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Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:20 pm
 

UCLA reaches into Georgia for RB Keyante Green

Posted by Bryan Fischer

UCLA hasn't been shy about looking at talent from the state of Georgia under new head coach Jim Mora and the Bruins returned to the area for their latest pledge in McDonough (Ga.) running back Keyante Green, who committed to the program Wednesday night.

"I was talking to Coach Mora about everything at UCLA and it is there," Green told BruinBlitz.com. "He told me that he can see me playing running back at UCLA and that he can see me being a big part of this football team and be able to help out UCLA, so he offered me a scholarship."

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound back was a top performer during last December's Rising Seniors Bowl and held offers from schools such as Florida State, South Carolina and Tennessee. Green's close friend, quarterback Eddie Printz, committed to UCLA last month and can be credited for turning the coaching staff on to him.

"I called Coach Jim Mora on Sunday," Green said. "I told him that my friend Eddie Printz is already committed to UCLA and he put in a couple of words for me and they saw my highlight."

The second commit from the Peach state, Green becomes UCLA's third overall in the class of 2013. The Bruins only signed one running back last month with the 2012 class.

"He has great vision, balance, surprising strength, moves, and instincts," analyst Tom Lemming said of Green. "He follows his blockers well, can always make the first defender miss, uses the stiff arm to his advantage, and gets a good amount of yardage after initial contact."

Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:18 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 5:19 pm
 

Offensive lineman Grant Hill is No. 9 for Alabama

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Another big Alabama commit? Another big Alabama commit.

The Crimson Tide picked up Huntsville (Ala.) offensive tackle Grant Hill Wednesday afternoon as the program continues to move aggressively on the recruiting trail.

The 6-foot-6, 315-pounder was already drawing plenty of interest from programs across the country and held scholarship offers from Auburn, Mississippi State and Tennessee. Hill will be sticking close to home however, having visited Tuscaloosa unofficially last weekend.

"I like how professional they handle everything,” Hill told Scout. “They handle everything so well. They have a great program, atmosphere and fans. Everything about the whole program impresses me. The way coach (Nick) Saban handles everything. He knows how to win."

Hill is versatile enough to play either guard or tackle at the next level and has excellent size already as a rising senior. He becomes the ninth commitment for Alabama's class of 2013 and second offensive lineman to join the program.

Photo by Joe Boyd


Posted on: February 22, 2012 4:56 pm
 

Jaron Dukes is Michigan's 12th verbal commitment

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Michigan continues to move quickly in securing commitments in the class of 2013, grabbing a verbal from Columbus (Ohio) wide receiver Jaron Dukes late Wednesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder was flying a bit under the radar and only held major offers from Illinois and Toledo. Dukes visited Ann Arbor to see the school about two weeks ago and it appeared only to be a matter of time before he would ultimately commit.

“It went great,” Dukes told Scout about the visit.  “I saw everything… the facilities, academic programs… just everything!  It was everything I expected it to be plus more.  I thought the town was going to be very small, but it’s not that small.  I liked it… I liked it a lot!”

Dukes becomes the 12th commitment for the Wolverines in next year's class, eight of whom pledged this past weekend, and first wide receiver. He caught 36 passes for 663 yards and seven touchdowns last season as a junior.


Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:48 pm
 

Ricky Seals-Jones is commitment No. 6 for Texas

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Texas continued it's annual early march to one of the to one of the top recruiting classes in the country on Wednesday as Sealy (Texas) athlete Ricky Seals-Jones committed to the Longhorns.

“I just love the atmosphere and being around the coaches,” an excited Seals-Jones told Scout. “It just feels great being around the coaching staff and they have great facilities. It is just a great feeling!”

One of the top players in the state, the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder held offers from LSU, Notre Dame and TCU among others. Seals-Jones has the ability to line up at multiple positions on either side of the ball but will likely see initial playing time at wide receiver. In addition, he is an extremely gifted basketball player who averages over 30 points a game but has had his heart set on playing football in Austin since he was younger.

“Texas has always been one of my tops,” he added.

With Seals-Jones in the fold, Texas now has six commitments for the class of 2013.


Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:49 am
 

2/22 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Brady Hoke's recruiting success has turned up the heat in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.

 Poaching verbal commits isn't new to the Big Ten according to Ron Zook.

 Notre Dame has offered tight end Hunter Henry.

 Defensive back Anthony Cioffi is Rutgers' first commitment in 2013.

 R.J. Prince committed to North Carolina over several others.

 Texas Tech added a pledge from defensive back Will Barrow.

 Punter Jimmy Hutchinson committed to Auburn on Tuesday.

 Quarterback Asiantii Woulard is now in South Florida's 2013 class.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:37 pm
 

Running back Tyren Jones commits to Alabama

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's not surprising but when Alabama starts rolling, there's no stopping the Tide. Nick Saban added another impressive commitment Tuesday night as Marietta (Ga.) running back Tyren Jones made his pledge known.

"I committed to Alabama tonight," Jones told Scout. "I spoke with Coach Saban, coach Smart and coach Burns. They were very excited about my decision. They told me to keep working hard."

The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder is one of the top backs in the Southwest and held scholarship offers from schools such as Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Vanderbilt. Jones was in Tuscaloosa for Alabama's recent Junior Day this past weekend and the trip seemed to be just what was needed in order to produce a commitment.

"Alabama felt like the best place for me. I had the feeling it was the right school," he said. "I really like the situation there. I like the school and the coaches a lot."

Jones was one of the stars of December's Rising Seniors Bowl, leading the victorious West squad in all-purpose yardage. His junior season was a breakout campaign in which he rushed for over 2,300 yards and scored 38 total touchdowns.

Alabama is now up to eight commitments in the class of 2013, with Jones becoming the second running back in the group to go along with Altee Tenpenny. The former can be lined up in the slot and in various other positions on offense as well.




Posted on: February 21, 2012 3:43 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 5:18 pm
 

Davonte Neal ends the drama, commits to ND

Posted by Bryan Fischer

You can finally close the book on the class of 2012.

The country's lone remaining uncommitted top 100 recruit, Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal, ended all of the late drama and committed to Notre Dame after a no-show to a ceremony Tuesday morning.

“Deciding on a college is one of the toughest decisions a young player makes in his life, so we are very pleased with Davonte’s decision to attend Notre Dame,” Brian Kelly said in a school release confirming Neal had faxed in his letter of intent. “Davonte was an electric playmaker in high school and was capable of making the big play any time he had the ball in his hands. He excelled as a receiver, as a running back and as a returner for Coach (Charlie) Ragle at Chaparral High School. I imagine we’ll use him in a similar fashion here.”

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Neal can play either cornerback or slot receiver but will likely wind up taking snaps on the offensive side of the ball at the next level. His recruitment was kept under the radar for most of 2011 before heating up with late official visits and multiple suitors coming in late to make their pitch. In the end, he delayed his decision 20 days after Signing Day to pick Notre Dame over his other finalists Arizona, Arkansas and North Carolina.

Neal was named a MaxPreps first-team All-American as a defensive back while topping the 1,000-yard mark in total offense to go with 35 touchdowns last season as a senior. Many believed he would stay close to home because of numerous ties to Arizona, including the fact that his high school coach, Rangel, was hired by new head coach Rich Rodriguez before Signing Day and several of his teammates are committed to the program.

Bottom line however, the Irish are getting a great player who is ranked as the number four wingback and 67th overall player in the country.

"He is a receiver who must be double-teamed at all times," analyst Tom Lemming said of Neal. "He comes off the ball quickly with speed and strength, gets in and out of his cuts quickly, catches the ball, and then turns up field in a flash. He always takes what the defense gives him, can catch the ball at its highest points, and once he has secured the ball that's when the fun starts. He can out run almost every back he goes up against and shows excellent open field moves."

Neal's pledge gives Notre Dame 17 commitments for the class of 2012.


Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:29 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 7:30 pm
 

Davonte Neal a no-show at own announcement

Posted by Bryan Fischer

I have the tab still open, ready to go at a moment's notice, with a commitment story about Scottsdale (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal. I don't know when I'm going to be able to post it or what school will ultimately follow "committed to" in the opening paragraph, but it's there.

In case you haven't heard, the Scottsdale Chaparral receiver/defensive back left plenty of people confused and, in an apt metaphor for the situation, standing at the altar Tuesday morning. He was supposed to announce his commitment on FoxSportsArizona.com in front of thousands on the Internet and a couple of hundred elementary kids in his hometown. He didn't show up but instead showed us a little bit about the drama of the modern day recruiting process. The way things are going, you half expect TNT to sign him up to commit on their air tomorrow.

Neal has waited 20 days after Signing Day because he wanted to take his time, make the right decision for himself and his family and commit to a school he truly wants to be at. At the heart of the issue, according to reports and sources, is the head-strong Neal clashing with his equally head-strong father over where exactly he'll be signing papers to play at. Most say the recruit wants to go to Arizona to play close to home and fit in Rich Rodriguez' spread offense while his dad Luke has pushed for Notre Dame. Arkansas and North Carolina are also considered finalists, followed by Stanford and Ohio State.

And for all that has surrounded Neal's recruitment, this will all come down to a decision by a talented young athlete. It will be made, people will move on and we'll see how he does this fall and for the next four years.

People follow recruiting not because they are really interested in the player but because the impact they can have on programs - especially their own. Recruitniks see the circus surrounding Neal and shrug their shoulders, filing the story away as just another one in the long list of unexpected twists that happen year after year. Columnists and beat writers, who check in a few times a year to write about recruiting, wave their fists. Fans get upset, angry and a select few might raise an eyebrow but couldn't give a damn. Hopefully they'll all learn that this is recruiting and it's not abnormal but very much part of the norm nowadays.

We've seen recruits delay their decision after Signing Day before. We've seen hat dances and live animal acts. Clothes have been ripped off and players rushed to a nearby car after making a crowd angry with their decision. Some kids see it as a game and enjoy their 15 minutes of fame and they're going to use every last second of it. They're wanted as recruits, they're just a number - with some expectations attached of course - when they step on campus. Nobody is at fault except those that care far too much about the whims of a teenager.

The ground the game is played on is still shifting. Major media companies are making investments in recruiting coverage which means more players and storylines in the spotlight. Twitter and Facebook has changed what information gets passed around and how quickly it gets from 1 to 100 to 1,000. It's fun, it's exciting, it's trying and above all interesting. Heck, coaches are offering athletes on Twitter and not-so-smartly tweeting out their cell phone numbers as well. Shaq Thompson enjoyed toying with fans during the Army All-American Bowl and extended the drama when he had the opportunity to assess things differently after top recruiter Tosh Lupoi went from Cal to Washington.

It's a bold new era and like it or not we're all just going to have to roll with the punches.

Neal is a talented player and many think he can be a dynamic scorer on offense in college or a very good corner on defense. He is smart, nice and a competitor with a drive to be a great player. Across the country last summer, Neal showed up for camps and only wanted to go against the best in order to prove he was the best. No matter what happens, that will serve him well as a player and young man.

Don't place blame for the saga on Neal, he will eventually do what he has to do. What he did Tuesday will be part of his story but it doesn't have to define him. We'll see where he winds up committing to soon and figure out what it means then. For now we'll just wait.

The elementary students at Neal's no-show were no doubt happy to miss class this morning. Based on the looks on their faces, they were probably more disappointed in having to go back to class than not seeing a football player make a decision.

They did end up learning a lesson, as did everybody watching - recruiting means turns when you're expecting twists and drama when you least expect it. Don't fret, just nod, at least it's not you on the other side of the lens.

Update: Neal committed to Notre Dame

Photo by Chris Pondy


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