Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm on vacation--but stay in touch anyway

Fellow recruitniks, I have to get some vacation time out of the way over the next three weeks, so I will temporarily vanish from this blog, but will return.

Keep clicking on this site, though; we should have information coming in from our prep and college writers.

I'll be back in a big way at the end of beach and backyard time - we're working on a database of all the players who are being recruited for football across the Carolinas. It's a work in progress; I talk to every coach about his players, and
put significant information about them in the database...

As always, drop me an email at with any commitments, offers or visits you know of. And also, if you have a player for me to check out.

--Stan Olson

The Carolinas' junior class: Expect the exceptional

I have put together a list of the top rising juniors in the Carolinas for Sunday’s Observer; we’re listing ten from each state who could wind up being the best in the Class of 2011.

I should have mentioned this when I was writing about Clowney in the previous blog, because he is a big part of this story. As you might have guessed, he’s one of South Carolina’s Top Ten.

This is hardly scientific, but hopefully it will give you an early idea of which players schools in the area will be homing in on for 2011. So check out Sunday’s paper, and one big hint—think quarterbacks.

--Stan Olson

Recruiters already crazy over South Pointe's Clowney

His name is Jadeaveon Clowney, and you’ve likely never heard of him.

You will.

Clowney is a 6-foot-6, 245-pound rising junior DE at Rock Hill’s South Pointe High, and he’s also rising in the estimation of every recruiter who checks out tape on him.

“They’ll watch maybe two plays,” says Stallions coach Bobby Carroll, “and then say, ‘Stop it coach, I’ve seen enough.’”

Because in recruiting parlance, Clowney is “a beast,” one of those unstoppable forces of nature that you rarely see.

Did we mention that he runs a 4.55-second 40-yard dash, a time top-tier defensive backs would be proud of? And that he has a 36-inch vertical leap?

“I’ve been coaching 27 years, and I’ve had five kids go on to play in the NFL,” Carroll said, “But in all that time, I’ve never seen one like (Clowney).”

Carroll also said that Clowney already has 13 verbal offers—schools can’t make them official until Sept. 1 of a player’s junior year. And he added that on top of all that natural ability, Clowney is tough.

“He started every game last year as a sophomore with a painful bone spur in his foot.”

And this year he’s fully healthy again.

--Stan Olson

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wolfpack commitment Creecy moving up at Rivals

Anthony Creecy is moving on up.

Creecy, the Southern Durham WR who recently committed to N.C. State, is already the No.170 prospect on’s Top 250 list, but the recruiting site said to look for Creecy to move higher than that when the next ranking comes out later this month:

“Creecy is a bowling ball of a wide receiver, very strong and built like a brick. He has good, not great speed and he's not the tallest receiver, but he gets separation, fights for the football and has very strong hands. You can't press him off the line, he's too strong and he's sneaky quick when you play off coverage.”

Wolfpack fans have got to like those words.

Hey, and we knew it first; Creecy is ranked No.8 on our N.C. Top 25 Prospects list, created back in April. That, too, will be updated before the season.

--Stan Olson

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gamecocks top area schools in early recruiting

And just how are the 2010 recruiting classes of our seven major Carolinas football programs ranked so far?

We checked in with for their take on the group, and find South Carolina on top in quantity (13 commitments) and quality (ranked No.21 nationally).

Clemson (seven commitments) is not far behind at No.27, and then comes the biggest surprise of the bunch. Duke, with 10 commitments, is ranked No.36.

N.C. State (nine commitments) is 40th, followed by North Carolina (three commitments) at No.43. Wake Forest, with five commitments, is tied for 65th.

Bringing up the rear, at least at this point, is East Carolina (five commitments), which is tied for 82nd.

And who’s No.1 nationally? How about Mack Brown’s Texas Longhorns, who have 19 commitments so far.

--Stan Olson

One great big sleeper at Butler

It’s tough to miss Rico Arelleno.

The Butler High rising senior offensive tackle is 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds. And if some major programs do miss him, it will likely be for one reason. Until last year, he thought of himself as a basketball player.

“If he had started playing football in the ninth grade, he probably would eventually have ten Division I offers,” said Butler coach Mike Newsome.

Better late than never, though. Arelleno was finally persuaded to try football as a junior, and played on the junior varsity team because of his lack of experience.
But the potential is there, and Newsome would like to see him grab a starting position this fall and hold on.

“He’s got some ability,” Newsome said. “He’s done well in the weight room. But he’s got to gain confidence that he can play.”

That was helped at N.C. State’s recent camp, where Arelleno thought he did well.

He’s fairly athletic for his size, but his lack of experience means that he’s still a bit short in technique. Still, the potential is there.

“He’s what I call a wait-and-see type,” Newsome said. “Because he was a jayvee last year, I don’t even have film to send out on him. He’s more of a project, even for college.

“But if he can play this year, it really helps us.”

--Stan Olson

Gamecocks continue recruiting blitz with OL

South Carolina has added the commitment of offensive lineman Cody Gibson of Lincoln High in Tallahassee, Fla., likely finished filling out its O-line for the Class of 2010.

Gibson, who is 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, picked the Gamecocks over East Carolina, Marshall, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Southern Mississippi and Tulane, all of whom had offered.

He is South Carolina’s sixth O-line commitment (the team is expected to sign six) and 13th overall, as the Gamecocks continue their fast recruiting start.

“I loved the facilities,” Gibson said. “Getting to play early is a big factor. They are graduating ten offensive linemen over the next two years.”

Gibson expects to redshirt.

“They told me two years from now they expect me to be ready to play,” he said.

Eventually the program sees him as a left tackle.

--Stan Olson

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mack at Clemson, Illinois woos Kennedy, and more

Offensive lineman Eric Mack of South Carolina’s Calhoun County High is taking an unofficial visit to Clemson today, to show the school to his mother. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound tackle did the same thing recently at South Carolina. Mack is also setting up trips to North Carolina, N.C. State and Florida State in the next few weeks. He is not yet naming favorites from his two dozen or so offers.
*South Mecklenburg RB Larry Kennedy is getting more and more notice because of his blazing 4.47 speed in the 40-yard dash. Kennedy has been offered by Illinois, said coach James Martin. Expect more as the season approaches.
*Butler CB Brannon Sward is visiting Coastal Carolina Wednesday and Elon on Saturday. He’s already camped at Wake Forest, Duke and Appalachian, and did well up in Boone. While he has no offers yet, Sward, who is 6-foot and 165 pounds, has the look of a sleeper. He has little game tape because he played behind college-bound corners last season. He runs a 4.63 40 and is looking to push that into the 4.5s.
*South Pointe OL Jacob McQueen is also planning to attend those Coastal and Elon camps, and has an unofficial trip to Appalachian scheduled for July 23.
*North Carolina commitment Ty Linton, a superb LB, also plays baseball. And the centerfielder, who hit over .500 as a junior, was just named second-team all-America by ESPN and EA Sports.

--Stan Olson

Allen's includes Clemson, Crimson Tide

Keenan Allen is arguably the most athletic rising senior in the state. The Northern Guilford standout is expected to be able to play safety or wide receiver in college, and schools talking to him are giving him the choice of playing offense or defense.

Yeah, he’s that good. So good that dad Scott Lang said this morning that Allen’s total number of scholarship offers is “in the thirties.”

Lang said his son, who has already camped at Alabama and Clemson and who recently took a west coast swing to camps at Oregon, Oregon State and California, will trim his list of favorites to five by the end of the summer.

And he said Allen, who is ranked No.4 on our N.C. Top Prospects list, is still wide open as to who will be on that list. But Lang did offer some clues.

“He really liked the atmosphere at Alabama and Clemson. And out west, he enjoyed his stops at Cal and Oregon.”

If your favorite school isn’t mentioned above, keep in mind that Allen has also visited most of the major universities in the area. And your team might pop up on that list of five.

--Stan Olson

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

Monday, July 6, 2009

Demon Deacons beat Hurricanes for Florida LB

Wake Forest has won the battle for one of the state of Florida’s better linebackers, receiving the commitment of Zachary Allen of Pahokee High.

Allen, who is 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, picked the Deacons over Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and West Virginia, all of whom had offered scholarships. Allen had about 20 offers in all.

His finalists were the Deacons and the Hurricanes.

Allen, who is being recruited by most programs as an outside linebacker, played both LB and tight end as a junior. Defensively, he was in on 50 tackles, including 10 sacks and 25 for losses. In an offense that used the TE primarily as a blocker, he caught five passes, with two of those going for touchdowns.

He has 4.67-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

--Stan Olson

Blue Devils land Charlotte Christian linebacker

Charlotte Christian linebacker Kelby Brown has committed to Duke, choosing the Blue Devils over UCLA.

“It was a tough decision for him,” Charlotte Christian coach Jason Estep said a few minutes ago. “He spent three days out at UCLA last week. But it finally came down to the fact that he was really comfortable at Duke, and with the direction of the program and the coaching staff.”

Brown is a member of possibly the most talented linebacking trio in the Carolinas. Fellow starters David Durham (Ohio State) and Ty Linton (North Carolina) already have made their commitments.

Estep said Duke’s high academic profile was also important to Brown and his family.

“He wants to be an orthopedic surgeon, and he has a 5.2 grade-point average in all advanced-placement classes,” Estep said. “While football was probably most important in the decision, academics weighed heavily as well.”

Among other schools that offered Brown, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, were Arkansas, Indiana, Northwestern, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.

Estep said Brown’s father and younger brother are both 6-5, so he could grow a bit taller. He’s already particularly strong, bench-pressing close to 400 pounds.

“I would expect Duke to start him out at outside linebacker and move him inside as he grows,” Estep said.

--Stan Olson

Is Clemson getting ready to land a big one?

Clemson is hoping to lock up massive offensive tackle Kalon Davis of Chester (S.C.) High soon.

Davis, who already lists the Tigers as his leader, is planning to visit the school again on July 17, and could commit on that trip

That would be bad news for East Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest, who have already offered him scholarships, along with Kentucky, Mississippi State, Penn State, South Florida, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.

Davis, who measures 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds, would be a huge commitment for the Tigers, who have landed one OL so far, Reid Webster of Etowah High in Woodstock, Ga.

--Stan Olson

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

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ardrey Kell juniors making a big splash

We’ve been talking about early offers this past week; how about rising junior Drew Owens of Ardrey Kell High?

Owens, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound TE, has received on-the-spot offers after one-day evaluations by North Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Wondering why? Owens has been clocked at 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash, an excellent time for a guy 50 pounds lighter. And he has a vertical jump of 35 inches.

He’s also drawing early interest from South Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, N.C. State and East Carolina, according to his strength and conditioning trainer, Doug Thomas.

And let’s not forget about his teammate and fellow rising junior, Justus Pickett. He’s 5-11 and 178 pounds, and has been clocked at 4.40 and has a vertical of 38 inches, which will grab your attention.

He was first offered by Stanford in February, and received offers after one-day evaluations from Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

He’s receiving considerable attention from Ohio State, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Oregon, North Carolina, UCLA, LSU, East Carolina, Maryland, Oklahoma State and N.C. State.

It appears the Charlotte area is pretty well-stocked with remarkably talented rising juniors this year.

--Stan Olson

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tar Heels offer Marvin Ridge sleeper K.J. Brent

Two weeks ago, Marvin Ridge rising junior K.J. Brent attended North Carolina’s camp. At the end of the day, North Carolina offered Brent, a kid it had barely heard of that morning, a scholarship on the spot.

And Marvin Ridge coach Scott Chadwick heard that after the workout, Tar Heels coach Butch Davis called Brent “the best wide receiver to come to our camp in the three years we’ve been at UNC.”

Which wasn’t a surprise to Chadwick.

“K.J. started as a freshman, catching 19 passes,” Chadwick said today. “But nobody knew him because he barely played last year. He broke his leg on the first series of our first scrimmage, and missed the entire regular season.”

Brent came back and played in the team’s two playoff games, catching five passes, but after the layoff, “was a shell of his former self,” Chadwick said.

No more. Now he is a finely-conditioned 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds.

“He has every important attribute of a great receiver except outstanding speed,” Chadwick said. “He’s not 4.4 (seconds in the 40-yard dash), but more like 4.65. Other than that, he has great size, and does a great job of using that size. He’s got great hands—he catches everything—and he runs great routes.”

With two more years of high school football to play, that speed could get better, although Brent’s other attributes more than make up for it. Just ask the Tar Heels.

Brent first drew attention at several big combines earlier this year. And recently, he was the offensive MVP for the National Underclass Combine for the Top 100 rising juniors in the Southeast, Chadwick said.

In May, a lot of the bigger programs dropped by to take a look at Brent.

“The only thing keeping him from more offers is we have no film on him,” Chadwick said. “Once people see him in person, they fall in love with him.”

--Stan Olson

Moore's finalists include Wolfpack, Devils, Gamecocks

Despite reports that said Southeast Raleigh High LB Kendall Moore had cut his list to three schools, he said this morning that his finalist list is at six, four of them from the ACC.

Moore, who plans to announce his choice a week from Saturday, said the remaining schools in contention are Duke, N.C. State, South Carolina, Florida State, Maryland and Notre Dame. He visited the Irish last weekend.

He said he doesn’t currently have a leader. He has received “16 or 17” total offers.
While Moore has enjoyed the process, all those offers have meant numerous calls from recruiters, and he’ll be glad to get it overwith.

“It can be kind of distracting,” he said, laughing.

Moore, the No.10 prospect on our N.C. Top 25 list, said the half-dozen finalists are even at the moment—“Everybody is equal right now.”

He said schools have talked to him about playing DE, OLB or ILB.

“I like schools that have a plan for me,” he said. “Maybe start me at outside linebacker and move me to DE as I get bigger, for example.

“But I still have to figure out which school is the best fit.”

Moore, who is 6-foot-2½ and 234 pounds, had 120 tackles—including 11 sacks—a year ago. He also forced four fumbles and recovered one.

--Stan Olson

Knotts: Seven Independence players have offers

Yesterday, I blogged about the fact that two Independence rising juniors—Nyjee Fleming and Adrian Gamble—each were offered scholarships on the spot at Virginia’s camp last weekend.

Then I spoke with Patriots coach Tom Knotts, who mentioned that “now we have a total of seven kids who have scholarship offers. I don’t think any other team in the area has that many.”

So I asked him to break the list down for me and Knotts, who was talking on the phone and trying to keep infant son Jackson entertained at the same time, did so.

*Linbacker Courtland Carson: “He already has offers from Marshall and N.C. A&T,” Knotts said. “And Duke really liked him at their camp. I think a lot more are coming.”

*Quarterback Anthony Carrothers: “He’s only officially been offered by Winston-Salem State so far—his dad went there—but a lot of schools are seriously looking at him. He is the fastest player on our team.”

*Wide receiver Kierre Brown: Offers from Murray State and Eastern Kentucky.

*Defensive back Jeremy Inglesis: Offer from Elon.

*Defensive back Victor Hampton: One of the top corners in the country, he has already committed to Florida. Otherwise, he would be sitting on two dozen offers.

And offers could be coming to more Patriots.

Ryan Thompson, who is expected to play middle linebacker this year, was hurt as far as recruiters were concerned because he worked on the offensive line at 6-feet and 227 pounds as a junior.

“A lot of schools don’t mind taking a linebacker who’s 6 feet,” Knotts said. “And I’ll tell you, he’s my best player.”

--Stan Olson

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

South Stanly DE picks Hokies over Wolfpack

South Stanly defensive end Justin Taylor has committed to Virginia Tech, picking the Hokies over fellow finalist N.C. State.

“He’s only played one year of football,” said South Stanly coach Luke Little this evening. “He’s real raw. But everyone who looked at him was just so impressed by the way he hustles, and he’s real athletic.”

Once people got a look at the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Taylor during spring evaluations in May, the offers started coming in. He went from none to eight in less than a month.

“He just plays so hard; he’s like a kind of wild man on the field,” Little said. “You can teach football, but you can’t teach effort.”

Taylor, who has 4.65-second speed in the 40-yard dash, loved basketball and had to be talked into playing football. The results have been so impressive that he’ll play some TE this fall as well as DE.

But Virginia Tech knows what it has. They plan to use Taylor as a pass-rushing defensive end, Little said.

--Stan Olson

Tehvyn Brantley takes road show to California

We’ve been chronicling the travels of Durham Mt. Zion wide receiver Tehvyn Brantley as he crisscrossed the country over the past month, making his mark at various camps and combines.

Now you can check him out as well on this YouTube video of his efforts, put together by his dad Leroy and a friend.

While the camps are essentially done now (he worked out at eight universities and attended nine combines), Brantley isn’t.

He recently received an offer from North Carolina, his first big-time scholarship after early offers from Central Michigan and Buffalo.

The major problem has been Tehvyn’s height, variously listed at 5-foot-7 or 5-8. But recruiters’ attitudes seem to change after watching him play.

Some still think he’s a gamble; he’s getting a lot of attention from schools like UCLA, California, Oregon State and Arizona State (he’s made two west coast swings), but no offers yet. Tennessee and Auburn have also shown interest, among others.

Brantley is making a third west coast trip on July 11, heading for yet another combine. After that, he flies immediately to Orlando, Fla., to work out under the supervision of Tom Shaw, building more speed and agility.

However this ends up, Tehvyn and Leroy have had an interesting summer.

--Stan Olson

CB's favorites: Deacons, Devils, Hokies...Heels

Southern Durham CB A.J. Marshall, one of the state’s best defensive backs, has narrowed his choices to Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia Tech, with North Carolina fourth, said his coach, Adrian Jones.

“He’ll probably make a decision toward the end of July,” Jones said.

Marshall, who is a 5-foot-11½ rising senior, continues to move up recruiting lists after a junior season that included five interceptions and 15 pass breakups.

*And North Carolina, N.C. State and South Carolina have all lost out on Jakar Hamilton, a talented 6-2, 190-pound DB from Georgia Military College. Hamilton played his high school football at Strom Thurmond in Johnston, S.C.

One of the top juco players in the country, Hamilton had offers from the schools listed above among others, but has narrowed his choices to Alabama or Georgia. He said he would announce his decision July 11.

--Stan Olson

Virginia offers two Independence juniors

If you’re thinking the Independence High pipeline of talent has to run dry at some point, think again. While the Patriots have a well-documented rising senior class led by often-offered quarterback Anthony Carrothers, more help is on the way.

Like rising juniors Adrian Gamble and Nyjee Fleming.

Both attended a University of Virginia camp over the weekend and both were offered scholarships on the spot. That happens to players with two prep seasons left, but not very often. The offer was the first for each player.

Gamble is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver. He runs a blazing 4.43-second 40-yard dash and has a 33-inch vertical jump. And now he also has an offer from the Cavaliers, who have been following him since the ninth grade.

Fleming, who attended the camp with him, is a 5-10, 180-pound running back, and also has great speed (4.41).

Virginia liked what it saw, and made an early pitch to these two Patriots.

More are coming.

--Stan Olson

Sumter QB Curtis is trying out for the big boys

Teams are gunshy on quarterbacks. You have to have a good one to compete, and it’s so easy to make a mistake in recruiting because so many look so good in high school.

Often, though, that does not translate into college success. Because of that, the prep QBs who are obviously very good get bushels of offers. The kids perceived as borderline wait, and those who can afford to bounce around the country to camps and combines, hoping to convince some program that they are good enough.

So it is with Sumter (S.C.) High’s Stephen Curtis, who finally flew home from a round of stops that culminated with the Las Vegas Elite 11 camp.

“He thought he had a good day there,” said Sumter offensive coordinator Grayson Howell. “He’s already been for visits or camps at N.C. State, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Clemson, Vanderbilt and Rutgers. And he’s been in touch a lot with Wake Forest.”

Among others. Still, none of those schools have offered yet. Furman was the first school to offer, but Liberty has now done so as well and Curtis likes the campus and facilities there.

He’s in no hurry, though. He’s 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, and threw for 2,400 yards and 25 touchdowns last season. He believes he can play. He’s waiting for a big school to believe it too.

--Stan Olson

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