Tag:NFL Draft
Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:54 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 7:16 pm
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Tuesday Tweetbag: TCU/WVU to the Big 12 and more



Posted by Bryan Fischer

I started a new feature on the blog last week called The Monday Mailbag. I have now changed it to The Tuesday Tweetbag because can and because I like alliteration. I'm here to answer questions tweeted to me so make sure you follow me on Twitter at @BryanDFischer. So without further ado, let the smorgasbord of questions commence.
To be honest, I think both will have no issues transitioning to the Big 12. In 2012, both should have teams that will be very competitive and are likely dark horse picks to win the conference. Had TCU not had their issues, you would have seen plenty of people go out on a limb and put the Horned Frogs atop their preseason ballots. West Virginia returns their starting quarterback, Heisman candidate Geno Smith, and 14 other starters from a team that turned in one of the most impressive bowl performances in history. There are several holes they need to fill but a solid recruiting class should complement who is already on the roster. Both teams fit stylistically into the Big 12 and Dana Holgorsen knows the league well from his days as an assistant.

What really helps the two newcomers is the fact that the Big 12 has never really been this open. The Red River Rivalry might determine the eventual winner but neither Texas or Oklahoma will dominate like they have in the past. Last year Oklahoma State won the whole thing and Baylor - Baylor! - overcame a really bad defense to turn in a historic season. From top to bottom there was more parity than just about every other BCS league. I think TCU stands to benefit more than anybody going forward beyond 2012 as they're now the only BCS-level program in the talent-rich Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and have upgraded facilities to the point that they come into the conference as equals. It's going to be a little more difficult for Holgorsen but he's proven he can turn unheralded recruits into big time offensive players and win at multiple levels. Of all the programs that have changed conferences, I would put all the money in my wallet on TCU and West Virginia being the most successful.
I've heard several good things about Beckman and think he's done a good job getting things going early on but faces an uphill climb. While Zook was known as a good recruiter (both at Illinois and Florida before that), his teams lacked consistency and, outside of when the Illini went 9-4 in 2007, never could break through into the top half of the conference. He had a few surprising gets on the recruiting trail but there were never enough good players on Zook's teams to make a difference. Anytime you upgrade in the coaching department, it's good for the program. How much Beckman elevates Illinois remains to be seen but it's a solid hire. Little things - ok major things - like not knowing the score, probably won't happen with the new staff. While it should mean the team is better on the field in terms of "the little things," I'm not sure that will translate into a huge number of wins.
I've seen Burfict since high school and there's no question that he is a talented linebacker. In his star-crossed career however, it has always come down to what the heck is going on between his ears. There was a point where most people had him pegged as a possible top 10 pick, now he'll be lucky to go on the first two days of the draft. I think there were plenty of issues with him and Dennis Erickson at Arizona State so I wonder if getting out of that environment and into the NFL will be a positive for Burfict. Perhaps the jolt of teams treating him like an adult rather than a kid that a coach's job is depending on will, in turn, make him a better player.

He is a good football player who will be drafted. How good and how high depends on how hard he wants to work and how serious he is about controlling his emotions and playing the right way. If he's still known for picking up personal fouls in two years, I'd say he's going to be looking for a new line of work much quicker than he first thought. Bruce Feldman has plenty more on Burfict and the draft on his blog.
This is such an interesting draft because the drop off from the first two quarterbacks (Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III) to the number three guy is huge. But because so many teams need a signal-caller, Tannehill has the potential to go as high as the top 10 during the draft. If you look at the CBSSports.com quarterback rankings, he has a first round projection but if I were an NFL GM, he would simply be too much of a risk to draft that high. Unlike most of the other guys, Tannehill doesn't have as many reps at the position because he played wide receiver - and was pretty good at it - for a while when in College Station. I think there is a lot to like about him, starting with his size and mobility, but I just can't see how the upside is worth a first round pick when you consider the caliber of players available.

If I had a need at quarterback, I think I would wait things out if I couldn't grab Luck or RG3. There are options on the free agent market (including, likely, some guy named Manning) and several guys who I think could be solid NFL guys in the 2nd round like Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden. Don't forget, there should be another strong group of QBs coming out next year like Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson.

Our draft guys also tackled the Tannehill debtate and went into detail on what they saw from the tape.


Posted on: January 23, 2012 5:24 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 6:32 pm
 

ACC Signing Day Overview



Posted by Bryan Fischer


National Signing Day is almost here and recruits across the country are gearing up for plenty of last-minute pitches and school visits as head coaches look to shape their program for years to come. While the past few years haven't been kind to the ACC in terms of on the field reputation, several schools are making quite the push on the recruiting trail. In 2010, no ACC team finished in the top 15 in the Maxpreps top 25 team rankings. In 2012, as many five could, including two top-five class possibilities. The league is very top-heavy but there's a clear talent influx headed to the East Coast with the upcoming class.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, ACC
College Commits Top 100 Moving
6. Miami 31 6
9. Florida State 16 4
13. Clemson 20 2
15. Virginia Tech 26 0
20. Virginia 25 2

Top storylines

1. Can Miami close on a top 10 class despite NCAA cloud?

This isn't what head coach Al Golden signed up for but it's what he has to deal with - which he's done superbly so far. It's no surprise that they've gotten some of the best players in their backyard and really sold recruits on the program despite whatever looming NCAA sanctions are bound to hit during their careers. One thing to keep in mind is that the Hurricanes can offer plenty of early playing time given the losses they've had due to underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft or graduation. There are several players that really aren't up to the caliber that Miami usually recruits but given Golden's track record of molding talent in previous stops, the full story on this class won't be written for some time. There are impact players on both sides of the ball, players who will add much-needed depth and potential redshirt candidates in what could be the ACC's largest class. A handful of players are still being recruited hard by other programs and will not doubt be hearing how hard the program will get hit by the folks in Indianapolis for the Nevin Shapiro scandal. It will be interesting to track down and see if the Hurricanes trend up or down on Signing Day in the team rankings.

2. Does Florida State close with a bang or go bust?

In his first year as head coach, Jimbo Fisher quickly brought the Seminoles back to national prominence in February by grabbing commitments from top recruits in talent producing Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. 2011 had an elite recruit at each position outside of quarterback and FSU finished with a top three class. It looked like the program was destined for a similar finish early in the 2012 recruiting cycle but have been hit by several defections (notably to Alabama) and the crown jewel this year, quarterback Jameis Winston, is a threat to sign with another school and/or get drafted by a major league baseball team. There's still several very talented players, especially along the defensive line, but you wonder if this group gets picked apart or if Fisher and the talented recruiters on his staff close with a bang.

3. Does Clemson bring in another big haul?

If there was one big surprise on Signing Day last year, it was how well Clemson did. One of the frequently asked questions seemed to be how the Tigers were able to pull so many highly regarded recruits but it appears that Dabo Swinney and his staff's recruiting ability is one of the best in the ACC and one of the top groups on the East Coast. This year's group of commitments has plenty of talented players who should see early playing time and help Clemson reload for another ACC title run this season. The group is heavy along both lines but the Tigers are in the running for some impressive skill position talent this final week and could be poised for another big Signing Day.

4. Better in-state battle: Miami-Florida State or Virginia-Virginia Tech?

The fact that Virginia is even in the discussion is a testament to what Mike London had done in terms of turning around the program. Both programs in the state are about done with their recruiting classes and the Cavaliers could wind up with more top 100 commitments than their in-state rival. Virginia Tech's group is deeper and more balanced but doesn't have quite the impact players at the top that you would expect. Still, both programs look like they'll have a strong class come February 2nd.

Further to the South, both Florida programs are locked into a battle that could see both wind up as top 10 classes when all is said and done. Miami will have a bigger, deeper class while Florida State will likely end up with a star-filled group of players that might not have the numbers. Both programs be in a battle down to the final hours to see who finishes with a higher class ranking from the looks of it.

Most impressive class: Miami

Most underrated class: N.C. State

Work left to do: Boston College

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
4. Mario Edwards Jr. DL Florida State
12. Jameis Winston QB Florida State
13. Nelson Agholor ATH Uncommitted
17. Eddie Goldman DT Uncommitted
25. Travis Blanks DB Clemson
41. Eli Harold DL Virginia
45. Joel Caleb ATH Uncommitted
56. Mario Pender RB Florida State
63. Michael Moore DE Virginia
72. Deon Bush DB Miami
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Mike Siravo, Boston College
Chad Morris, Jeff Scott and Brent Venables, Clemson
James Coley, Dameyune Craig, Eddie Gran and Lawrence Dawsey, Florida State
Mike Locksley, Maryland
Mike Reed and Jerry Petercuskie, N.C. State
Matt Lubick, Duke
Brian Bohannon and Andy McCollum, Georgia Tech
Terry Richardson and Brennan Carroll, Miami
Chris Kapilovic and Vic Koenning, North Carolina
Anthony Poindexter, Virginia
Shane Beamer and Torrian Gray, Virginia Tech

Head coach under pressure: Randy Edsall, Maryland

Top ACC class prediction: Florida State

Top ACC signee: Mario Edwards, Jr.

ACC school-by-school
Atlantic Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 LB Steven Daniels
OL Win Homer
There's not a real impact player in this class and that's the biggest issue. A solid group of front seven players and lineman, the lack of skill position talent is notable.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 DB Travis Blanks
ATH Germone Hopper
QB Chad Kelly
DT Carlos Watkins
Another very good class for the Tigers, Blanks is versatile and might be the best cover guy in 2012. Kelly has a strong arm and should take over for Tajh Boyd when the time comes.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 DE Chris Casher
DE Mario Edwards Jr.
DE Dante Fowler Jr.
QB Jameis Winston
 This might be the best collection of D-linemen in the country. Edwards is likely to end up in Tallahassee and it's almost unfair to pair him with guys like Casher and Fowler off the edge. If Winston arrives on campus, then this group has great potential down the road.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 RB Wes Brown
LB Abner Logan
OL Mike Madaras
 A solid effort by Edsall, it remains to be seen what kind of magic Locksley can work this year. Brown has a chance to play early in a variety of roles but there's a lot of talent that needs to be developed in this class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
22 DT K'Hadree Hooker
QB James Summers
DE Kenderius Whitehead
 Though the Wolfpack missed out on some of the top in-state talent, this is an underrated group that has a lot of solid contributors. Summers seems to be the guy going forward while Whitehead is a great addition on the DL.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 QB Tyler Cameron
LB Dominique Gibson
 Jim Grobe doesn't play many recruits early so it will be awhile before we know how good any of this class will be but Cameron is a great pick up and one of the top QBs in South Florida.
Coastal Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 WR Max McCaffrey
DB Dwayne Norman
RB Shaquille Powell
Powell could have played at some bigger programs and is a hard runner who brings a lot to the table for the Blue Devils. There's a lot of skill position players who are not that fast but can contribute in a variety of areas.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 ATH Dennis Andrews
DE Francis Kallon
QB Justin Thomas
 Thomas will be a very good fit in the option offense at QB and might be the fastest triggerman Paul Johnson has ever had. Yellow Jackets also look like they're getting a good overall group of linemen.
- Team page
- Commitment list
31 DB Deon Bush
DE Jelani Hamilton
RB Randy Johnson
DE Tyriq McCord
There's a ton of explosiveness in this class but there's also a few questionable players in this group in terms of talent level. After "Duke" Johnson's senior year, it looks like the Hurricanes are getting the two best players in the state in him and Hamilton.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 LB Shakeel Rashad
OL J.J. Patterson
LB Phillip Williamson
 Between the NCAA, Butch Davis and the new staff, not much is expected of the Tar Heels' 2012 class. Losing QB Patton Robinette during UNC orientation to Vanderbilt is a huge blow.
- Team page
- Commitment list
25 DE Eli Harold
LB Kwontie Moore
DE Michael Moore
DE Courtnye Wynn
 Kwontie Moore is an impressive linebacker who can hit like Ray Lewis and run like a safety. The defensive linemen in this class should have plenty guys who see early playing time.
- Team page
- Commitment list
26 RB J.C. Coleman
RB Drew Harris
DE Jarontay Jones
DB Donaldven Manning
 Jones is a big time DE but the there's plenty of players who will re-stock the wide receiver and defensive back positions. Coleman and Harris are going to be a very good 1-2 punch in the back field very soon.

Posted on: April 28, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Blaine Gabbert sticks up for Missouri recruits

By MaxPreps' Mitch Stephens 

The difference between the recruiting process heading into college and the NFL draft whirlwind is distinct and simple, Blaine Gabbert said.

"It's absolute role reversal," the Missouri quarterback told MaxPreps on Wednesday. "When you're being recruited, everyone is trying to impress you. When you enter the draft, you're the one trying to impress."

By all accounts, Gabbert has done all the right things heading into tonight's first day of the three-day NFL draft extravaganza. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior declared early and is projected among the top five selections overall and perhaps as high as No. 3.

He showed well athletically at the NFL combine – 4.62 40-yard dash and 33.5-inch vertical jump - and wooed NFL coaches with his strong right arm at Pro Day on the Missouri campus.

Calm, personable and articulate, he spoke well during numerous character exams, and scored an impressive 42 in the infamous 12-minute, 50-question Wonderlic Test that grades cognitive ability. A score of 20 is considered average, 30 is impressive and 40 or more is outstanding.

Gabbert had the second-highest tally released among NFL prospects and was well above the average QB score of 24.

He was even more impressive in the much-publicized ESPN Quarterback Camp spot with Jon Gruden that featured Gabbert and other projected first-round picks Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton and Jake Lockner.

"That was a blast," Gabbert said. "Coach Gruden is so passionate and his enthusiasm is so contagious. It was a great opportunity to sit down with a Super Bowl-winning coach who knows so much about the quarterback position in the league."

Beyond selling himself the last two months, on Wednesday he sold Missouri high school football.

While Texas, Florida and California kids get their due on NFL Draft and National Signing Day, the Show-Me State doesn't typically show. Gabbert, who starred at Parkway West (Ballwin, Mo.), begged to differ.

"Missouri is a great football and basketball state," he said. "A lot of great athletes come out of there."

Read much more of this story on MaxPreps...

Posted on: April 28, 2011 11:26 am
 

Top recruits will be tuning in to the NFL Draft

By MaxPreps' Stephen Spiewak

The fact that it will be televised during primetime tonight is both indicative of, and responsible for, the surge in popularity of the NFL Draft.

While professional football fans watch to see which top college players their favorite team will land, there's another segment of the football population paying close attention to the draft: top high school recruits.

Many of the nation's most coveted high school players pay close attention to the draft for reasons most fans watching never have to consider: Are the colleges recruiting them successful at producing NFL draft picks?

Schools with top projected draft picks often know how to leverage that status with recruits.

"Colleges assume that most recruits want to play in the league, and I think that's true for a majority of recruits," said Mullen (Denver) quarterback Cyler Miles, the nation's No. 70 recruit, with offers from Colorado, Washington, Clemson, Notre Dame and others.

The NFL Draft provides tremendous free advertising for colleges, as it is impossible to pay for the groundswell of hype and attention that a school receives when one of its players is expected to be a top pick. It's not fleeting, either; schools often refer back to their track record of producing draft picks through the years.

With the first round of the draft set to get underway tonight, MaxPreps contacted several top recruits to find out how closely they'd be paying attention to the NFL Draft and what kind of factor it has been in their recruitment.

Read more on MaxPreps...

Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:05 am
 

4/26 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The lockout appears to be over and the NFL Draft is inching closer and closer but only the recruiting news is 24/7/365.

- Great job by SI.com's Andy Staples, who went back and compiled a list of how many stars projected 1st round draft picks were coming out of high school.

- Miami is the latest to offer offensive tackle Kyle Murphy.

- Defensive end James Washington picked up offers from Illinois and Iowa State.

- With all the Jim Tressel mess, several experts think Ohio State recruiting won't take a big hit.

- The son of Diddy, Justin Combs, is a defensive back and isn't too shabby.

- Wide receiver Marvin Bracy has been selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

- Michigan seems to be adding players in pairs.

- Finally, here's the Nuggets' J.R. Smith with his best impression of a quarterback. Might be a four-star but needs to work on his feet...



Posted on: January 26, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 9:03 pm
 

Who could win the Heisman from the class of 2011?

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Now that the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft has come and gone, it’s never too early to take a look at who might be in the frontrunners for the 2011 Heisman Trophy. With National Signing Day approaching however, who from the class of 2011 might one day end up hearing his name called in New York? Here’s five recruits who could end up hoisting the trophy sometime during their college careers (in alphabetical order):

Malcolm Brown

Cibolo (TX), 6-foot, 220 pound running back. Committed to Texas. 

Since Ricky Williams won the Heisman in 1998, Texas has had just two running backs finish in the top ten in the country in rushing (Jamaal Charles in 2007 and Cedric Benson in 2004). That’s two players in the top ten in 13 years. With the Texas offense looking more like North Texas’, expect a healthy dose of Brown as a freshman in order to take the load of whoever will be the quarterback in 2011. Brown hits the hole hard and is a North-South runner. He might have to adjust to the speed of the game and improve his vision after getting the ball but there’s no reason he couldn’t become the next Texas back to crack the national rushing list. He will also have the advantage of having a channel devoted to showing his highlights 24/7.

Jadeveon Clowney 

Rock Hill (SC), 6-foot-6, 250 pound defensive end. Considering Alabama, South Carolina and Clemson. 

Defensive players have had to climb Mount Everest just to be invited to New York for the Heisman but 2009’s push by Ndamukong Suh should have others reconsidering before writing off a defensive player. Clowney is the most advanced defensive end coming out of high school in some time, having the speed, size and explosiveness you look for. One NFL scout told my colleague Bruce Feldman he would draft Clowney in the first round in this year’s NFL Draft. A season where he could at least replicate Suh’s stats in 2009 (12 sacks, 23 tackles for a loss) isn’t out of the question and given the recognition he already has, one has to have Clowney on the list somewhere.

Jeff Driskel

Oviedo (FL), 6-foot-4, 225 pound quarterback. Committed to Florida. 

Being the quarterback at Florida generally positions a player to make a run at the Heisman no matter what you do the season before. With Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator and installing in a pro-style offense, Driskel has the chance to put up very good numbers when he eventually takes over under center. His legs are an asset but he has a very strong arm and quick release. The best quarterback in the class, Driskel has a chance to turn things around at Florida and then take a trip north to New York.

Jerrard Randall

Hollywood (FL), 6-foot-2, 190 pound quarterback. Committed to Oregon. 

Unless you’re a die-hard recruitnik or Oregon fan, you might be wondering who Randall is. A dual-thread QB from talent-rich South Florida, Randall is slated to take over for Darron Thomas eventually. Given the numbers Thomas and his predecessors have put up in Oregon’s prolific offense, it’s no surprise to find Randall on this list. Chris Houston, better known as the Heisman Pundit, has touted Randall as possible Heisman winner and if you watch some tape, it’s hard to disagree. A strong arm and the speed of a fast running back, Randall might be the player who can bring home the Heisman that former Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon almost did.

De’Anthony Thomas 

Los Angeles (CA), 5-foot-9, 165 pound athlete. Committed to USC. 

Being the running back at USC usually sets you up pretty well to win the Heisman. After all, five Trojan running backs have won the award (well, four actually). In the backfield is where Thomas says he will play at USC but he might be better suited in the secondary. With scholarship limits hitting USC over the next few years, head coach Lane Kiffin might choose to play Thomas on both sides of the ball. Nicknamed ‘The Black Mamba,’ he could be a factor in all three-phases of the game in the mold of Heisman winner Charles Woodson.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com