NCF On The Trail: Damarkus Lodge

DaMarkus Lodge, Justin HunterESPN, USA TODAY SportsDaMarkus Lodge, the No. 7 WR in the ESPN 300, should contribute immediately as a freshman with his size and strong hands.
DaMarkus Lodge, No. 57 in the ESPN 300 and the No. 7-ranked wide receiver prospect, committed to Ole Miss on Wednesday afternoon at Cedar Hill High in Texas. The 2015 Under Armour All-American is a considered a huge win for Ole Miss in the state of Texas, with the two-time class 5A state champion spurning Texas and Texas A&M, where he was once committed.

Commitment impact: For the Rebels, the silky smooth Lodge is another talented receiver to add to a rotation that will feature Laquon Treadwell, Quincy Adeboyejo, Cody Core, Markell Pack and Damore'ea Stringfellow, who sat out this season due to transfer rules. While Lodge has family in the state of Mississippi, having former Cedar Hill teammate Adeboyejo in the program was key for Hugh Freeze and staff in reeling in Lodge.

[+] EnlargeDaMarkus Lodge
ESPNDaMarkus Lodge adds to a deep and talented group of receivers at Ole Miss.
What he brings:

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 27, 2015
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This was one of two remaining weekends for recruits to take visits until national signing day. The weekend was full of news including over 10 commitments in the SEC. Here’s a closer look at some of the top news from around the conference this weekend.


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Best of the visits: SEC

January, 25, 2015
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This is the second to last weekend before signing day and there was a ton of big visitors around the Southeastern Conference. Here is a closer look at some of the top social media posts by prospects who visited SEC schools over the weekend.

Three-star defensive tackle Tyrell Jacobs gave his verbal commitment to Missouri over the weekend. He tweeted out a few photos of himself posing in a Missouri game jersey.

Georgia safety Rashad Roundtree posted a photo of himself and Georgia head coach Mark Richt during his visit to Athens over the weekend.

Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson and ESPN 300 outside linebacker Jeffery Holland took a visit to Ole Miss over the weekend and tweeted out a photo.

ESPN 300 wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge tweeted out a photo of one of the most impressive cakes you will ever see. Lodge took a visit to Ole Miss and had this impressive culinary masterpiece waiting for him upon his arrival.

Auburn linebacker commit Richard McBryde posted a photo of himself with head coach Gus Malzhan and another two photos of himself with new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

Georgia athlete commit Terry Godwin posed a for a picture with his family during his Alabama visit.

Miami running back commit Jordan Scarlett and uncommitted running back Jordan Cronkite both visited Florida this weekend and posed together for a photo in Florida's locker room.

Five-star defensive back Iman Marshall tweeted a photo of himself and LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron during his visit to LSU over the weekend.

South Carolina commit Jalen Christian tweeted a photo of himself and head coach Steve Spurrier during his visit to Columbia.

ESPN 300 wide receiver Brandon Martin confused some people on Saturday when he tweeted that he was not committed to Missouri despite several reports. He quickly corrected the tweet and meant to say "I am now committed to Missouri." The error gave Missouri fans a scare for a few minutes.

Miami running back commit Mark Walton had maybe the most interesting wardrobe on his weekend visit to Georgia.

































SEC's top recruiting visits 

January, 23, 2015
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Signing day is less than two weeks away, and there are only two remaining weekends for prospects to take official visits. Other prospects who have already taken all five of their allowed official visits will take unofficial visits to help decide where they will want to attend school. Here is a closer look at some of the top visits to watch in the SEC over the weekend.

Alabama

The Crimson Tide have already put together an unbelievable class, and are hoping to top it off with one or two more prospects. Long-time Georgia commit Terry Godwin will take an official visit to Alabama just a week after taking a visit to Auburn last weekend. Georgia still appears to be the front-runner, but anything can happen when a recruit goes on a visit.

Auburn safety commit Darrell Williams is also visiting Alabama this weekend. Williams had heavy interest in Alabama before making his pledge to Auburn early in the process. He will certainly be one to watch.

LSU

The Tigers, after the commitment of ESPN 300 defensive back Donte' Jackson this week, are up to 17 commits, including seven ranked in the ESPN 300, and are hoping to add a few more key prospects on signing day. Five-star Ohio State athlete commit Torrance Gibson, fresh off an Auburn visit, will visit LSU. The dual-threat quarterback has been concerned about the logjam at quarterback at Ohio State, and both LSU and Auburn run offenses that suit his playing style.

In addition to Gibson, another five-star prospect -- defensive back Iman Marshall -- will also take a trip to Baton Rouge. Marshall has kept his recruitment close to the vest, but the Tigers have already put together an incredible defensive back class. Four-star offensive lineman Toby Weathersby will also take a visit to LSU this weekend. Running back commit Derrius Guice will visit LSU this weekend, and announced on Twitter that he will take a visit to Alabama next weekend. Obviously the LSU coaching staff would like to nail down his commitment and prevent Guice from taking that final visit to Alabama.

Florida


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Everything is bigger in Texas, including the recruiting battles.

Kyler Murray, the nation’s No. 13 overall player and top dual-threat quarterback, and ESPN 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge took a surprise unofficial visit to Texas Wednesday, sending shockwaves through the Lone Star State. All involved had kept quiet about these plans until Murray and Lodge tweeted photos of Texas uniforms with their respective numbers on Wednesday afternoon.

The news of Murray, who completed his career at Allen High School with a perfect 43-0 record and three Texas state championships, visiting the Forty Acres is big enough by itself. But when you consider Murray has been committed to rival Texas A&M for more than seven months, news of the visit quickly mushroomed into one of the biggest recruiting headlines for the entire 2015 recruiting cycle.

The pursuit of Murray comes at a time when Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are attempting to flip the Longhorns' lone quarterback commit, Zach Gentry. Murray did take an official visit to Oklahoma during the season. He took his official to Texas A&M last weekend. Charlie Strong has said Texas needs to take two quarterbacks for its class. ESPN 300 athlete Kai Locksley, a Florida State quarterback commit, is scheduled to visit Texas this weekend.

Texas was once the leader for Lodge while Mack Brown was head coach, but the nation's No. 57 prospect committed to Texas A&M last summer. He backed out of that commitment and just took his official visit to College Station with Murray last weekend. Lodge is expected to take his official to Ole Miss on Friday.

The odds of landing both in a signing day stunner probably aren't great, but Strong and the Longhorns at least got their chance on Wednesday to show Murray and Lodge what Texas has to offer and put a little pressure on their recruiting rival.

SEC's top recruiting visits 

January, 16, 2015
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With national signing day less than three weeks away, it is officially crunch time. There are only three recruiting weekends left for visits, and most schools plan to take full advantage of those available weekends. Here are a closer look at some of the top visits around the SEC this weekend.

Auburn


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Recruit breakdown: WR DaMarkus Lodge 

January, 15, 2015
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video What he brings: DaMarkus Lodge possesses tremendous ball skills and excellent body control in contested matchups. Really does a nice job of securing balls thrown outside of his frame. Rarely allows the football to get into his frame. Extends and plucks with confidence and has strong hands. He is flexible and can contort and adjust to the ball while elevated. He is extremely productive on throws over his shoulder down the sideline. Tracks the ball and maintains focus with hand-eye coordination. Better vertically than after the catch. This is not to say he does not make things happen with the ball in his hands --in fact he is deceptively productive on underneath catches, but his size-speed ratio and ability to set up defensive backs on deep routes is very strong. He is a playmaker when the ball is in the air.


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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Most coaches at AFCA agree an early signing period is a good thing, but when to have it will be a hot topic at Tuesday’s NCAA recruiting seminar.


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Several players, like Notre Dame commitment Shaun Crawford, have already surprised with how well they’ve played at the Under Armour All-America Game.

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Plenty of news rolled in at the registration for the Under Armour All-America Game. The top recruits spoke about where they’re at in the process and what was new in their recruitment.

Lodge names a leader


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USC recruiting is in need of a significant shot in the arm after the Trojans’ performance at the Rose Bowl this past weekend. But the good news for USC fans is that the Trojans are in position to do just that, thanks to a handful of significant visitors who will be in town to watch USC host Notre Dame.

This weekend presents a slight departure from USC’s official visit plans for the past few years. In fact, the five official visitors scheduled this weekend appear to be more than USC hosted on in-season official visits during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes combined.


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TCU's success has recruits turning heads 

November, 5, 2014
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Around this time last year, TCU was near the bottom of the Big 12 barrel. The Horned Frogs were fresh off an overtime loss to West Virginia, which ultimately meant being in the middle of losing five of their last six games.

In short, the Horned Frogs weren’t taken seriously. Not by opponents. Not by analysts. Not by many of their fans.

And especially, not by star recruits.

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SEC's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
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There are again some big games around the SEC this weekend. The Ole Miss at LSU game looks to be loaded with big-time visitors. Tennessee is sure to bring in several high-profile recruits for its game against rival Alabama and Auburn is hoping to reel in a few top prospects for its game against South Carolina. Here’s a closer look at some of the top visitors in the SEC this weekend.

Alabama at Tennessee


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UA jersey tour: DaMarkus Lodge

October, 22, 2014
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CEDAR HILL, Texas -- It's been said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. For ESPN 300 wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, watching his favorite athlete has taught him plenty about the values of hard work en route to success.

"I'm a huge Kobe fan, so I've read a lot about what he does," said Lodge, referring to Kobe Bryant, considered one of the hardest-working athletes in all of sports. "He's working hours before practice starts and hours after practice ends. He does what he has to do to win, and with him being so competitive, that's everything you can teach a young man to be a great athlete."

Lodge received his Under Armour jersey Wednesday afternoon at Cedar Hill High School. It was one of the many rewards he's received by attempting to follow Bryant's work ethic. When he isn't sleeping or working on something academic, Lodge is using his time getting better as a football player -- whether that's running routes with his teammate, quarterback and LSU commit Justin McMillan, or looking at film, or watching a receiver on TV.

Need proof of Lodge's drive? Last summer, Lodge had a chance to attend several combines, but instead of attending, he chose to stay home and work on improving his skills with his trainers.

The sacrifices have led to more than 30 offers, a state football championship and a No. 47 ranking in the latest ESPN 300. Lodge, the nation's fifth-ranked receiver, now can add the Under Armour game to his growing list of achievements.

"It means a lot to me," Lodge said. "Growing up and watching the guys before me get their jerseys presented to them and knowing I had a chance to be them inspired me. Playing in the game really means a lot."



A former Texas A&M commitment, Lodge decommitted in September to explore other options. He took an official visit to USC last month and will take an official to LSU with McMillan this weekend. Lodge also visited Ole Miss unofficially earlier this month. Big 12 schools Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU are three schools that Lodge also is very interested in.

Random thoughts with DaMarkus Lodge

Why do you wear your number? Every good receiver that's come through Cedar Hill -- except Dezmon Briscoe -- has worn 18. It started with Lovett [Gibson], then Quincy [Adeboyejo]. Then Quincy handed it down to me. It says a lot if you wear 18 at Cedar Hill."

Favorite football memory: "It was last year, Nov. 31, the first round of the playoffs. We were facing Temple, and in the first half, we were down 28 points. Coming out of halftime, I was tight in the first half and wasn't playing my game. In the second half, my coaches told me to just be me and play my game. I came out and scored two touchdowns and had nine receptions for 247 yards. We ended up winning."

Looking forward to seeing at the UA game: "One of the biggest guys I want face is [cornerback] Kevin Toliver II. He's one of the better DBs around, and I'm up for any challenge. He's big and physical, and he can open up and run with you. That's what I'll be looking at when I get to the next level."

Best player in UA game history: "I'm going to say A.J. Green … because I'm a big A.J. Green fan."

A "did you know" fact: "Before every game, I always get from Starbucks a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with an extra shot of Espresso. It all started in the first round of the playoffs last year. I was really sleepy; I had only two hours of sleep the night before. My dad stopped at Starbucks and got it for me. I've done it ever since."


The Texas A&M-Alabama game on Saturday is sure to be one of the top games in the country this weekend. The teams have had much success on the field since the Aggies joined the SEC, and that success has led to tremendous success in recruiting. This year is no different as both teams rank in the top four of the RecruitingNation class rankings. Here’s a closer look at how the schools match up in recruiting and who some of their remaining targets are.

Instant Impact recruit


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