Penn State Nittany Lions: Florida Gators

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With another 600-plus player evaluations now in the books, the second phase of the spring evaluation period is complete. Camps and combines across the country are now coming to a close, and on-campus college camps are in full swing. We’ve now had several months to evaluate and re-evaluate the 2015 class based off sophomore and junior film study, as well as in-person scouting to see how prospects pass the eye test.

New additions to the ESPN 300 are well into the double digits, which resulted in several changes throughout the rankings. As usual, some prospects will move up or down relative to the movement from other prospects and the new entries. Here’s a look at the big movers in the updated ESPN 300:

College coaches and recruits are always quick to proclaim their school as the best at developing certain positions. Whether it’s DBU or Linebacker U, recruits have a definite perception of which school stands out at their position.

Prospects from across the country were polled on which school has been the best at developing each position over the past 10 years. Did your school make the list?


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: With coaches on the road visiting high schools in the spring, they bump into prospects all the time wearing gear of a rival school. So does that make coaches think differently of those prospects? Plus, one of the nation's top quarterbacks makes his decision Friday.


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Washington, D.C. NFTC awards 

April, 28, 2014
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The Virginia and Washington, D.C. area hosted the latest stop on the NFTC tour on Saturday, and it was also home to one of the year's Elite 11 events the day before.

This NFTC featured a talented group of linemen and resulted in some good battles during the one-on-ones. While some areas were stronger than others, the event still had some impressive talent in the 2015 and 2016 classes.

With this tour stop now in the books, here are some of the event's most notable performers:


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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.


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Getting to know Jashon Cornell 

April, 18, 2014
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video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

When you attend a school as prestigious as Cretin-Derham Hall, as No. 16-ranked recruit Jashon Cornell does, you are bound to have connections. The Minnesota school has produced its share of college and NFL players over the years, including associate dean of students Marcus Freeman, who played for Notre Dame.


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Top position classes: QBs 

February, 10, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
The Florida Gators had a major need at quarterback in the Class of 2014, and Will Muschamp and staff more than filled it, signing two of the nation’s top signal-callers. Third-ranked dual-threat prospect Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day School) is already on campus and preparing for spring practice, while No. 7 dual-threat prospect Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) was a huge signing-day flip from Florida State. Both prospects are great athletes who are accustomed to operating uptempo offenses. This should also help newly hired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who will install a similar scheme in Gainesville.

The Gators had the nation's best QB class; here's which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:


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Ultimate ESPN 300: The underachievers 

January, 29, 2014
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The Ultimate ESPN 300 is RecruitingNation's ranking of the best prospects since we began evaluating high school athletes in 2006. Here's a look at five players who underachieved:


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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Michael O'Connor will never forget New Year’s Eve 2013. It was the day his life was turned upside down.


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Three days of practice are now in the books and overall execution was sharper as the players begin to move into final preparations for the Under Armour All-America Game on Thursday. The productivity of the players picked up as did the speed of the play, and they’re continuing to think less and display their natural ability more. It was a physical day, with the pads popping and some big hits throughout the practice. Here are some of the highlights.

Top performers


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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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Penn State lands ESPN 300 DT

December, 17, 2013
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Defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) has committed to Penn State according to his head coach. Holley, No. 87 in the ESPN 300, chose the Nittany Lions over Florida on Monday.

Holley, the No. 7 ranked defensive tackle in the class, is a huge addition to Penn State’s 2014 class. At 6-foot-4, 303 pounds, he is third defensive tackle commit for coach Bill O’Brien.

[+] EnlargeThomas Holley
Courtesy of Thomas HolleyESPN 300 DT Thomas Holley committed to Penn State on Monday. He chose the Nittany Lions over Florida.
He joins junior college lineman Tarow Barney (Senatobia, Miss./Northwest Mississippi Community College) and Antoine White (Millville, N.J./Millville) up front to add some outstanding depth to the roster.

Holley took his official visit to Penn State in October and took a trip out to Florida in late November. He also received in-home visits from both coaching staffs, but ultimately chose the Nittany Lions.

The middle of the line was important to build depth as senior DaQuan Jones is graduating and Kyle Baublitz will not be returning next season. Jones, 6-3 and 318 pounds, was awarded as Penn State’s most outstanding senior player at the annual end of the year banquet.

Holley will eventually help fill that void, as he has similar size and a similar build as Jones.

He also adds to a growing class already ranked No. 26 in the ESPN class rankings. His commitment gives the Nittany Lions eight commitments ranked as four-stars and nine three-star commitments.

Holley joins De'Andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro), Michael O'Connor (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) and Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del./Middletown) as the four ESPN 300 commits in this class.

ESPN 300 DT Holley down to two 

December, 10, 2013
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One of the country’s top uncommitted prospects is down to a final two with a fast-approaching decision.

Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln), No. 87 in the ESPN 300, will make a decision this month between the SEC and the Big Ten.


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Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin Derham-Hall), the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2015, has narrowed his top list. After much deliberation, Cornell has cut the list of schools in the running down to 15.

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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: What a difference a few months make for the Missouri Tigers and their efforts to land top talent in St. Louis; one of the nation’s top tight end prospects is slated to announce on Friday, and he still has everybody guessing; is Tennessee in line to steal a commitment away from one of the best defensive tackles in the junior college ranks?

Missouri comes up big in St. Louis
There has been a lot of grumbling by Missouri fans over the last year about a perceived lack of success in St. Louis by Gary Pinkel and the Tigers. However, after the Tigers’ fast start on the field this season many of those worries diminished. They have all but evaporated now after St. Louis DeSmet four-star offensive lineman Andy Bauer committed on Monday. The Under Armour All-American had been a long-time commitment to Ole Miss after originally committing to the Tigers early in the process. He decided again on Monday to reverse course for what looks to be the final time, helping give the Tigers their first ESPN 300 commitment and second four-star prospect.

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College Football Player Rankings: 41-60
Chris Spielman and Brian Griese discuss the players ranked 41-60 in ESPN.com's top 100 college football players.
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