NCF On The Trail: Joseph Yearby

Biggest flips: ACC 

February, 3, 2014
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With prospects making commitments earlier than ever, naturally there are second thoughts before signing day. That leads to a number of recruits decommitting and flipping to another school.

Here is a look at five of the biggest flips in the ACC in the 2014 recruiting class.

SEC recruiting storylines: Dec. 19 

December, 19, 2013
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Here are five things to watch over the holidays in the SEC:

Fournette set to announce

The nation’s top ranked prospect, running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), is scheduled to announce his decision during the Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2, which will be on ESPN at 4 p.m. ET. Fournette has made official visits to Texas, LSU and Alabama.

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ACC signing day storylines 

December, 17, 2013
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Signing day and Feb. 5 still might feel far away (50 days away to be exact), but for coaches the sense of urgency has officially set in. The offseason dead period was extended and began Sunday. It will last a month into mid-January, leaving coaches with only a few weekends left to host recruits on campus visits and meet prospects and their families inside their homes.

So with signing day closer than it appears in college football’s mirrors, here are 10 storylines in the ACC to watch between now and Feb. 5.

1. Who will sign the ACC’s top class?


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Early Offer: All eyes on Austin 

December, 16, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Texas doesn’t need to rush to make a hire, but it also can’t take forever; five-star running back Dalvin Cook says he’s 100 percent committed to Florida but will make a final decision in little more than two weeks; and Kansas State and Texas Tech added several big pieces this weekend from the junior college ranks.


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Dalvin Cook shutting down recruitment 

December, 14, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida running back commit Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central) has remained open in his recruitment, but the No. 20 player in the ESPN 300 is ready to shut down the process.

Cook, who rushed for 223 yards and four touchdowns in Central’s 52-7 win in the FHSAA Class 6A state championship game on Saturday afternoon, said the messages he continues to hear from coaches are all starting to sound the same.


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ACC recruiting storylines: Dec. 6 

December, 6, 2013
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Two ACC schools lead the way for Florida commitment Dalvin Cook. And more prospects begin to set up their official visits as national signing day nears for the Class of 2014.


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Under Armour game storylines: ACC 

December, 5, 2013
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The rosters are set, plane tickets purchased and coaching staffs assembled. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is less than a month away.

Deshaun Watson
Courtesy of IntersportDeshaun Watson could be the starter from Day 1 at Clemson.
With nearly all of the country’s elite prospects all together, there are bountiful storylines leading up to and during the Jan. 2 game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Here are five for ACC fans:

1. Will Deshaun Watson follow the footsteps of Jameis Winston and Christian Hackenberg? Both Winston and Hackenberg were the No. 1 quarterbacks in their respective classes and played in the Under Armour Game. Both then went on to have great freshman seasons (Winston after a redshirt year) and have their teams in position to make waves on a national level the next few seasons. Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) is the No. 1 quarterback for 2014 and will enter a similar situation to Hackenberg’s. Clemson will have an opening at quarterback in 2014, and Watson will enroll at Clemson following the game. He will have to beat out 2012 Under Armour All-American Chad Kelly, but there is a legitimate chance Watson could be the starter from Day 1 for the Tigers. He is that good.


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Early Offer: Difficult dilemma for U-M 

November, 27, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: A five-star Michigan commit said Tuesday the equivalent of "I think we should start seeing other people,” and Miami could be in position to flip one of the nation’s top running backs.


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#AskLoogs: Impact of South Florida RBs

November, 5, 2013
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) and Joseph Yearby (Miami/Miami Central) are actually very similar in both style and talent, which is why they are so close in the ESPN 300 rankings. Michel gets the edge with slightly more size and lower-body power, but has also had more of a history of being dinged up, which is a bit concerning.

The reason why these two are so similar is because they look very much alike in how they run the ball — low to the ground with sudden lateral agility and explosive second gears once they get to the second level.

Dalvin Cook (Miami/Miami Central) is a different type of guy, though. The more we study him, the higher ceiling we believe he has. He reminds us of last year’s Dontre Wilson, now at Ohio State. We make this comparison because Cook is such a dynamic athlete that he could easily be recruited as a receiver or corner, which is what makes him so attractive. This gives coaches options with Cook. He possesses just about every desirable trait you look for in a running back, including ball skills.

As to who makes the biggest impact, that is impossible to determine at this point. So much of that answer is dependent upon who makes the right choices in school, scheme and taking advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. I do honestly feel all three are capable of making an impact, and early. Dare I say we like Yearby more than Duke Johnson coming out? Yes, we do.

Top-5 running backs comparisons 

October, 31, 2013
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As each and every new evaluation period begins for our staff, we always try and use today’s college football stars and apply some of their best traits when describing the next generation of prospects. All prospects are different from one another, but many share similar characteristics that stand out in relation to their styles. We begin this series taking a look at the top-5 running backs in this class and which college players they remind us of at this time.


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UA Game jersey tour: Ermon Lane

October, 13, 2013
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Senior wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead High) was presented his honorary game jersey on Friday during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event at his school was part of a three-month selection tour.

Lane, a Florida commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised competition 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 of all I want to thank God, my family, my teammates, my coaches and all the people that have been there since Day 1," Lane said. "You know, all this hard work is paying off, and I'm just glad to be selected to play in the All-American game."

Homestead High coach Larry Coffey said Lane's love for competition stands out, and is among the reasons his star player is in position to play in the Under Armour All-America Game.

"I think he's played football for quite a long time growing up as a kid, and he's got a strong football background and he just loves to compete. That puts him in position to do the kinds of things that he's done, to be in a position that he's in right now … as well as being recognized as the No. 1 receiver in the country and having the opportunity to go to Florida or basically any place in the country he wants."

Lane decided on the Under Armour All-America game because of friends, future teammates and the ability to play on the big stage on ESPN.

" … I wanted to play with the guys that I knew. Chad Thomas, Joseph Yearby, and Dalvin Cook told me they were going to accept it, so I did the same since I'm going to college with some of those players. At the end of the day, I'm excited to showcase my talent to the world on the big stage because I know a lot of people are going to be watching the Under Armour All-America Game."

The 6-foot-2, 196-pound Lane is the No. 28 ranked prospect overall, and the No. 2 wide receiver in the class. Lane committed to Florida over offers from Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Alabama, Auburn and a number of others.

UA Game jersey tour: Trevor Darling

October, 11, 2013
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Joseph Yearby, Dalvin Cook, Trevor DarlingStudent Sports, ESPNThe Miami Central trio of Joseph Yearby, Dalvin Cook and Trevor Darling. All three were selected to play in the Under Armour All-America Game.

Senior offensive tackle Trevor Darling (Miami/Central) was presented his honorary game jersey Thursday at his school during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event was part of a three-month selection tour.

Darling, a Miami (Fla.) commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised game featuring the country’s top high school seniors. The game will be played at 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

"I want to start off by thanking God for giving the abilities to do what I got to do," Darling said. "I want to thank my parents for pushing me, the administrators staff, my coaches and everybody that keeps me going."

Miami Central coach Roland Smith says it's a combination of size and athleticism that sets Darling apart.

"Not only is Trevor a big kid, but he's a very athletic big kid that can run, can move. ... His athletic ability for a guy 6-6 or 6-5, 300-plus pounds that can move the way he can move is very exciting."

For Darling, playing in the Under Armour All-America Game live on ESPN with two of his Central High teammates -- running backs Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook -- is an exciting honor.

"What made me make my decision was Under Armour is a great company, and it was the game I always wanted to play in. Playing on ESPN is going to be a great feeling, and going against the competition on live TV is a big stage, and I'm looking forward to it. What motivates me to do well is my love for the game. Football is something that I really like to do. I'm really excited to be with some of my teammates at the Under Armour All-America Game and compete against the best talent in America."

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Darling is the No. 130 ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 10 offensive tackle in the class. He committed to Miami over offers and interest from several ACC and SEC programs.

UA Game jersey tour: Joseph Yearby

October, 11, 2013
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Senior running back Joseph Yearby (Miami/Central) was presented his honorary game jersey Thursday at his school during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event was part of a three-month selection tour.

[+] EnlargeJoseph Yearby
Tom Hauck for Student SportsJoseph Yearby is ranked No. 21 in the ESPN 300.
Yearby, a Miami (Fla.) commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised game featuring the country’s top high school seniors. The game will be played at 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

"First off, I want to thank God because without God all of this wouldn't be possible," Yearby said. "I would like to thank my momma, my brother, the coaches, the principal and staff for pushing me …everybody that stands behind me. I want to thank y'all."

Miami Central coach Roland Smith says his running back is blessed with a special skill set.

"What makes Joe a special player is his vision, quickness and toughness. He's a kid that's a 5-9 kid, but a 185-190-pound kid that runs the ball really well in between the tackles. He has the quickest feet I have seen since Barry Sanders, and if he continues to work real hard he's going to have a bright future."

Accepting the invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game took roughly one second.

"What made me accept this invitation was all the familiar players that played in the game and made it. When I got the letter, I almost cried, really. I just accepted it then and there. The thing I'm most excited about is just being invited to the Under Armour All-America Game. Getting recognized, playing in it, and being on the roster is a great honor. This game goes down in history, so it will be an amazing feeling looking back and seeing my name in the book that I played in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game," Yearby said.

The 5-foot-9, 191-pound Yearby is the No. 21 ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 3 running back in the class. He committed to Miami over offers from Florida State, Alabama, USC and several others.

ACC class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the ACC, check out our conference rankings:

1. Florida State, 24 commits: The Seminoles have the top class in the ACC and the No. 2 class nationally. The class includes 10 ESPN300 prospects, including a trio of linebackers Kain Duab (Jackonsville, Fla./Sandalwood High), Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby High) and Delvin Purifoy (Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola Catholic High). The Semionles could close with a bang with up to 31 or 32 possible in the class. No. 6 Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra High), No. 13 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen High), No. 22 Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara High), No. 28 and Florida commit Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead High) and a number of others make up the wish list.

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ACC recruiting mailbag

October, 4, 2013
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Does Florida State land an elite receiver? What are Pittsburgh's chances with Jamil Kamara? And how has Miami recruited so well of late?

All this and more in this week's ACC recruiting mailbag.

@93warchant99 asks: How many out of Malone, Rudolph and Dupre do you think FSU gets, if any?

Dowlar: It's so hard to pencil these guys into classes right now since there is a long way to go, but I could see Florida State grabbing one of these guys.

[+] EnlargeTravis Rudolph
Steve Dipaola/NikeOhio State, Alabama and Florida are in the picture to land Travis Rudolph, but don't count Florida State out.
Malone is going to be tough for them. I really think he's headed to Georgia right now, but visits and results can change things. Tennessee is a huge player for him, too. He'll visit Tennessee this weekend, already took an official to Georgia and then will finally head to Tallahassee on the weekend of Nov. 1.

Malachi Dupre is the longest shot of them all, to me. I think most people who follow recruiting realize how hard it is to get prospects from Louisiana away from LSU. And right now, the biggest competition appears to be UCLA. I would think he lands in Baton Rouge.

Travis Rudolph is the best chance of the three for you, I think. Ohio State, Alabama and Florida are absolutely in the picture, but the Seminoles have been trending up for a while now. Rudolph has taken one official so far, and that was to Columbus to see the Buckeyes.

Ross_Abbott11 asks: what is the chance that #Pitt gets Jamil Kamara?

Shanker: They still have to jump Virginia, but the Panthers should be happy with where they are at. Neither team looked good in last weekend’s game, but Pitt did pull out the win, and the Cavs’ offense was atrocious. I still think the Cavs lead here, but Pitt continues to impress Kamara. He won’t decide until January and Pitt will certainly get an official visit.

Wisconsin is potentially a team to look out for, and he recently said Penn State could be a factor now with the increase in scholarships. I still see it as a top two of Pitt and Virginia -- with the Cavs still holding the lead. There are too many ties to the UVa program to project him anywhere but Charlottesville -- for now.

@fenstythenole asks: Will Florida State get any of the five-star offensive line prospects they are in the running for?

Dowlar: Well, I don't know which rankings you're referencing, but there aren't any five-star offensive linemen FSU is in on, according to ESPN's rankings. I will assume, though, that you're probably talking about David Sharpe, Chad Mavety, Damian Prince and Roderick Johnson.

I think you can write off Sharpe now. I'm thinking he's headed to either Georgia or Florida. And Damian Prince no longer seems likely now. He'll probably end up at Maryland.

When talking about the other two, though, Florida State is in really good shape, especially with Johnson. There are a lot of factors going in the Seminoles' favor for him at the moment. Mavety is too close to call right now, but I have a feeling it is either going to be Florida State or Ohio State.

If FSU lands both of those guys, fans will have to feel really good about the incoming class up front.

@couloaksteelers asks: has Duke seen a bump in recruiting due to last year’s bowl game appearance?

Shanker: They don’t play bowl games in basketball so ... oh, this is a Duke football recruiting question?

Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe actually has taken full advantage and seized the opportunity set forth last winter when he coached Duke to a 6-7 record and an appearance in the Belk Bowl. From 2010-2013, the Blue Devils signed only one four-star prospect -- a placekicker. In the 2014 class alone, though, Duke has commitments from three four-star recruits including ESPN 300 Miami Coral Reef quarterback Nicodem Pierre. The Blue Devils have beat out the likes of NC State and UNC for a few in-state prospects as well.

Cutcliffe is also expanding Duke’s borders, breaking into Ohio for three commitments in the 2014 class. Cincinnati Sycamore linebacker Tinashe Bere and Columbus (Ohio) Bishop Hartley defensive back Alonzo Saxton committed to Duke over Big Ten offers.

@EricHoudini12 asks: FSU and UF used to whip Miami in South Florida recruiting. That has changed. Was it as simple as Al Golden?

Dowlar: No, I don't think so, but he's played a major role.

Even though Florida has made a larger impact down there this season, Florida State really hasn't and Miami has done very well. Why?

Well, take a look at your new offensive coordinator, James Coley. Miami's top-rated commitment, Joe Yearby, was once a Florida State commitment. Coley had a major, major impact there.

Move over to Booker T. Washington and guys like Chad Thomas and Nigel Bethel are Coley targets, too.

But the bottom line is there always has to be some kind of promise shown on the field. That's where Golden and his team come in to play. Sure, Miami's commitments mostly came before the win over Florida, but make no mistake about it, those pledges can be, and probably were, solidified because of it.

The short answer is that it is a lot of different moving parts pulling in the same direction at the moment. And it's working for them. Golden is helping to orchestrate it all.

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