NCF On The Trail: Bryson Allen-Williams

Signing day winners and losers

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
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The ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off once again. And with that, the Class of 2014 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners but also some losers on national signing day. Here is a look at a few schools that excelled -- and a couple others that didn't.

THE WINNERS

LSU: The Tigers began the day at No. 3 in the RecruitingNation class rankings and ended with 2014's No. 2 class. The reason is simple: Les Miles and staff got the prospect they had to have in the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian). The Tigers lost both Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson to the NFL, making defensive tackle a key position of need, and they inked a pair of talented tackles in ESPN 300 Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnant Catholic) and four-star Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren). Under the radar but significant is three-star defensive end Sione Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller), who flipped from Texas to LSU. Teuhema’s younger brother Maea Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller) is the No. 38 junior in the ESPN Junior 300 and has pledged to LSU as well. Holding off Auburn and UCLA to keep ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine) was another win on Wednesday.

Florida State: The Seminoles entered signing day with the No. 4-ranked class but were poised to close with a vengeance, and Jimbo Fisher and staff did just that. While the Seminoles moved up only one spot to No. 3, the hits on Wednesday are significant. Leading the way was No. 2-ranked wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). The Noles weren’t done at receiver either, as Fisher and staff flipped Virginia Tech commit and No. 117 overall Ja'Von Harrison (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen). No. 158 Roderick Johnson (Saint Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and No. 253 Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) were key gets at offensive tackle and defensive tackle, respectively. Three-star offensive tackle Derrick Kelly Jr. (Quincy, Fla./East Gadsden) was another key win over rival Florida.

USC: The Trojans stood to have a big signing day, and Steve Sarkisian and staff certainly delivered. Not only did USC win the hotly contested battle for five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), but the Trojans won the race for ESPN 300 No. 24 Juju Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and signed No. 67 overall Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) as expected. More than the names and rankings, Wednesday was a huge perception win for the Trojans and Sarkisian. USC jumped to No. 14 from No. 24 in the RecruitingNation class rankings.

Georgia: The Bulldogs didn’t have a big day in terms of number of commits, but quality ruled the day. Mark Richt and staff signed the player they had to have in five-star outside linebacker/defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). While Carter’s announcement was the big one Wednesday afternoon, the morning started off with a bang for Georgia with the signing of No. 286 overall Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), who was first offered on Monday and never even visited Athens. Those two big signings kept the Bulldogs in the top 10 at No. 9.

South Carolina: One of the big movers in the class rankings on Wednesday was the Gamecocks. Not only did South Carolina make a jump from No. 27 to No. 19 throughout the day, but the Gamecocks also addressed major areas of need. Steve Spurrier and staff had key areas of need at cornerback and along the defensive front, and they delivered by picking up a pair of ESPN 300 corners in No. 87 overall Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation) and No. 120 Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), as well as flipping ESPN 300 defensive tackle Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) from Florida State and three-star defensive end Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) from Nebraska. Fighting off the late January runs by Alabama and Georgia for ESPN 300 linebacker commit Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) has to be included in the huge wins in recent days.

Kentucky: Sure, Kentucky plucked only one key target on Wednesday in three-star former Vanderbilt and Penn State defensive end commit Lloyd Tubman (Louisville, Ky./Seneca), but it was still a huge day at the finish line for the Wildcats. The 2014 class marks the first time in the nine years that ESPN has ranked recruiting classes that the Wildcats have finished with a top 25 class, and that includes a big win over Alabama for in-state four-star defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin). Signing six defensive backs fills a huge need as well.

Michigan State: The Spartans had a near dream season on the field, and followed it up by closing strong in recruiting. Not only did Michigan State jump nine spots in the class rankings from No. 38 to No. 29 on Wednesday, but it did so while filling a big need on the defensive front with big-time talent. ESPN 300 defensive end Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) was a big win over Ohio State, Florida State and Michigan, while flipping four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) from Wisconsin earlier in the week was another huge win for the Spartans.

Pac-12: The conference as a whole was quite possibly the big winner on signing day. Of the 13 live commitments on ESPNU throughout the morning and afternoon, seven committed and signed with Pac-12 programs. The winner within the Pac-12 was USC, but Stanford also enjoyed a big day with No. 25 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and three-star corner Terrence Alexander (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian).

THE LOSERS

UCLA: Along with USC and South Carolina, the UCLA Bruins came into today with the most to gain. While Jim Mora and staff scored with four-star linebacker Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), it was mostly misses throughout the day. Jackson and Smith picked crosstown rival USC, while Dupre opted for home-state LSU. At defensive end, the Bruins missed out twice on Wednesday with Thomas selecting Stanford and Godchaux sticking with LSU. And finally, No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) stayed in state by picking Alabama over Auburn.

Ole Miss: It’s difficult to place the Rebels' No. 17 class with the losers on signing day, but that was the case in Oxford, Miss. Not only did Ole Miss drop a spot in the class rankings, but it also came up dry with explosive ESPN 300 receiver and return man Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), after Hugh Freeze and staff worked the Under Armour All-America Game standout all the way up until Wednesday morning before McKenzie announced for Georgia. While Dupre was a long shot, he was yet another prospect who went elsewhere. The Rebels also lost out on Alexander, who selected Stanford over Notre Dame. The bright spot for the Rebels on Wednesday was signing former Notre Dame transfer and No. 22 in the ESPN JC 50, Tee Shepard

Bold predictions: SEC 

February, 4, 2014
Feb 4
10:30
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With less than 24 hours remaining until the craziness that is national signing day, most recruiting classes are already filled up. There are, however, some key questions that need to be answered. Here’s a look at five bold predictions heading into national signing day.

1. Alabama will lose a commit

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3
8:00
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video
This was the final weekend before national signing day, and of course, there was a ton of news around the SEC. Vanderbilt added a slew of commitments, as did Alabama and Texas A&M. There were also some key visits and a decommitment from an SEC West school. Here’s a closer look at the latest recruiting news around the SEC.

Biggest commitments: After suffering 11 decommitments after coach James Franklin left for Penn State, Vanderbilt was in desperate need of a big recruiting weekend, and it finally got it.


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Early Offer: Future is now 

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3
5:30
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Monday's offerings: With signing day two days away, most schools are already targeting 2015 recruits and having junior days, but some coaches question whether these early commits stick in the long run; and who would have thought we would see Mark Richt posing for selfies with recruits?

Juniors take center stage


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 27, 2014
Jan 27
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Less than two weeks remain until national signing day, and this was the second-to-last official visit weekend before Feb. 5. There were a couple of big decommitments, a few commitments and several key official visits. Here’s a closer look at all the latest recruiting news around the SEC.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 20, 2014
Jan 20
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The dead period is over, and this was the first of three official visit weekends remaining before national signing day on Feb. 5. Several top prospects visited SEC schools, there were some commits, and there will be a few announcements this week. Here’s a closer look at the latest recruiting news from around the SEC:

Biggest commits: Georgia is already feeling the effects of new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on the recruiting trail. The Bulldogs were able to land two ESPN Junior 300 commitments, Rico McGraw (Nashville, Tenn./The Ensworth School) and Terry Godwin (Hogansville, Ga./Callaway), over the weekend.


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Top SEC recruiting rivalries 

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
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From year-to-year the Southeastern Conference is full of recruiting battles. This year it appears that Alabama and LSU could have some of the best recruiting battles we've seen in a while. Here's a closer look at the five top recruiting rivalries in the SEC.


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The List: Most important SEC recruits 

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
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Whether it's on-field production or friendships that recruits develop with other recruits, some prospects just have a desire to play with other top prospects. Here's a closer look at the most important committed player for each SEC school.

Alabama

ATH Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy)
6-foot-2, 215 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 20
The 20th-ranked player in the country has been committed to the Crimson Tide for nearly a year and is the highest-ranked Alabama commit. With his size and athleticism, Scarbrough could play either running back or linebacker. Alabama is targeting at least three players in the ESPN 300 top 10, including RB Leonard Fournette, OL Cameron Robinson and CB Marlon Humphrey, and Scarbrough is the type of star player with whom other big-name recruits want to play.


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LB Allen-Williams makes his choice

April, 16, 2013
4/16/13
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videoTwo days after winning linebacker MVP and earning an invite to The Opening, ESPN Watch List prospect Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove), made a commitment.

His mother, Darnisha Allen-Jackson, confirmed the news to ESPN.

“Bryson has officially committed to South Carolina,” Allen-Jackson said. “It is finally over. I hope and pray that the coaches kind of back off a little bit.”

With the spring evaluation period starting on Monday, Allen-Williams and his family decided it was time to go ahead and give the Ole Ball Coach some good news.

“He woke up this morning and talked to Coach [Steve] Spurrier,” Allen-Jackson said. “It was the first day of the contact period and he just felt like today was a good day to commit to be a Gamecock.”

With recruiting often continuing after verbal commitments are made, Allen-Jackson wanted to make sure her son was sure with his choice.

“I did ask him four or five times in different ways, ‘Are you sure? Are you positive? Is this what you really want to do?’ and he said, ‘Mom, I am ready to go,’” Allen-Jackson said. “I think he is a peace with his decision. He seems to be happy. He knew what he wanted and he likes the opportunity he is going to have with the Gamecocks and the Gamecock nation.”

Allen-Williams iterated the same after competing at the Atlanta NFTC Saturday.

“It feels like a family at South Carolina,” Allen-Williams said. “They made me a priority for them. I am ready to help recruit other good players,” Allen-Williams said. “Hopefully I can help bring in guys like Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and Cortez McDowell (Locust Grove, Ga./Locust Grove).”

South Carolina got involved with Allen-Williams very early and the coaching staff was able to develop a connection with the talented linebacker before many other schools had offered. But his mother says the Gamecocks gained the advantage by doing more than just getting there first.

“It was not about who offered first or when another school offered,” Allen-Jackson said. “It was about the relationship he had with Coach (Lorenzo) Ward and what they wanted to do with him on the field.”

Allen-Williams chose the Gamecocks over Alabama and Georgia among dozens of other offers. He has been very productive over the last two years, racking up 163 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 18 sacks, one interception, three fumbles forced and three fumbles caused during his junior and sophomore seasons. His versatility will be put to use in Columbia, S.C.

“They plan to use me as a will linebacker on first and second downs playing in space and downhill versus the run and off the edge on third down,” Allen-Williams said.

Now the attention will turn to the younger brother of Allen-Williams, 2016 lineman Antwuan Jackson Jr., and whether the two will play together for the Gamecocks.

“For Antwuan, he is a freshman and has a ways to go,” Allen-Jackson said. “I have heard them talk about playing together but that does not mean Antwuan is committing anytime soon. But maybe when I go home and talk to my husband about it, that might change too. But as of right now, they are just getting Bryson.”

Allen-Williams joins inside linebacker Joe Blue (Dillon, S.C./Dillon) to give South Carolina two commitments for the 2014 class.

DawgNation reporter Radi Nabulsi contributed to this report.

RN Top 10: Atlanta NFTC 

April, 15, 2013
4/15/13
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The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect what their overall prospect ranking will be when the 2014 rankings are unveiled this spring.

BUFORD, Ga. – With 276 players taking part in the Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday, there were dozens of prospects in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes who had already been offered by FBS programs. Six of the participants were awarded invitations to the The Opening later the summer.

10. Terronne Prescod
Lithonia (Ga.) Columbia |OG|6-foot-4, 320 pounds


The offensive linemen at the Atlanta NFTC were not an overly impressive group, but Prescod stood out, not just because of his hairstyle. He locked up and drove back multiple defensive tackles and showed an impressive base.

Prescod is approaching 10 offers, and has scholarship opportunities with Missouri, Ole Miss and Virginia. At the moment, Prescod says Missouri is standing out. Watch out for Auburn if they offer, as they seem to be the school he feels most at home with right now.

Craig Haubert’s take: “Prescod did a nice job in the offensive line group that was not among the strongest at the NFTC this year. He showed good bend and strong punch and he has outstanding size, both in height and bulk.”


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Lessons Learned: Atlanta NFTC 

April, 13, 2013
4/13/13
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BUFORD, Ga. -- The Southeast, in particular Georgia, prides itself on its football talent. When the 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour made a stop outside of Atlanta on Saturday, the recruits who participated did not disappoint. After a competitive Saturday, dominated for the most part by the defensive line, six players earned invitations to The Opening.

Recruiting Nation’s Greg Ostendorf attended the camp. Here’s what he learned:

Headed to Oregon

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Five stories to watch: Atlanta NFTC 

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
10:14
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Stop six of 13 for the NFTC will take place Saturday at Buford (Ga.) High School in the Northwest sector of metropolitan Atlanta, and this event will not be short on star power. More than 300 prospects representing 20 states are expected to come out and compete, over 90 of which claim offers from FBS programs. Here are five storylines to watch at the Atlanta NFTC.

Will Lorenzo Carter emerge as the top pass-rusher in the Southeast?

Based on his junior season alone, Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) put his name is on the map as one of the best in the country off the edge. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound defensive end helped lead Norcross to its first state championship last fall, racking up 136 tackles, 45 tackles for losses and 18 sacks in Georgia’s highest classification. More than 30 programs have offered a scholarship to Carter, and he plans to showcase just why he is so coveted this weekend.


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ESPN Watch List LB recaps LA trip 

April, 11, 2013
4/11/13
8:28
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After going on a tour of some nearby schools in recent months, ESPN Watch List outside linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) used some free time this week to visit the Los Angeles schools.

And one stood out above the other.

“UCLA is definitely going to be in my top 10. I loved it there,” Allen-Williams said. “At USC, I didn’t really get that feel that I got at UCLA.”

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Schools still after Dawgs commitment 

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
2:16
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SUWANEE, Ga. -- ESPN Watch List prospect Nick Glass (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) has been committed to the University of Georgia for almost a year now, yet schools from coast to coast are hot on the Bulldogs’ heels trying to reel in the 6-foot-2, 203-pound safety.


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Allen-Williams visits Bama, talks top three 

March, 11, 2013
3/11/13
8:16
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Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) started his weekend with a visit to the University of Alabama on Saturday. He finished it as the MVP of the linebackers at the VTO Sports Prep 100 camp in Atlanta on Sunday.

The visit itself marked his first time in Tuscaloosa since the ESPN Watch List linebacker earned a scholarship offer at the Crimson Tide’s first junior day.

Bryson Allen-Williams
Radi Nabulsi/ESPNWatch List linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams has the potential to play both inside and outside linebacker in college.
“It went great,” Allen-Williams said. “I got to sit down and talk to Coach [Kirby] Smart and Coach [Nick] Saban. I personally spent a lot of one-on-one time with the coaches. That’s something I really enjoyed about it.

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