NCF On The Trail: Georgia State Panthers

Austin King saw the pile and immediately knew something was different about today’s mail. As one of the Georgia’s most heavily recruited quarterbacks, he’s used to getting letters from schools all over the country. But the stack of 100 envelopes addressed to him from South Florida caught his attention.

USF letters
TwitterClass of 2015 signal-caller Austin King received 100 letters at once from South Florida.
As King ripped through envelope after envelope, he discovered this just wasn’t some mass mailing of form letters with a few handwritten notes sprinkled in from a school -- a recruiting tactic used by a number of programs in the past. He knew that this was something different.

“As I opened each letter, I discovered they were 100 hand-written notes with exactly 100 reasons why I should commit to South Florida,” King said. “They’re all handwritten. There’s so many. I haven’t even gotten through all of them yet. It definitely feels great being wanted at a school like this. I'm still in a little bit of a shock."

King isn’t leaning toward a school, but he does have scholarship offers from South Florida, West Virginia, Southern Miss and UCF, among others, with schools such as North Carolina, Mississippi State and Notre Dame showing interest. It’s safe to say he has plenty of reasons now to consider South Florida even more than before.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: No team in America is more on fire than the Alabama Crimson Tide and they’re not done yet; UCLA gets two major DB commits and make an impression with new uniforms, and juco linebacker Errol Clarke II is quickly becoming a wanted man with Big 12 and SEC coaches.

Weekly Commitment Roundup

August, 9, 2013
American Athletic
Hayden Moore QB-PP Pinson, Ala./Clay-Chalkville
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Alex Thomas WR Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade Madonna College Preparatory School
HT: 6-0 WT: 167
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Alec Bloom TE-Y Ligonier, Pa./Ligonier Valley
HT: 6-7 WT: 230
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Tom Rodrick ILB Leicester, Mass./Leicester
HT: 6-3 WT: 230
Positional Ranking: #52 ILB
Stars: 2

Elton Dyer WR South Houston, Texas/South Houston
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Positional Ranking: #142 WR
Stars: 3

Darius Joiner OT Temple, Texas/Temple
HT: 6-4 WT: 262
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Henry Smith WR River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Poona Ford DT Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head
HT: 6-0 WT: 285
Positional Ranking: #21 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#275)

Chris Nelson DT Lakeland, Fla./Victory Christian
HT: 6-2 WT: 280
Positional Ranking: #69 DT
Stars: 3

Isaac Stewart ILB Matthews, N.C./Butler
HT: 6-1 WT: 230
Positional Ranking: #27 ILB
Stars: 3

Curtis Akins ILB Byhalia, Miss./Byhalia
HT: 6-0 WT: 208
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

South Florida
Michael Galati OG Bradenton, Fla./Manatee
HT: 6-2 WT: 292
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Georgia Tech
Will Bryan OG Carnesville, Ga./Franklin County
HT: 6-3 WT: 265
Class of 2015

Terrell Lewis OLB Ocoee, Fla./Ocoee
HT: 6-2 WT: 206
Positional Ranking: #32 OLB
Stars: 4

Miami (FL)
Brandon Powell ATH Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach
HT: 5-9 WT: 169
Positional Ranking: #34 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#276)

Jeff Farrar ATH Upland, Calif./Upland
HT: 6-0 WT: 194
Positional Ranking: #21 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#188)

Virginia Tech
Greg Stroman ATH Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson
HT: 5-11 WT: 152
Positional Ranking: #142 ATH
Stars: 3

Big 12

Ronnie Major OT Huntsville, Texas/Huntsville
HT: 6-6 WT: 280
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending
Class of 2015

Kansas State
D'Vonta Derricott ILB Garden City, Kan./Garden City CC
HT: 6-1 WT: 230
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Mark Andrews TE-H Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain
HT: 6-6 WT: 220
Positional Ranking: #8 TE-H
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#295)

Ty Barrett OT Dallas/Skyline
HT: 6-5 WT: 310
Positional Ranking: #36 OT
Stars: 3

West Virginia
Devante Averette ILB Iowa Falls, Iowa/Ellsworth CC
HT: 6-0 WT: 230
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Davonte James OLB Springfield, Ohio/Springfield
HT: 6-1 WT: 233
Positional Ranking: #17 OLB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#236)

Big Ten
Michigan State
Robert Bowers DE Columbus, Ohio/Walnut Ridge
HT: 6-5 WT: 210
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Jayru Campbell QB-DT Detroit/Cass Technical
HT: 6-3 WT: 175
Class of 2015

Pac 12

Jamie Byrd S Dade City, Fla./Iowa Western CC
HT: 5-11 WT: 195
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Jeff Worthy DT Santa Ana, Calif./Santa Ana CC
HT: 6-3 WT: 290
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Arizona State
Chad Adams CB Allen, Texas/Allen
HT: 5-9 WT: 162
Positional Ranking: #62 CB
Stars: 3

Jamal Scott ATH Anaheim, Calif./Magnolia
HT: 6-2 WT: 200
Positional Ranking: #85 ATH
Stars: 3

Oregon State
Najee Toran OG Houston/North Shore
HT: 6-2 WT: 242
Positional Ranking: #43 OG
Stars: 3

Hayden Lekacz K Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West
HT: 6-1 WT: 180
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Antreal Allen CB Auburn, Ala./Auburn
HT: 5-11 WT: 176
Positional Ranking: #54 CB
Stars: 3

JoJo McIntosh S West Hills, Calif./Chaminade College Prep
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Positional Ranking: #99 S
Stars: 3

Ricky Town QB-PP Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure
HT: 6-4 WT: 190
Positional Ranking: #2 QB-PP
Stars: 4
ESPN Jr. 300 (#42)

Racean Thomas RB Oxford, Ala./Oxford
HT: 5-11 WT: 202
Positional Ranking: #5 RB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#34)

Mississippi State
Gerri Green DT Greenville, Miss./Greenville Weston
HT: 6-4 WT: 215
Positional Ranking: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Marvin Zanders QB-DT Jacksonville, Fla./Raines
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Positional Ranking: #33 QB-DT
Stars: 3

Texas A&M
Rodney Anderson RB Katy, Texas/Katy
HT: 6-1 WT: 205
Positional Ranking: #9 RB for 2015
Stars: 4

Alex Aukerman Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove
HT: 6-1 WT: 205

Brigham Young
Tyler Cook-Nolan OLB Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta
HT: 6-3 WT: 212
Positional Ranking: #91 OLB
Stars: 3

Kavika Fonua S Syracuse, Utah/Syracuse
HT: 6-0 WT: 203

Evan Akins OT Hudsonville, Mich./Hudsonville
HT: 6-5 WT: 285

Jake Banholzer DT Rolla, Mo./Rolla
HT: 6-2 WT: 261

Notre Dame
Matt Dickerson DT San Mateo, Calif./Junipero Serra
HT: 6-5 WT: 275
Positional Ranking: #27 DT
Stars: 4

Richard Yeargin III OLB Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School of Nova South
HT: 6-3 WT: 225
Positional Ranking: #25 OLB
Stars: 4

Conference USA
Florida International

Tyler Sayles DE Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach
HT: 6-1 WT: 242

Eric Bowie OLB Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish
HT: 6-1 WT: 219

Jeremy Smith TE-Y Tulsa, Okla./Berryhill
HT: 6-4 WT: 230

Jalen Stewart DT Columbus, Miss./Columbus
HT: 6-1 WT: 260

Kevin Strong DT Cleveland, Texas/Cleveland
HT: 6-1 WT: 280

Mid American
Zach Gingerich K Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine
HT: 6-3 WT: 202

Bowling Green
Jalen Brady QB-PP Southfield, Mich./Southfield
HT: 5-11 WT: 204

Skylar Hartley OG Hilliard, Ohio/Bradley Hilliard
HT: 6-1 WT: 317

Northern Illinois
Mayomi Olootu Jr. CB Allen, Texas/Allen
HT: 5-8 WT: 170

Mountain West
Air Force
Chandler Hawkins S Bellflower, Calif./Saint John Bosco
HT: 5-11 WT: 175

LaJuan Hunt RB Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School of Nova South
HT: 5-9 WT: 192

San Diego State
Rayshawn Boyce DE Los Angeles/Salesian
HT: 6-2 WT: 216

Sun Belt
Georgia State
Chandon Sullivan CB Winder, Ga./Winder-Barrow
HT: 5-10 WT: 174

Adrian Goodacre OG Carthage, Texas/Carthage
HT: 6-3 WT: 305

David Griffith OLB Plano, Texas/Plano
HT: 6-1 WT: 195

Cody McGuire ILB Monroe, La./Sterlington
HT: 6-2 WT: 230

Kaylon Watson ATH Mexia, Texas/Mexia
HT: 5-11 WT: 200

Texas State
Cedric Gambrell DE Cleveland, Texas/Cleveland
HT: 6-5 WT: 225

Brelynd Goods OLB Bellaire, Texas/Bellaire
HT: 6-3 WT: 209

Stedman Mayberry RB Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge
HT: 5-10 WT: 180

Western Kentucky
Evan Sayner DE Paducah, Ky./Lone Oak
HT: 6-3 WT: 250

Arizona is Jamie Byrd's next stop

August, 3, 2013
Safety Jamie Byrd (Dade City, Fla./Iowa Western Community College) is the latest 2014 prospect to select Rich Rodriguez's Wildcats, according to multiple reports.

Byrd, a three-star prospect for the 2011 class, originally committed to Boise State before signing with TCU. He redshirted with the Horned Frogs that fall and saw limited action last season. Byrd then transferred to Iowa Western this past winter.

He informed the Tampa Bay Times that changes on TCU's coaching staff caused his move: "New position coach came in last year, and me and him didn't see eye to eye, and the defensive scheme did not fit me well."

During this recruiting cycle, Georgia State, Illinois and Middle Tennessee also offered the 5-foot-11, 195-pound defender.

Byrd, who will be a part of ESPN RecruitingNation's junior college rankings in the fall, is commitment No. 21 for Arizona.

S Mike Rogers picks UCF, not done yet

August, 2, 2013
According to the Orlando Sentinel, three-star safety Mike Rogers (Smyrna, Ga./Campbell) has committed to UCF.

"The campus was really nice," he said. "But what called my attention was the coaches and everything and the academics. They were really focused on school work and football. They make sure you get a degree and do something you love at the same time. That caught my attention."

However, Rogers added that he hasn’t completed “shut down” the recruiting process. Charlotte, Cincinnati, Clemson, East Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Old Dominion, Ole Miss and Syracuse also offered the 6-foot, 180-pound defender.

He’s the 12th 2014 pledge for the Knights and their top commit on the defensive side of the ball.

Blue Devils land Peach State DE

July, 27, 2013
Rising senior Taariq Shabazz (Kennesaw, Ga./Mountain) committed Friday to play for Duke, according to multiple reports. Defensive line coach Rick Petri was his primary recruiter.

Shabazz selected the Blue Devils over scholarship offers from Cincinnati, East Carolina, Georgia State, Southern Miss, UCF and Vanderbilt. Georgia Tech and Michigan State showed interest.

This spring, he registered an electronically-timed 4.90 40-yard dash, 4.80 20-yard shuttle, 31.2-inch vertical, 33.5-foot power throw and 74.58 SPARQ at at Nike Combine.

The 6-foot-2, 228-pound prospect, who will be evaluated soon, is commitment No. 13 for Duke.

Deshon Cooper says yes to Bulldogs

June, 27, 2013
Mississippi State has secured a pledge from outside linebacker Deshon Cooper (Decatur, Ga./Columbia), according to multiple reports.

Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Rutgers, South Florida, Vanderbilt and West Virginia were the other BCS schools to offer the 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect. Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Tennessee expressed interest.

Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Marshall and Middle Tennessee offered from the non-BCS and FCS ranks.

Cooper is commitment No. 13 for the Bulldogs.

Bulls keep QB Chase Litton close to home

June, 18, 2013
Monday, three-star pocket passer Chase Litton (Tampa, Fla./Wharton) announced his commitment to South Florida, according to media reports.

Litton posted this picture on Twitter with head coach Willie Taggart and quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan:


The 6-foot-5, 191-pound prospect selected USF over scholarship offers from Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State, LSU, Marshall, Massachusetts, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

He threw for more than 2,700 yards and 32 touchdowns as a junior.

The Bulls now have seven players on board for 2014.

Bruno Reagan says yes to USF

June, 16, 2013
According to multiple reports, defensive tackle/offensive guard Bruno Reagan (Clarksville, Tenn./Clarksville) has committed to sign with the South Florida Bulls.

South Florida topped offers from Connecticut, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee, Tennessee State and Western Kentucky for the 6-foot-3, 291-pound prospect. Cincinnati, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt showed interest.

This spring, he posted an electronically-timed 5.90 40-yard dash, 4.93 20-yard shuttle, 20.7-inch vertical, 31-foot power throw and 51.6 SPARQ at a Nike combine.

The Bulls have six pledges for 2014. On Saturday, multiple reports listed athlete Quinton Flowers (Miami/Jackson) as a South Florida pledge, but it appears that the three-star has not committed.

Peach State WR Phillips to Purdue

May, 31, 2013
Class of 2014 wide receiver Gregory Phillips (Lithonia, Ga./Arabia Mountain) committed Friday to sign with the Purdue Boilermakers, according to multiple sources. He was recruited by Purdue receivers coach Kevin Sherman.

Air Force, Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Ball State, Charlotte, Georgia State, Iowa State, Old Dominion and Western Kentucky also extended scholarship offers to the 6-foot, 181-pound prospect.

This spring, Phillips posted an electronically-timed 4.77 40-yard dash, 4.40 20-yard shuttle, 25.3-inch vertical, 30-foot power throw and 60.87 SPARQ at a Nike Combine.

The Boilermakers have three pledges for 2014.

Gamecocks get on the board for 2015

May, 17, 2013
South Carolina, which has just three players committed for this recruiting cycle, picked up a 2015 verbal on Friday. According to multiple sources, wide receiver Dexter Neal (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) is set to play for the Gamecocks.

Buffalo, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Clemson, Connecticut, Georgia State, Michigan State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia also extended early scholarship offers to Neal.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound talent has posted a 4.41 20-yard shuttle, 32.6-inch vertical and 35.5-foot power throw on the Nike combine circuit.

Gamecocks defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Lorenzo Ward spearheaded Neal's recruitment.

Vandy grabs second Stephenson pledge

May, 17, 2013
Class of 2014 tight end Montez Sweat (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) committed Thursday to sign with Vanderbilt, multiple sources report. His high school teammate, four-star running back Dallas Rivers, picked the Commodores in March.

Sweat, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound prospect, also holds scholarship offers Buffalo, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia State, Marshall, Mississippi State, Old Dominion and West Virginia.

The Commodores have nine commitments and sit at No. 18 in ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.

Uncovering Georgia's sleepers: Defense 

March, 8, 2013
With the acceleration of the recruiting process, not having an offer in March can lead to panic for some prospects. In part one of a six-part series, Recruiting Nation will feature five defensive players in Georgia who have yet to pick up an offer from a FBS (formerly known as Division 1A) program.

While there is no way to know just how the process will unfold for these recruits, their talent suggests that interest will continue to grow as more colleges evaluate them on film and in person.

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Wake nabs Deonte' Davis from FCS program 

February, 4, 2013
Senior cornerback Deonte' Davis (Snellville, Ga./South Gwinnett) committed to sign with Georgia State in late January, but had a change of heart following an official visit over the weekend.

According to multiple sources, Wake Forest lured the 5-foot-10, 164-pound Davis from his previous verbal. Air Force, Colorado State, Florida International and Navy also extended scholarship offers.

Davis registered a 4.81 40-yard dash, 4.69 20-yard shuttle and 35.5-inch vertical prior to his junior year.

He is commitment No. 24 for the Demon Deacons.

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Ragin' Cajuns remain hot on the trail 

February, 4, 2013
Outside linebacker James Clark (Sebastian, Fla./Sebastian River) is the latest three-star prospect to select Louisiana-Lafayette for 2013, multiple sources report. On Jan. 31st, the Cajuns picked up former Mississippi State wide receiver verbal Scott Austin (Biloxi, Miss./Biloxi) and inside linebacker George Williams (Hialeah, Fla./Hialeah).

Clark, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior, also has scholarship offers from Auburn, Florida International, Georgia State, Kentucky, Memphis, Ole Miss, Rutgers and South Florida.

ESPN writes in his scouting report, "Clark's playing speed coupled with his desire and enthusiasm make for a very difficult player to block. Has the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition... may not be an immediate starter at the BCS level of play. However early playing time isn't out of the question if a red shirt year is not deemed necessary."

Including its mid-year class, Louisiana-Lafayette has 22 players committed for this recruiting cycle.

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