NCF On The Trail: Missouri Tigers

Duke now has the ability to sell a winning program and new facilities to recruits, and prospects like what they're seeing. Plus, the nation's top 2016 quarterback was slated to be at Florida State for the Notre Dame game, but he wasn't able to make it and now is looking for a return date.
Randy Edsall knows recruiting is the lifeblood of his program, and he is really impressing local coaches with his effort. Plus, don’t be surprised if you see NC State finish with a flurry.

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Tim Beckman is 1-17 in Big Ten games and questions about his future has hindered the Illini's recruiting efforts. Plus, Georgia Tech has surprised both on the field and on the recruiting trial.


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No Todd Gurley. No problem?

Gurley, Georgia’s Heisman Trophy candidate running back, was indefinitely suspended Thursday pending an investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules. And while it will be impossible to completely replace him, there is no program better equipped than Georgia to handle the loss of a key player such as Gurley.

[+] EnlargeNick Chubb
David Goldman/Associated PressNick Chubb has given the Bulldogs a lift as a true freshman and will be expecting to do more with Todd Gurley out.
Thanks to triumphs on the recruiting trail in the past three recruiting classes, the Bulldogs are stacked at the position and might just be able to weather the storm as they travel to Missouri Saturday for a critical SEC East matchup.

Two of those running back recruiting victories came just last February, when the Dawgs were able to lure two top-10 running backs to Athens.

Nick Chubb didn’t garner as many headlines nationally as some other 2014 Georgia recruits, but he’s turned into the biggest impact signee from the class. Ranked as the No. 7 running back, the Cedartown (Georgia) product could have gone anywhere he wanted in the SEC and to a number of other national programs. But he was drawn to Georgia’s strong running back tradition and picked the Dawgs over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and numerous others.

“It’s amazing to be going in behind guys like Herschel Walker and Todd Gurley, two of the best running backs ever,” Chubb said after signing with the Dawgs. “I’m going to make a name for myself, and I’m going to do my best.”

His best has been more than good enough so far, as Chubb is the Dawgs’ second-leading rusher with 224 yards, a very good 7.2-yard average and two touchdowns. He likely will be called upon to carry a bigger load Saturday, and while you never expect a true freshman to excel in this type of situation, Chubb came into Georgia ready to deal with the spotlight and pressure.

“There’s always going to be pressure, and people are going to be watching to see if we can live up to it,” Chubb said. “I’ve been doing this since I was young, and I’m going to continue doing it. I’m going to do my best.”

Georgia also got another big running back pickup in February Sony Michel committed early to Georgia, picking the Dawgs over a host of nationally respected programs like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame and others. Despite repeated pushes from local schools, namely Miami, Michel stuck with the Dawgs because of UGA’s deep running back tradition. Unfortunately Michel and a href="http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/530937/keith-marshall" target="_new">Keith Marshall, the No. 2 running back in the 2012 class who came to Georgia with Gurley, are injured and out on Saturday, leaving Chubb to take the majority of the carries.

Help is on the way: SEC 

October, 8, 2014
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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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Big Ten teams need to find a way to increase athleticism through recruiting and Wisconsin is working hard in Florida to make that happen. Plus, UCLA quarterback commit Josh Rosen continues to be the gift that keeps on giving for the Bruins on the recruiting trail.


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Michigan’s efforts on the recruiting trail aren’t going anywhere until something changes. Plus, whoever ends up getting the Kansas job must do whatever he can to keep quarterback Ryan Willis on board.


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SEC's top recruiting visits 

September, 26, 2014
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There are once again some big games around the SEC this weekend. While Arkansas vs Texas A&M might be the game of the week in the conference, it is a neutral site game and not many visitors are expected to attend. The Tennessee at Georgia game, however, is expected to draw many top recruits. Vanderbilt at Kentucky and Missouri at South Carolina should also expect to see some important visitors. There will be many recruits taking unofficial visits and even a few taking a few official visits. Here’s a closer look at some top expected visitors for the weekend.


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Early Offer: What a win for Wilson 

September, 22, 2014
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Missouri and Indiana often tangle on the recruiting trail, but now Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson has a big victory to recruit against the Tigers with. Plus, UCLA and Notre Dame are locked in a battle for the nation's top tight end prospect.

[+] EnlargeKevin Wilson
AJ Mast/Icon SportswireKevin Wilson and Indiana hope to get a recruiting boost from Saturday's 31-27 win against Missouri.
1. Indiana's 31-27 victory against No. 18 Missouri this past Saturday is the type of win that can go a long way on the recruiting trail. Because of its location, Missouri is one of the few SEC schools that actively targets players in the Midwest, and it is quite common for the Hoosiers and Tigers to tangle over players in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and even in St. Louis. For the most part, Mizzou has had its way with IU, but now Hoosier coach Kevin Wilson has a breakthrough win to recruit with. As one Big Ten recruiter told me on Monday, "that's the type of win that can change recruits' minds."

2. On Monday RecruitingNation released the latest edition of the Recruiter Power rankings and UCLA’s Adrian Klemm came in at No. 2 on the list. A big reason why Klemm is ranked so high is because he was able to land ESPN 300 tight end Alize Jones, the No. 1 tight end in the country. However, there’s some legitimate concern in Westwood that Jones could end up at Notre Dame. A source indicated the Bruins are doing everything they can to "fight off Notre Dame's advances." Jones continues to say he’s still with the Bruins and is only looking around at the Irish as a security blanket, but insiders believe the interest is much more than just that.

3. What an interesting few days it’s been for Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon offensive tackle Branden Bowen. On Saturday, Bowen, the No. 5 player in Utah, committed to the Utes to give Kyle Whittingham a nice in-state recruiting victory. Then hours later on Sunday, he tweeted he had picked up an offer from Ohio State, a school he admitted he was hoping to receive an offer from earlier in the process. It will be interesting to see if the Utes can keep Bowen on board, or if the Buckeyes' offer is too tempting to pass up.

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Social Studies

Often players link their highlight videos on their social media accounts, but you almost never see them posting their grades or test scores. So give Alabama commit Christian Bell a whole lot of credit for posting his ACT score for everybody to see. It's the type of highlight that also should be cheered.

UA jersey tour: Terry Beckner Jr.

September, 13, 2014
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He’s ranked as the No. 4 player in the country, the No. 1 player in Illinois and the top overall prospect in the Midwest. But there is one honor that five-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. said he is most proud of -- being an Under Armour All-American.

Beckner was presented with his Under Armour All-America jersey Saturday in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance at halftime of his football game at East St. Louis (Illinois) High School. Beckner, who has more than 40 scholarships from schools coast-to-coast, said this was a special moment he would never forget.



“This is a big deal,” Beckner said.

Darren Sunkett is one of the longest tenured coaches in the St. Louis area and has coached hundreds of players that have gone on to play college football, but he said Beckner is one of his best ever.

"He has great athleticism for his size,” Sunkett said. “At 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, he can actually move like he's 6-foot-1 and 185. He's a very athletic kid. We move him around inside and outside depending on the team and scheme we are facing."

Beckner is the first to admit, he is a man of few words, both on and off the field, but Sunkett said to not be fooled by his star defensive lineman’s quiet demeanor.

"Terry is real quiet, not a rah-rah guy, not very vocal and is short on words,” Sunkett said. “But his actions on field speak for themselves. He leads by example. He will meet every challenge he is faced with. He steps up to meet challenges. Terry never misses a weight room session, even during basketball. He is in the weight room after and leading by his efforts as a captain."

As far as recruiting goes, Beckner said he is adamant on waiting until his senior season is over before focusing too much on favorites. At one point he said Missouri was the team to beat for him, but he’s backed off that some and says he’s now “wide open.”

“My focus is on my season now,” he said. “I won’t worry about recruiting until it’s over. I’m an East St. Louis Flyer now and that is what’s important.”

Beckner said his mind is so focused on his senior season that he couldn’t even name which five schools would get an official visit at this point. When asked if Missouri would get one for sure, he said the Tigers “maybe” would. Sunkett said Beckner would likely wait until his season is over before he takes any official visits and with four of his high school games on Saturdays, Beckner is going to have a very limited window for unofficial visits to college games.

"I think Terry wants to play in the SEC, though,” Sunkett said. “He is taking it slow and is more in a wait and see situation. FSU in the ACC is a school he is interested in, too."

LSU, Ohio State and Oregon have been other schools Beckner has talked highly about in the past.

SEC's top recruiting visits 

September, 12, 2014
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There are much better games on tap this weekend in the SEC than last. Without question the top game this weekend happens on Saturday when the Georgia Bulldogs head to Columbia, South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks. There will be many recruits taking unofficial visits and even a few taking a few official visits. Here is a closer look at some top expected visitors.

Georgia at South Carolina

With 27 verbal commits South Carolina is pretty much full for its 2015 class except for maybe a few remaining spots. One big unofficial visitor this weekend will be Roquan Smith, the No. 2-ranked outside linebacker in the ESPN 300. Georgia is one of his top teams, so he could just be going to see the Bulldogs, but any chance a school gets to have a top recruit on campus, there is always a possibility he could be impressed by what he sees. With their 2015 class almost full, South Carolina will turn to their 2016 class. Three junior prospects, all ranked in the top 50 of the ESPN Junior 300, are expected to be in attendance. The trio consists of quarterback Brandon McIlwain, tight end Isaac Nauta and athlete Mecole Hardman.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today's offerings: James Franklin and Penn State was already building one of the best classes in the country, and Monday's news that the Nittany Lions were eligible for postseason play will help them build an even better class. Plus, recruits across the country agreed with the NFL and the Ravens' decision to distance themselves from Ray Rice, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today's offerings: Notre Dame has the No. 15 class in the country, but the Irish could quickly climb into the top 10 with a monster recruiting weekend on the horizon. Plus, after Georgia landed star junior quarterback Jacob Eason, the Dawgs have been on a recruiting run at receiver, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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Recruiting changing in up-tempo era 

August, 25, 2014
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The SEC, a league that is known for its hard-nose, physical style of play is slowly transforming into a spread-offense, up-tempo league. It's a change that hasn't happened overnight and teams like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, with their pro-style offenses, will always have their imprint on the toughest league in all of college football.

With fast-paced offenses such as Auburn, Missouri, Ole Miss and Texas A&M having much success over the last few years, it's forcing defenses to change their philosophy on who they recruit to defend against these spread attacks.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound middle linebackers are dwindling and replacing them are hybrid linebackers that can rush the passer and run sideline-to-sideline. There are 23 outside linebackers committed to SEC schools currently, all but one, Darrell Williams, weigh less than 220 pounds. There are only four inside linebackers committed to SEC schools.

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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: Missouri made national headlines when it signed a five-star local prospect in the 2012 class. Now the question facing the Tigers is whether they can do it again with Class of 2015 five-star Terry Beckner Jr. Plus, Nebraska has had good luck with junior-college prospects under Bo Pelini, and the Huskers hope to continue that trend. We also continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.

[+] EnlargeTerry Beckner
Tom Hauck for Student SportsTerry Beckner Jr. is a vital in-state target for Mizzou.
1. Over the last four classes two of the nation's elite players have come from prospects in Missouri's backyard. In 2012, the state produced No. 3-ranked Dorial Green-Beckham, and he signed with Mizzou before running into off-the-field issues this past offseason that led to his departure. The Tigers are hoping they can replicate the recruiting success -- without the off-field complications -- with No. 4-ranked Beckner. The five-star defensive end is about as must-get of a recruit as there has been for Gary Pinkel in his time in CoMo. To win in the SEC, you have to have beasts on the defensive line, and Beckner is definitely talented. The good news is Missouri looks to be in good shape and will receive an unofficial visit on Oct. 11 for the Georgia game.

2. Without a doubt, “The Maryland Way” will be something that helps the Terps on the recruiting trail. Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson announced Tuesday the implementation of "The Maryland Way Guarantee,” which gives athletes a “lifetime” guarantee on their scholarship even if they can’t compete because of injury. As the Terps move into the B1G, they’re fighting for every advantage they can to keep top talent in the DMV at home and away from conference rivals, and this development will give Randy Edsall some additional recruiting ammo to work with.

3. Nebraska has never been one to go heavy after junior college prospects, but over the years the Huskers have managed to strike gold with a number of two-year prospects. Defensive back DeJon Gomes, linebacker Lavonte David and most recently defensive end Randy Gregory are great examples of juco players recruited by Bo Pelini that have panned out. Defensive back Justin Martin out of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M could be next in line. The Huskers recently offered Martin, and while he doesn’t have favorites listed at this point, he was quite excited about picking up the NU offer. Another factor that could help the Huskers is that his coach, Ryan Held, played at Nebraska.

#WednesdayWisdom
Pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 11.5.1, only coaches who have been certified may contact or evaluate prospective student-athletes off-campus. To become certified, coaches must answer 80 percent of the questions on the NCAA Coaches Certification Test correctly. Here are a few examples of the types of questions coaches must answer correctly:

True or False: An institution's coach may produce a computer recruiting presentation and show it to a prospective student-athlete at the prospective student-athlete's high school.

The answer: True

True or False: It is permissible for a football coach at an institution located in the state of Pennsylvania to conduct several institutional camps in Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri in order to attract more prospective student-athletes from the Midwest.

The answer: False

Social Studies
Marquise Doherty is not only one of the top running backs in the country he’s also one of the top baseball prospects around. So when Doherty tweeted out Tuesday his top five schools -- a list that consisted of Iowa, Oregon, Missouri, Kansas State and Louisville -- he indicated all the schools have talked to him about playing both sports in college. Some have pegged Iowa as the team to beat because his former high school teammate Aaron Mends is a freshman with the Hawkeyes, but Doherty says official visits will be key for him.

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