LSU Tigers: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

CLIFTON, Va. -- Five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle, No. 10 in the ESPN 300, will not be making an early commitment, that much has been known from the start. What is also known about Settle is that he intends to go through the entire process and take all five of his official visits.

What wasn’t known is that Settle has started to think about what schools will make the cut.

“I’m going to trim it down in August to 14,” said Settle, who earned an invitation to The Opening Saturday after a stellar performance at the Nike Football Training Camp at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. “The reason I’m going to trim it down in August is two-a-days and getting ready for the season. I don’t want a lot of pressure on me. I just want to play and have fun my senior season.

SEC Saturday roundup

September, 21, 2013
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There won't be any BCS implications in today's marquee SEC games -- so long as the big favorites in a couple of traditionally important divisional matchups take care of business.

No. 6 LSU (3-0) and No. 19 Florida (1-1) are both double-digit favorites over Auburn (3-0) and Tennessee (2-1), respectively. And both have controlled the recent history of series that have been much more competitive in the past.

Formerly THE most important annual game in the SEC East, Florida-Tennessee has become less interesting in recent seasons now that the Gators have won the last eight meetings, with only two of those games being decided by fewer than 10 points. Likewise, LSU has won five of the last six against Auburn, although the games have typically been more competitive.

We'll learn a lot more tonight about whether a last-minute win against Mississippi State last Saturday was a sign that Auburn is on the way back. The last two times Auburn visited Baton Rouge, it lost by 21 points (2009) and 35 points (2011), which was the biggest win by either team in series history. Tiger Stadium is a notoriously difficult place for the road team to win, so Gus Malzahn's Tigers certainly face long odds if they are to remain undefeated by the end of the night.

Meanwhile, Florida has been sulking for two weeks after repeatedly choking in the red zone against Miami and Tennessee has had a week to stew over its blowout loss to Oregon last Saturday. Only three Eastern Division teams have played a conference game yet, so today's winner in Gainesville will take a big step toward contending in the division.

Butch Jones' Vols could prove a lot about themselves by stealing a win in The Swamp -- and they'll have a chance if Florida doesn't clean up its act on offense. This will be a big game for Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel to begin progressing toward the more consistent play that Will Muschamp and Florida's coaches expected from him this season.

Those are the only two league games this week, with the rest of the SEC schedule featuring nonconference matchups that carry varying levels of interest (Vanderbilt AT UMass? What went into that decision?). Here are a couple more that could carry some intrigue:

Arkansas (3-0) at Rutgers (2-1) is perhaps the most interesting measuring-stick game outside of league play this week. The Scarlet Knights' 35-26 win in Fayetteville came in the middle of the Razorbacks' 1-4 start of the season -- a stretch that also included a 52-0 loss to Alabama and 58-10 defeat against Texas A&M -- and helped lead to Bret Bielema's hiring as Arkansas' head coach. It has been so far, so good for Bielema at Arkansas, with the Razorbacks beating three overmatched nonconference foes behind the running back duo of Alex Collins (second in the SEC with 139.3 rushing yards per game) and Jonathan Williams (third with 131.0).

Today will provide their toughest test yet -- their first game outside of Arkansas and a matchup against a team that has reached a bowl in seven of the last eight seasons. If Arkansas wins again today, a bowl bid becomes a much more likely possibility despite a murderous conference schedule that starts with a visit from Texas A&M next week.

And if the scoreboard at Kyle Field is still functional after the 91 points from last week's game against Alabama, SMU (1-1) at No. 10 Texas A&M (2-1) might place a further strain on its electrical supply. Texas A&M possesses the nation's fourth-highest-scoring offense at 53 points per game and should have little difficulty moving the ball against Saturday's visitors. The problem, though, is that the Aggies haven't shown an ability to stop anyone on defense. SMU is averaging just 27 points per game, but A&M has given up an average of 36 ppg to Rice, Sam Houston State and Alabama, good for 107th nationally.

SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert is third nationally in total offense, averaging 393.5 yards per game -- 352.5 through the air, which ranks fourth nationally. Defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel (379 ypg) is fifth in total offense, with 328 of his yards coming via the pass.

We fully expect Texas A&M to keep lighting up the scoreboard, but the Aggies might have to earn a stop to win one of these shootouts. They haven't demonstrated much of an ability to do that yet.

Here's today's lineup:
Vanderbilt at UMass, Noon ET, ESPNews
North Texas at Georgia, 12:21 p.m., SEC TV
Arkansas at Rutgers, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Tennessee at Florida 3:30 p.m., CBS
SMU at Texas A&M, 7 p.m., ESPNU
Colorado State at Alabama, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Troy at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m., FSN
Auburn at LSU, 7:45 p.m., ESPN
Missouri at Indiana, 8 p.m., Big Ten Network
The No. 2 player in the country is going to Michigan. The Wolverines coaches are elated five-star Paramus (N.J.) Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers is headed to Ann Arbor, but that means five other coaching staffs are going back to the recruiting board and moving on down the list.

So where do those five teams go from here?


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Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic), the No. 2 prospect in the country, has set his decision date.

The No. 1 defensive back will make his decision live on ESPNU on May 26. With almost every program in the country targeting the talented prospect, Peppers has narrowed his list down to LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers and Stanford.

He still plans on taking his visit to Penn State on May 18, and has already been out to Michigan, LSU and Ohio State. There might still be a surprise visit in store before the announcement as well. The five-star prospect has turned heads with his play on the field and will undoubtedly be a game changer for whichever school he picks.
It's often said that the first offer is the hardest one to get for aspiring football prospects.

Fortunately for San Antonio East Central quarterback Jeremy Jones, the wait is over.

The 6-foot-6, 190-pound quarterback got his first scholarship offer on Wednesday night and it came from Rutgers.

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Texas QB Jeremy Jones talks TAMU 

March, 3, 2013
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One Texas quarterback who has seen his interest from colleges rise in the last month is San Antonio East Central's Jeremy Jones.

The 2014 signal-caller is still seeking his first offer, but has taken in a couple of junior days and plans to hit more schools in the coming weeks and months.

On Saturday, he took in College Station, Texas, for Texas A&M's second junior day of the year.


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Offers piling up for Fla. defensive back 

February, 13, 2013
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It's been quite a February for John Battle (Hallandale, Fla./Hallandale).

No less than five of his eight total offers have come in during the last 12 days -- from schools such as Florida State, West Virginia, South Florida, South Carolina and Rutgers.


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Tashawn Bower ready to travel 

January, 8, 2013
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Tashawn Bower has reason to consider his options. A coaching change at Auburn prompted as much. Fortunately for him, he has plenty of schools interested.

The defensive end will tour the South over the coming weeks. He will take his official visit to Florida State this weekend, followed by Florida on Jan. 18 and LSU on Jan. 25. He'll then take an official visit to Rutgers sometime thereafter.

Yet despite exploring other options, the ESPN 150 defensive end from Somerville (N.J.) Immaculata maintains he still has a strong relationship with Auburn. He committed to the school in June, long before former head coach Gene Chizik was fired and replaced by Gus Malzahn.

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SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday was a day off for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl teams. Instead of working out and participating in drills, the players took in visits around the city -- including a stop at the Alamodome for photo opportunities and to see their game apparel -- and used the day to recover from two days of practice.

The teams will return to the fields on Thursday in arguably the most important practice of the week. Here are five things to keep an eye on for Thursday’s practice:

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FSU might get visit from ESPN 150 DE 

December, 18, 2012
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ESPN 150 defensive end Tashawn Bower expected more college interest when Auburn fired Gene Chizik. That has definitely been the case.

College recruiters certainly sensed an opportunity when Bower, who committed to the Tigers in June, lost all connections with Chizik's former staff. The ESPN 150 defensive end from Somerville (N.J.) Immaculata said Florida State is one of the schools that has ramped up its recruitment in light of the changes at Auburn. He's clearly taken notice.

"In my opinion, great school," Bower said when asked what he liked about the Seminoles. "Opportunity to play early."

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Tashawn Bower eliminates Irish 

December, 14, 2012
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Notre Dame is no longer in the running to land ESPN 150 Tashawn Bower.

The four-star defensive end announced that development on his Facebook account on Friday afternoon. He then confirmed the decision to ESPN moments later.

"Feel they are not fully invested in me," Bower stated via text message.

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Four-star DE Bower plans official visits 

December, 10, 2012
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Tashawn Bower's recruitment is coming into focus.

The defensive end from Somerville (N.J.) Immaculata will take official visits to LSU, Notre Dame, Florida and Rutgers, the four-star prospect told ESPN on Monday. Bower has only one date confirmed, to Florida on Jan. 18.

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DE Bower unfamiliar with Auburn coaches 

December, 6, 2012
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Tashawn Bower is still trying to get to know Auburn's new coaching staff.

The ESPN 150 defensive end from Somerville (N.J.) Immaculata said he's not familiar with defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, whose hiring was announced this week after Gus Malzahn was hired as head coach. Johnson is a longtime linebacker coach and defensive coordinator but was fired after one season as Southern Miss' head coach last season.

Bower said he hasn't talked to anyone from the school since Malzahn was hired. Bower, however, seemed impressed by the decision to hire Malzahn, who is known as an offensive guru. Malzahn was Auburn's offensive coordinator from 2009-11.

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Tashawn Bower committed, but looking 

December, 4, 2012
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Tashawn Bower said he still considers himself an Auburn commitment, but there is clearly work to do by the Tigers' next coaching staff.

The defensive end from Somerville (N.J.) Immaculata told ESPN in a text message that he is still committed to the Tigers but is also considering LSU, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame and Rutgers in light of Auburn's decision to fire head coach Gene Chizik last month.

Auburn's once highly rated class has been rocked by the coaching change. The Tigers have lost some commitments and others have expressed concern.

Bower could continue the trend. He has shown strong interest in Rutgers. That nearby school could prove to be a challenge for Auburn's next coach to overcome. Bower, a four-star defensive end, committed to Auburn in June.

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ESPN 150 DT Maquedius Bain sets visits 

October, 23, 2012
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ESPN 150 defensive tackle Maquedius Bain (Davie, Fla./University School) has rescheduled his official visit to Oklahoma on Nov. 23, according to his high school coach, Roger Harriott.

[+] EnlargeMaquedius Bain
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comMaquedius Bain will visit Oklahoma and LSU in November.
Bain, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound senior, will also take an official to LSU in November.

“Maquedius is taking his test this weekend and that was what was keeping him from taking his official visits,” Harriott said. “So he’s going to Oklahoma on the 23rd and I believe he’s heading to LSU on the 16th.”

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