NCF On The Trail: Football

UA jersey tour: Garrett Williams

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN 300 tight end Garrett Williams was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Tuesday morning in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of family, friends and teammates at The First Academy's gymnasium in Orlando, Florida.

The No. 2-ranked tight end in the ESPN 300 and the 113th-ranked player overall said he felt honored to be selected to one of the top All-American games in the country.

"It means a lot,” Williams said. "I remember going to these games when they were in the Citrus Bowl with my grandpa and just idolizing those players and wanting to play in the game someday and to be selected for it now is truly a dream come true. I can't wait to participate in January.”

Williams has been committed to Clemson since May and hasn't wavered at all. In fact, the four-star tight end will only take two visits before signing day and both will be to Clemson.

"I'm just going to take one official visit to Clemson around February sometime and then one unofficial visit for the South Carolina game," Williams said.

Williams credits the Clemson coaching staff, in particular head coach Dabo Swinney as a main reason he committed to the Tigers.

"I love the coaching staff at Clemson. It's a very unique coaching staff,” Williams said. "Coach Swinney and the rest of the coaches are incredible men as well as elite coaches. I think that was really special to me to be able to be coached by men that I can look up to off the field as well. Also, their scheme fits my skill set. I feel like I can be versatile in their offense."

Six questions with Garrett Williams

Who was the best player you ever saw play in the Under Armour game?

Williams: There's been so many great players that have played, but I'd have to say Jadeveon Clowney because he was such a specimen and he would just dominate the game. I remember watching Greg Reid play because I was a big Florida State fan growing up and he went there. I really liked watching him.

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

GW: I don't really know him well, so this is not because of my relationship with him but from what I've seen and read, Chad Smith, the linebacker commit for Clemson I feel like he's a really good leader. That's somebody that I would want to start a team with -- a strong leader with a strong personality.

Who are you looking forward to competing against the most?

JW: The tight ends usually go up against the linebackers so I'd say the best linebackers there. That's one of the things that's so special about the Under Armour game is all the top talent is there. It's truly a unique opportunity to get all the top athletes in the country at their position in one place. I'm just excited to go against the top-tier linebackers and improve my game.

If you could take on any professional athlete in their sport who would it be?

GW: That's a tough one. I'd probably say Patrick Willis for the 49ers. I love watching him play. He's incredible.

What's your earliest football memory?

GW: My earliest tackle football memory would be when I was in third grade, which was the first year my parents let me play Pop Warner. I was bigger than most the kids that were my age so I had to play up with the sixth graders and I played center. I was so happy I could get the starting job and just get on the field anyway I could.

What's something that most people don't know about you?

GW: One interesting thing is that I have a garden at my house. Right now I have okra, bell peppers, beans and different kind of herbs. This summer, I wanted something to do when I wasn't here playing football so I decided I was going to clear 180 square feet of our yard so I cleared all the sod out and I built three 96 square foot boxes and I had to do all this stuff with the soil, but I was able to get it all done.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. There were a few big commitments, key visits and new offers over the weekend. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the SEC.

UA jersey tour: Jacques Patrick

October, 27, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- ESPN 300 running back Jacques Patrick was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey monday evening. The ceremony took place in front of family, friends and teammates at Timber Creek High School's gymnasium in Orlando, Florida.

The 42nd-ranked prospect in the country, who committed to Florida State following his jersey presentation, said he is honored to be selected to the prestigious game.

"It means a lot to be selected for this game," Patrick said. "I was in the youth game and now I'm playing in the high school game and it means a lot and it showed I continued to work hard over the years and get better. Hard work pays off and I'm a strong believer in that."

Patrick chose the Seminoles over Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida and Ohio State and said head coach Jimbo Fisher played a big role in his decision.

"Florida State is a school I've always felt comfortable at, a school that I always felt I'd have an opportunity at," Patrick said. "The coaches have been recruiting me since my freshman year. They've recruited me hard. Coach Jimbo [Fisher] he's the head coach, but he's taken time out of his days to call me and personally recruit me and that means big when the head man wants you the most out of all the schools. I'm glad I made the choice."



Eight questions with Jacques Patrick

What aspect of the Under Armour game are you most looking forward to?

Patrick: I'm looking forward to just being around some great players and hopefully allow me to elevate my game to another level. Hopefully I can put on a show for my Orlando people.

Who are your role models on the football field?

JP: My role models on the football field are Peyton Manning and guys like that. They just have great class and that's how I want to be. Have class on and off the field.

What are your dreams outside of football?

JP: I want to make it in the sports broadcasting world. Hopefully make it on "College GameDay" one day like Desmond Howard and those guys.

Who do you credit for allowing you to chase your dreams?

JP: My family because without them none of this would be possible and God obviously, my coaches.

Who was your favorite player in the Under Armour game growing up?

JP: Braxton Miller was my favorite. I was playing in the youth game the year he played. I got to see all those guys and Karlos Williams.

What's your earliest football memory?

JP: When I was seven years old, when I first started playing, I tried to catch a sweep and didn't know what I was doing and the kid took advantage of me and knocked my helmet clear off. I quit football for a while after that.

If you could start a team with any other player in this class who would it be?

JP: I'd go with Deondre Francois, my quarterback with the Noles.

What number do you wear in high school?

JP: 10. That was the first number I wore in little league and hopefully Sean [Maguire] will let me wear it at Florida State.
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Michigan coach Brady Hoke said in a news conference on Monday he doesn't expect to talk to his bosses about his job until the end of the season. That could pose a problem for recruiting as prospects are left wondering what the future holds for the Wolverines now sitting with a 3-5 record on the season.


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Best of the visits: SEC

October, 26, 2014
Oct 26
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From LSU's close win over Ole Miss and Auburn’s victory over South Carolina, to Kentucky and Tennessee’s hard-fought losses to Mississippi State and Alabama, respectively, there were some great games around the SEC on Saturday. There were several recruits on hand to witness these games and share their experiences on social media. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend:

Despite losing to Mississippi State on Saturday, Kentucky did receive some good news as 2016 inside linebacker Roland Walder verbally committed to the Wildcats. He announced his decision via Twitter. Walder also held offers from Pittsburgh and Toledo.
The No. 2-ranked running back in the ESPN 300, Damien Harris, once again visited the Wildcats for a home game. He has been a regular at a majority of Kentucky's home games this year. Several 2016 Kentucky prospects, including 2016 dual-threat quarterback Jimmy Ferrell, posed for a photo before the Kentucky game on Saturday. LSU recruits were impressed with the Tigers' 10-7 upset win over Ole Miss on Saturday. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Kyle Phillips and 2016 Florida commit Tre Jackson posted tweets about their thoughts on the game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Former LSU wide receiver Terrence Toliver posed for a photo with current LSU commit Kevin Toliver (yes, the two are related.) Auburn fullback commit Chandler Cox took an official visit to Auburn over the weekend and posted a photo of himself on the field before Auburn's exciting 42-35 win over South Carolina on Saturday. ESPN Junior 300 offensvie tackle Valentine Chidi-Okeke also visited Auburn over the weekend and posed for a picture with Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall after the game. Four-star wide receiver Ryan Newsome took an official visit to Tennessee this weekend. The ESPN 300 pass-catcher posted a photo of himself along with Tennessee wide receiver's coach Zach Azzanni. Four-star defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, the 41st-ranked player in the ESPN 300, stopped and posed with a fan before Tennessee's loss to Alabama on Saturday night. ESPN Junior 300 defensive end Emmitt Gooden posted a photo of himself along with former Tennessee offensive linemen Antonio Richardson before the game on Saturday.

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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UA jersey tour: D'Anfernee McGriff

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- ESPN 300 athlete D’Anfernee McGriff was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of family, friends and teammates at Leon High School's indoor practice facility in Tallahassee, Florida.

Leon head coach Tim Cokely said his star prospect suffered through a personal tragedy that helped mold him into the person he is today.

"When I first got here he was kind of living with his uncle and his uncle died of a heart attack, and I think that really shaped him,” Cokely said. "So he rededicated himself to football at that time and that really paid off. He’s a laid-back guy, likes to laugh and likes to make every one else laugh.”

McGriff has been committed to Auburn as an athlete since April and Cokely thinks his star quarterback can do multiple things for the Tigers.

"On the field, we’ve been fortunate now. We’ve had a lot of good players play for us since ’89. He’s got a unique skill set. I think he has NFL arm talent. I’ve signed 10 Division 1 quarterbacks, which is the most in the country by five, so he’s No 11 but he’s got the ability to run and throw. I’m not sure how Auburn will use him but he can do a lot of things with his arm and legs. He can probably throw the ball about 80 yards.”

Depsite being committed to Auburn several teams continue to pursue the 207th-ranked player in the country.

“South Carolina and Miami are still on me pretty hard right now,” McGriff said. "I’m pretty solid to Auburn, though. I like it up there."

Eight questions with D'Anfernee McGriff

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

McGriff: I know I want to go against Kevin Toliver, the No. 1 defensive back. He’s the best, so I want to go against the best.

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

DM: I’d start with Trenton Thompson. He’s a big dude and you need big defensive linemen.

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

DM: Definitely Jameis Winston.

What is your earliest football memory?

DM: My earliest football memory, I was just a few years old but Tamarick Vanover was my uncle and he played football. I never really knew what was going on but I’d watch it on TV.

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

DM: I’d say Michael Vick, because I’m left-handed and can run, too. I tried to model my game after him.

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

DM: Definitely LeBron James, just to be on the same court with the best player in the world.

What number do you wear?

DM: I wore No. 11. But in the spring we had a battle and whoever won the battle would wear No. 1 during the spring game, but I liked wearing it, so now that’s what I wear.

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

DM: I actually came to Leon to play basketball. But I don’t play anymore, I’m just a football guy now.

ESPN 300: Five things to know in the SEC 

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
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The SEC has an impressive 89 committed prospects in the updated ESPN 300 rankings. While the SEC West has been dominant on the field, 13 of the 14 SEC schools are ranked in the top 40 of the RecruitingNation class rankings. Here’s a closer look at five things to know in the SEC from the new recruiting rankings.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
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There once again was a lot of big recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference over the weekend. There was a big commitment, key visits and several new offers. Here's a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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Best of the visits: SEC

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
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From the Alabama’s dominating 59-0 win over Texas A&M, to Georgia's big win over Arkansas on Saturday, there were some big games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended the games while others watched on television and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend:

Alabama outside linebacker commit Mekhi Brown tweeted a photo of himself along with five-star Alabama commit Blake Barnett and defensive end Christian Bell. The three players visited Alabama for the Texas A&M game on Saturday.
Barnett also posted another photo of himself along with his dad and head coach Nick Saban before the game. Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart was on an official visit to Alabama this weekend. The No. 2-ranked prospect in the country posted a photo of himself and Saban's wife and a video on Instagram of his experience in Tuscaloosa. Alabama commit Ronnie Harrison tweeted a photo, albeit a sideways photo, of himself in the front row, during the game. ESPN 300 athlete Donte Jackson visited LSU for its big 41-3 win over Kentucky on Saturday night. Jackson came away impressed with how the Tigers played. Ole Miss also had a few visitors including commits Drew Richmond and Ugo Amadi. Both players posted photos on Twitter. Richmond stopped to pose with a fan in his photo. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Kyle Phillips took a visit to Ole Miss this weekend as well and tweeted about his experience. Ole Miss safety commit Cam Ordway posted a photo on Instagram of himself posing with head coach Hugh Freeze and other recruits at the game. Florida suffered a bad 42-13 loss in front of several recruits. ESPN 300 outside linebacker Jeffery Holland was in attendance. Though he didn't say much, his tweet during the game pretty much summed up how everyone else felt about the game.

SEC's top recruiting visits 

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
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There are once again some big games around the SEC this weekend. The Texas A&M at Alabama game looks to be loaded with big-time visitors. Ole Miss will have several recruits on hand for its game against Tennessee. LSU is also hoping to capitalize on its big win over Florida last week by bringing in several recruits for its home game against Kentucky. Here’s a closer look at some of the top visitors in the SEC this weekend.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
10:00
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. There were a few big commitments, key visits and new offers over the weekend. Here's a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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Best of the visits: SEC

October, 12, 2014
Oct 12
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From the Mississippi State win over Auburn to Florida’s tough 30-27 loss to LSU on Saturday night, there were some incredible games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended the games, while others watched on television and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend around the SEC:

Mississippi State and Ole Miss were the talk of the college football world Saturday. The Bulldogs beat Auburn convincingly at home, while the Rebels traveled to College Station to beat Texas A&M. Several recruits who attended or watched on television tweeted about the two schools' performances.

The No. 2-ranked safety in the country, Jamal Peters, sent out a few different tweets in support of Mississippi State, the school he is committed to.


Another Bulldogs defensive back commit, Maurice Smitherman, expressed his feelings via Twitter as well.


The No. 143-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300, Emmitt Gooden, took a selfie during his unofficial visit to Starkville for the big game.


Ole Miss commits Eric Swinney and Cam Ordway tweeted out their support of the Rebels.


The No. 1-ranked running back in the ESPN 300 visited Kentucky for the third consecutive week. Damien Harris sent out an Instagram photo of himself posing with a young Kentucky fan at the game.


Three-star Tennessee running back commit Rocky Reid posed for a photo with a fan Saturday. Reid has been committed to the Volunteers since April.


Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson posed for a picture outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during an unofficial visit to Florida. Jefferson, who has been to Florida three times this season, is sporting a Gators hat in the photo.


ESPN 300 tight end Devonaire Clarington made an unofficial visit to The Swamp on Saturday to watch Florida’s tough 30-27 loss to LSU. Clarington posed for a picture wearing a Florida jersey while on his visit.


Three-star safety Hunter Dale, despite Florida’s loss, appeared to have enjoyed his experience in Gainesville.

Help is on the way: SEC 

October, 8, 2014
Oct 8
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Almost midway through the season and teams such as Arkansas and Texas A&M have shown the obvious strengths of their teams with their running backs and wide receivers, respectively. But in most cases every team has an apparent weakness, too. Here’s a closer look at how each team in the SEC will address its needs through recruiting.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss, Kentucky and Auburn impressed several recruits with their big wins on Saturday and there were a few new offers in the SEC over the weekend. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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