NCF On The Trail: Colorado State Rams

Even though recruiters aren't in attendance at events like this past weekend's The Opening regional in Los Angeles, they're easily able to find out who performed well. Melquise Stovall was one of the players that stood out in everything he did and his stock is now red hot with colleges.

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- JuJu, Biggie and now Jack Jack.

Over the past 20 years, Long Beach (California) Poly has a tradition of producing some of the best skill position players in Southern California. But recently that run has included talent recruited on such a national scale that fans and college coaches simply know the players by their nicknames.

In the 2014 class, John "JuJu" Smith was the nation's No. 24 player and a household name out of Poly. He had his pick of schools but eventually signed with USC and had 754 yards receiving as a true freshman for the Trojans. Then in Poly's 2015 class, Iman Marshall, better known as "Biggie," was the fourth-best player in the country before he inked with USC, too. Next in line at Poly is 2016 two-way star Jackie Jones, who goes by the nickname "Jack Jack."

Jack Jack proved at Sunday's The Opening regional at Redondo Union High School that he, too, is ready for the national stage. After a strong performance in the testing phase of the camp and an even better showing during drills and one-on-ones, Jones was one of six players that earned an invitation to The Opening finals on Nike's campus in Beaverton, Oregon.

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The good news Thursday was that both Florida and Nebraska filled their open coaching positions in a timely manner, but the bad news is we’re less than 60 days until signing day. Plus, what type of recruiter is Nebraska getting?

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Jordan Howard rushed for 1,600 yards at UAB this season, and now that the program has been shuttered, recruiters are lining up to get his transfer. Plus, with the Brady Hoke news, Michigan lost four-star tight end commitment Chris Clark. So where do recruits think he’ll end up?

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SMU’s move to hire Texas native Chad Morris will pay off big time on the recruiting trail. Plus, you have to really give credit to UAB coach Bill Clark for the recruiting job he did while his administrators were shuttering his program.

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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?

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With Alabama coming to town, Ole Miss coaches plan to make the most of the weekend by hosting official visitors. Plus, will Florida State be able to lure away two highly ranked corners that have previously committed to LSU and Alabama?

1. Coaches have different mindsets about the importance of hosting official visitors during a game weekend. Some coaches hate it because you’re not able to give prospects and their family your undivided attention. But there are others like Maurice Harris, Ole Miss' tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator for offense, that think official visits on game weekends are a tremendous recruiting tool. "You want them to see actual game-day atmosphere, whether it's in the stadium or whether it's in The Grove," Harris said. "Also, too, you want them to see you coaching your players on game day as well. You want them to see you coaching during the good times and coaching during the bad times. That helps a lot of recruits judge if that's something they want to be around. It’s a great opportunity for them to evaluate us." For the record, the Rebels will host five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson and ESPN 300 receiver Ryan Newsome on official visits this weekend for the Rebels' Saturday matchup against No. 3 Alabama.

2. Speaking official visits on game weekends, Florida State plays host to two of the nation’s top cornerbacks this weekend when No. 5-ranked Kevin Toliver II and No. 27-ranked Minkah Fitzpatrick visit for the Noles’ game against Wake Forest. Toliver, a five-star recruit and the No. 1 cornerback in the country, has been a longtime LSU commitment, but he is still taking all five of his official visits. He’s already tripped to Ohio State and Virginia Tech, and will check out LSU and UCLA in November. Fitzpatrick is the fourth-best cornerback in the country and has been pledged to Alabama for quite some time. With all of Florida State’s success at cornerback over the years, don’t be surprised if either player comes back from Tallahassee talking big about the Noles.


3. To win in the Pac 12, you have to have a talented running back, and that has been something that has been sorely lacking at Colorado for years now. However, the Buffs landed a big recruiting victory Tuesday night when four-star running back Donald Gordon picked CU. Gordon fills a big need for Buffs, especially when you consider CU hasn’t taken a true running back at the position in the 2014 and 2015 classes.

Social Studies
With Wyoming off this weekend, the Cowboys’ coaches are hitting the recruiting trail. This was a neat way to help visualize where the Wyoming coaches will be.


Boy, have times have changed in the recruiting world. Thanks to YouTube, fans are now able to see a Colorado State recruiting video from 1977. The first thing the Rams sell in the video is the beautiful scenery in Colorado and the tape job after you’re hurt. Now we’ve got schools Photoshopping recruits into pictures with Beyoncé.

ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Trayvon Mullen picked up another impressive offer on Thursday. This time the nation’s top junior cornerback added an offer from Oklahoma. The Sooners join the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and around 15 other schools.


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The Opening presented by Nike Football will take place July 5-10 at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, with 162 of the nation's top high school football prospects set to compete. With four days of dynamic training, competition and recruits targeting uncommitted players to come to their chosen school, there's bound to be some players who see their stock improve and some wild recruiting news that comes out of left field.

Here are five bold predictions of what will happen at the prestigious event:

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States of strength: Texas RBs 

May, 15, 2014

When it comes to running backs, the state of Texas is loaded. Ten running backs represent the Lone Star State in the ESPN 300. Of those 10, five are committed. A total of seven running backs in the state have reported FBS commitments.

ESPN 300 RBs from the state:

No. 50 Ronald Jones II: Ranked the nation’s No. 3 running back, Jones is an explosive, game-changing back who -- as scary as it might sound -- will only get better. Jones committed to Oklahoma State on April 6 and finished his junior season with more than 2,400 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns.

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Busy Saturday for Arizona

July, 28, 2013
The Wildcats picked up four pledges on Saturday. According to multiple reports, Darrell Cloy Jr. (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), J.R. Hunt (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler), Kwesi Mashack (Norco, Calif./Norco) and Trevor Wood (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) committed.

Cloy is a 6-foot-3, 226-pound tight end-H, rated as a three-star prospect and the 14th-best player at his position in this class. Colorado and Colorado State were his other scholarship offers. Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA and Washington expressed some interest.

Hunt, a 6-3, 199-pound safety, selected Arizona over offers from rival Arizona State and Montana. ESPN RecruitingNation rates Hunt as a three-star.

Mashack also carries a three-star grade. Hawaii was his other offer, while California, San Diego State and UCLA showed interest in the 5-9, 182-pound athlete.

Following his evaluation, Wood might end up as the highest-rated prospect of the group. The 6-6, 240-pound rising senior tight end was also offered by Alabama, Arizona State, Boise State, Kansas State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington.

Arizona's class has grown to 18 following the flurry over commitments this weekend.

Illinois picks up another juco WR

July, 25, 2013
Wide receiver Geronimo Allison (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Iowa Western CC), a 6-foot-3, 180-pound prospect, pledged to sign with Illinois, according to multiple reports.

The Illini topped scholarship offers from Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Ohio and Utah State for Allison's commitment.

Tyrin Stone-Davis (Philadelphia/Pierce College), another juco receiver, also picked Illinois this week.

Weekly Recruiting Roundup

July, 19, 2013
American Athletic
Kimoni Fritz DE Ringgold, Va./Dan River
HT: 6-3 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Brice McAllister RB Suffield, Conn./Suffield Academy
HT: 5-11 WT: 190
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Mason Denley DE Columbus, Texas/Columbus
HT: 6-5 WT: 255
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kaliq Kokuma RB League City, Texas/Clear Creek
HT: 6-0 WT: 180
Position Rank: #58 RB
Stars: 3

South Florida
Juwuan Brown OLB Tampa, Fla./Thomas Jefferson
HT: 6-2 WT: 210
Position Rank: #87 OLB
Stars: 3

Joey Connors DT Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison
HT: 6-4 WT: 270
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Georgia Tech
Michael Preddy DE Charleston, S.C./Porter-Gaud
HT: 6-4 WT: 245
Position Rank: #66 DE
Stars: 3

North Carolina
M.J. Stewart ATH Arlington, Va./Yorktown
HT: 5-11 WT: 191
Position Rank: #67 ATH
Stars: 3

Ty Tomlin ILB Marietta, Ga./Marietta
HT: 6-0 WT: 220
Position Rank: #22 ILB
Stars: 3

Marcus Collins ATH Madison, Wis./La Follette
HT: 6-4 WT: 200
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Virginia Tech
Michael Santamaria K Athens, Ga./Athens Academy
HT: 5-10 WT: 165
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Wake Forest
Thomas Dillon CB Houston, Texas/Kinkaid School
HT: 5-11 WT: 173
Position Rank: #61 CB
Stars: 3

Kalin McNeil OLB McLeansville, N.C./Northeast Senior
HT: 6-2 WT: 190
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Isaiah Robinson RB Charlotte, N.C./Independence
HT: 5-10 WT: 223
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Jarell Broxton Gaithersburg, Md./Lackawanna College (JC)
HT: 6-5 WT: 328
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Terrence Harris DE Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic
HT: 6-2 WT: 250
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Michigan State
Matt Morrissey S Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson
HT: 6-1 WT: 185
Position Rank: #81 S
Stars: 3

FBS Independents
Notre Dame
Corey Holmes WR Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas
HT: 6-2 WT: 176
Position Rank: #8 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#77)

Old Dominion
Christian Byrum S Virginia Beach, Va./Tallwood
HT: 6-0 WT: 195
Position Rank: #75 S
Stars: 3

Royce Freeman RB Imperial, Calif./Imperial
HT: 6-0 WT: 227
Position Rank: #11 RB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#154)

Harrison Phillips DE Omaha, Neb./Millard West
HT: 6-4 WT: 240
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Lane Veach DE Chandler, Ariz./Perry
HT: 6-5 WT: 220
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Austin Roberts WR Carmel, Ind./Carmel
HT: 6-2 WT: 217
Position Rank: #21 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#166)

Donovan Isom QB-PP Destrehan, La./Destrahan
HT: 6-4 WT: 245
Position Rank: #34 QB-PP
Stars: 3

Joe Tukuafu TE-Y Salt Lake City, Utah/East
HT: 6-4 WT: 235
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kweishi Brown CB El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont College (JC)
HT: 6-0 WT: 185
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Christopher Murphy CB Marietta, Ga./Lassiter
HT: 5-10 WT: 177
Position Rank: #45 CB
Stars: 3

Raashed Kennion DE Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast
HT: 6-6 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Stanton Truitt ATH Monroe, Ga./Monroe Area
HT: 5-10 WT: 182
Position Rank: #23 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#198)

Sean White QB-PP Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School of Nova South
HT: 6-1 WT: 199
Position Rank: #16 QB-PP
Stars: 4

Kendall Gant S Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson
HT: 6-3 WT: 184
Position Rank: #32 S
Stars: 3

Dyshon Sims OT Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes
HT: 6-4 WT: 265
Position Rank: #28 OT
Stars: 3

Shakenneth Williams WR Macon, Ga./Rutland
HT: 6-1 WT: 196
Position Rank: #45 WR
Stars: 4

Isaiah Wynn OG Saint Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood Senior
HT: 6-2 WT: 274
Position Rank: #5 OG
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#115)

Cameron Gamble K Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound
HT: 5-11 WT: 185
Position Rank: #12 K
Stars: 3

Brandon Harris QB-DT Bossier City, La./Parkway
HT: 6-2 WT: 186
Position Rank: #2 QB-DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#48)

Sione Palelei RB Gonzales, La./East Ascension
HT: 5-10 WT: 202
Position Rank: #57 RB
Stars: 3

South Carolina
Al Harris CB Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas
HT: 5-11 WT: 158
Position Rank: #72 CB
Stars: 3

Eric Lauderdale WR Fayetteville, Ga./Saddleback College (JC)
HT: 6-1 WT: 195
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Cortez McDowell S Locust Grove, Ga./Locust Grove
HT: 6-1 WT: 200
Position Rank: #13 S
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#221)

Ray Raulerson OT Tampa, Fla./Plant Senior
HT: 6-5 WT: 271
Position Rank: #87 OT
Stars: 3

Brendan Brosnan OT Park Ridge, Ill./Maine Township South
HT: 6-5 WT: 250
Position Rank: #77 OT
Stars: 3

Bailey Grainer OT Galliano, La./South Lafourche
HT: 6-6 WT: 350
Position Rank: #29 OT
Stars: 3

Tre Herndon CB Ooltewah, Tenn./East Hamilton
HT: 6-0 WT: 173
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Trace McSorley ATH Ashburn, Va./Briar Woods
HT: 6-1 WT: 182
Position Rank: #57 ATH
Stars: 3

Conference USA
Florida International
Chett Levay TE-H Tampa, Fla./Sickles
HT: 6-2 WT: 195

Chris Miller OT Orlando, Fla./The First Academy
HT: 6-4 WT: 295

J.T. Ibe S Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield
HT: 5-11 WT: 167

Eastern Michigan
Ian Eriksen RB Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston
HT: 5-10 WT: 185

Frank Carter OG Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough
HT: 6-2 WT: 334

Miami (OH)
Kellen Snider OLB Fort White, Fla./Fort White
HT: 6-0 WT: 212

Northern Illinois
Max Scharping OT Green Bay, Wisc./Southwest
HT: 6-5 WT: 260

Robbie Walker WR Washington, D.C./Gonzaga College
HT: 5-9 WT: 173

Western Michigan
Zach Novoselsky OT Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson
HT: 6-5 WT: 260

Mountain West
Colorado State
Johnathan Lewis ATH La Porte, Texas/La Porte
HT: 6-0 WT:179

San Jose State
Thai Cottrell WR Oceanside, Calif./Oceanside
HT: 5-7 WT: 165

Sun Belt
Texas State
Stephan Johnson CB The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands College Park
HT: 5-11 WT: 182

Western Kentucky
Keegan Karim CB Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison
HT: 6-0 WT: 182


Buffaloes land in-state safety White

July, 8, 2013
Rising senior Evan White (Aurora, Colo./Cherokee) committed Sunday to play for Colorado, the Denver Post reports.

Colorado State and New Mexico State also extended scholarship offers to the 6-foot-2, 192-pound safety, who intercepted seven passes as a junior. Arizona State showed interest.

This spring, White posted an electronically-timed 4.93 40-yard dash, 4.38 20-yard shuttle, 29.2-inch vertical, 31.5-foot power throw and 70.26 SPARQ at a Nike combine.

Colorado has eight pledges for 2014, all coming since late May.
Don’t expect a commitment announcement until after the 2013 football season for running back Deron Thompson (Wichita, Kan./Northwest). Do, however, expect Thompson to fully benefit from his summer training.

While many football players are either going through traditional gridiron workouts or playing 7-on-7, Thompson is honing the one skill that could separate him: speed. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, Thompson’s lack of size quickly becomes a nonfactor when the conversation of his 4.28 40-yard dash time is mentioned.

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Colorado lands LB Zach Brown

July, 1, 2013
Six-foot-3, 233-pound linebacker Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif./Henry) committed Monday to sign with the Buffaloes, according to multiple reports.

Army, Colorado State and San Diego State also extended scholarship offers to the rising senior. Boise State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, San Jose State, UCLA and Washington expressed interest.

Brown displayed impressive athleticism for a big linebacker this spring at a Nike Combine. He registered an electronically-timed 4.86 40-yard dash, 4.38 20-yard shuttle, 26.8-inch vertical, 38.5-foot power thrown and 89.79 SPARQ.

Colorado now has six pledges for 2014.