NCF On The Trail: Christian Kirk

Auburn hasn’t been given too much of a chance to land coveted receiver Christian Kirk, but the Tigers’ chances are better than most think. Plus, Michigan lost a key defensive recruit, and don’t be surprised if more are to follow.

ASU, UCLA battle on field, on the trail 

September, 24, 2014
Sep 24
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Arizona State head coach Todd Graham and the Sun Devils are doing everything they can to ensure a significant home field advantage on Thursday night when the UCLA Bruins come to town. They should, based on the past several years when it comes to recruiting, it’s the Bruins who have made themselves right at home in the Grand Canyon State.

You have to go all the way back to the 2008 class to find a year in which the Sun Devils signed the state’s top prospect out of high school. UCLA landed the top Arizona recruit in the 2013 class and comes to the desert this year featuring an offensive backfield comprised of quarterback Brett Hundley and running back Paul Perkins -- two former Arizona prep standouts who made the decision to leave the state.

Just as Graham is leading the charge for Arizona State fans to “Blackout the Bruins” on Thursday night, he’s made a conscientious effort to block them -- and any other out-of-state program -- out on the Arizona recruiting trail as well.


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Early Offer: B1G's losses will hurt 

September, 7, 2014
Sep 7
10:23
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: Ohio State and Michigan State likely won’t see any effects of their defeat’s this weekend, but two Big Ten recruiting coordinators believe others like Michigan, Purdue and Northwestern could be hurt by the non-conference losses. Plus, USC should be able to gain some momentum against Stanford after beating the Cardinal. We also continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
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There were several key SEC games over the weekend and plenty of recruiting news to go along with them. From Texas A&M’s impressive victory over South Carolina to Georgia’s dominating second half performance against Clemson, recruits from all over the country had a chance to finally see teams they are considering in action. Here is a closer look at some of the top recruiting news around the SEC.

Texas A&M catches the attention of top recruits

Even though Texas A&M has put together a tremendous recruiting class this year, many expected it to be a down year on the field for the Aggies. After all A&M lost three first-round draft picks including Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Much to the delight of the Aggie faithful, Texas A&M dominated SEC East opponent South Carolina last Thursday evening.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: Not only was Monday the beginning of the contact period for 2015 recruits, it also marked the first time coaches could contact 2016 prospects on social media, and schools like Arizona wasted little time reaching out. Plus, David Ash’s injury at Texas shows why Zach Gentry might be the most important prospect in the country for a program, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today's offerings: Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart is closing ranks and instead of focusing on the more than 50 schools that have offered him scholarships, he's zeroing in on four schools leading up to his late September decision. Plus, Oregon fans can rest a little easier knowing the Ducks' star running back recruit didn't suffer major damage in his first game of the season, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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Nearly 90 recruits -- including 10 ESPN 300 prospects -- made commitments to the Pac-12 since the start of June, as the conference recruiting race heated up alongside the weather this summer. Not surpisingly, even with the boon over the past two and a half months, the Pac-12 still lags behind other conferences when it comes to sheer commitment numbers. Many Pac-12 programs have become content to wait until the season, or after the season, to put an emphasis on official visits and commitments. At this point, 35 programs hold commitments from 16 or more recruits, and only one of those -- Arizona -- resides in the Pac-12.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Opening presented by Nike Football took place July 7-10 at Nike World Headquarters, with 162 of the nation's top high school football prospects competing. With four days of dynamic training, coaching and competition, The Opening was the perfect chance for recruits in the Class of 2015 to make big jumps and shine on the national stage.

As expected, a number of prospects stood out among the best of the best. Here are the five recruits who helped their stock the most during The Opening.


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Nearly a year after getting officially offered by Texas A&M, ESPN 300 quarterback Kyler Murray sent Aggies everywhere into a frenzy when he ended much anticipation and gave the Aggies his pledge last week.

[+] EnlargeKyler Murray
Max Olson/ESPNKyler Murray's commitment could have sparked what could be a big 2015 class for Texas A&M.
If the events that followed are any indication, it will have been well worth the wait for the Aggies, who last week turned in a huge recruiting week.

Not only did they land Murray, the nation's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback and the second five-star prospect in the Texas A&M class, but it was followed the next day with a pledge from ESPN 300 receiver Kemah Siverand, a four-star player who had several other attractive options, including LSU, Ohio State and Texas just to name a few.

Murray's pledge could begin a domino effect that leads to the Aggies continuing to pick up steam in the form of commitments from other elite prospects.

ESPN 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge and Cedar Hill (Texas) High teammate outside linebacker Richard Moore both indicated just hours after Murray's pledge that they'll announce their commitments on July 1. Texas A&M is in a good position to land both, so that will be worth keeping an eye on.

Five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack, who had planned summer visits to Alabama and LSU, canceled those plans after Murray's pledge. The longtime Texas A&M commitment also showed up on Twitter in a maroon shirt with the hashtag "#WRTS", which Aggies have been using since the Murray pledge (the acronym stands for "We run this state").

Other ESPN 300 recruits, like linebacker Malik Jefferson and receiver Christian Kirk, no doubt took notice of Murray's pledge. Both have myriad elite options, and neither is likely to end the recruiting process soon. Having someone like Murray on board -- who is widely respected by his peers after winning two state championships at the highest classification of Texas high school football -- certainly can't hurt Texas A&M's chances.

But it's more than just about Murray's pledge for Texas A&M. In a grander scheme, the Aggies continue to recruit at a high level under coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff. The Aggies are now No. 2 in the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings, behind only Alabama. The Aggies are on pace for their second consecutive top-five recruiting class and third consecutive top-10 recruiting class.

While recruiting is often an inexact science, if a program consistently recruits at a high level and stockpiles talent, it seems to be only a matter of time until it leads to on-field results, and the Aggies have already gotten off to a solid 20-6 start in their first two SEC seasons.

There's still a long way to go until national signing day arrives for the 2015 class and much can change, but right now, the Aggies are sitting pretty and doing a solid job of keeping pace with their SEC brethren on the recruiting trail.
When recruiting in the SEC, schools do everything they can to remind prospects of major victories over rivals on the field. At Auburn, the Tigers are literally reminding prospects of their Kick Six victory over Alabama “on the field.”

In preparation for the Tigers’ annual elite recruiting weekend known as “Big Cat Weekend,” the Auburn grounds crew painted an orange circle on the Jordan-Hare Stadium turf where Chris Davis fielded the Crimson Tide’s missed field goal in the end zone with one second left. The crew took it another step further and tracked Davis’ path from one end zone to another for the game-winning touchdown against the Tide.



“We can show the recruits this is where history was made, and you can also be a part of history too if you come here,” an Auburn assistant said.

The Tigers expect to host 25 to 30 of their biggest 2015 and 2016 targets this weekend, including ESPN 300 prospects like quarterback/athlete Torrance Gibson, linebacker Jeffery Holland and receiver Christian Kirk.

Tale of the tape: UCLA vs. USC 

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
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There have been some significant pendulum swings in the rivalry between UCLA and USC since 1991.

That was the year in which the Bruins embarked on an eight-game winning streak against USC, which was countered by the Trojans winning 12 of the next 13 meetings -- though two were later vacated because of NCAA sanctions. Now, UCLA and head coach Jim Mora are riding high after two wins in a row in the rivalry, and things have gotten very interesting on the recruiting trail.


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Meet No. 4 WR Christian Kirk 

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
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Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

Few high schools in the country could lose a player like D.J. Foster and have the excitement about the future not take a dip. In his senior season at Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Foster broke the state record by scoring 60 touchdowns -- one defensively -- as he rushed for more than 3,000 yards for the Sabercats on their way to back-to-back state titles.


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USC commit Ricky Town is labeled as a key building block for new head coach Steve Sarkisian.

However, Town would like to be known as an active builder, too.


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Highlights from the L.A. NFTC 

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
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REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- A new season of the Nike Football Training Camp circuit got kicked off this past weekend in Los Angeles with a strong showing. It was a large turnout and had some good prospects, including several in the ESPN Junior 300. It is a strong year for quarterbacks out West, and that was on display at Redondo Union High School. The wide receivers and linemen also featured a good deal of talent. Here are the Recruiting Nation NFTC Awards, highlighting the top performers.


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REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Thirty athletes from the West region in the ESPN Junior 300 met at Redondo Union (Calif.) High School on Sunday morning for the first Nike Football Training Camp of the spring. With hundreds of recruits in attendance, it wasn't surprising that many of the top prospects coming into the event stood out.


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