NCF On The Trail: SEC

Early Offer: Hokies score super sleeper 

December, 16, 2014
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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?

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

December, 16, 2014
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The last weekend before Sunday's dead period which runs through Jan. 5 has come and gone. There were a number of big-time official visits, and unofficial visits over the weekend as well as an impactful 2016 commitment in the SEC East.


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The addition of No. 1 2016 TE Isaac Nauta shows that the Florida State recruiting machine shows no signs of slowing down. Plus, Tennessee continues to impress with its 2015 defensive class.


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Early Offer: The dead period is here 

December, 14, 2014
Dec 14
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What is the dead period and why is it an important time in football recruiting? Plus, Texas Tech’s loss at quarterback could be Baylor’s gain.

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Best of the visits: SEC

December, 14, 2014
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The last visit weekend before the dead period begins at midnight on Dec. 15 has come and gone with Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama hosting key visitors. As much as the weekend visits, it was the in-home visits by head coach throughout the week that had prospects tweeting and posting on social media for fans to see. Here is a look at some of the highlights from the week.

Georgia hosted the top linebacker target remaining on the board.
Smith is considered a Georgia lean with official visits scheduled to LSU on Jan. 16, Ole Miss on Jan. 23 and UCLA on Jan. 30, but both Auburn and Florida remain in the picture with official visits possible. Before leaving for his official visit to Athens, Smith posted a picture of a Thursday in-home visit with Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator Jason Jones. ESPN300 No. 9 CeCe Jefferson was on campus at Alabama this weekend, and tweeted this gem: Jefferson's visit to Tuscaloosa in unofficial after making his official visit Oct. 17. Florida, Florida State and Auburn are likely to receiver official or unofficial visits leading up to Jefferson's national signing day decision. A visit to Auburn is possible Jan. 16th weekend.

Kentucky is hosting a number of key targets this weekend, but none bigger than ESPN300 No. 31 and "must-get" recruit Damien Harris. Harris tweeted on his way to Lexington Friday. Harris received in-home visits from Alabama's Nick Saban, Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Mark Stoops this week leading up to the visit to Lexington. A decision between the Wildcats and Crimson Tide is ultimately expected. Harris also sent out an encouraging tweet to 2016 prospect Drake Jackson, who committed to Kentucky Saturday. Coaches were on the road making in-home visits with the last weekend of official visits and the dead period set to begin Dec. 15.

A popular stop last week was Armwood High to spend time with ESPN 300 No. 2 Byron Cowart. The list of visitors included Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Florida head coach Jim McElwain. Cowart plans to commit at the Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2, but still take official visits to Auburn Jan. 16, Florida and Florida State.

Another popular stop this week was ESPN 300 No. 35 Malik Jefferson. The Under Armour All-America Game selection will announce his decision Dec. 19, making this week the last chance for head coaches to make in-home visits, including Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin. Jefferson officially visited UCLA this weekend, but is considered a lean to the Aggies over Texas, UCLA and Baylor. ESPN Jr. 300 commits in style

Kentucky picked up a commitment Saturday from ESPN Jr. 300 No. 146 Drake Jackson. The big news wasn't that Jackson picked the Wildcats, as that was expected, but it's how the guard/center prospect committed to Mark Stoops and staff that was an attention grabber. Jackson and family committed to Kentucky in the coaches office Friday with a cake.


Jackson announced his commitment to the public Saturday in a ceremony, and also sent out a popular tweet.

5-star Cowart set to visit Auburn 

December, 13, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart has had Florida and Florida State near the top of his list for some time, but now that former Florida coach Will Muschamp is the defensive coordinator at Auburn, the Tigers are starting to make a push for the No. 2-ranked player in the nation.


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Torrance Gibson, Nick Bosa win state titles 

December, 13, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage defeated Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby 38-0 and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defeated Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola 31-0 in the FHSAA class 5A and 7A state championship games on Friday. The games featured several prospects in the ESPN 300 and ESPN Junior 300, including five-star athlete Torrance Gibson and the 18th-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300, Nick Bosa.

Snelson opens recruitment

The 25th-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300, Dredrick Snelson, recently backed off his commitment to Miami. The 6-foot, 192 pound wide receiver said he felt he made a decision too soon in the recruiting process.

"I just felt like I did it too early," Snelson said. "I just want to do what’s best for me and give everyone an opportunity."

After opening things back up, Snelson said there are five schools he is now focusing on -- Florida, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. He has no time frame for when he would like to make a decision.

Gibson likes what he sees from Ohio State quarterbacks

Five-star athlete and Ohio State commitment Gibson took notice when Ohio State’s third-string quarterback Cardale Jones led the Buckeyes to a 59-0 win against Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game last Saturday. The 13th-ranked player in the ESPN 300 said he is excited about how Ohio State has developed their quarterbacks this season.

"It excites me a lot," Gibson said. "They were down to their third-string quarterback, and look what Tom Herman did with him. 59-0, that’s very impressive."

Now that Ohio State is in the inaugural football playoff and will take on Alabama in the opening round, Gibson said he will be watching the game closely.

"It’s going to be a great, close game," he said. "Urban Meyer and Tom Herman, they believe in their system. It’s going to be a good game and I’m going to keep my eye on that game."

Bosa names a leader


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ESPN 300 defensive end D'Andre Walker got a little creative when he decided to announce his top three list of schools Friday morning.

Walker used YouTube and a holiday app called Elf Yourself to create a festive video to announce Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn are his final three schools.

Walker is the 19th-ranked defensive end and the 241st-ranked player overall in the ESPN 300.

For the longest time it looked like Alabama was going to run away with the title for the top-ranked class, but here comes Florida State. Plus, why the hype around Josh Sweat?

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Are four-star DT Carlos Davis and his twin, three-star tackle Khalil Davis, still committed to Nebraska? Good luck figuring that out. Plus, handicapping the finalists in advance of Josh Sweat’s Wednesday decision.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

December, 9, 2014
Dec 9
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With Alabama winning the SEC championship on Saturday and the college football playoff now set, SEC schools can now turn their focus to recruiting. Despite there being only one game this weekend, there was still a bunch of recruiting news from around the SEC. There was a couple of big commitments, a few decommitments, a big decision date was announced and some important in-home visits. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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David Cutcliffe of Duke said young coaches should turn to Kenny Rogers for advice on how to get ahead on the recruiting trail. Plus, Florida's Jim McElwain has been busy since he was hired.

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MONTGOMERY, Al. -- When ESPN300 No. 50 Daron Payne walked into the Alabama team hotel to check in for the 28th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game, more than 20 media members swarmed for an interview.

The reason is simple, the 6-foot-3, 335-pound defensive tackle is set to announce his decision Jan. 2 during the Under Armour All-America Game between childhood favorite Auburn and the team many believe is the favorite, Alabama. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is scheduled to make his in-home Sunday, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban will make his in-home visit in January.

Payne stood calmly and answered questions for nearly 20-minutes, giving the latest in his recruitment with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn set to make his in-home visit Sunday.

What are you visit plans?

Well, we are about to have this dead period (midnight Sunday), so I was probably going to take some officials after the Under Armour Game. So it would be after I commit. They will all be in January.

How many official visits are you going to take?

I’ve been to all the schools I want to go to, so it will probably be just two, Alabama and Auburn.

When was your last in-home?

Alabama last Friday. I think a couple of schools are supposed to come Sunday, so we’ll see how that goes. Coach Bo Davis and Coach [Mario] Christobal came by Friday. They were just telling me how they could build their defense around me and reminding me how much I like it down there.

When was your last visit to Auburn?

Actually, Coach [Rodney] Garner came by the school today. He was telling me about me being his main focus.

You have said Alabama has recruited you the hardest throughout most of the process. Has it evened out with Auburn a little bit?

It has evened out a little bit with Coach Garner. He has been calling me a lot and coming by the school.


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SEC season recruiting superlatives 

December, 8, 2014
Dec 8
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Looking back at the just-completed regular season, it has been another wild year in the SEC, both on the field and in recruiting. There have been several huge commitments, some big decommitments and, as always, a few surprises. Here’s a closer look at the the SEC’s recruiting superlatives.


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Go ahead and debate who should have been in the inaugural College Football Playoff, but there’s no debating Bama, Oregon, FSU and OSU dominate in recruiting.

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