NCF On The Trail: Football recruiting

Recruiting class rankings: Oct. 22 update

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
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National recruiting coordinator Craig Haubert joins ESPN’s Phil Murphy to break down updates to the ESPN class rankings in the wake of updated player evaluations with the ESPN 300.

To read the full class rankings, click here.

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 defensive end Josh Sweat is one of the more sought after prospects in the 2015 class. Fans and coaches alike are watching his every move trying to figure out where he will end up.

Sweat received his Under Armour All-America jersey on Wednesday and gave some insight into his process after the presentation.

He broke down what visits he has yet to take and when those will occur:

The No. 5 ranked prospect also detailed what he's looking for in a school:

Lastly, and probably most importantly, Sweat talked about when he plans on making his final decision:




UA jersey tour: Josh Sweat

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
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ESPN 300 defensive end Josh Sweat received his Under Armour All-America jersey on Wednesday. The No. 5 ranked prospect received the honor in front of his classmates, teammates and family and spoke about his accomplishments on and off the field.

A short video played on a projector before the ceremony, giving everyone in attendance a better look at who Sweat really is as a person.

Sweat took some time to answer a few questions to help expand on who he is, where he has been and what makes him tick.

What one player are you looking forward to competing against?: Yeah, probably the biggest person I was looking for was Martez Ivey. Great guy, I played against him at a camp and I believe that's the person I would have been going against anyway. That would be a good matchup.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?: Give me the best corners, defensive backs and linebackers. Everybody who can cover the best so I can get to the quarterback. That's a defensive end's best friend is the secondary.

What was your earliest football memory?: Probably knocking off Oscar Smith middle school in the city championship. The middle school I went to never won a game two years before and then I came out there and we won everything in every other sport for this one year. We beat them in the city championship and now I'm at Oscar Smith high school. So I played against a lot of the guys that are my teammates now. That’s a good thing to brag about. When they bring it up, I had to brag.

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?: Honestly, no one. Other than my two older brothers. I watch it more now that I'm heavy into football.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport who would it be?: I would like to race Usain Bolt. I would challenge LeBron James to try to dunk on me. I would challenge him to try to. I would also swim against Michael Phelps.

Why do you wear your number?: I wear No. 9. The person that previously wore it was a real good guy, a tight end and linebacker. But, my favorite number is 2. I always wanted to wear that number.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?: I used to video game heavily. I mostly played "Call of Duty." I play a little bit now, but not as much as I used to. I used to sit in the house and play before I was heavy on football.

ESPN 300: Who just missed?

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
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National recruiting director Tom Luginbill breaks down several recruits who narrowly missed the ESPN 300 in the latest 2015 player rankings update.
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With national signing day just over three months away we have updated the ESPN 300, with a focus on senior production playing into the analysis. There were changes throughout, but the significant moves came within the top 10.

Defensive end Josh Sweat falls out of the top spot after suffering a season-ending injury that will require rehabilitation and impede his progression for the next level, at least for the time being. Sweat is still a rare talent and remains in the top 10.

Here are some other big changes in the rankings:

Big movers

DT Terry Beckner Jr.

Among this very talented and deep group of 2015 defensive line prospects, a third prospect, Terry Beckner Jr., moves to No. 1. Like Sweat, Beckner has a ton of upside, but the quiet East St. Louis (Ill.) High five-star product doesn't seem to garner the same type of attention as some of his highly ranked counterparts. Beckner continues to demonstrate that he can create problems in the trenches in a multitude of ways. The uncommitted DL, at 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, carries his weight very well, with room for further physical development with time in a power-conference weight program.



To read the rest of the biggest movers in the ESPN 300, click here Insider.
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The updated ESPN 300 player rankings are now live, and one of the primary Big 12 targets is the newly crowned top-ranked running back.

Soso Jamabo said in September that he was gunning for the No. 1 spot at running back, and after several huge games, Jamabo has earned that spot, bypassing Kentucky running back Damien Harris. The hunter, however, is now the hunted, as Jamabo looks to maintain that spot. He'll have to fight off Harris, Oklahoma State commit Ronald Jones II, fast-rising Chris Warren III -- who jumped from 183 to 102 in the new rankings -- and several others.

Here are five things to know involving Big 12 recruiting:

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Several Pac-12 commitments and prospects saw some significant movement in the updated ESPN 300 rankings released Wednesday. Overall, the conference holds commitments from two of the top 22 prospects in the country and 26 of the top 300. With fewer than four months until signing day, let's take a look at where the Pac-12 stands in the ESPN 300.


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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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With a few weeks of senior film to evaluate, ESPN’s scouts have updated the ESPN 300. We are around the midpoint of the season as well, so teams are looking to finish off their classes and fill any remaining needs.

There is plenty to discuss at this point in the Big Ten. Here are five things to know within the conference:


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With the October update of the 2015 ESPN 300, it’s time to look at a number of topics in the ACC. From the biggest battles to come for ACC teams to the best class in the conference to the player most likely to flip, here is a look at five hot-button recruiting topics within the conference.


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ESPN 300: Five who could flip 

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
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The Class of 2015 has seen more than 35 prospects in the ESPN 300 flip or decommit during the cycle. As many as 30 more prospects in the ESPN 300 could flip between now and national signing day. With that possibility in mind, here are five to keep tabs on less than four months away from national signing day.


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ESPN 300 outside linebacker Jerome Baker has flipped his commitment from Florida to Ohio State. Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer wants fast players all over the field, and Baker has rare speed and explosiveness for the linebacker position.


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Adam McLean picked Penn State in April, but Ole Miss, Tennessee and others haven't stopped recruiting him, and his high school coach knows exactly why. DeMatha Catholic's 2016 class is shaping up to be one of the best ever in school history, and that's saying a lot.

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UA jersey tour: Jahvoni Simmons

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
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Jahvoni Simmons has been committed to Virginia since August, so he hasn’t had a chance to be in the spotlight for a few months. That changed on Tuesday though, when Simmons was presented with his Under Armour All-American jersey.

The No. 160-ranked player in the country accepted the jersey at his school in front of his family and classmates and talked about how honored he was to receive this type of recognition.

Since Simmons will be playing in the game, here is a look into who he is and how he got to this point.

What one player are you looking forward to competing against?: I’m just looking forward to playing against the best competition around the country, just giving me the ultimate test of where I am as a football player.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?: Iman Marshall. He’s definitely a technician defensive back. Me and him could probably kick it off on the same page.

What was your earliest football memory?: I’ve been playing pretty much my whole life. It would have to be in the regional championship I rushed for about 300 yards and four touchdowns. That was in 2008 or 2009. I was playing junior pee-wee so I was about 11 or 12. I played running back and nose guard and linebacker.

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?: Ray Lewis. The passion he has for the game is phenomenal.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport who would it be?: Michael Jordan. He’s the best at what he does, and to be the best you have to beat the best. I had my basketball days: I have a couple moves in my pocket.

Why do you wear your number?: No. 22 is what I got stuck with my freshman year and just stuck it out through my senior year.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?: That I can’t dance. I have no rhythm at all. Just dancing around the house with my mom they would just say 'Sit down Jahvoni, you can’t dance.'

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