Penn State Nittany Lions: Miami (FL) Hurricanes

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?

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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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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Best available: Most-likely defenders 

August, 27, 2013
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The athlete category can be very tricky to project as so many prospects now are playing as Wildcat QB’s with the majority moving to either the secondary, wide receiver or running back. Players in this category likely play on both sides of the ball on a consistent basis with the upside to play on either at the next level which gives them excellent value, but also can hinder their developmental progress because they have not focused all their time at one position heading into college. Below are five athletes that we feel confident will end up on defense.

ATH John “JuJu” Smith

Smith
Smith
Long Beach, Calif./Poly | Highlights Video | List of schools considering
6-1, 206 pounds | ESPN 300 Rank: 41 | ATH Rank: 3 | Stars: 4

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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- FBI agent Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) might eventually be his title, but he's a high school defensive tackle for now. The ESPN 150 prospect says he hopes to study criminal justice in college with a minor in sociology and would love to one day be a special agent.

Holley also is a year ahead in terms of his high school credits, so he's currently working on AP courses and earning an honors diploma.

"I loved AP psychology, and I've been taking AP credits so I can graduate early," he said. "That way I can get ahead in college credits, because my goal is to graduate in three and a half years. So I can either start working for the NFL combine or working on my masters."

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DT White high on PSU following offer 

June, 24, 2013
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Penn State's staff spoke to defensive tackle Antoine White (Millville, N.J./Millville) on Wednesday and asked if he could make the 250-mile drive to Happy Valley on Saturday. Despite the short notice and the fact he hadn't attended any other camps, White said he'd try.


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RN Top 10: IMG 7v7 championships 

June, 24, 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.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The IMG 7v7 National Championships brought in top talent from all over the country. Narrowing it to 10 was difficult, as top prospects such as linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) and running back Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) didn't make the list. It's not because they didn't play well, but because 7-on-7 events are geared more for wide receivers and quarterbacks on offense and the defensive backs on defense.

10. Chris Godwin
Middletown (Del.) High School | WR | 6-2, 203

Godwin, an Under Armour All-American, was one of the main reasons his Delaware team went 6-0 before finally losing a game. In this talent-filled tournament, Godwin showed why he is one of the top receivers in the country. He made several tough catches and displayed his 4.4 speed on a consistent basis. He displayed all the tools to be successful on the next level.

9. Sean White
Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Unversity School | QB | 6-1, 199

With receivers such as Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph, it's hard for White not to look good, but he was extremely accurate throughout the tournament and made several big-time throws. White did a nice job of taking what the defense gave him underneath and also showed the arm strength to make several tough throws over the middle. White has seen his recruitment pick up lately and it will likely continue to increase with performances like this.

8. Tyler Queen (2015)
Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb | QB | 6-2, 237

North Cobb was one of the few that brought their high school team, instead of an All-Star team from their region. Queen led his team to several victories and showed pinpoint accuracy on a majority of his throws. He displayed great touch on his deep ball and completed several long touchdowns on the day. It was easy to see why he is already a highly recruited prospect.

7. George Campbell (2015)
Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake | WR | 6-4, 184

Campbell proved why he might be the top receiver in Florida next year. He used his 6-foot-4 height to go up over defensive backs and come down with several long catches. It wasn't just the jump ball that impressed; his route running was good and he consistently got open. On top of his impressive offensive performance, Campbell made several plays at safety. This Under Armour All-American has a chance to be a special player as a senior.

6. Travis Rudolph
West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman | WR | 6-1, 186


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Lessons Learned: IMG 7v7 

June, 23, 2013
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- The IMG 7v7 National Championships showcased some of the top talent from across the country. For the second consecutive year, Team Tampa won the national championship with a thrilling, one-point victory over a talented South Florida Express team.

The championship game featured at least 10 prospects with multiple scholarship offers. Here's a closer look at lessons learned over the course of the two-day event.

Team Top Recruits loaded in the secondary

Top Recruits, featuring players from Jacksonville and Orlando, had a secondary that could probably give some colleges trouble right now. Their secondary consisted of 2015 LSU cornerback commit Kevin Toliver II (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian), Florida cornerback commits Duke Dawson (Cross City, Fla./Dixie County) and J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee), uncommitted safety Kendall Gant (Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson) and 2015 FSU safety commit Derwin James (Auburndale, Fla./Auburndale).

The Top Recruits offense couldn't match the talent of their defense and found it hard to score points as the tournament wore on. Toliver was quite possibly the best player at the event and will be one of the top players in the country next year.

Northern teams came to play


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Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter's Prep) is one of the top DBs in the 2015 class, with offers from the likes of Penn State and Ohio State, but he's also an absolute pig. Just ask his coach. Or, better yet, ask Minkah.

"Oh yeah," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm a pig. Definitely."

That's not to say the 183-pound prospect stuffs his face with waffles and pancakes at the breakfast table. (Sometimes, he skips the meal altogether so he can catch a few extra Zs.) No, his coach explained, take a bacon-and-eggs breakfast for example. That hen? She was dedicated to that meal. But the pig? He was committed.

And Fitzpatrick, the stone-faced teen with the unprecedented work ethic -- work disorder is how some would likely label it -- is sure committed.


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Justin Hilliard sees the ball and runs to it. Then he delivers a crushing blow.

That is the consensus on the 2015 Cincinnati St. Xavier linebacker who already holds 20 offers.


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ESPN 150 athlete Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) listed his top four schools about two months ago with the understanding it would slow down his recruitment.

With the mailbox now stuffed with 50 letters by the middle of the week, it's safe to say the four-star athlete understood incorrectly.


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Thomas Holley’s recruitment has been a lot like his most recent visit.

The ESPN 150 defensive tackle out of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln was at Penn State for the annual spring game, which was hampered by every weather condition imaginable.

“It did a little bit of everything -- rain, snow, everything -- it was crazy,” Holley said.

The first few months of his recruitment have been the same. Holley, No. 93 in the ESPN 150, has seen it all in a short time. He went from basketball prospect to first-year football player to playing just a handful of games to landing his first offer. Now he is an Under Armour All-American with more than 20 offers.


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2014 LB receiving more PSU interest 

January, 14, 2013
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Class of 2014 linebacker Troy Reeder fielded a phone call from Penn State on Sunday evening -- and he was pretty pleased with the outcome.

He already holds an offer from the Nittany Lions, but he felt even more wanted after speaking with assistant Ron Vanderlinden. The linebackers coach told him that he and Bill O'Brien would drive down to Salesianum (Del.) on Wednesday and that they wanted him to stop by for another, more-personal visit after most junior days.

"Coach Vanderlinden comes down to school just to check in with my coach every so often and I'm allowed to give a, 'Hey, how are you?' " Reeder said. "We talk on the phone pretty often, and they're a school I really want to get back up and see. It'll really be the third time I go up there -- but the first time was for a camp and the second time was for a game. I'm looking forward to seeing a different side of it."

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ESPN 150 RB Williams ready to decide 

December, 23, 2012
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Philadelphia Imhotep Charter running back David Williams is leaving the Mid-Atlantic.

The ESPN 150 prospect will announce his commitment on Jan. 4 at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Los Angeles.

“Me and my family talked about it after the recruiting period stopped and thought it’d be good,” Williams said.

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#BlueChipBattles: Dec. 21

December, 21, 2012
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Dee Liner, Reuben Foster, Tray MatthewsESPN.comReuben Foster (center) is torn between good friends Dee Liner (left) and Tray Matthews (right).

No. 1 ILB Reuben Foster has voiced his desire to play with at least one of his SEC-bound friends next season. But will he follow Tray Matthews to Georgia or hook up with Dee Liner wherever the ESPN 150 DL settles? It remains to be seen, but the mystery surrounding his recruitment keeps Foster at the top of our #BlueChipBattles.

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.

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Penn State Lands ESPN 300 CB Taylor
National recruiting analyst Craig Haubert breaks down what No. 12 cornerback Garrett Taylor - once a Michigan commit - means to James Franklin's defense now that Taylor has committed to the Nittany Lions.
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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12