NCF On The Trail: Damarkus Lodge

ESPN 300: Top Big 12 targets 

April, 16, 2014
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The spring evaluation period is upon us, and coaches are traveling and hosting spring games in an effort to evaluate and attract the nation’s elite prospects. Fortunately for coaches, roughly two-thirds of the players making up the 2015 ESPN 300 are still uncommitted. A large majority of those players are considering playing in the Big 12.

Here are five ESPN 300 players heavily targeted by Big 12 schools:


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Dallas NFTC superlatives 

April, 6, 2014
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DESOTO, Texas -- The Dallas area was the seventh stop in the 2014 Nike Football Training Camp tour. As is annually the case, this stop brings out a bevy of talented prospects from the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Despite a chilly day and track meets that kept some talented prospects from attending, the group of talent on hand eclipsed a number of other stops due to sheer numbers of prospects with FBS and BCS offers on hand. Here are some of the event’s most notable performers in the RecruitingNation NFTC awards.


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Dallas NFTC notebook 

April, 5, 2014
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DeSOTO, Texas -- Rain flirted with the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday, but held off long enough for seven athletes to earn invitations to The Opening this summer.

Quarterback Kyler Murray, linebacker Malik Jefferson, wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, offensive lineman Patrick Vahe (Texas commit) and defensive backs Justin Dunning (Texas A&M commit), Will Sunderland Jr and P.J. Mbanasor. all earned golden tickets after stellar performances at DeSoto High School. Murray, Jefferson, Lodge, Vahe and Sunderland were named camp MVPs of their respective positions.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Colorado has struggled on the field and in recruiting since its transition to the Pac-12, but this season is going to be key for the Buffs to turn things around with local prospects. And don’t be surprised if there’s some major news out of Texas A&M this weekend with the Aggies hosting their Friday Night Lights practice.


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Top 2015 targets: Big 12 

February, 6, 2014
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A very hectic national signing day has come and gone, but recruiting doesn’t stop after Feb. 5. College coaches now have quickly turned their focus away from the 2014 class and toward the 2015 class.

There are several players in the 2015 class with the potential of signing a national letter of intent to play in the Big 12 around this time next year. Here are five athletes to keep an eye on:


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s Early Offering is coming to you from the Under Armour Combine in St. Petersburg, Fla. Here’s a look at who stood out among the 150-plus competitors.

Campbell steals the show
George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) showed why he is ranked as the No. 2 player in the ESPN Junior 300. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Campbell tested off the charts with a 4.36-second time in the 40-yard dash and a 4.06 shuttle. He then backed it up with a strong performance in the one-on-one and seven-on-seven portion of the combine. Defensive backs lined up to face him and, in most cases, he burned them with either his speed or his ability to go up get the ball at its highest point. “I felt good about what I did today,” Campbell said. “I wanted to test myself against the best-of-the-best.” Consider the test passed. On the recruiting front, Campbell recently backed away from his commitment to Michigan and said at Wednesday’s registration he’s slowing down the process.

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Video: 2015 WR Lodge on title, recruiting

December, 22, 2013
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Big 12 recruiting reporter Damon Sayles interviews ESPN Junior 300 wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge after Cedar Hill beat Katy to win the Texas 5A Division 2 state championship.

Big 12 recruiting storylines: Dec. 19 

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With the first day of the mid-year transfer signing period in the books, Big 12 schools managed to pick up some quality players. Twenty-nine junior college players signed letters of intent to nine of the 10 schools in the conference.

Texas Tech scored the most signees with five. Josh Keys (Seminary, Miss./Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) was one of the bigger names to sign, as he’s the No. 4 juco safety in the country. Other new Red Raiders include offensive tackle Dontae Levingston (Harbor City, Calif./Santa Monica College), wide receiver Devin Lauderdale (Corsicana, Texas/Navarro College) and defensive tackles Keland McElrath (Clarksdale, Miss./Coahoma Community College) and Marcus Smith (Highland, Kan./Highland Community College).

Here are some of the more intriguing storylines involving teams and players -- new and future -- in the conference:

K-State’s juco reputation lives on

The last thing Kansas State’s reputation did on Wednesday was take a hit.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 18, 2013
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While Kansas broke its recruiting slump, Oklahoma managed to pick up two players on Sunday. One of them filled a huge need.

There were several other updates involving Big 12 targets from this weekend, including one four-star athlete announcing when he will make his final decision. That player said he most likely will end up in the Big 12.

Here are some of last week’s highlights:


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One ESPN 300 athlete is expected to choose a school the majority of the public has predicted for months. Any chance for a surprise change of plans? Another ESPN 300 athlete celebrates a birthday but continues to keep his followers guessing. Also, who’s the next big get for Texas after landing its eighth ESPN Junior 300 commitment?

Here are some of the Big 12 recruiting storylines for the week:

Does TCU have a chance at Garrett?

ESPN 300 DE Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin) is expected to announce where he’ll play college football this weekend. The majority of his followers agree that when the weekend is over, he will be a Texas A&M commit.

Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State also are high on Garrett’s list. The school closest to him, TCU, also is in the mix. What are the odds that the nation’s No. 7 player shocks the world and chooses the Horned Frogs over the Aggies?

Low. But, fortunately for TCU fans, not nonexistent. While Texas A&M is the team to beat, TCU has two things working for it -- proximity and familiarity.

Garrett lives roughly 15 minutes from TCU, and having his parents at every home game -- and several close road games in the Big 12 -- wouldn’t be difficult at all. Additionally, Garrett and TCU defensive end Devonte Fields have Martin ties. Fields, who will miss the remainder of TCU’s season with a foot injury, graduated from Martin in 2012.

Garrett is expected to be in College Station, Texas, for A&M’s game Saturday against Auburn, and all signs are pointing to him to wear Aggie maroon next year. But let’s not count out TCU just yet. After all, the Horned Frogs managed to score a shocker commitment in high three-star offensive lineman Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline) -- who was thought to favor Ole Miss and Oklahoma, among others.

Who’s next for Texas’ 2015 class?


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

October, 14, 2013
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Last week wasn’t full of commitments for Big 12 programs, but it did yield an important verbal pledge for one team in Oklahoma. Speaking of Texas’ neighbor to the north, the Sooners suffered their first loss to the Longhorns in four years on Saturday. A look at why that victory was so important for UT and who exactly that commitment was is in this week’s Big 12 weekend wrap.

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Talk about needing a victory for multiple reasons.

More than 92,000 fans watched Texas on Saturday not only beat archrival Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry but also temporarily silenced all of Mack Brown’s critics. When the game ended, there was no demand for Brown to call it quits as the Longhorns’ head coach at the end of the season. There was also no talk of Oklahoma’s seniors sweeping the rivalry through their four-year span.

All that was mentioned was the final score at the historic Cotton Bowl: Texas 36, Oklahoma 20. The Longhorns, considered major underdogs, grabbed a win that put them in first place Big 12, along with Texas Tech, at 3-0 -- a half-game ahead of Baylor and a full game ahead of Oklahoma.

It was a game that several recruiting targets had marked on their calendars. With 24 commits in its 2014 class, Texas doesn’t have much room to add players. However, the Longhorns are hoping to land one or two more elite athletes. Defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), safety Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie) and cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne), all ESPN 300 players, are still considering the Longhorns.

There’s plenty of room, however, in the 2015 class, and while the Longhorns already have eight commits -- all ESPN Junior 300 players -- they are looking to add more playmakers. One player on hand who was impressed was ESPN Junior 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill), who currently has the Longhorns high on his list.


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The Big 12 has a big weekend ahead in Dallas and Texas Tech is surging. Here’s a look at some of the Big 12’s top recruiting storylines.

Big names set to attend Red River Rivalry
There is never a season, regardless of what type of shape either program is in, that the Cotton Bowl won’t be filled with some of the most desirable recruits in the country.

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Oklahoma has owned the Red River Rivalry over the last three seasons, beating Texas by a combined score of 146-58.

Oddsmakers and, yes, many Longhorns fans believe the Sooners have a good chance of making it a fourth straight victory on Saturday. That would have a negative impact on recruiting south of the Red River wouldn’t it?

Here is a look at the top 10 players this game truly matters to. Some are still considering both teams, others are a commitment of one school who could be swayed by a victory from the other.

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It’s another week of college football, and eyes will be focused on several different things. Can Texas get out of its defensive funk? Will Baylor add more firepower to its already-loaded class? Can Kansas State return to its Big 12 champion ways? Will the world hear commitment announcements from any ESPN 300 players following official visits?

Here are some of the Big 12 recruiting storylines for the week:

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