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AUSTIN, Texas -- Charlie Strong’s #letsride movement is picking up momentum, and it’s going to the next level on Saturday at Texas’ Orange-White spring game.

Strong and his coaching staff already have picked up seven verbal commitments since taking over and could have a chance to lock up a few more at the annual spring game. As many as 100 prospects from the 2014, 2015, 2016 and even 2017 classes are expected to be on the sidelines and in the stands for the unofficial first game of the Strong era.

The highlight of that lengthy list? Texas is expected to receive unofficial visits from the following members of the newly released ESPN 300:

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Getting to know Jashon Cornell 

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
10:00
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video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

When you attend a school as prestigious as Cretin-Derham Hall, as No. 16-ranked recruit Jashon Cornell does, you are bound to have connections. The Minnesota school has produced its share of college and NFL players over the years, including associate dean of students Marcus Freeman, who played for Notre Dame.


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Weekly Commitment Roundup

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
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ACC
Clemson
Kelly Bryant QB-DT
HT: 6-4 WT: 204
Positional Rank: #12 QB-DT
Stars: 4

Gage Cervenka DT
HT: 6-3 WT: 275
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kaleb Chalmers CB
HT: 5-10 WT: 174
Positional Rank: #36
Stars: 3

Maryland
Denzel Conyers S
HT: 6-2 WT: 200
Positional Rank: N/A Juco
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Miami-FL
Scott Patchan DE
HT: 6-5 WT: 228
Positional Rank: #26 DE
Stars: 4

Dexter Williams RB
HT: 6-0 WT: 189
Positional Rank: #5 RB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#78)

NC State
Brian Sessmoms WR
HT: 5-8 WT: 161
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

North Carolina
William Sweet OT
HT: 6-6 WT: 280
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Syracuse
Tyrone Perkins RB
HT: 5-11 WT: 190
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Baylor
John Humphrey Jr. WR
HT: 5-11 WT: 162
Positional Rank: #19 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#177)

Oklahoma State
Taaj Bakari DT
HT: 6-2 WT: 275
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Texas
Tristian Houston RB
HT: 5-10 WT: 203
Positional Rank: #19 RB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#208)

Collin Johnson WR
HT: 6-4 WT: 192
Positional Rank: N/A Class of 2016
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kirk Johnson RB
HT: 6-0 WT: 185
Positional Rank: #41 RB
Stars: 3

Texas Tech
Breiden Fehoko DT
HT: 6-2 WT: 285
Positional Rank: #7 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#49)
Under Armour All-American

D'Vonta Hinton ILB
HT: 5-10 WT: 215
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Nebraska
Spencer Tears WR
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Northwestern
Zach Allen DE
HT: 6-5 WT: 242
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Andrew Dowell RB
HT: 6-2 WT: 203
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

David Dowell ATH
HT: 6-1 WT: 195
Positional Rank: #31 ATH
Stars: 4

Joe Gaziano DE
HT: 6-3 WT: 230
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Trent Goens DE
HT: 6-3 WT: 239
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Nathan Fox ILB
HT: 6-3 WT: 222
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

John Moten RB
HT: 6-0 WT: 188
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Tommy Vitale OLB
HT: 6-2 WT: 215
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Penn State
Adam McLean DT
HT: 6-1 WT: 282
Positional Rank: #12 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#110)
Under Armour All-American

Pac-12
Colorado
Dillon Middlemiss OG
HT: 6-5 WT: 275
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Oregon State
Kyle Haley OLB
HT: 6-1 WT: 205
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Utah
Donzale Roddie WR
HT: 5-10 WT: 164
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

SEC
Alabama
Montell Custis CB
HT: 6-1 WT: 173
Positional Rank: #26 CB
Stars: 3

Auburn
Kerryon Johnson ATH
HT: 6-0 WT: 200
Positional Rank: #3 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#23)
Under Armour All-American

Florida
Marcus Lewis S
HT: 6-1 WT: 180
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Missouri
Daniel Imatorbhebhe TE-H
HT: 6-4 WT: 220
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Mississippi State
Deddrick Thomas WR
HT: 5-10 WT: 170
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Tennessee
Rocky Reid RB
HT: 6-0 WT: 210
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

American
Louisville
T.J. Jallow S
HT: 6-0 WT: 205

Rutgers
Al-Kadir Ports S
HT: 6-1 WT: 185
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

UCF
Cameron Stewart WR
HT: 6-3 WT: 193

Independents
Old Dominion
Jamez Brickhouse CB
HT: 5-9 WT: 160
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Jelani Carter S
HT: 6-1 WT: 190

C-USA
Marshall
Delvin Weems RB
HT: 5-8 WT: 181

Rice
Josh Cummings CB
HT: 5-10 WT: 175

Tulane
Brian Webb DT
HT: 6-1 WT: 268

Keeyon Smart OT
HT: 6-4 WT: 300

Mid-American
Eastern Michigan

Rob Pavletich OT
HT: 6-4 WT: 270
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: With the release of the RecruitingNation class rankings, the focus was on SEC schools, but Clemson is quietly putting together a tremendous offensive class, and it added another key weapon on Thursday. Plus, there’s not just one but two elite 2015 tight ends in Arkansas.


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Video: Grading No. 1 ATH Gibson

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
3:00
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National recruiting analysts Tom Luginbill, Craig Haubert and Gerry Hamilton break down the good and the bad for every ranked prospect. Go behind the scenes as they grade Torrance Gibson, the No. 1 ATH in the newly updated 2015 ESPN 300, who wants to play quarterback in college.
Two sons of a former Texas legend are following in their father's footsteps.

San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian running back Kirk Johnson and younger brother receiver Collin Johnson announced their commitments to Texas on Thursday during an unofficial visit.



Kirk is Texas' third running back pledge for the 2015 class, while Collin is the new first member of the Longhorns' 2016 class. And nobody is happier than their father, Johnnie Johnson.

“This is an awesome day for the Johnson family,” he said. “Watching them give their commitment to Charlie Strong was a precious moment.”

A consensus All-America defensive back for the Longhorns in 1978 and 1979, Johnson brought his sons back to Austin last month for a junior day that nearly ended their recruitment on the spot. Both brothers were offered that day, but they held off because they'd promised to take more visits elsewhere.

They still had more trips on the schedule, too, including to UCLA next week, but a return trip to Austin on Thursday was all they needed to lock down their commitments.

In addition to Strong, the Johnsons were made a priority by defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, receivers coach Les Koenning and running backs coach Tommie Robinson. Johnson played with Bedford and Koenning while at Texas, so he knew what kind of men were going to coach his sons.

“You could’ve have asked for better, stronger character guys with values,” Johnnie Johnson said. “The other factor is the fact that Charlie and his staff continued to communicate how high they were on their board and how much they wanted them.”

Kirk Johnson, a three-star prospect, held offers from Cal, Washington, Utah and Colorado State. Despite an ankle injury that held him to seven games, he still rushed for 1,228 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Texas also has verbal commitments from ESPN 300 backs Tristian Houston and Jordan Stevenson.

The recruiting interest was starting to heat up for both of them, especially Collin Johnson. The 6-foot-4, 192-pound wideout held offers from TCU, Arizona State, Cal, Utah and Colorado State and had strong interest from USC.

Landing pledges from the Johnson brothers could be the first step toward Texas growing its recruiting footprint in California. While the Longhorns have found junior-college transfers Geoff Swaim and Desmond Harrison there in recent years, the previous coaching staff signed just two high school prospects out of that state in more than 15 years.

Though they have committed early, the Johnsons are sure to sign. Now that they've made their pledge, their father says the recruiting process is completely over. The brothers wanted to weigh their options before deciding, and in the end, that decision led them back to their dad's alma mater.

And he can’t help but fantasize about the day he first watches Kirk, and then both boys, run onto the field in burnt orange like he once did.

“It’s a dream I can’t even describe to know they are going to be able to experience that,” Johnnie said. “I’ve shared with them it’s a feeling I can’t even describe. Anything I could say wouldn’t do it true justice until they have that first experience.”

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Video: Projecting top 2015 recruits

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
1:00
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National recruiting analysts Craig Haubert and Tom Luginbill pick the 2015 prospects they think are most likely to make an immediate impact in college and those who best project to the first round of a future NFL draft.
Oklahoma lost its second-highest-ranked recruit in the 2015 class on Wednesday when ESPN 300 offensive guard Joshua Wariboko decommitted from the Sooners. In most situations, this would be a bad thing for OU, but in the long run it might not be so bad after all. That’s because the race to land Wariboko, the state of Oklahoma’s No. 4 player and the No. 14 guard nationally, will be a marathon and not a sprint.


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Dylan Crawford’s mind raced the first time he jogged toward a five-star cornerback last fall.

It was the first night of November. The grass at Gardena (Calif.) Serra had dampened as a heavy marine layer made its way inland. Shifty receivers such as Crawford typically rely on their footing and ability to change directions, so he had quite the challenge on his feet.


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Getting to know DaMarkus Lodge 

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
10:00
AM ET
video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

DESOTO, Texas -- With all the multiple camps, combines and special events happening each spring, DaMarkus Lodge chooses not to be a regular on the circuit.

It’s not that Lodge is against them, or that he thinks he’s above them. The ESPN 300 receiver has simply prioritized his life as a student-athlete. The camp circuit happens to be a middle-of-the-pack priority.


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videoUrban Meyer has come away with the Big Ten’s top-ranked recruiting class every year since he was hired at Ohio State. His aggressive style and history of winning have helped put the Buckeyes in a category of their own when it comes to recruiting.

A big part of that, according to a few top-ranked recruits, is because Meyer brought an SEC mentality to the Big Ten. Being relentless, aggressive and surrounding himself with similar coaches has helped bring top talent to Columbus year after year.


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The NCAA has gone back to the drawing board over the rules that govern mid-year enrolling football prospects eligible for financial aid agreements on and after Aug. 1 of their senior years.

The Division I Legislative Council this week rescinded a December ruling that allowed only the first school to sign a prospect to an agreement to operate under relaxed recruiting restrictions.

The initial interpretation, issued last October by the NCAA’s academic and membership affairs staff, permitted schools that signed prospects to agreements to comment publicly about the recruits and ignore restrictions that limit contact outside of a dead period.

As an unintended consequence, several prospects in the Class of 2014 signed agreements with multiple programs, leading to the December action after an appeal of the original interpretation by the Southeastern Conference.

Many schools, according to the NCAA, then voiced concerns that they were not aware when prospects sign agreements with multiple schools and in what order, potentially leading to inadvertent violations.

As a result, the decision this week states if a school signs a prospect to an agreement and takes advantage of the relaxed restrictions, it will be in violation, retroactively, of NCAA rules if the prospect does not enroll at the school.

Penalties would be determined by the NCAA enforcement staff, based on the circumstances and significance.

Mid-year enrolling prospects remain eligible to sign agreements – which are binding for the school but not the recruit -- with multiple programs.

The Legislative Council also ruled this week that college programs must ensure that prospects are enrolled in the high school coursework necessary to graduate at midyear before offering the financial aid agreements.

The new ruling could discourage programs from commenting publicly on a signed mid-year prospect out of concern that if the recruit changes his mind, the school will have unwittingly committed an NCAA violation.

Video: Toliver climbs new ESPN 300

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
4:00
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Under Armour All-American and LSU commit Kevin Toliver II, the nation's top cornerback, joins ESPN's Matt Schick to discuss the new ESPN 300, keys to managing success and the rising senior's plan to visit other colleges.

Video: ESPN 300 rank motivates Cowart

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
3:30
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video
After a recent rise into the top 10 overall, defensive end Byron Cowart joins ESPN's Matt Schick to discuss recruiting and the new ESPN 300.

Video: New ESPN 300 top 10 revealed

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
3:00
PM ET
video
National recruiting analysts Tom Luginbill and Craig Haubert count down the top 10 recruits in the latest ESPN 300 player rankings update.

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