NCF On The Trail: Mark Andrews

Top overall position classes in 2014 

February, 21, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at which programs compiled the nation's best overall position classes in 2014. For the full top position classes series, click here.

Quarterbacks: Florida
The Florida Gators had a major need at quarterback in the Class of 2014, and Will Muschamp and staff more than filled it, signing two of the nation’s top signal-callers. Third-ranked dual-threat prospect Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day School) is already on campus and preparing for spring practice, while No. 7 dual-threat prospect Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) was a huge signing-day flip from Florida State. Both prospects are great athletes who are accustomed to operating up-tempo offenses. This should also help newly hired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who will install a similar scheme in Gainesville.

Top position classes: TEs 

February, 13, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and Big 12)
Oklahoma addressed many needs with its top-15 recruiting class, and that certainly includes the tight end position. Coach Bob Stoops and his staff signed a trio of tight ends, including ESPN 300s No. 277 Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union) and No. 295 Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain), as well as three-star junior college prospect Isaac Ijalana (Mount Holly, N.J./Pierce College). All three players have terrific size of at least 6-foot-5, and Meier and Andrews possess the frame to add mass and strength. Meier has good initial burst and above-average ball skills, while Andrews has excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to beat linebackers and safeties with regularity.

The Sooners had the nation’s best tight end class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:


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Recruit and return: Oklahoma Sooners 

January, 3, 2014
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Oklahoma did what many thought couldn’t be done -- it shocked two-time defending BCS champion Alabama and ended its 2013 season with a 45-31 victory in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Sooners, a two-touchdown underdog entering the game, finished the year with an 11-2 record and left the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with one of the biggest wins in the program’s history.

Recruiting season has now hit Norman, and the Sooners hope to build off this win to find stars in the 2014 class. There are a couple of voids to fill from this year’s squad.


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Everything played out perfectly for Oklahoma this weekend.

The Sooners outlasted previously unbeaten Texas Tech, 38-30, in a game that involved a bit of everything. And they did so with several of their top targets on hand, including one surprise ESPN 300 member.

That surprise recruit was Baylor wide receiver commit K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), who traveled north to watch the game.

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Most important targets: Big 12 

October, 22, 2013
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Not surprisingly, Big 12 programs have filled their rosters with ESPN 300 recruits. But, as we’ve come to learn, success on the field doesn’t always come down to how many stars you acquire each recruiting cycle. It’s about filling needs with the types of players coveted by that particular program.

Here is a look at the most important target for each Big 12 school, which features some highly ranked recruits and other recruits with no ranking at all.


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OU-Texas: 2014 recruiting tale of the tape 

October, 10, 2013
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When the Red River Rivalry is played, records are thrown out the window. When the game’s over, some love looking into the future to play “what if” with the next batch of talented college players.

While both teams have some room to land uncommitted recruits, both are pretty happy with where they are currently. Texas has 24 commits, and Oklahoma has 14, and when comparing ESPN 300 athletes, Texas only has a 7-5 lead.

Which team has the Red River Rivalry recruiting edge this year? Here’s a breakdown of eight positions and which team holds the edge for now.

Quarterback

Perhaps the most competitive comparison between the schools is at quarterback. ESPN 300s Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) and Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) are the nation’s No. 4 and No. 5 dual-threat quarterbacks. Hansen is the Sooners’ top-ranked commit and has proven himself a first-class leader of the class. Heard already has one state championship ring, and he’s hoping for a repeat performance in December before arriving at the Forty Acres.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Dallis Todd
Erik McKinney/ESPNOklahoma will get 6-foot-5 playmaker Daliis Todd in its 2014 class.
Running back

There are high expectations for both ESPN 300 Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) and Donald "Duke" Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower). Perine is a physical specimen with the combination of power and finesse at 6-foot and 213 pounds. Catalon, at 5-10 and 193 pounds, has the agility and overall balance to make him a potential every-down back. Texas also has three-star Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton), a player who plays with a chip on his shoulder, looking to show that he should be mentioned with the elite talent.

Advantage: Texas

Wide receiver

Neither Texas nor Oklahoma will be complaining about their receiver crop. The Longhorns have an ESPN 300 player in Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City), a rising star in Emanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln) and a player in Garrett Gray (Marble Falls, Texas/Marble Falls) who caught 13 passes for 293 yards and five touchdowns in a game last year. Oklahoma has size and athleticism in 6-5, 210-pound ESPN 300 receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and a 6-7, 180-pound end zone threat in Jeffery Mead (Tulsa, Okla/Union)

Advantage: Texas

Tight end

Oklahoma has done well with recruiting tight ends and was able to land ESPN 300 players Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union) and Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain). Meier is the No. 5 Y-tight end in the country, while Andrews is the No. 8 H-tight end. Texas also has a good one in junior college pledge John Thomas (Bossier City, La./Trinity Valley Community College). At 6-6 and 255 pounds, Thomas can be used as both a reliable blocker and receiver.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Offensive line

It’s hard to believe that between the two schools, only three offensive linemen are committed.

Sooners commit Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy) is considered one of the nation’s top centers, and guard Jonathan Alvarez (Mesquite, Texas/Horn), with his work ethic alone, will surprise a lot of people in a couple of years. Texas, like Oklahoma, has a four-star center committed in Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper). Cuney is a player who might see immediate playing time as a freshman.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive line


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ASU game could boost USC recruiting 

September, 25, 2013
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This weekend’s battle in the desert between USC and Arizona State will not only carry massive implications in the Pac-12 South, but it might also serve as a grand opportunity for the Trojans to boost their recruiting efforts there.

One prospect who will be watching USC with “very high” interest is ESPN 300 outside linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito), who committed to the Trojans at The Opening in July but has since scheduled an official visit to Arizona State for the weekend of Oct. 18. The outcome of Saturday night’s duel will not be an ultimate deciding factor, though a good showing is important nonetheless.

“It’s about the school,” said Calhoun’s father, Derik. “ASU has been on him daily.”

Many other recruits will be watching the primetime showdown, including ESPN 300 offensive tackle Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), a former USC commit who re-opened his recruitment in April. Tucker will not be in Tempe but will be paying close attention as two of his top schools go head to head.

The final score will carry little importance in his overall thought process, yet Tucker will be analyzing what in-game adjustments are made and how depth charts compare.

“It really depends on the coaching, school and opportunity,” said Tucker, the No. 1-rated player in the state and No. 38 overall in the nation.

Tucker’s high school teammate, ESPN 300 defensive end Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), also has the Trojans and Sun Devils in his top five. He unofficially visited Texas A&M, where his father played football, for the Aggies’ game against Alabama earlier this month and intends to take a trip to USC after the season.

The game might also affect how some Class of 2015 prospects view both programs as the recruiting process unfolds. ESPN Junior 300 receiver Christian Kirk (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro), who is rated No. 1 in the state for the 2015 class and was one of only five underclassmen to attend The Opening, will keep a close eye on the game even though he will not be at Sun Devil Stadium.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Da'Shawn Hand changing his visit schedule up is good news for Wolverine fans and bad news for Alabama fans; Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M fans can see big pieces of their 2014 recruiting classes on television Friday night; and one of the top juco recruits in last year’s class is going to redshirt at Kansas.

Looking good for the Wolverines
Five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) was set to visit Florida on Oct. 4 for its game against Arkansas and Alabama on Nov. 8 for its game against LSU with national title implications on the line. However, the SAT is on Oct. 5, causing Hand to alter his schedule. Hand is still ironing out the final details, but it looks like he will visit Alabama on Oct. 25 when its hosts Tennessee, and he'll trip to Florida on Nov. 8 when the Gators host Vanderbilt. He’s already taken a visit to Michigan and will announce his decision on Nov. 14. The Wolverines have been his leader for quite some time with Florida and then Alabama next in line. Some observers have long-worried what a visit to Alabama for what could be the game of the year would do to Hand’s process. But a college coach close to the situation believes the change now gives Michigan a major edge and puts Bama clearly third in the pack. “I would say this puts it at about 80 percent for Michigan,” the coach said. “The biggest question left is whether or not Florida can wow him enough right before his announcement to get him to change his mind.”

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

September, 9, 2013
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The talk of the Big 12 circled around the meltdown of the Texas defense, which ultimately led to the dismissal of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. While that went on, Baylor put up 70 points and a school-record 781 total yards against Buffalo, and Oklahoma topped West Virginia in the only interconference battle of the week.

While Big 12 teams had their storylines, a few conference recruiting targets also managed to make headlines. Here are some of the highlights from the weekend.


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Oklahoma’s ability to span the country for recruits, particularly on the West Coast, has been on full display.

First it was ESPN 300 wide receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, CA/La Mirada), who committed on April 15. Earlier this month ESPN 300 tight end Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, AZ/Desert Mountain) gave his verbal pledge to the Sooners.

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Sooners' recruiting roundup

August, 16, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla.--Reestablishing Oklahoma as one of the nation’s most talented squads was one of the priorities for Bob Stoops during the offseason. Don’t believe it? Stoops brought in three coaches known for their recruiting prowess in tight ends coach Jay Boulware, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery.

The Sooners are off to a decent start as they look to put together a Top 25 group in the Class of 2014. OU, which currently sits at No. 20 in ESPN.com’s team class rankings, has 12 current commitments including five members of the ESPN300.

Here’s a closer look at the Sooners’ remaining needs, top current commits and key visit dates as the season approaches.

Remaining needs: Although the Sooners have commitments from Troy (Ohio) center Alex Dalton and Irving (Texas) Ranchview defensive tackle Brandon Glenn, the Sooners still have a lot of work to do to land some game changers in the trenches.

They’ve missed out on several offensive prospects, particularly TCU commit Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline), forcing the Sooners to go back to the drawing board at that position. But some key names remain on the wish list along the defensive front. OU would love to land Coppell (Texas) defensive end Solomon Thomas, No. 31 in the ESPN300, and the standout prospect has visited Norman several times.

Linebacker is also a position of need, despite the positive early signs from 2013 signees Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans. A pair of ESPN300 linebackers from the West Coast, Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra’s Dwight Williams and Los Angeles Salesian’s Jamardre Cobb, would be a dream duo for OU.

Headliners: Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen leads the way as the Sooners’ top ranked signee, ranked No. 97 in the ESPN300. He brings excellent size, intangibles and dual threat skills to the backfield. He’ll be surrounded by talented ESPN300 receiving targets when he arrives on campus with La Mirada (Calif.) receiver Dallis Todd, Tulsa (Okla.) Union tight end Carson Meier and Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain receiver/tight end Mark Andrews sitting next to him on OU’s commitment list.

Key remaining targets: If the Sooners don’t land Jenks (Okla.) safety Steven Parker, it will be a major blow to OU’s recruiting efforts. Parker has visited Norman several times and has developed a solid relationship with defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.

Fresno (Calif.) Central East athlete Michiah Quick, No. 43 on the ESPN300, has two former teammates (Hatari Byrd, L.J. Moore) in the Sooners program and family living in Oklahoma. If the Sooners put on the full court press with him, and Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back Joe Mixon, they could continue their California pipeline started in recent years.

Key date: Several top recruits, including Quick and Mixon, will be in Norman on Oct. 4 when the Sooners face TCU. It will be critical for the Sooners to knock their socks off during their visits and cap it off with a victory over the Horned Frogs if they hope to secure their signatures.

Big 12 class rankings analysis 

August, 14, 2013
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With the help of ESPN 300 prospects announcing their verbal commitments, two Big 12 schools saw a slight rise in the latest ESPN class rankings. Because of one Big 12 school’s rise, another Big 12 school took a slight fall in the rankings. Here’s a closer look at the rankings as it pertains to the conference.

Trending up: Oklahoma State saw the biggest rise of the conference -- and of the nation -- by jumping from No. 33 to No. 28. Only Oklahoma State and Florida saw ranking spikes of that caliber during the week. The Cowboys’ success stemmed from landing ESPN 300 CB Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor) and three-star WR and high school teammate Keenen Brown. Both committed on Aug. 11. Hardeman, a former LSU commit, is a top-25 cornerback nationally, and Brown, at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, can be used as a reliable outside threat in Mike Gundy’s potent offense.


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It’s been a big week for the Red River rivals as they’ve each hosted a top 2015 recruit on an unofficial visit. Those recruits as well as TCU’s continued ability to recruit top-end defensive talent are some of the top storylines around the Big 12 this week.

Longhorns host top 2015 DB

When the Longhorns hosted several of their top targets on July 27 for their inaugural Texas Stampede, they were keeping their fingers crossed that ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Kendall Sheffield (Fort Bend, Texas/Marshall) would be in attendance.

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Big 12 class rankings analysis 

August, 7, 2013
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There wasn’t much movement in the updated ESPN class rankings by Big 12 teams. The biggest jump came from Oklahoma, which only moved up one spot. Here is a closer look at the rankings as it pertains to the conference.

Trending up: Oklahoma only jumped one spot, to No. 21, in the class rankings. It’s a significant move because of what caused the jump. It happened because of ESPN 300 TE Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain), who committed on Friday. He became the second ESPN 300 TE/wide receiver from the West Coast to join the Sooners’ class and the fourth overall. Oklahoma started off quietly but has really amassed an impressive group of offensive skill players, which includes Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Edmond Santa Fe), the No. 4 dual-threat QB in the country.

Trending down: Kansas has the fewest commitments of any school in the conference at seven. The Jayhawks’ last verbal pledge came on July 24 from Tyler Patrick (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands), who is the No. 126 athlete overall. Many of the Jayhawks’ targets could be waiting to see how they start the season. They shouldn’t have much trouble getting by their first three games (home vs. South Dakota, at Rice, and home against Louisiana Tech) but the conference play could be tough if KU doesn’t pull out a victory at home against Texas Tech on Oct. 5.

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Mark AndrewsErik McKinney/ESPNMark Andrews is the No. 8 tight end in the ESPN 300, but he wants to play wide receiver.
Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) knew that for whatever school he committed to, it would be as a wide receiver.

Friday, the ESPN 300 tight end found a match in Oklahoma, where Bob Stoops and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell have recruited him as a pure pass catcher from the very beginning. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Andrews announced on Twitter his commitment to Oklahoma, becoming the 12th member of the Sooners' 2014 class.

It was always wide receiver for Andrews and Oklahoma, and during this trip, he got a taste of how that would play out.

"I got a really good sense today of where exactly they see me fitting in," Andrews said. "Throughout the process they never said tight end. I was always dealing with coach Norvell, who is an amazing guy and coach.

"I am going as a wide receiver, 100 percent. They see me going up for jump balls, being a deep threat and being about to high-point the ball. They want me to create mismatches against a smaller cornerback or motion inside to utilize my speed to create a mismatch against a linebacker."

Andrews said he went on this most recent visit to Oklahoma with a plan in mind. If it felt right, his recruiting process would be finished. And that's exactly how it played out.

"I was really going to see the atmosphere and that type of thing," he said. "That would determine if I was going to commit. But I felt right at home again, and I know it's the right place, so I pulled the trigger."

Andrews' older brother attends Oklahoma, and the big receiver said the whole family was excited about the news.

"He's ecstatic," Andrews said. "My whole family growing up were huge Sooners fans, so they couldn't be happier for me. He's going to love being able to see me more often, and having family there is definitely a plus."

Andrews is the third receiver commitment hauled in by Oklahoma for the 2014 class, and it doesn't take long to realize that Andrews will be heading to Norman along with another big receiver from the West region in 6-foot-5, 210-pound Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada).

"He's been texting me, and I've been fortunate enough to build a relationship with him," Andrews said of Todd. "He's a great kid and a great player. Putting us on opposite sides or together on the same side could be a nightmare for any defense to cover. We have a big future ahead of us playing together. It's definitely something I've thought about."

Andrews said he is 100 percent committed to Oklahoma, and that will be his lone official visit this fall. He is still working out a date for that trip. As a junior, Andrews caught 81 passes for 1,494 yards and 21 touchdowns.

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