September 2010 Archives

The DaVaris Daniels saga--Part II

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Vernon Hills wide receiver DaVaris Daniels made an oral commitment to Notre Dame on Tuesday night. It is a boon to coach Brian Kelly's program, which desperately needs impact players on offense, especially with the anticipated departure of Michael Floyd to the NFL draft after this season.

How good is Daniels? The 6-3, 190-pounder has proven to me that he is capable of emerging as a top 100 prospect by the end of this season. He is very versatile and can play a number of positions but he has NFL potential as a wide receiver with his extraordinary athleticism, 4.5 speed and 6-10 high jumping skill and 41-inch vertical leap.

He was the best freshman I had seen in the Chicago area and now he is the best senior.

Nation's top 10 big backs

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I consider Mikail McCall of Thornridge as the No. 10 big back in the country and he could rise in the ratings and earn a spot among the top 100 players if he has a lights-out senior season, if he continues to play as well as he did in Thornridge's 27-19 loss to Bradley on Saturday in Dolton.

How good is McCall? Bradley coach Craig Bundy said McCall is the best running back he has played against in his 14-year career--and that includes the roster of talented ball-carriers that he faced from Bolingbrook and East St. Louis.

"You have to get a lot of people where he is," Bundy said. "You can't let him in the secondary or it's over. He has a great combination of speed, power, toughness and quickness. He is going to Michigan State and that's all you need to know about him."

Nation's top 10 tailbacks

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This shapes up as an outstanding year for running backs--tailbacks and big backs. In fact, all of the leading tailbacks are rated among the top 100 prospects in the nation and the first six big backs are ranked among the elite.

The top 10 tailbacks:

1. Aaron Green of San Antonio, Texas, is a 5-11, 180-pounder with 4.37 speed who is uncommitted. He ranks as the No. 13 player in the nation and is one of the fastest ball-carriers of all. He had an outstanding sophomore year but was plagued by injuries as a junior. He is considering Alabama, Texas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Florida State and Georgia.

September thoughts

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The college football season is three weeks old and high school teams in Illinois are preparing for Week 5, long enough for rabid posters on Internet sites to begin calling for the firing of some underachieving coaches and for others to start beating the drums for Player of the Year candidates. Here are several issues to banter about:

1. Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Reilly O'Toole, who is committed to Illinois, staked his claim to the Player of the Year award in Illinois with a brilliant performance against Maine South on national television. And he hasn't skipped a beat. If the Tigers continue to impress, O'Toole will be difficult to overtake. He is emerging as one of the leading quarterbacks in the Midwest.

2. Edwardsville running back/linebacker Rodney Coe and Fremd center Brian Bobek, who is committed to Ohio State, are the only Illinois products who have been invited to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January in San Antonio. Others who are being considered are wide receiver DaVaris Daniels of Vernon Hills, Iowa-bound offensive tackle Jordan Walsh of Glenbard West and defensive end James Adeyanju of Curie.

Notre Dame lands three players

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Notre Dame's recruiting has gotten a big lift with commitments from defensive end Stephon Tuitt of Monroe, Ga., and twin brothers George and Josh Atkinson of Livermore, Calif., whose father was an All-NFL standout with the Oakland Raiders. It elevates coach Brian Kelly's class of 2011 from No. 10 to No. 6 in the national sweepstakes.

Tuitt, a 6-6, 260-pounder, ranks No. 77 in the nation. He chose Notre Dame over Georgia Tech. He has the build of an NFL defensive end and has great physical skills. He is the type of player that the Irish desperately need to bolster their defense.

George Atkinson, a 6-2, 175-pound wide receiver, is the No. 83 prospect in the nation. He visited the Notre Dame campus for last week's Michigan game and chose the Irish over Oregon and other West Coast schools. He is a big-time receiver, one of the best in the nation.

Josh Atkinson is a 6-0, 180-pound cornerback who has been timed in 4.4 seconds for 40 yards and 10.6 for 100 meters. He has great speed and instincts. He chose Notre Dame over USC, Oregon and Washington.

They are big catches for Notre Dame. Both have 10.6 speed for 100 meters. They will add great speed to a team that needs speed.

Kelly's class could get even better if he is able to land commitments from two other priorities, running back Savon Huggins of Jersey City, N.J., and offensive lineman Antonio Richardson of Nashville, Tenn. Richardson is the No. 20 player in the nation--only three other offensive linemen are rated ahead of him--while Huggins is rated No. 50.

Nation's top 10 combo quarterbacks

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The spread offense is the flavor of the month in high school football, as the wishbone and double wing have been in the past. So spread quarterbacks are in demand, athletic players who can run and pass with equal ability. And the class of 2011 features an outstanding group of combo quarterbacks.

Here are the top 10 in the nation:

1. Braxton Miller of Huber Heights, Ohio, is a 6-2, 200-pounder with 4.45 speed who is committed to Ohio State. He is the No. 8 player in the nation. He is a poor man's Terrelle Pryor and could succeed Pryor in coach Jim Tressel's offense. He has a good arm, big body and can run out of trouble. He got off to a good but not great start this season but he doesn't have a great supporting cast.

The top 10 pro-style quarterbacks

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How good is the crop of quarterbacks in the class of 2011? It's a very good year for combo or spread quarterbacks, not so good for pro-style quarterbacks. Spread quarterbacks operate out of a shotgun formation. They run or pass based on what the defense gives them. But it is a weak year for pro-style quarterbacks because more schools are running the spread. It could be a future problem for the NFL because so many college quarterbacks are groomed to run the spread, not the conventional pro-style offense favored by the NFL.

So who are the top 10 pro-style quarterbacks in the nation?

1. Christian LeMay of Charlotte, N.C., is a 6-3, 195-pounder who is committed to Georgia. He is the No. 12 player in the nation. He is very athletic, has all the throws and boasts a lot of confidence.

Northwestern adds a winner

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You may not be familiar with the name and you may not care because he isn't a five-star quarterback or one of the most highly recruited players in the country. But Bill Rees is Northwestern's new assistant director of football operations and he lends a lot of credit to the program.

Rees, whose son Tommy is a second-string quarterback at Notre Dame, has been involved in scouting for 30 years. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, working for Terry Donahue at UCLA, Rees was the most famous recruiter in the country. He personally took UCLA nationally.

He wasn't a coach. He traveled across the country and also had UCLA ranked among the top 10 recruiting classes in the country. He was the bridge between Jerry Pettibone, who was the first famous recruiting coordinator when he was at Oklahoma (before he became head coach at Northern Illinois) and Vinny Cerrato at Notre Dame.

Nation's top 10 recruiting classes

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The national signing day in February is five months away but many of the top-rated players in the country already have made oral commitments and the leading programs have filled their rosters with young talent. At the moment, Texas has a slight edge over Alabama in the annual recruiting sweepstakes.

1. Texas: Coach Mack Brown has dominated the state of Texas, landing running back Malcolm Brown of San Antonio, the No. 10 player in the nation. He got several impact players, including the best player in Arizona, offensive lineman Christian Westerman of Chandler, a 6-5, 293-pounder who is rated as the No. 22 player in the country.

2. Alabama: The Crimson Tide could pass Texas because coach Nick Saban still have more scholarships to offer. Saban did a good job in-state but went out-of-state to get linebacker Trey DePriest of Springfield, Ohio, and linebacker Shannon Brown from Georgia. He also got the No. 1 player in Alabama, linebacker Brent Calloway of Russellville.

Juniors better than Seniors?

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From early indications, it appears as though the class of 2012 in Illinois, this year's juniors, is better than the class of 2011, this year's seniors. It shouldn't come as a big surprise because the level of talent in the senior class throughout the Midwest is lower than anyone can recall in recent memory. But the future looks encouraging.

Some seniors who have made instant impacts include Schaumburg running back Shepard Little, who rushed for 248 yards in the Saxons' upset of Maine South; Stevenson quarterback Kevin Earl; St. Rita tight end Tim Gorski; Conant offensive lineman Ken Kalish; Elk Grove quarterback Nick Meyer; Joliet Catholic running back Josh Ferguson; Simeon running back Horatio Banks, wide receiver/defensive back Darius Scott and tackle Chris Bryant; Wheaton Warrenville South quarterback Reilly O'Toole; quarterback Mike LaCosse of Naperville North; quarterback/running back Juwan Martin of De La Salle; and Thornridge running back Mika'il McCall.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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