NCF On The Trail: Jacory Washington

UA Game notebook: First impressions

December, 29, 2013
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -– Team Nitro and Team Highlight took to the fields at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports on an overcast Sunday morning for Day 1 of practice for Thursday's Under Armour All-America Game (ESPN, 4 p.m. ET). There were several players who impressed, a top linebacker is feeling pressure to stay at home and the nation's No. 1-ranked player isn’t too concerned with his lack of touches on the first day.

ESPN 300 linebacker feeling the pressure


Four-star linebacker Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) was one of the most impressive-looking linebackers during individual drills. The No. 84-ranked player in the country continues to have four schools at the top of his list.

[+] EnlargeRashaan Evans
Miller Safrit/ESPNRashaan Evans is feeling the pressure from hometown fans off the field.
"I still have four schools -- Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and UCLA -- on top,” Evans said. “Those four schools, they are pretty even. I’m going to take this whole thing slow and pretty much I’m going to take it out to signing day.”

Evans already took an official visit to UCLA in September and is planning to take two other visits in January.

"I’ll take either Bama or Auburn on Jan. 17,” he said, "and then on the 24th maybe Georgia."

As a native of Auburn, Ala., Evans admits he feels constant pressure to stay at home.

"It’s pretty bad,” Evans said. "Most of the time my day consists of Auburn people telling me, ‘Hey, don’t go to Bama, go to Auburn.’ It’s pretty bad, because most of the people I’m around are Auburn alumni. So I hear about Auburn each and every day. So when I go on visits, everybody knows about it and they always shoot me messages about Auburn.

"I feel like I would disappoint people if I did go somewhere other than Auburn. I’m in Auburn, I love Auburn, I’ve lived in Auburn all my life. I have family at Auburn. Most of my family has graduated from Auburn. People would be curious as to why I would want to leave Auburn, but at the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for me."

Coaches impressed

Team Highlight quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke was impressed with his group of QBs during the first practice. LSU commit Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway), Penn State commit Michael O’Connor (Bradenton, Fla./IMG) and Auburn commit Sean White (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School) all made nice throws during the course of the practice.

"I think the one thing is that is they have to understand, schematically, what they are doing right now,” Weinke said. "The first day always creates hesitation. I spent more time with Harris, White and O’Connor, but looking at all six guys, they all did a nice job on the first day.

"Brandon Harris spins the ball really well. The one thing with him is now he has to tie his feet in to what he’s doing. O’Connor did a nice job of being very accurate throwing the ball today. Sean White did a heck of a job making some throws in some tight spots.”



Defensively, Team Highlight linebackers coach LaVar Arrington already has a good feeling about his players, which he thinks are a special group.

“I know they’re good when I remember their names, and I remember all my guy’s names,” he said. “They have nicknames. They were balling so hard I nicknamed them. You have Jacob Pugh, so I call him J.P., Kain Daub is K.D. and Tre’ [Williams] is a nickname in itself.

“Then Rashaan [Evans], I grew up being called Shad, so he’s Shad.”

Fournette not worried about carries


Running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), the nation’s top prospect, handled the football only a few times during nearly three hours of practice.

[+] EnlargeLeonard Fournette
Miller Safrit/ESPNLeonard Fournette likely will have a much busier day Monday than he did on Sunday.
On one of the opportunities designed for him to get the ball, White kept the ball on an option play when Fournette clearly had an open lane. It resulted in one of the funnier moments of the day: One of the Team Highlight assistants pointed over to Fournette and asked White, "You see him? That's the No. 1 running back in the country. You are to get the ball to him and he's supposed to run around and over people. You can't do that."

For his part, Fournette said he’s not concerned. It's not the focus of his trip to Florida.

“It’s about the decisions we have to make,” said Fournette, one of seven players who will announce their commitments during Thursday's game. “We have to focus on the decisions at the end of the day.”

Fournette slimmed his options early in the season to LSU and Alabama. Recently, he added Texas to the list of finalists at the urging of Saint Augustine teammate Jermaine Roberts, a receiver committed to the Longhorns.

Texas is considered a significant darkhorse for Fournette, who did not take an official visit to the school but made it to Austin, Texas, for an unofficial trip last summer.

Still, Fournette said, he’s not penalizing UT for its lack of a head coach as Mack Brown steps aside after the Valero Alamo Bowl on Monday against Oregon.

“Doesn’t concern me at all,” Fournette said.

He also won’t be swayed by the advice of fellow prospects here.

“Everybody’s going to go on their own path, do their own thing,” Fournette said.

Fournette said he would settle on a school after speaking with his parents, who arrive in Orlando on Tuesday.

Top social media posts


There were some great one-on-one battles Sunday. Here are some highlights:

Miami-bound offensive lineman Trevor Darling (Miami/Central), who usually plays left tackle, lined up at left guard during the one-on-one portion and more than held his own. Here’s a look at Darling winning a matchup against Georgia-bound defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest).



Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) also impressed on the first day of practices. Here’s Carter getting the better of Michigan commit Juwann Bushell-Beatty (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic).



Uncommitted Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville), the No. 2-ranked safety in the country, had a tremendous pass breakup on the goal line during the team portion of practice.

Speedy Noil, the No. 8-ranked prospect in the country, put on a show the first day of practice. He hauled in pass after pass and did it all while wearing a gold watch on his wrist. The five-star receiver even had an impressive one-handed catch.



Michigan-bound defensive back Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic), the nation's No. 2-ranked prospect, took on Florida-bound receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead Senior), the nation's No. 28-ranked recruit, in one-on-ones. Lane got the better of Peppers the first two reps, but the two will have plenty of time to battle it out leading up to the game.

Qualifiers for the American Family Insurance Skills Challenge


After practice concluded Sunday, several players competed for spots in the finals of the American Family Insurance Skills challenge. The finals will air on Jan. 1 (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET). Here’s a look at who has qualified for the finals so far:

Running backs/linebackers
RB Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala./Oxford) -- Auburn commit
LB Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) -- uncommitted
LB Melvin Keihn (Baltimore, Md./Gilman School) -- Virginia Tech commit

Wide receiver/defensive backs
TE Jacory Washington (Westlake, La./Westlake) -- LSU commit
CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) -- uncommitted
CB Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) -- uncommitted

Jeremy Crabtree, Mitch Sherman and Tom VanHaaren contributed to this report.

UA jersey tour: Jacory Washington

September, 26, 2013
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Jacory WashingtonMiller Safrit/ESPNJacory Washington at the Under Armour combine in January.
Senior tight end Jacory Washington (Westlake, La./Westlake) was presented his honorary game jersey at his school Wednesday during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event was part of the three-month selection tour for the Under Armour All-America Game.

Washington, an LSU commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised all-star game spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The game is set for 4 p.m. ET Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

“First, giving honor to God, our lord and savior,” Washington said. “My family, friends and teammates. To a special set of trainers, personal coaches to my mentors to my high school coaches to the faculty and staff and to the student body at Westlake High School. As I put this jersey on, it is my only wish that it was a size 100XL. Although the words 'All-America' are written on it, it should say 'All-Americans' with an 'S' because I realize I would not be standing here without the support of all of you. It is because of your prayers, encouraging words, and love and unwavering support that I stand here today. And as I play in the 2014 All-America Game on January 2, 2014, know that although the name on the back of the jersey will read Washington … no one understands that I will be playing and representing each and everyone of you here today. To the Under Armour selection committee and American Family Insurance, thank you for selecting me as an Under Armour All-American and to have the honor to play in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game.”

Westlake coach Shawn Demeritt says this is an award that speaks to the entire football program and community.

“It’s a big honor for this school. I think it’s a big representation of Westlake Ram football, our community, our administration and the great support we receive each and every Friday night. Once again, congratulations Jacory; you deserve it and we will all be pulling for you Jan. 2.”

Washington said talking to players that played in the game before him made selecting the Under Armour All-America Game an easy decision.

“To be an Under Armour All-America, it’s a blessing, man. It let me know that all my hard work is finally paying off. The Under Armour Game is real exciting. I talked to a couple of guys from last year, and they really liked it. They said it was a sight to see. I can’t wait to get out there, at Disney playing on ESPN. … I really want to get in that skills challenge, hopefully bring back that plaque. There’s a lot to look forward to,” Washington said.

The 6-foot-5, 211-pound Washington is the No. 163 prospect overall and the No. 6 tight end in the class. He committed to LSU over Texas A&M, Florida, Ole Miss, Michigan, Miami (Fla.) and several others.

Best SEC classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
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Top to bottom, the Southeastern Conference is recruiting better than any conference in the country. Thirteen of 14 SEC schools are ranked in the top 40 of the recruiting rankings, including six schools ranked in the top 10. Here's a closer look at which SEC school has the top recruiting classes at each position.

Quarterback
Strongest class: Alabama
This is the hardest position to determine who has the strongest class. Four of the top-five quarterbacks in the final Elite 11 rankings -- Sean White (Auburn), Kyle Allen (Texas A&M), Will Grier (Florida) and Jacob Park (Georgia) -- are committed to SEC schools. Alabama, however has the top-ranked quarterback, David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) in the ESPN 300. The Under Armour All-American is the 32nd-ranked player in the nation. At 6-foot-5, 241-pounds, Cornwell has a big-time arm and ideal size for the position.

Running back

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: reasons for LSU fans to be patient, Ohio State's start, and Sonny Dykes reloading.


Patience is a virtue for LSU

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Quinn shows LSU still rules in Louisiana 

August, 18, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- A recruiting class that LSU fans are hoping will be historically significant has been coming together too slowly for many in Louisiana.

Before wide receiver Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) became the highest-ranked member of the 2014 ESPN 300 to commit to LSU on Saturday (Quinn is No. 37 overall and No. 3 among wide receivers), there was much consternation around the state about whether the Tigers would adequately secure what's arguably the most bountiful football prospect harvest the state has ever produced.

Forget finishing with a No. 1 class -- LSU entered this weekend outside the top 10 with a mere 13 commitments.

Trey Quinn
Gary Laney/ESPNWR Trey Quinn is one of six in-state ESPN 300 prospects to commit to LSU in the 2014 class.
If anything, the Quinn commitment should relax those concerns, at least a little.


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At LSU camp, elite get defined 

July, 24, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- ESPN 300 quarterback Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) told anyone who would listen that he would not attend last week's LSU July Elite camp.

But at the beginning of the week, there he was, exchanging chest bumps with ESPN 300 wide receiver Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) after the pair hooked up for a touchdown pass, then firing strikes to ESPN 300 athlete -- and LSU receiver target -- Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Karr).

[+] EnlargeBrandon Harris
Gary Laney/ESPN.comQuarterback Brandon Harris committed to LSU shortly after the team's July camp.
Three days later, Harris committed to LSU in an expected move after other schools on his list (Ohio State, Auburn) took commitments from other quarterbacks. Even if Harris' mind wasn't made up when he camped on that Monday morning, the assembled talent may have made it for him.


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ESPN 300 analysis: LSU Tigers 

June, 17, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's been since Jordan Jefferson in 2008 that one could find a Louisiana quarterback who met the four-star threshold.

Back then, before RecruitingNation issued stars, Jefferson was given an 80 score, which translates to four stars.

Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) broke that drought this year. And now he's done something no Louisiana quarterback has done in the RecruitingNation era.


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Light start at LSU June camp 

June, 2, 2013
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Garrald McDowellTom Hauck for Student SportsDefensive tackle Garrald McDowell is expected to attend LSU's camp this week and compete for a Tigers offer he currently lacks.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Numbers at LSU's June camp were down a little bit as it began Sunday as many prospects had somewhere to be this week: school.

With many school systems -- in Texas and Florida in particular -- still in session, the pickings were slim as the camp started Sunday afternoon and scheduled to run through Wednesday.

That's not completely unexpected. LSU's second camp, scheduled for July 14-17, normally has been a larger draw that yields more recruiting news.

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Ardoin may be this year's late bloomer 

March, 25, 2013
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In recruiting, there's always that guy that emerges that the typical recruiting follower might have known little about.

For LSU, a year ago it was Kevin Spears, the basketball player-turned-wide receiver who signed with the Tigers after a huge senior season at New Orleans Holy Cross High School.

This year? The candidate might be tight end Kendall Ardoin (Ville Platte, La./Ville Platte) who might the late bloomer.


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Paris commit good sign for LSU's future 

February, 25, 2013
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There was no big junior day at LSU this weekend. Spring practice? Doesn't start for another couple of weeks.

Yet recruiting news poured out of the LSU campus in the last weekend of February. ESPN 2014 Watch List defensive back Ed Paris (Mansfield,Texas/Timberview) committed Monday via Twitter, joining linebacker Donnie Alexander (New Orleans/Karr), who committed Sunday.


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Carter getting home-state press 

January, 31, 2013
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Nebraska tight end commit Cethan Carter plays basketball for Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel, so he might be comfortable with the full-court pressure he's receiving from a local school.

"LSU has been recruiting him hard," Rummel coach Jay Roth said. "They've been by to see him a lot."

The three-star tight end committed to Nebraska Jan. 17 after a visit to Lincoln the previous weekend. At the time he had offer from LSU, but it was just a grayshirt offer.

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Weekly Commitment Roundup 

January, 18, 2013
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ACC
Georgia Tech
Ricky Jeune WR Montvale, N.J./Saint Joseph Regional
HT: 6-2 WT: 205
Position Rank: #74 WR

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Son of ex-LSU star commits 

January, 12, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU picked up its second commitment on Saturday -- also its second on the ESPN Watch List -- and it came from a familiar name.


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TE Washington sets criteria for schools 

January, 4, 2013
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- ESPN Watch List tight end Jacory Washington (Westlake, La./Westlake) has a wide range of options when it comes to his college choice.

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Mississippi, Texas A&M, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Washington are just some of them. And while he does admit there are some schools standing out to him above the rest, Washington doesn't want to get specific.

"I have a couple favorites, but I don't want to mention them," he said.

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Texas A&M venturing out of state in 2014 

September, 27, 2012
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The state of Texas has been and will continue to be the primary recruiting base for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and his coaching staff. The Lone Star State oozes talent on a year-in, year-out basis and the Aggies are certainly tapping into that well.

But with their entrance into the Southeastern Conference, the Aggies have been able to expand their recruiting footprint, another thing that Sumlin wanted to see. A national presence is something he wants. So that's why it should come as no surprise that the Aggies have offered 13 out-of-state prospects that are on the ESPN Watch List.


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