Michigan Wolverines: Mississippi State Bulldogs

The state of Georgia is loaded in both the 2015 and 2016 classes.

In the 2015 class, the linebacker position is one of strength, as a number of rangy, athletic prospects -- highlighted by ESPN 300 prospects Adonis Thomas and Roquan Smith -- are available.

Five schools made the final cut on Thursday night for Thomas, one of the nation's top prospects.

1. Tennessee last won an SEC championship in 1998, the same year that the Vols won the national title as well. In the next nine seasons, the Vols averaged a 9-4 record. Beginning in that 10th year, 2008, the Vols have hovered between 5-7 and 7-6. I thought of the Vols as Chantel Jennings, Adam Rittenberg and I discussed Michigan on the ESPN College Football Podcast yesterday. This is the 10th anniversary of the Wolverines’ last Big Ten title. Coach Brady Hoke’s teams have gone from 11-2 to 8-5 to 7-6. Spring football began Tuesday in Ann Arbor, and the Wolverines have a lot of work to do.

2. Jameis Winston’s two at-bats against the Yankees on Tuesday equaled the number of plate appearances he had in Florida State’s first six games. Winston started 22 games in the outfield and 10 as a DH as a freshman a year ago. Now he is the Seminoles’ closer, and hasn’t allowed a run in three games. In our haste to anoint Winston as the next Bo Jackson, all of us overlooked the fact that he played so much last year as a fill-in because of injuries. Winston said Tuesday, “I probably have more success in football.” Maybe he loves baseball more than it loves him. That would make him the next Michael Jordan.

3. Ask my readers, and I shall receive. When I wrote earlier this week that my research of coaches who left the SEC for the Big Ten was incomplete, two of you wrote to remind me that Murray Warmath left Mississippi State after the 1953 season for Minnesota, where he led the Gophers to the most recent national championship (1960). Mississippi State had a nose for coaches back then. The Bulldogs replaced Warmath with 29-year-old Darrell Royal. He stayed two seasons.

Big Ten recruiting storylines: Aug. 22 

August, 22, 2013
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Big Ten fodder is never hard to find, especially in recruiting. Here’s a look at a few programs that highlighted a busy recruiting week:

Cotton getting close

Linebacker Micquell Cotton (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon) has narrowed his list down to Indiana and Iowa State. The three-star back holds offers from both schools as well as Syracuse and Michigan State.

Cotton has visited both already and will take official visits this fall before making a pick.
The Cyclones have some appeal with a solid 2014 class that includes ESPN 300 wide receiver Allen Lazard (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale), running back Tommy Mister (Chicago/St. Rita) and a few other good looking commitments.

We’ll see where things stand after he takes his trips.

Iowa adds cornerback

Cornerback Josh Jackson (Corinth, Texas/Lake Dallas) committed to Iowa on Thursday. He confirmed his commitment in a text message.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior becomes Iowa's 13th commit and the unranked defensive back becomes the third player to be taken in the secondary in the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class. He joins cornerback Omar Truitt (Washington, D.C./St. John’s College) and safety Jyaz Jones (Dallas/South Oak). Jackson’s commitment continues the youth movement at Iowa, as six underclassmen will return next season from Iowa’s two-deep chart.

"I think it's going to be great," Jackson said. "With the guys coming in, we'll definitely make a big impact in the Big Ten and for the team."

Defensive end Torey Hendrick (Brooklyn, N.Y./ASA College) hasn’t broken down his top five yet, but the junior college sensation already knows one he’ll take a visit to Iowa.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Hendrick hasn’t set a date, but Iowa City be a destination. Expect Kansas to maybe earn a visit as well.

Hendrick currently has offers from Arizona State, Florida State, Kansas State, North Carolina State and Rutgers to go with Iowa and Kansas.

Lacrosse commit getting looks
Jason Alessi (Birmingham, Mich./Brother Rice) is committed to Michigan for lacrosse, but that might not be the sport he ends up playing in college as he is starting to get noticed for football as well.

Alessi is a 2014 defensive back who already holds football offers from Cornell and Air Force. He has heard from Yale, Harvard and most recently Michigan State.

The 6-foot, 170-pound safety took a visit to East Lansing last week and is now waiting for the Spartans to make a move. The coaching staff told him they want to watch film on his first few games this coming season and then make a decision.

If he has a good start to the season the Spartans might not be the only team to come calling.

Linebacker U looking again
Penn State has opened up its search to replace outside linebacker Jared Wangler (Warren, Mich./De La Salle), who decommitted from the Nittany Lions before pledging to Michigan.

With Syracuse commit Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) already in the mix of candidates, Penn State has offered outside backer Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central). That means Northwestern has some company in landing the standout as Lee will travel to California on an official visit when the Golden Bears play the Wildcats on Aug. 31. Lee currently has a top five of Cal, Louisville, Northwestern, Oregon and Virginia Tech.

London a wanted man

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- On the fields of the IMG Academy Southeast Regional 7-on-7 Tournament, George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) stood off to the side with a sling hanging off his shoulder and covering his broken wrist.

That injury, suffered a few weeks back, will keep him out of East Lake's spring practices starting at the beginning of May. But fortunately for him, he's already got a ton of offers to begin with and won't be reliant on coaches coming by for the evaluation period.

That doesn't mean he isn't frustrated, though.


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#BlueChipBattles: ESPN 150 release edition

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Speedy Noil, Adoree Jackson, Da'Shawn HandStudent Sports, ESPN, ESPNSpeedy Noil, Adoree Jackson and Da'Shawn Hand are three of the most coveted recruits in the Class of 2014.
#BlueChipBattles Insider: RecruitingNation summoned its writers from around the country to outline the recruiting battles for the ESPN 150's top 10 prospects.

Plus, rank the battles in SportsNation.

#TopFBMixtapes: Athlete mixtapes are all the rage in this highlight-crazed era of sports. We reached out to our Twitter followers to find out which 2014 football stars had the best highlight reels on YouTube, then had our staff rank and comment on the top submissions.

Tom Luginbill writes Insider: After talking to many coaches across the country and hearing their frustrations, here are their five biggest complaints about homemade highlight videos.

Vandy, Vols impress Watch List receiver 

February, 17, 2013
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CLEVES, Ohio -- The state of Tennessee is making a move for one Watch List prospect in the Midwest.

Class of 2014 receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) added offers from Tennessee and Vanderbilt recently, and he made a return trip to Knoxville in January. It was his first time visiting the Volunteers under new coach Butch Jones, though.

“I’ve been to Tennessee before but it was real different with the new coaching staff,” Booth said. “I don’t know how to explain it, it’s a different atmosphere going on around there. Everybody’s a lot different. The last time [under former coach Derek Dooley] was real gloomy.

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Watch List WR Booth cuts to seven 

January, 22, 2013
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Watch List wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) has a busy few months ahead of him.

The 2014 prospect, who released his top seven on Tuesday, plans to visit all seven of his top schools before he gives his verbal in April, which means the next two months will include plenty of travel, discussion and decision making.


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Alex Bars eyeing another Big Ten visit 

October, 26, 2012
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Alex Bars is taking the weekend off from visiting prospective colleges. The offensive lineman from Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell Academy plans to be back on the road next week, the junior told ESPN on Friday.

Bars is leaning towards a trip to Purdue to see the Boilermakers host Penn State. His eldest brother, Brad Bars, is a junior defensive lineman for the Nittany Lions.

Alex Bars has already visited Michigan and Notre Dame. Both have ties to the Bars family. Bars' brother, Blake Bars, is a freshman offensive lineman for Michigan. Alex Bars' father attended Notre Dame.

Bars said he will definitely visit Penn State, Alabama and Vanderbilt this season. In addition to Ohio State and Michigan, Bars has scholarship offers from Indiana, Duke, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

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Josh Malone to revisit Tennessee 

September, 21, 2012
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Loss or not, Josh Malone saw enough of Tennessee to know he'll make a return visit.

The receiver from Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp said he'll make a return trip to Knoxville to see the Vols play this season. Malone was on hand last Saturday as Tennessee lost to Florida 37-20. Despite the defeat, Malone came away impressed the vibe on campus.

“Great college atmosphere,” Malone said. “It's really an eye-opening place.”

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Bars with another visit and another offer 

September, 20, 2012
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Alex Bars is used to quick-footed defensive ends coming off the edge. It's the whole recruiting process that's tough to handle.

“It's going pretty fast,” the junior offensive tackle from Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell Academy said.

That was the case this week when Bars suddenly picked up a scholarship offer from Indiana. He also has scholarship offers from Duke, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

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Watch: College Football Final (Week 2)

September, 9, 2012
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video
Jim Basquil and the ESPN.com College Football team deliver the highlights, analysis, and interviews from an exciting Week 2 of College Football.

WR Camp Watch: Artavis Scott, '14 group 

August, 14, 2012
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With 54 catches and over 1,100 yards receiving as a sophomore, Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott was among the top performing Class of 2014 prospects in the state last season.

Now the 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior is looking for an encore and comes into the 2012 season training camp with tons of momentum after a productive offseason.

Scott took part in several offseason events including Florida State's camp, Friday Night Lights at Florida, UCF's team camp, Al Golden's camp at Miami and most recently the Barbecue at the Big House during a tour of schools that included Ohio State and Notre Dame.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Bo Scarbrough, a top running back in the 2014 class, is set to make his college decision. The product of Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., will commit on July 23 at 9:45 a.m. on his high school campus, according to his coach Mike Smith.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound tailback has offers from the University of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi State, Troy and UCLA. He most recently visited Georgia with Crimson Tide commitment Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn).

"[Recruiting] has become hard on him," Smith told TideNation earlier this summer. "The phones don’t quit ringing. The bull crap don’t stop coming. All of them have the same things they want to say. Basically, that’s all they can say. ‘We want you here. You’re a good player.’ All that kind of stuff.

I told him we’re going to sit down this summer and the guys you know you don’t want to see, we’re going to be honest with them and tell them that."

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He saw early on there was a chance he would be a little more precocious than the others and he had an advantage many of his peers didn’t have.

Combo guard Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point) was born this way, brought into this world with natural basketball genes from his father, former Missouri star and professional basketball player Melvin Booker.

Natural, though, can only go so far. Melvin has made sure the genetics provided haven’t gone to waste, working out his son on the beach to improve his agility and strength as well as with Devin's high school and summer basketball teams, where he serves as an assistant coach.

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