarcell Harris is rated the No. 7 safety in the nation and the No. 68 overall player in the ESPN 150.
“That’s why I was waiting until after Thanksgiving," Harris said. "So I could sit down, enjoy Thanksgiving and talk about some other things with my coaches, because I didn’t get to talk to my coaches before all of this and everything else. So it will be a great time to sit down with everybody.”

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) has finalized his plans to make a college decision. The 6-foot-1, 207-pound four-star prospect will make his verbal commitment on ESPNU's "Recruiting Nation" on Nov. 29 between 5-6 p.m. ET.

Harris, the No. 7-ranked safety in the country, will choose between Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas. The Under Armour All-American has officially visited all four of his finalists.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Florida recruiting: The Hot Five 

November, 6, 2012
11/06/12
8:19
AM ET
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There are three months left until national signing day and the Gators have a majority of their 2013 recruiting class filled. With 20 verbal commitments, Florida has roughly five remaining empty slots to fill. Here's a closer look at how they could potentially be filled.

1. S Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) -- The ESPN 150 safety has a top four of Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas. The Gators and Longhorns appear to be the top two teams he is considering. Harris announced last week he would make his college decision Nov. 16. Florida looks to be in a good position to land the Under Armour All-American. Florida will likely lose Matt Elam to the NFL and Harris would have a chance to compete for early playing time.

2. OT Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) -- Florida might be a long shot for the No. 3-ranked player in the country, but he is well worth the effort. Tunsil continues to have Georgia and Alabama as his top two schools, but he continues to show interest in the Gators. He has visited Gainesville twice this season and Florida will have depth issues at tackle next year. Tunsil will wait until signing day to make his decision, and as long as he is showing some interest in Florida, the Gators will continue to pursue the talented tackle prospect.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Marcell Harris sets decision date 

October, 31, 2012
10/31/12
1:18
PM ET
ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) has set his college decision date for Nov. 16.

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound safety will chose between Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas. Harris hyperexented his knee in Dr. Phillips game last Thursday. The injury isn't severe and will only keep him out a few weeks, but Harris said it was enough for him to rethink his recruiting strategy.

[+] EnlargeMarcell Harris
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comMarcell Harris is ranked the No. 66 overall prospect in the ESPN 150.
"I took four official visits to Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State and Florida," Harris said. "I don't think there will be a fifth one with everything that's going on. My recruiting has been going pretty good. I've been talking with my coaches almost everyday. I think I'll have my decision by Nov. 16."

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Marcell Harris closing in on decision 

October, 26, 2012
10/26/12
9:47
AM ET
ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) will likely make his college decision before Dec. 5 according to his mother, Andrea Tate. Harris missed a large portion of the second half in his team's 31-17 come-from-behind victory over cross-town rival Evans on Thursday night with an apparent knee injury.

[+] EnlargeMarcell Harris
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris has taken official visits to Florida, Texas, Florida State and Oklahoma.
Harris declined to comment after the game and the extent of his injury is unknown. Tate, however, discussed her son's recent official visit to Florida. Tate said she was impressed with Florida's academics.

"We've been to Florida five, six, umpteen times," Tate said. "This visit we went technically for academics. They had a program that was laid out for us and they showed us how they do their tutoring. We talked to people in the engineering department to see what division of engineering he wants to do. It was more of a disecting visit to see exactly what they have to offer and is that what we want. As far as football and the scheme and how he fits in to it -- all day, he fits great."

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Embiid's game is all grown up 

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
3:18
PM ET
Center Joel Embiid (Cameroon/The Rock) lost the final game of his junior season as his Montverde squad gave up 47 points in the final quarter and overtime in a heartbreaking loss to Findlay Prep at the National High School Invitational. Embiid, just months into his high school career, came off the bench and was tasked with slowing down the Brandon Ashley freight train. He couldn’t as Ashley scored 25 points in the second half and fouled Embiid out of the game in what seemed like only a few possessions.

Montverde coach Kevin Boyle kept saying before the NHSI that Embiid was going to be good. However, at the time, the 6-foot-10 center appeared overmatched by Prep’s frontcourt.

“Against Findlay, Brandon Ashley was good,” Embiid said. “But if I played a game against him now, I would beat him. I was new. I didn’t know how to guard the post. Now, I can guard centers or power forward.”

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Joel Embiid's recruitment gaining steam 

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
5:13
PM ET
The last time he had a national audience, center Joel Embiid (Cameroon/The Rock) was on the wrong side of a clinic at the hands of Brandon Ashley. Then a junior center for Montverde, Embiid was given the unenviable task of trying to slow down a grooving Ashley. He didn’t and Montverde succumbed to Findlay Prep in the NHSI championship.

[+] EnlargeJoel Embiid
Paul BiancardiCenter Joel Embiid is currently not ranked in the ESPN 100, but expect him to have a major impact down the line at Kansas.
A lot has changed since last March. For starters, Embiid is no longer at Montverde. The near 7-footer transferred to The Rock in Gainesville, Fla. With Dakari Johnson (New York/Montverde) gobbling up court time, Embid might not have seen as much playing time as he would have liked, so he bolted.

“He is a surprise to me and a pleasant one at that,” The Rock coach Justin Harden said. “He’s every bit of 6-11. He can do a lot of good things with the ball. He’s only been playing 18 months. Was a volleyball player before that.”

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Four-star safety prospect Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) might be a Florida legacy, but the Under Armour All-American is sick of hearing that he should follow in his dad's footsteps. His father, Mike Harris, played safety at Florida in the mid 90s, but the younger Harris might decide to pave his own career path.

Marcell Harris
Derek Tyson/ESPN.comMarcell Harris is rated the No. 7 safety in the nation and the No. 68 overall player in the ESPN 150.
"It all comes with him being a top athlete in his day," Harris said, "but it gets kind of weary in my mind because I'm my own man and I make my own decisions, and now that I'm older it's all about my decision and where I want to go."

Harris, who was a standout for team Top Recruits at the IMG Madden 7-on-7 National Championship tournament, was teammates with Florida safety commit Keanu Neal (Bushnell, Fla./South Sumter) at the event. Neal says he can sense the frustration with his talented teammate.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Florida, Tennessee Excited To Kick Off New Season
Florida coach Will Muschamp talks about the Gators' commitment to winning, and Tennessee coach Butch Jones discusses the Volunteers' recruiting class and future at quarterback.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 8/28
Saturday, 8/30
Sunday, 8/31