Monday, August 31, 2009

Other schools zero in on Duke’s Olaniyan: Part II

If you read the previous blog, you know that Aramide Olaniyan is an impressive LB at Woodberry Forest prep who is planning on attending Duke—sort of. While he’s told the Blue Devils he’s expecting to end up there, he’s also planning visits to other schools. And those schools are recruiting him hard.

Start with North Carolina, and that’s an interesting story in itself.
The Tar Heels were paying no attention to Olaniyan, and when Woodberry Forest coach Clint Alexander took a bunch of his players down to camp at Chapel Hill, the WF group dropped Olaniyan off at Duke.

Towards the end of the day, Olaniyan came over to North Carolina to meet his teammates for the trip home.

“We talked him into working out in some of the Tar Heels’ linebacker drills,” Alexander said. “Five minutes into the drills, (head coach) Butch Davis was talking to him. Then they put him up against receivers, and he shut every kid down.”

Alexander laughed. “Suddenly I got a golf cart (to go talk to Davis). That never happens.”

So now Olaniyan is planning an official visit to North Carolina, along with his official to Duke this fall. He’s also tripping to UCLA and Michigan. Stanford, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest have a shot at that fifth and final spot.

If he still ends up at Duke, don’t be surprised. But before that happens, things could get interesting.

--Stan Olson

Blue Devils, Tar Heels scrapping over Duke “soft commit”

You may not have heard of Aramide Olaniyan yet, but you will. Woodberry Forest (Va.) coach Clint Alexander assures you of that. We mentioned how important he is to Duke’s program today, in our look at Carolinas’ schools' primary recruiting targets in The Observer.

Olaniyan, who is originally from Nigeria, plays DL/OB for Woodberry Forest's football team, and when I caught up with Alexander by phone recently, his squad had just finished practice.

“Aramide destroyed our offense,” Alexander said. “I’m out there watching and he’s absolutely destroying us.”

Alexander was having his offense run a “coming out” drill, in which the unit attempts to get two first downs coming out of its own end zone. Except that Olaniyan simply wouldn’t let the offense accomplish its task.

“He was getting tackles for loss at least every other play, sometimes two out of three,” Alexander said, chuckling. “He was messing up the whole drill.

“I’ve got two Division-I line prospects and a center who’s nastier than they are and he’s just killing them. At one point, he just blew by two blockers and crushed the quarterback.

“He’s the fastest kid you’re ever going to block—literally.”

While Woodberry Forest uses Olaniyan, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, on the line often because of that 4.5-second speed, he projects as a LB in college.

We’ll tell you more later about the recruiting war heating up for him—with a whole bunch of schools getting involved.

--Stan Olson

Tar Heels may be after First Assembly’s Stegall, Miller

I did a blog last week on Concord First Assembly DT Ainsley Miller, one in which First Assembly coach Mike Minter—yeah, the ex-Panther—called Miller “easily the best defensive tackle in the state.”

“Not long after that, I got a call from a North Carolina assistant coach,” Miller said with a laugh today. “They wanted to know if he was really that good and wanted film on him. Said they could use a DT like that.

Then (UNC associate head coach) John Blake called to talk about Miller, and I asked him if they could use a safety as well. He said yes, maybe two or three. So I told him I would put my safety, Brandon Stegall, one-on-one on their wide receiver recruit (Tehvyn Brantley of Durham Mt. Zion), just to show them what he could do.”

Brantley, by the way, hasn’t given his final commitment quite yet to UNC.

But back to the game, and the bottom line? Brantley had no receptions. And Stegall stopped him cold while starting on offense as well as defense, also playing quarterback and rushing for 100 yards.

“Now Carolina wants film on both players,” Minter said. “I’m getting Brandon’s in the mail today.”

In case you missed the last blog, Stegall was hurt in the recruiting process because he had mononucleosis over the summer.

--Stan Olson

First Assembly's Stegall shuts down likely Tar Heel WR Brantley

Lost in the fine print of Friday’s deluge of high school football results was Concord First Assembly’s 26-0 victory over Durham Mt. Zion Friday night. In that one, First Assembly coach Mike Minter moved safety Brandon Stegall to cornerback, telling the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Stegall to shadow Tehvyn Brantley, Mt. Zion’s ace receiver but just 5-8 and 165 pounds, everywhere.

Few top-ranked defenders have been able to stop Brantley at camps and combines this summer, but Stegall, who spent much of the summer battling mononucleosis, was up to the challenge, holding Brantley to no catches.

Mt. Zion threw to Brantley five times, and Stegall broke them all up. At one point, he hit Brantly so hard that he knocked his helmet off.

Minter said this morning, “After the game, that kid told Brandon that he was the best DB he ever played against.”

Stegall also played quarterback, and rushed for 100 yards and two TDs out of his team’s spread offense.

According to Brandon’s dad Randy, a large number of schools, including Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Duke and Florida State, had expressed interest in his son, but the mono threw everything off-track.

Now Brandon is healthy again, and things should be picking up.

--Stan Olson

If you have recruiting information, please email me at

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tar Heels have Brantley's transcript, commit to follow?

North Carolina has received Durham Mt. Zion WR Tehvyn Brantley’s transcripts, dad Leroy said this morning, and everything seems to be in order.

That means Brantley, who surprised at camp after camp this summer despite his 5-foot-8 height, could soon be a Tar Heel. UNC offered him a scholarship following a strong performance at its summer camp.

South Carolina is pushing to get into the picture at the last minute, according to Leroy Brantley, but it may be too late.

“He’s waiting to hear from coach (Steve) Spurrier,” Tehvyn’s father said, “But there’s a good chance he’ll commit to North Carolina next week.”

If you would like to see Brantley in action, Mt. Zion plays at Concord First Assembly 7:30 at Webb Field.

--Stan Olson

As always, if you have recruiting information, email me at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clemson beats Cavs, Terps for huge offensive lineman

The Tigers have received the commitment of 6-foot-8, 296-pound Gifford Timothy of Middletown (Del.) High, his father said today.

He also had offers from Maryland, Virginia, Rutgers, Boise State and Utah.

Timothy’s father gave South Carolina recruiting expert Phil Kornblut several reasons for his son’s decision.

“The school spirit and the fan base," he said. “He likes the new facilities. And he feels it's an up-and-coming staff. It's a fresh program so there will be opportunities.”

Recruiters like Timothy’s drive blocking and consider him a strong pass blocker.

Clemson now has 18 commitments, including four O-linemen.

--Stan Olson

Gators commit Hampton unhappy about his diminished status

Victor Hampton, then a highly thought-of DB at Independence High, spent last spring as the No.2 player on our NC Top 25 Prospects list. He’s not on the current list because Patriots coach Tom Knotts, a no-nonsense kind of guy, kicked him off the team earlier this summer.

No one is saying officially what happened, but a source close to the program said that Hampton “ran out of chances.”

So he moved to South Carolina and wound up at Darlington High.

Florida had offered Hampton a scholarship early, and apparently intends to honor it. I'd say Hampton, though, needs to have a problem-free senior year.

We didn’t rank him in our preseason SC Top 25 because we want to see how he does under new management. Apparently, being dropped in a number of rankings rankles Hampton.

“It bugs me that all my rankings have gone down based on what somebody says and not on my talent,” Hampton told Sporting News Today. “But I’ll be alright. I’ll make it through. I’m at a great place now at Darlington.”

Before anyone feels too sorry for him, though, read between the lines of what Knotts told The Observer after Hampton was given the boot in July.

“We just thought it would be in his best interest to move on,” Knotts said. “(He) had every chance with me in the world. We’ve got a set of standards all kids have to live up to. I wish him well.”

--Stan Olson

Does ex-Panther Minter have the best DT in the state?

He thinks so, and the kid’s name is Ainsley Miller.

You remember ex-Carolina Panther safety Mike Minter, always smiling, always running his mouth, one of the most popular and most quotable members of his NFL team. Now Minter is at the other end of the spectrum, as head coach of Concord First Assembly’s private school varsity football team.

But now Minter may be even more quotable as he praises his young—and for the most part unknown—stars. Starting with 6-foot-4, 270-pound senior defensive tackle Ainsley Miller, who also plays OG.

“You know he’s ready right now,” Minter said of Miller’s college potential. “He’s really light on his feet. He could probably play linebacker at the next level, be a guy in the Levon Kirkland mold.”

Minter adds that his big guy has “4.7 or 4.8 speed” in the 40-yard dash, excellent for a player of that size.

Then Minter, who sometimes lets his enthusiasm bubble over, added, “He’s easily the best defensive tackle in the state.”

You could see for yourself Friday night, when Concord First Assembly plays host to Durham Mt. Zion and talented wide receiver Tehvyn Brantley.

Minter said Maryland and New Mexico are aware of Miller and have been calling, but the biggest problem as far as in-state schools go is his lack of college contacts. He’s building them, he said, but he’s also just getting started.

Minter did call Nebraska, his alma mater, about Miller, but the latter doesn’t want to play that far from home.

Now, if another coach at a very small school was telling me this, I would likely blow it off. But don’t you think that maybe Minter’s long career in the NFL gives him credibility when it comes to judging talent?

So I listen when he bubbles up again.

“He’s a phenomenon,” Minter said. “He hasn’t played football that long, no more than three years, tops. But his potential is out of this world.”

--Stan Olson

If you know of a commitment, offer or visit, email me at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tar Heels, Trojans, Tigers make Leifheit's final cut

One of the biggest recruiting targets—literally and figuratively—in the Carolinas has narrowed his college choices down to three.

T.J. Leifheit, Wilmington Hoggard High’s 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive tackle, has reduced the schools on his radar to LSU, North Carolina and Southern Cal, according to Hoggard coach Scott Braswell.

In cutting to his finalists, he dropped semifinalists N.C. State, South Carolina, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee.

Leifheit, who is ranked No.7 on our NC Top 25 Prospects list, originally had more than 30 offers. His commitment to North Carolina would be huge, considering that the Tar Heels have already landed one highly-rated lineman in James Hurst.

“I think most of the kids I've had in the past have really just looked local for their options, or regional for their options,'' Braswell told the Fayetteville Observer’s Sammy Batten. “He's traveled a little more than a lot of kids who grow up in our area and want to stay in the Carolinas. His parents are from different parts of the country, and he has family in California. So he has more of a national experience in his background that I think opens him up to looking beyond the Carolinas.''

"I think T.J. has a lot of potential. He's going to have to improve his ability to bend at the next level. He has to have the flexibility to bend and get his pads lower. Those things kind of all go together.''

--Stan Olson

East Carolina's likely gain in Dixon is Tar Heels' loss

Linebacker Justin Dixon, one of the plums of North Carolina’s Top Ten-rated 2009 recruiting class, failed to qualify and has now enrolled at East Carolina instead, the latter school confirmed.

ECU is still sorting through the academic issues, although the school will likely be able to take Dixon as a partial qualifier.

is 6-foot-1½ and 235 pounds, with outstanding 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash. He is capable of playing any of the three LB positions.

There had been talk of him attending prep school to get his grades in order, but he apparently wanted to get on with his college career.

It’s a huge blow to UNC’s highly rated class, and Dixon will automatically become the best player in ECU’s 2010 group if his academic eligibility—under review by the NCAA Eligibility Center—is approved.

--Stan Olson

If you know of a commitment, offer or visit, email me at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TE Jones picks Crimson Tide over Tar Heels

Harrison Jones, a TE/WR at the Evangelical Christian School in Cordova, Tenn., has committed to Alabama, he said in a statement Monday night.

Jones, who is 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, picked the Tide over North Carolina.

Part of his statement read, “"I have always been an Alabama fan, following both the football and basketball teams. I was so glad when Coach (Nick) Saban became the coach at Alabama because I knew he would build a great program to put Alabama back on top like it was for so many years. He is a brilliant coach, and he has a focus and intensity that is unmatched.

He spoke with me on many occasions about my decision. He told me that he was recruiting me because I have the tools and potential to have a successful career at Alabama.”

North Carolina
had been in the thick of it, with Jones saying, “"I visited the University of North Carolina several times and really loved the campus, coaches and the atmosphere. Last year, I went to the UNC-Notre Dame game, and it was a fantastic experience. I also camped there and went on two unofficial visits."

All of that makes for a lot of time invested by the UNC coaches.

The Tar Heels can only hope that wasn’t an omen—they’re still battling head-to-head with Alabama for talented DL Alfy Hill of West Brunswick High in Shallotte. A decision is expected by Hill soon.

--Stan Olson

Vols, Tide, others beginning to notice S.C. Top 25 choice

Some players—particularly the talented ones hidden away at small schools—take awhile to attract attention. Defensive lineman Kendrick Frazier of of Class A Denmark-Olar High is such a player.

Frazier, who was not among The Observer’s S.C. Top 25 Prospects on our spring list, has vaulted to No.14 in our preseason rankings following strong performances during the May evaluation period.

He started out with offers from smaller schools like Buffalo, Coastal Carolina and S.C. State. Then Kentucky jumped in, and South Carolina, N.C. State and Maryland followed.

Most recently, scholarship bids have come from Alabama, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Frazier, who is 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, will be watched closely by almost everyone this season.

He’s likely a DT in college, although he also plays TE for the Vikings. He has excellent 4.7 speed in the 40-yard dash for his size. And a lot of attention coming his way.

--Stan Olson

Butler loaded, starting with QB Christian LeMay

A bit more on Butler; watching the Bulldogs’ blowout of Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor Friday, I was impressed by the program’s remarkable team speed. That’s understandable, because right now the team has six seniors and five juniors who project as Division I college players.

That list starts with junior QB Christian LeMay. I covered Butler’s blowout of Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor Friday, and then spoke with him after the game. The first thing you notice is that LeMay, who is listed by everyone at 6-foot-2, is considerably taller than that, at least 6-3 if not more.

He also poised and well-spoken beyond the typical junior, facets that will serve him well in the recruiting process that is already beginning to sizzle.

“I haven’t got any favorites right now; I’m just talking to everybody that comes by,” he said. “I’m taking every offer seriously because you never know where you’re supposed to be.”

LeMay said he already has 12 offers, reaching that figure last week when Mississippi State joined the crowd.”

He was asked about the interest of Carolinas schools.

“The Tar Heels offered; State has not yet,” he said, stopping for a moment to say goodbye to some friends who had watched the game. Clemson and Wake Forest have also proffered scholarships.

And distance from home could be a difference-maker.

“I don’t want to go too far but where God says I’m supposed to be, I’ll be there,” LeMay said.

His other early offers are from Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

LeMay wasn’t brilliant Friday. While he has a strong arm, he struggled with accuracy. But he made key plays at the right time and kept the offense under control when the game was close. And, with two more prep seasons in front of him, he’ll only get better.

--Stan Olson

If you know of commitments, offers or upcoming visits, please email me at

Monday, August 24, 2009

Butler RB Walker will soon move into elite recruit status

Butler High RB Deion Walker is just beginning his junior year, but major college programs will soon be noticing him. Some already have.

Georgia, Clemson and North Carolina have been in touch so far.

“That’s all right now,” Walker said after scoring three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 35-14 victory over Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor Friday night. Asked if he had a favorite, he said, “I like Georgia a lot.”

A lot of schools will soon be liking Walker. After a strong summer in the weight room, he’s 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, and he ties that to outstanding 4.36-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

“Deion is strong as an ox, and he has abs on top of abs (abdominal muscles)," says Butler coach Mike Newsome. “Last year he didn't have confidence in his hands and he dropped some balls, but we've been working on that. And he's simply a speed demon.”

Walker did lose a fumble Friday, but he converted enough critical plays to make that play forgettable, capping his evening with a 23-yard option pitch around the right side to make it 28-0.

Walker got a lot of work because fellow RBs Markel Moore (hyperextended knee) and Jawaun Edwards (high ankle sprain) were sidelined. He won’t get that much PT in the future, at least not this year.

But Friday was a good start.

--Stan Olson

Basford's prep coach: 'Wake is not a secondary option anymore'

I just talked to Jacksonville (Fla.) Bishop Kenny coach Mark Thorson about Wake Forest’s newest recruit, TE Neil Basford. And I asked him how the Deacons beat out schools like Florida State and Miami, each of whom had offered.

“It really came down to a comfort thing,” Thorson said. “He just had a better feel for Wake than for anywhere else. We’re a Catholic school with 1,400 students, and Wake is a small private school, so the atmosphere is similar.

“Then there’s the success Wake’s had recruiting in Jacksonville in recent years. He knows some of their players from here, like (quarterback) Riley Skinner. And the thing is, Wake is not a secondary option anymore to kids. They see how they’ve played against schools like Florida State, and they remember that.”

So what are the Deacons getting in Basford?

“He’s really athletic with that 4.7 speed, and we used him more as a pass-catcher than a blocker. We split him out at wide receiver to try and get mismatches and much as we can, where he’s got a 5-foot-10 or 6-foot cornerback trying to cover him.

“And he’s going to grow; he has the frame for it.”

The Deacons appear to have won a good one in Basford. You may hear his name often in the coming seasons. And while you can say Wake beat a bunch of bigtime schools for his commitment, the Deacons just may be on their way to becoming one of those bigtime schools themselves.

- Stan Olson

Demon Deacons get TE as Wake's recruiting hits high gear

Wake Forest has picked up the commitment of Neil Basford, a heavily-recruited tight end from Bishop Kenny High in Jacksonville, Fla.

Basford, who is 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, also had offers from South Carolina, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Illinois and Arkansas.

Basford has 4.7-second speed in the 40-yard dash, excellent for his size. With his large frame, he could also had 20-30 pounds in college.

As a junior, he caught 16 passes for more than 221 yards and four touchdowns.

He grew up a Florida fan, but the Gators, who had already landed the top two TE prospects in the state, never offered. That turned out to be Wake Forest’s gain.

Basford is the Deacons’ 15th commitment.

--Stan Olson

Brantley likely a Tar Heel soon, waiting on transcript

Wide receiver Tehvyn Brantley of Durham Mt. Zion, the No.25 member of The Observer’s N.C. Top 25 Prospects list, may soon be a Tar Heel.

“It’s about 90 percent that he’ll commit to North Carolina,” his dad Leroy said over the weekend. “They’re just waiting on his transcript. He would like to graduate early and be able to enroll in January.”

Although Leroy said his son loves North Carolina, there is also the possibility of a South Carolina offer coming this week. The only other schools that have officially offered have been Wyoming and Central Michigan. Buffalo offered early but later withdrew that scholarship.

Brantley played in Charlotte Friday night against the AFC Rangers, and caught several passes even though he was triple-teamed defensively,” his father said. Tehvyn also returned an interception 50 yards in the 22-13 Mt. Zion victory.

Brantley has had a busy summer, attending more than 20 camps and combines. He had particularly successful workouts at Tennessee, Auburn and Oregon, and offers from those schools or others could still be in the offing.

His remarkable receiving talents are sometimes overshadowed by his 5-foot-8 height, but Brantley has excellent hands, quickness and leaping ability.

--Stan Olson

If you know of a commitment, offer or visit, let me know at

Friday, August 21, 2009

CB picks Wake Forest over Badgers, Tar Heels

Kevin Johnson, a tall and speedy cornerback from River Hill High in Clarksville, Md., has committed to Wake Forest, according to The Deacons came from behind to outlast the Badgers, and North Carolina was also among his finalists.

Johnson, who is 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds with 4.45-second speed in the 40-yard dash, can play cornerback or safety, but likely has the quickness and size to be a shutdown corner in Winston-Salem.

*Virginia also picked up a quality DB, landing Rijo Walker of Bethel High in Hampton, Va. Walker, who is 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, picked the Cavaliers over East Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina and Wake, all of whom had offered.

*I’ll be at the Mt. Tabor at Butler game tonight; give me a holler if you get a chance.

--Stan Olson

If you know of any commitments, offers or visits, email me at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Carolinas' top juniors are already making a splash

I wrote about the top ten juniors in each of the Carolinas for the July 12 paper, but I’ve received several emails recently asking me to post the list on our blog. So here you go, in alphabetical order:


STEPHONE ANTHONY, LB, Wadesboro Anson—How about a linebacker who has intercepted 14 passes in two years? Speed and quickness in a 6-foot-3, 220-pound package.
K.J. BRENT, WR, Marvin Ridge—At 6-foot-4, possibly the best big receiver in his N.C. class. Injured last year, but great hands and an ability to come down with the ball.
NIGEL KING, WR, Wakefield—At 6-2 and 195 pounds with a chance to get bigger, King should develop into the prototypical big WR. As a sophomore, he had 853 receiving yards and 15 TDs.
VAD LEE, QB, Durham Hillside—A remarkable athlete at 6-1 and 200 pounds, Lee runs a 4.5-second 40 and could play a number of positions collegiately, including quarterback.
CHRISTIAN LEMAY, QB, Butler—Already poised and in control, with two years left to play. Possibly the most mobile quarterback in the state. And possibly the best in the country by his senior year.
PRICE LITTON, QB, Providence Day—Litton is 6-2 and 205 pounds and throws bullets. Transferred after playing sparingly at Weddington, and should be a dominating QB this fall.
DREW OWENS, TE, Ardrey Kell—He’s 6-5 and 230 pounds and can run the 40 in 4.59 seconds. Add good hands and a 35-inch vertical and you can see why everyone’s interested.
B.J. SHERRILL, QB, West Rowan—Solid and muscular at 5-11 and 230 pounds, Sherrill led the Falcons to a 15-1 record and the state 3A title. Also an outstanding basketball player.
BRIAN TAYLOR, QB, Hartnett Central—Had the Trojans undefeated before breaking his leg in the sixth game and missing the rest of the season. He’s 6-3 and 200 pounds, and had already thrown for over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs when he was hurt.
MARQUISE WILLIAMS, QB, Mallard Creek—A dual-threat quarterback, The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Williams has 4.7 speed and was an ME-CA 7 all-conference pick as a sophomore after totaling more than 3,000 yards of total offense and 37 TDs.


RODERICK BYERS, DL, Northwestern—Saw limited varsity play on a deep team, but he’s already 6-4 and 250 pounds with outstanding quickness. Could wind up in the defensive interior in college, but also has the speed for DE.
SHON CARSON, RB, Lake City—As a freshman, he rushed for 1,300 yards, and followed that up with 1,600 last year. Carson (5-9, 195 pounds) has 4.4 speed and a number of verbal offers.
JADEAVEON CLOWNEY, DE, South Pointe—We talk a lot about QBs here, but this could be the best prospect of all. Clowney is already 6-6 and 245 pounds—and runs a 4.55 40. “I’ve been in this game 27 years and haven’t seen one like him,” says Stallions coach Bobby Carroll.
HAKEEM FLOWERS, WR, Greenville Hampton—Try 6-3, 180 pounds with 4.4-second speed. Flowers still has some developing to do, but his natural ability has everyone interested.
EVERETT GOLSON, QB, Myrtle Beach—A combo quarterback with a strong arm, he led MB to the state 3A title. Golson has already broken the school passing record with over 5,000 yards in two seasons.
TONY MCNEAL, QB, Chester—As a sophomore, the 6-1 McNeal led the Cyclones to the state title game while throwing for 3,577 yards and 39 touchdowns.
CHARON PEAKE, WR, Roebuck Dorman—You find very few wide receivers who are 6-3 with 4.4 speed, but Peake is just that. As a freshman, he turned his first four catches into TDs.
ROBERT SMITH, QB, Dorchester Woodland—The top run-pass threat at the position, he piled up almost 3,500 yards of total offense and 36 touchdowns last season.
DEXTER STALEY, LB, Williston-Elko—Not as well known as others on this list, but he’s 6-2, 230 pounds and runs a 4.6 40. In a playoff game last year, Staley ran for three TDs, threw for another, caught a pass for yet another and blocked a punt.
JUSTIN WORLEY, QB, Northwestern—Led team to SC Class 4A Division II title game. Good height at 6-5 and will get stronger as he increases his 180-pound weight. Also a baseball and basketball standout.

--Stan Olson

Are Wolfpack, Tar Heels missing on Kilgo?

Weddington High defensive tackle Darius Kilgo gets better and better.

A lot of that is because a summer in the weight room has peeled off most of his excess weight; listed at 310 pounds this spring, he’s trimmed down and toned up.

“I weighed him this morning and he was 296 pounds on the dot,” said Weddington coach Justin Hardin.

Kilgo appears to be one of those borderline prospects, largely because he’s 6-foot-3 and major schools like their offensive linemen to be a bit taller. Some have already decided that it doesn’t matter in his case—East Carolina and Maryland have offered Kilgo, and Clemson is considering doing so.

Not everyone is that enthusiastic, though.

“He likes Chapel Hill and N.C. State a lot,” Hardin said. “But neither is on him real hard right now.”

Kilgo, ranked No.24 on our NC Top 25 Prospects list, has added considerable quickness with his drop in weight.

“He can really move,” Hardin said. “But as for a school, I don’t think he’s looking to make a quick decision.”

--Stan Olson

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CB Fulton leaning toward Gameocks over Tide

Manning (S.C.) High’s John Fulton, one of the nation’s best cornerback prospects, continues to favor South Carolina over his other four finalists, he said a few minutes ago.

“The Gamecocks are still my leader; they’re close to home and I’ve got a shot at early playing time there. The coaches have been great to me.”

Fulton, who is ranked No.5 in the state on The Observer’s Top 25 prospects list, said that Alabama is his second choice at the moment. His other finalists are Georgia, Florida and LSU. He’s planning visits to all five schools.

Another indication of that Gamecock lean—he’ll visit Georgia the weekend the Bulldogs play South Carolina.

Fulton once again showed off his remarkable talent Tuesday night in a scrimmage against Summerville, catching two TD passes at wide receiver and forcing a fumble on defense.

If South Carolina eventually lands Fulton ahead of all those SEC powers come February signing day, it will make a strong recruiting class even better—and might signal that the Gamecocks are finally ready to step up with the league’s elite.

--Stan Olson

Former Tar Heel soon to be a Gamecock

Placekicker Jay Wooten, who announced his decision to leave North Carolina earlier this summer, recently decided to walk on at South Carolina.

He will be given a chance to earn a scholarship.

Wooten, who played at Laurinburg’s Scotland High, had also considered Arkansas, Louisville and Coastal Carolina. But both of his parents were Gamecocks, and a meeting with head coach Steve Spurrier settled it.

“I always wanted to be a Gamecock,” Wooten told S.C. recruiting expert Phil Kornblut. “"It's funny because it was not a good situation (coming out of high school). “They didn't really need a kicker and I was excited about playing at North Carolina. Things didn't work out. They wanted me to concentrate more on kickoffs.”

Last season Wooten, then a sophomore, made all of his 11 extra point attempts and four of six field goals.

As a transfer, he’ll sit out this season and have three years to play his final two.

“There isn't a more exciting place to be on Saturdays than Williams-Brice Stadium,” he said.

--Stan Olson

If you know of a commitment, an offer or a visit, please email me at

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

N.C. is absolutely loaded with junior prospects

This hasn’t been a great year for senior football talent in the state of North Carolina. The Class of 2010 has some spectacular players like DE Gabe King and OT Robert Crisp, but the depth simply isn’t there.

Just wait.

The Class of 2011 is jam-packed with kids who can play.

An example is Durham Hillside High, where coach Antonio King is licking his lips in anticipation as he watches his juniors run around in practice.

He starts with QB Vad Lee, of course, a junior who is already high on colleges’ recruiting boards. But he goes on from there—and on.

“We have literally 15 kids in our junior class who will be recruited by Division I schools if everything goes well for them,” King said. “It is amazing. I have never heard of a high school program having that many recruitable kids in one class before.”

Compare that with Hillside’s current seniors. King says three are drawing significant recruiting attention.

So next year should be interesting at Hillside, but it should be interesting across the state.

Ask Waxhaw Marvin Ridge High coach Scott Chadwick about his seniors who are attracting attention, and he names one. He follows that up with six juniors, although that could change over the course of the season, as it could at any school.

Simply put, though, if the state of North Carolina’s 2010 targets are a bit limited, just give it a year. Because 2011 is right around the corner.

--Stan Olson

Tar Heels, Crimson Tide await Hill's Decision

Defensive end Alfy Hill of Shallotte West Brunswick High is nearing a decision, and the only schools left in the hunt for the No.4 player on the Observer’s Top 25 N.C. Prospects list are Alabama and North Carolina.

Hill is expected to announce his decision by the time school starts, on Aug. 25.
And there is considerable irony here; Hill’s primary recruiter for the Tide is assistant head coach Sal Sunseri, who last year was the defensive line coach for the NFL Carolina Panthers.

Alabama’s status has improved dramatically in recent weeks, ever since Hill took a visit to Tuscaloosa. Prior to that, he had almost committed to North Carolina.

Now he says the schools are even. We’ll see who lands him soon.

The Tar Heels desperately need to get the commitment of the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Hill, who has been trimming down to play middle linebacker for West Brunswick this season but still projects as a DE in college. North Carolina has already lost the top two players in the state, with No.1 DE Gabe King planning to leave N.C. for college and No.2 Robert Crisp committed to rival N.C. State.

The Tar Heels have yet to receive a commitment from any of the state’s top ten players. Their quest for bigtime out-of-state talent hasn’t been as successful as they might have hoped.

The commitment of Hill would ease that pain considerably.

--Stan Olson

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stars guide Wolfpack's recruiting class to improvement

N.C. State's recruiting class just got better without the coaching staff lifting a finger.

OT Robert Crisp and WR Tony Creecy have both performed well at recent combines, prompting to give them each another star in the recruiting site’s ratings. Crisp, now at Raleigh’s Athens Drive High, became a five-star player—top of the line, folks—and improved to No.49 in the nation on Scout’s overall list.
He was recently named MVP of the FBU Top Gun Camp.

Creecy, at Southern Durham, has played well all summer. He went from a three- to a four-star talent. He’s now ranked No. 162 in Scout’s top 300 rankings., the other top recruiting service, is keeping Crisp at four stars for now. And it beat Scout to the punch on Creecy, promoting him to four stars earlier this summer.

And the Wolfpack, its nine-member Class of 2010 formerly ranked No.53 by Scout, has climbed to No. 41 without adding a player.

--Stan Olson

Is Tar Heels' recruiting finally awakening?

Well, North Carolina does have two new recruits after sitting on the sidelines for weeks, but we’re not talking five-star phenoms here. The Tar Heels have added TE Sean Fitzpatrick of Pittsford (N.Y.)-Mendon High and OL Nick Appel of Bishop O’Connell High in Arlington, Va.

Neither was highly recruited; this class could use some big names to give it some sizzle, and many of the hotshots the Tar Heels were working on have committed elsewhere.

Fitzpatrick had already committed to Maryland, in fact, but when North Carolina hired Allen Mogridge—who had recruited Fitzpatrick in the past—to coach TEs, the player reconsidered.

Fitzpatrick, who has 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash, is 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, and considered a good blocker. As a junior, he caught 18 passes for 275 yards.

Appel is 6-6 and 300 pounds, and recruited to play OT, although he played some DE in high school. O’Connell coach Steve Trimble said, “There were some other teams right there, at the point of giving him an offer. Northwestern and Maryland were excited about him. I told him that he could go to only so many (summer) camps.

“I told Nick to pick out the schools he was most interested in and try and get
in their camps so they could get a look at him. The big thing was he was at
UNC's camp and they got a chance to see him.”

North Carolina was Appel’s first offer. He had been in the program for three years, since being cut from the freshman basketball team had dimmed his interest in that sport. He has 5.4 speed.

The additions push the Tar Heels’ class to nine players, counting those who were not admitted last year and were bumped from the Class of 2009 to ’10. UNC has 19 spots to fill.

--Stan Olson

Clemson beats the Crimson out of Tide for Beasley

Remember when we told you that Clemson was starting to kick around the might SEC in recruiting?

It happened again this past week, when the Tigers outlasted favored Alabama to claim touted athlete Victor Beasley of Adairsville, Ga.

Beasley, who is considered capable of playing TE, LB or slot receiver for Clemson, was believed to be almost an Alabama lock until recently. He changed all that, though, at a Friday morning news conference.

So why Clemson?

"It felt like home to me," Beasley said, churning out perhaps the hottest cliché of this recruiting season. “It was great to get to know the coaches at Clemson. They were very honest. And it's the loudest stadium in the country. I can't wait to play there.”

Beasley is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, with a remarkable 4.51 40-yard dash. He also had offers from Auburn, Duke, East Carolina, Louisville and Stanford, among others.
It was another kick in the SEC’s recruiting face by Clemson, which landed its 17th commitment.

--Stan Olson
I’m baaack. Send commitments, offers and visits to

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Observer's Top 25s: Missed it by that much...

The easy part of picking the Top 25 college prospects in North and South Carolina (we ran our preseason lists in today’s Observer) is ranking the first 15 or so in each state. Then it gets tough. By the time I got to the 23 to 25 spots, I had about a dozen contenders for each list.

You know who made it, but here are ten of the players who just missed in each state:

NORTH CAROLINA: South Stanly S Detric Allen, Weddington QB Anthony Boone, Providence WR Brandon Braxton, Charlotte Christian LB Kelby Brown, SE Raleigh QB Gabe Henderson, Raleigh Sanderson WR Mat James, Lenoir Hibriten LB Darius Lipford, Northern Guilford CB James Scales, Wadesboro Anson DT Tra Thomas and Shelby Crest CB Reggie Wilkins.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Rock Hill South Pointe RB Quinten Darby, Bamberg-Erhardt DE Justin Henderson, Piedmont Woodmont DB Okoye Houston, Duncan Byrnes WR Jazz King, Duncan Byrnes DB Zach Miller, Duncan Byrnes WR Torian Richardson, , Spartanburg Boiling Springs OL Logan Stewart, Bennettsville Marlboro Co. DT Thomas Teal, Spartanburg Boiling Springs QB Dylan Thompson and Spartanburg LB Andre Whitmire.

We'll be doing a postseason Top 50 as well. Any of these players, with a strong senior year, could wind up on his state's list.

Go to these links for a look at the new NC Top 25 and SC Top 25 lists.

--Stan Olson

And now a bit more vacation, but I'll be back. Stay in touch at

Friday, August 7, 2009

Clemson, Duke up in recruiting, Tar Heels slipping

Clemson has been winning a lot of recruiting battles lately, and it’s showing up in the national rankings of our friends at The Tigers, who have 15 commitments after a recently flurry, have climbed past South Carolina (15 commits) and into the Top 20 at No.18.

The Gamecocks continue to build a solid class, and are currently ranked 22nd in the country.

Next among our seven major Carolinas schools is surprising Duke, having its best recruiting season in memory. The Blue Devils (13 commits) are ranked 37th nationally.

Wake Forest (14 commits) is putting together a solid class and is ranked 48th. N.C. State (nine commits) is right behind at No. 51.

And North Carolina, which had such a strong year last year?

The Tar Heels went after some of the best players out there, and have been losing out on most of them. They have three commitments, and are ranked 53rd only because one of those, OL James Hurst, is a five-star prospect.

East Carolina is ranked 78th with six commitments, but I think the talent the Pirates are landing is better than that. Their group includes two outstanding athletes from South Stanly High, safety Detric Allen and QB Desmond Brown, along with underrated Damon Magazu, a safety from Providence High.

--Stan Olson

As always, if you know of any commitments, offers or visits, email me at

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pity Duncan Byrnes High...or not

Year after year, Duncan Byrnes High is one of the best football programs in South Carolina, which is great if you want trophies and college scholarships and all that stuff. But how about making the Shrine Bowl Team?

No more than two players from any school can make the squad, and Byrnes usually has more than that with the ability to play capably against North Carolina in the annual charity game.

But this year is ridiculous.

Start with Marcus Lattimore, the top RB prospect in the country. Add in DLs Brandon Willis and Corey Miller, and you have three of the top ten prospects in the state (you can see where they rank in our Observer preseason SC and NC Top 25 lists, which will run in Sunday’s paper).

But it doesn’t end there. In our spring Top 25, six Byrnes players were listed. Coach Chris Miller’s biggest problem might be finding playing time for everyone.

“They have eight players that could play in that game,” said S.C. Shrine head coach Lewis Lineberger this week. “Heck, they probably have more than eight; I don’t want to make anybody mad.”

Lineberger gets to pick 44 players for a roster that will be finalized Oct. 25. Be assured that Byrnes will have two of those spots. And that a whole bunch of talented kids from the school won’t be invited.

--Stan Olson

Brantley likely a Tar Heel soon

North Carolina watched Durham Mt. Zion Academy wide receiver Tehvyn Brantley play at its June camp and then ignored his height, variously listed at 5-foot-7 or 5-8, and offered him a scholarship.

None of the other major area schools—Wyoming offered last week, and Central Michigan was in on him early—could get past his stature.

The Tar Heels have.

Brantley visited Chapel Hill Wednesday, meeting with North Carolina coaches for five hours in a day that included a meeting with head coach Butch Davis.

“It was wonderful,” Brantley said Wednesday night. “I didn’t commit, but they are definitely the favorite. They want me to come back Saturday to watch practice, and I’m going.”

While he didn’t commit, he said he hopes to hold a press conference in a week or two to announce his decision, calling doing so a “once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

It’s still conceivable that a school like Tennessee or Auburn—he had outstanding camps at both schools—could come in and make a late race of it, but don’t bet on it.

Brantley, told by North Carolina’s coaches that he might return kicks immediately, said he wanted no guarantees; he wanted to earn his playing time. The Tar Heels told him that he might eventually fit in the offense at slot receiver.

“I was so excited that as soon as I was done up there, I went and worked out,” he said. “I’m going to be our enemies’ misery.”

--Stan Olson

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Duke gets high-profile OL commitment

Duke football coach David Cutcliffe gained his second high-profile offensive line commitment in the Class of 2010 when Laken Tomlinson of Lane Technical High School chose the Blue Devils.

Lane Tech coach Rich Rio confirmed Wednesday night in an e-mail that Tomlinson committed to Duke. Rio said Tomlinson had 16 other scholarship offers. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Tennessee were among the other schools that offered.

Tomlinson is 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds and is rated the 10th-best player overall in Illinois by He joins Tarboro's Takoby Cofield - who's rated 16th-best in North Carolina - on the offensive line in the Class of 2010 for Duke.

- Ken Tysiac

Fulton replaces Hokies with LSU in his Final Five

Manning (S.C.) High cornerback John Fulton has switched one of his five finalists, replacing Virginia Tech with LSU.

Fulton, the best CB in the state (check out our new preseason Top 25s for SC and NC in Sunday’s paper), continues to rank his top four in order, though.

South Carolina has a slight lead over Alabama, followed by Florida and Georgia.

Fulton’s first official visit, he said, will be to Alabama when the Crimson Tide plays host to South Carolina Oct. 17. He expects to make his decision following his senior season. I’d say his home state university is looking pretty good so far.

--Stan Olson

Charlotte Christian's Fulginiti commits to Elon

Charlotte Christian offensive tackle Sam Fulginiti has committed to Elon, Knights coach Jason Estep said a few minutes ago.

Fulginiti, who is 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, was also being recruited by other Southern Conference schools and also Big South programs, but Elon made the first offer.

“His brother Zach attended Elon as a student, and Sam was very comfortable with the school,” Estep said. “They’re getting a good one; he’s a three-year starter for us with a great work ethic.”

Despite the commitment, Estep thinks Fulginiti will receive more offers.

“When one school gets it started, a lot of times that gets others jumping in.”

Fulginiti played left tackle a year ago but will shift to the right side this season. In college, though, he projects as a guard or even a center.

“He’s that athletic,” Estep said. “He’s very versatile and can play anywhere on the line.”

--Stan Olson

Wake Forest putting together another 'stealth' class

Expect Wake Forest to end up with its usual stealthy, under-the-radar and high-quality class. The Deacons recently got the commitment of CB A.J. Marshall of Southern Durham High, who will be on our preseason Observer Top 25 North Carolina prospects list when it and the South Carolina 25 are published Sunday.

The Deacons tend to start slow in the numbers department, and are usually overshadowed in-state by North Carolina and N.C. State, but under coach Jim Grobe, they always seem to wind up with a class capable of producing winning seasons in the ACC.

Marshall carries a higher profile than most Wake recruits. He was also offered by schools like North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech after a junior season that saw him collect 75 tackles with five interceptions and 27 passes broken up.

Wake is up to 13 recruits in this class, three of them from North Carolina.

What we’ll do on a slow day is check our past top 25 lists and see what kind of representation the Deacs had in those rankings. Remind me to do that in case I forget.

--Stan Olson

Got recruiting info? Send it to

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And all those rankings mean, well, not that much

We talk about what an inexact science recruiting is, but nothing proves that point better than a look at the national rankings of several Carolinas players.

Take, for instance, DL Kelcy Quarles of Greenwood High, a South Carolina commitment., one of the two largest recruiting services, says Quarles is the No. 38 player in the country., the other big boy, ranks Quarles at No. 242.

This is not a shot at either recruiting service; we’re just highlighting how difficult it is to quantify the football-playing ability of 17-year-old boys.

Some players, of course, dominate. Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes RB Marcus Lattimore is ranked second nationally by Scout and seventh by Rivals. But not long after that, it becomes pretty much a crapshoot.

West Brunswick High DE Alfy Hill is rated 69th by Rivals. Scout has him at 198. Northern Guilford’s Keenan Allen is 31st according Rivals, 59th according to Scout.

Oh, and check out Byrnes DL Corey Miller. Scout has him at No. 170. Rivals says he should be 25th.

The bottom line? If there were ten major recruiting services, most players would have ten different rankings.

--Stan Olson

Ardrey Kell's Prince Shembo picks Notre Dame

Ardrey Kell High’s Prince Shembo, one of the Carolinas’ top linebackers, has committed to Notre Dame.

Shembo picked the Fighting Irish over Tennessee and Virginia Tech, according to Ardrey Kell coach Marty Woolbright.

“He and his family visited up there over the summer, stayed a few days, and he really liked the area and he liked the campus,” Woolbright said moments ago. “He visited all three of those schools.”

Shembo was also offered by Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest and a long list of others.

The Irish will likely use the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Shembo as a sort of hybrid, a linebacker who can put his hand on the ground and rush the passer on third down, Woolbright said.

“He’ll be a really good college player,” Woolbright said. “He’s just gotten better and better every year that he’s played.”

Shembo, a starter as a ninth grader, has remarkable 4.62-second speed in the 40-yard dash to go with his size. As a junior, he had 90 tackles, six sacks and two interceptions.

Woolbright said his player wanted to go to a strong academic institution. Obviously Notre Dame would qualify.

--Stan Olson

Clemson kicks SEC powers again with CB

Cornerback Garry Peters of Heritage High in Conyers (Ga.), has picked Clemson over Alabama, continuing a remarkable roll for the Tigers.

Lately, Clemson has been beating the biggest names in the SEC for top players.

Peters, who is 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, also had offers from Auburn and Tennessee, among others.

“It's a weight lifted off my shoulders and now I can focus on my senior season," Peters told The State Newspaper. “It's like a shoe that fit perfectly. My family loved Clemson, my coaches loved it and all the coaches at Clemson felt just like my coaches in high school.

“It's a family atmosphere. And I can play early but it all depends on me. I'd like to play both ways, but we'll see.”

Peters is also a wide receiver, but most see his college role as that of a big, shutdown cornerback.

Among area schools, East Carolina and North Carolina had also offered Peters scholarships.

He is Clemson’s 15th commitment overall and seventh in the past ten days.

--Stan Olson

If you know of any commitments, offers or visits, please email me at

Are Wolfpack, Louisville interested in Brantley?

Schools don’t quite seem to know what to do with Tehvyn Brantley.

At camp after combine, Durham Mt. Zion Christian’s Brantley impresses everyone with his quick moves and ability to go up and get the ball. Then the recruiters look again at his 5-foot-8 height and can’t quite pull the trigger.

North Carolina, though, pulled it last month, and Brantley will meet with Tar Heels coach Butch Davis Wednesday. His commitment, though, is no sure thing.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m going to commit,” Brantley said with a laugh late Monday night. “We’re going to talk.”

Lately, Brantley has heard that both N.C. State and Louisville are interested in him, although he says there has been no official contact from those schools.

“I’ll see players going to other schools (at combines) and they’ll tell me their coaches are telling them to get me to come to their places,” he said. “That happens all the time.”

Brantley took two west coast tours earlier this summer, and a number of schools appeared to be interested then.

“The west coast schools are really not after me now,” he said. “That’s okay; I guess they are more interested in players in their own areas.”

Perhaps his biggest disappointment has been Tennessee. He attended the Volunteers’ June camp and was named its most outstanding receiver. But an offer never came.

“I just don’t understand that,” he said.

Then he played well at South Carolina’s camp, so well that all-American CB John Fulton called Brantley the best receiver he had ever seen. The coaches took his phone number, but he’s heard nothing since.

In addition to North Carolina, Wyoming recently offered. And he has a long-standing scholarship bid from Central Michigan.

And don’t get him wrong; he might commit to the Tar Heels come Wednesday. Brantley said he has considerable respect for Davis and his staff, because they offered when none of the other big schools would.

“And staying close to home wouldn’t be bad at all,” he said.

More coming on this Wednesday.

--Stan Olson

Greensboro's Hairston picks Tar Heels

Junior guard P.J. Hairston of Greensboro Dudley committed to the University of North Carolina on Monday night.

The 6-foot-5 guard is one of the top players in the Class of 2011.

Veteran Dudley boys basketball coach David Price said the thing
that P.J. Hairston does best is do everything well.

"P.J. is a smart player. He plays great defense. He is best known as a
shooter. He is a passer," Price said. "He can do everything well. Also he is
very unselfish. Name it ,and if you do it on a basketball court, he does it

Recruiting analyst Dave Telep said Hairston is one of the top underclassmen
in the country.

"Taking him is a no-brainer when you add it all up," Telep said. "He is a
tremendous athlete. He has great size. He can go to the rim. He has great range
on his jump shot. He is just a complete player. He is not a player you want to
see on the other team's roster."

Tim Stevens

Monday, August 3, 2009

Brantley could commit to Tar Heels Wednesday

Wide receiver Tehvyn Brantley of Durham’s Mt. Zion Christian Academy will have a sit-down with North Carolina head coach Butch Davis Wednesday, according to his father, Leroy Brantley.

“I see him going up there and maybe committing,” Leroy said this afternoon. “But he has to make a decision that’s best for him as a young man.”

You may remember Tehvyn; his dad took him all over the country to various camps and combines in a journey chronicled on this blog.

He had early offers from Buffalo and Central Michigan, then went to North Carolina’s camp in June and was offered a scholarship on the spot. He recently received an offer from Wyoming as well.

There was more interest; he was the most outstanding WR at Tennessee’s camp, and also did well at several west coast schools. But while many universities have expressed interest, no other offers have been forthcoming.

That’s because Brantley is 5-foot-8, and short receivers aren’t in high demand. Watch Brantley, though, and you can see he’s something special, in the mold of the Panthers’ Steve Smith. He simply goes up and gets the ball.

While Leroy doesn’t know if Tehvyn, who is going to the UNC meeting with his mother, Jackie Alston, will commit Wednesday, I believe the Tar Heels will have a steal if he does so.

--Stan Olson

And another commitment lands at Wake Forest

Colin Summers, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound football offensive guard, has accepted a football scholarship to Wake Forest University.
Summers also had offers from Elon, Duke and East Carolina.

"Colin is a great kid, very coachable," said Raleigh Broughton coach Chris Martin. "He moves well for a big kid. One college coach said he runs like a 250-pounder. He has really quick feet and a great work ethic."

Summers is expected to be a two-year starter for the Caps.

"I think he is going to make a good adjustment to college football because he is so coachable," Martin said. "He listens and is willing to work to get better.”

--Tim Stevens

Deacons add Raleigh standout Mat James

Versatile Sanderson High football standout Mat James has accepted a football scholarship to Wake Forest University.

"Wake Forest is recruiting him as an athlete," said Sanderson coach Tony Lewis. "He is 6-foot-5, weighs 200, is really fast and really strong. He is an outstanding prospect."

Lewis said Virginia Tech was recruiting James as a potential defensive end.

"Mat could end up around 250 pounds," Lewis said. "Wake Forest is going to look at him first as a wide receiver and he might end up playing there all four years, or he might develop at another position."

James returned kickoff and punts for Sanderson and was a leading receiver.

"He has great hands, long arms and can fly," Lewis said. "He has worked hard to develop as a football player."

--Tim Stevens

Clemson blitz adds quality, quantity to class

The Tigers may be out of the Marcus Lattimore Sweepstakes, but that’s not preventing them from pulling together a top-flight recruiting class. Last week, they added the commitments of six more players, pushing their 2010 list to 14.

The burst was capped by the additions of Corey Crawford and David Beasley of Carver High in Columbus, Ga., along with Atlanta Westlake High's Darius Robinson.

Crawford is a 6-foot-5, 235-pound DE who had a pile of offers, including Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Beasley, a 6-4, 290-pound OG, was also pursued by South Carolina, Miami and UCLA, among others. Robinson, who is a 6-0, 170-pound CB, also had offers from Miami and Stanford.

That trio was merely the cap to a remarkable week.

Also committing were Kalon Davis, a 6-5, 340-pound OL from Chester (S.C.) High; Nashville Ensworth High TE Sam Cooper (6-5, 230) and Roswell (Ga.) Centennial High CB Martin Jenkins (5-9, 170 pounds).

Davis also had offers from South Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Alabama.

And Jenkins can fly; he was timed at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a combine earlier this year.

--Stan Olson

Gamecocks, Tar Heels still in Lattimore chase

Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes High’s Marcus Lattimore, the consensus No.1 running back in the country, has narrowed his final list of colleges from ten to five, and the remaining contenders for his services include North Carolina and South Carolina.

Also still in the hunt are Auburn, Oregon and Penn State.

Over the weekend, Lattimore cut his potential future schools in half by eliminating Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Alabama and Rutgers.

Lattimore trimmed his list after returning Saturday night from a visit to Penn State.

“It really wasn't difficult,” he told Columbia recruiting expert Phil Kornblut. “I kind of had an idea when I came back from Penn State. I knew the schools I wanted in my five and felt comfortable with the players and coaches.”

Lattimore plans to return to the Nittany Lions’ campus for his official visit Oct. 10.

One big surprise—Clemson didn’t make his final five.

“I just didn't get that feeling there when I was on campus,” Lattimore said.

He has taken unofficial visits to all of his finalists except Oregon. He said he plans to see games at North and South Carolina as well as Auburn. He said he has no favorite, and won’t make his decision until the day before February’s National Signing Day.

More to come on many recruiting fronts today; after three weeks of vacation, we have a lot to catch up on, because the hunt for high school talent never stops. So welcome back, and let’s get going.

--Stan Olson

One more thing; as usual, if you know of a commitment or visit, drop me an email at