NCF On The Trail: D'Andre Walker

ESPN 300 defensive end D'Andre Walker got a little creative when he decided to announce his top three list of schools Friday morning.

Walker used YouTube and a holiday app called Elf Yourself to create a festive video to announce Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn are his final three schools.

Walker is the 19th-ranked defensive end and the 241st-ranked player overall in the ESPN 300.

SEC's top recruiting visits 

September, 26, 2014
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There are once again some big games around the SEC this weekend. While Arkansas vs Texas A&M might be the game of the week in the conference, it is a neutral site game and not many visitors are expected to attend. The Tennessee at Georgia game, however, is expected to draw many top recruits. Vanderbilt at Kentucky and Missouri at South Carolina should also expect to see some important visitors. There will be many recruits taking unofficial visits and even a few taking a few official visits. Here’s a closer look at some top expected visitors for the weekend.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 2, 2014
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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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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

January, 20, 2014
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As usual there is a ton of action happening around signing day. The Big Ten has had commitments, decommitments, offers and everything in between.

Here is a look at what took place within the conference on the recruiting trail this past week:


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Summer Recruit Wrap: Georgia 

July, 23, 2013
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With the camp season over and the fall season rapidly approaching, DawgNation takes a look back at the biggest recruiting news of the summer.

[+] EnlargeSony Michel
Davide De Pas/ESPN.comClass of 2014 RB Sony Michel is one of the many big names in Georgia's class.
1. Summer has been very, very good to Georgia
Heading into June, Georgia had five commitments, after going without one in May. Some analysts had pegged the Bulldogs as being off to a slow start for 2014, but with a class of 33 in 2013, Georgia has had to be very selective with this class. Even with a decommitment last week, the Bulldogs have added 12 commitments in June and July, headlined by the additions of five-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest) and ESPN 300 athlete Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County). As August approaches, Georgia can realistically pick and choose to fill its remaining spots.


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2015 ESPN 300 targets: Georgia 

July, 16, 2013
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Football offers and commitments are occurring earlier and earlier. To keep in line with this new world of accelerated recruiting, ESPN announced its release of the initial ESPN 300 for the 2015 class on Tuesday.

The list is once again loaded with targets for Georgia. DawgNation takes a look at 10 targets to keep an eye on for 2015, in order of their ranking in the ESPN 300.

1. OL Mitch Hyatt (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett)
6-foot-6, 270 pounds
ESPN 300 rank:
4


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Moton first 2015 DT with USC offer 

June, 20, 2013
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The defensive and offensive lines are major priorities for USC in this final recruiting cycle involving NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations, so it’s no surprise all five of the Trojans’ verbal commitments in the 2014 class are trenchmen.

Among those, three are defensive linemen, headlined by ESPN 300 nose tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central). The other two – defensive end Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and juco tackle Michael Wyche (Chesapeake, Va./East Los Angeles College) -- might be considered sleepers, but their inclusion is vital to the program’s future outlook after signing only Kenny Bigelow, Nico Falah and Khaliel Rodgers last February.


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The next few days are very important for the University of Georgia’s recruiting, as the staff is set to host a 7-on-7 camp Thursday and Friday, followed by a one-day prospect camp on Saturday. Hundreds of prospects will be in attendance, including several top targets. Here are five storylines to watch this week.

Chance to impress Sims

ESPN 150 wide receiver Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish High School) might be the highest-rated prospect in the 2014 class visiting this weekend. Expect the Bulldogs’ coaching staff to make sure he feels wanted while he is there. Another ESPN 150 wide receiver target, Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp), was on campus last week, and with a smaller class this recruiting cycle, Georgia might only have room to take one more wideout. Sims has visited Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State this week as well, but his coach said last weekend that Alabama was the team to beat. Georgia will do its best to change that Saturday, so expect the 6-foot-4, 190-pound receiver to get a lot of love during the Mark Richt Camp.

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If it wasn’t clear before that the days of Texas staying within its borders to recruit was long gone, then maybe its latest defensive end offer amplifies that point.


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D'Andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes) racked up 105 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and a blocked punt last season as a junior. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound pass rusher played a huge role in helping his team to a 10-2 record and its first playoff berth in school history and hit the recruiting map late in January, when North Carolina became the first program to offer Walker.

Since that time, 34 other programs have offered Walker. While Walker says all schools are now even, three coaching staffs have been able to connect with him the best so far. The 2015 prospect almost committed to one of them a few months back.


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Five stories to watch: Atlanta NFTC 

April, 12, 2013
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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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Atlanta SPARQ All-Combine team

March, 5, 2013
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videoATLANTA -- More than 1,730 athletes gathered Saturday, March 2, at Lakewood Stadium for the Atlanta stop of the Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour, making it the largest Nike combine in history despite the freezing temperatures. Here is a look at the 25 standout performers who make up the Atlanta All-Combine team.

Note: Selections are based upon combine performance as well as past and projected on-field performance. Athletes must have completed two of the four combine tests to be eligible for selection. Athletes are in the Class of 2014 unless otherwise noted.

OFFENSE

QB: Penny Smith, 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Knoxville (Tenn.) Fulton
Results: 4.64 40-yard dash, 4.03 shuttle, 35-foot power ball throw, 33.2-inch vertical jump, 100.89 SPARQ Rating
Breakdown: Passed for 1,494 yards and 22 scores as a junior.

RB: Nick Chubb, 5-11, 216, Cedartown (Ga.) High
Results: 4.10 shuttle, 34’ PB, 37.1” VJ
Breakdown: More than 15 offers already have come in for this ESPN Watch List prospect, who ran for over 2,700 yards as a junior.

RB: C.J. Fuller, 5-9 , 204, Easley (S.C.) High
Results: 4.69 40, 4.31 shuttle, 33’ PB, 32.6” VJ, 91.02 SPARQ
Breakdown: Ran for 2,040 yards and 22 TDs as a junior. Clemson, North Carolina and NC State have offered.

[+] EnlargeNick Chubb
Scott Fink for Student SportsWatch List running back Nick Chubb ran a 4.10 shuttle at the Atlanta SPARQ Combine.
RB: Taj Griffin (2015), Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern
Results: 4.43 40, 4.15 shuttle, 28.5’ PB, 40.0” VJ, 105.42 SPARQ
Breakdown: Rising junior reports early offers from UCLA and UNC.

RB: Daryl Rollins, 5-8, 163, Fulton (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Results: 4.41 40, 4.00 shuttle, 32.5’ PB, 35.3” VJ, 111.21 SPARQ
Breakdown: 2012 Class 4A All-Tennessee pick finished with the event’s top 40-yard dash and shuttle run times and best SPARQ Rating.

RB: Racean Thomas, 5-10, 202, Oxford (Ala.) High
Results: 4.62 40, 4.50 shuttle, 31’ PB, 33.7” VJ, 84.87 SPARQ
Breakdown: Oregon, Alabama, USC and Auburn are among the offers for this ESPN Watch List prospect.

WR: Omar Black, 6-1 , 183, Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove
Results: 4.57 40, 4.40 shuttle, 36’ PB, 31.7” VJ, 91.65 SPARQ
Breakdown: Caught 19 passes for 279 yards and three scores last fall.

TE: Luke Lewallen, 6-2, 205, Marietta (Ga.) Dominion Christian
Results: 4.76 40, 4.25 shuttle, 37’ PB, 32.4” VJ, 97.71 SPARQ
Breakdown: Small-school standout had 1,100 yards and 12 receiving TDs as a junior.

OL: Chuma Edoga (2015), 6-4, 275, Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern
Results: 5.04 40, 4.85 shuttle, 32.5' PB, 26.5" VJ, 70.98 SPARQ
Breakdown: Posted the fastest 40 for an OL at the event.

OL: Christian Harris, 6-5, 275, Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill
Results: 5.08 40, 4.84 Shuttle, 34.0' PB, 26.7" VJ, 73.26 SPARQ
Breakdown: Harris has offers from North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia State and South Alabama.

OL: Tra Malloy, 6-1 , 283, Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview
Results: 5.56 40, 4.65 Shuttle, 40.5' PB, 25.7" VJ, 85.20 SPARQ
Breakdown: Posted the highest SPARQ Rating for an offensive lineman on the day and the second-longest power ball toss for the entire event.

ATH: Hanson Guice, 5-9, 169, Clayton (Ala.) Barbour County
Results: 4.53 40, 4.19 shuttle, 32’ PB, 38.9” VJ, 102.21 SPARQ
Breakdown: Had to miss junior year because of transfer, but helped get his name back on radar Saturday.

ATH: Tez Parks, 6-0, 199, Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway
Results: 4.77 40, 4.41 shuttle, 36.5’ PB, 29.4” VJ, 84.60 SPARQ
Breakdown: Athletic quarterback reports offers from Georgia Tech and South Carolina.

DEFENSE

DL: Derek Barnett, 6-2 , 263, Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy
Results: 4.89 40, 4.56 shuttle, 35.5’ PB, 28.6” VJ, 86.76 SPARQ
Breakdown: FSU, Tennessee and others are among Barnett’s early offers; totaled 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks as a junior.

DL: Collin Giesey, 6-3, 261, Douglasville (Ga.) Alexander
Results: 5.17 40, 4.53 Shuttle, 42.0' PB, 25.8" VJ, 91.38 SPARQ
Breakdown: A virtual unknown after missing most of his junior season, Giesey had the top SPARQ Rating among linemen.

DL: Hunter Knight, 6-2, 272, Dothan (Ala.) Providence Christian
Results: 5.29 40, 4.72 Shuttle, 38.0' PB, 24.9" VJ, 75.66 SPARQ
Breakdown: Walker, another breakout performer, had one of the more impressive overall performances for an interior defensive lineman.

DL: D'Andre Walker (2015), 6-3, 210, Fairburn (Ga.) Langston Hughes
Results: 4.63 40, 4.38 Shuttle, 28.0' PB, 30.9" VJ, 80.43 SPARQ
Breakdown: Coming off a 21-sack sophomore season, Walker has pulled in early offers from Georgia and North Carolina.

DL: Darian Yancey, 6-0, 213, Auburn (Ala.) High
Results: 4.79 40, 4.25 Shuttle, 32.5' PB, 31.6" VJ, 88.98 SPARQ
Breakdown: The other bookend for the Auburn High School defense had the fastest shuttle for a lineman on the day.

LB: Dillon Bates, 6-3, 213, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) High
Results: 4.79 40, 4.28 shuttle, 39’ PB, 37.0” VJ, 109.05 SPARQ
Breakdown: Son of former Dallas Cowboy Bill Bates locked up an invite to The Opening with his big day.

LB: Rashaan Evans, 6-2 , 211, Auburn (Ala.) High
Results: 4.72 40, 4.43 shuttle, 29’ PB, 33.6” VJ, 81.30 SPARQ
Breakdown: Georgia, Auburn and Alabama are among the early offers for this Watch List prospect.

LB: Petera Wilson, 6-2, 210, Memphis (Tenn.) White Station
Results: 32’ PB, 35.8” VJ
Breakdown: Class 6A all-state pick as a junior has more than 20 early offers.

DB: Khari Blasingame, 6-0, 196, New Market (Ala.) Buckhorn
Results: 4.66 40, 4.39 shuttle, 39’ PB, 37.8” VJ, 106.89 SPARQ
Breakdown: Missed most of his junior season with injury but was back in a big way Saturday.

DB: Lorenz Griggs, 5-9 , 163, Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King
Results: 4.58 40, 4.47 shuttle, 35.5’ PB, 37.5” VJ, 92.97 SPARQ
Breakdown: King is always loaded, and Griggs is a new name to watch there.

DB: Blaise Taylor, 5-7, 157, Auburn (Ala.) High
Breakdown: Auburn, Tennessee and Nebraska already have offered this dynamic athlete.

ATH: Austin Leach, 6-1, 199, Sarasota (Fla.) Cardinal Mooney
Results: 4.62 40, 4.28 shuttle, 35.5’ PB, 28.9” VJ, 92.07 SPARQ
Breakdown: Playmaker at both defensive back and receiver for Cardinal Mooney in the fall.
ATLANTA -- More than 1,700 student-athletes took part Saturday in the Nike SPARQ Combine here, a record for the event. Players from across the Southeast braved freezing conditions, snow flurries and significant wind chill to compete and test their athletic ability in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and power ball throw. Below are the standouts from the event, which includes several prominent recruits and some off-the-radar prospects for the 2014 and 2015 classes.

Top SPARQ Ratings

Daryl Rollins, RB (Knoxville, Tenn./Fulton) - 111.21
Dillon Bates, LB, (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Ponte Vedra) - 109.05
Nick Chubb, ESPN Watch List RB (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) - 107.16
Khari Blasingame, DB (Huntsville, Ala./Buckhorn) - 106.89
Taj Griffin, 2015 RB (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) - 105.42

Top 40-yard dashes

(Read full post)

2015 DE almost made commitment 

March, 2, 2013
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ATLANTA -- Sophomore D’Andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes) has made quite a name for himself already. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound defensive end tallied 105 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and a blocked punt last season while helping his team to a 10-2 record and its first playoff berth in school history.

He was rewarded with his first scholarship offer last month, which caught him completely off guard.


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