NCF On The Trail: Kyler Murray

Tale of the tape: Stanford vs. Oregon 

October, 30, 2014
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While Stanford's trip to Oregon this weekend has lost some of its preseason luster, it's still a matchup of two Pac-12 North and recruiting powers.

ESPN 300: Five who could flip 

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
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The Class of 2015 has seen more than 35 prospects in the ESPN 300 flip or decommit during the cycle. As many as 30 more prospects in the ESPN 300 could flip between now and national signing day. With that possibility in mind, here are five to keep tabs on less than four months away from national signing day.


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The Texas A&M-Alabama game on Saturday is sure to be one of the top games in the country this weekend. The teams have had much success on the field since the Aggies joined the SEC, and that success has led to tremendous success in recruiting. This year is no different as both teams rank in the top four of the RecruitingNation class rankings. Here’s a closer look at how the schools match up in recruiting and who some of their remaining targets are.

Instant Impact recruit


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UA jersey tour: Christian Kirk

October, 9, 2014
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Christian Kirk is one of the top uncommitted prospects in the 2015 class. He has offers from across the nation and coaches clamoring for his services.

Kirk has everything from fans after him on Twitter, trying to convince him to pick their favorite school, to coaches flying helicopters with his number on it to come see him.

So far he has taken official visits to Texas A&M and Rice, but a few more schools will have the opportunity to wow Kirk on campus.

“I just scheduled UCLA for November 1 when they play Arizona. I scheduled Arizona State when they play Notre Dame on Nov. 8,” he said. “Hoping if it all plans out well, kind of have some conflict with the state championship game, USC against Notre Dame on Nov. 29. Those are the next three schools I’ll visit.”

Kirk is hoping to make his decision after he takes all his visits and after his season, potentially near the end of December.

The No. 36 ranked prospect in the country received his Under Armour All-America jersey on Thursday and while fans and coaches know who he is on the field, Kirk spoke a little about who he is off the field as well.

What one player are you looking forward to competing against?:

Obviously if I’m on the opposite team as him, being on the other side of Biggie [Iman Marshall] would be fun. That’s my boy and he loves to talk and I’m always giving it back to him especially when we’re together. If me and him are on different teams that would be fun.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?: I would have to go with a quarterback, so I would have to go with [Kyler Murray]. Give me that dual-threat, mess with the defense because he’s hard to scheme against.

What was your earliest football memory?: I started playing football when I was five years old and the last game of the season was the game that everybody got to play the position that they wanted to play. I played offensive line forever, so the coach let me go in at running back. My first carry I took it to the end zone and my dad was holding the markers. He ran all the way down the field with the marker and they had to tell him to come back.

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?: Edgerrin James because my dad is a die hard Colts fan and that’s all I knew growing up. I knew No. 32 was the best player on the Colts and I played running back most of my life so I idolized my game after him and always wanted to be like him.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport who would it be?: I’d take on Kobe. I’m a Kobe fan and I’ve seen videos here and there of him at camps playing against little kids and messing with them. I think it would be interesting and fun.

Why do you wear your number?: I wear No. 2 only because Edgerrin James is my favorite player and he wore 32 in the NFL. When I got to high school someone was already wearing 32, so I just dropped the 3 and wore No. 2.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?: Before each game I listen to the Batman: Dark Knight soundtrack; the whole thing. I just have it playing. I love the movie and I just love Batman as a character. Whenever he comes around people just stop and nobody wants to mess with him so it gets me in that mindset and gets me in my zone.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 23, 2014
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. There were several players who committed to SEC schools over the weekend, and Texas A&M lost a top commit. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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ESPN 300 Player of the Week: Sept. 22 

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
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Each week, RecruitingNation's scouts will highlight great performances from the nation's top recruits.

This week, our top performer is top QB-DT Kyler Murray. Check out his performance.


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#AskLoogs: Kyler Murray's measurables

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
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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.

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Very. In fact, the evolution of offensive football over the past five years has made ideal measurables in terms of height far more of a luxury than a necessity. Far more attention is being placed on the end result and scheme fits to mask and sometimes eliminate a lack of height. The shotgun, movement of the pocket, quarterback run game and an emphasis on timing and anticipation have provided the ideal environment for productive quarterback play for shorter prospects. With Kyler Murray it is all about production, and you could argue, there is no other quarterback in this class as productive as he is on the ground and through the air. He is a precision passer with timing and anticipation within the pocket to get the ball out of his hand, which also lets him see the field better. Keep in mind, when you have knowledge of where to go with the ball pre-snap and are able to quickly process post-snap to get the ball out, it doesn’t matter how tall you are. This is where Murray has an edge.
The chess-like nature of recruiting forces coaches to look years into the future, both to fill their own roster as well as take advantage of strengths and weaknesses of the upcoming high school classes. Despite the 2014 football season not kicking off for another few weeks, the 2015 Pac-12 recruiting classes are already filling up, which gives us the opportunity to look ahead and name the 2015 recruit who fills the biggest need for each program.


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After reviewing performances at The Opening last week, here are a few quick hits on how each Elite 11 quarterback performed:


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Five-star offensive tackle Tim Settle hasn't narrowed his list down yet, but he's not afraid to admit favorites when asked which school has the best food and the best looking girls. Plus, the final Elite 11 rankings featured quarterbacks going to Alabama, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC, Penn State and UCLA, but it also included some surprises.


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Elite 11: Day 1 notebook 

July, 6, 2014
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ESPN.com RecruitingNation reporters Jeremy Crabtree, Gerry Hamilton, Erik McKinney, Mitch Sherman and Tom VanHaaren are at Nike Headquarters this week for the Elite 11 finals. After Day 1 of the event, here are their impressions.

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Day 1 of the Elite 11 Finals didn't appear to do much in terms of creating separation between many of the 19 quarterbacks, as all are vying for MVP honors. Despite being put through several grueling military exercises the previous afternoon and well into the early morning hours, all of the quarterbacks came out firing during the Sunday morning session and, for the most part, carried it over throughout the afternoon session.

This group of finalists appears more athletic than ever. And it’s not just the dual-threat guys.

Pocket passers such as Josh Rosen, Ricky Town and Alex Malzone are by no means statues in the backfield. In many cases, they’re agile, reflecting the state of the college game, which has trended toward the dual-threat players.

This event has always showcased the classic quarterbacks, and no longer are the dual-threats subject to the run-first stereotype.

With nine in each category, this year might mark the first time the dual-threat quarterbacks actually enter with more star value than their pocket-passer counterparts.


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Manziel meets A&M's future QB

July, 6, 2014
Jul 6
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Texas A&M's past and future quarterbacks got together Sunday, as Heisman winner Johnny Manziel stopped by Elite 11 practices and posed for a picture with Kyler Murray, an Aggies commit and the nation's No. 1 signal-caller in the 2015 class.

 

Elite 11 Day One: Takeaways 

July, 6, 2014
Jul 6
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The 2014 Elite 11 officially got underway Sunday morning with a fast-paced two-hour workout split into three groups that included the 19 prospects and six camp counselors. The counselors included Baylor's Bryce Petty, Utah's Travis Wilson and Notre Dame's Everett Golson.

Here are 10 takeaways from the opening session.

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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Just when it looked like Oregon's efforts to land a quarterback for the 2015 class were lost, the Ducks rallied to land ESPN 300 prospect Travis Waller on Tuesday. The decision was a surprise to some, but Waller called Oregon his "dream school."

So what does Waller's decision do to fast-rising Sam Darnold, and what should Notre Dame do now after missing on Waller and others top 2015 quarterbacks?


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If you follow Texas A&M recruiting via social media, you've probably seen the hashtag by now.

#WRTS

Four letters that have become the rallying cry of Aggie recruits, coaches and fans alike. Their meaning? "We run this state."

That's the way the Aggies feel right now when it comes to the state of Texas A&M recruiting, and considering the recruiting prowess they've shown during the Kevin Sumlin era, and particularly this recruiting cycle, it's difficult to debate that point.

A state once ruled in recruiting by Texas and coach Mack Brown in the mid-2000s has seen the balance of power shift roughly 100 miles eastward to College Station, Texas. In the Longhorns' heyday, it seemed as if they could land any in-state prospect they wished and right now, it almost seems as if the Aggies are enjoying that fortune themselves.

This week has illustrated that to a certain extent. Thursday was a big day for the Aggies as they landed two prospects out of Texas high school football power Cedar Hill High School: ESPN 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge and outside linebacker Richard Moore.

Earlier this week, the Aggies also scored pledges from four-star offensive tackle Keaton Sutherland and three-star linebacker Landis Durham. That's not to mention that earlier this month, they landed four-star defensive tackle Kingsley Keke and last month received a commitment from ESPN 300 WR Kemah Siverand and perhaps their most impactful recruit of the cycle, five-star quarterback Kyler Murray.

Texas A&M is on quite the recruiting roll.

The Aggies' class, which is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN Recruiting Nation class rankings, holds 17 commitments, nine of whom are in the ESPN 300, and the class has 13 prospects with four-star-or-higher ratings. The Aggies hold commitments from the Lone Star State's No. 1 quarterback (Murray), receiver (Lodge), tight end (Jordan Davis) and defensive tackle (five-star prospect Daylon Mack).

Two of the state's top three players are committed to the Aggies and three of the top eight. And when it's all said and done, the Aggies could finish with four of the top five and five of the top 10 in Texas if their pursuit of cornerback Kendall Sheffield and linebacker Malik Jefferson falls their way. Neither has plans to announce his destination anytime soon, but the Aggies are strong players for both, and if that were to happen, the Aggies would lay claim to the state's top player at six different positions.


That would be a rough fate for the Aggies' chief recruiting rival (though no longer on-field rival) Texas and new coach Charlie Strong, who is already feeling the effects of A&M's success. But in reality, this isn't about Texas for the Aggies. It's about building a team and program that can compete and succeed long term in what many consider to be the country's toughest conference, the SEC.

With the Lone Star State being such fertile recruiting ground, the competition for talent will always be fierce. Whether it's Texas, a surging Baylor program that is reaching unprecedented success under Art Briles, a young, energetic, charismatic staff led by Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech, TCU's presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex or staving off out-of-state schools such as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and other national powers, it's impossible to get every prospect desired from the large pool of talent Texas provides. But snagging most of the desired prospects bodes well for the future.

Texas A&M must continue to produce on-field success this fall -- let's not forget, the Aggies' 20-6 run in their first two seasons as SEC members and the visibility provided by having a Heisman Trophy winner are significant factors why the Aggies are such an attractive option to recruits right now. And teenagers can be fickle, making recruiting an unpredictable roller coaster until pen meets paper on the first Wednesday in February.

But if the Aggies can hang on to the high-level prospects they've already gained pledges from and continue recruiting at their current pace, the effects could be felt well beyond the state's borders, throughout SEC country and across the nation in years to come.

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