Michigan Wolverines: Virginia Cavaliers

Ultimate ESPN 300: Future members 

January, 29, 2014
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It’s never too early to look ahead to next year. Here are five current prospects in the 2014 class we feel could make their mark in future editions of the Ultimate ESPN 300.

RB Leonard Fournette (LSU): It’s not just based on the fact that he’s the top-rated player in the ESPN 300, but rather the perfect blend of talent, need and fit that awaits him at LSU. Fournette is an ideal downhill back for LSU's system. He is physically ready to carry the load and should have an immediate chance to make an impression with the Tigers' lack of depth in the backfield.


As expected, Day 2 at the Under Armour All-America practices were smoother, more concise and much more productive. The players are now starting to think less and play more. Natural ability is starting to come to the forefront, which allows for them to be more productive. There have been fewer dropped passes, fewer misses by the QBs and the offensive lines are starting to jell quicker than expected. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this group is there have not been any true letdowns. They have stepped up and been as advertised almost top to bottom for both squads. Let’s hit the highlights of the day:

Top performers

WR Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish): Sims might not wow anyone with his 40-yard dash time, but it may not matter. Sims is so similar to Mike Evans at Texas A&M. He just makes plays. He has extremely long arms and is outstanding when in contested matchups. The ball will look like it is uncatchable and then next thing you know he jumps out of nowhere, extends and makes a play and the defender is left scratching his head. When it comes down to it, the QBs for Team Highlight can trust that if they need to throw it up, Sims will make a play. The most basic thing about the position is catching the football and Sims has no problem doing that.


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Top five defensive tackle comparisons 

November, 21, 2013
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As each and every new evaluation period begins for our staff, we always try and use today’s college football stars and apply some of their best traits when describing the next generation of prospects.

All prospects are different from one another, but many share similar characteristics that stand out in relation to their styles.

In this edition of the series, we take a look at the top-five defensive tackles in this class and who they remind us of in college football at this time.

Andrew Brown -- LSU DT Anthony Johnson: With the No. 1 rated DT Brown, the 2011 class came to mind as the five-star invoked thoughts of the top two D-tackles in that class.

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The Early Offer: Florida’s best meet 

September, 4, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Plenty of elite talent will be on hand for Saturday’s Florida-Miami game, but Will Muschamp knows it’ll take more than one Saturday to make a difference; Virginia, Virginia Tech and Ohio State recruits showcased on national broadcast, and 2016 running back target Robert Washington taking a national tour this fall.

Sunshine State showdown
Everybody who is anybody in the Florida recruiting world will be at Saturday’s Florida-Miami game. Miami is going to have a large group of visitors, including ESPN 300 prospects Dalvin Cook, Joe Yearby, Travis Rudolph, KC McDermott and Anthony Moten. The Canes will also be hosting four-star receiver Braxton Berrios on an official visit. Berrios was at Oregon this past weekend, and UM is right in the thick of things with him. Miami will also host Torrance Gibson, Jordan Scarlett, Devante Peete, Devonarie Clarington and CeCe Jefferson, who all rank in the top 10 of Florida for the 2015 class. While the game and atmosphere certainly will make an impression, Florida coach Will Muschamp knows it will take more than that to reel in the elite players. “I would hope that a recruit isn’t making a decision about where they go to school on who wins a specific game,” Muschamp said. “While a recruit might have an emotional swing, based on the outcome of any game, they should consider what the best fit is for them academically, athletically, socially and for their future. We feel strongly that what we have to offer there is bigger than just one Saturday.”

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Finding the Future: Columbus NFTC 

June, 3, 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.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Nike Football Training Camp was loaded with top upperclassmen on Sunday, but a handful of 2015 prospects showed they could compete with some of the top competition from the Midwest.

1. OT Sterling Jenkins
6-foot-8, 295 pounds | OT | Pittsburgh Baldwin

Considering: Offers from Arizona, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Toledo, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia

What we learned: With some of the top committed and uncommitted defensive linemen in the Midwest flocking to the NFTC, Jenkins certainly didn’t back down as he more than held his own against top-ranked talent.

“What I like about Sterling is he has the reach, the length of an elite tackle,” said former Florida State and NFL offensive guard Montrae Holland. “He’s young right now and has to get a better understanding of angles, but the overall tools are there. He has the raw material to be very good.”


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Regional recruiters are not the ones coming in to see a prospect the size of Sterling Jenkins (Pittsburgh/Baldwin). Colleges are sending offensive line coaches directly instead to size up the fastest-rising 2015 prospect in Pennsylvania.

There are not too many 16-year-old sophomores who stand 6-foot-8 and weigh 295 pounds, so coaches are the ones traveling to the Steel City to see Jenkins to properly gauge his stature. Baldwin coach Pete Wagner said colleges are surprised to see he is the real deal.


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RN Top 10: D.C. NFTC 

April, 22, 2013
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The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect their overall prospect ranking.

ASHBURN, Va. – The East Coast and mid-Atlantic states represented well on Sunday as eight players earned invites to The Opening at the Nike Football Training Camp outside of Washington, D.C. Defense ruled the day, led by two five-star prospects from Virginia.

10. Nick Scott
Fairfax (Va.) Fairfax |RB| 5-11, 180

Scott stood out among a field of backs who were overshadowed by the prospects at nearly every other position. He earned the attention of coaches for his strong play and versatility but missed the MVP award, which went to Vincent Lowe (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield), who also posted the top SPARQ score.

Scott committed to Penn State in February over an offer from Boston College.

ESPN national recruiting analyst Craig Haubert’s take: “He’s got a great frame, and what I like about him as a Penn State verbal, he’s a versatile player. He may not run by you, but he does a good job in route-running.”


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It won’t be much of a break for Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe) in a few weeks.

Then again, one of the most sought-after offensive guards in the nation wants to make sure he’s making the right choice when it comes to colleges.


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Watch List safety ready to reveal decision 

February, 20, 2013
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ESPN Watch List safety Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside) is ready to make his decision.


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National offers for OL/DL Bookser 

February, 13, 2013
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PITTSBURGH -- At the beginning, all of the local usual suspects were on 2014 two-way lineman Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mt. Lebanon). Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and West Virginia were among the first schools to offer.

But right before the contact period ended, new Florida State assistant coach Sal Sunseri came through Mount Lebanon and had good news for Bookser.


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S Malcolm Cook re-opens recruitment 

December, 5, 2012
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Malcolm Cook (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union) hasn't officially decommitted from Virginia following the firing of four assistants, but the safety said he's re-opening his recruitment.

In the last 48 hours, the prospect has received 11 offers and entertained visits and phone calls from the likes of Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and USC. He planned to speak with the Trojans after basketball practice Wednesday, and he chatted in-person with Penn State assistant Charles London on Tuesday.

"It doesn't really matter to me about other schools looking at me," he said, when asked whether this new attention was a consolation. "The reason I committed to Virginia was because of the defensive coordinator, Coach [Jim] Reid. So I was really hurt by Coach Reid not being there.

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#BlueChipBattles: Nov. 9

November, 9, 2012
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Max Redfield, Leon McQuayTom Hauck for ESPN.comMax Redfield is out at USC -- is Leon McQuay in?
Think USC was left reeling after Max Redfield (left) decommitted this week? Not really. The Trojans appear to be zeroing in on Leon McQuay III (right). And then there's the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Robert Nkemdiche, who decommitted Thursday. It's an open market in this week’s #BlueChipBattles Insider.

You can also rank the battles this week in SportsNation.

Melvin Keihn could visit Michigan 

August, 27, 2012
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CINCINNATI -- Baltimore Gilman sends several players to BCS colleges every year, and Melvin Keihn is already one of Gilman’s top 2014 players and guaranteed to have more than a dozen offers, likely by the end of this year.

A host of ACC programs including Maryland, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia have offered, and West Virginia has also extended a scholarship to the 6-foot-3, 225-pound outside linebacker.

One program yet to offer but looking at Keihn is Michigan, and there is a very good chance Keihn makes it to Ann Arbor this season with 2013 Wolverines commit Henry Poggi.

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2014 CB D'Andre Payne working hard 

August, 2, 2012
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Never mind the height. Just play big.

It’s a simple mantra, but it’s what has made 2014 cornerback D’Andre Payne (Washington, DC/Howard D. Woodson) one of the most sought after defensive backs in the nation.

[+] EnlargeD'Andre Payne
Scott Fink for ESPN.comD'Andre Payne, a 2014 CB prospect, doesn't have the size of Michigan's recent targets at the position but he has the talent and desire.
And though he has more than 25 offers, Payne is far from being done. He has yet to reach his goal of being the No. 1 cornerback in the country.

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2014 Virginia DB gaining interest 

May, 7, 2012
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The 2014 class is already picking up offers and gaining interest from top programs, in what seems like a faster pace than ever. It's almost the norm now for sophomores to hear from schools and rack up the offers.

One prospect who is well on his way to building a long list of scholarship offers is 2014 safety C.J. Reavis (Chester, Va./Thomas Dale). The 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back already holds offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech and Boston College, but is hearing from other programs as well.

"I talk to Michigan a lot. They said they're supposed to offer me by the end of the month," he said. "Maryland said they would offer me soon, and Duke."

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