NCF On The Trail: Elijah Daniel

How Missouri and Auburn were built 

December, 4, 2013
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After losing 16 games combined last season, Missouri and Auburn have come a long ways as they prepare to face off Saturday in the SEC championship game. How, exactly, did both of these schools get here?

Their success on the field this season -- just two losses combined -- is more impressive considering Auburn is in Gus Malzahn's first season as coach and Missouri moved over from the Big 12 to the SEC before last season. Recruiting is tough enough as it is, but going through such a major transition for both programs can be detrimental to a school's recruiting class.

[+] EnlargeDorial Green-Beckham
Mark Zerof/USA TODAY SportsFormer No. 1 overall recruit Dorial Green-Beckham has caught 49 passes for 686 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
If games were determined by recruiting rankings, Missouri would be at a big disadvantage. Over the past five years, Missouri has never finished inside the top 25 in the team recruiting rankings. In that same time period, the Tigers have landed only five recruits ranked in the ESPN 300.

SEC recruiting mailbag

August, 23, 2013
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It’s time to dip into the SEC recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today -- but we encourage you to ask again next week by tweeting your questions to @DerekTysonESPN.

@Watup_Haun: Who's going to land Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South)?

Derek Tyson: LSU appears to be the team to beat for the ESPN 300 linebacker and by a wide margin. Garrett will also take official visits to Ole Miss, Tennessee and Florida. LSU is shaping up to have a monster recruiting class, and right now I expect Garrett to be a part of it.

[+] EnlargeAdoree' Jackson
Jeff Barlis/ESPNESPN 300 athlete Adoree' Jackson likes Florida's football and track teams and met with both head coaches during his July visit.
@UltimateLemons: What's your gut tell you about Florida landing Adoree' [Jackson] and [Lorenzo] Carter? Do the Gators even contend realistically for Raekwon [McMillan]?

DT: Though Florida has made a big impression on the five-star prospects, Jackson and Carter, the Gators certainly have their work cut out for them. Florida's track program recently won a national championship, and track will be a key factor in Jackson's decision. USC, Michigan, Tennessee and LSU are a few other schools squarely in the mix for the talented athlete. Carter has Florida in the lead with Alabama and Georgia slightly trailing. At this point, Florida feels good about both prospects, but there is still a long way to go.

As for McMillan, the Gators are in his top five, but Ohio State is clearly the team to beat. Clemson and Georgia are also near the top of his list. He is talented enough for the Gators to continue to pursue him, but at this time, I don't think he will end up in Gainesville.

@UTSportsAction1: Do the SEC school's generally look for three-star athletes and above?

DT: If you ask coaches in college football if they only recruit players ranked three-stars or higher, you would probably get the same overwhelming response. "We don't look at stars," they would likely say, and probably in a stern voice. The truth is, a lot goes in to our recruiting rankings, and we don't just rate someone a four-star prospect for the fun of it. A lot of research goes in to every player we rank. I know for a fact that some college coaches do in fact look at rankings, but they wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't do their own evaluations. So to answer your question, I think college coaches use rankings as a general guide to see if they are missing out on certain prospects or to see which other schools have offered players, but they do their own evaluations and decide who they want to offer based on a number of factors.

Looking back at last year's SEC recruiting classes and excluding kickers, long snappers, punters and junior college, prep school and transfer players, SEC teams only signed seven players who were ranked two-star prospects or below:

2013: Alabama - 0, Auburn - 0, Arkansas - 1 (WR Drew Morgan), Florida - 0, Georgia - 0, LSU - 0, Kentucky - 2 (QB Reese Phillips and OT Justin Day), Mississippi State - 0, Ole Miss - 0, South Carolina - 1 (DE Kendal Vickers), Tennessee - 0, Missouri - 2 (OC Alec Abeln and DT DeQuinton Osborne), Texas A&M - 0, Vanderbilt - 1 (ATH C.J. Duncan)

The numbers speak for themselves. Though it's uncommon, the SEC does generally recruit prospects ranked three-star prospects or higher.

@madveal37: The SEC has widespread talent. What true freshmen are going to have a big impact in 2013?

DT: This is not really a recruiting question, but because I had an opportunity to see a lot of these players in high school and at all-star games over the last few years, I'll give my opinion on a few I think could make an early impact.

DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss): There is a reason he was the consensus No. 1-ranked player in the country. He will play early and often for the Rebels and should make a big impact.

WR Demarcus Robinson (Florida): Florida needs help at wide receiver, and Robinson has been a star in fall camp.

RB Alex Collins (Arkansas): Collins was a steal for the Razorbacks. His explosiveness will earn him carries early in his career.

DE Carl Lawson and DE Elijah Daniel (Auburn): With Auburn's top defensive lineman, Dee Ford, out for the opener, it should open the door for Lawson and Daniel to make their marks.

LB Reuben Foster (Alabama): It's not easy to get on the field early at Alabama, but head coach Nick Saban has specifically singled out Foster for having a strong camp. Look for him to see the field early.

@miketag98: Will UK lose a lot of recruits if [Mark] Stoops flops on the field? Like if they go 4-8?

DT: I really don't believe so. Obviously Kentucky hasn't had much success on the field over the past few years, and recruits understand that. What Stoops is selling to these recruits is an opportunity to help turn the football program around. The opportunity to play early is another key selling point. As long as Kentucky shows improvement and is at least competitive in most of their games, I don't see recruits bailing on this impressive recruiting class.

@bigjpl2: Does Georgia have a real shot at Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic)?

DT: Hood, the former Notre Dame commit, was considering North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia Tech before he originally committed to the Fighting Irish. Now that he has backed off his pledge, you would think Georgia might still be in the picture. However, Georgia has two stud running backs in Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs signed four-star running back A.J. Turman last year, and they have two ESPN 300 running backs (Sony Michel and Nick Chubb) committed this year. Chubb is very comparable to Hood as far as size, speed and build. At this point, Georgia doesn't have a pressing need at the position and could risk losing one of its other commits if the coaches put the full-court press on Hood. Though Hood might still show interest in Georgia, in my opinion, I don't believe he will end up in Athens.

@BlakeBoswell1: What are the odds [Leonard] Fournette stays in LA?

In my opinion, the odds are in LSU's favor to land Fournette -- but not by much. Alabama is certainly putting up a big fight. In fact, Fournette was in Tuscaloosa last weekend with Cameron Robinson and Laurence Jones to watch the Crimson Tide scrimmage. I think this will be a battle to the end, but Alabama has a lot of depth at running back, and LSU's proximity to home gives the Tigers the slight advantage.

First LOI to Auburn is a flip 

February, 6, 2013
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A recruitment filled with twists and turns, it only seemed right for Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) to flip to Auburn the morning of signing day following a late visit to The Plains.

Daniel, No. 34 overall in the ESPN 150, faxed his letter to Auburn on Wednesday morning despite entering signing day as an Ole Miss commitment. He was previously committed to Clemson as well.

What is the impact of Daniel’s decision?


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Ole Miss 4-star commit to visit SEC foe 

January, 29, 2013
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Ole Miss is poised to boast the strongest closing come signing day, but the Rebels have some cause for concern with one ESPN 150 prospect.


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Weekly commitment update 

January, 25, 2013
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ACC
Clemson
Kyrin Priester WR Snellville, Ga./Brookwood
HT: 6-1 WT: 181
Position Rank: #20 WR

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Scouts: Daniel joins promising DL 

January, 21, 2013
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Ole Miss is one of the programs in a position to potentially close strong as signing day approaches and just days after landing the No. 1-rated receiver in the country they have now added a commitment from ESPN 150 defensive end Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon).

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Scouts: Clemson rebounds at DE 

January, 5, 2013
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At one point, Clemson’s class featured two of the nation’s top defensive end prospects in No. 1 overall player Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) and Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon). Along the way both those players decommitted, delivering a blow to what was developing into a big haul along the defensive line. While the loss of those two was tough, the Tigers have rebounded a bit at that position as they have gained a commitment from ESPN 150 D-end Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Jefferson).

The New York native is not as ready to come in and contribute as the two previously mentioned defensive prospects, but he is a player with good upside and is enrolling early, which should aid his development and allow him to possibly better contribute as a freshman. He needs to keep adding mass, but should benefit from quickly getting into the Tigers weight program. While he needs to become more consistent, he can be disruptive as a pass rusher while still possessing nice upside in this area. He can be quick off the ball, get upfield, quickly work past a blocker and tightly bend back in to get to the quarterback. As he works on his pass rush arsenal and further develops his hand usage, he can develop into a consistent threat off the edge. He is also a defender with a good motor and speed and can be active and productive against the run while still needing to continue to fill out and develop his technique.

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Hackenberg, Olsen earn UA Game starts

January, 3, 2013
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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

4-star DE Daniel visiting Florida 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- ESPN 150 defensive end Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) recently visited Ole Miss. The 6-foot-3, 249-pound athlete said he was impressed with the Rebels had to offer.


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Weekend Rewind: Midwest 

November, 26, 2012
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There was not any shortage of news in the Midwest this weekend from ESPN 300 commitments. There were big-time visitor lists, coaching changes and even a few ESPN 150 prospects heading south for official visits.

Darius Latham (Indianapolis/North Central), an ESPN 300 defensive tackle, ended the speculation Sunday night and committed to in-state Indiana. Latham decommitted from Wisconsin last month in favor of the Hoosiers. In Bloomington, Latham will be able to play defensive line instead of offense, which is where most programs feel he will flourish best.

It is a big commitment for Indiana as Kevin Wilson has turned a class that was shaping up to the Big Ten's worst into a class that has the potential to turn the Hoosiers around.

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Ole Miss impresses 4-star DE Elijah Daniel 

November, 25, 2012
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ESPN 150 defensive end Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) spent the last two weekends in Mississippi visiting each of the state's BCS programs. This weekend it was Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss's turn to host Daniel, a former Clemson commitment.

"It was good," said Daniel, who returned home from his visit Sunday. "It was pretty cool, really cool, like the walk of champions to being inside the stadium."

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Clemson loses ESPN 150 DE Eliah Daniel 

November, 19, 2012
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After months of speculation, Clemson lost an ESPN 150 defensive end. And his name is not Robert Nkemdiche.

Avon (Ind.) lineman Elijah Daniel, No. 82 in the ESPN 150, decommitted from the Tigers on Tuesday days after returning from an official visit to Mississippi State.

"Interested in other schools," Daniel wrote in a text message.

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Defensive end Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) committed to Clemson back in June. Recently, however, his communication with the Tigers staff can be considered spotty at best.

“I haven’t really talked to them that much,” the ESPN 150 prospect and No. 6 ranked defensive end said.

He talked to the coaches sometime last week but the conversations have been infrequent.

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Scouts: Clemson builds deep D-line 

June, 19, 2012
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Clemson is on what one may call ‘a bit of a roll’, especially along the defensive line. In the wake of the huge commitment of Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top ranked prospect, Clemson has landed two more promising D-end prospects in ESPN 150 defender Elijah Daniel and now most recently four-star D-lineman Dane Rogers. Nkemdiche and Daniel, both top 100 players, were big commitments. But the addition of Rogers shouldn’t be overlooked as we feel he is a fine prospect in his own right and may be a bit undervalued on the national scene.

Rogers has solid height and good bulk with a nice wingspan for his size. He is listed as a defensive end, but depending on physical development could end up playing inside or at least can offer some ‘swing player’ potential. Like his future linemates, Rogers possesses a good initial burst off the ball. He may not bring to the table the same type of natural athleticism, but the four-star out of North Carolina does display good recognition skills and plays with a good motor. Those things combined allow him to play a little faster as a defender than he might test. He needs to continue to develop and be more consistent with technique, but flashes the tools to be a productive defender against the run. He might not offer the same type of pass rush ability/upside as Nkemdiche or Daniel, but Rogers can pressure the quarterback and could be a player who develops into a good ‘nickel rusher’ in that group.

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Four-star Dane Rogers (Shelby, N.C./Crest) has become the latest highly-touted defensive lineman to select the Tigers, multiple sources report.

North Carolina, North Carolina State, Rutgers and Tennessee also extended scholarship offers to the 6-foot-2, 23o-pounder. Alabama, Auburn and Duke recruited the nation's No. 31-ranked defensive end.

Prior to his junior year, Rogers posted a 5.15 40-yard dash, 4.55 20-yard shuttle and 18-inch vertical on the combine circuit.

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