A look around the world of college football recruiting...
Elite cornerback Armani Reeves is one of several top prospects scheduled to be in State College, Pa. this Saturday for Penn State's junior day.
Opportunity for Penn State
It’s a good, deep year in the state of Maryland. It’s a good year in the state of Pennsylvania. That usually equals a top 10-20 type of class for Penn State. The Nittany Lions will play host to a bevy of top Class of 2012 prospects this weekend for a junior day. Multiple top in-state prospects including offensive linemen Chris Muller (Boyertown, Pa.) and J.J. Denman (Fairless Hills, Pa./Pennsbury), running back Drew Harris (Exton, Pa./Downingtown East), among others.
From Maryland, defensive end Michael Moore and tight end Brent Wilkerson (Hyattsville, Md./Dematha) are among the attendees. Potential five-star quarterback/athlete Devin Fuller (Old Tappan, N.J.) and cornerback Armani Reeves (West Roxbury, Mass./Catholic Memorial and teammate Camren Williams (both potential four stars) are among the expected attendees from out-of-state.
There is little doubt that the stage is set for Penn State to have a big recruiting year. That being said, they will continue to fight the perception that head coach Joe Paterno is closing in on retirement. Maryland is the state to watch. Talent in that state is on the upswing this cycle and usually the Nittany Lions, led by standout recruiter Larry Johnson, clean up there. That state again will be a key to the overall makeup of Penn State’s 2012 class.
While we are on the subject of Paterno and retirement, whatever coach ends up with the Penn State job whatever year it comes open- he will inherit a gold mine. Location, facilities, recruiting base (the pride of a great football state like Pennsylvania, proximity to New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, etc.)- it’s all in place for the program to be an absolute monster from a talent-attraction standpoint, which in fairness it has been for most of Paterno’s 45 seasons as the head coach.
Beamer’s return helps Hokies
There was excitement in Blacksburg surrounding the return of Virginia Tech associate head coach Shane Beamer to his alma mater to work on his father Frank’s staff. With a dynamic recruiting staff, which has deep ties to the Tidewater and Richmond areas, in place at Virginia (the Cavaliers finished with the nation’s No. 20 overall class in the 2011 cycle), there was some concern that the Hokies were losing their grip on signing the state’s top players.
Virginia Tech associate head coach Shane Beamer is expected to make a big impact for the Hokies on the recruiting trail.
Beamer, who was a national Top 25 recruiter multiple times at South Carolina and Mississippi State, was seen as a boon for Hokies recruiting. His in-state territory is Richmond, where Cavaliers head coach Mike London used to work as a police officer and as the head football coach at the University of Richmond. It’s a shrewd move on the part of the Hokies to place the younger Beamer there and with prospects like receiver Joel Caleb (who could be the state’s top prospect), the battles should be interesting.
Beamer already has drawn good reviews from prospects who have made contact with him and it’s a safe bet he will sign his share for Virginia Tech in this recruiting cycle. He’s an intelligent, organized individual who has future head coach written all over him.
Three eye catchers
High on the following prospects after breaking down their film...
Denzel Heath, S, Huntersville (N.C.) Hopewell
Heath is an in-the-box safety that will come up and strike you. He has excellent closing speed and also has excellent running back film. One scout that works the Carolinas and Florida recently told me “He’s (Alabama 2011 signee) Hasean Clinton-Dix, just three inches shorter”. Clinton-Dix, of course, was one of the top overall prospects in the country in the 2011 cycle and a five-star prospect. Several programs are showing interest in Heath.
Ellis McCarthy, DT, Monrovia (Calif.)
Defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif.) could be one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the country for the 2012 cycle.
After viewing McCarthy’s sophomore and junior film, it’s clear that he’s a big-time prospect and possibly a top 50-type nationally. He’s listed at 6-foot-5, 311 pounds, but moves around like he’s 6-4, 245. McCarthy also uses his hands in an advanced manner, which is important for any defensive tackle. We will probably see McCarthy in person at the forthcoming Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp and we are looking forward to it.
Derrick Woods, WR, Inglewood (Calif.)
The first words that come to mind after watching Woods on film- “ball player”. In fact, on his highlight film linked below his listed position is “football player” so perhaps that stuck after watching him. He lines up at several different positions, shows excellent explosiveness and appears to have good size. There may not be a Robert Woods or a George Farmer in this class in Southern California, but there are some good receivers and Woods may be one of the best.
Lone Star State notes
247Sports National Recruiting Analyst Gerry Hamilton chimes in with a few recruiting notes from the state of Texas.
Athlete Bralon Addison (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower) currently is a soft verbal to Oklahoma State. He will attend spring games at TCU April 2, Texas April 3 and Texas A&M April 16. TCU and Texas A&M are showing the most interest of the three programs. He has verbal offers from Nebraska, Baylor, Arkansas, Texas Tech, Utah and Houston in addition to the Cowboys.
From what we hear, potential five-star quarterback Jameis Winston is going to be hard to pry out of his home state.
Speaking of Oklahoma State, the Cowboys picked up a commitment on Tuesday from 6-foot-3, 225-pound outside linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga (North Richland Hills, Texas/Richland). Tshimanga, a cousin of Texas freshman defensive end Reggie Wilson, picked Oklahoma State over verbal offers from Texas Tech, Arizona, Texas A&M, Baylor, Arkansas and Michigan. While he plays linebacker at the high school level, a move to defensive end at the next level is distinct possibility. Tshimanga is the second prospect for Richland High to pick the Cowboys in the last two recruiting cycles following Nico Ornelas in 2011.
Nuts and Bolts
-We hear that the LSU staff felt good about their visit with potential five-star quarterback Jameis Winston (Hueytown, Ala.) last week. Apparently, the Tigers nationally-prominent baseball program impressed Winston, who is also a standout in that sport. Even with that visit, though, the word still is that Alabama is an overwhelming favorite to land Winston. LSU definitely rolled out the red carpet, though.
-Though he de-committed shortly after committing, the expectation from those in the know on the West Coast is that potential five-star Shaq Thompson (Sacramento, Calif./Grant) will still end up at Cal when all is said and done.
-There was also huge premium recruiting news on one of the country’s top prospects on BamaOnline.com Wednesday.
-Defensive end Michael Moore (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) made an unofficial visit to Florida State on Wednesday, one day after visiting Florida and told Josh Newberg of Noles247 that he may make a decision before his senior season.
-Syracuse is the latest offer for linebacker/defensive end Kaiwan Lewis (Hammonton, N.J./St. Josephs). The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder is approaching the 20 verbal offer mark.
-Bryan Matthews of AuburnUndercover.com reports on a pair of standouts from Jenkins County High in Georgia visiting Auburn on Wednesday.