NCF On The Trail: 102013-recruit-reaction

Sun Devils pick good time for statement 

October, 20, 2013
While Stanford made the most obvious noise on the field in the Pac-12 this weekend -- topping previously unbeated and No. 9-ranked UCLA, 24-10 -- Arizona State positioned itself to make the biggest statement on the recruiting trail.

The Sun Devils targeted their matchup with the Washington Huskies as the weekend to load up on visitors and that decision paid off handsomely, as Arizona State rolled to a 53-24 win.

Leading the recruiting charge was quarterback commit Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin), who has been as vocal a recruiter for his future program as any prospect in the country.

While one game won't carry as much influence in a recruits' decision as many fans believe, a blowout win such as that one is a great way to begin a weekend of recruiting for a coaching staff.

"It was a great game to have some of the top recruits in the nation in attendance," Wilkins said.

Wilkins certainly did his part in getting recruits to the game, as he helped talk Cal commit and ESPN 300 prospect Jalen Harvey (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) into taking an official visit this weekend. Harvey was joined on an official visit by his teammate, and USC commit, D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito). It was the first official visit for Calhoun and it paid off in a big way for the Sun Devils, as they are now firmly among his top three schools -- alongside UCLA and USC.

"The whole experience was nice, especially with the coaches, and the academic breakdown they did was great," Calhoun said. "Watching the game was nice, being able to see how the team operates with each other."

Calhoun, the nation's No. 226 prospect, said the Arizona State coaches see him stepping in for senior defensive end Junior Onyeali, an undersized defensive end who became a pass rushing force for the Sun Devils.

"They want me to rush the quarterback and take No. 5's position," Calhoun said. "I love it all."

The teammates were joined on official visits by four-star offensive tackle Sam Jones (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge), who tweeted a simple message toward the end of his visit.

It was the second official visit for Jones, who slid the Oregon Ducks toward the top of his list after visiting them in early September. Things could now get interesting for Jones, who holds offers from a majority of the conference.

But from the Sun Devils' perspective, the two biggest recruits in attendance were likely there on unofficial visits, as Arizona State coaches were able to put on a show in front of local ESPN 300 prospects and teammates Casey Tucker and Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton).

Both Tucker and Cunningham are very quiet when it comes to recruiting, as they have chosen to focus on their senior seasons first, but it's easy to notice that both have kept Arizona State among their final few schools. The Sun Devils will push hard for both, and while programs such as Oregon, Stanford and Texas A&M are in the mix, Arizona State will absolutely take advantage of getting those two recruits in front of the kind of scene that unfolded Saturday night.

Apparently the student section noticed Tucker, as the nation's No. 38 player retweeted a message directed at him by an Arizona State fan.

Recruits react to SEC's Saturday results 

October, 20, 2013
Saturday was not a usual day in the SEC.

Missouri, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee all picked up incredible wins. There were several recruits on hand to witness these games.

Here's a look at what some of these recruits thought afterwards.

Ole Miss
No. 3-ranked inside linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) officially visited Ole Miss for its big victory over LSU on Saturday night. The 59th-ranked player in the country came away extremely impressed with what he saw in Oxford, Miss.

"It was a great experience," Garrett said. "It's something special here. It was wild. I have never seen anything like it. The Grove was crazy."

LSU has always been the team to beat for Garrett, but with his positive visit to Ole Miss, the Rebels have certainly improved their chances of landing the four-star linebacker.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Recruits react to Clemson-FSU 

October, 20, 2013
Most coaching staffs hope for just one nationally televised night game a season to wow recruits. Saturday night was Clemson’s second such chance to sway recruits in a prime-time showdown, but the result was not as positive as it was in August.

The Tigers' staff received bad news even before the 51-14 drubbing by Florida State, as five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) canceled his official visit to Clemson for the game.

Instead, he could visit in November. Clemson, along with Alabama and Ohio State, is in McMillan’s top group, and this game was potentially the kind of atmosphere that could continue Clemson’s push toward the top for the nation’s top inside linebacker.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Recruits take in Illinois game 

October, 20, 2013
On the field Illinois didn’t come away with the outcome it had hoped for against Wisconsin, losing 56-32 on Saturday. But with so many top prospects visiting Champaign for the game, the coaching staff had some recruiting victories on Saturday.

There were some big 2014 targets, including running back Madre London (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), who was on his official visit.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider