NCF On The Trail: Cedric Collins

Commitment that works both ways

February, 7, 2014
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Kevin Shorter donned a burnt orange Texas hat and black T-shirt, gathered his big family in the Newton High School library and enjoyed a day he'll never forget.

For Cedric Collins, it was a stylish look as always. A large, checkered bow tie and white dress shirt topped with a navy collar sweater and a white Texas A&M ball cap. Anyone who's spent time with the cornerback from Dallas' Skyline High School will tell you he dresses to the nines, as he did to celebrate signing day.

The two high school seniors are going different places, yet what they've signed up for appears all too similar.

The letters of intent that Shorter and Collins signed and faxed on Wednesday typically signify a binding promise for a future. For these two recruits, there can be no guarantee.

They've never met, but they now have plenty in common. Shorter and Collins, once coveted and touted recruits, have both been told that due to spinal cord conditions, they'll never play football again.

This is the story of how the game they love was taken away from them, though the better tale might be what comes next.

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Big 12 ESPN 300 analysis 

October, 29, 2013
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With the release of the latest ESPN 300, some players saw jumps while others took slight falls. And then there were some, such as one particular Houston wide receiver still looking to make a name for himself as a varsity football player, who saw their rankings skyrocket.

Here’s an update on some of the highs and lows of players either committed to, targeted by or living near Big 12 programs:

SEC ESPN 300 analysis 

October, 29, 2013
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Several SEC targets and commits made big moves in the updated ESPN 300 rankings. Georgia had two commits make big jumps, while Tennessee didn't fare as well. Could the SEC make a huge splash in the top 10 of the rankings? Here's a closer look at what the new ESPN 300 means in the SEC.

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Best SEC recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

It's no secret that Southeastern Conference has been the top conference in the country as far as recruiting over the last several years. The league currently has six teams ranked in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings. Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters around the ultra-competitive conference.

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ESPN 300 cornerback Cedric Collins (Dallas/Skyline) has been out of the spotlight in previous months. On purpose.

Collins committed to Texas A&M almost 11 months ago. The four-star cornerback has put his focus more on working to improve and less on being in the news. He’s up early every morning putting in hours on the track, in the weight room and on the football field. Agility drills are commonplace with every workout.


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Three-star safety Derrick Dixon (Dallas/Skyline) has known for a while where he wanted to play college football. To keep a fair, unbiased mentality, he chose to keep his recruiting process open.

Dixon felt Wednesday afternoon was the perfect time to go public with his college plans, and the 5-foot-9, 187-pound safety announced via social media that he was verbally committing to Texas Tech.

When asked which other schools were in the running, Dixon simply replied, “Nobody.”


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If you want evidence as to why Texas A&M has one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, look no further than the latest ESPN 300.

Last season, the Aggies -- who had college football's No. 8 recruiting class -- hauled in 10 players in the 2013 ESPN 300.


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McKINNEY, Texas -- The 2013 Nike Football Festival made a stop in north Texas, and 24 teams from the Dallas metroplex and east Texas showed their skills in 7-on-7 competition and individual skills challenges at Craig Ranch and the Michael Johnson Performance Center. Roughly 400 athletes were in attendance, some considered major FBS recruits.

Here is what we learned after the event:

2015 QB Murray wins ... twice

That sigh of relief you heard in McKinney? It’s still to be determined if it was from the Allen faithful or the Texas A&M faithful.

Saturday afternoon, Allen won the event's 7-on-7 tournament, and 2015 quarterback Kyler Murray looked phenomenal in competition. He made the same kind of plays in the air that allowed him to lead Allen to the Texas Class 5A Division-I state championship in December. In short, Murray was outstanding.

Shortly after, the 5-foot-11, 166-pound quarterback picked up the much-anticipated offer that made Aggies fans gush. Murray, the son of former Aggies quarterback Kevin Murray, finally got an offer from Texas A&M to join offers from Ohio State, Clemson, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Arizona State.

Life after Texas commit looks promising


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Texas A&M: 2014 prospects to watch 

February, 7, 2013
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With Texas A&M's 2013 recruiting class in the books, we turn the page and take a glance at the 2014 class. The Aggies already have seven commitments in the class. Let's take a closer look at some of those players:


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Aggies add 2014 RB Shaun Nixon 

November, 29, 2012
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Shaun NixonMiller Safrit/ESPN.comESPN Watch List tailback Shaun Nixon is Texas A&M's fourth commitment of the Class of 2014.
Texas A&M's momentum in the 2014 recruiting class continues to build.

The Aggies made their fourth addition to the class on Thursday morning, landing ESPN Watch List running back Shaun Nixon of Austin (Texas) Lake Travis. Nixon confirmed the news to RecruitingNation via text message.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back had five offers in total, with the others coming from Baylor, Clemson, SMU and Texas Tech. He was also receiving interest from TCU, Oklahoma, Alabama and Texas.

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Aggies add Watch List ATH Nick Harvey 

November, 26, 2012
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Texas A&M landed its third commitment of the 2014 class on Monday morning and it's a significant one.

Nick Harvey
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comNick Harvey is Texas A&M's third commitment for the Class of 2014.
The Aggies received a commitment from 2014 ESPN Watch List athlete Nick Harvey of Lancaster (Texas) High School. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect announced the news on his Twitter page on Monday morning, posting "JUST COMMITTED TO TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY!" Harvey also confirmed the commitment to GigEmNation via text message.

In addition to Texas A&M, the defensive back holds offers from Arkansas, Baylor, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia.

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SEC success opening doors for Aggies 

November, 21, 2012
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There's one thing that's clear about Texas A&M's quick success in its first Southeastern Conference season. It has gotten the attention of recruits.

The Aggies already had 28 commitments before the season started but have added three 2013 commitments plus a 2014 commitment.

[+] EnlargeKenny Flowers
Courtesy of Hutchinson C.C.Juco linebacker Kenny Flowers is Texas A&M's only commitment since the season began.
Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite safety Kameron Miles, a 2013 prospect who on Wednesday decommitted from Tennessee and switched his commitment from Texas A&M that night, was the first pledge the Aggies have landed since their landmark victory over then-No. 1 Alabama. Four days later, they added City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Jeremiah Stuckey.

Even before that win, he was already having positive feelings about the Aggies, who offered him a little more than a week ago, because of their success. But the Alabama win certainly sent a message about how competitive the Aggies are in their first year in the league and will be in the future.

"I've been watching them since their close game against LSU and now beating Alabama," Miles said after committing to the Aggies. "For a school to be that successful in their first year in the SEC, that's an accomplishment. That really impressed me."

The Aggies have picked up two other commitments since the season began -- Stuckey and Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College linebacker Kenny Flowers who committed on Nov. 2. And they've remained in the hunt for several of their top remaining targets, including ESPN 150 members Ricky Seals-Jones, Justin Manning, Mike Mitchell and Isaac Savaiinaea. While the Aggies have made their impressions on each of those young men when they visited College Station, Texas, there's no doubt the on-field success has only helped their recruiting efforts.

"They're probably going to win Texas now," said Seals-Jones' father, Chester Jones, of the Aggies' momentum. "In the recruiting wars in the next four-to-five years, they'll probably be the top recruiting college in the state of Texas."


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Oklahoma State commit Ra’Shaad Samples (Dallas/Skyline) is considered one of the top wide receivers in Texas. Last Friday was a chance for fans to see Samples’ versatility as he lined up as a defensive back in Skyline’s 56-24 win against Dallas Jesuit.

As a receiver, Samples caught three passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns, one of those a 90-yard play. As a defender, however, Samples was asked to be an extra defensive back in an effort to slow down Jesuit’s passing offense. Samples was on watch when 2014 Texas A&M commit and ESPN Watch List cornerback Cedric Collins left the game because of illness, and he was given the task to defend Jesuit’s Jake Oliver, an ESPN 300 receiver and Texas commit.

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The state of Texas has been and will continue to be the primary recruiting base for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and his coaching staff. The Lone Star State oozes talent on a year-in, year-out basis and the Aggies are certainly tapping into that well.

But with their entrance into the Southeastern Conference, the Aggies have been able to expand their recruiting footprint, another thing that Sumlin wanted to see. A national presence is something he wants. So that's why it should come as no surprise that the Aggies have offered 13 out-of-state prospects that are on the ESPN Watch List.


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Texas traditionally holds a large place in the initial ESPN player rankings, and the 2014 class proves to be no different. Of the athletes represented on the ESPN Watch List, 39 are from the Lone Star State.


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