NCF On The Trail: O.J. Smith

UA game jersey tour: O.J. Smith

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
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Senior defensive tackle O.J. Smith (Bossier City, La./Airline) 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.

Smith, an Alabama commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised game 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.

[+] EnlargeO.J. Smith
Courtesy of Intersport Alabama commit O.J. Smith is ranked No. 218 in the ESPN 300.
“I just want to say thank you to all the coaches,” Smith said. “My D-line, everybody else, Charlie, Rah Rah for pushing me hard, my mom and dad just for pushing me hard. Thank you.”

Arline coach Bo Meeks expressed how proud the school is to have his star player in the all-star game.

“We want to thank Under Armour. No. 1, for their commitment to high school athletics and to this game, and also for their selection of O.J. Again, 90 student-athletes throughout the country and to have one here at Airline High School… I can’t tell you how proud we are.”

Smith is excited about the opportunity to play on ESPN, and go up against the best of the best from his home state and nationally.

“I’m looking forward to playing with the best, competing with the best and going against the best ... that’s all. ESPN, you know that’s a big stage. Playing on ESPN is a good opportunity for me. I always wanted to play, you know it’s a dream ... the Under Armour Game. I’m looking forward to playing against Leonard Fournette and Big Cam, Cameron Robinson.”

The 6-foot-2, 315-pound Smith is the 218th-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 and the No. 18 defensive tackle in the class. He committed to Alabama over LSU, Auburn and several others.

Da'Shawn Hand sets visits 

August, 27, 2013
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Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) named his list of finalists awhile ago, but only recently set up his official visits. Alabama, Florida and Michigan will all get a shot to impress the No. 4 overall prospect in the ESPN 300.


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Alabama’s 2014 class is beginning to take shape. After a busy June, the class has moved up to No. 2 nationally in the latest class rankings. But the defending champs are not just bringing in talent; they’re also filling needs.

In the last month, they have added depth up front on both the offensive line and defensive line. They also found their quarterback in this class and a punter who will likely take over right away. Still, with more than 10 spots left in the class, there are needs to be addressed.

In this week’s top 10 list, we look at the top five positions of need for the Crimson Tide between now and signing day.

Offensive tackle

Alabama landed a potential instant impact player last week when junior college offensive lineman Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo) committed to the Tide. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound prospect has the ability to play either tackle or guard when he gets to Tuscaloosa. However, the staff is still looking for that prototypical left tackle to replace current starter Cyrus Kouandjio if he decides to go to the NFL early. The top option is five-star Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), who has already narrowed his list to Alabama and LSU. If Robinson stays in state, the Tide could also look at ESPN 300 offensive tackles Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) or Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood).

Outside linebacker

It’s no secret that Alabama wants at least one impact pass rusher in this class. The Tide struggled to get to the quarteback at times last year, and they want to continue to address that need. Five-star defensive ends Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) currently top the list. Carter would play outside linebacker for Alabama; Hand could either play on the line or at the Jack linebacker position. The staff is also high on former Florida commitment Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) and ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell). The latter recently visited Tuscaloosa and put the Tide in his top eight.

Safety


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It should come as no surprise that the University of Alabama’s 2014 recruiting class is littered with recruits in both the ESPN 150 and the new ESPN 300 rankings as the Crimson Tide are coming off back-to-back national championships. But the class received its biggest boost yet with a pair of commitments over the weekend.


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Weekly Commitment Roundup

May, 31, 2013
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ACC
Boston College
James Hendren | OT | Brookline, Mass./Dexter School
HT: 6-7 WT: 307
Position Rank: #56 OT
Stars: 3

Cameron Seward | ATH | Atlanta/Westminster School
HT: 6-0 WT: 189
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Clemson
Demarre Kitt | WR | Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek
HT: 6-0 WT: 196
Position Rank: #12 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 150 (#99)

Korie Rogers | OLB | Buford, Ga./Buford
HT: 6-1 WT: 207
Position Rank: #11 OLB
Stars: 4

Chris Register | OLB | Greensboro, N.C./Dudley
HT: 6-3 WT: 230
Position Rank: #19 OLB
Stars: 4

Florida State
Jacob Pugh | OLB | Tallahassee, Fla./Godby
HT: 6-4 WT: 224
Position Rank: #5 OLB
Stars: 4
ESPN 150 (#104)

Georgia Tech
Jalen Johnson | ATH | Oneonta, Ala./Oneonta
HT: 6-2 WT: 195
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Virginia
Caanan Brown | OLB | Clearwater, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic
HT: 6-3 WT: 220
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

William Richardson | OG | Burlington, N.C./Hugh M. Cummings
HT: 6-5 WT: 339
Position Rank: #8 OG
Stars: 4
ESPN 150 (#126)

Virginia Tech
Eric Gallo | OG | Holland, Pa./Council Rock South
HT: 6-2 WT: 275
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Wake Forest
Jaboree' Williams | OLB | Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Fort Lauderdale
HT: 6-1 WT: 210
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Baylor
James Jacobs III | OLB | Waco, Texas/Midway
HT: 6-4 WT: 201
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Blake Mahon | TE-Y | Coppell, Texas/Coppell
HT: 6-5 WT: 226
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kansas
Joe Dineen | ATH | Lawrence, Kan./Lawrence Free State
HT: 6-2 WT: 190
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Oklahoma State
Trey Roberts | ATH | Houston/Dwight D. Eisenhower
HT: 6-1 WT: 190
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Texas
Sione Teuhema | DE | Keller, Texas/Keller
HT: 6-3 WT: 211
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Maea Teuhema | OT | Keller, Texas/Keller
HT: 6-5 WT: 335
Class of 2015

Big East
Cincinnati
Joel Thompson | DT | Hollywood, Fla./McArthur
HT: 6-4 WT: 280
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

South Florida
Deatrick Nichols | CB | Miami/Miami Central
HT: 5-10 WT: 171
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Michigan
Jabrill Peppers | CB | Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic
HT: 6-1 WT: 205
Position Rank: No. 1 CB
Stars: 5
ESPN 150 (No. 2)

Northwestern
Fred Wyatt | DT | Lawrence, Kan./Lawrence Free State
HT: 6-4 WT: 260
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Pac-12
Arizona
Jonathan Haden | RB | Washington/Friendship Collegiate Academy
HT: 5-8 WT: 185
Position Rank: No. 30 RB
Stars: 4

Arizona State
Manny Wilkins | QB-DT | Novato, Calif./San Marin
HT: 6-2 WT: 183
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

California
Isadore Outing | DE | Houston/Andy Dekaney
HT: 6-3 WT: 215
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Colorado
Isaac Miller | OT | Longmont, Colo./Silver Creek
HT: 6-7 WT: 255
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Grant Wantabe | OLB | San Antonio/William J. Brennan
HT: 5-10 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Washington State
Zaire Andre | WR | Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood
HT: 5-11 WT: 169
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Keith Harrington | RB | Saint Petersburg, Fla./Northeast
HT: 5-8 WT: 169
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

SEC
Alabama
O.J. Smith | DT | Bossier City, La./Airline
HT: 6-2 WT: 315
Postion Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Viane Talamaivao | OG | Corona, Calif./Centennial
HT: 6-2 WT: 316
Position Rank: No. 7 OG
Stars: 4
ESPN 150 (No. 121)

Auburn
Jakell Mitchell | TE-H | Opelika, Ala./Opelika
HT: 6-3 WT: 213
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Nicholas Ruffin | ATH | Atlanta/Saint Pius X Catholic
HT: 6-1 WT: 185
Position Rank: #20 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN 150 (#144)

Kentucky
Jarrett LaRubbio | OG | Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East
HT: 6-5 WT: 260
Position Rank: #28 OG
Stars: 3

Jared Tucker | CB | Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson
HT: 6-0 WT: 161
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Mississippi State
Lashard Durr | CB | Gulfport, Miss./Harrison Central
HT: 6-1 WT: 181
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Chris Rayford | CB | Byhalia, Miss./Byhalia
HT: 5-11 WT: 183
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

South Carolina
Malik Young | OG | Piedmont, S.C./Woodmont
HT: 6-3 WT: 286
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Tennessee
Joe Henderson | DE | Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights
HT: 6-3 WT: 205
Position Rank: No. 26 DE
Stars: 3

Tales from the Road: Alabama 

May, 29, 2013
5/29/13
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Each week, Tales From The Road provides news and updates about where Alabama’s coaches are recruiting and which prospects are getting noticed.


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