USC Trojans: Texas A&M Aggies

Getting to know DaMarkus Lodge 

April, 17, 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.

DESOTO, Texas -- With all the multiple camps, combines and special events happening each spring, DaMarkus Lodge chooses not to be a regular on the circuit.

It’s not that Lodge is against them, or that he thinks he’s above them. The ESPN 300 receiver has simply prioritized his life as a student-athlete. The camp circuit happens to be a middle-of-the-pack priority.


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Texas Relays recruiting notebook 

March, 30, 2014
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AUSTIN, Texas -- The state of Texas’ top track athletes descended on Austin this weekend to compete in the annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on the campus of the University of Texas, and the field of competitors included several touted 2015 and 2016 recruits. Here’s an update on where a few of them stand in their recruitment.

RB Jones wants to travel

The battle for Ronald Jones II, one of the state’s top running back recruits out of McKinney North, rages on as he should be hitting the road in the next few months.


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Meet No. 4 WR Christian Kirk 

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
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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.

Few high schools in the country could lose a player like D.J. Foster and have the excitement about the future not take a dip. In his senior season at Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Foster broke the state record by scoring 60 touchdowns -- one defensively -- as he rushed for more than 3,000 yards for the Sabercats on their way to back-to-back state titles.


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Top position classes: Athletes 

February, 19, 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 Big Ten)
Ohio State continues to add speed and versatility, and the 2014 class was more of the same. The Buckeyes signed five athletes, and versatility was the name of the game. The Buckeyes' haul included potential corners to big wide receivers to safeties to speedy playmaking receivers and return men. The uber-impressive list includes future cornerback and ESPN 300 No. 45 Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland/Glenville), No. 153 Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus Hall), No. 178 Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), and four-star prospects Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII) and Malik Hooker (New Castle, Pa./New Castle).

The Buckeyes had the nation’s best athlete class; these programs had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:


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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: Steve Sarkisian and USC landed a major building block for their future this past weekend when a blue-chip 2015 quarterback committed; a longtime Texas commit flipped to rival Texas A&M on Sunday; and a five-star cornerback said he will narrow his list to four schools early this week.


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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: If USC is going to close strong, landing some of this weekend’s 11 official visitors are key; even though neither are going to land him, Alabama and Oregon earned high praise for their recruiting efforts with offensive lineman Braden Smith’s coach; and Lorenzo Carter has become priority No. 1 for several of the Southeast's top teams.

11 recruits set to visit USC


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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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video
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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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- One thing is for sure for all the 2014 Under Armour All-Americans: This isn’t high school anymore. Day 1 is about gauging the competition. Some guys dive right in and some test the waters with their big toe, but by the end of the first day of practice, all those in attendance have a pretty good idea of where they stand and what they need to do to compete and get better.

Given that it is Day 1, the playbook is introduced (Team Nitro is going no huddle with wrist bands and limited plays), and there can be sloppy moments of indecision and uncertainty. With each rep, most, if not all, prospects began to get a better feel for what is expected. Most importantly, the center-quarterback exchanges were very good for the most part, which is generally the biggest worry. Upon completion of the first practice, here are some observations and things to look for over the week:

Top Performers


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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: Texas A&M has long been on the hunt for a junior college offensive tackle to help add depth at the position, and the Aggies got their guy on Monday when blue-chip offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor committed; Oregon went hunting for defensive help in Texas, and came away with a major steal with a fast-rising prospect Justin Hollins; and whoever is hired at USC will shape West Coast and national recruiting for sure.

Hogs’ loss is Aggies' gain
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Mondays sometimes can be slow for recruiting news, but not this week. The day started with two major decommitments from Pac-12 programs, one of those decommitments later committing to another Pac-12 program, and ended with a pledge from one of the nation's top 2015 prospects to a SEC team.


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1. Still in my notebook from the Lane Kiffin story: Much has been made of USC interim coach Ed Orgeron putting desserts back onto the training table. Kiffin listened to a nutritionist; Orgeron said something about linemen loving cookies. Pac-12 Network analyst Yogi Roth, a former Trojan assistant who wrote a book with Pete Carroll, said Carroll made it clear he wanted a lot of desserts. When the nutritionists objected, Carroll said, "Ah, screw it. They’re 19 or 20 years old. They’ll be fine."

2. In the two games since Texas A&M sophomore wideout Mike Evans had a career day against No. 1 Alabama (seven catches, 279 yards, one touchdown), he has caught eight passes for 173 yards and two scores. That tells us that SMU and Arkansas paid more attention to Evans. But he managed catches of 46 and 49 yards, respectively, against each. That tells us that Ole Miss won’t take its eye off Evans, either.

3. The legendary Beano Cook died one year ago today. I have been thinking about him, what with a big game at LSU this week, the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame-Miami “Catholics vs. Convicts” game next week, and the Pirates playoff run. Beano would have rooted for his hometown team, even if he professed to abhor baseball. On the day before Game Six of the 2011 World Series, Beano said he might go see UConn at Pitt. “You’re not going to stay home to watch Game Six?” I asked. His reply: “No. No, no, no. If Game Six were in my bedroom, I would sleep in the kitchen.” There was only one Beano.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Bo Pelini’s critics have come out of the wood work, but recruits are standing by the Huskers’ head coach; Dodge City CC is normally known as one of the doormats of junior college football, but that’s changing thanks to talent like cornerback Danzel McDaniel; and Oklahoma is learning the downside of early recruiting is that it makes it easier to identify quality players like Joshua Wariboko.

Recruits sticking with Pelini
Monday was a day that Nebraska coach Bo Pelini will never forget. First Pelini responded sharply to the suggestion by former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier that the Huskers dump their entire defensive staff. Then he had to play damage control after an audio recording from 2011 surfaced in which he criticized fans during an expletive-laced rant. While fans took to social media with choice words of their own, the embattled coach was defended by a number of former players and several recruits. Three-star safety Luke Gifford (Lincoln, Neb./Southeast) has been the most vocal of Huskers commit so far when he tweeted Monday night that he loves coach Pelini and hopes to have him as a coach for years to come.

McShay's Top 10 nightmare matchups

August, 16, 2013
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Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater, Marqise LeeGetty ImagesJadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater and Marqise Lee each present a host of matchup problems.


With the 2013 college football kickoff just two weeks away, head coaches and coordinators across the country have had time to create game plans geared to defeat upcoming opponents on both sides of the ball.

But some players are more difficult to account for than others, so Todd McShay put together a ranking of the top 10 matchup nightmares in college football -- the guys who require the most attention because of their ability to single-handedly take over a game.

To read the 10 toughest matchups in college football, click here Insider.

Phil Steele predicts the bowls

August, 12, 2013
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Bowl Game PreviewESPN IllustrationEach of these players should be participating in a premier bowl matchup.


From the Kraft Fight Hunger to the Idaho Potato, Little Caesars, Buffalo Wild Wings and Beef O'Brady's; from the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl to the BCS National Championship and everything in between, Phil Steele is predicting all the matchups for bowl season.

To read the picks, click here Insider.

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