NCAA Football News
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After a slower week for offers two weeks ago, Alabama was much more aggressive doling them out last week and laid a lot of groundwork for the 2017 class in the process.
With less than a week until the A-Day spring game, the Crimson Tide offered nine targets last week, including several big names who just finished up their sophomore seasons.
Let’s take a look at who Alabama added to their list:
Darnay Holmes, 2017 5-star athlete from Newbury Park, California
Holmes came out from the West Coast to Tuscaloosa for an unofficial visit and left with an offer after meeting with Nick Saban.
Saban emphasized discipline to Holmes, after a stretch that has seen three Crimson Tide players arrested in a short span.
“It went great,” Holmes said, according to 247Sports’ Hank South. “I had a deep talk with Coach Saban, he talked a lot about how he looks for guys that are disciplined, how if we see something that’s wrong we’re going to do something to make it right.
“He’s the type of coach that’s going to set you up for success, he’s not going to put you in harms way. He emphasized life after football, and how it’s important to get your degree, so you can succeed in life and not just football.”
Per South, Holmes caught 89 passes for 1,350 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore at Newbury Park High School, but he met with Alabama defensive backs coach Mel Tucker when he came to campus, indicating that the Crimson Tide may project the 5’11”, 180-pound as a safety or corner in college.
He got an up-close view of Alabama, attending a practice.
“They just get after it," Holmes said. “There were no sluggish guys out there. They were all out there competing and playing SEC football.
“It’s definitely a pretty place. The facilities are really nice. You can look outside the weight room and see the fields, and the indoor field with the coaches’ offices right above it. They definitely had a nice layout when they put the place together.”
Shawn Robinson, 2017 5-star dual-threat quarterback from Denton, Texas
Alabama got in on one of the top players of 2017, offering 247Sports’ No. 1 player in the state of Texas and No. 1 dual threat quarterback.
Robinson already holds offers from an impressive list of schools like USC, Oklahoma, Baylor and, of course, Texas.
"It kind of surprised me because I haven't heard anything from Alabama before,” Robinson told TideSports.com’s Andrew Bone. "And Alabama recruits nothing but big time players and they've never come to me," Robinson said. "Then they just offered me. I don't know it was just crazy talking to Nick Saban. It was just crazy."
Robinson told Bone that the Alabama offer is going to make him consider a Tuscaloosa visit this summer.
“Nothing is 100 percent but I have a pretty good gauge," Robinson said. "Probably Ole Miss, LSU, most likely Alabama, USC, and there's some more but I'm not remembering. I have it like on a calendar."
Alabama’s trend of offering dual-threat quarterbacks continues, this time with the Crimson Tide going after a top name in the 2017 class. Per 247Sports, Robinson is Alabama’s third quarterback offer of the 2017 cycle, two of whom are dual-threats.
If he does come to Tuscaloosa, though, he shouldn’t have to worry about being confused with A’Shawn Robinson, who should be in the NFL by then.
Leonard Warner, 2017 4-star outside linebacker from Snellville, Georgia
Another visit from a 2017 prospect ended with an offer this week, with Warner grabbing one on Wednesday.
"I got a chance to speak with Coach Saban," he told TideSports.com’s Andrew Bone. "He wanted me to know he has an offer for me. He wanted me to know what they are all about. He told me football is a small part of life. He can help you get to the League, but getting your degree is important. He wants to help players be better people and be more successful."
Warner is listed by 247Sports as 6’4”, 209 pounds and someone who could play wide receiver, tight end or outside linebacker.
He already holds offers from most of the SEC powers, such as Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and Ole Miss.
"The visit was nice," Warner told Bone of Tuscaloosa. "It was fun. It was my first time going there. I went with my dad, sister, coach and a few guys I train with.
"I was really impressed with the weight room. It was cool to see how much they care about developing their players. I talked to the strength coach (Scott Cochran). He definitely is something else."
Other offers from the week:
Josh Brown, 2016 4-star outside linebacker from Charlotte, North Carolina (Florida State commit)
Brandon Burton, 2016 4-star safety from Gardena, California
Jay Jay McCargo, 2016 3-star offensive tackle from Arlington, Virginia
Jamal Pettigrew, 2016 4-star tight end from New Orleans, Louisiana (LSU commit)
Chauncey Gardner II, 2016 4-star cornerback from Cocoa, Florida (Florida commit)
Tony Gray, 2017 offensive tackle from Lawrenceville, Georgia
Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and reporting were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame football’s spring game is around the corner, and the Irish have been equally busy the last few weeks on the recruiting trail.
Each week, we’ll be keeping tabs on the new scholarship offers sent out by the Notre Dame coaches, tracking the recruiting process as the Irish focus their attention toward the classes of 2016, 2017 and maybe even 2018.
Notre Dame wasn’t as active with its offers this week, but there’s still plenty of action in the recruiting world.
Class of 2016 wide receiver Kevin Stepherson added an offer from Notre Dame on Wednesday.
Michigan extended an offer to the 6’2” 180-pounder from Jacksonville, Florida, a day later. Stepherson also boasts offers from LSU, Indiana and West Virginia, among others.
“It means so much to have an offer from Notre Dame,” Stepherson told Irish247’s Tom Loy on Wednesday. “That offer and the one from LSU mean a lot. Those are the two schools really standing out to me right now. Both of them are big offers for me.”
The offers were few and far between this week, but Notre Dame’s spring recruiting efforts continued.
Class of 2016 outside linebacker Curtis Robinson, the No. 10 player at his position and No. 110 in the country, announced his top seven schools Monday.
Robinson then declared he will announce his commitment Monday.
The Santa Ana, California, product took an unofficial visit to South Bend in mid-March and stopped by Stanford earlier this month. The Irish will soon have clarity on one of their top linebacker targets.
A decision date has also been set for class of 2016 defensive end Julian Okwara, the brother of Irish senior defensive end Romeo Okwara.
The No. 11 weak-side defensive end and No. 185 overall player announced his top five Friday and said Saturday he will announce his commitment April 30.
The 4-star from Charlotte, North Carolina, stopped by for an unofficial visit at the end of March.
Class of 2016 offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg visited South Bend over the weekend and took in Saturday’s full practice.
A top target along the line for this cycle, Eichenberg is the No. 11 offensive tackle and No. 83 overall player in the nation. Following Friday’s portion of his weekend visit, Eichenberg recapped his visit with Loy.
“It was great. I had a good time,” Eichenberg said. “I spent a lot of time with [offensive linemen] Quenton Nelson and Alex Bars. Those are some great dudes. They were telling me that going to Notre Dame was the best decision they ever made, and they have never regretted it.”
The 6’6” 290-pounder from Cleveland is scheduled for a visit to Ohio State on Friday.
One of Notre Dame’s other high-end class of 2016 targets along the offensive line, Ben Bredeson, also visited campus this weekend. Bredeson ranks as the No. 6 tackle and No. 34 player in the class. The Wisconsin native is considering Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Stanford in addition to Notre Dame, per 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong.
Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information courtesy of 247Sports.com and all quotes obtained firsthand. Star ratings reflect 247Sports composite rankings.
Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco on Twitter.
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The 2015 college football season is a few months away, and with spring practices receding into memories for most Big Ten programs, eyes are turning toward the fall. The name of the game is expectations and whether "Dear Old U" can live up to them. In that vein, we're going to lay out some predictions based on those early forecasts—will these teams fail to live up to the hype, or exceed expectations?
College football is a notoriously difficult sport to make accurate predictions in. There's so much that changes from year to year, and it seems as if no two seasons are ever the same for any program. A few short seasons ago, we were all hearing about the demise of the Big Ten and how college football had passed the conference by. The Michigan State Spartans' flash-in-the-pan status seemed to be confirmed after a 7-6 season in 2012.
Over the following two seasons, Michigan State won the Rose Bowl and the CFP Committee-selected Cotton Bowl, while the Ohio State Buckeyes won the first-ever College Football Playoff.
So which Big Ten teams will be next to defy expectations? Which Big Ten programs will fall flat in 2015? Here are our picks for the five teams that will overachieve and underachieve in 2015.
"Dr. Lou" has diagnosed his last patient.
According to Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch, Lou Holtz will no longer work as an ESPN college football analyst. Both parties reportedly agreed Holtz would step away from his roles on College Football Final, in addition to any guest appearances on other ESPN programs.
ESPN's College GameDay tweeted out a final farewell to Holtz:
"There are plenty in Bristol who knew the Holtz-Mark May shtick was long past its shelf life, and this is a good time to change things up," Deitsch wrote. "No doubt part of the thinking on Holtz’s part was to move on without (Rece) Davis in the host chair."
The news doesn't come as a big surprise. Holtz said last May that he intended to retire after the season, per Dan Murphy of Irish247:
I'd like to leave when people say, "Why are you leaving?" not "When are you leaving?" This is my fifth last year. They usually talk me into it. ESPN is a great organization to work for. We've been together nine years now. That's unusual. They're like my family. I love them. We enjoy it. There comes a time where you need to step aside and let the younger people do it.
There will certainly be quite a bit of turnover on ESPN's Saturday night college football program. Along with Holtz departing, Davis left to take over for Chris Fowler on College GameDay.
May is now the only holdover, and with his and Holtz's banter constituting so much of the show, it will be interesting to see how ESPN tweaks the show going forward.
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