NCAA Football News

Soso Jamabo to UCLA: Bruins Land 5-Star RB Prospect

The top running back in the nation, Soso Jamabo, has chosen where he will play his college football. And boy, is UCLA glad he chose them. 

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg described Jamabo's announcement:

Jamabo is considered a 5-star prospect by 247Sports' Composite Rankings. He's the No. 32 overall prospect in the country, the No. 2 running back and No. 4 player in the state of Texas.

Standing at 6'2" and 210 pounds, he has the rare combination of size, speed and agility that the top backs often possess. He's certainly motivated to prove he can be a top player, as he posted on his Twitter account last April:

He certainly has picked up one habit of successful athletes—finding any criticism sent his way and using it as motivation:

His highlight reel certainly helps back up his claim that he's the top back in the nation, however.

In his time at Plano West, Jamabo has rushed for 7,332 yards, 122 rushing touchdowns and caught 67 passes for 1,240 yards and 10 more touchdowns. He was named to the 2014 All-USA First Team by USA Today and was selected for the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game, per 247Sports.

Given his obvious athletic ability and a motivation to be the best, Jamabo is the sort of player that could make an impact the moment he reaches campus. He's a player that NFL teams will be watching very closely and a running back that UCLA will likely be building their offense around soon enough. 

Jamabo proved he was the top running back in his recruiting class heading into college. Now he has a bigger challenge ahead—to prove he can be the best running back in college football before his time is up. 

He certainly seems to be up for the task.

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Toby Weathersby to LSU: Tigers Land 4-Star OT Prospect

LSU added to an already strong recruiting class by landing offensive tackle Toby Weathersby. It's a terrific early addition on national signing day for the Tigers.

The signing was confirmed by LSU Football:

Shea Dixon of 247Sports points out the amount of talent the Tigers have added up front on offense:

Weathersby is a 4-star prospect who ranks just outside the top 100 for the Class of 2015, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also listed as the No. 6 tackle in the class and the outlet noted Arkansas and Oklahoma were among the other interested teams.

He's an imposing presence for an incoming freshman at 6'4.5'' and nearly 300 pounds. Along with the impressive frame, he's showcased solid movement. That helps both in terms of getting to the second level in run blocking and handling speed rushers in pass protection.

The Westfield High School (Texas) product could stand to add a little more power. That will probably be the focus early in his career as he adapts to handling the top edge players at the collegiate level. He's also got some technique issues to work on with the LSU staff.

Otherwise, the outlook is mostly positive. He possesses the skill set necessary to handle the all-important left tackle position. Like many underclassmen, however, he may start on the right side before eventually shifting over.

A very nice pick up to help kick off signing day for the Tigers.

 

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Byron Cowart to Auburn: Tigers Land 5-Star DE Prospect

Byron Cowart, one of the premier defensive end prospects in the class of 2015, has immediately bolstered Auburn's crop of incoming freshmen on Wednesday in announcing his commitment to the Tigers.

ESPN reported Cowart's decision:

Hailing from Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida, Cowart is rated as a 5-star prospect, the No. 1 strong-side defensive end and third-best recruit in the nation, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. That suggests he's ready to make an immediate impact in college, and both his skill set and mature build help his cause.

Cowart is already 6'4", 250 pounds and runs a 4.60-second 40-yard dash, per his 247Sports profile. As a junior, he registered 13 sacks and piled up 72 total tackles. In 2014, he had 21 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles.

Possessing such an impressive blend of speed and athleticism has allowed Cowart to dominate his formidable high school competition, so he could very well wind up producing similar results in college.

With the ability to play the run well and to stand up on the edge and sink into coverage if needed, the versatility Cowart brings to the gridiron makes him a particularly coveted prospect. Although he's proven he can bull-rush with effectiveness, he'll have to use the other moves in his arsenal to find success against better competition.

Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards coached Cowart before the Under Armour All-America game and gave a glowing review, per BayNews9.com's Ryan Bass:

Defensively, he's a game changer, but he goes about his business. He's a leader and he was our team captain. You could tell by the first day when you've got select captains, I'm going that guy right there is going to be a captain. ...

... He plays when the moment is big, and he gets it. He's a hard-working guy and he has a fantastic motor. He won't live off his talent. He's going to work at it. Whoever gets this guy, I'll tell you what, look out.

ESPN's Derek Tyson was impressed with Cowart's performance in the big game, too:

Cowart has an incredibly quick first step and explodes out of his stance once the ball is snapped. There is a sense of anticipation and a knack for diagnosing plays that's evident on tape, which bodes well for Cowart to crack the starting lineup sooner than later.

Cowart can use his hands effectively to disengage blockers, swim past offensive linemen and gain inside leverage to drive his way into the opposing backfield. It doesn't even look as though he moves fast on the field, yet he still covers a ton of ground in a very short amount of time and usually finishes off the play with a violent collision.

Raw power and strength is important for any lineman to succeed at the highest level of college football.

In addition to possessing those traits, it's evident that Cowart is intent on improving his game and seems to just be realizing his potential, which translates well to his future and long-term outlook. Now that he's added some finesse to his game and will only be coached up with even more intensity, Cowart has a seemingly limitless ceiling as a pass-rusher and a game-changing force that offenses have to game-plan around.

Special teams likely won't be a phase such a special player in Cowart will have to go through. He should crack the defensive line rotation and could even line up inside if he adds more bulk to become a disruptive force who can collapse the pocket from the interior.

Cowart is too polished and capable of producing big plays not to see the field right away in some fashion as a prominent contributor to the defense.


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Chris Clark to UCLA: Bruins Land 4-Star TE Prospect

One of the most coveted pass-catchers in the 2015 recruiting class is off the market, as tight end Chris Clark has announced his college decision.  

Clark announced on ESPNU he will be attending UCLA. ESPN CollegeFootball provided an image from Clark's announcement:

Kevin McGuire of NBC Sports' College Football Talk noted it was an important win for Jim Mora:

Clark is ranked as the No. 2 tight end in the class and 85th-best player overall by 247Sports.com. He initially committed to the University of Michigan, but Brady Hoke's firing led to him having a change of heart by posting a note on Twitter:

According to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com, Clark was one of eight Michigan recruits to decommit from the school due to the disappointing 2014 season and/or Hoke's firing. 

Clark's note did say he remained interested in Michigan and 247Sports' Crystal Ball prediction had the Wolverines listed as the overwhelming favorite for his services at 63 percent. Steve Willfong of 247Sports.com reported that Clark was taking an official visit to the school, as well as UCLA in January. 

The Connecticut native will immediately present matchup problems for the Bruins. Clark is listed at 6'6" and 247 pounds, boasting the size of a defensive end with speed and athleticism to outrun linebackers at the college level. 

There aren't a lot of difference-making tight ends in college football right now. Clark has a chance to be among the best right away, as long as he can adapt to the speed of the game and find the right quarterback to help ease his transition. 

A quarterback's best friend is a good tight end. They serve as a safety net over the middle with the size to run over defenders. Clark is a special athlete who will have a fruitful college career because of his ability to make plays in traffic. 

 

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K.J. Hill to Ohio State: Buckeyes Land 4-Star WR Prospect

Ohio State is already on the board early on national signing day by landing wide receiver K.J. Hill. It's a major addition to the 2015 class for the reigning champion Buckeyes.

Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors reports Hill made the choice during a press conference at North Little Rock High School. The decision was reportedly made last night:

Since his visit, Hill's recruitment has taken twists and turns but confidence from the Buckeye remained strong even in the face of reports that Alabama had made a late push. According to sources, Hill and his family informed Ohio State last night that he would be signing with the Buckeyes this morning.

Justin Ferguson of the Sporting News notes Ohio State edged Alabama and Arkansas, where Hill originally committed, in the hotly contested recruiting battle:

Hill is a 4-star prospect who ranks just outside the top 150 nationally, according the 247Sports' composite rankings. He also rates as the No. 16 receiver in the class and the top player coming out of Arkansas in 2015.

The most impressive part of his game is making plays in space. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for with terrific playmaking ability. He can take a quick slant route and beat several defenders to pick up the first down with relative ease.

He'll likely need to add more power to his frame before he becomes a consistent contributor at the next level. It's always a delicate balance, though. He doesn't want to overdo it, causing him to lose the quickness and agility that have made him a coveted prospect.

By adding Hill early, Ohio State puts itself on course for another successful signing day.

 

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