#AskLoogs: Keith Mixon's ranking

October, 24, 2014
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

Statistically it would be easy to say yes, but there is more involved than that. Keith Mixon’s stature is limiting as a true running back or load-carrier, and he would be more of a utility/scatback-type at the next level of play. We see a productive player, but one who lacks game-breaking speed and size and is quicker than he is fast. To make a comparative analysis he would be similar to Jameon Lewis, but not as fast or big in terms of bulk. Our biggest concern is a lack of a second gear when he get into the open field, especially given his size. This is where we question how he would stack up with other Power 5-caliber prospects.

UA jersey tour: Adonis Thomas

October, 24, 2014
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ESPN 300 outside linebacker Adonis Thomas was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Friday morning in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of family, friends, teammates, classmates and school faculty on the campus of Central Gwinnett High in Lawrenceville, Ga.

Thomas knows this is an honor that only 90 players receive in each class. That honor goes beyond the personal, but is also an honor for his school through the hard work of Central Gwinnett coach Todd Wofford.

“It’s a real big deal to be in the Under Armour All-America Game,” Thomas said. “All of the best players play in the Under Armour Game, and many of the best college players played in the game. It’s also pretty big for the school. My coach [Wofford] does a great job of making us work and helping us get our names out there,”

Thomas said he knew early on that he had the chance to be a good player . For his parents, that wasn’t the case.

“I probably realized I was pretty good when I played varsity as a freshman. My mom was big on academics, so she never thought about it. My dad wasn’t sure if this could happen. Coach Wofford saw something in me and did a great job getting it out of me,”

Thomas, a linebacker ranked as the class' No. 63 overall prospect, decommitted from Florida on Thursday night. The Atlanta-area prospect will officially visit LSU on Dec. 5, Oregon possibly in November, Alabama in January and Florida is to be determined. Georgia is also still under consideration and might receive an official visit.

Is there any one player you are looking forward to going up against at the Under Armour Game or practices?

Thomas: I’m not sure. I think I’m looking at the best running backs. Linebackers have to match up with the running backs, and the best backs will be there.

If you were to start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be and why?

Thomas: I think it would be Roquan Smith for me. We played next to each other at the Nike Camp and shut it down. I think it would be fun to do that again in college.

Who is the best player to ever play in the Under Armour game that you know of?

Thomas: In my opinion, it would be Jadeveon Clowney. That was the first year I watched the Under Armour Game. He was the No. 1 player coming out and easily dominated the game. You could tell he was easily the best player on the field.

What is your earliest football memory?

Thomas: It would be the first time I ever put pads on. I was in seventh grade, and I didn’t know how to put my pads on. My dad helped me with my girdle because I didn’t know what to do. [laughing]

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?

Thomas: Randy Moss, man. I’m a big New England Patriots fan, so I liked Randy Moss a lot when he was with the Patriots.

If you could take on any pro player in his sport, who would it be?

Thomas: Muhammed Ali. I think he was the greatest boxer ever, and I would just like to go against the best. Muhammed Ali was the best.

What number do you wear and why?

Thomas: I wear No. 5. I wanted No. 6, but Coach Wofford said big-time players wear No. 5, so he gave me five.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Thomas: It’s got to be that I love Chinese food. I eat Chinese food every day.

Official Visits: Oct. 24 

October, 24, 2014
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ACC
Clemson
Tim Irvin ATH
HT: 5-9 WT: 190
Positional Rank: No. 34 ATH
video
Michigan and Michigan State are on two different paths this season. The Spartans are fighting for a spot in the first College Football Playoff and Michigan is fighting to keep Brady Hoke’s job.

Despite the difference in the state of the two programs, in-state prospects say their opinions haven’t changed much on how they view the schools.


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video
ESPN 300 offensive guard Darryl Williams is the latest prospect to join Mississippi State's impressive 2015 class. Read on to see how Williams fits coach Dan Mullen's plans:


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Big 12's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
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It’s a relatively slow week in the Big 12, but “slow” doesn’t mean “nonexistent” when it comes to big conference matchups. TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma State all host major games, and all three games will have potential commits in attendance. Check out some of the names and where they will be where this weekend:

Texas Tech at TCU

The Horned Frogs may be the hottest team in the Big 12, and they have a chance to impress a couple of top-ranked recruits who will be on campus this weekend. ESPN 300 receiver Carlos Strickland is a primary target for the Horned Frogs, and he is expected to take his official visit. Strickland, at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, can be a major get for an offense gaining more and more national respect each week. ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Jared Mayden also will be in Fort Worth this weekend. Mayden is one of the top-ranked cornerbacks in the 2016 class, and he would fit in well in TCU’s always-respected defense.


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ACC's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
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This weekend has the look of a slow one on the recruiting trail. While there could certainly be news and visits pop up late, this looks to be a big weekend for Clemson in the 2016 class. Looking ahead, the struggling Virginia Tech Hokies are set to host a number of key targets in two weeks.


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Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
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We're still a week away from the in-season megavisit that will take place when Oregon hosts Stanford, but there are more than a few intriguing visitor lists in the Pac-12 this weekend. It's a weekend that could provide clarity in the Pac-12 South, and recruits will be on hand as Utah hosts USC and the Arizona schools travel to the state of Washington. Elsewhere, Stanford hosts Oregon State and important ESPN 300 prospects as we look at the top three visit weekends in the Pac-12.

USC at Utah

The Utes are scheduled to host at least three official visitors this weekend, led by Utah wide receiver commit Donzale Roddie. Also on hand will be safety Tyson Cisrow and defensive end Simitali Moala. Cisrow is another in a long line of Florida standouts the Utes are chasing in this 2015 class. Utah already holds commitments from three Florida preps and is well on its way to matching the five Sunshine State prospects signed in the 2014 class. This will be an important visit for Roddie as well, as the three-star recruit is being chased by Colorado and has said in the past that he'll continue to listen to other schools despite his verbal commitment.


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SEC's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
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There are again some big games around the SEC this weekend. The Ole Miss at LSU game looks to be loaded with big-time visitors. Tennessee is sure to bring in several high-profile recruits for its game against rival Alabama and Auburn is hoping to reel in a few top prospects for its game against South Carolina. Here’s a closer look at some of the top visitors in the SEC this weekend.

Alabama at Tennessee


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Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
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This is shaping up to be an important weekend for the Big Ten, with rivalry games and big recruiting visitors on tap.

Plenty of recruits are making their way to Big Ten games this weekend, so here is a look at some of the top prospects who will be on hand.

Ohio State vs. Penn State


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Weekly Commitment Roundup

October, 24, 2014
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The following is a list of commitments made to FBS programs from Oct. 17-23:

ACC
Georgia Tech
Quaide Weimerskirch RB
HT: 6-1 WT: 200
Positional Rank: No. 178 RB
Stars: 3

Big 12
Kansas
Josh Moore TE-Y
HT: 6-5 WT: 250
Positional Rank: No. 13 TE-Y
Stars: 3

Kansas State
Bryce Balous S
HT: 5-11 WT: 180
Positional Rank: No. 125 S
Stars: 3

Texas Tech
Tyler Castaneda OG
HT: 6-4 WT: 270
Positional Rank: N/A for 2017
Stars: Evaluation Pending

West Virginia
Adam Shuler DE
HT: 6-5 WT: 250
Positional Rank: No. 107 DE
Stars: 3

Big Ten
Ohio State
Jerome Baker OLB
HT: 6-1 WT: 202
Positional Rank: No. 7 OLB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 70)

Rashod Berry DE
HT: 6-4 WT: 235
Positional Rank: No. 101 DE
Stars: 3

Kierre Hawkins ATH
HT: 6-4 WT: 220
Positional Rank: N/A for 2016
Stars: 3

Rutgers
Freddie Simmons WR
HT: 6-3 WT: 176
Positional Rank: No. 140 WR
Stars: 3

Pac-12
Arizona State
Davon Durant ILB
HT: 6-2 WT: 240
Positional Rank: N/A Juco
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Oregon State
Matt Snyder TE-Y
HT: 6-5 WT: 245
Positional Rank: No. 20 TE-Y
Stars: 3

SEC
Arkansas
Dre Greenlaw S
HT: 6-0 WT: 210
Positional Rank: No. 123
Stars: 3

Kentucky
Kengera Daniel DE
HT: 6-5 WT: 250
Positional Rank: No. 34 DE
Stars: 3

Mississippi State
Darryl Williams OG
HT: 6-4 WT: 312
Positional Rank: No. 19 OG
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 239)

Independents
Notre Dame
Te'Von Coney OLB
HT: 6-1 WT: 222
Positional Rank: No. 22 OLB
Stars: 4

American
Connecticut
Brian Cespedes OT
HT: 6-6 WT: 260

Hergy Mayala WR
HT: 6-2 WT: 195

Memphis
Jake Swalley DT
HT: 6-2 WT: 285

Mid-American
Bowling Green
Tyler Hortsman OLB
HT: 6-3 WT: 225

Eastern Michigan
Pete Bergman OT
HT: 6-8 WT: 280

Massachusetts
Marquis Young RB
HT: 5-11 WT: 200

Western Michigan
Levante' Bellamy RB
HT: 5-9 WT: 170

Mountain West
Boise State
Ben Moa DE
HT: 6-4 WT: 275
Positional Rank: N/A Juco
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Wyoming
Andrew Wingard ATH
HT: 5-11 WT: 175

Sun Belt
Appalachian State
Zireycus Letman WR
HT: 6-3 WT: 195

Louisiana-Lafayette
Gary Haynes CB
HT: 5-8 WT: 152

Louisiana-Monroe
Will Collins QB-DT
6-2 WT: 193
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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ESPN 300 defensive lineman Sterling Johnson was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Thursday morning in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of family, friends, teammates, classmates and school faculty on the campus of Cleveland High in Clayton, North Carolina.

Thursday was a dream come true for the Tar Heel state defensive end that began in the eighth grade.

“Honestly, it’s a dream come true and a blessing,” Johnson said. “I remember when I was in eighth grade, I watched the Under Armour Game and told myself I want to play in that game. Now it’s here, and it’s a dream come true,”

Johnson not only fulfilled a childhood dream, but also is the first from Clayton High to receive the honor of playing in the prestigious game.

“I feel that it means a lot to my school and community. Our school has only been opened five years, but it’s a big deal and I hope that opens the doors for others to be selected in the future. Community wise, it means a lot for people to say Sterling Johnson is an Under Armour All-American and he comes to our cookouts every week. It’s the little things that means a lot.”

No. 109 Johnson committed to Clemson on May 13 over offers from NC State, Virginia, UCLA, North Carolina and Florida. Johnson joins No. 113 Garrett Williams, No. 126 Clelin Ferrell and No. 151 Ray-Ray McCloud as Clemson commits in the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game, which will be played on Jan. 2 on ESPN2.

Eight questions with Sterling Johnson

Is there any one player you are looking forward to going up against at the Under Armour Game or practices?

Johnson: Not anyone specifically. I feel that just the opportunity overall to go against the best of the best is great. When you go to a game like Under Armour or The Opening, it’s a chance to go against guys that may be rated higher.

If you were to start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be and why?

Johnson: Honestly, probably Kyler Murray. I really like the way he plays. He’s not the biggest guy, but he brings a tenacity to the game and the intensity and will to win.

Who is the best player to ever play in the Under Armour game that you know of?

Johnson: I think it’s Jadeveon Clowney from a physicality and upside standpoint. The defensive end that went to Texas A&M [Myles Garrett] that played last year, he tore it up and he really impressed me.

What is your earliest football memory?

Johnson: I’ve only played football since the seventh grade. My first memory was the first game I started. I had like six tackles, two sacks and caused a fumble – I went off [laughing]. We lost like 28-0, but I didn’t care. I liked [how I] played and had fun.

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?

Johnson: I wasn’t into football when I was 8 or 9, so I didn’t have anyone back then. I guess Julius Peppers being from North Carolina. Physically the things he could do, and you never heard about him in trouble or anything.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport, who would it be?

Johnson: I would probably challenge Dwight Howard to a 3-point shooting contest. I think that I might be able to beat him [laughing]. I would take on a pro in something I would have a chance to win.

What number do you wear and why?

Johnson: I wore 76 when I first started playing, but I wear 90 now. I wanted 99, but someone already had it. I wear 90 because my dad wore 90 in high school.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Johnson: The happy type of person I am. The fact that I smile about 90 percent of the time may surprise people. They say I’m angry on the field and a clown off the field.

UA jersey tour: John Burt

October, 23, 2014
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- ESPN 300 wide receiver John Burt was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Thursday morning in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of family, friends and teammates at Lincoln High School’s auditorium in Tallahassee, Florida.

Lincoln has been one of the top programs in Florida in recent years, but Burt will be the first player from the school to play in the Under Armour All-America game. Head coach Yusuf Shakir said his star athlete will be a great representative.

"Well No. 1, I think he’s a great kid; he’s phenomenal. He is so unselfish and wants everybody to be successful,” Shakir said. "He really doesn’t know how good he is and the type of level he’s at. He has no clue about that; he’s just so unselfish and wants everyone to be successful. He’s a tall kid that can run and he can do a lot of things that small kids can do. He just has that true natural ability and he works so hard to develop that and he’s willing to do anything and everything.”

Burt has been committed to Texas since July, but it now appears he is torn between the Longhorns and Auburn.

"Really the only two programs I still have interest in are Auburn and Texas, and I’m trying to kind of decide if I want to stay committed to Texas or commit to Auburn,” Burt said. “It’s kind of hard to say which way I’m leaning. It kind of moves around a little bit. But really I’m just kind of flip-flopping and weighing out all of the options.”

The four-star receiver has already visited both schools and more visits could be coming.

"I might visit both schools; it all really just depends if I flip to Auburn,” Burt said. "Pretty much after I make this final decision, I’m pretty much going to be done after that. So it really all depends."


Seven questions with John Burt

Who is one player you are looking forward to competing against?

Burt: There’s not really one certain player. I just want a chance to go against any of those top defensive players playing in the game.

If you were to start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be?

JB: I’d probably have to say like a receiver like Christian Kirk. If I’m playing in the game, I want someone else on the other side to kind of balance it out.

Who is the best player to ever play in the Under Armour game that you know of?

JB: I’m a receiver, so I’d have to say someone like A.J. Green. He’s one of the best receivers to ever play in college and obviously he’s doing well in the NFL right now.

What is your earliest football memory?

JB: My earliest memory was when I was like five or six playing flag football for the YMCA and city league. That’s when it’s all fun and games, but that’s really when you’re just out there playing and having fun.

Which football player did you idolize or be like when you were a kid?

JB: When I was a kid, I didn’t know what position I was going to play, so I really liked Michael Vick. He was the hot player back in the day. Now if I had to pick a player, I’d say Calvin Johnson, because he’s a great receiver and that’s how I want to play.

What number do you wear?

JB: I wear No. 10. There’s not really a reason why. I just got that number and I like it. I’d like to keep it in college or another low number, like 11.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

JB: I play Xbox a lot. Like a lot. Me and my friends will play Xbox all weekend long.

Tale of the tape: Alabama vs. Tennessee 

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
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The Alabama at Tennessee game on Saturday night will feature two teams who appear to be on very different paths. For Alabama, the No. 4-ranked team in the country, it's near the top both on the field and in recruiting. For Tennessee, the Volunteers are 0-3 in the SEC and 3-4 overall. At first glance it looks like this could be a blowout; after all the SEC West has had its way with the SEC East this year -- and it still might be -- but Tennessee’s focus isn’t necessarily about making the college football playoff this year but rather competing and building for the future.

Under second-year head coach Butch Jones, Tennessee is taking its lumps, but with a top-five recruiting class last year and working on another top-five class this year -- the Vols are heading in the right direction. There is a new energy around the Tennessee program and it all starts with recruiting.

With 21 commits, including 17 ranked in the ESPN 300, Alabama is on pace for its fourth consecutive recruiting title. Tennessee, meanwhile, has 26 commitments, including eight ranked in the ESPN 300 and is hoping to bring in players who fill immediate needs and others who can add depth in key areas. The Vols lead the nation in true freshmen who have played with over 20 and several freshmen including Jalen Hurd, Todd Kelly Jr. and Derek Barnett have made significant contributions this year.

Alabama freshmen Cam Robinson and Tony Brown have also made an impact as freshmen, but with the depth Nick Saban has built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the need for immediate impact players is far less necessary than what it is in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Instant impact recruit


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