Florida State Seminoles: Malachi Dupre

Signing day winners and losers

February, 5, 2014
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The ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off once again. And with that, the Class of 2014 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners but also some losers on national signing day. Here is a look at a few schools that excelled -- and a couple others that didn't.

THE WINNERS

LSU: The Tigers began the day at No. 3 in the RecruitingNation class rankings and ended with 2014's No. 2 class. The reason is simple: Les Miles and staff got the prospect they had to have in the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian). The Tigers lost both Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson to the NFL, making defensive tackle a key position of need, and they inked a pair of talented tackles in ESPN 300 Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnant Catholic) and four-star Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren). Under the radar but significant is three-star defensive end Sione Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller), who flipped from Texas to LSU. Teuhema’s younger brother Maea Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller) is the No. 38 junior in the ESPN Junior 300 and has pledged to LSU as well. Holding off Auburn and UCLA to keep ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine) was another win on Wednesday.

Florida State: The Seminoles entered signing day with the No. 4-ranked class but were poised to close with a vengeance, and Jimbo Fisher and staff did just that. While the Seminoles moved up only one spot to No. 3, the hits on Wednesday are significant. Leading the way was No. 2-ranked wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). The Noles weren’t done at receiver either, as Fisher and staff flipped Virginia Tech commit and No. 117 overall Ja'Von Harrison (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen). No. 158 Roderick Johnson (Saint Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and No. 253 Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) were key gets at offensive tackle and defensive tackle, respectively. Three-star offensive tackle Derrick Kelly Jr. (Quincy, Fla./East Gadsden) was another key win over rival Florida.

USC: The Trojans stood to have a big signing day, and Steve Sarkisian and staff certainly delivered. Not only did USC win the hotly contested battle for five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), but the Trojans won the race for ESPN 300 No. 24 Juju Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and signed No. 67 overall Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) as expected. More than the names and rankings, Wednesday was a huge perception win for the Trojans and Sarkisian. USC jumped to No. 14 from No. 24 in the RecruitingNation class rankings.

Georgia: The Bulldogs didn’t have a big day in terms of number of commits, but quality ruled the day. Mark Richt and staff signed the player they had to have in five-star outside linebacker/defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). While Carter’s announcement was the big one Wednesday afternoon, the morning started off with a bang for Georgia with the signing of No. 286 overall Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), who was first offered on Monday and never even visited Athens. Those two big signings kept the Bulldogs in the top 10 at No. 9.

South Carolina: One of the big movers in the class rankings on Wednesday was the Gamecocks. Not only did South Carolina make a jump from No. 27 to No. 19 throughout the day, but the Gamecocks also addressed major areas of need. Steve Spurrier and staff had key areas of need at cornerback and along the defensive front, and they delivered by picking up a pair of ESPN 300 corners in No. 87 overall Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation) and No. 120 Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), as well as flipping ESPN 300 defensive tackle Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) from Florida State and three-star defensive end Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) from Nebraska. Fighting off the late January runs by Alabama and Georgia for ESPN 300 linebacker commit Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) has to be included in the huge wins in recent days.

Kentucky: Sure, Kentucky plucked only one key target on Wednesday in three-star former Vanderbilt and Penn State defensive end commit Lloyd Tubman (Louisville, Ky./Seneca), but it was still a huge day at the finish line for the Wildcats. The 2014 class marks the first time in the nine years that ESPN has ranked recruiting classes that the Wildcats have finished with a top 25 class, and that includes a big win over Alabama for in-state four-star defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin). Signing six defensive backs fills a huge need as well.

Michigan State: The Spartans had a near dream season on the field, and followed it up by closing strong in recruiting. Not only did Michigan State jump nine spots in the class rankings from No. 38 to No. 29 on Wednesday, but it did so while filling a big need on the defensive front with big-time talent. ESPN 300 defensive end Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) was a big win over Ohio State, Florida State and Michigan, while flipping four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) from Wisconsin earlier in the week was another huge win for the Spartans.

Pac-12: The conference as a whole was quite possibly the big winner on signing day. Of the 13 live commitments on ESPNU throughout the morning and afternoon, seven committed and signed with Pac-12 programs. The winner within the Pac-12 was USC, but Stanford also enjoyed a big day with No. 25 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and three-star corner Terrence Alexander (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian).

THE LOSERS

UCLA: Along with USC and South Carolina, the UCLA Bruins came into today with the most to gain. While Jim Mora and staff scored with four-star linebacker Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), it was mostly misses throughout the day. Jackson and Smith picked crosstown rival USC, while Dupre opted for home-state LSU. At defensive end, the Bruins missed out twice on Wednesday with Thomas selecting Stanford and Godchaux sticking with LSU. And finally, No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) stayed in state by picking Alabama over Auburn.

Ole Miss: It’s difficult to place the Rebels' No. 17 class with the losers on signing day, but that was the case in Oxford, Miss. Not only did Ole Miss drop a spot in the class rankings, but it also came up dry with explosive ESPN 300 receiver and return man Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), after Hugh Freeze and staff worked the Under Armour All-America Game standout all the way up until Wednesday morning before McKenzie announced for Georgia. While Dupre was a long shot, he was yet another prospect who went elsewhere. The Rebels also lost out on Alexander, who selected Stanford over Notre Dame. The bright spot for the Rebels on Wednesday was signing former Notre Dame transfer and No. 22 in the ESPN JC 50, Tee Shepard

Early Offer: Signing day is here 

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
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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: The Class of 2014 will go down as one of the wildest recruiting rides in recent memory. With so many players switching commitments and some elite prospects still left on the board, here are five things to keep an eye on heading into recruiting’s biggest day.

Does Bama have the best class ever?

Key recruiting visits -- ACC 

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
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Signing day is now officially less than a week away. Recruits can make their final visits to colleges this weekend, and then beginning Monday there will be no more in-person contact between coaches and recruits. So coaches better make these last visits count.

Here are the 10 biggest visits affecting ACC teams this weekend, although this late to signing day there is always a potential for a change of plans or cancellation.

1. WR Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis)
Visiting: UCLA
Florida State is feeling confident, but the Noles probably were hoping to get Dupre, No. 17 in the ESPN 300, for his last visit. Instead he visited Ole Miss during the middle of this week and now goes to UCLA. The Noles would have preferred to turn this into a FSU-LSU battle, but these last two visits could really muddy the waters for the nation’s top-ranked receiver.


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Early Offer: A winning attitude 

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
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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: Coaches say things like size and speed are important when determining whether or not they will pursue a recruit, but one ACC head coach has something else that’s vital in his team’s evaluation process; Les Miles and Nick Saban were in the home of the nation’s No. 1 receiver prospect on Thursday.

Overlooked part of evaluation


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ACC class rankings analysis 

January, 29, 2014
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National signing day is one week away, so this is the time of the year when schools hope to be trending up in the class rankings. As the final elite uncommitted prospects wrestle with decisions, another highly-rated recruit picking a particular school could influence others to do the same.

Momentum works both ways, and any bad news could snowball in the final few hours.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

January, 27, 2014
Jan 27
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Signing day is just 10 days away and this past weekend was one of the last times that coaches could get prospective student-athletes on campus. There were a handful of commitments and official visits from some of the nation’s premier prospects.


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Key recruiting visits -- ACC 

January, 24, 2014
Jan 24
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With only two weekends left until signing day, coaches are hitting the road hard during the week in hopes of convincing waffling prospects to come to their campus.

Here are the biggest visits in the ACC this weekend.

1. DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross)
Visiting: Florida State

It could be a long shot at this point, but it doesn't hurt to get the five-star lineman on campus this close to signing day. A good visit could push FSU toward the front.


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This is part of a series on the nation's top uncommitted recruits leading up to signing day. Click here for the full series.

The term “two-sport star” is thrown around a lot in recruiting.

There are many prospects that have the desire to play football and run track or play basketball in college, but few actually possess the talent to play two sports at a collegiate level and handle the demands it takes.

[+] EnlargeMalachi Dupre
Courtesy of IntersportESPN 300 receiver Malachi Dupre has planned upcoming official visits to Florida State and UCLA.
One of those rare talents is the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian).

Not only does the No. 17 prospect have elite ball skills and leaping ability on the football field, but that skill set carries over to track and field, as well.

The 6-foot-3, 187-pound Dupre burst onto the scene as a sophomore taking home the LHSAA state indoor high jump title with a leap of 6-7.25, breaking the 2A state record.

“His 10th-grade year, Malachi had a basketball game on a Friday night,” Dupre’s father, Mike, said. “Then, he had to go high jump the next day at the indoor state meet in Baton Rouge. He went home after the basketball game and iced his legs. He got up early the next morning and we went to Baton Rouge and he won the high jump, and set a state record.”

Dupre followed that with another 2A state title in the triple jump (45-6.25) that spring, and three gold medals in the spring of his junior year on the track.

Last May, he took home state titles in the long jump (23-5.76), high jump (6-6) and triple jump (44-2.75).

If Dupre focused on the jumps, there is little doubt he has the ability to develop and compete at the major college level.

But Dupre is different. He's narrowing his focus to football at the next level.

A Shift To Football

For Dupre, it was his freshman year when the gravitation to football began in full.

“I did football, basketball and track, and I liked baseball too growing up,” Dupre said. “I liked football and basketball the most as I got older ... It was probably sophomore year when I realized football was the best fit for me. I have point-guard height in basketball, and realized my athletic ability would be best in football ... but I didn’t realize I would turn out this good.”

As a former college athlete at Southwest Louisiana, Mike Dupre knew football was his son's future.

“I always said football was the one,” Mike said. “Basketball is tough because you only have 12 or 13 players, and in football you have 85. You could always see his athleticism in basketball, but he didn’t have the height to play forward or the handles to play point guard. His athleticism and size carried over to the football field.”

Making The Decision

Dupre has gone from a relative unknown as an underclassman to the top of the rankings at his position.

It’s even more impressive considering his high school, John Curtis Christian, is primarily a running team in a day and age when high school receivers are putting up monster statistics in spread offenses.

The sure-handed wide receiver, who runs a 4.58-laser-timed 40-yard dash, takes another route when looking at his rise.

Though his stat sheet pales in comparison to others, he understands the program he been a part of has helped shape him.

“The offseason preparation and mental toughness that we have to go through at Curtis definitely helps prepare me,” Dupre said. “College coaches, when they come through and talk to me, say Curtis practices are the closest thing to a college-level practice they have seen. ... I knew the talent I had, and it’s more than stats and catches.”

Dupre has also seen, as teammates got recruiting, just how to deal with the pressure-packed process.

“Seeing how their process went, and how they handled it has helped me," he said. “Friends that have done this before and friends that are already in college that I can trust in is the probably the best advice you can get. Somebody that has gone through it recently, and can tell me what to look at and look forward too is big.”

While LSU, Alabama, Florida State and UCLA are still in the running for Dupre’s services, there is pressure to stay in state.

And while Dupre has received advice from family and former teammates, the final decision will be his alone.

“Wherever Malachi goes, he will face adversity,” Mike Dupre said. “It’s very important for him to make that decision of where he wants to be, so when that adversity hits, he doesn’t want to immediately transfer or have a sense of negativity. If it’s the place he truly wants to be, then that will help him respond to the adversity that he will face.”

The words of wisdom from his parents will be a big part of Dupre being comfortable with his decision, which will be announced live on ESPNU during on national signing day on Feb. 5.

“When I sit down to make that decision, it will be my mom, dad and my brothers, Vernon and Matthew. It will come down to where I’m the most comfortable,” Dupre said.

Recruit breakdown: WR Malachi Dupre 

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
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This is part of a series on the nation's top uncommitted recruits leading up to signing day. Click here for the full series.


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5 to watch: ACC signing day preview 

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
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Signing day is a little more than two weeks away, meaning the next 15 days are going to be very interesting. Here are five storylines in the ACC to keep an eye on come signing day on Feb. 5.


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Early Offer: Wooing Dupre 

January, 20, 2014
Jan 20
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Monday's offerings: The nation’s No. 1 receiver visited LSU over the weekend, but it’s just the first part of his tour throughout the Southeast this week; Derrick Griffin is back in Texas after a short stint at a prep school, and it will help him get back on the recruiting map; and Nebraska’s loss is Kansas State’s gain.


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Dupre talks LSU; Bama up next 

January, 19, 2014
Jan 19
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The LSU Tigers played host this weekend to one of the most important prospects remaining on the board, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), the nation’s top-ranked wide receiver.

The No. 17 overall prospect has been on campus in Baton Rouge numerous times over the years, but he said that didn't detract from his visit.


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Questions for signing day: ACC 

November, 12, 2013
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It is a chicken or the egg argument. Has the SEC ruled college football for much of the last decade because the conference annually places five or more teams among the top 10 of the recruiting rankings? Or is the SEC’s recruiting dominance a result of seven straight national championships?

The ACC, though, could be the David to the SEC on the field and in recruiting. In the 2014 cycle, two ACC schools have top-five classes. Will that remain the same come signing day?

We look at that question and nine others as we examine the most pressing ACC recruiting questions leading up to signing day.

1. Will FSU and Miami remain in the top five of the class rankings?
Both classes are close to completion, so it could be tough for the Noles and Canes to finish in the top five of the rankings. Alabama is at No. 1 and could end up running away with another recruiting title. The rest of the SEC will charge hard come signing day, too. Tennessee should be a safe bet to finish in the top five, and programs such as Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and more could break into the exclusive group come February. Tennessee recently jumped both schools, pushing Florida State to No. 3 and Miami to No. 4.

2. Can Miami surpass Florida State for the ACC’s top class?
If both were to fall out of the top five, there is still some pride in finishing with the top class in the conference. The Noles are ahead of the Canes at the moment, and it will be tough for the Canes to jump FSU. It looks as if Miami has two spots left and should finish with Johnnie Dixon and Anthony Moten. But the Noles could sign more than 30, and some of the country’s truly elite prospects have Florida State among their finalists. It looks doubtful that Miami -- or any ACC team -- will catch and pass Jimbo Fisher’s class.

[+] EnlargeLorenzo Featherston
Courtesy of IntersportESPN 300 DE Lorenzo Featherston is a Clemson lean whose pledge would help the Tigers close strong.
3. Will Clemson finish in the top 10?
Sitting at No. 12 in the rankings, the Tigers have a good chance to finish in the top 10 and even an outside chance to crack the top seven. Defensive end Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page) is No. 27 in the ESPN 300 and a Clemson lean. It would be a surprise to see him land anywhere but with the Tigers. Cornerback D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton), No. 88 in the ESPN 300, also looks to be leaning Clemson’s way, and the same could be said for defensive end Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Christian Landing), No. 168 in the rankings. The prize of the defensive class would be five-star inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan, however. He is slated to visit officially later this month, and the No. 12 player and top linebacker in 2014 has the Tigers among his top three.

4. Can Pitt close out with three of its four Western Pennsylvania targets?
For Pitt’s class to be considered a success, Paul Chryst needs to do just that. The Panthers are struggling some with Pittsburgh-area prospects in 2014, but the same happened in 2013 before Pitt landed Dorian Johnson and Tyler Boyd. In February, the Panthers hope to land Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mt. Lebanon), Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) and Shai McKenzie (Washington, Pa./Washington); Henry, Bookser and Nicholson are all in the ESPN 300 and have Pitt among their finalists. Henry is a Pitt legacy. Bookser looks to be focused on Ohio State and Pitt; Nicholson will decide in December and is projected to Pitt.

5. Will Duke sign an ESPN 300 prospect?
The Blue Devils have never signed an ESPN 150 or ESPN 300 prospect since the rankings began almost a decade ago. That was going to change in 2014 with quarterback Nicodem Pierre (Miami/Coral Reef), but the dual-threat dropped from the ESPN 300 in October. However, Trevon Lee (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons) could be leaning Duke’s way with the Blue Devils on a roll this season. With a guaranteed winning regular season -- their first in nearly two decades -- Lee is thinking hard about Duke. Academics are big for the 241st-ranked player, so a decision could come down to Duke and Vanderbilt.


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Recruit reaction: Miami-Florida State 

November, 3, 2013
11/03/13
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State could not afford a slip on up on Saturday night if the national title hopes surrounding the program were to stay intact. And while recruiting is a different animal, beating their in-state rival at home in front of so many visitors was of extreme importance if the Seminoles would like to have a shot at the No. 1 overall recruiting class.

After their 41-14 win over fellow top-10 team Miami, both possibilities remain.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher entertained a list of prospects whose quality might not have been matched yet this year and was headlined by cornerback and No. 9 recruit Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover).

The Seminoles have emerged as the clear threat to Alabama for the five-star’s services. According to quarterback commitment J.J. Cosentino (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic), Humphrey was enjoying himself.

"Humphrey is definitely loving it," Cosentino said.

Nearing the final whistle, Humphrey noticed that the crowd had a message for Alabama.



As thorough as the visitor list was, some expected recruits were unable to make the trip. Logistics often get in the way for at least a couple each weekend, so it wasn't a surprise.

Among those not present were River Ridge, La., John Curtis Christian teammates Malachi Dupre and Mattrell McGraw. Though they weren't in attendance, they still took notice watching the game on television.

If there was ever a no-win situation, this is it: forced to pick only 10 prospects -- all national names -- who will be invested in the Miami-Florida State game on Saturday. Inevitably, a major FSU target will be left off the list or a five-star recruit will make an 11th-hour trip to Tallahassee. It is a visitor list that might not be rivaled by any other program this season.

We forge ahead, though, with 10 recruits who will be watching from the bleachers in Doak Campbell with a vested interest in the game.

Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Juniper Serra)
Miami went into California for an ESPN 300 commit, and now the Seminoles are looking to do the same. The five-star and No. 2 cornerback is still pretty open at this point, and the Noles are surging. Over the last few weeks, Florida State has pushed into Jackson’s top group, and now he will officially visit this weekend. FSU might be your new dark horse for Jackson.


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