NCF On The Trail: UCF Knights

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: After a few weeks to recover from national signing day, it’s always interesting to analyze the data to get a better understanding of what really happened. To me, there’s no better test of a program’s recruiting momentum than to see how they climbed from one class to another. And programs like Boston College, NC State and Stanford are definitely trending upward.

New to the mix
Boston College, Syracuse and Western Michigan were the three schools you could make a case climbed the most from the 2013 to 2014 recruiting class, especially the Eagles. None of the three programs were ranked in the 2013 top 75, but Boston College climbed all the way to No. 42 overall in 2014. The Eagles' class was headlined by former Rutgers commit and ESPN 300 prospect Jonathan Hilliman, who is expected to have an instant impact at running back. Syracuse (60) and Western Michigan’s (68) entrance into the rankings weren't as high as the Eagles’ but it’s a step in the right direction if you’re a fan of both programs. There are many, including me, that believe the Broncos signed the best class ever in the MAC. Insider

Top-5 climbers


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UCF flips Vanderbilt DB commit 

January, 28, 2014
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After a recent string of negative recruiting news, UCF finally received some good news on Tuesday night.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Parts of the country that are normally known for their beaches and warm winters are going to get hit by a winter storm Tuesday, which could create for some hassles on the recruiting trail; sometimes it’s best to let coaches know you plan on looking around; and Nebraska fans have complained loudly about some of their recruiting misses, but the Huskers are on a nice roll.


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Hours after top commit Poona Ford decommitted from Louisville, the Cardinals lost another 2014 pledge along the defensive line.

Three-star defensive tackle Chris Nelson (Lakeland, Fla./Victory Christian) is reopening his recruitment, he told ESPN.com in a text message Friday.


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You won’t find UCF in the top 40 of the class rankings, but the Knights currently rank at No. 6 in the American Athletic Conference rankings. After the Knights’ 52-42 victory over Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, here’s a look at how UCF has done on the recruiting trail and what it will need to do moving forward to capitalize on its BCS win.


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American recruiting class rankings 

October, 16, 2013
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings and its conference class rankings.

The American is led by a pair of teams on their way out of the league. Rutgers, who will move to the Big Ten, leads the conference with a class that is headlined by four in-state ESPN 300 prospects. Louisville, who will leave for the ACC, is close behind the Scarlet Knights in both the top 40 and AAC ranks. The USF Bulls, who recently picked up three-star ATH Kendall Sawyer, are at No. 3.

1. Rutgers, 24 commits: The Scarlet Knights sit at No. 18 in the class rankings with a class that includes four ESPN 300 prospects. Rutgers is loading up at the skill positions with wide receivers No. 113 overall Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) and No. 136 Adonis Jennings (Erial, N.J./Timber Creek Regional), along with running back and No. 286 Jonathan Hilliman (Jersey City, N.J./Saint Peter's Prep). Three-star playmaker Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) and wide Kendrick Edwards (Miami/Norland) are two out of the Sunshine State the Scarlet Knights covet.


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Tall receiver Custis picks Syracuse

September, 9, 2013
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Jamal Custis (Philadelphia/Neumann-Goretti), a 6-foot-5, 210-pound wide receiver, committed to sign with Syracuse, according to multiple reports.

Custis originally announced his decision on Twitter:



Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and UCF also extended scholarship offers to the three-star prospect. Boston College, Indiana, Maryland and West Virginia showed interest.

Syracuse has 12 players on board for 2014.

DT Chris Nelson makes the call

August, 8, 2013
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Highly-coveted defensive tackle Chris Nelson (Lakeland, Fla./Victory Christian Academy) pledged Wednesday to sign with Louisville, according to multiple reports.

Connecticut, Duke, Florida Atlantic, Iowa, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, South Alabama, South Florida, UCF, Virginia and Wake Forest also offered.

Nelson, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound three-star prospect, registered 150 total tackles and 10 sacks during his junior campaign.

The Cardinals now have 25 verbals in their Top 25 recruiting class.

ESPN 300 DT Poona Ford commits

August, 7, 2013
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Highly-coveted defensive tackle Poona Ford (Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head) pledged to sign with Louisville Tuesday, according to multiple sources.

"I guess I just had a feeling. The feeling you get when you know you're welcome," he told The State. "I went up there for a visit, and they talked to me about coming in my freshman year and playing my very first game at home against Miami."

Ford selected the Cardinals over scholarship offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Boise State, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kansas State, Marshall, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Toledo, UCF and Utah State.

Last fall, the 6-foot, 285-pound four-star terrorized opponents to the tune of 154 total tackles, 44 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

Ford, ranked No. 275 nationally, is now Louisville's highest-rated defensive pledge. The Cardinals have 24 verbals for 2014.

Four-star Lewis commits to Georgia Tech

August, 4, 2013
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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.

Vandy scores ESPN 300 DB Kyle Gibson

August, 2, 2013
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Four-star safety Kyle Gibson (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) committed Thursday to play in the SEC for Vanderbilt, according to multiple reports. The ESPN 300 prospect, ranked No. 165 nationally, is now the highest-rated 2014 pledge for the Commodores.

Boston College, Florida State, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, NC State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, South Florida, Tennessee, UCF, UCLA, West Virginia and Wisconsin also offered the 6-foot, 169-pound defensive back.

Gibson registered 74 tackles and 4 interceptions during his junior campaign.

This spring, he posted an electronically timed 4.65 40-yard dash, 4.27 20-yard shuttle, 33.9-inch vertical, 28.5-foot power throw and 80.4 SPARQ at a Nike event.

Vanderbilt now has 18 players committed and the No. 25 class, according to ESPN RecruitingNation.

S Mike Rogers picks UCF, not done yet

August, 2, 2013
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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
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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.

Weekly Recruiting Roundup

July, 19, 2013
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American Athletic
Cincinnati
Kimoni Fritz DE Ringgold, Va./Dan River
HT: 6-3 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Connecticut
Brice McAllister RB Suffield, Conn./Suffield Academy
HT: 5-11 WT: 190
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Houston
Mason Denley DE Columbus, Texas/Columbus
HT: 6-5 WT: 255
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kaliq Kokuma RB League City, Texas/Clear Creek
HT: 6-0 WT: 180
Position Rank: #58 RB
Stars: 3

South Florida
Juwuan Brown OLB Tampa, Fla./Thomas Jefferson
HT: 6-2 WT: 210
Position Rank: #87 OLB
Stars: 3

UCF
Joey Connors DT Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison
HT: 6-4 WT: 270
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

ACC
Georgia Tech
Michael Preddy DE Charleston, S.C./Porter-Gaud
HT: 6-4 WT: 245
Position Rank: #66 DE
Stars: 3

North Carolina
M.J. Stewart ATH Arlington, Va./Yorktown
HT: 5-11 WT: 191
Position Rank: #67 ATH
Stars: 3

Ty Tomlin ILB Marietta, Ga./Marietta
HT: 6-0 WT: 220
Position Rank: #22 ILB
Stars: 3

Pittsburgh
Marcus Collins ATH Madison, Wis./La Follette
HT: 6-4 WT: 200
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Virginia Tech
Michael Santamaria K Athens, Ga./Athens Academy
HT: 5-10 WT: 165
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Wake Forest
Thomas Dillon CB Houston, Texas/Kinkaid School
HT: 5-11 WT: 173
Position Rank: #61 CB
Stars: 3

Kalin McNeil OLB McLeansville, N.C./Northeast Senior
HT: 6-2 WT: 190
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Isaiah Robinson RB Charlotte, N.C./Independence
HT: 5-10 WT: 223
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Baylor
Jarell Broxton Gaithersburg, Md./Lackawanna College (JC)
HT: 6-5 WT: 328
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Iowa
Terrence Harris DE Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic
HT: 6-2 WT: 250
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Michigan State
Matt Morrissey S Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson
HT: 6-1 WT: 185
Position Rank: #81 S
Stars: 3

FBS Independents
Notre Dame
Corey Holmes WR Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas
HT: 6-2 WT: 176
Position Rank: #8 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#77)

Old Dominion
Christian Byrum S Virginia Beach, Va./Tallwood
HT: 6-0 WT: 195
Position Rank: #75 S
Stars: 3

Pac-12
Oregon
Royce Freeman RB Imperial, Calif./Imperial
HT: 6-0 WT: 227
Position Rank: #11 RB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#154)

Stanford
Harrison Phillips DE Omaha, Neb./Millard West
HT: 6-4 WT: 240
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Lane Veach DE Chandler, Ariz./Perry
HT: 6-5 WT: 220
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

UCLA
Austin Roberts WR Carmel, Ind./Carmel
HT: 6-2 WT: 217
Position Rank: #21 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#166)

Utah
Donovan Isom QB-PP Destrehan, La./Destrahan
HT: 6-4 WT: 245
Position Rank: #34 QB-PP
Stars: 3

Joe Tukuafu TE-Y Salt Lake City, Utah/East
HT: 6-4 WT: 235
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

SEC
Arkansas
Kweishi Brown CB El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont College (JC)
HT: 6-0 WT: 185
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Christopher Murphy CB Marietta, Ga./Lassiter
HT: 5-10 WT: 177
Position Rank: #45 CB
Stars: 3

Auburn
Raashed Kennion DE Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast
HT: 6-6 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Stanton Truitt ATH Monroe, Ga./Monroe Area
HT: 5-10 WT: 182
Position Rank: #23 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#198)

Sean White QB-PP Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School of Nova South
HT: 6-1 WT: 199
Position Rank: #16 QB-PP
Stars: 4

Georgia
Kendall Gant S Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson
HT: 6-3 WT: 184
Position Rank: #32 S
Stars: 3

Dyshon Sims OT Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes
HT: 6-4 WT: 265
Position Rank: #28 OT
Stars: 3

Shakenneth Williams WR Macon, Ga./Rutland
HT: 6-1 WT: 196
Position Rank: #45 WR
Stars: 4

Isaiah Wynn OG Saint Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood Senior
HT: 6-2 WT: 274
Position Rank: #5 OG
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#115)

LSU
Cameron Gamble K Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound
HT: 5-11 WT: 185
Position Rank: #12 K
Stars: 3

Brandon Harris QB-DT Bossier City, La./Parkway
HT: 6-2 WT: 186
Position Rank: #2 QB-DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#48)

Sione Palelei RB Gonzales, La./East Ascension
HT: 5-10 WT: 202
Position Rank: #57 RB
Stars: 3

South Carolina
Al Harris CB Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas
HT: 5-11 WT: 158
Position Rank: #72 CB
Stars: 3

Tennessee
Eric Lauderdale WR Fayetteville, Ga./Saddleback College (JC)
HT: 6-1 WT: 195
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Cortez McDowell S Locust Grove, Ga./Locust Grove
HT: 6-1 WT: 200
Position Rank: #13 S
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#221)

Ray Raulerson OT Tampa, Fla./Plant Senior
HT: 6-5 WT: 271
Position Rank: #87 OT
Stars: 3

Vanderbilt
Brendan Brosnan OT Park Ridge, Ill./Maine Township South
HT: 6-5 WT: 250
Position Rank: #77 OT
Stars: 3

Bailey Grainer OT Galliano, La./South Lafourche
HT: 6-6 WT: 350
Position Rank: #29 OT
Stars: 3

Tre Herndon CB Ooltewah, Tenn./East Hamilton
HT: 6-0 WT: 173
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Trace McSorley ATH Ashburn, Va./Briar Woods
HT: 6-1 WT: 182
Position Rank: #57 ATH
Stars: 3

Conference USA
Florida International
Chett Levay TE-H Tampa, Fla./Sickles
HT: 6-2 WT: 195

Chris Miller OT Orlando, Fla./The First Academy
HT: 6-4 WT: 295

Rice
J.T. Ibe S Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield
HT: 5-11 WT: 167

Mid-American
Eastern Michigan
Ian Eriksen RB Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston
HT: 5-10 WT: 185

Massachusetts
Frank Carter OG Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough
HT: 6-2 WT: 334

Miami (OH)
Kellen Snider OLB Fort White, Fla./Fort White
HT: 6-0 WT: 212

Northern Illinois
Max Scharping OT Green Bay, Wisc./Southwest
HT: 6-5 WT: 260

Ohio
Robbie Walker WR Washington, D.C./Gonzaga College
HT: 5-9 WT: 173

Western Michigan
Zach Novoselsky OT Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson
HT: 6-5 WT: 260

Mountain West
Colorado State
Johnathan Lewis ATH La Porte, Texas/La Porte
HT: 6-0 WT:179

San Jose State
Thai Cottrell WR Oceanside, Calif./Oceanside
HT: 5-7 WT: 165

Sun Belt
Texas State
Stephan Johnson CB The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands College Park
HT: 5-11 WT: 182

Western Kentucky
Keegan Karim CB Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison
HT: 6-0 WT: 182

 

Vanderbilt scores massive OT Granier

July, 15, 2013
7/15/13
8:55
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Bailey Granier (Galliano, La./South Lafourche), a 6-foot-6, 350-pound offensive tackle, committed Sunday to sign with the Vanderbilt Commodores, according to multiple reports.

Alabama, Arizona, Florida State, Houston, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Tulane and UCF also extended scholarship offers to the rising senior.

The huge offensive tackle registered an electronically-timed 5.92 40-yard dash, 5.46 20-yard shuttle, 20.7-inch vertical, 32.5-foot power throw and 63.3 SPARQ rating this spring on the Nike combine circuit.

He's commitment No. 14 for Vanderbilt.

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