Early Commit: QB Wooten to TCU 

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
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Under Gary Patterson, TCU is a program that quietly goes about its business on the recruiting front, evaluating very well and developing players. In the 2016 class, however, the Horned Frogs made some early noise picking up a big commitment, No. 109, quarterback Brennen Wooten.

Crabtree: New trend hits football recruiting

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
4:29
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Recruiters call it the LeBron effect. Our survey shows that elite recruits would rather join forces with other top players, while in years past they might have gone to college as a singular star. Click here for the rest of Jeremy Crabtree's story.
At events like The Opening, prospects get together in a unique environment. RecruitingNation took advantage and asked a few questions.

Of Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel or Jameis Winston, who would you want as your quarterback?

Choosing Newton:

ESPN 300 No. 2 Martez Ivey: You could pick Manziel, too, but it’s what Cam brings. He always has that smile on his face. I remember watching him when Auburn was down to Alabama, he still had a smile on his face and went out there and won the game. He wins.

No. 10 Tim Settle: He can be locked down and not be able to throw, but he can run. And I’m trying to tell you, he doesn’t get just 10 yards -- he can get 15 if you want 10. I also think he was more mature than Johnny and Jameis.

No. 19 Josh Rosen: Probably, Newton. Just because there are so many things you can do with him. He’s just one of those guys if he runs around on the college level he’s not as susceptible to injury because of his size and athleticism. I would probably pick someone that can stand in the pocket first, and I think if you put Cam in the right system -- he can do some damage.

No. 35 Calvin Ridley: I would definitely take Cam Newton because I like him, he can sling the ball, he’s a threat to run, defense had to pack the box in college against him and gives guys like me more opportunities one-on-one.

No. 51 Breiden Fehoko: I think Cam Newton. When you look at overall, playmaker, dual-threat, he has a gun [strong arm], he’s just as fast on his feet as others, he stands about 6-foot-6, weighs 250 and he can see the entire field with everything else he has.

*Of the 30 players asked, 22 picked Newton.

Choosing Manziel:

No. 38 Malik Jefferson: Manziel. He has the go-get-it attitude. He wants it every second. Even though people said he was a dumb butt off the field, he always wanted to play no matter what his circumstance was. He just goes out there and plays, and has fun while he is doing it.

Alabama commitment Blake Barnett: I would say Johnny Manziel, just because he’s a playmaker. He can drop back and throw the ball down the field, then he can beat you up with his feet. I think he’s a terrific player.

Choosing Winston:

No. 16 Jashon Cornell: In college? I’m going to take Jameis. He has the ability to be the best of all. He plays baseball, too, which helps his arm strength, and just the leader he is.

Georgia commit Jackson Harris: I would probably go with Winston. I know [FSU quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders] pretty well, he recruited me, and he would just tell me the stuff that he can do and does. His stories were unbelievable.

Michigan verbal Alex Malzone: Winston, just because of his winning mentality. He’s going to work, you can tell he is a competitor and will do anything to win. As a quarterback, that is what you want.

Will Winston repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner?

Ivey: Those receivers made him look really good last year. It’s going to be a challenge for him, and there is always a young freshman that steps up from out of nowhere now. I don’t really think the off-the-field hurts him. People are always going to hassle him about something. It comes with being a Heisman winner and high profile player.

Settle: No. He can’t stay out of trouble. He’s always in trouble, and some of them are the littlest things that end up being big. He has to be hitting on all cylinders to have a chance, because there is some freshman that will pop up. I won’t be shocked if he has a great year, but you have to be smart in the decisions you make.

No. 12 Torrance Gibson: Yeah, I think he can. He has a lot of dedication and determination. He’s a great quarterback and a great leader, and I think he can repeat. The off-the-field could hurt a little. The politics too -- people don’t like seeing other people on top. If he keeps his head on straight, I think he’ll be fine.

No. 28 Damien Harris: I don’t think he will. Not saying he’s not a great player, as he was the best player in college football last year, but I actually have Braxton Miller winning the Heisman this year. I think he’ll win it, he’s a great quarterback. I don’t think the off-the-field should hurt Jameis, unless it’s something out-of-the-question horrible. I think Braxton will get him though.

Barnett: I think it’s a possibility. He’s an excellent athlete and a great quarterback. If he’s got a solid team at Florida State again, he will be productive. Almost every player goes through different adversities off the field, but just like Johnny Manziel did -- he’s continued to be very successful.

Texas A&M commit Jordan Davis: No. There is a lot of young talent. And if Johnny [Manziel] didn’t do it, I don’t think Jameis will. The off-the-field stuff hurt Johnny, so I think the stupid decisions Jameis made will hurt him, too, next year.

Video: 2015 class rankings update

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
3:00
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video
National recruiting analyst Craig Haubert joins ESPN's Phil Murphy to break down updates to the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings for 2015 football recruiting. Nearly a dozen ranked prospects announced college decisions in the last week.
video
HOOVER, Ala. -- For better or worse, Nick Saban has a reputation. And after four decades of coaching, it's not likely to change.

He's gruff. He's demanding. He's hard-nosed, unrelenting and oftentimes furious.

He is, according to a survey conducted by ESPN, the most-intimidating coach in college football. Of the 58 recruits who responded to a survey, 22 selected Saban as the most intimidating coach they've spoken with. The next-highest on the list was Urban Meyer, who was selected only seven times.

What's maybe more telling: Among the 58 recruits who answered the question, "Of all the head coaches you've spoken with, who was the easiest to talk with?" none said Saban.

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DALLAS -- Winning football games holds top billing in most cases, but when discussing the most important objective to college football coaches, a great recruiting class is always high on the totem pole.

The Big 12 media days on Monday and Tuesday gave coaches a chance to share their opinions on their teams, their competitors and the future of college football. It also allowed each coach to talk about the positives and negatives of recruiting.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: ESPN.com conducted a survey of the top 300 2015 football recruits, and throughout the week it's been exploring the results. This includes a look at how recruits are open to playing with gay teammates and how they would support unionization, stipends and an expanded College Football Playoff.

So which schools scored with recruits for the best food, top facilities, greatest campus atmosphere and coolest uniforms?


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Survey: Recruits open to gay teammates

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
2:14
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Recruits surveyed overwhelmingly said they would commit to a school with an openly gay player. The numbers are just the start as these athletes could be leading a generational change.

An excerpt from Jeremy Crabtree's report:
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel knew the question was coming. Even though it had been six months since Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam publicly announced he was gay and became the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, Pinkel understood he was going to be asked about the declaration at SEC media days.

When asked about how the announcement affected his program, Pinkel talked about how he believed the people at Missouri handled themselves with class the days and weeks after Sam came out. But then he paused midway through his answer for a few moments, collected his thoughts and said he hopes five years from now a player's sexual orientation isn't even a topic.

"I hope that we've moved on," Pinkel said. "And we respect people for what they are and what they do."


Read more on the survey results.

Miami (FL) is making a statement in 2016. With six ESPN Junior 300 prospects already committed and riding a wave of momentum behind quarterback pledge Jack Allison, Al Golden and staff struck again, picking up a verbal from long-armed wide receiver Ahmmon Richards.


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video
ESPN 300 offensive tackle Abdul Bello has committed to Florida State. Here's how the Seminoles plan to work him into the mix:


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The Texas Longhorns' latest commitment, Louis Brown, has the frame and athleticism to develop into a menace off of the edge in Charlie Strong's defense.


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Whether a Georgia or Mississippi State fan, it was a great weekend to be a Bulldog. The two schools combined to land 11 verbal commitments over the weekend. With the season quickly approaching, teams are racing to finish the summer strong in recruiting before fall camp opens in just a few short weeks. Here's a look at some of the top headlines from the weekend:


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If you see members of the Texas Longhorns coaching staff smiling during Tuesday's Big 12 media day session, don't be surprised if it's because of its newest commitment.

ESPN 300 athlete Louis Brown became the Longhorns' 12th pledge of the 2015 class Monday night. Ranked the nation's No. 20 athlete, Brown is expected to play defensive end in college.

The Auburn Tigers are carrying as much recruiting momentum as any program in the country, save archrival Alabama. With one ESPNJr300 prospect already in the fold in tight end Landon Rice, (No. 299), Gus Malzahn and staff hit a four bagger with the bases loaded July 21 receiving a pledge from one of 2016's very best: No. 6-overall recruit Nate Craig.


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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The ongoing NCAA investigation into academic fraud at North Carolina hasn't been a focal point in the Tar Heels' locker room, coach Larry Fedora said at Monday's ACC Kickoff, but it's been an ever-present speed bump on the recruiting trail.

The NCAA last month reopened the investigation, which had been concluded in 2012 and which Fedora said he'd believed was closed for good, sparking another round of negative recruiting from competing schools.

"It's not really affecting our team," Fedora said. "The players, they're not concerned with it. They've been hearing about it for three years. It's just old news. The ones it affects is in recruiting. That's where it hits you the hardest. The other schools, that's what they're using when they're recruiting against you."

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