NCF On The Trail: Troy Trojans

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.

Four-star Lewis commits to Georgia Tech

August, 4, 2013
Terrell Lewis (Ocoee, Fla./Ocoee), a high school safety projected to play outside linebacker in college, has pledged to sign with Georgia Tech, according to multiple sources.

Lewis, who did not hold a scholarship offer in mid-March, rapidly ascended on recruiting boards and was sought by several BCS conference programs. UConn, Iowa State, Kentucky, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, South Florida, Syracuse, Troy and UCF each pursued the 6-foot-2, 206-pound defender.

Last spring, Lewis posted an electronically timed 4.75 40-yard dash, 4.37 20-yard shuttle, 32.6-inch vertical and 82.35 SPARQ at a Nike event.

The Yellow Jackets now have 15 commitments.

SMU scores ESPN 300 QB Tyler Harris

August, 1, 2013
The Mustangs have added a signature recruit to their 2014 class. According to multiple reports, ESPN 300 quarterback Tyler Harris (Blackshear, Ga./Pierce County) has committed to play for head coach June Jones and SMU.

Harris, a 6-foot-4, 221-pound athlete ranked as the country's No. 12 pocket passer, received scholarship offers from Alabama, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State, South Florida and Troy.

Over the last few months, the Crimson Tide added No. 2 QB-PP David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North), the Wildcats secured in-state No. 6 QB-PP Drew Barker (Hebron, Ky./Conner) and the Bulldogs snared two-sport start Elijah Staley (Marietta, Ga./Wheeler).

Harris is SMU's 14th verbal for 2014.

West Virginia lands three prospects

July, 31, 2013

Defensive end Tyree Owens (Oviedo, Fla./Oviedo) and pair of offensive tackles -- Jamie Herr (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian) and Walter Rauterkus (Avon, Ohio/Avon) -- each committed this week to West Virginia, according to multiple reports.

Owens, a 6-foot-4, 236-pound prospect, selected the Mountaineers over scholarship offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Eastern Illinois, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Marshall, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Troy, Virginia, Wake Forest and Wisconsin.

He posted an electronically-timed 4.88 40-yard dash, 4.62 20-yard shuttle, 32.5-inch vertical, 34-foot power throw and 81.78 SPARQ this spring at a Nike combine.

"West Virginia had the best family feel," Owens told the Orlando Sentinel. "When I got there (on a visit this past weekend) they welcomed me with open arms and it was everything I could have hoped for... just great the whole time I was there."

Herr, one of many FBS prospects from Eastern Christian Academy, was also offered by Boston College, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Temple. He's 6-5 and 265 pounds.

Ohio was Rauterkus' only other scholarship offer. Programs including Ball State, Bowling Green, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska and Purdue also recruited the 6-6, 285-pound prospect.

West Virginia's 2014 class is at 11 players.

QB Kendrick Doss picks the Rebels

June, 28, 2013
Ole Miss secured a commitment Friday from three-star dual-threat quarterback Kendrick Doss (Florence, Ala./Florence), according to multiple sources.

Doss, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound prospect, selected the Rebels over scholarship offes from Auburn, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Nebraska, South Alabama, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Troy and Tulane. Kentucky and Vanderbilt expressed interest.

Last fall, he completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,743 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 1,202 yards and 21 more scores.

Ole Miss quarterbacks coach Dan Werner spearheaded the Rebels' pursuit of Doss.

He is commitment No. 17 for head coach Hugh Freeze. The Rebels' 2014 class is ranked 15th by ESPN RecruitingNation.

Jacob Kraut on board with Rutgers

June, 25, 2013
Three-star Jacob Kraut (Neptune Beach, Fla./Fletcher), a linebacker/fullback, committed to Rutgers over the weekend. He spoke with about his recent multi-day visit to campus:

"It all stood out to me," he said. "I liked it all a whole lot. I saw the Hale Center, the weight room and a few other things."

The Scarlet Knights topped Florida International, Georgia Southern, Maryland, Middle Tennessee, Troy, UAB, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan, which all offered, for his commitment.

Kraut, a 5-foot-11, 241-pound prospect, registered a 4.66 20-yard shuttle, 26-inch vertical and 37-foot power throw on the Nike combine circuit.

Rutgers has 17 verbals for 2014.

Two more set to play for Mississippi State

June, 14, 2013
The SEC's Mississippi State Bulldogs picked up commitments from Norman Price and Logan Cooke, according to multiple reports.

Price is a 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive tackle from Hinds Community College (Raymond, Miss.). The Vicksburg, Miss., native was recruited by Mississippi State running backs coach Greg Knox. Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Missouri, Troy and Western Kentucky were his other offers.

Cooke (Columbia, Miss./Columbia Academy), a 6-foot-4, 200-pound kicker, selected the Bulldogs over a scholarship offer from Louisiana-Monroe. Tennessee also showed interest. Safeties coach/recruiting coordinator Tony Hughes led Mississippi State's pursuit of Cooke.

The Bulldogs' Class of 2014 now holds eight commitments.

Western Michigan lands two more 

April, 22, 2013
Coveted wide receiver LaDarian Smiley (Monticello, Fla./Jefferson County) and safety Deontae Brown (Chicago/Mt. Carmel) are on board with the MAC Broncos, according to

Smiley picked Western Michigan over multiple offers from BCS Conference schools including Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. Idaho and Troy were among the other programs to offer.

The 5-foot-9, 155-pound talent registered a 4.64 40-yard dash, 4.31 20-yard shuttle and 28-inch vertical at this January's Under Armour All-American Combine.

Tales From the Road: Georgia QBs 

April, 17, 2013
Tales From the Road spotlights players who stand out to RecruitingNation writers at camps, combines and various events. Here is a look at a few Georgia quarterbacks who recently performed at a high level:

DeShaun Watson
Tom Hauck for Student SportsDeshaun Watson earned an Elite 11 Finals invite on the spot at the Atlanta regional.
QB Deshaun Watson
Vital stats: 2014 / Gainesville (Ga.) High School / 6-foot-3, 186 pounds

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QB Harris determined to reach Elite 11 

April, 15, 2013
BUFORD, Ga. -- ESPN Watch List quarterback Tyler Harris (Blackshear, Ga./Pierce County) competed in the Elite 11 Atlanta regional on Saturday, showing his trademark velocity despite the windy conditions. Toward the end of the camp he was placed in the second group, but after hitting the mark on some tough throws, Harris was promoted to the first group, which contained the day’s top performers.

Despite outperforming more than 50 other quarterbacks and making the final group, Harris will not rest until he picks up an invitation to the Elite 11 competition.

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Coveted OLB names a top five 

March, 14, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. -- Outside linebacker Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby) isn’t exactly sure of how many offers he has. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior has not counted them. Once he had received over 30 offers to the top programs in the nation, there really seemed no point in doing so. Pugh is more concerned about the five that he has on top.

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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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Troy nabs offensive weapon from UAB 

January, 29, 2013
5-foot-10, 170-pound running back Julius McCall (Chelsea, Ala./Chelsea) has flipped his committed from the Blazers to the Trojans, multiple sources report. He originally picked UAB in July.

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Vandy adds versatile athlete to class 

January, 29, 2013
On a night in which Vanderbilt lost a commitment from three-star running back Johnathan Ford, the Commodores added a commitment from another athlete in the state of Alabama.

After picking up an offer from Vandy over the weekend, C.J. Duncan (Montgomery, Ala./St. James) turned around and gave a verbal pledge to the Commodores on Monday night. He also had offers from Arkansas State, Southern Miss and Troy.

“First of all, it’s in the city of Nashville,” Duncan said. “There’s nothing like it. More than that, I had a really good vibe with the coaching staff and the players when I hung out with them.

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Dual-threat quarterback Jalen Harris (Dothan, Ala./Northview) was waiting on a scholarship offer from a school that seems to fit his game perfectly.

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