NCF On The Trail: Jamie Byrd

Top 2014 junior college classes 

December, 3, 2013
National signing day is quickly approaching, but first up is the midyear junior college signing period. The opportunity for juco prospects to sign with Football Bowl Subdivision programs starts Dec. 18, and several prospects have already made commitments. More commitments are likely to come between now and the start of the signing period, but with the release of the ESPN JC 50, let’s take a look at five programs (in alphabetical order) having success on the juco recruiting trail.

Arizona: The Wildcats have commitments from a half-dozen junior college prospects. Only one verbal, LB Antonio Smothers (Scottsdale, Ariz./Scottsdale CC) is in the ESPN JC 50. Smothers can give them a big, physical downhill run defender between the tackles. They might sit outside the top 50 in the recruiting rankings, but DT Jeff Worthy (Santa Ana, Calif./Santa Ana College) and OL Kaige Lawrence (Victorville, Calif./Chaffey) are solid pickups in the trenches. With the secondary featuring several upperclassmen, they also bring in some help with CB Patrick Glover (Gilbert, Ariz./Scottsdale CC) and instinctive and aggressive S Jamie Byrd (Dade City, Fla./Iowa Western).

Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

August, 7, 2013
Four Pac-12 schools find themselves in the top 40 this week, as Stanford and Arizona each pushed forward one space to land at 30 and 31, respectively, while USC and Washington round out the list, at 39 and 40. It's been a relatively slow start to the recruiting year for the Pac-12, as many of the top West region recruits continue to be intrigued by schools out of the area. But that didn't stop one Pac-12 program from going on a huge summer run of commitments.

Trending up: The Arizona Wildcats have been on fire this summer as Rich Rodriguez’s program has landed 19 verbal commitments between June 1 and Aug. 3. Commits say they love the Arizona coaching staff and how they relate to players. After adding a number of high school recruits on the offensive side of the ball, the Wildcats turned to the junior college ranks to tack on defensive players, including linebacker Antonio Smothers, defensive tackle Jeff Worthy and safety Jamie Byrd.

Trending down: USC will have an opportunity to right the ship once the season starts, but for right now, it’s easy to notice the momentum in Troy is not what it was at the end of last summer, when the Trojans held the No. 1 class in the country. Recently, running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) left USC off his top 10 list and 2015 quarterback target Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), a local product for the Trojans, committed to Alabama.

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Arizona is Jamie Byrd's next stop

August, 3, 2013
Safety Jamie Byrd (Dade City, Fla./Iowa Western Community College) is the latest 2014 prospect to select Rich Rodriguez's Wildcats, according to multiple reports.

Byrd, a three-star prospect for the 2011 class, originally committed to Boise State before signing with TCU. He redshirted with the Horned Frogs that fall and saw limited action last season. Byrd then transferred to Iowa Western this past winter.

He informed the Tampa Bay Times that changes on TCU's coaching staff caused his move: "New position coach came in last year, and me and him didn't see eye to eye, and the defensive scheme did not fit me well."

During this recruiting cycle, Georgia State, Illinois and Middle Tennessee also offered the 5-foot-11, 195-pound defender.

Byrd, who will be a part of ESPN RecruitingNation's junior college rankings in the fall, is commitment No. 21 for Arizona.