NCF On The Trail: Joseph Paul

Top position classes: OL 

February, 20, 2014

With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
Not only did Alabama put together the best offensive line class in the 2014 cycle, but it's also one of the best in recent memory. The Crimson Tide inked early enrollee and five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe) and also got top-ranked junior college offensive tackle Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo). On the interior, the nation's top two centers, No. 168 overall Josh Casher (Mobile, Ala./Saint Paul’s Episcopal) and No. 190 J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge) signed, as did No. 3 guard Ross Pierschbacher (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls). A second guard in the class is three-star Montel McBride (Plant City, Fla./Plant City), who could also play nose tackle at the next level.

The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best offensive line class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

Sooners get pledge from four-star DT 

January, 31, 2014
In the final days before national signing day, Oklahoma is showing that it’s still a recruiting force.

The Sooners improved its class on Thursday evening, as four-star defensive tackle Courtney Garnett (New Orleans/St. Augustine) verbally committed to Bob Stoops and his staff. Garnett, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound run-stopper, became Oklahoma’s 23rd commit five days before national signing day.

What makes this even more of an interesting get for Oklahoma involves Garnett’s recent past. Garnett was committed to Red River rival Texas since June but decommitted earlier this month after defensive line coach Bo Davis left the Longhorns.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

January, 13, 2014
With a little more than three weeks until signing day, schools are now in the 11th hour of recruiting for 2014 targets. While some programs will try to land the big fish still uncommitted, other programs will try to make some commits have a change of heart just in time for the Feb. 5 signing day.

Texas picked up junior college tight end Blake Whiteley (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada/Arizona Western College), but the Longhorns losing three defensive lineman commitments proved to be the talk of last week. Oklahoma, however, managed to add two to its growing class and Kansas State and Texas Tech also got big-time commitments. Expect a lot more fireworks this week, as several athletes will take game-changing official visits.
Here are some of this past week’s highlights:

Biggest commitment: Few commits last week were bigger -- or arguably more shocking -- than ESPN 300 cornerback Nigel Bethel II (Miami/Booker T. Washington), who switched his pledge from Miami to Texas Tech. The 5-foot-9, 172-pound cornerback became the Red Raiders’ first ESPN 300 commit, and he’ll offer immediate help for Kliff Kingsbury’s secondary. Bethel, No. 233 in the ESPN 300 and the nation’s 19th-ranked cornerback, is a true cover corner, and in the Big 12, defenders of his caliber are always welcomed.

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Critical positions in Big 12 recruiting 

September, 3, 2013

What’s the most critical position in the Big 12? It depends on who you talk to. In a conference that rides its offensive reputation, some coaches are hoping to land players that will help them score points, while others are looking for the prospects to prevent points.

As official visits become finalized and uncommitted players get closer to announcing their commitments, here is a look at some of the most critical positions in recruiting for the Big 12 teams.

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Gators land commitment No. 11 

July, 24, 2013
The Florida Gators picked up commitment No. 11 on Wednesday night as offensive tackle Dontae Angus (Philadelphia/Martin Luther King) committed to the Gators.

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound tackle prospect chose Florida over offers from Rutgers, West Virginia and Purdue.

Martin Luther King head coach Ed Dunn said Florida was a school Angus had always dreamed about attending and a former Florida player, Sharrif Floyd, played a key role in his decision.

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Thursday’s commitments from ESPN 300 wide receiver Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas High) and brother D'Onta Foreman gave the Longhorns 21 commitments in 2014, leaving them just a few more spots to fill.
Here are a look at five positions of need that could help Texas put a bow on this class.

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Productive summer camp renews Gators 

June, 17, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Gators fans grumbled through a disappointing month of May, suffering through a couple of decommitments as Florida's 2014 class dropped in ESPN's rankings from No. 2 to No. 10.

But after a week-long summer camp loaded with talent and chocked with big-name visits, UF has firmly regained recruiting momentum and the faith of those frustrated fans.

The first day of the camp set the tone as the Gators got a commitment from ESPN 150 athlete J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) less than a week after he decommitted from FSU. Three days later, Florida landed a pledge from DE Taven Bryan (Casper, Wyo./Natrona County).

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When Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/St. Augustine) went on Twitter on Friday to announce he was officially committing to Texas, he received the typical flood of congratulatory messages. One stood out among the rest.

“MAN... You shoulda went with LSU!!” Tyrann Mathieu wrote. “But thats a great school for DBs also! You sure you dont wanna go to LSU DBU???? Lol”

The ESPN Watch List cornerback expected that good-natured ribbing. Mathieu, the former LSU star corner and Heisman Trophy finalist, has developed a real bond with Roberts and become a mentor for Texas’ newest commit.

“Oh, that was cool. Real cool,” Roberts said of the tweet. “We talk every day. He’s like another brother to me. He calls me and I call him anytime I want to talk.”

They share more in common than just their Louisiana roots. In fact, it’s easy to see why Mathieu would gravitate toward Roberts. Like the diminutive “Honey Badger,” Roberts is used to his 5-foot-10, 170-pound frame leading some to underestimate his game. He’s glad the Longhorns recognized his potential early on in his recruitment.

“I consider myself like Tyrann Mathieu," Roberts said. "I watched him and wanted to play like him. I came up wanting to be like him. I want to bring to the Texas defense what Tyrann Mathieu brought to LSU, and we’re going to be on the rise.”

(Read full post)

The future of the Longhorns’ defensive front got a big boost over the past few days with the commitment of three defensive linemen.

A fourth could be on the way, judging from what one out-of-state defensive tackle had to say after his weekend visit to Texas.

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Weekly commitment update 

March, 22, 2013
Trip McNeil OT Mocksville, N.C./Davie County
HT: 6-foot-5 WT: 290 pounds

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Paul commit No. 7 for Florida

March, 19, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators picked up commitment No. 7 on Monday night as offensive guard Joseph Paul (New Orleans, La./Saint Augustine) gave his pledge to Florida head coach Will Muschamp.

Paul chose Florida over offers from Oklahoma, Florida State, Texas and Texas A&M.

The 6-foot-4, 340-pound interior lineman said he just felt at home when he visted Florida this past weekend.

"I prayed and I asked God to give me a sign and when I woke up this morning I was thinking about Florida and I took that as my sign," Paul said. "I felt real good when I went there -- it felt like home."

Paul said that Muschamp was excited to learn of his commitment to the Gators.

"He was real excited," Paul said. "He was happy for me to be apart of the program. He told me that there was a big opportunity when I get there. He was just real excited for me to get there."

Being from New Orleans, Florida fans might be concerned that LSU might make a push, but Paul said Gators fans need not worry.

"If LSU offered, that wouldn't change my mind," Paul said. "My father taught me to be a man of my word and to stick to my word and that's what I'm going to do. I gave Florida my word and that's where I'm going to go."

So what kind of player can Florida fans expect from the massive lineman?

"They are going to get a player that works hard," he said. "A guy that's going to the best he can do to help that team win. If the opportunity comes for me to play early then I'm going to work my tail off and do the best I can in everything and strive to be the best I can be with everything I do."

Paul joins offensive guard Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines) and Benjamin Knox (DeLand, Fla./DeLand) as Florida offensive line commits.