NCF On The Trail: Marquel Combs

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.”

The Early Offer: Juco hits, misses 

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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: We take a look back at how the nation’s top three junior college players from the Class of 2013 have transitioned into their roles at Ole Miss, Nebraska and Kansas.


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Kansas signs large mid-year class 

December, 27, 2012
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Head coach Charlie Weis' Jayhawks have added 10 players during the early period, according to a release issued by the school's official site. Kansas addressed needs in the defensive and offensive lines, the secondary, and special teams.

Headlining the group is the No. 1-rated prospect in the ESPN JC 100, four-star defensive tackle Marquel Combs (Memphis, Tenn./Pierce College). ESPN JC 100 defensive end Chris Martin (Oakland, Calif./City College of San Francisco), formerly a top prep recruit; three-star defensive tackle Tedarian Johnson (Jackson, Miss./Hinds CC); and 2012 re-sign Ty McKinney (Weatherford, Texas/Trinity Valley CC) hope to strengthen a defense that allowed 36.1 points per game in 2012, 112th in the nation.

Guards Ahongalu Fusimalohi (Daly City, Calif./City College of San Francisco) and Michael Smithburg (Fairfield, Ia./Iowa Western CC) along with tackle Zach Fondal (Pasadena, Texas/Navarro College) will be counted upon to improve an offensive unit that ranked 118th in points for per game (18.3) during the 2012 season. Each player is considered a three-star prospect by ESPN.

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LOS ANGELES -- Beau Sandland, the No. 12 overall recruit in the ESPN Junior College 100, signed with Miami on Wednesday, choosing the Hurricanes over Arizona State and Nebraska.

Beau Sandland
Brandon Oliver/ESPN.comNo. 12 junior college prospect Beau Sandland signed with Miami on Tuesday.
"My family and I decided that I will be attending the University of Miami," Sandland said. "It really came down to Miami and Nebraska in the end, but I felt really comfortable with Coach (Al) Golden and all the other coaches."

In addition to his three finalists, the 6-foot-6, 250-pounder and No. 2 junior college tight end also visited Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Texas Tech.

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Weekly Commitment Roundup 

December, 14, 2012
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ACC
Duke
Dominic Zanca-McDonald OLB Altamonte Springs, Fla./Lake Brantley
HT: 6-1 WT: 240
Position Rank: #59 OLB

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Juco DT Marquel Combs picks Kansas

December, 12, 2012
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One of the most heavily-recruited junior college players in the country took himself off the uncommitted list Tuesday night, as defensive tackle Marquel Combs (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce) committed to the Kansas Jayhawks.

Combs, who is expected to be one of the top ranked junior college players in the nation when ESPN RecruitingNation releases its juco rankings next week, collected more than 50 offers during the recruiting process and was an early commitment to Mississippi before opening up his recruitment. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound tackle eventually narrowed his list of schools to rivals Kansas and Kansas State. He visited both this fall but ultimately decided on the Jayhawks. He said the decision was finalized on Tuesday, but the reason behind his commitment was building for weeks.

"I want to accept the challenge," Combs said. "I feel with the attitude I have, as well as the other players coming in, we can turn this program around. I believe in what coach Charlie Weis is doing and what he brings to the table. I understand his past record at Notre Dame, but this time it's going to be different, no matter what. He is getting players who are determined and willing to make it."

Part of that credit can go to Combs himself, who has been organizing what he refers to as a "Dream Team." Kansas junior college commitments Cassius Sendish (Yuma, Ariz./Arizona Western), Marcus Jenkins-Moore (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce) and Isaiah Johnson (Council Bluffs, Ia./Iowa Western) were all in contact with Combs during the recruiting process. The big defensive tackle said his job between now and junior college signing day is simple.

"My role is to get the best talent into Lawrence, Kansas," Combs said. "I've got my eye on a lot of guys."

Combs said a variety of factors led to his decision to commit to Kansas, including the NFL experience among the Jayhawks coaches, as well as defensive coordinator Dave Campo's 4-3 base scheme. Combs will have three years to play two at Kansas and said he is very much looking forward to getting to campus.

"I'm very happy with my decision," Combs said in the immediate aftermath of his commitment. "I'm ready to go compete for a Big XII championship."

There has been an obvious emphasis on junior college talent for Kansas in this recruiting cycle. Combs is commitment No. 17 in the Jayhawks' 2013 recruiting class, and No. 11 from the juco ranks. Combs also held offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Michigan State, Oregon State, Penn State, Tennessee and Texas A&M, among others.

Juco DT Combs chooses final official 

December, 4, 2012
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Juco defensive tackle Marquel Combs, who claims 50 offers, recently decided where to take his final official visit -- Houston.

The 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect said in a text message Tuesday night that his final visit came down to four schools. He declined to mention those finalists, but Penn State offered him last Wednesday. He'll visit the Cougars on Dec. 14.

Combs (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) already has spent official visits on Kansas, Ole Miss, Washington State and Kansas State. As a result, the Nittany Lions no longer appear to be in the running.

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Juco teammates visit Kansas State 

December, 2, 2012
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It was a big weekend of football in the Little Apple, as Kansas State won the Big 12 title in front of a number of recruits who were on official visits. Two of those visitors were big-time targets and teammates: defensive tackle Marquel Combs (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) and outside linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College).

Combs holds offers from schools including Arkansas, Michigan State, Oregon State, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Utah. Jenkins-Moore, a Kansas verbal commitment, was sought by Arkansas, Purdue, Rutgers, San Diego State and Texas Tech, among others. Kansas State is putting together a strong push for both players, and the visits this weekend made a positive impression.

"The experience was good," Combs said. "It was a good atmosphere and the people were nice. It made me feel like part of the family. There were a lot of good things there."

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Juco DT Combs adds PSU, MSU offers 

November, 29, 2012
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Defensive tackle Marquel Combs -- who earned new offers from Penn State and Michigan State on Wednesday -- said he plans to take one more official visit before making a decision.

The junior college prospect from Woodland Hills (Calif.) Pierce College said he's deciding between four schools for that final visit, but he declined to name them. He wants to talk with his mom, sit down with his coaches and release an answer next week.

He's already made official visits to Kansas, Ole Miss and Washington State, with another planned for Kansas State this weekend.

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Marquel Combs raves about Wazzu visit 

November, 26, 2012
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Junior college defensive tackle Marquel Combs (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) has plenty of college programs remaining under consideration, but before his official visit to Washington State this past weekend, he didn't expect the Cougars to be such a significant player.

"That trip came out better than I thought," Combs said. "The Apple Cup was a really good game and a lot of players stepped up. I got to charge the field when they won and I've never gotten to do that before."

Combs, 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, was committed to Mississippi early in the recruiting process, but opened his recruitment up and is still considering a list of schools that includes Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Maryland, Michigan State, Oregon State, Texas Tech and Washington State. As of Sunday night, Combs still seemed surprised that Washington State made such an impact.

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Woodland Hills (Calif.) Pierce College is loaded with FBS prospects in the freshman and sophomore class, but one of those players, outside linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore, took his name off the uncommitted list on Thursday, as the 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect committed to Kansas.

Jenkins-Moore announced his decision via twitter.

"Just committed to Kansas University!" Jenkins-More posted. "Wanna thank God and my family for supporting me with my decision and helping me along this journey!"

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Highly-coveted Pierce College (Woodland Hills, Calif.) defensive tackle Marquel Combs has elected to continue his career at Ole Miss, multiple sources report.

Arkansas, Arizona, Rutgers, South Alabama, New Mexico, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Baylor, Texas A&M, Utah, Washington State, Mississippi State, Florida International, Kansas, Kansas State, Tennessee and Texas Tech also offered.

Some additional premier programs including Alabama, Florida and USC have shown interest in the 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect.

Combs is the fifth 2013 commitment for Ole Miss.

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