USC Trojans: Wisconsin Badgers

Early Offer: Florida gets Sharpe 

December, 13, 2013
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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: After a few days off, the Early Offer is back with news on Florida adding one of the best offensive linemen in the country; a road trip that takes fans inside the world of coaches on the road; and an avalanche of commitments from junior college prospects is coming in the next week.

Gators get their guy

It took a little bit longer than anticipated, but Florida landed highly coveted offensive lineman David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence) on Thursday. Sharpe, the No. 18 player in the country and second-ranked offensive tackle, pushed back a scheduled decision before Thanksgiving to Thursday, but in the end it was worth the wait for Florida fans.


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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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1. BYU is 6-2, has an invitation to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco, and after a bye week will play at No. 24 Wisconsin. Two weeks after that comes a road trip to No. 25 Notre Dame. In pointing out the home games the Cougars have played (and won) against Texas, Georgia Tech and Boise State, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said, “It’s really what we were hoping when we became independent.” That’s rough scheduling for the Badgers, who must take their focus away from the Big Ten for a non-conference game that will be no pushover.

2. The last two times Boston and St. Louis faced one another in the World Series -- 1967 and 2004 -- USC won the national championship a few weeks later. So much for an omen this year. However, in 1946, when the Red Sox and Cardinals first played in the Fall Classic, USC finished 6-4. Right now, the Trojans are 5-3 and have consecutive road games at Oregon State and California. They very easily could be 6-4 after those two games.

3. Ohio State pointed out over the weekend that Urban Meyer is the first FBS head coach to have three 20-game winning streaks in his career. Meyer is 19-0 with the Buckeyes and won his final game at Florida in 2010. Over 28 seasons at Ohio State, the legendary Woody Hayes won 20 consecutive games only once. From 1967 through the next-to-last game of 1969, Ohio State won 22 straight, but Hayes’ winning streak stopped at Michigan. If Meyer is to break Hayes’ school record, victory No. 23 will come, yes, at Michigan.
The Early Offer is a RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The news that Penn State is having scholarships restored by the NCAA will give Nittany Lion coach Bill O’Brien even more opportunities to showcase recruiting skills; Highland CC DE Joe Keels is quickly climbing the charts, just like his team; and FSU addressed a need at TE thanks in part to star quarterback Jameis Winston.

Big opportunity for O’Brien
Penn State coach Bill O’Brien had already proven he was one of the nation’s best recruiters when the Nittany Lions’ 2013 class finished at No. 24 in the class rankings and followed it up this year with a class that ranks at No. 25. The ability to attract talent like he has with all of the restrictions placed on his staff was impressive. But when the news broke Tuesday that the NCAA will reduce its sanctions against Penn State by gradually restoring scholarships starting next season, Happy Valley certainly became a lot happier. The news gives O’Brien an immediate opportunity to build an even better 2014 class, and I fully expect him to make the most out of it. One Big Ten assistant told me that this “makes Penn State relevant again with some of the Midwest’s top uncommitted players.”

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At least three teams are safe to make it through final cuts for tight end Ryan Izzo (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII).


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Being the champs has its benefits, especially when it comes to impressing recruits.

One of the country’s top junior college offensive tackles, Jermaine Eluemunor (Scranton, Pa./Lackawanna College) was planning several trips and set official visits to Ohio State and Texas A&M, but now the only trip for certain is a visit to Alabama in mid-July.


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Trojans 25th in Way-Too-Early Top 25

January, 8, 2013
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Alabama CheerleadersStreeter Lecka/Getty ImagesAlabama, with three of the past four national titles, is No. 1 in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2013.

There's still seven months before the start of the 2013 season, and the teams and their order figure to change frequently, but it's never too early to take a look at the Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2013.

And with three national championships in the past four years, there's no reason to change the team that's on top. After a tough 2012, USC has some ground to make up at No. 25.

Also see:

#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.

#BlueChipBattles: Nov. 2

November, 2, 2012
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RecruitingNation has summoned its writers from around the country to compile a list of the top 10 battles for elite football recruits Insider leading up to February's signing day. We'll update our rankings periodically to reflect a change in a player's status (i.e., new offers, trimmed-down list or a positive/negative official visit).

Our writers have debated the list for weeks, but we value your input as well. Voice your opinion on Twitter (@RecruitingESPN) using#BlueChipBattles or vote for which player should hold the No. 1 spot on Facebook.
One of the top offensive line recruits in the state of California for the class of 2013 is expected to be John Lopez from Orange Lutheran (Calif.) High School.

Lopez (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) is a two-year starter at offensive guard for an Orange Lutheran team that plays in the tough Trinity League, so he has faced some quality competition in his career. Lopez received his first scholarship offer as a sophomore from then-UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, and he has added recent offers from Florida State and Colorado as well. Lopez has already received interest from Washington, Nebraska and Wisconsin, with Alabama also making contact, and attended the recent junior day at USC.

Lopez was in attendance on Saturday at the Asante Trenchmen Academy camp at Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) St. Paul High School as he begins the all-important spring camp and combine circuit.

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Once again, Urban Meyer added a solid piece to Ohio State’s 2012 recruiting class at the expense of a Big Ten rival.

At an announcement at his school at 12:45 Wednesday, three-star Cleveland Heights offensive tackle Kyle Dodson flipped his commitment to Ohio State from Wisconsin. The Badgers were hardly a consideration as Dodson chose the Buckeyes over Michigan State and USC.

The offensive line, specifically tackle, was a major need for the Buckeyes going into the class, and Meyer added three linemen previously committed to other schools. Dodson joins ESPNU 150 guard Joey O’Connor (former Penn State commit) and Taylor Decker (Notre Dame).

The Buckeyes, ranked in the top 10 of the ESPNU class rankings, have 25 commitments after adding four-star Jamal Marcus and Dodson on signing day.

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Wild week for USC roster 

January, 16, 2012
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It’s not too often that there are as many roster changes in one week in college football team as the USC Trojans saw last week.

There were five transfer departures confirmed in RB Amir Carlisle, WR Brice Butler, WR Kyle Prater, DB T.J. Bryant and DB Patrick Hall. There was also an incoming transfer announced with former Florida safety Josh Shaw, who enrolled at USC in time for the spring semester.

Carlisle was the biggest surprise of the group. There weren’t any previously known issues with Carlisle, and his future was thought to be bright within the USC offense. He was a shifty runner with good speed, excellent hands and a surprising amount of toughness in his running style.

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Cleveland Heights offensive tackle Kyle Dodson was firmly committed to Wisconsin for more than five months and was coming off his official visit to the Badgers when Ohio State forced Dodson to reconsider his options.

The Buckeyes named Urban Meyer its new coach on Nov. 28 -- one day after his official visit to Wisconsin ended -- and the three-star lineman is no longer 100 percent committed to the Badgers.

“I'm about 80 percent [committed to Wisconsin],” Dodson said.

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What to watch this weekend 

December, 8, 2011
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Will ASU or UCLA fill coaching vacancies?
We asked this exact question last week. Fast forward seven days and still neither school has named a new head coach. On Wednesday, it looked like a done deal that June Jones was headed to Arizona State. Reportedly, Jones even had his coaching staff pulled off the road and told to pack their bags for Tempe.

However, the deal fell through in the last hour and where the Sun Devils go from here is anybody’s guess.

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