NCF On The Trail: Pac-12

Early Offer: What a win for Wilson 

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
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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: WR Alex Ofodile

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
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COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Football is in Alex Ofodile’s DNA.

Ofodile, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound ESPN 300 receiver from Columbia (Missouri) Rock Bridge, can’t recall a time in his life when he wasn’t around the game. His father, A.J. Ofodile, was a fifth-round draft pick at tight end after a solid college career at Missouri. He played for the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

The younger Ofodile said his father’s love, passion for the game, encouragement and good genes were a big reason why he was named an Under Armour All-American. Ofodile received his official game jersey at a presentation Friday at his school in front of family, friends and the entire Rock Bridge student body.

“My dad always tells me that before I could even talk, he used to throw the ball with me back and forth,” said Ofodile, an Oregon commitment who ranks as the fifth-best receiver in the country. “He's played catch with me ever since I was little. Football is just in my blood. I just love playing, making plays. It's a great experience. It's a fun game.”

Ofodile’s bond with his father continues to grow stronger and stronger every day. After his football was behind him, Ofodile’s father moved into coaching and he is now the head coach at Rock Bridge. Some star players aren’t able to handle being around a parent who is also a coach, but Ofodile said his father has done a good job in both roles.

“My freshman year, I felt a whole lot of pressure,” Ofodile said. “But as I got more mature, he's kind of instilled in me that pressure makes diamonds. I make a play, people will say it's because your dad is the coach. I just tune that out. He's taught me to put that behind me. Don't listen to it and just go play your game. It's helped me a lot.

“He's done a great job of separating home from football. I thank him a lot for that. That's also kind of the way he coaches. He's not a big get-in-your-face-and-yell guy. You drop the ball, you know he's not going to jump all over you. He's not a yeller. He's more of a tell-you-what-you-did-wrong-and-fix-it type of coach.”

The good news is Ofodile hasn’t dropped too many passes in his career at Rock Bridge. Before leading his team to a 42-23 victory over rival Hickman on Friday night, Ofodile had already racked up 583 receiving yards and nine touchdowns through the first four games. Against Hickman, he had 80 yards receiving in the first half alone, before the defense started shifting two and sometimes even three defenders his way. He still managed to find a way to get into the end zone, sealing the victory with a 35-yard rush late in the game.

It was the type of performance that showcased why he’s an Under Armour All-American.

“I think I'm unique because I'm pretty good in a lot of different areas,” Ofodile said. “I think more of an all-around receiver. It's hard to find a guy that's fast, that's polished, that likes to block and do it all. I think I bring a lot of things to the table. I think I'll be able to play inside and outside.”

There are two Under Armour All-Americans from Missouri. Does that say anything about the quality of football that's being played in the Show Me State?
“I think people are looking to Missouri more. We had Dorial Green-Beckham and guys like Evan Boehm. Then there are guys like Hale Hentges and me. We're kind of continuing on the same path as those guys. Hopefully, after a while people will see Missouri is a powerhouse for football and it could open the doors for other players down the road to get more recruiting opportunities. That's what I'm hoping for.”

How do you think you will be used at Oregon?
“I think I'll be used all over the place. I think I'll be used how they used Josh Huff. I think I'll be more of a bigger Josh Huff. I think I'll fit in there really well and be able to play everywhere they need in that offense. Since I'm enrolling early, I think that's also going to help me out a lot mentally. I'm going to be learning the plays and get my adjustment period over with early before camp starts. Getting through all that stuff is going to help me out a bunch. Hopefully, I'll be competing for a spot.”

How much pressure was there on you to pick Missouri, since your dad played there and you live in Columbia?
“The pressure was tremendous externally. But internally between the people that really mattered, they all wanted me to do what's best for me. They all asked me 'Where are you going to be most excited to play at?' I had a lot of people tell me to go blaze your own trail. That was the message I got from the people I really cared about. If I had gone to Mizzou, people would have supported me. If I didn't, the people that mattered would have supported me, too. This was my decision and the people that loved me supported it 100 percent.”

Early Offer: Tough times ahead for UF? 

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
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Recruiting in the SEC is already difficult, but the difficulty in Gainesville is about to be ratcheted up even more as rival recruiters are already pressuring Florida recruits to reconsider. Plus, it was clear Saturday night that Oregon needs help on the offensive line, but the good news is that help is on the way.

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Georgia has offered boxing great Evander Holyfield’s son a scholarship, and the Dawgs seem ready to deliver the knockout. Plus, Kansas State hosts Auburn in one of the biggest games ever in Manhattan, but there won’t be a lot of recruits in the stands.


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Numbers tell us it’s USC that rules the roost over the years with the top-ranked prospects in California. Plus, UCLA has officially signed Josh Rosen, the Bruins’ most important recruit in years, to a financial aid agreement.

1. Since ESPN started ranking players in 2006, only four different schools have signed the top player in California. Those four schools are USC, Colorado, Washington and Notre Dame. You could say five if you count Eddie Vanderdoes as a Bruin signee in the 2013 class, but he did ink with Notre Dame on signing day and later transferred to UCLA. During that timeframe, though, USC has signed the top California player in the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014 classes. The Trojans have a good shot at doing it again in 2015 as many insiders believe five-star cornerback Iman Marshall is USC’s to lose.

[+] EnlargeDeon Cain
Tom Hauck for Student SportsClemson commit Deon Cain has 184 yards passing yards and 197 yards rushing in two games.
2. There was never, ever any doubt about how solid No. 1 ranked pocket-passing quarterback Josh Rosen was to UCLA. But Rosen, the No. 19 player in the country, took his commitment to the next level on Monday when he signed a financial aid agreement with the Bruins. Rosen remains the top-ranked prospect to commit to a Pac 12 program, and in my opinion, he is also the most important recruit in the conference with the Bruins’ quarterback race next season expected to be wide open since most UCLA observers believe Brett Hundley will depart for the NFL after his junior season.

3. How good has Clemson commit Deon Cain been in Tampa Bay (Florida) Tech’s first two games of the season? Cain, the nation’s No. 25 player, has been so good that Tech coach Jayson Roberts said he’s going to have to find somebody else to help do something on offense because he’s afraid he’s going to “break Deon’s back” from carrying the load. “Deon has been about 90 percent of our offense,” Roberts said. “The good thing is that he’s doing exactly what we want him to do, but the bad thing is that somebody else on the team is going to have to step up to help him out. But he’s been doing a tremendous job for us.” So far, Cain has 184 yards passing and 197 yards rushing in two games. He’s also caught a few passes and is returning punts and kickoffs. “He’s doing everything but driving the bus for us,” Roberts said.

Social Studies
There’s little doubt as to which school ESPN 300 quarterback Sheriron Jones is committed to. Check out the picture he posted Tuesday on his birthday.



Schools tweet posts like this one sent out by Baylor Tuesday and fans think they’re meant for them. Wrong. Tweets like these are meant to impress recruits and what’s scary is that the Bears have another good receiver in the 2015 class heading to Waco. Don’t forget about ESPN 300 receiver longtime Baylor commit Devontre Stricklin. He’s got the talent to be a huge impact player for the Bears.



The Under Armour All-America jersey tour continued on Tuesday with Auburn offensive line commitment Bailey Sharp receiving his jersey on Tuesday. To read more about the tour check out RecruitingNation’s coverage.


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Early Offer: Could LSU lose RB pledge? 

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
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Should LSU fans be worried that Tigers running back commit Nick Brossette plans to take official visits to other schools, and South Carolina's defense is about to get even better thanks to JUCO linebacker Davon Durant?


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UA jersey tour: Terry Beckner Jr.

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
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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.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has put together a top 15 recruiting class that should only get better as we head toward signing day, and Rutgers has a real chance to slow down Penn State’s recruiting momentum in New Jersey this weekend.


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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: Four-star receiver Trent Irwin’s offer list isn’t going to blow you away like some other elite receivers, but his ability to flat-out catch the football has him in the middle of one of the most intense recruiting battles in the Pac-12. Plus, has Oklahoma made up ground in the battle to land in-state four-star offensive guard Joshua Wariboko? 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: Despite losing to Florida State, Oklahoma State could end up being a winner on the recruiting trail because of its effort. Plus, Oregon brought in two key official visitors for its first game of the season and was rewarded with an ESPN 300 commitment, 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 from across the country. Today's offerings: UCLA quarterback commitment Josh Rosen is off to a strong start in Week 1, showcasing why he will be a valuable recruiting tool for the Bruins this season. Plus, most of the Pac-12 attention has been on UCLA, USC and Oregon, but don't forget about the quality classes at UofA and ASU, 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: Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart is closing ranks and instead of focusing on the more than 50 schools that have offered him scholarships, he's zeroing in on four schools leading up to his late September decision. Plus, Oregon fans can rest a little easier knowing the Ducks' star running back recruit didn't suffer major damage in his first game of the season, 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: To win at the highest level, Arkansas has to keep the elite local recruits at home. Bret Bielema has done a so-so job of that so far, but if he can land K.J. Hill this week that might help give the Razorbacks some much needed recruiting momentum. Plus, five-star Torrance Gibson put on a show on national television Sunday and potentially gave fans a glimpse as to where he’s leaning, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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Pac-12 vs. SEC: recruiting edge

August, 23, 2014
Aug 23
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It's widely accepted that the Pac-12 ranks second to the SEC among the Power Five conferences. ESPN The Magazine wondered whether the Pac-12 could narrow that gap in 2014 by examining how the two conferences stack up according to four factors, conveyed through an infographic: quarterback play, defensive line, recruiting and coaching.

Next up is a recruiting comparison. From The Mag:

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: No. 2 cornerback Iman Marshall announced four of his five official visits on Thursday, but he decided to crowd-source his final visit and that brought out the worst from Oklahoma and Texas fans. Alabama is expected to bounce back with good news on Friday after losing two recruits last weekend, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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