NCF On The Trail: Jojo Robinson

Recruiting hits and misses: SEC West

February, 6, 2014
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Now that the fax machines are quiet, the 2014 signing classes have been announced and before we start looking ahead to 2015, let's take a moment to examine how each of the SEC schools did in filling immediate needs via recruiting.

We're checking out what all 14 teams did to fill holes, and we're looking at which holes still remain. We'll start with the SEC West (click here for the SEC East):

ALABAMA

Needs filled: It was obvious Alabama needed help at cornerback, and the Crimson Tide went out and got two of the best in the country in five-star prospects Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey. Pass rushers were also a priority, which makes five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and four-star outside linebackers Rashaan Evans and Christian Miller key pickups. Cameron Robinson, yet another five-star prospect, could end up starting at left tackle next season on the offensive line.

Holes remaining: The Crimson Tide could have used another marquee receiver and lost out on No. 1 wideout Malachi Dupre to LSU. With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri both heading early to the NFL, the Tide also might have come up short at safety.

ARKANSAS

Needs filled: The Hogs’ passing game was in need of a jump-start, and getting an ESPN 300 player out of Miami the caliber of JoJo Robinson adds another playmaker to the equation. Arkansas’ offensive line class is equally impressive with four-star prospects Brian Wallace and Frank Ragnow and three-star prospect Jovan Pruitt joining Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper from last year’s class.

Holes remaining: The highest-ranked player in the Hogs’ class was defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado, Ark., which was big considering they need help everywhere on defense. But they missed out on a pair of highly ranked defensive ends in Solomon Thomas and Demetrius Jackson.

AUBURN

Needs filled: Gus Malzahn called ESPN 300 prospect Tre' Williams the key to the class, and he should provide an immediate boost at linebacker. With Chris Davis departing, the Tigers also needed to replenish at cornerback, which is where four-star prospects Kalvaraz Bessent and Stephen Roberts come in. Both were ranked in the top 10 nationally at their position. With Greg Robinson leaving early for the NFL draft, it was good to add muscle on the offensive line with ESPN 300 prospect Braden Smith, who could play guard or tackle.

Holes remaining: The sting of losing Evans, who’s from Auburn, to Alabama could be felt for a while. He's the kind of explosive athlete who would fit on any defense, and the Tigers need more of those guys, particularly at linebacker.

LSU

Needs filled: The loss of running back Jeremy Hill early to the NFL draft was lessened by landing Leonard Fournette, the No. 1 overall prospect in this class. It only got better for the Tigers’ offense on signing day when the country’s No. 1 receiver, Dupre, said he would play his college football on the Bayou. Safety was a real sore spot on defense last season, so getting ESPN 300 prospect Jamal Adams was a major pickup. Adams is rated by ESPN RecruitingNation as the No. 2 safety in the 2014 class.

Holes remaining: Robinson would have been a nice centerpiece on that LSU offensive line, but Alabama came into West Monroe, La., and swiped the five-star prospect. The Tigers also lost five-star athlete Speedy Noil of New Orleans to Texas A&M.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

Needs filled: Junior college signee Jocquell Johnson is already on campus and will battle for a starting job next season on an offensive line that’s losing two starters, including All-SEC guard Gabe Jackson. The Bulldogs also added a pair of playmakers at receiver in ESPN 300 prospects Jamoral Graham and Jesse Jackson. Flipping 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive lineman Cory Thomas from Tennessee on signing day added some more punch to an already deep and talented defensive line in Starkville.

Holes remaining: More secondary help would have been nice, which is why losing cornerback Tee Shepard to Ole Miss on signing day was a downer. A couple of the offensive linemen the Bulldogs wanted, Jordan Sims and Sean Rawlings, also opted for Ole Miss.

OLE MISS

Needs filled: The Rebels wanted to continue to stockpile talent on the offensive line after reeling in Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson a year ago and did that with four-star prospects Rod Taylor, Tyler Putman and Sims. Upgrading the defense was also a priority, which is why beating Alabama for ESPN 300 safety C.J. Hampton was so important along with getting ESPN 300 defensive end Garrald McDowell out of Louisiana. Flipping junior college cornerback Shepard from Mississippi State was a nice signing day coup.

Holes remaining: You can never have enough defensive linemen in the SEC, so losing defensive tackle Michael Sawyers to Tennessee was a blow. The same goes for ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux, who stuck with his commitment and signed with LSU.

TEXAS A&M

Needs filled: With Johnny Manziel taking his show to the NFL, Texas A&M has to find a quarterback. Early enrollee Kyle Allen is an ESPN 300 prospect and ranked as the No. 1 pocket passer in this class. Noil, another early enrollee, should help fill a void with big-play receiver Mike Evans headed to the NFL, and the Aggies also loaded up on offensive linemen, including a pair of junior college signees. Any help on defense was a priority, which makes five-star defensive end Myles Garrett one of the keys to the class.

Holes remaining: The Aggies are still thin at safety after swinging and missing on several of their top targets in this class, including Adams, Steven Parker II and Mattrell McGraw. They also had ESPN 300 safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner committed but lost him to Boise State when Marcel Yates took the defensive coordinator job there.
National signing day is a huge day for future college football stars. It's a crazy day for fans. And it's a very important day for college coaches.

Signing days can make or break programs, as those noisy fax machines provide an early glimpse into the future.

Some coaches make a killing on signing day, some kick back because their classes are already pretty much taken care of, and others sweat and grind down those nails. On Wednesday, the SEC should yet again bathe in the glory that is a successful signing day, but there are still some coaches who need to have big days as they guide their programs forward.

Who are some of those SEC coaches this year? Let's take a look:

Bret Bielema, Arkansas: It's no secret that Bielema's first season in Fayetteville wasn't much of a success, but a strong closing on signing day could provide this program with some much-needed momentum. What Bielema needed in this class was depth up front on both sides of that ball and help at receiver, linebacker and in the secondary. Getting eight total linemen helps, and ESPN 300 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson (El Dorado, Ark./El Dorado) could make an immediate impact.

Still, the Razorbacks are looking to secure letters of intent from ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), who visited Fayetteville on Jan. 24. He'd be a major snag, as would be four-star linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central) and Florida State athlete commit JoJo Robinson (Miami/Miami Northwestern). Finding another receiver and getting any of these targets would certainly bolster a class that currently ranks No. 32 in the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings and would provide Bielema with the quality players he needs to help get things going at Arkansas.

Will Muschamp, Florida: The Gators have been hot on the recruiting trail since the 2013 season ended. It's almost as if last year's 4-8 record didn't even happen. But Muschamp is still holding out hope on a handful of talented prospects who could help make an immediate impact for a Florida team looking to get back to national relevancy. Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) would be a major get for the Gators, who need depth at the linebacker/defensive end hybrid Buck position. Florida is also looking for another playmaker on offense, and five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) could be that guy. Florida would let him play either side of the ball, and the Gators' track and field program is very attractive to Jackson.

Florida also needs another receiver and is looking to add depth at quarterback and on the offensive line. Former Florida State wide receiver commit C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade) could join this class, while current FSU quarterback commit Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) is seriously considering the Gators. ESPN 300 offensive tackle Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) is fresh off a visit to Florida and would be a big addition at a position that needs help going forward. Muschamp did really well in January, but there are still guys at positions of need that Florida needs to close with.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: He was way behind the 8 ball before he even stepped on Vanderbilt's campus, but Mason grabbed some major momentum over the weekend with six commitments. After dipping into single digits after Mason arrived, Vanderbilt is back up to 17 verbals in this class. Mason has already done a good job of filling this class back out, but he'd like to add some more quality bodies on Wednesday.

Keep an eye on ESPN 300 defensive tackle Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian), who is fresh off of a visit to Vandy. He's someone who could provide early help up front. The Commodores are also still in the hunt for Tennessee ESPN 300 defensive end commit Derek Barnett (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy). Grabbing another wide receiver and running back would also be a nice way to close as Mason looks to provide Vandy's fan base with a little more excitement on signing day.

SEC class rankings analysis 

January, 22, 2014
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video The SEC continues to dominate the Recruiting Nation class rankings nationally, with 13 of the 14 programs in the conference ranked in the top 40. That includes four of the top five, seven of the top 10 and 10 of the top 30. As expected, Alabama continues to lead the pack, and the Crimson Tide has a large lead coming down the stretch.


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National signing day is approaching quickly. With three official visit weekends remaining before Feb. 5, here is a look at a number of prospects who could flip to and/or from SEC schools in the coming weeks.

Florida commit Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead): Lane, No. 28 in the ESPN 300, is scheduled to officially visit national champion Florida State with the Gators fighting hard to keep the uber-talented wide receiver. The flip from Florida to the Seminoles by Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central High), the nation’s No. 20 prospect, makes the chore even tougher for the Gators


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ACC 2014 recruiting scenarios 

October, 8, 2013
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Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. That is what college coaches must do when it comes to recruiting. Every coach would love to land their top target at every position, but coaches are forced to play the what-ifs and continue to recruit prospects lower on the recruiting board. With signing day a few months away and several classes close to completion, college staffs are pushing for those few final targets but also keeping a watchful eye on players down the board.

Here are the best- and worst-case scenarios for each of the ACC schools.


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NoleNation looks at 10 themes of Florida State's 2014 recruiting class to date:


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NoleNation takes a quick look at five positions of need in this 2014 recruiting class.

Offensive tackle

Florida State enters this 2013 with only one certain starter at offensive tackle. Cam Erving, the starting left tackle, is a redshirt junior and could very well jump to the NFL draft after this season, given his high projections. Bobby Hart has played a lot in his first two seasons and could end up being the right tackle. From the Class of 2013, just Wilson Bell is capable of playing tackle, but could just as well end up on the interior depending on how things shake out.

Commitments: Ethan Frith (Summit, Miss./North Pike)

Top targets: Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central)


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As far as Florida State is concerned, there are plenty of notable and recognizable names in the newly released ESPN 300.


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Miami SPARQ All-Combine team

February, 19, 2013
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MIAMI -- More than 900 athletes gathered on Jan. 5 at North Miami Stadium for the South Florida stop of the Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour. Here is a look at the 25 standout performers who comprise the Miami 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: Quinton Flowers, 6-foot-0, 203 pounds, Miami Jackson
Results: 4.72 40-yard dash, 4.53 shuttle, 37-foot power ball throw, 31.3-inch vertical jump, 87.33 SPARQ Rating
Breakdown: Flowers ranks amongst the top QBs in South Florida and was a Class 5A third team all-state pick this fall.

QB: Nicodem Pierre, 6-1, 201, Miami Coral Reef
Results: 4.82 40, 4.50 shuttle, 40’ PB, 34.3” VJ, 95.61 SPARQ
Breakdown: Pierre upped his rating 23 points from last year; favors Kansas State early on in his recruitment.

[+] EnlargeTreon Harris
Tom Hauck/StudentSportsBooker T. Washington athlete Treon Harris earned this year's first invitation to The Opening.
RB: Jamal Adjamah, 5-8, 178, Miami Southridge
Results: 4.63 40, 4.57 shuttle, 36.5’ PB, 35.6” VJ, 90.39 SPARQ
Breakdown: Has been one of Dade County’s top backs over the past two years.

RB: Krondis Larry, 5-6, 140, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 4.36 40, 4.55 shuttle, 28.5’ PB, 35.8” VJ, 81.30 SPARQ
Breakdown: Class 4A honorable mention all-state pick ran for 802 yards and 13 TDs this fall and clocked event’s fastest 40 time.

RB: Mardre London, 6-1, 197, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
Results: 4.61 40, 4.62 shuttle, 36.5’ PB, 32.3” VJ, 88.65 SPARQ
Breakdown: London saw sizable action behind Fred Coppet this fall and is in line for a big senior year this season.

WR: Jake McCrary, 6-0, 171, Miami Coral Reef
Results: 4.51 40, 4.47 shuttle, 32’ PB, 34.0” VJ, 86.43 SPARQ
Breakdown: McCrary looked to be back to full health after missing games this fall with a knee injury; has close to 20 offers so far.

WR: Isaiah McKenzie, 5-8, 160, Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage
Results: 4.56 40, 4.54 shuttle, 35’ PB, 36.0” VJ, 87.84 SPARQ
Breakdown: Showed great speed and is coming off of huge junior season in which he had 30 catches for 832 yards and 18 touchdowns.

WR: Lamar Parker, 5-8, 152, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 4.44 40, 4.25 shuttle, 30’ PB, 32.0” VJ, 87.24 SPARQ
Breakdown: Miami and FSU are amongst early offers for Parker, who helped the Tornadoes to a 4A state title this fall.

WR: JoJo Robinson, 6-0, 174, Miami Northwestern
Results: 4.41 40, 4.53 shuttle, 37.5’ PB, 32.0” VJ, 97.41 SPARQ
Breakdown: FSU commit put up the day’s top SPARQ Rating.

OL: Kai Absheer, 6-5, 296, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
Results: 5.47 40, 5.07 shuttle, 38.5’ PB, 22.6” VJ, 70.50 SPARQ
Breakdown: Athletic big man posted top SPARQ Rating for all OL and should draw his share of looks in the future.

OL: Trevor Darling, 6-4, 307, Miami Central
Results: 5.82 40, 5.40 shuttle, 40’ PB, 19.9” VJ, 66.96 SPARQ
Breakdown: Miami commit had event’s second-best power ball toss.

OL: Ben Tirolia (’15), 6-2, 264, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 5.14 40, 4.84 shuttle, 38’ PB, 19.1” VJ, 65.34 SPARQ
Breakdown: Sophomore starter for state champion has a great future ahead of himself.

OL: Reginald Bain, 6-4, 251, Miami Central
Results: 5.32 40, 4.82 shuttle, 35’ PB, 25.3” VJ, 63.63 SPARQ
Breakdown: Starter on 6A title team at Miami Central possesses great frame and athletic ability.

ATH: Treon Harris, 5-11, 181, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 4.48 40, 4.31 shuttle, 34’ PB, 30.4” VJ, 92.61 SPARQ
Breakdown: A Class 4A all-state pick at QB this fall, Harris earned the first invite to The Opening.

ATH: Marcelis Logan, 5-8 , 170, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic
Results: 4.53 40, 4.44 shuttle, 34.5’ PB, 36.5” VJ, 94.26 SPARQ
Breakdown: Son of former NFL RB Marc Logan scored eight TDs as a junior and posted event’s fourth-best SPARQ Rating.

DEFENSE

DL: Keyon Brown, 6-3, 235, Wauchula (Fla.) Hardee County
Results: 4.88 40, 4.47 shuttle, 33’ PB, 34.4” VJ, 90.39 SPARQ
Breakdown: As physically put-together as any player at the event, Brown ranks amongst state’s top DE prospects.

DL: Anthony Moten, 6-4, 279, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
Results: 5.19 40, 5.03 shuttle, 42’ PB, 28.6” VJ, 91.68 SPARQ
Breakdown: Miami, FSU, Ohio State are among early offers for Moten, a Class 7A honorable mention all-state pick this fall.

DE/LB: Michael Smith, 6-2, 196, Miami Northwestern
Results: 4.86 40, 4.53 shuttle, 33’ PB, 30.2” VJ, 72.66 SPARQ
Breakdown: Was third team 6A all-state at DE for Northwestern this fall but could convert to outside linebacker in college.

LB: Kevin Bronson, 6-3, 231, Delray Beach (Fla.) Village Academy
Results: 4.78 40, 4.57 shuttle, 40’ PB, 31.1” VJ, 96.24 SPARQ
Breakdown: Big and athletic rush end put up day’s second-best SPARQ Rating and wants to play LB in college.

LB: Juwuan Brown, 6-2, 203, Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson
Results: 4.82 40, 4.60 shuttle, 36’ PB, 35.6” VJ, 86.76 SPARQ
Breakdown: Indiana is the first offer for Brown, more should be coming shortly for athletic ‘backer.

DB: Marques Gayot, 6-1, 197, Lake Worth (Fla.) Park Vista
Results: 4.65 40, 4.62 shuttle, 32’ PB, 30.6” VJ, 76.65 SPARQ
Breakdown: Physical hitter on film, ran well Saturday, was Class 8A all-state pick this fall.

DB: Jaquan Johnson (’15), 5-10, 169, Miami Killian
Results: 4.68 40, 4.38 shuttle, 33.5’ PB, 31.9” VJ, 81.54 SPARQ
Breakdown: Johnson was a Class 8A all-state pick this fall and already has Florida and Florida State offers as a rising junior.

DB: Nigel Patten, 5-9, 170, Miami Booker T. Washington
Results: 4.61 40, 4.44 shuttle, 29.5’ PB, 31.8” VJ, 74.34 SPARQ
Breakdown: Class 4A second team all-state pick this fall has an FSU offer.

DB: Andrew Soroh, 6-0, 189, Hialeah (Fla.) American
Results: 4.63 40, 4.37 shuttle, 36.5’ PB, 31.9” VJ, 93.27 SPARQ
Breakdown: Missed most of junior year with shoulder injury but is healthy now and worth a look.

ATH: Trayone Gray, 6-2, 194, Miami Carol City
Results: 4.66 40, 4.69 shuttle, 37’ PB, 32.1” VJ, 85.23 SPARQ
Breakdown: Ready to takeover as QB this fall for Chiefs but also recruitable as WR or safety due to size and athleticism.

McCrary decommits from Florida State 

November, 15, 2012
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ESPN Watch List wide receiver Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef) has decided to remove himself from Florida State's 2014 commitment list.

The junior prospect has added a bunch of offers since his commitment to the Seminoles last July and now has options including Boise State, Clemson, Florida, Kansas State, LSU, Marshall, Ohio State and USF.

McCrary has not shut the door on Florida State, though. He says he will continue to continue considering the Seminoles as his recruitment progresses, but wanted to take a step back and reevaluate the situation.

With the removal of McCrary's name, FSU is down to six commitments for the class of 2014. C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade) and J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) are the lone wide receiver commitments in the class, although JoJo Robinson (Miami/Northwestern) could end up at the position as well.

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Earning and accepting commitments of underclassmen comes with a certain degree of risk.

Coaches know more often than not how they will fill out, where they can project and what to expect of these prospects by the time they are seniors. But still, a lot can happen in a year.

Florida State has six commitments in the 2014 class. And they all come from the state of Florida.


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Three USC commits on ESPN Watch List 

September, 27, 2012
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The three early commitments USC has locked up for the 2014 recruiting class figure to get their share of recognition the next two years, and their inclusion in the initial Class of 2014 ESPN Watch List on Thursday promised to be only the beginning.

Offensive linemen Toa Lobendahn (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood), Jordan Poland (La Jolla, Calif./Country Day School) and Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) -- whom all verbally committed to the Trojans before the start of their junior seasons -- represent USC in the first installment of next year's list.


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State landed a 2014 commitment Thursday during the middle session of the Jimbo Fisher Camp, but it wasn't from anyone in attendance.

Joseph Robinson (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern), better known as "Jojo," became the Seminoles' third commit for the class.

"I wanted to stay in Florida," Robinson said of his reasoning to commit. "I loved the atmosphere at Florida State. I love that program. I took a visit there and I loved it while I was there, and that is why I decided to commit."

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