Georgia Bulldogs: Cincinnati Bearcats

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- Everyone calls him “Pee Wee,” but not in an ironic way that you would call a big man “Tiny.” No, defensive tackle Davonte Lambert (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military College) was born to that nickname.

“I was a premature baby and my auntie came up with that name when I was little, so it just stuck with me ever since,” Lambert said. “I was under five pounds.”

Now Lambert tips the scales at 280 pounds and stands 6-foot-3 atop the wish lists of a number of major college programs.

“I have offers from Georgia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi State, Miami, Texas Tech -- I don’t know all of them off the top of my head,” Lambert said. “I get a ton of letters every day with a lot of handwritten ones.”

Not too shabby for a guy who didn’t get much attention in high school. Now in junior college, Lambert is enjoying the spotlight.

Two young stars shine at Atlanta NFTC 

April, 17, 2013
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BUFORD, Ga. -- The Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp is always loaded with the region’s top juniors looking to earn an invitation to The Opening and learn from the professional instructors there. This year the Atlanta NFTC had over 300 prospects from 20 different states in attendance. A number of sophomores also attended, wanting not only the instruction, but to try their hand against the older players.

This year five freshmen were also invited to attend. Two of them, cornerback Khalil Ladler (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) and defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson Jr. (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove), made strong impressions on the instructors there.

Ladler stunned former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Ray Buchanan, who was there coaching the defensive backs.

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Finding the Future: Atlanta NFTC 

April, 15, 2013
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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.

BUFORD, Ga. -- The NFTC was loaded with top upperclassmen prospects on Sunday, but a handful of 2015 prospects showed they could compete with some of the top older competition in the state.

1. 2016 CB Khalil Ladler
5-foot-11, 175 pounds
Stephenson (Ga.) H.S.


Considering: Has offers from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Charlotte, South Florida and Cincinnati

What we learned: Ladler could pass for a rising senior, which is why the offers are rolling in for the young freshman. His position coaches were stunned to find out that he was two years younger than most of the other defensive backs at the NFTC. Also, it is not just his size that commands attention. Ladler displayed refined techniques that prospects work for years to develop.

“Ladler is promising," ESPN national recruiting analyst Craig Haubert said. "Look at his frame: he is long and lengthy. He is very smooth. In a cornerback group that had some good 2014 guys, he was in that next level of guys jumping out. He has all of the natural tools, and with that type of size already, as well as being quick and smooth, he is certainly a guy to watch. From what I saw he was one of the better secondary players here.”


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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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Coveted OLB names a top five 

March, 14, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Outside linebacker Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby) isn’t exactly sure of how many offers he has. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior has not counted them. Once he had received over 30 offers to the top programs in the nation, there really seemed no point in doing so. Pugh is more concerned about the five that he has on top.


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Top RB gets Georgia offer he wanted 

March, 11, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- The last time a running back traveled more than 600 miles to play for the University of Georgia, Knowshon Moreno wound up hurdling defenders and dropping jaws with his combination of balance and speed. After redshirting his freshman season, he played only two years before heading to the NFL draft, leaving Georgia fans wondering what could have been.

Now another top running back from the Mid-Atlantic region is looking at the Bulldogs, and now that Shai McKenzie (Washington, Penn./Washington) has the Georgia offer he wanted, maybe history will repeat itself.


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Seminoles offer junior linebacker 

January, 15, 2013
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Florida State offered one of the top junior prospects in the state for the Class of 2014 in T.J. Harrell (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) on Tuesday. Head coach Jimbo Fisher and wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey were the bearers of good news for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker.

So what did Harrell think about the offer?

"It was great," he said. "I know that Jimbo Fisher and Lawrence Dawsey were by today. It was really exciting."

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Watch List WR Snodgrass explains delay 

January, 10, 2013
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- ESPN Watch List wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) was set to make his final decision between Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin in November, but that didn't happen.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound athlete decided to postpone his announcement. He felt it wasn't the right time.


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Demarre Kitt's popularity on the rise 

December, 5, 2012
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TYRONE, Ga. -- ESPN Watch List wide receiver Demarre Kitt has been popular over the last 10 days. A number of college coaches have stopped by Sandy Creek (Ga.) High School to check in on the 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior who sports offers from 11 major programs such as USC, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.

Kitt was verbally committed to Georgia for a few months before reopening his recruitment. The Bulldogs had three coaches, Rodney Garner, Kirk Olivadotti and Scott Lakos, at his game Friday night. While their attention was focused mainly on Georgia commit cornerback Shaq Wiggins, Kitt was happy to see them.

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#BlueChipBattles: Nov. 30

November, 30, 2012
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Carl Lawson, Dee Liner, Reuben FosterESPN.comCarl Lawson, Dee Linerand Reuben Foster are still committed to Auburn, but the Tigers' coaching situation could change things for the three ESPN 150 recruits.

Auburn bid farewell to head coach Gene Chizik on Sunday. Could the Tigers also be saying goodbye to a trio of ESPN 150 recruits who could take their talents elsewhere?

Each week, RecruitingNation summons its writers from around the country to compile a list of the top 10 battles for elite football recruits leading up to February's signing day.

Here are this week's top battles Insider, and you can take a shot at ranking the top 10 recruiting battles on SportsNation.

Ohio State offers WR Demarre Kitt 

November, 13, 2012
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It didn’t take long for Ohio State to offer ESPN Watch List junior Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek).

In return, it didn’t take long for the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Kitt to put the Buckeyes in his top three along with Clemson and USC.

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Watch List ATH Terry Googer keeps ticking 

November, 8, 2012
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DECATUR, Ga. -- ESPN Watch List wide receiver Terry Googer (College Park, Ga./Woodward Academy) will need some heavy-duty bleach to get the grass, dirt and blood stains out of his white uniform after last Friday’s game against Cedar Grove (Ga.) High School. The 6-foot-4, 203-pound junior lined up at quarterback and was hit early and often. Sometime he was greeted in the backfield by a defender, but most often he would collide into a tackler 5 yards downfield on a rushing attempt. Cedar Grove had too many athletes for Woodward, and the ball with Googer seemed to be the only play that worked. So it was called. A lot. And Googer soldiered on.

At one point he was knocked out of the game, but he returned on the next series to run and throw, moving Woodward Academy down the field against one of the best defenses in the Peach State. That grit and tenacity has earned Googer offers from Notre Dame, South Carolina, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Wake Forest and Florida International. More are likely on the way.

When asked who he thought would offer next, Googer said, “Probably Florida, hopefully Georgia and I kind of want a Southern Cal offer. My family really likes Georgia. When I went to visit it seemed like a good place to spend my four years.”

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Mark Richt 7-on-7s: Other notables 

June, 10, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Day two of the Mark Richt 7-on-7 tournament saw double digit FBS prospects compete on the intramural fields at the University of Georgia. We listed the top performers here, but there were several players who caught the coaches' attention. Here is a by-no-way-complete list of honorable mentions from Friday.

QB Brooks Barden (Cartersville, Ga./Cartersville) In the first couple of games on Friday, Barden was on fire, showing a live arm and making some impressive deep throws. But in front of Mark Richt, Mike Bobo and Will Friend, the rising junior struggled a bit on his timing with his receivers in the intermediate passing game. Still, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback has the tools to play at the next level, and should get a long look from Georgia over the next year.

OL Josh Cardiello (Buford, Ga./Buford) Cardiello worked mainly at center during 1-on-1 competition, and had his ups and downs in pass protection. As is the case with most linemen from Buford, the 6-3, 280-pound Cardiello is more advanced in run blocking at this stage. But with a new offensive line coach at Buford, Cardiello expects the Wolves’ to open things up this fall, giving Cardiello a possible development advantage over former school standouts Dallas Lee and Kolton Houston.

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Florida notes: Meeks to Cincy 

May, 19, 2012
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Cincinnati has an affinity for quarterbacks from the state of Florida. The Bearcats snagged their third quarterback from the state in the last two recruiting cycles when they received a verbal commitment from Orlando (Fla.) Boone quarterback Alton Meeks last weekend.

Cincinnati signed Florida quarterback prospects Bennie Coney (Plant City/Plant City) and Trenton Norvell (Daytona Beach/Seabreeze) in the Class of 2012. Despite the depth chart, Meeks will be ready when his number is called.

"I know I'm going to redshirt as a freshman and be ready to compete for a role after my redshirt season," Meeks said. "There will always be competition and good players at your position so when that time comes, let the best man win."

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SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – As the offers continue to pile up for four-star defensive tackle Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights), he is reluctant to start cutting teams from his list. The plan is to have a top five in the coming months, though.

Munger has already made a handful of visits, but he will take his recruitment into his senior season so he can take official visits.

“I want to take [official visits] as soon as possible [to] my top five,” Munger said, “so that’s why I want to narrow them down in the summer so I know where I want to go.”

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