NCF On The Trail: Big 10

video
BUFORD, Ga. - Despite the cold and rainy weather conditions, more than 400 prospects from all over the Southeast made the trip to Buford High School for the Nike The Opening Regional Camp on Sunday.
[+] EnlargeMalik Henry
Miller Safrit/ESPNFlorida State quarterback pledge Malik Henry was among the prospects earning invitations to The Opening.
With less than ideal conditions for throwing the ball, several quarterbacks and wide receivers -- including Malik Henry, David Moore, Josh Imatorbhebehe, Freddie Swain, Tre Nixon and several other players -- had standout performances at the camp. Swain, the No. 214 prospect in the ESPN Junior 300, was one of the most impressive receivers and took home the wide receiver MVP as well as an invitation to The Opening. The 6-foot, 170-pound athlete from Citra (Florida) North Marion High School took advantage of his trip to Atlanta by visiting the University of Georgia on Saturday before attending the Nike camp. The visit turned out to be a success for the talented receiver. “I just got offered by Georgia yesterday on my visit,” Swain said. "It was a lot of fun and I got to meet with coach Richt. He just said to keep working hard and he’ll see me in the spring.”
The state of Florida is generally loaded with playmakers at wide receiver. In fact, over the last five years, the state has produced at least eight ESPN 300 prospects in every class. This year’s group of wide receivers just might top them all. An astounding 15 wideouts from the Sunshine State are listed in the ESPN Junior 300. It’s the deepest wide receiver class to come out of Florida in recent memory.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Ultimate ESPN 300 list is out and the Big Ten is well-represented from top to bottom. When it comes to re-ranking players, there are always surprises and sleeper players after the fact, which is why we put together our list of the top five surprises from the ultimate list.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Best of the visits: Big Ten

January, 18, 2015
Jan 18
11:50
AM ET
We are in the final contact period before signing day, which means official visits are upon us. This weekend was an important one for the Big Ten, as plenty of top targets were on campuses. The visiting prospects took to Twitter and social media to document their trips.

Here is a look at the visits from the eyes of the recruits:

It wouldn’t be a visit weekend without cookie cakes, so to kick this post off properly, Northwestern commit Simba Short shared his cookie cake spread while on his visit to see the Wildcats.


Cookie cakes are the way to any recruit’s commitment.

Michigan State doesn’t have much to fill in the 2015 class, but linebacker Anthony McKee is one prospect the coaches would still like to land. McKee took a visit to see the Spartans this weekend and is slated to make it out to Wisconsin and Minnesota as well.


Maryland only had a few official visitors on campus in commit Adam McLean and Oseh Saine, who committed on his visit this weekend.


Offensive lineman Quarvez Boulware also committed to Maryland this weekend, but he came up on an unofficial visit.

McLean took to Twitter to show off the entertainment side of his visit at a restaurant.


While the Terps gained the most from their visit weekend, there is no denying Michigan had the biggest prospects on campus.

The Wolverines hosted ESPN 300 prospects Roquan Smith and Chris Clark as well as South Carolina commit Damon Arnette and defensive end Shelton Johnson.

Smith is the No. 29-ranked prospect in the country and became immediately interested when Michigan hired defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. The Wolverines vaulted into his top list, and Smith set up this visit to see what Michigan has to offer.


Smith will decide on signing day, and as of right now Michigan will be on his short list for that decision.

The Wolverines are also on the short list for Clark, who was committed at one point. He has UCLA and Michigan in his top two and still has a visit to see the Bruins next weekend before deciding.


The two uncommitted prospects were joined on the visit by a few Michigan commitments, including safety Tyree Kinnel.


The visit was just as important for Kinnel as the uncommitted prospects because Kinnel got a chance to help recruit, but he also got the opportunity to build a relationship with the new coaching staff in person.

Penn State’s big visit weekend won’t be until next weekend, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an exciting weekend for the Nittany Lions. Coach James Franklin posed with Flavor Flav at Penn State's basketball game. Flav later tweeted he has a cousin on Penn State’s basketball team.


Illinois had a good opportunity to get a few 2016 prospects on campus as it waits for a few big 2015 visitors next weekend. Offensive lineman Nik Urban made the trip and tweeted he was too small for his car, a problem most offensive linemen likely have.


Iowa also hosted a 2016 target in running back Toren Young, who took to Twitter to express his feelings on the visit.


Minnesota still has a few big 2015 targets left in this class, and one was on campus this weekend in defensive tackle Jamal Milan. Milan still has a visit to Illinois on Jan. 23 and will make his decision on signing day between the Gophers, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa State.

=™=¨To The Airport  for my official visit= at the University of Minnesota ==(=«

A photo posted by @bigmanmal on

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Some of the top underclassmen in the country gathered for the debut of the Under Armour Elite 50 combine on Friday morning. The group included many of the top 50 prospects in the ESPN Junior 300 and a few 2017 prospects such as LSU commit Dylan Moses and uncommitted wide receiver DeAngelo Gibbs. Even 2018 prospect Tyreke Johnson, who has multiple scholarship offers, attended the event.

There were several standout performances throughout the morning practice and several top plays were caught on social media. Here’s a look at the sites and sounds from the Under Armour Elite 50 combine.

Georgia offensive tackle commit Ben Cleveland squared off against Penn State commit Shane Simmons.


All four quarterbacks in attendance -- Shea Patterson, Malik Henry (FSU), Dwayne Haskins and Jacob Eason (Georgia) -- looked incredible. It was obvious to see why all four are so highly ranked. Here’s a highlight from each signal-caller.



Defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence went against Baylor commit Patrick Hudson in one-on-one drills.


Defensive back Saivion Smith matched up against wide receiver Dredrick Snelson. Smith had good coverage but Snelson one this particular battle.


Alabama wide receiver commit Demetris Robertson was one of the top receivers today. Robertson had multiple deep catches and the defensive backs had a hard time matching up with the speedy wideout.


Two top running backs for the next two years, Kareem Walker and Dylan Moses doing some individual drills.


Defensive end Marlon Davidson and 2017 OT Calvin Ashley hanging out in between drills.

UA Day 1: Best sights and sounds

December, 29, 2014
12/29/14
5:10
PM ET
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Several players made incredible plays on Day 1 of the Under Armour All-America game practices. Byron Cowart had several sacks, quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Deondre Francois and Brandon Wimbush all made impressive throws, and Notre Dame commit Shaun Crawford had a big pass breakup. Here’s a closer look at some of the top plays caught on camera.

Notre Dame pledge Shaun Crawford with nearly perfect technique on a pass breakup of a pass intended for George Campbell.

Quarterback Kyler Murray with a beautiful touchdown pass.

George Campbell coming down with the catch.

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins against Alabama recruit Richie Petitbon.

Georgia recruit Terry Godwin makes a catch against Iman Marshall.

Quarterback Deondre Francois with a nice touchdown pass over the middle.

UNC OL pledge Tommy Hatton winning a battle against the No. 1-ranked player in the country, Terry Beckner Jr.

Oregon recruit Canton Kaumatule with a great spin move to win his one-on-one battle.

Byron Cowart with a nice move on Drew Richmond for the sack of Blake Barnett.

South Carolina commit Arden Key with the tackle.

Brandon Wimbush with a nice touch pass.

Best of the visits: Big Ten

November, 2, 2014
11/02/14
12:43
PM ET
Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan all had a few big recruiting visitors on campus this past weekend. Of course those recruits took to social media to share their experiences and document what happened.

Offensive lineman Branden Bowen is currently committed to Utah, but he made the trip out to see the Buckeyes play Illinois.
As Bowen noted in his tweet, he is from Utah, where it was significantly warmer than Ohio. The weather wasn't terrible in Columbus, but it got pretty cold at the game given that it was at night.

Bowen didn't come very prepared and ended up wearing shorts to the game. If he ends up choosing Ohio State I'm sure he will invest in a pair of long pants for the winter. The Buckeyes also got the chance to entertain one of their newest commitments, linebacker Jerome Baker. The ESPN 300 linebacker flipped from Florida and was excited to take in the game with no stress. Ohio State had another in-state linebacker on campus outside of Baker in Cincinnati native Anthony McKee. McKee doesn't have an offer yet, but depending on how the class plays out he could find himself with an offer down the line.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall was hoping to build a rivalry with conference opponent Penn State and the game this past weekend might have been a nice foundation for that rivalry.

The Terps players refused to shake hands with the Penn State players at the opening coin toss, which caused quite a stir on Twitter among recruits. There were plenty of prospects in attendance to see the incident as well, including ESPN Jr. 300 commit Shane Simmons and ESPN Jr. 300 target Robbie Robinson. The staff was expecting another ESPN Jr. 300 target in E.J. Price, but he tweeted that he was unable to make it to the game.

Wisconsin wasn't at home on Saturday as it took on Rutgers, but that doesn't mean the Badgers' targets weren't watching.

One of the bigger 2016 recruits, ESPN Jr. 300 running back Antonio Williams, has been paying close attention to most of Wisconsin's games this season, including this one. Williams has said the Badgers lead for him as of right now and as the No. 148-ranked prospect in his class, he would be a huge addition.

Michigan also had some prospects on campus, mainly from the 2016 and 2017 class.

Sophomore quarterback Andrew Marty tweeted a picture from the end zone before the game. Two of the bigger targets on campus, ESPN Jr. 300 defensive end Prince Sammons and offensive lineman Michael Jordan, both got to spend some time together as well. Finally, Nebraska was hosting a few official visitors for the 2015 class for its game against Purdue.

Offensive lineman Zach Robertson and receivers A.D. Miller and Tony Brown were the three most prominent.

Miller is an Illinois commit, who initially was trying to keep his visit under wraps, got a first-hand look at the Nebraska fan base. The Huskers beat Purdue and gave the targets a good game to come and see. The atmosphere was exciting and the prospects all enjoyed their time in Lincoln.
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.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Early Offer: What a win for Wilson 

September, 22, 2014
9/22/14
11:00
PM ET
Missouri and Indiana often tangle on the recruiting trail, but now Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson has a big victory to recruit against the Tigers with. Plus, UCLA and Notre Dame are locked in a battle for the nation's top tight end prospect.

[+] EnlargeKevin Wilson
AJ Mast/Icon SportswireKevin Wilson and Indiana hope to get a recruiting boost from Saturday's 31-27 win against Missouri.
1. Indiana's 31-27 victory against No. 18 Missouri this past Saturday is the type of win that can go a long way on the recruiting trail. Because of its location, Missouri is one of the few SEC schools that actively targets players in the Midwest, and it is quite common for the Hoosiers and Tigers to tangle over players in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and even in St. Louis. For the most part, Mizzou has had its way with IU, but now Hoosier coach Kevin Wilson has a breakthrough win to recruit with. As one Big Ten recruiter told me on Monday, "that's the type of win that can change recruits' minds."

2. On Monday RecruitingNation released the latest edition of the Recruiter Power rankings and UCLA’s Adrian Klemm came in at No. 2 on the list. A big reason why Klemm is ranked so high is because he was able to land ESPN 300 tight end Alize Jones, the No. 1 tight end in the country. However, there’s some legitimate concern in Westwood that Jones could end up at Notre Dame. A source indicated the Bruins are doing everything they can to "fight off Notre Dame's advances." Jones continues to say he’s still with the Bruins and is only looking around at the Irish as a security blanket, but insiders believe the interest is much more than just that.

3. What an interesting few days it’s been for Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon offensive tackle Branden Bowen. On Saturday, Bowen, the No. 5 player in Utah, committed to the Utes to give Kyle Whittingham a nice in-state recruiting victory. Then hours later on Sunday, he tweeted he had picked up an offer from Ohio State, a school he admitted he was hoping to receive an offer from earlier in the process. It will be interesting to see if the Utes can keep Bowen on board, or if the Buckeyes' offer is too tempting to pass up.

.

Social Studies

Often players link their highlight videos on their social media accounts, but you almost never see them posting their grades or test scores. So give Alabama commit Christian Bell a whole lot of credit for posting his ACT score for everybody to see. It's the type of highlight that also should be cheered.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has put together a top 15 recruiting class that should only get better as we head toward signing day, and Rutgers has a real chance to slow down Penn State’s recruiting momentum in New Jersey this weekend.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider


1. Much has been written about the defensive talent Florida State has been able to attract to Tallahassee under Jimbo Fisher, but what truly impresses rival coaches is the stockpile of offensive talent.

“We try to tell the recruits that they’re loaded everywhere -- quarterback, running back and receiver -- but they just keep picking FSU,” an ACC recruiting coordinator said.

Opposing coaches point to Fisher’s background as a quarterback coach and offensive coordinator as a big reason why FSU’s had success recruiting on the offensive side. And boy have they had success. The 2014 class featured the No. 2 receiver, No. 3 running back, No. 6 receiver, No. 7 tight end and No. 11 quarterback. It’s much the same in 2015. On Monday, FSU added No. 7 running back Johnny Frasier. He joins a class that has the No. 4 quarterback, No. 9 quarterback, No. 11 quarterback, No. 7 offensive tackle and No. 9 tight end.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Georgia fans have had to watch rivals Auburn and Alabama crow after recruiting victory after recruiting victory the past few months, but Bulldog fans got a chance to thump their chest some after landing two of the nation’s best 2016 prospects Saturday after its Dawg Night camp. But will those commitments stay true for the long haul? Plus, Penn State’s James Franklin remains hot on the recruiting trial.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: While many people will be enjoying a little time off this week, college coaches chasing five-star linebacker Justin Hilliard and five-star defensive end Jashon Cornell are putting in overtime to convince them to come to their school before both prospects make decisions at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday on ESPN.com. Both players say they want to play together in college, so what are the chances one school ends up 10 stars better Wednesday?


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: In case you missed it, the ESPN Class Rankings recently expanded to 25 teams Insider and this week’s update gave us the additions of both Ohio State and Oregon. But Nebraska, TCU, Duke and Arizona State are a few teams just outside the top 25 that could join the list in the future.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Chicago NFTC Notebook 

April, 13, 2014
4/13/14
12:07
AM ET
There wasn’t a huge crop of prospects at the Chicago NFTC, but there were plenty of top recruits looking to prove their worth against their peers.

After an outstanding Elite 11 performance Saturday morning and going through passing drills later in the day, Missouri quarterback commit Drew Lock earned the camp's only invite to The Opening and Elite 11.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES