NCF Nation: Football Recruiting

In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and count down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Eugene "Geno" Smith, No. 97 in 2009 class

Smith was a star as a junior and senior at Miramar High, playing for former West Virginia quarterback Damon Cogdell. When the Broward County 2007 Player of the Year picked the Mountaineers over Alabama, LSU and Florida State, it did not come as a surprise because of the close relationship between Smith and Cogdell. Smith was recruited to Morgantown by then-West Virginia assistant Doc Holliday.

At West Virginia, Smith developed into one of college football’s top quarterbacks. After appearing in five games as a freshman, he started all 13 games as a sophomore, throwing for 2,763 yards and 24 touchdowns and becoming the first Mountaineers quarterback to throw for more than 2,500 yards since 1998.

As a junior, he again started all 13 games, culminating with a 2012 Discover Orange Bowl MVP award after West Virginia’s 70-33 lopsided win over Clemson. He set five Orange Bowl records and tied three NCAA all-time bowl records with a 407 yards passing, 433 total yards, six touchdown passes and seven total touchdowns. He was also named first-team All-Big East as he threw for 4,385 yards and 31 TDs.

As a senior, Smith again threw for more than 4,000 yards and 42 touchdowns in 13 games, closing out his stellar college career with 39 consecutive starts and 11,662 passing yards and 98 touchdowns. West Virginia was 26-13 with Smith as the starter.

He was selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft by the New York Jets and was the starting quarterback until this week.

Honorable mention: Isiah “Juice” Williams. Williams was No. 97 in the Class of 2006. Williams threw for 8,037 yards and 56 touchdowns and rushed for 2,557 yards and 18 scores in four years at Illinois. A former Chicago high school star, Williams was second-team All-Big Ten in 2008 and honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2007 and 2009. He is a four-year veteran of the Continental Indoor Football League.

Several prospects ranked No. 97 were drafted and played in the NFL. Cornerback Curtis Brown, No. 97 in 2007, played at Texas and was a third-round selection in the 2011 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers and has played in 34 career games. Wide receiver Chris Harper (2008) played at Oregon and Kansas State and was a fourth-round selection in the 2013 draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He played in four games last year for the Green Bay Packers.
About this time of year coaches scour junior college ranks for offensive line talent, and thathas helped Tyler Howell become one of hottest targets around. Plus, is Clemson in danger of losing ESPN 300 commitment Juwuan Briscoe?

CommitCast: Tarvarus McFadden (Fri., 11 a.m. ET)

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
Tarvarus McFadden, No. 49 in the ESPN 300, is ready to make his announcement. Join the No. 5 cornerback prospect in the country Friday at 11 a.m. ET on RecruitingNation to see his commitment live.

In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Jon Major, No. 98 in 2008 class

Major was the top-ranked prospect in Colorado in the 2008 class and was considered a huge recruiting win for then-head coach Dan Hawkins and staff over Oklahoma and Wisconsin after officially visiting the Buffaloes, Sooners and Badgers. Former Colorado star linebacker, nine-year NFL linebacker and then Buffaloes linebackers coach Brian Cabral was the key for Colorado in Major’s recruitment. It was the second straight year that Colorado had inked the marquee name prospect in the state following offensive tackle Ryan Miller in the 2007 class. Major was the second-highest rated prospect in the Buffaloes' 2008 class behind nationally coveted running back Darrell Scott (No. 9 in ESPN 150) out of Saint Bonaventure High in California.

Major battled major knee injuries throughout his time in Boulder. Despite missing half his redshirt sophomore year, he still amassed 225 career tackles. He led the team in tackles as a redshirt junior with 85, including 11 tackles for loss in 13 games, and followed up as a senior with 70 tackles in 11 games. Major was on his way to making a splash as a true freshman quickly moving into the two-deep in the first handful of practices in 2008, but tore his ACL and missed the entire season.

Honorable mention: Craig Drummond. The 6-foot-6, now 272-pound Drummond was No. 98 in the 2009 class. He signed with Ole Miss out of the Chicago area, but left Oxford his freshman year. He was out of football three years before heading to Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. Listed as a sophomore, Drummond is now excelling on the field to the tune of 24 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and an interception through five games. His ceiling remains high.
Elite 2016 quarterback Shea Patterson will be one of many top recruits in Oxford this weekend. While the SEC leads the way in total ESPN 300 commitments, it’s another conference that has secured the most pledges to this point.

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Class rankings: Oct. 29 update

October, 29, 2014
Oct 29
National recruiting analyst Craig Haubert breaks down updates to the ESPN class rankings for 2015 football recruiting. College football’s top two teams see fruits of their labor in recruiting.

To see the full class rankings, click here.
In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

C.J. Mosley, No. 99 in the 2010 class.

Mosley was one of the big Mobile-area recruiting battles between Alabama and Auburn that helped Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide to back-to-back BCS National Championships. While Mosley officially visited Auburn and gave the Tigers a chance, he grew up an Alabama fan and was a near lock to head to Tuscaloosa. Mosley was a member of the Crimson Tide’s No. 3-ranked recruiting class that included 2013 top 10 NFL draft pick DeMarcus “Dee” Milliner, Adrian Hubbard and DeQuan Menzie. Current members of the Crimson Tide team in Mosley’s class are quarterback Blake Sims, fullback Jalston Fowler, offensive lineman Austin Shepherd, safety Jarrick Williams and receiver DeAndrew White, among others.

Mosley appeared in 51 games in four season in Tuscaloosa, including 29 starts. He was a member of the Alabama 2011 and 2012 BCS National Championship team, as well as being a two-time All-American in 2012 and 2013. He was also the SEC defensive player of the year in 2013 and took home the prestigious Butkus Award in 2013, joining Derrick Thomas and Rolando McClain as the winners from the University of Alabama. Mosley finished his career at Alabama with 319 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, six sacks and five interceptions.

Honorable mention: Knowshon Moreno. Moreno came out of New Jersey as one of the most highly sought running backs in the 2006 class. After three seasons at Georgia, including 2,734 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns and two first-team All-SEC selections, Moreno declared for the 2009 NFL draft and was selected No. 12 overall.
Factors outside of football are going to be key to Florida’s pursuit of five-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey. Plus, there are so many elite players in the West still on the board that sometimes fans forget about other ESPN 300 prospects like Zach Robertson.

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Signing day 100 days away

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28

National signing day, Feb. 4, is just 100 days away, here's a look at 100 things to watch heading up to the big day.

Questions that will shape signing day

100. Who will coach the Florida Gators next year? The Gators entered the season hoping to rebound on the field with a shot at the No. 1 class. Amid another season of turmoil, Florida is in a fight to just keep committed prospects on board.

99. Will Michigan make a move? With that seeming very likely, a number of Wolverines commitments are making official visits. Assuming there will be a change, the new coach will have the difficult task of keeping the class together.

98. Can Virginia Tech or Virginia keep the best at home? While a pair of in-state five-stars from the 2014 class chose Virginia, the top four in 2015 remain uncommitted and only one prospect in the top 10 is committed to an in-state program after eight of the top 15 signed with the Hokies or Cavaliers last year.

97. Can UCLA win any big battles late? The Bruins were ranked No. 7 in the Preseason AP Poll and were a playoff contender. The Bruins are 6-2, but the season hasn't lived up to those lofty expectations. That has provided rival USC opportunity to have more success selling Steve Sarkisian's vision without the Bruins having taken the headlines and winning the perception battle.

96. How many prospects will flip? To date, Over 35 prospects in the ESPN 300 have decommitted or flipped their commitments. With more than 30 committed prospects still making official visits or planning to make visits, that number could reach as high as 70, considering both the Florida and Michigan jobs could open which could start a chain reaction depending on future hires. There is no doubt that 2015 is the class of flips, and it has only just begun.

To continue reading, click here.
In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Brandon Spikes, No. 100 in 2006 class

Spikes was a fierce recruiting battle between Florida and Alabama out of Shelby Crest High in North Carolina with Virginia Tech as a third school that received an official visit. While Alabama and Virginia Tech made runs, it was the work of then-Florida assistant and current Marshall head coach Doc Holliday that won Spikes over. Holiday had a long-standing relationship with Spikes dating back to when Holliday was an assistant at NC State before being hired at Florida in 2005. Spikes was part of ESPN’s No. 1 ranked Florida Gators recruiting class that included Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Marcus Gilbert and Riley Cooper. Tebow and Harvins were first-round NFL draft selections, Spikes and Gilbert second round and Cooper fifth round.

Spikes was a member of the Florida Gators from 2006-2009, playing on the 2007 and 2009 BCS national title teams under Urban Meyer. He played in 47 games for the Gators, including 39 starts posting 307 career tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and six interceptions. He returned four interceptions for scores. Tallied 131 tackles as a sophomore earning All-SEC and All-American postseason honors. He was a second-round selection in the 2010 NFL draft, and is currently playing in his fifth season in the NFL.

Honorable mention: Emmanuel Acho. Acho was a member of the Texas Longhorns class of 2008 that included Pro-Bowl kicker Justin Tucker and Bills safety Aaron Williams. Acho is the younger brother of Cardinals outside linebacker Sam Acho. Acho, currently on the Eagles active squad, started 26 games for the Longhorns under Mack Brown. He played in the 2010 BCS national title loss to Alabama and the 2009 Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State.

On The Trail Show

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
Join RecruitingNation's panel of experts as we discuss the latest news from a busy weekend official visits and look ahead as we reach 100 days until national signing day.

The center of Bill Snyder’s program at Kansas State is local players, and K-State has done a masterful job with the 2015 class in the Sunflower State. Plus, Utah hasn’t grabbed a lot of recruiting headlines so far this season, but one Pac 12 recruiter says it should be.

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Luginbill's Premium Prospect Board

October, 27, 2014
Oct 27

The Premium Prospect Board is a look at the members of the Class of 2015 who offer the most immediate impact and early value potential to the college football teams they are committed to or are considering.

The latest edition has added three new names, including No. 1 overall player Terry Becker Jr.

To read all of Tom Luginbill's Premium Prospect Board, click here Insider.

Early Offer: Hogs dominate in-state 

October, 26, 2014
Oct 26
To win in the SEC, Arkansas knew it had to keep the star-studded 2015 in-state recruiting class at home, and that’s exactly what it has done. Plus, a rival recruiter believes Notre Dame’s class will be in the top five by the time signing day arrives.

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Duke now has the ability to sell a winning program and new facilities to recruits, and prospects like what they're seeing. Plus, the nation's top 2016 quarterback was slated to be at Florida State for the Notre Dame game, but he wasn't able to make it and now is looking for a return date.

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