NCF On The Trail: Reuben Foster

Top SEC recruiting rivalries 

October, 1, 2013
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From year-to-year the Southeastern Conference is full of recruiting battles. This year it appears that Alabama and LSU could have some of the best recruiting battles we've seen in a while. Here's a closer look at the five top recruiting rivalries in the SEC.

SEC recruiting mailbag

August, 23, 2013
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It’s time to dip into the SEC recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today -- but we encourage you to ask again next week by tweeting your questions to @DerekTysonESPN.

@Watup_Haun: Who's going to land Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South)?

Derek Tyson: LSU appears to be the team to beat for the ESPN 300 linebacker and by a wide margin. Garrett will also take official visits to Ole Miss, Tennessee and Florida. LSU is shaping up to have a monster recruiting class, and right now I expect Garrett to be a part of it.

[+] EnlargeAdoree' Jackson
Jeff Barlis/ESPNESPN 300 athlete Adoree' Jackson likes Florida's football and track teams and met with both head coaches during his July visit.
@UltimateLemons: What's your gut tell you about Florida landing Adoree' [Jackson] and [Lorenzo] Carter? Do the Gators even contend realistically for Raekwon [McMillan]?

DT: Though Florida has made a big impression on the five-star prospects, Jackson and Carter, the Gators certainly have their work cut out for them. Florida's track program recently won a national championship, and track will be a key factor in Jackson's decision. USC, Michigan, Tennessee and LSU are a few other schools squarely in the mix for the talented athlete. Carter has Florida in the lead with Alabama and Georgia slightly trailing. At this point, Florida feels good about both prospects, but there is still a long way to go.

As for McMillan, the Gators are in his top five, but Ohio State is clearly the team to beat. Clemson and Georgia are also near the top of his list. He is talented enough for the Gators to continue to pursue him, but at this time, I don't think he will end up in Gainesville.

@UTSportsAction1: Do the SEC school's generally look for three-star athletes and above?

DT: If you ask coaches in college football if they only recruit players ranked three-stars or higher, you would probably get the same overwhelming response. "We don't look at stars," they would likely say, and probably in a stern voice. The truth is, a lot goes in to our recruiting rankings, and we don't just rate someone a four-star prospect for the fun of it. A lot of research goes in to every player we rank. I know for a fact that some college coaches do in fact look at rankings, but they wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't do their own evaluations. So to answer your question, I think college coaches use rankings as a general guide to see if they are missing out on certain prospects or to see which other schools have offered players, but they do their own evaluations and decide who they want to offer based on a number of factors.

Looking back at last year's SEC recruiting classes and excluding kickers, long snappers, punters and junior college, prep school and transfer players, SEC teams only signed seven players who were ranked two-star prospects or below:

2013: Alabama - 0, Auburn - 0, Arkansas - 1 (WR Drew Morgan), Florida - 0, Georgia - 0, LSU - 0, Kentucky - 2 (QB Reese Phillips and OT Justin Day), Mississippi State - 0, Ole Miss - 0, South Carolina - 1 (DE Kendal Vickers), Tennessee - 0, Missouri - 2 (OC Alec Abeln and DT DeQuinton Osborne), Texas A&M - 0, Vanderbilt - 1 (ATH C.J. Duncan)

The numbers speak for themselves. Though it's uncommon, the SEC does generally recruit prospects ranked three-star prospects or higher.

@madveal37: The SEC has widespread talent. What true freshmen are going to have a big impact in 2013?

DT: This is not really a recruiting question, but because I had an opportunity to see a lot of these players in high school and at all-star games over the last few years, I'll give my opinion on a few I think could make an early impact.

DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss): There is a reason he was the consensus No. 1-ranked player in the country. He will play early and often for the Rebels and should make a big impact.

WR Demarcus Robinson (Florida): Florida needs help at wide receiver, and Robinson has been a star in fall camp.

RB Alex Collins (Arkansas): Collins was a steal for the Razorbacks. His explosiveness will earn him carries early in his career.

DE Carl Lawson and DE Elijah Daniel (Auburn): With Auburn's top defensive lineman, Dee Ford, out for the opener, it should open the door for Lawson and Daniel to make their marks.

LB Reuben Foster (Alabama): It's not easy to get on the field early at Alabama, but head coach Nick Saban has specifically singled out Foster for having a strong camp. Look for him to see the field early.

@miketag98: Will UK lose a lot of recruits if [Mark] Stoops flops on the field? Like if they go 4-8?

DT: I really don't believe so. Obviously Kentucky hasn't had much success on the field over the past few years, and recruits understand that. What Stoops is selling to these recruits is an opportunity to help turn the football program around. The opportunity to play early is another key selling point. As long as Kentucky shows improvement and is at least competitive in most of their games, I don't see recruits bailing on this impressive recruiting class.

@bigjpl2: Does Georgia have a real shot at Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic)?

DT: Hood, the former Notre Dame commit, was considering North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia Tech before he originally committed to the Fighting Irish. Now that he has backed off his pledge, you would think Georgia might still be in the picture. However, Georgia has two stud running backs in Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs signed four-star running back A.J. Turman last year, and they have two ESPN 300 running backs (Sony Michel and Nick Chubb) committed this year. Chubb is very comparable to Hood as far as size, speed and build. At this point, Georgia doesn't have a pressing need at the position and could risk losing one of its other commits if the coaches put the full-court press on Hood. Though Hood might still show interest in Georgia, in my opinion, I don't believe he will end up in Athens.

@BlakeBoswell1: What are the odds [Leonard] Fournette stays in LA?

In my opinion, the odds are in LSU's favor to land Fournette -- but not by much. Alabama is certainly putting up a big fight. In fact, Fournette was in Tuscaloosa last weekend with Cameron Robinson and Laurence Jones to watch the Crimson Tide scrimmage. I think this will be a battle to the end, but Alabama has a lot of depth at running back, and LSU's proximity to home gives the Tigers the slight advantage.

Florida checks in on Tide commitment 

April, 29, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN 150 athlete Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge) committed to Alabama in September, but that hasn’t stopped other schools from recruiting him. Last week, Florida running backs coach Brian White paid him a visit.


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Surprise! Alabama takes a CB early 

March, 12, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Cornerback is a position that Nick Saban tends to be selective with most years, and after signing four potential corners in the 2013 class, Alabama is only expected to take two, possibly three cornerbacks in this cycle.

That’s what makes Kalvaraz Bessent’s commitment on Tuesday surprising.


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Mike Groh helps Tide land No. 1 class 

February, 7, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- When the ink dried Wednesday night, the University of Alabama came away with the No. 1 recruiting class for the second year in a row. Coach Nick Saban garners most of the attention, but the job done by his staff should not go unnoticed.

Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart deserves credit for staying with Reuben Foster. The ESPN 150 linebacker initially committed to Alabama and then flipped to Auburn. But in the end, he signed with the Crimson Tide. Smart never gave up on him.


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Lupoi takes lead as Washington recruiter 

February, 7, 2013
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Take a closer look at Washington’s 2013 recruiting class and one thing starts to stand out.

This group has Tosh Lupoi’s fingerprints all over it.

The Huskies’ ace recruiter made an impact with the program from the moment he was hired less than a month before signing day in 2012.

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Foster shows Smart's recruiting power 

February, 4, 2013
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Now that Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) has committed to the University of Alabama, the question is, will it stick through signing day?

Regardless of what happens from here, Foster’s decision on Monday shows the relentless pursuit that Kirby Smart and the Crimson Tide coaching staff had throughout the process.

Even when Foster flipped from Alabama to Auburn over the summer and went as far as to get an Auburn tattoo on his arm, the Alabama coaches didn’t give up. Smart was talking to him just a few weeks later about removing the tattoo and coming back to the Tide.

It has been a wild ride, one that might not be over, but if he does in the end sign with Alabama, the Tide will be getting a very good football player.

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Prep WR eyes top 3, advises No. 1 ILB 

January, 29, 2013
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A former Lagrange (Ga.) Troup standout, wide receiver Christian Cumberlander enrolled at Jireh Prep last year in Indian Trail, N.C., and had a solid season, with 38 catches for 708 yards and six touchdowns in eight games.

Double-digit offers have come in for Cumberlander, who says he is now fully qualified -- but two offers seem to stand out at the moment. And the possibility of another offer has another prominent school heavily in the mix to land the 6-foot-2, 190-pound wideout.

Two of his three top schools also stand out for his close friend Reuben Foster, the No. 1 ILB in the nation.


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RB Alvin Kamara slow to tip hand 

January, 27, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is competitive. So much so he wouldn’t let visiting ESPN 150 running back Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) win at a game of spades. The four-star tailback said that it could have cost Georgia big.


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No. 1 ILB relaxed after UGA official 

January, 27, 2013
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The No. 16 prospect in the nation was in Athens, Ga., over the weekend, as Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) took his third official visit, this time to the University of Georgia. The 6-foot-1, 242-pound linebacker has visited Georgia many times, but this time there was something different about the campus.


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Signing day primer: Georgia 

January, 23, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- With national signing day exactly two weeks from today, DawgNation looks ahead to what Georgia has coming and who the Bulldogs still need, and why.

Team needs: Georgia has a number of holes to fill, considering the defense is losing 10 players who started last season. All-American junior Jarvis Jones and two-year leading tackler Alec Ogletree have declared for the NFL draft, which means the incoming prospects will have to be ready to play early.

Also, consider that Georgia only signed one player for the secondary, one wide receiver and not one inside linebacker in the class of 2012. Those positions are a priority. The secondary is in special need of attention as both starting safeties and two starting cornerbacks were seniors this past season. The Bulldogs have decent depth at the outside linebacker spots but the SEC championship game proved Georgia needs help on the defensive line. Junior nose Kwame Geathers has also opted to leave early for the NFL, so Georgia needs to sign some quality prospects to fill in the defensive trench.

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Signing day primer: Washington 

January, 23, 2013
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Team needs: For the 2013 recruiting class, the Huskies tried to add talent throughout their roster. They had specific needs but wanted to bolster strengths as well.

Some of the key areas the Huskies identified as positions to pursue included receiver, running back, linebacker and defensive line. With six defensive linemen committed and three receivers heading to Seattle next season, Washington has stockpiled prospects at each position.

Help is on the way: Washington is pursuing a pass rush. The Huskies have a star in Danny Shelton, but ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi made it a point to bring in top-tier talent along the program’s defensive line.

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ESPN 150 CB Wiggins makes decision 

January, 17, 2013
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Sunday, ESPN 150 cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) returned from an official visit to South Carolina. Later that evening he received a call from Mark Richt. The Georgia head coach asked if he should be worried about Wiggins changing his commitment from Georgia to the Gamecocks. Wiggins told Richt no, but that he still planned to take visits to Florida and Texas A&M.


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Tray Matthews has some bold predictions 

January, 17, 2013
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ESPN 150 safety Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) was the second prospect in the Class of 2013 to commit Georgia, pledging to suit up for the Bulldogs before he even played his junior season. He worked hard after that to help fill out the class, and even though he is enrolled in classes at Georgia, Matthews could still deliver another commit to Georgia.


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Wild finish ahead for LB Reuben Foster 

January, 17, 2013
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On the heels of his first official visit to the University of Washington, ESPN 150 linebacker Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) was met by two sets of coaches at his school. It is coming down to the final stretch for the 2013 recruiting cycle, so programs are not holding back any longer.

For Foster, that means a steady stream of high-profile visitors all telling him exactly what he wants to hear, he said. And that's not making things easy for him.


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