Texas Longhorns: Arizona State Sun Devils

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HAYWARD, Calif. -- California will be well represented at the quarterback position when the Elite 11 Finals get underway in early July, as the Golden State is home to three of the four signal-callers who punched their tickets to the main event during Friday's Northern California Elite 11 regional.

Pac-12 fans will undoubtedly enjoy this year of the California quarterback, as the conference continues to gobble up commitments from some of the top recruits in the state, but Big Ten fans in East Lansing, Mich., Columbus, Ohio, and Evanston, Ill., should take note of Friday's events as well. While an emphasis was placed on the four quarterbacks moving onto the finals, there was plenty of attention given to several 2015 quarterbacks who could still help shape the Pac-12 recruiting race, a trio of 2017 quarterbacks on the rise and a wide receiver who might need some rest after a Texas-sized workout.

Final Four

States of strength: Texas RBs 

May, 15, 2014
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When it comes to running backs, the state of Texas is loaded. Ten running backs represent the Lone Star State in the ESPN 300. Of those 10, five are committed. A total of seven running backs in the state have reported FBS commitments.

ESPN 300 RBs from the state:

No. 50 Ronald Jones II: Ranked the nation’s No. 3 running back, Jones is an explosive, game-changing back who -- as scary as it might sound -- will only get better. Jones committed to Oklahoma State on April 6 and finished his junior season with more than 2,400 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns.


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Altanta Elite 11 regional camp notebook 

March, 21, 2014
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SUGAR HILL, Ga. -- Several talented quarterbacks took the field at the Atlanta Elite 11 regional camp on Friday. Though no official invites for the Elite 11 finals, held in Beaverton, Ore. in July, were extended, there were five finalists with potential to eventually earn an invite. The finalists included Anthony Ratliff, Austin King, Kendall Hinton, Ross Trail and Alex Malzone. Four of the five finalists were from out-of-state. King is from Alpharetta, Ga.


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Top position classes: DL 

February, 14, 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)
Texas A&M went into the 2014 class knowing that size and athleticism was an absolute must on its defensive front. And Kevin Sumlin and staff delivered on those glaring needs. Leading the way is No. 1 defensive end and five-star player Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin), who has the size, speed and power combination to be a difference-maker early on next fall. The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Garrett is joined at defensive end by ESPN 300 No. 203 Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), and high three-star Jarrett Johnson (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes), who has a nonstop motor. While the Aggies have some talented young defensive tackles, continuing to add size and athleticism to the interior was a must. No. 150 DeShawn Washington (Nederland, Texas/Nederland) and four-star early enrollee Zaycoven Henderson (Longview, Texas/Longview) add disruptive explosiveness and athleticism.

The Aggies had the nation’s best defensive line class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:


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Three-star OG Anderson flips to Texas

January, 21, 2014
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Three-star offensive lineman Alex Anderson (New Orleans/O. Perry Walker) had a tough decision to make and no time to make it. Late Monday night, he knew, in his gut, that he was ready to choose.

Anderson backed out of his pledge to Arizona State and committed to Texas on Monday, becoming the 22nd member of new coach Charlie Strong’s class.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive guard will enroll early at Texas and said he’s hoping to be on campus for his first classes on Wednesday.

I'm coming in to play, and they dont have much depth and are in a predicament. I'll come in and be a high-impact player right off the bat.

-- OL Alex Anderson, after committing to Texas
The decision came after Anderson made back-to-back officials to Texas and ASU, a trip that began in Austin on Thursday and ended on Monday after two days at both schools.

What the decision came down to, he said, was family.

“I visited Arizona State, and the campus was outstanding. I really loved it and wanted to be there, but I had to see the reality of it,” Anderson said. “My family really couldn’t afford [visiting], and I didn’t feel too much at home. So that’s why I had to go in a different direction. I just really wanted to be close to home.”

Anderson had been committed to the Sun Devils since July but quietly reopened his recruitment recently, initially in the hopes of attending Oklahoma State. And then OSU offensive line coach Joe Wickline left to become the offensive coordinator and line coach at Texas.

While Anderson believed he was closing in on an offer from the previous Longhorn staff, the new one made it clear right away that he was a priority.

“When Coach Strong and Coach Wickline came in, they threw me an offer the first day they were there,” Anderson said.

Landing Anderson was crucial for a Texas class that has only one other lineman, four-star center Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper).

Both of Texas’ starting offensive guards, Trey Hopkins and Mason Walters, are graduating. There’s opportunity to play right away, and Anderson likes his chances.

“I’m coming in to play, and they don’t have much depth and are in a predicament,” he said. “I’ll come in and be a high-impact player right off the bat.”

He never would’ve guessed a few weeks ago that he’d end up at Texas, that’s for sure. When Wickline joined the Longhorns, Anderson knew he had to reconsider things and take a visit. He likes Wickline’s intensity, and he was wowed by the impression Strong made during the official visit.

“He’s a disciplined coach,” Anderson said. “He’s not going to expect nothing but greatness from you. I like that. He wants you to be the best, and he’ll push you to be the best. That’s a program I want to be a part of. I feel like the old Texas is about to be back in effect.”

Anderson will be Texas’ third early enrollee in the 2014 class after tight end Blake Whiteley and linebacker Andrew Beck enrolled last week.

Early Offer: Dead period ends 

January, 17, 2014
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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: The extended dead period kept coaches from making face-to-face contact with recruits for more than a month, but Thursday they were on the road again; new Texas coach Charlie Strong used the end of the dead period to visit with Edwin Freeman and he was rewarded with a commitment; and an LSU commit is looking hard at Oklahoma and Arizona State.


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Four-star DT decommits from Texas 

January, 7, 2014
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Many felt it was only a matter of time for Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren).

No Mack Brown? Not the biggest blow, but a blow nonetheless. No position coach, however? Big problem -- the last straw, even.

With new head coach Charlie Strong set to bring in members of his own staff, defensive tackles coach Bo Davis opted to accept a position coaching defensive linemen at USC. No Davis at Texas next season was enough to force Lealaimatafao, a four-star defensive tackle and U.S. Army All-American, to officially decommit on Tuesday and explore his other options.


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The Early Offer: A&M’s setting sells 

September, 16, 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: Texas A&M might have lost the game to Alabama, but the Aggies still could be winners on the recruiting trail; Texas' struggles could ramp up the pressure to look around for players who made early commitments to the Longhorns; and regardless of how the referees handled the final seconds of the Wisconsin-Arizona State game, the victory will pay off big time for the Sun Devils.

Big 12 recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
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It’s time to open the mailbag and answer some questions about Big 12 recruiting. We encourage all to send questions each week, either via Twitter to @DamonSayles or @ESPNWilkerson or via email at dsaylesespn@gmail.com or wilkerson.espn@gmail.com.

@hammerheel: Which Big 12 team can improve their recruiting ranking the most with a big season on the field? Which team has biggest upside?

Damon Sayles: I think Texas Tech can really improve its ranking down the road if it can score a few clutch victories. This is Kliff Kingsbury’s first year as head coach, and if he can lead the Red Raiders to a great season, it will result in getting some top-notch commitments for the future -- the same way Texas A&M picked up stud commits after a strong 2012 season.

@LeeRagland: Never asked before, but did Ty Barrett to TCU surprise you? Enjoy your work.

DS: Thanks, Lee, and honestly, Barrett’s decision did not surprise me. I’ve always known Barrett to be a shock-the-world type of player. Several of the players from Dallas Skyline think similarly (remember, Victor Evans surprisingly chose Ole Miss over Texas). Barrett should be a major asset to the Horned Frogs’ offensive line -- and trouble for opposing Big 12 defenders.

@CLadyjags31s: As a parent, I want to know the reason for committing so early. Things change day to day. Why is it such a rush to commit?

DS: Unfortunately, it’s one that doesn’t have a conventional answer. Some commit early because they’ve been set on going to one school for quite some time; perhaps, it’s their favorite school. Others commit early because they jump on the first school to offer. That’s frowned upon by many, because you want a player to have time to weigh all options, but it happens. Then you have some players who commit early for the glamor and glitz of the event. They make a deal out of it either by way of a school ceremony or per an announcement on Twitter. One thing’s for sure: If a player commits, almost every college coach would agree that you should honor that commitment.

garrettjelley@yahoo.com: Other than Steven Parker, what ESPN 300 prospects do you see Oklahoma State ending up with? Also, does Oklahoma State have a shot at Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn or Cameron Sims?

DS: I’m sure that Oklahoma fans would beg to differ on Parker going to Stillwater and not Norman. Those are the two favorites, but whether or not he ends up a Cowboy is still to be determined. As for Dupre, Quinn and Sims, I think Oklahoma State is in the running for all three. However, it’ll be tough to steer Dupre and Quinn from LSU and Sims from Alabama. The process isn’t over until it’s over, right?

@ElmoSledd: Where do you think Dakota Allen will land?

DS: Allen is supposed to make a decision Friday night, and he is down to Texas Tech and TCU. While he’d look good in TCU purple, I think the relationship he’s built with the Red Raiders coaching staff will be the ultimate decider. Plus, Texas Tech is in dire need of a linebacker for its 2014 class. Allen is one of the best-available inside linebackers around, and whichever school ends up with him gets a steal.

@RL1_Era: Which Big 12 team needs a big recruiting class the most?

DS: A team like Kansas really could use a big class strictly for the confidence boost. The Jayhawks only have seven commitments entering the weekend. Fortunately for Jayhawks fans, three of the seven are four-star players, and two -- OLB Kyron Watson and OL Jacob Bragg -- are ESPN 300 players. A strong 2014 class will help change the image of Kansas football. Charlie Weis and Co. understand that with recruiting in Lawrence, it’s all about taking small steps.

tuxjackson@ymail.com: When does Jamardre Cobb plan to make his decision, and if you were to guess today, who would you say has the upper hand out of his top 3?

DS: Right now, Cobb is focused on winning a state championship for Los Angeles Salesian. Recruiting isn’t necessarily taking a back seat, but it’s far from the forefront. The ESPN 300 linebacker has an official visit scheduled for Oklahoma in early October, and the Sooners have had success landing players from the west coast. Arizona and Arizona State also are teams to watch in the Cobb sweepstakes.

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- With the linemen challenge and the 7-on-7 pool play, it was a good day to get a good look at all the prospects at The Opening. Here's our take on who had a good day and who struggled.


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McKINNEY, Texas -- The 2013 Nike Football Festival made a stop in north Texas, and 24 teams from the Dallas metroplex and east Texas showed their skills in 7-on-7 competition and individual skills challenges at Craig Ranch and the Michael Johnson Performance Center. Roughly 400 athletes were in attendance, some considered major FBS recruits.

Here is what we learned after the event:

2015 QB Murray wins ... twice

That sigh of relief you heard in McKinney? It’s still to be determined if it was from the Allen faithful or the Texas A&M faithful.

Saturday afternoon, Allen won the event's 7-on-7 tournament, and 2015 quarterback Kyler Murray looked phenomenal in competition. He made the same kind of plays in the air that allowed him to lead Allen to the Texas Class 5A Division-I state championship in December. In short, Murray was outstanding.

Shortly after, the 5-foot-11, 166-pound quarterback picked up the much-anticipated offer that made Aggies fans gush. Murray, the son of former Aggies quarterback Kevin Murray, finally got an offer from Texas A&M to join offers from Ohio State, Clemson, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Arizona State.

Life after Texas commit looks promising


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MESQUITE, Texas -- Class of 2015 quarterback Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas/Allen) has five offers so far, and his list of interested schools continues to grow.

Murray took in a satellite camp hosted by Sam Houston State and assisted by Arizona State, one of the schools to have offered, on Thursday afternoon. While he chose to watch the camp and not participate, Murray said he was a fan of what he saw from the Arizona State coaches.

"I've been talking to [offensive coordinator] Coach [Mike] Norvell, and he told me they liked me," Murray said. "I like what they're doing over there. I'm definitely interested."


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Texas began recruiting California quarterbacks for its 2015 class this week, and those efforts are already starting to pay off. One of the state’s best is planning to visit in June.


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There is a lot a young defensive back can learn through repetitions against an older sibling or friend. But it's just not going to have the same effect as, say, going up against an NFL wide receiver.

The talent gap was extreme, but Bailey Phillips already was well versed in going up against older wide receivers. He wasn't going to shy away from Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Emmanuel Sanders during a workout back in 2010, the summer before Sanders left for training camp.


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2015 WR Damarkus Lodge one to watch 

April, 9, 2013
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ALLEN, Texas -- Cedar Hill (Texas) High School is no stranger to producing Division I football talent, and 2015 receiver Damarkus Lodge looks to be one in the next wave of Longhorns to have a chance to play big-time college football.

The sophomore has made unofficial visits to three in-state programs already this spring and picked up his first FBS offer -- from Arizona State -- in the meantime.


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