NCF On The Trail: Dorian Johnson

Hackenberg, Olsen earn UA Game starts

January, 3, 2013

Black Team offense

Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

Running back: Alvin Kamara

Receiver: Alvin Bailey (Florida), Robert Foster (Alabama), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Washington)

Tight end: O.J. Howard (Alabama)

Offensive tackle: Darius James (Texas), Denver Kirkland

Offensive guard: Grant Hill (Alabama), Joas Aguilar (Texas A&M)

Center: Hunter Bivin (Notre Dame)

Captains: Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Bivin, Robert Nkemdiche, Ben Boulware

Black Team defense

Defensive end: Robert Nkemdiche, Elijah Daniel

Defensive tackle: Greg Gilgmore (LSU), Kennedy Tulimasealii (Hawaii)

Inside linebacker: Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Outside linebacker: Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame), Matthew Thomas

Safety: Keanu Neal (Florida), Leon McQuay III

Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame)

Black Team special teams

Long snapper: Tyler Kluver (Iowa)

Kicker/punter: Sean Covington (UCLA)

White Team offense

Quarterback: Kevin Olsen (Miami)

Running back: Keith Ford (Oklahoma)

Receiver: Laquon Treadwell, Ryan Green (Florida State), Jalin Marshall (Ohio State)

Tight end: Hunter Henry (Arkansas)

Offensive tackle: Derwin Gray (Maryland), Dorian Johnson (Pittsburgh)

Offensive guard: Patrick Kugler (Michigan), David Dawson (Michigan)

Center: Scott Quessenberry (UCLA)

White Team defense

Defensive end: Carl Lawson (Auburn), Joey Bosa (Ohio State)

Defensive tackle: Henry Poggi (Michigan), Kelsey Griffin (South Carolina)

Inside linebacker: Reuben Foster, Yannick Ngakoue

Outside linebacker: Trey Johnson

Safety: Max Redfield, Antonio Conner

Cornerback: Gareon Conley (Ohio State), Shaq Wiggins (Georgia)

White Team special teams

Long snapper: Brendan Turelli

Kicker: Ryan Santoso (Minnesota)

Punter: Shane Tripucka

Captains: Ryan Green, Hunter Henry, Patrick Kugler, Reuben Foster

#UAGame practice: Day 1 notebook 

December, 31, 2012

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -– Team Nitro and Team Highlight took to the fields at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports on Monday for Day 1 of practice for Friday’s Under Armour All-America Game (5 p.m. ET, ESPN). Two powerhouse programs in the Southeastern Conference look to battle it out for one of the standout running backs, and one of the top uncommitted offensive linemen is out with an injury.

Tide and Dawgs at top for RB Kamara

The Under Armour All-America Game boasts a bevy of talented running backs, and after the first practice ESPN 150 prospect Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) drew comparisons to one of the best.

[+] EnlargeAlvin Kamara
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comESPN 150 RB Alvin Kamara says Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon have been key to his recruiting process.
“They say I play like Percy Harvin,” Kamara said.

The 5-foot-10, 192-pound tailback has made a name for himself as a home-run threat out of the backfield or lined up in the slot, which makes it no surprise that programs across the country are pining for his commitment. Two from the SEC are in the lead.

“Alabama and Georgia are the front-runners, but I am still looking at Oregon -- and Tennessee too, with Butch Jones being there now,” Kamara said.

The nation's No. 4 running back has yet to set any official visits, but plans to do so after he gets home from the UA Game. A decision will likely come after his visits.

“This is not going to be a busy month so much as it is just something I need to buckle down and do,” Kamara said. “I am going to take these visits and base my decision off of that.”

One factor in his decision will be the relationship he has with the coaches recruiting him. The Tide could have a slight advantage because they made first contact with Kamara.

“Kirby Smart and I are really close,” Kamara said. “He was the first coach to ever talk to me. He snuck me his card after practice and I could not believe it. For a coach of his stature to be the first coach to talk to me is great. We have been in contact ever since, and we have a great relationship.”

Georgia might counter that with their running backs coach being Kamara’s recruiter of record.

“Coach [Bryan] McClendon and I have a great relationship too,” Kamara said. “With him being my position coach, I could see myself playing for him. We are on a friend level and we do not even talk about football most of the time.”

The in-state Bulldogs also have a few people in Kamara’s ear this week, though he admits they have been putting the pressure on him for quite some time.

“Even when we are not in a big event like this, guys like Shaq Wiggins, Brice Ramsey, even Reuben [Foster], even though he is not committed, are always asking where I am going,” Kamara said. “They are joking, but they are on me pretty hard sometimes.”

Newsworthy: OL Crowder deals with injury, sets officials

ESPN 150 offensive lineman Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond) will be unable to play in Friday's UA Game after aggravating a hand injury he sustained a few weeks ago at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. While he is disappointed, Crowder said today he is looking forward to the home stretch of his recruitment and choosing from one of two programs.

“It is Clemson No. 1 and Georgia No. 2, and I will decide on signing day,” said Crowder, ranked the No. 2 OG in the country.

The Tigers have been after the 6-foot-1, 330-pound offensive lineman for more than three years now, and they have location and familiarity working in their favor.

“Clemson has been recruiting me since I was in ninth grade,” Crowder said. “I like what they have going on and I have built a strong relationship with them. It is close to home and I have some family close to Clemson. I will take my official there Jan. 11.”

Crowder has not been to Athens for six months, but he has fond memories of his visit.

“Georgia is a great powerhouse team in the SEC,” Crowder said. “When I went down there during the summer I really liked the campus and enjoyed meeting the coaches. I spoke to them two weeks ago and set an official visit Jan. 18.”


It was only the first day of practice, but Team Highlight (Black team) quarterbacks got off to an impressive start.

Weekly Commitment Update 

November, 23, 2012
Demetri McGill DT Virginia Beach, VA, Ocean Lakes
HT: 6-0 WT: 290
Position Rank: #93 DT

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Scouts: Johnson's a huge get for Pitt 

November, 19, 2012
ESPN 150 offensive tackle Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) has stated that he wanted to stay close to home and Pitt was able to capitalize on that. A one-time Penn State verbal, the No. 2-rated O-Tackle in the 2013 class, is a big pick-up for Paul Chryst as he works to put together his first full class as the Panthers head coach.

With Johnson, Pitt gets an athletic looking tackle prospect with a tall, lean frame and with some time in the Panthers weight program he should be able to pack on some needed but good mass. If pressed into action quickly, he could experience some growing pains as he develops his game, but this is a kid with very promising upside. He not only looks athletic, but displays the athleticism to be a good college tackle and that athleticism should help him to adapt and be productive if needed early on in his career which he may be. Johnson displays good flexibility as well as balance and agility. He may not be the biggest kid in terms of mass, but is an explosive and powerful kid who can deliver a pop on contact and drive defenders off the ball. He is not only capable of opening up running lanes at the line of scrimmage, but also blocks well on his feet in space and can deal with second-level defenders with similar type crushing results.

You not only like his athleticism, but also that he displays nastiness as a blocker. He looks to need a little more development in his pass pro, but he flashes the tools to develop into a strong pass blocker. He will need to continue to develop and strive for more consistency in his technique, but this is a player with the tools to develop into a very good O-Lineman at the college level.

Pitt recently lost a big commitment when ESPN 300 running back Corey Clement (Glassboro, N.J.) switched his verbal to Chryst’s old employer Wisconsin, but the Panthers rebounded well with an arguably even more impactful addition with the verbal from Johnson.

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Coach: Dorian Johnson commits to Pitt 

November, 18, 2012

Paul Chryst landed his biggest commitment since becoming the coach at Pittsburgh.

Belle Vernon (Pa.) Area's Dorian Johnson, an ESPN 150 prospect and the No. 2 offensive tackle nationally, committed to Pitt while on his official visit this weekend, his coach, Aaron Krepps, told in a text message.

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Paul Chryst's tenure at Pittsburgh will be defined this weekend. Hyperbole? Probably. But that isn't to say Nov. 17 could be looked back on as the date the Pitt program was turned around.

The top two players in Pennsylvania -- Dorian Johnson and Robert Foster -- will both take their official visits to Pitt this weekend. Clairton (Pa.) athlete Tyler Boyd, No. 7 in Pennsylvania, is also officially visiting.

All are four-star prospects and among the best players in the country, let alone the Keystone State. Johnson is No. 22 in the ESPN 150 and Foster is right behind at No. 28. Boyd sits just outside the ESPN 150 at No. 161.

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Dorian Johnson sets two official visits 

November, 6, 2012
One of the top remaining targets for Ohio State and Pittsburgh has set official visits to both schools.

ESPN 150 offensive tackle Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) will officially visit Pitt the weekend of Nov. 16. His official visit to Ohio State will take place the weekend of Dec. 7, he told in a text message.

Johnson has Pitt as his top school with Ohio State close behind.

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OSU brass prep for busy recruiting week 

November, 5, 2012

The way Ohio State coaches see it, Dorian Johnson is still sitting out there.

Ditto for Vonn Bell, Mike Mitchell, David Dawson and Corn Elder.

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Top three hold firm for OT Dorian Johnson 

November, 4, 2012

The season ended prematurely for Dorian Johnson, as Belle Vernon (Pa.) Area suffered a heartbreaking loss to Central Valley in the playoffs on a wobbly field goal with seven seconds left in the game.

Although Johnson was hoping to register his first playoff win in four tries, he was pleased to make the playoffs after Belle Vernon started 1-4.

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Ohio State will get a second chance to wow the No. 2 offensive tackle in the nation.

And if that impression is anything like the first, Buckeyes fans can expect Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) to be floored. Johnson confirmed he will be visiting Ohio State for the Michigan game on Nov. 24.

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OT Dorian Johnson loved Ohio State 

October, 9, 2012
Offensive tackle Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) liked his experience at Ohio State so much, the ESPN 150 recruit would like to make another trip to The Horseshoe in a few weeks.

In town Saturday for the Buckeyes’ 63-38 win over Nebraska, Johnson -- who is ranked second in the nation at his position and No. 27 overall -- has already started talking about coming back on Nov. 24 for the Michigan game. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Johnson isn’t sure whether or not it will be an official visit, but he knows he wants to see the campus again.

“I actually talked to the coaches the other day about coming up for it,” Johnson said. “Me and my family are going to try and come up for that game.”

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James Quick AP Photo/Joe ImelLouisville (Ky.) Trinity wide receiver James Quick, the No. 57 prospect in the ESPN 150, will visit Ohio State for this weekend's game against Nebraska.
Saturday’s home game against Nebraska isn’t just a chance to impress the pollsters as much as it is an opportunity to grab the attention of some of the biggest recruits for Ohio State.

The list for the primetime game against the Cornhuskers reads like a who’s who of candidates for the Buckeyes starting with former Penn State commit Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon). No. 27 in the ESPN 150, the second-ranked offensive tackle leads the list of headliners planning to attend and is followed by James Quick (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) at wide receiver.

Both have Ohio State in their top three. Johnson rounds out his list with Pitt and Virginia Tech, while Quick (No. 57) comes in with Louisville and Oregon.

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Dorian Johnson names top 3, plans visits 

September, 14, 2012
Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) had a top three after giving his decommitment to Penn State a month ago.

Now, the 27th-ranked player in the ESPN 150 has a temporary order for those top three.

“Pitt is No. 1, Ohio State is No. 2 and Virginia Tech is No. 3,” said Johnson before his American Family Insurance Selection Tour presentation for the Under Armour All-America Game on Friday.

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Wide receivers headline OSU visitors 

September, 13, 2012
Thaddeus SnodgrassTom Hauck for ESPN.com2014 WR Thaddeus Snodgrass is among a handful of receivers slated to visit this weekend.
Call the Ohio State-Cal game the weekend of the wide receivers in term of unofficial visits.

Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) is hoping the third time is the charm as he was derailed the two previous weeks in terms of unofficial visits.

He has got company, however, as Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) and Zach Yousey (Columbus, Ohio/Harvest Preparatory) have plans to find their way to The Horseshoe.

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Dorian Johnson could visit Pitt Saturday 

September, 12, 2012
ESPN 150 offensive tackle Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) has a final three, and two of those will play this weekend.

Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech will meet at Heinz Field on Saturday, and Johnson lives less than an hour from Pittsburgh.

Johnson, a Penn State decommit and No. 27 in the ESPN 150, wrote in a text he "might go but we have film and lifting early [Saturday] morning so i might not be able to."

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