Tag:Jim Tressel
Posted on: July 10, 2011 7:18 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 8:44 pm
 

Kalis makes flip from Ohio State to Michigan

Posted by Bryan Fischer

When Lakewood (Ohio) offensive lineman Kyle Kalis decommitted from Ohio State following the resignation of Jim Tressel, many pegged archrival Michigan as the odds-on favorite to land the top 100 prospect. Sunday afternoon, Kalis ended speculation and made it public that he will be a Wolverine.

Why Michigan? "The coaches, recruiting class, feeling comfortable," Kalis told 247Sports.com.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder is ranked 61st overall in the class of 2012 by MaxPreps and is just the latest addition to an impressive recruiting class by new head coach Brady Hoke. Kalis is the son of former NFL offensive lineman Todd Kalis, who went to school at Arizona State and played for the Vikings, Steelers and Bengals during an eight-year career.

Kalis told MGoBlog.com that he would have committed to Michigan several weeks ago following his first official visit but that his coach told him to wait. Instead, he committed following his second unofficial visit to the school on Sunday and has already started recruiting for the school.

The addition of Kalis gives the Wolverines 19 commitments in the class of 2012 and their third Top 100 player. He is also the fifth offensive lineman to verbally pledge as Hoke overhauls the offense in Ann Arbor.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Kalis decommits from Ohio St., others to follow?

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Ohio State recruitniks have been bracing for bad news ever since the resignation of coach Jim Tressel and lingering questions about the school's NCAA infractions case continued to surface. Things might have gone from bad to worse Tuesday night as Kyle Kalis, the only Top 100 member in the Buckeyes' 2012 class, decommitted and re-opened his recruitment.

"I did speak to (interim coach) Luke Fickell minutes ago, and I told him I was de-committing from Ohio State," Kalis told Scout. "I want to keep all my options open, and will consider several programs going forward, including Ohio State. That's really all I want to say about my recruitment at this time."

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman holds scholarship offers form Alabama, Iowa, LSU, Notre Dame and Wisconsin among others. He is planning a visit to Michigan this week and, given that the Wolverines have been cleaning up on the recruiting trail lately, that has to make some of the Buckeye faithful a little uneasy.

Kalis is friends with defensive end and Michigan commit Tom Strobel, and he'll likely be in Kalis' ear about what to do while he's in Ann Arbor (like, say, committing to the Maize and Blue). With the decommitment, Ohio State currently sits at eight verbal commitments.

But Kalis isn't the only Ohio State commitment thinking about decommitting. Canton (Ohio) running back Bri'onte Dunn has been on shaky ground ever since Tressel's resignation was announced, and his comments have not been reassuring for Ohio State coaches.

Although some players in the recruiting class seem to be on solid footing with the program, they will no doubt be receiving plenty of attention from opposing coaches. With even Michigan State jumping in on some good Ohio talent this recruiting class, it could be a long road to Signing Day for the Buckeyes.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 5:15 pm
 

The Class of 2012 and their famous fathers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Father's Day is coming up on June 19 and in anticipation, CBSSports.com has declared it to be"Dad Week" on the site. Join us over the next few days as we take a look at some of the fatherly influence seen throughout the sporting world.

One place where dads are seemingly an omnipotent presence is in football recruiting. Plenty of players are sons of coaches, some have their dad at every camp they go to and a surprisingly large number of players let their father handle every detail of their recruitment. The class of 2012 in particular has quite a few players who have famous fathers and also happen to be top 100-level recruits. Here's five players who have the bloodlines but are making a name for themselves on the gridiron.

Andrus Peat, offensive tackle, Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol

Father: Todd Peat Sr. was an offensive lineman at Northern Illinois and had a six-year NFL career with the Cardinals and Raiders.

The younger Peat is ranked 17th overall in the MaxPreps Top 100 and holds well over 40 offers from just about every powerhouse in the country. He might be one of the players best prepared for the next level after receiving coaching from his father and having to play against his brother - Todd Jr., who signed with Nebraska in 2011 - on a daily basis over the past few years. Andrus recently visited Michigan and Notre Dame unofficially and is expected to narrow down his list of schools shortly.

Kyle Kalis, offensive tackle, Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward, committed to Ohio State

Father: Todd Kalis, who played his college ball for John Cooper at Arizona State and lead the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl in his three years as a starter. He played 103 games in the NFL over eight years for the Vikings, Steelers and Bengals.

Kyle was an early commitment to the Buckeyes and once Jim Tressel resigned, thought about decommitting. A phone call from interim head coach Luke Fickell convinced him to remain committed and he's really the foundation their class of 2012 is built on. Ranked 61st overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, he is the third best player from the talent-producing state of Ohio. The younger Kalis can play either tackle or guard, which his father excelled at in college.

Mario Edwards Jr., defensive end, Denton (Texas) Ryan, committed to Florida State

Father: Mario Edwards Sr. was a six-year NFL veteran and known mostly for his time with the Dallas Cowboys. The cornerback was also part of some successful Florida State teams in the late 90s but had his career hurt by injuries.

Edwards Jr. is physically not a whole lot like his father at 6-foot-4, 280 pounds. As big as a defensive tackle but with speed and moves like a defensive end, he is the top defensive end in the country and ranked fifth overall by MaxPreps. Edwards is literally following in his father's footsteps, though, after making a solid committment to Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles earlier this year.

Deion Sanders Jr., athlete, Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus

Father: Deion Sanders needs no introduction but the NFL Hall of Famer would probably want one anyway. One of the great athletes of his time, Sanders played in the NFL for 16 years, most notably with the Cowboys and Falcons. "Prime Time" also played baseball for four teams and is the only man to play in both the World Series and the Super Bowl.

Neon Deion's son is not as highly recruited as some of the others on this list but he's quite the playmaker for his high school team. With the same blazing speed as the elder Sanders, Deion Jr. is a wildcat quarterback/wide receiver and a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. His height might keep him from playing major college football (he's 5-foot-7) but he already has an offer from Houston and will likely pick up a few more with a strong senior campaign.

Barry Sanders Jr., running back, Oklahoma City (Okla.) Heritage Hall

Father: NFL Hall of Famer and one of the greatest running backs ever, Barry Sanders Sr. was a 10 time All-Pro and won the Heisman Trophy in 1988. He played his entire career with the Detroit Lions after they took him with the No. 3 overall pick.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound prep running back has film that is simlar to his father (but is much, much clearer thanks to modern technology). A shifty back who can make cuts at full speed, the younger Sanders has plenty of potential at the college level. Holding offers from Alabama, Auburn and Florida State among others, it looks like he will go out-of-state and not head to his father's alma mater of Oklahoma State despite the Cowboys recruiting him heavily.

One name that might ring a bell in the class of 2013 is Ray Lewis III, son of the Ravens linebacker with the same name. He's a running back who put on an impressive showing last season when he racked up 504 total yards and two touchdowns in a big win.

Check out some highlights of Barry Sanders Jr. (above) and his father (below) and see how they compare:








Posted on: June 2, 2011 5:35 pm
 

Recruits stick with Ohio State despite Tressel

By MaxPreps' Jarrod Ulrey

Among the members of the 2012 recruiting class who already have made verbal commitments to play football for Ohio State, there seemed to be one overriding characteristic to their feelings in the days that have followed Jim Tressel's resignation May 30: Ohio State is still Ohio State.

That was among the comments Upper Arlington (Columbus, Ohio) junior wide receiver Frank Epitropulous made on his Facebook page on Memorial Day afternoon, a little longer than a month after he first committed.

His father, John Epitropoulos, who played for the Buckeyes during the late 1970s, said May 31 that his son had no other comment than his statement on Facebook which read: "Thanks Coach Tressel for giving me the opportunity to play at OSU. You will be missed. Ohio State is still Ohio State and I'm still a Buckeye. Go Bucks!"

Similar sentiments rang from many of the other eight members of Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class.

Just two days after the Columbus Dispatch reported that sources encouraged Tressel to resign amid the mounting pressure, a pending NCAA disciplinary hearing and new revelations about the culture of the program, the Buckeyes nailed down a new recruit.

Tyvis Powell of Bedford told various news outlets June 1 that he had chosen to play for Ohio State over Michigan State, West Virginia and Syracuse. He announced the commitment on the front steps of his high school.

Since early December, the only other recruits Ohio State has added have been Epitropoulos and St. Ignatius (Cleveland) tight end Blake Thomas, who verbally committed May 17. Twelve other Ohio residents, meanwhile, have committed to play for schools in the Big Ten or SEC since that time.

"I knew eight years ago I wanted to play for Ohio State," Powell said. "I'm not going to take my talents out of state. I'm going to play for coach (Luke) Fickell."

Read more of this story on MaxPreps
Posted on: June 1, 2011 6:15 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 6:30 pm
 

Ohio State keeps commit, adds another

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's been a trying few days at Ohio State. From the bang-bang news Monday of head coach Jim Tressel resigning and a damaging Sports Illustrated article, there's been plenty of "down" moments for Buckeye fans across the country. It is, however, not all bad for the football program on the recruiting front as Ohio State reinforced the notion that the program is one of the few that can withstand major issues that would otherwise derail others.

The first sign of good news came Tuesday as the prize in the Buckeyes' class of 2012, Lakewood (Ohio) offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, planned on decommitting from the program but was convinced to remain a part of the class by interim head coach Luke Fickell over a 45 minute phone conversation.

"The only way I'd go to Ohio State is if Coach Fick is the coach," Kalis told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I know him pretty well. He knows the way I'm a fighter and I don't give up on things. He said he went through the same thing in college and ended up going to Ohio State, and he said if I go to Ohio State, it will be the best decision of my life."

Kalis is ranked 61st overall in the class of 2012 according to MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming, the only member of the OSU recruiting class to be ranked in the top 100. Like many players, fans and recruits, Kalis' initial reaction to hearing that Tressel had resigned was one of complete surprise.

"My first thought was shock. My heart sank and my stomach started hurting," he told the paper. "I turned my phone off and went back to bed. I had 87 missed calls from all over, the New York Times, ESPN. I didn't return one of them. I thought it would be disrespectful, like I was talking behind coach Tressel's back."

The 6-foot-5, 310 pound Kalis is one of two offensive linemen committed to the school at the moment. In another bit of good news, Kalis was joined in the Buckeyes' class by Bedford (Ohio) safety Tyvis Powell, who committed to the school Wednesday afternoon. A lifelong Ohio State fan, Powell was unphased by all that's gone on in Columbus.

"I made this decision, I'd say back in 2003," Powell told Bucknuts.com. "For eight years I've known where I want to go.

"I'm not going to take my talents to another state. It's about dedication to Ohio. I can't leave. I can't see myself going out-of-state to play my football."

Powell, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound defensive back who plays both safety and corner, becomes the eight commitment for the class of 2012 - all of whom are from Ohio. He selected Ohio State over offers from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Minnesota and West Virginia among others.

Things are not going well in Columbus with the NCAA circling around ahead of the school's August hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions and an interim head coach but at least there is a little positive news on the recruiting front.
Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 5:46 pm
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Posted on: May 21, 2011 2:00 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 12:59 am
 

Winston, Kiel impress at Ohio State Elite 11

Posted by Bryan Fischer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The sixth and final stop of the Elite 11 quarterback competition turned out to be one of the best stops of the entire spring camp circuit. Three of the top four quarterbacks in the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 showed up and just about everyone met or exceeded expectations.

Hueytown (Ala.) signal caller Jameis Winston had the longest trip out of just about everyone who showed up Friday afternoon but came out throwing and looked sharp throughout the two and a half hour throwing session.

“I think it was a productive day. I did some good things, I could have done better on some things but I don't think I did anything bad,” Winston said.

Ranked as the second best quarterback in the class of 2012 by MaxPreps, the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder threw a very nice ball and was exceptional on fade routes where he could show off his arm. Winston was light on his feet during drills, moving well and showing off improved footwork – one area of his game where he felt he could have improved on even more.

“Drops,” he zeroed in on. “I'm not that comfortable with the five step drops, the seven step drops. When I'd hitch, I was on my back leg a lot. My arm made up for it but I've got to get better at it.

“What people don't know is that my whole life I was a Wing-T quarterback. I've only had two years in a spread system. I've really only had two years throwing the football.”

A true dual-threat quarterback who can beat a team with his arm and his legs, Winston admits he is still a little more comfortable when he's throwing on the run outside of the pocket.

“Well, god gave me the legs to do it,” he said with a smile. “I am comfortable running just because I have more space but I'm more comfortable in the pocket as well.”

Winston doesn't really have a preference for what type of system he plays in college and certainly has his pick of whichever spread or pro-style system suits him best. With well over 25 scholarship offers with his name on it headed to Hueytown once coaches can send written offers, Winston is only beginning to pare down his recruiting.

“I'm starting to narrow it down, but not quite (all the way down) yet,” Winston said. “I plan on committing in July. I've just got to get out more, my parents haven't been out with me a lot.”

The trip to Ohio State for the Elite 11 will afford Winston the opportunity to take an unofficial visit to see the Buckeyes. He'll be visiting with the coaching staff and see all the school has to offer on Saturday before returning home.

“I hope Terrelle Pryor is up there so I can meet that big guy,” he said, only half-joking. “I just want to meet with the coaches, talk with coach (Jim) Tressel a little bit. This is a dream, being up here. I'm practicing on the same field as people like Eddie George and all those guys.”

An unofficial visit to LSU is in the cards for next week and there are several more penciled in on the calendar as Winston looks to keep to his schedule and commit in July.

“I've got to take my parents down to Florida State, I've got to take them down there because that's a place where I could see myself playing at,” he said. “LSU, Florida State and Oklahoma too. Oklahoma is my favorite school growing up so I'm going to try and get down there. And Vanderbilt, I like Vanderbilt a lot too. I'm going to try and go out west and visit schools like UCLA and Stanford.”

Both in-state schools, Alabama and Auburn, are also heavily pursuing the star QB. Winston says he's open to leaving home however, and is searching for a school that meets his criteria because he isn't worried about staying too close to home.

“First of all, people say academics but I actually am looking at academics,” Winston said. “I have a good GPA, I'm at a 4.1 right now. So I'm looking for academics but I'm also looking for players around me that want to win, that's the main thing.”

A two-sport star, Winston is one of the top high school baseball players in the country. A five-tool player who stars in the outfield, at shortstop and as a pitcher, several baseball scouts think he could go in the first three rounds of the upcoming MLB draft. While he is leaving the football/baseball decision for another day, wrapping up spring football at his high school last week means it's time for him to shift gears and go grab his glove.

“Baseball is going great,” he said. “I start summer ball next week. I'm going to be out there hitting home runs and striking people out.”

Winston said Alabama's baseball program is recruiting him the hardest and if he were to redshirt his first year in college football, he'd try and focus on baseball before competing to be the starting quarterback in the spring. While the strength of a school's baseball programs seems to be secondary to that of its football program in terms of Winston's recruitment, it is still a factor.

Based on the way he threw the ball around the Elite 11 however, it would seem that his future belongs on the gridiron first and the diamond second.

Pike not pleased with his performance

Five-star quarterback Zeke Pike came into the Elite 11 excited to prove that he was one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. After nearly three hours of throwing in the humid Columbus air however, the talented player didn't feel like he brought his “A” game to the competition.

“I did alright,” Pike said. “I didn't throw the ball as well as I thought I would. I'm kind of sore, I've been working real hard this week because it's the last week of summer ball. No excuses but I did preform the way I wanted to.

“That's part of being a quarterback, you're going to have a good game and you're going to have a bad game and you've got to bounce back.”

The Edgewood (Ky.) quarterback struggled at times during the competition, usually with his accuracy. He tended to overstride a little and didn't throw as tight a spiral as he normally does. There might be a little bit of truth to his arm being just a little bit tired as he has had a non-stop schedule since the beginning of the year. On top of leading a 7-on-7 travel team, Pike's high school just wrapped up spring practices right before he made the trip up.

“It's going good, we finished our last thing yesterday,” he said. “We're done for the rest of the school year and then we'll start back up June 1st so it's exciting.

“I'm going to 7-on-7 in Dallas later this summer. I'll probably go down to (Auburn's summer camp) and throw. I'll probably go down there a few more times but we'll see.”

As Auburn's only commitment in the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 – he's 30th overall – Pike is the cornerstone in the Tigers' recruiting class. He plans on doing a bit of recruiting for the school at Saturday's Nike Camp and talked glowingly about his connection with the school and the coaching staff.

“It's a place I kind of fell in love with,” he said. “It's where I knew I'd be happy and I'd love going to school there for four or five years. When it all comes down to it, it's about more than just football. It's about where you'll be happy at, where you can be successful at and I felt it there and that's where I felt the most comfortable at too.”

While he's a solid verbal commitment to the Tigers, that hasn't stopped several schools from continuing to pursue the him.

“They still send me a lot of mail and emails and messages,” Pike said. “I don't really read them anymore. I don't talk to as many coaches anymore but I try to keep the lines open with a couple coaches just in case anything ever happens, you never know. But I'm committed to Auburn and I'm going to be loyal to them.”

Kempt an underclassman to keep an eye on

The Elite 11 events are always a good time to see how underclassmen perform against top competition. Massillion (Ohio) quarterback Kyle Kempt was one of several at the event to catch the eye of observers and with good reason as he flashed all the tools he needed to be successful at the next level.

“I felt very good. I felt like I did very well in the drills,” Kempt said. “I was pretty accurate and I didn't try and do something I couldn't do. I just did everything I could to make it a catchable ball for the receiver and come out and show what I've got.”

The 6-foot-5, 190 pound Kempt throws a very catchable ball in a tight spiral. He seemed a bit neverous at the beginning but grew more comfortable as the event went on and was sharp when throwing routes to wide receivers.

“In reality, you're just competing against everybody,” he said. “It's a lot of fun. You have some of the best quarterbacks in the nation here and it's awesome to be able to come out here and compete with them.”

Kempt performed at the Elite 11's first stop, in Orlando, but decided to come back and go through the ringer once again. It's all part of his strategy to go to as many camps as possible to both learn from instructors on how to be a better quarterback and also show off what he can do in hopes of picking up more scholarship offers.

“For college camps, we're going down to Alabama, we're going to go to USC, hopefully Stanford, then Oregon State and Washington.” He continued, “Then we're going to come back here and go to Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. We're going to do Notre Dame and Boston College and any other area camps we can find.”

Just a rising junior, Kempt already holds a verbal scholarship offer from Stanford and plenty of other schools are giving him a look.

“There are other schools showing interest,” he said. “I'm just going out and trying to prove myself and prove that they need to show a lot of interest in me.”

The offer from the Cardinal was a significant one for Kempt, not only because it was a major Division-I offer from a prestigious school, but because of the coach who saw something in him while he was just a sophomore.

“It meant a lot to me,” Kempt said. “Stanford is a great academic school. The guy who offered me was Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and (the offer) is still standing. Just to get it from him, from an NFL guy, it really meant a lot.”

Kempt is originally from Portland (Ore.) and moved to Ohio almost a year ago. While he now has roots in both the Midwest and the West Coast, where he eventually goes to school doesn't matter as much as some of the other criteria he is looking for in a program.

“A great campus, great academics,” he said. “I'm more of a pro-style offense quarterback so that's definitely the type of school I'm looking for. I really want a coaching staff that I can relate to and that I know I can go to for anything.”

Kempt's older brother was a backup quarterback at Oregon a few years ago and while he has talked with the Ducks a little, their spread system isn't the best fit for him so it's unlikely he'll head to his brother's alma matter. He is, however, already knee deep in the recruiting process and is able to go through it with ease thanks to the experience the family had with his brother.

“I've made an unofficial to Oregon State, I've made an unofficial to Washington,” he said. “I was actually here (at Ohio State) when they played Penn State and that was a great game. It was awesome, great atmosphere and some of the nicest people you'll meet.”

Based on his performance on the Ohio State practice fields Friday, don't be surprised to hear Kempt's name come up more and more as he makes his way around the country.

Notes

- Another underclassman who caught just about everyone's eye was Warren (Mich.) quarterback Shane Morris. While it probably had something to do with the way he was spinning the ball during the competition, he made sure everybody knew who he was by wearing a bright yellow Michigan shirt and cap. The recent commit to the school has good size and has an accurate arm. He plans on doing a bit of recruiting for the maize-and-blue at Saturday's Nike Camp.

- The country's top-ranked quarterback and number two overall player Gunner Kiel showed up and did not disappoint. He had to leave as soon as the camp was over but he was impressive from the first snap to the last. He's got a cannon for an arm and throws a really tight spiral. Kiel was the best looking quarterback at any of the Elite 11 stops and was extremely accurate in all phases.

He has plus footwork and physically looks ready to play at the next level immediately at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. He can shave a few ticks off his release but it's pretty good as is. His downfield throws were beauties, turning over the nose of the ball perfectly. Mechanically sound, he kept the ball high and should be a great pickup for whatever school lands him.

- North Canton (Ohio) quarterback Austin Appleby already has a double digit offer list but should see increased interest from BCS-level schools in the near future. He's got great size and a very strong arm. His release is a little long but has the makings of a BCS-level signal caller. His most recent offer was from Miami of Ohio and he's receiving heavy interest from Michigan State, Michigan and others.

“We really covered a lot of Big East schools during the spring,” Appleby said. “Louisville, Syracuse, Connecticut they all said I'm very high on their board. In the SEC, Vanderbilt seemed very impressed. A lot of them are real close and they say they it's just going to take a camp date (to get an offer).”

- Monroe (Conn.) quarterback Casey Cochran was sharp in yet another camp and should continue to get more interest as the year goes on. He just picked up an offer from Boston College and plans to go to camps at UConn, Temple and Syracuse among others.

- Buffalo (N.Y.) quarterback Chad Kelly can really move and has the arm to throw it around the field, he was sharp all day and can really spin it.

- A few others who impressed were TCU commit Tyler Matthews, Matt Alviti from Park Ridge (Ill.), Sean Maguire of West Orange (N.J.) and Brian Blackburn from Detroit (Mich.).

Posted on: May 17, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Ohio State lands Cleveland tight end

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Most of the talk around Columbus lately has been centered on Jim Tressel and the Ohio State NCAA case but, at least for today, they can talk about the school's latest commitment. Cleveland (Ohio) tight end Blake Thomas was the latest to pledge to the Buckeyes, verbally announcing Tuesday morning.

“I called coach Tressel," Thomas told Bucknuts.com." I loved the coaches and the people at Ohio State when I visited and I know it’s the right fit for me so I didn’t see any reason to wait.”

Ohio State signed two tight ends in this year's class so it appears Thomas will be the only one at his position to sign next year. He held scholarship offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Louisville and others but the recent offer from Ohio State was just too good to pass up.

"The distance and the facilities and academics and all that stuff is great too," he said. "But what really sold me was the people. I know that is the most important thing."

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Thomas caught 30 passes for 300 yards and five touchdowns last season as a junior. He is yet another in-state talent to be locked up early by the Buckeyes as all seven members of the school's class of 2012 hail from the state of Ohio.

Thomas also becomes the second player to commit to the Buckeyes after the school received a notice of allegations from the NCAA.

 
 
 
 
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