NCF On The Trail: Football recruiting

Midyear additions:  Purdue 

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
9:32
PM ET
According to PurdueSports.com, four players will join the Boilermakers for the spring semester:

Markell Jones, RB
HT: 5-10 WT: 205
Positional Rank: #115 RB

Midyear additions: Ole Miss 

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
9:14
PM ET
Four junior college prospects have signed national letters of intent with Ole Miss, according to the program's official site OleMissSports.com:

Tony Bridges, CB
HT: 6-1 WT: 185
Positional Rank: #1 CB (JC)

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Midyear additions: Mississippi State 

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
9:13
PM ET
Mississippi State has announced the signing of five early enrollees, according to the program's official blog HailStateBeat:

Johnathan Calvin, DE
HT: 6-3 WT: 265
Positional Rank: #5 DE (JC)

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JUCO signing day winners 

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
8:00
PM ET
The ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines are quiet. And just like that, a number of teams filled needs with impact players from the ESPN Junior College 50. Here are five teams that stood out on Wednesday:

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Midyear additions: Oklahoma State 

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
7:32
PM ET
Oklahoma State has signed six players for the spring semester, according to the school's official site, OKState.com:

Jordan Burton, S
HT: 6-2 WT: 210
Positional Rank: #8 S (JC)

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Midyear additions:  Arkansas

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
5:50
PM ET
Arkansas has announced that the following players will enroll in January, according to the program's official site ArkansasRazorbacks.com:

Daytrieon Dean, DT
HT: 6-3 WT: 265
Positional Rank: #86 DT
Stars: 3

Hjalte Froholdt, DT
HT: 6-4 WT: 285
Positional Rank: #13 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#97)

Jeremiah Ledbetter, DT
HT: 6-3 WT: 280
Positional Rank: #4 DT (JC)
Stars: 4
ESPN JC50 (#28)

Zach Rogers, OG
HT: 6-2 WT: 297
Positional Rank: #32 OG
Stars: 4

Ty Storey, QB-PP
HT: 6-3 WT: 213
Positional Rank: #19 QB-PP
Stars: 4
video

A flurry of commitments and decommitments has led to considerable movement in the latest class rankings update. Several top-10 programs added ESPN 300 prospects, including Tennessee, which picked up top-10 ILB Darrin Kirkland Jr. The Vols already have a class that features a talented group of defensive linemen, and have now added a big, powerful inside linebacker that can develop into a tough downhill run-stopper. Butch Jones now has Tennessee in contention for a second-straight top-five finish.

Outside the top 10, USC landed a verbal from in-state tight end Tyler Petite, a tall, lengthy prospect with the size, speed and leaping ability to potentially create mismatches as a receiving target at the position. After landing the former Duke commit, USC's class features eight ESPN 300 prospects.

Ole Miss also saw a move up in the rankings with a pair of additions. The Rebels landed ESPN Junior College 50 QB Chad Kelly, a player who is physically gifted enough to be a strong candidate to replace QB Bo Wallace, a one-time junior college transfer himself. Ole Miss, who not sits at No. 17, also landed ESPN 300 OT Michael Howard. He is a lean OL prospect that needs to fill out, but is an athletic and tenacious player and with development could end up being a real strong pick-up out of Florida for the Rebels.

Inside the rankings

Coach Art Briles has had two very distinct luxuries when it comes to recruiting in today's complicated landscape -- recruiting in the shadows and recruiting without pressure. Both are actually in many ways, one in the same. As Briles has built this program, he's been able to do it his way without public pressure or booster interference because early on, nobody thought it could be done and nobody cared.

This staff was able to go after who they wanted, on their own timetable and without much scrutiny. In today's recruiting world, that's a huge luxury. Players like Levi Norwood, Antwan Goodley or Tevin Reese, who was a late qualifier, were all bypassed by other Power 5 programs, but nobody even noticed Baylor signed them or griped, "who are these guys" on signing day.

As a result, prospects like these were brought along at a normal pace and developed properly by the coaching staff. Redshirting the bulk of the classes for the first few years has also been huge for the Bears. The challenge going forward will be dealing with increased program exposure and expectation level which almost always brings with it increased recruiting scrutiny from boosters and fans alike. But the Bears don??t need to change a thing.



To see the full class rankings, click here.
video Texas A&M picked up a huge commitment Wednesday from Under Armour All-American Christian Kirk, the No. 30 overall prospect in the 2015 ESPN 300. Read on to see how the nation's No. 3-ranked wide receiver fits into Kevin Sumlin's plans:


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In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and count down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

EJ Manuel, No. 51 in 2008 class

Manuel was a highly coveted quarterback coming out of Bayside high in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In what wasn't a close recruitment, Manuel chose Florida State over LSU and others in June 2007 due in large part to his relationship with Jimbo Fisher, and the positive vibe he got around Florida State players and commitments. Manuel was part of a 2008 class that included Nigel Bradham and Nigel Carr, among many others.

After redshirting in 2008, Manuel served as the backup in 2009 to future NFL first-round selection Christian Ponder before an injury to Ponder forced Manuel into the starting lineup. Manuel responded going 3-1 to end the season and keeping Bobby Bowden from leaving his final season in Tallahassee with a losing record. Manuel earned Gator Bowl MVP honors after leading the Seminoles to a win against West Virginia.

Manuel was again the backup in 2010 for the most part, making two starts against Clemson and Virginia Tech after an injury to Ponder. He came in for the injured Ponder in the second quarter of the Chick-fil-A Bowl and led the Noles to a 26-17 win against South Carolina. He threw for 861 yards and four touchdowns in 2010.

Manuel became a full-time starter in 2011, passing for 2,666 yards and 18 touchdowns, which included a third straight bowl win, this time a victory over Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl in which Manuel threw for 249 yards and two scores.

As a fifth-year senior, Manuel led Florida State to a 12-2 record and a BCS Orange Bowl win against Northern Illinois, the Seminoles' first BCS Bowl win since 2000. On the season, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Manuel passed for 3,392 yards and 23 touchdowns earning All-ACC honors.

Manuel was the 16th overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills.

Honorable mention: Damore'ea Stringfellow, No. 51 in 2013 class. Stringfellow chose Washington over USC and others. After a 20-reception, 259 yards freshman season at Washington, Stringfellow was dismissed from the program. Now at Ole Miss, the former Under Armour All-America Game selection will be eligible in 2015 and is expected to become a starter with high-ceiling potential.

Midyear additions:  Oklahoma

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
2:00
PM ET
Oklahoma has signed three junior college players to national letters of intent and two high school recruits to financial aid agreements, according to SoonerSports.com. The additions include:

Rodney Anderson, RB
HT: 6-1 WT: 205
Positional rank: #23 RB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300: No. 270

Bobby Evans, OT
HT: 6-4 WT: 260
Positional rank: #14 OT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300: No. 184

Jamal Danley, OG
HT: 6-5 WT: 310
Positional rank: #1 OG (JC)
Stars: 3
ESPN JC 50: No. 37

William Johnson, CB
HT: 6-0 WT: 185
Positional rank: #2 CB (JC)
Stars: 4
ESPN JC 50: No. 13

DeDe Westbrook, WR
HT: 6-1 WT: 175
Positional rank: #3 WR (JC)
Stars: 4
ESPN JC 50: No. 12

Top sleeper commits: Big Ten 

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
1:00
PM ET
Five-star and ESPN 300 prospects create the most buzz, but with more than a hundred FBS programs competing for talent it takes more than just those top-rated prospects to have success. Rosters are built largely with prospects who enter college with little fanfare, but their development and contributions are key. Every year we see prospects who flew under the radar but developed into some of their conference's top players.

Throughout our evaluations we come across many players who show promise and are great additions based on their upside for development and/or scheme fit.

Here are five commitments in the Big Ten who we feel are unheralded but additions worth keeping an eye on:


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Early Offer: Hokies score super sleeper 

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
11:00
PM ET
Once again, Frank Beamer has landed an under-recruited prospect with “unlimited potential.” Plus, how much progress has been made by the committee looking into whether or not there should be an early-signing period?


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Ohio State commits happy for Tom Herman 

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
2:20
PM ET
video
Normally a prominent offensive coordinator leaving in late December to take a head coaching job would impact a recruiting class quite a bit. That doesn't seem to be the case, though, with Ohio State and offensive coordinator Tom Herman leaving for Houston.


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Top sleeper commits: Big 12 

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
1:00
PM ET
Five-star and ESPN 300 prospects create the most buzz, but with more than 100 FBS programs competing for talent, it takes more than just those top-rated prospects. Rosters are built with mainly prospects who enter college with little fanfare, but their development and contributions are key to a program’s success. Every year we see prospects who flew under the radar in recruiting but developed into some of their conference's top players.

Throughout our evaluations we come across many players who show promise and based off their upside for development or scheme fit are great additions to their college programs. Here are five headed to the Big 12:


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In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and count down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Chaz Green, No. 52 in 2010 class

Green came out of Tampa Catholic High as a nationally coveted offensive tackle prospect. It looked like Green would end up at Tennessee until head coach Lane Kiffin left Knoxville for USC. Green ultimately chose Florida over USC capping a terrific class for the Gators that included Matt Elam, Sharrif Floyd, Ronald Powell and Dominique Easley.

Green redshirted his first year in Gainesville in 2010 before appearing in nine games in 2011, earning SEC All-Freshman team honors despite missing four games due to injury.

Green again was a key starter on the Gators offensive line in 2012, playing in 11 games and starting 10. Like the 2011 season, Green again missed time due to injury. Green was bitten by the injury bug again in 2013, but this time the entire season was lost due to an injury in August camp.

Green enjoyed a fully healthy season as a redshirt senior in 2014, making 11 starts while playing both right and left tackle, setting himself up to possibly being selected in the 2015 NFL draft.

Honorable mention: Gunner Kiel, No. 52 in the 2012 class. Kiel signed with Notre Dame out of high school, but transferred to Cincinnati after redshirting in 2012. Kiel started 12 games for the Bearcats this season, throwing for 3,010 yards and 30 touchdowns.

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