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4-Star WR Irvin Charles Reveals Top 7 Favorites: Breaking Down His Options

Irvin Charles emerged as one of the Northeast's premier wide receiver prospects during his junior season and swiftly saw his recruitment heat up in the aftermath. The 6'4", 212-pound pass target holds more than two dozen scholarship offers but has begun to focus on the final stretch of his decision process.

Charles, rated a 4-star recruit by 247Sports, identified seven top schools during the final month of May. Still eight months away from national signing day, he determined Miami, Louisville, Michigan State, Maryland, Penn State, South Carolina and Florida would be at the forefront moving forward.

Going public about the favorites wasn't something he rushed.

"It's been a long process determining that list," Charles said. "I had a lot of people help me reach this decision. I just looked at it from a standpoint of playing time—that's first and foremost—a school that wins and a place that will fit my comfort zone. That's why I trimmed it down to those seven."

The rising senior from Paul VI High School in Haddonfield, New Jersey left several squads off his list of top collegiate options. Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee and in-state Rutgers are among programs that now look like long shots to sign Charles, although he explained that not every team outside the top seven is necessarily eliminated.

"Anything can happen," he said. "Nothing is final or set in stone, but these are the schools that have really separated themselves from the others."

Charles, who caught 49 passes for 848 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, has visited Penn State several times. He plans to return this summer, while also journeying to the campuses of his other six favorites.

The versatile playmaker detailed his thought process regarding each of the top seven programs, sharing what stands out about each option.

 

Penn State

"It's about the vibe at Penn State. The fan support and everything about it. I've been up to Penn State multiple times, and I've never been disappointed. Not just from a football standpoint, but how everyone in the area loves the football team and how Coach Franklin is doing. I know they're going to do big things. Everyone wants to be a part of the next big thing."

The Nittany Lions extended an offer to Charles in mid-February, just a few days after the team landed fellow 4-star Southern New Jersey receiver Juwan Johnson, who remains the only committed pass-catcher. Penn State has feasted in this region when it comes to recruiting, so it's no surprise to see another standout compelled by the program.

Charles is projected to sign with Penn State by 53 percent of expert predictions in 247Sports' Crystal Ball.

 

Miami

"I think really highly of the Hurricanes because of what they've done in the past and what they're capable of doing in the future. I like how (wide receivers) coach (Brennan) Carroll does things. I like their philosophy down there, with freshman being able to compete with the first-team players. You can come in early and compete for a starting job."

The Hurricanes joined this race relatively late, extending an offer in April. Miami enjoyed a strong spring on the recruiting trail, with 4-star talents Dexter Williams (running back) and Dwayne Lawson (quarterback) committing to the team.

Miami trails only Penn State in 247Sports' Crystal Ball projections for Charles. The Hurricanes are predicted to sign him by 29 percent of experts.

 

Michigan State

"Obviously they can get the job done after seeing what they did last year. They have a pro-style offense, which is one I think I can really fit into. I want to go out there and get a taste of what Michigan State is all about. I've seen it from the outside, so now I want to see it from the inside and go from there."

The reigning Big Ten champions are competing with a pair of conference foes (Penn State and Maryland) for Charles. The Spartans landed talented Arizona quarterback Brian Lewerke in April but remain in search of offensive skill players.

Michigan State was the third Big Ten team to offer Charles after Iowa and Rutgers.

 

Florida

"One thing I take into consideration is the durability of a coaching staff. That's why I'm kind of iffy. But at the same point, it's a good offer and they do a lot of things I like. I'm going to watch this football season at Florida carefully to see how productive it is. I just want to make sure they're doing what I think they can do and see what things might look like for the following year."

Gators head coach Will Muschamp is coming off a disastrous 2013 season, when the offense struggled mightily. Charles is taking the same approach as several Florida targets, monitoring the team to see how things turn out this fall.

Among programs on his list of favorites, Florida was the last one to offer him (April 30).

 

South Carolina

"It's a winning team that never really seems to go through slumps. I also have family in South Carolina, and that's a good thing. I would have an extra comfort level going down there, and I wouldn't be homesick. I'll have people come watch me play that I'm close with. I can just get out there and ball out early, get on the field and do what I do best."

The Gamecocks have assembled a solid corps of pass-catchers during this recruiting cycle, including 3-star prospects Dexter Neal and Michael Bowman. Neither player possesses Charles' height, but they complement each other well as assets for 4-star quarterback commit Lorenzo Nunez.

 

Maryland

"They do a good job of distributing to wide receivers. (Receivers) coach Keenan (McCardell) played in the NFL for a lot of years. He knows, from a receiver's perspective, what it takes to get to the next level. I'm going to college to get coached up, not to stay the same. I feel like being coached by him for the next three or four years would be a great thing to do to prepare for the draft."

Charles is clearly drawn to College Park by the prospect of playing for McCardell, who caught nearly 900 passes and won a Super Bowl as a pro. After a slow start, the Terrapins added two commits during the final week of May and may finally be building some momentum.

In terms of early playing time, he would immediately become one of the program's most highly regarded offensive prospects.

 

Louisville

"I really like how they do things. I watched their spring game, and they produced a lot of offense. Another thing that sparks my interest is they're losing several wide receivers to graduation. They only have one or two key guys coming back, so I know if I go there it's going to be necessary for me to contribute early. I also have some family in Kentucky, which is another reason why they made the cut."

The Cardinals landed just one receiver with a 3-star rating or better during the 2014 recruiting cycle and have yet to solidify a 2015 prospect at the position. The team just lost a first-round NFL quarterback but has several intriguing options ready to step up as starter for the first season of Bobby Petrino's return.

Charles aims to announce a commitment prior to the start of his senior season, though he admits things could remain unsettled heading into September. A summer filled with campus visits and coaching sales pitches will help him continue to trim a dwindling list of possible destinations.

 

Recruit ratings and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

All quotes obtained firsthand by B/R recruiting columnist Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bleacher Report's Perfect College Football Starting Lineup for 2014

If you could pick a starting 22 for a college football team, what would it look like? Would it be full of All-Americans and award winners? Or would it be filled with players who are, athletically, the best at their position? 

Either way, picking a starting lineup and special teams is harder once you realize how many players won't make the cut. But that's what we tried to do here in Bleacher Report's Perfect College Football Starting Lineup for 2014. 

If there's one thing that should be noted—and this cannot be stressed enough—style of offense or defense doesn't matter. There will be guys who play in a pro-style offense next to guys who play in read-option or air raid offenses. Defensive tackles who play in a 3-4 are still eligible to be selected for this list's 4-3 defense. 

It's the dead of the offseason. It's all subjective and fun. There are no rules. 

Which ones made the list? The selections are in the following slides.

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OSU Football Players Send Inspirational Videos to 4-Year-Old Cancer Patient

Joshua Perry asked a number of his teammates to spare half a minute of their time to film a video that would make a young fan’s day.

The footage, Perry said, was for Joshua Chambers, a four-year-old in Orlando, Florida, struggling with a deadly form of leukemia.

According to Patrick Maks of Eleven Warriors (h/t Bill DiFilippo of College Spun), seven members of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team collaborated in May to send Joshua a series of videos as he lay in the emergency room awaiting treatment. 

Joshua’s father Jeremy Chambers says he continued forwarding each individual video to his son’s iPad as he received them.

“I would forward them from my phone to Joshua’s iPad and he’d get a message and it would pop and he’d say, ‘It’s another Buckeye!’” Jeremy said. “The way we did it, by sending them over to his iPad one at a time, he was like ‘Oh another one and another one!’” 

The players involved in the video messages included Perry, Devan Bogard, Craig Fada, Curtis Grant, Doran Grant, Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan. All of them offered words of support for Joshua, who was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February 2013. 

Maks reports that Joshua’s father Jeremy is a native of Ohio, and his Buckeyes pride quickly rubbed off on his son.

Image via Joshua's Journey Facebook page.

“Thanks to his father’s Perrysburg, Ohio, roots, [Joshua Chambers] has fallen in love with Ohio State,” Maks writes. 

Perry, a junior from Galena, Ohio, heard of Joshua Chambers’ plight from his mother, who had received word of the little superfan’s battle with cancer from a colleague at work.

The linebacker soon began wearing rubber bracelets with “Joshua 1:9” inscribed on the cuff. He says he knows what the football program means to the Buckeye faithful and he is trying to use his platform to make a difference in fans’ lives.

“It’s one of those things where some of the guys who aren’t from Columbus don’t necessarily understand how just being a Buckeye and the small interactions you make with people can actually make their day when they’re going through something tough,” Perry said. “If somebody says, ‘Hey, there’s somebody who wants to meet you…they’re going through a rough time…if they want me to wear their wristband and tell their story and get to know them a little bit, it’s the least I can do.”

Wise words from a young man. 

As for Joshua, he is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment and is making strides toward better health, but he isn’t out of the woods just yet. 

You can access his Facebook page here, and I highly recommend reading Maks’ in-depth article on Joshua in its entirety.

Keep fighting the good fight, Joshua. You’re the pride of Buckeyes nation, and we can’t wait to see you back on your feet and taking one to the house at Ohio Stadium.

 

THE Joshua Chambers.

 

 

 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan QB Recruit Alex Malzone Starts Talking Smack to Ohio State Fans Early

The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is so intense that high school recruits need to be ready to jump in from the moment they step on campus. The most dedicated recruits, like Wolverines quarterback recruit Alex Malzone, start the trash-talk early.

After Malzone attended an Elite 11 event in Columbus, Ohio, this week, the class of 2015 recruit got Buckeye fans riled up with a simple tweet:

Ten minutes later, he was already loving what he was seeing:

Just like that, Malzone has already become a hit with Michigan fans.

Malzone has a lot of confidence, but beating the Buckeyes—regardless of venue—will be no easy task for the quarterback. Ohio State has won 11 of the past 13 meetings between the rivals, including both games since Urban Meyer took over as coach. Michigan has lost its last six games at the Horseshoe and has not won in Columbus since 2000, so Malzone better be prepared for a challenge.

For now, it's just good old smack-talk between rivals.

[Twitter, h/t Fox Sports]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

PJ Mbanasor Commits to Oklahoma: Sooners Land 4-Star CB

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops landed his biggest commitment of the 2015 class Tuesday afternoon, as 4-star Texas cornerback PJ Mbanasor (Hendrickson High School) announced he will be playing for the Sooners next season.

Mbanasor made the news public on Twitter:

"(I am) done with recruitment," Mbanasor told Football Brainiacs. "I've analyzed every factor, prayed about it, considered in my heart and I am done with recruitment. I am 100,000 percent sure!"

Mbanasor is the No. 133 overall player and No. 17 cornerback in the country, per the 247Sports composite rankings. He is the ninth top-20 cornerback to commit and the first to commit to a Big 12 school.

At 6'0.5", Mbanasor fits the mold of the new-age man-coverage cornerback—the mold made famous in recent seasons by the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. He is physical on the outside and in run support, and even though he could stand to add some weight to his 176-pound frame, he projects as a complete defensive back at the next level.

Oklahoma sorely needs this commitment. Prior to Mbanasor, it only had four other players signed up in the 2015 class and only two—defensive tackle Marquise Overton and offensive tackle Bobby Evans—who ranked among the top 400 prospects in the country.

But both of those guys, like Mbanasor, rank among the top 150 prospects in the country, which has allowed the Sooners to move up from No. 50 to No. 42 on the 247Sports team rankings, per OU Insider:

The cycle is young and Stoops has never had trouble attracting talent, so there was not much reason to fret even before this signing. But bringing in a player of Mbanasor's caliber should, at the very least, quiet some of the chatter about his struggles.

It also provides a nice developmental prospect on the outside for a team that just lost Aaron Colvin at the position.

It's a pretty solid addition for the Sooners.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star WR Christian Kirk Tweets Top-10 List

Coveted wide receiver recruit Christian Kirk has spent much of his high school career collecting scholarship offers from across the country. The 4-star prospect decided to pare down a long list of options Tuesday.

Kirk shared his top 10 schools on Twitter:

The 5'11", 195-pound playmaker kept plenty of programs in the mix, including several squads he recently spent time with in person. Kirk embarked on an SEC tour in late May, visiting Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia.

The Crimson Tide are the only team to miss the cut from that cluster of campus trips.

Kirk, who stars at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, kept another SEC team in the picture. He listed Texas A&M among his favorites, which isn't a surprise, considering his relationship with Aggies true freshman Kyle Allen.

The 5-star quarterback is competing to start this season and spent significant time working with Kirk in past years as a fellow Arizona phenom. The receiver didn't shy away from admitting the allure of playing with Allen at the next level while discussing Texas A&M last year with Taylor Hamm of 247Sports (subscription required).

It’s good to have a quarterback that you know and have chemistry with. Me and Kyle workout a lot and I’m always out running routes for him when he’s training. We have that timing and stuff down already. I think if I were to come in while he’s there, I’d be able to make an impact because of our relationship.

The Aggies are projected to sign Kirk in 82 percent of expert predictions in 247Sports' Crystal Ball. Ohio State and Oregon, following with seven percent apiece, received mixed news.

The Buckeyes made the cut, while Oregon is left on the outside looking in.

Several Pac-12 programs are still under consideration. USC, UCLA, Stanford and Arizona State give the conference plenty of clout in Kirk's collection.

Oklahoma is the lone Big 12 team listed. The Sooners offered Kirk last November.

Kirk, rated No. 5 nationally among receivers in 247Sports' composite rankings, has caught 142 passes for 2,775 yards and 35 touchdowns during the past three seasons. He flashed impressive rushing skills last year, gaining 832 yards and 13 scores on the ground.

Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami and Texas are notable exclusions among nearly 30 teams left off of his top 10 list.

 

Recruit ratings and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4-Star Dual-Threat QB Travis Waller High on Alabama, Waiting on Bigger Offers

The quarterback dominoes of the 2015 recruiting class continue to fall. The Oregon Ducks lost out on No. 1 dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray so now they turn their eyes to 5-star dual-threat quarterback Travis Waller. The Anaheim, California native has been pursued by Alabama and Ohio State lately and should be announcing his commitment later this summer. 

What's the latest news with Waller's recruitment? Is he now Oregon's top quarterback target? Which dark horse Big Ten school is in the running?

Watch 247Sports' Ryan Bartow break down the latest in Travis Waller's recruitment. 

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital. All recruit rankings are from the 247Sports composite rankings.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

4 Reasons Why 5-Star WR Damarkus Lodge Will Sign with Texas A&M

The Texas A&M football coaches have the No. 5-ranked recruiting class in the nation committed and a lot of momentum on the recruiting trail right now. The Aggies will sign 5-star wide receiver recruit Damarkus Lodge in February to put an exclamation point on top of their excellent class.

Lodge is considered by many to be the top wide receiver prospect in the state of Texas. If the Aggies want to win conference and national titles, it starts by winning the big recruiting battles in their own state.

Lodge is an impact player who would see playing time from the time he steps foot on campus at any program in the country. He is one of the truly elite recruits in Texas in the 2015 class. 

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff will prevail in their pursuit of Lodge. They will sign him and continue to add to the stacked roster they are building in Aggieland.

This is a look at the reasons why Damarkus Lodge will sign with the Aggies.  

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Miami in Talks with Alabama and LSU About Future Nonconference Kickoff Games

The Miami Hurricanes former mantra—"any team, any place, any time"—might reportedly be put to the test in the next couple of years, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is reporting that the school has had preliminary talks about scheduling a season-opening game against either Alabama or LSU.

"UM has been approached about opening the football season against Alabama in 2017 in Atlanta or LSU in 2018 in Arlington, Tx," Jackson wrote. "UM will consider playing in one but not both."

These talks appear to be in the infant stage of development, and a lot could change to throw Miami off Alabama and LSU's trail.

But the game would make sense, in theory, since all three teams have not been shy about scheduling blue-blood nonconference opponents.

Say what you will about the state of TCU and Virginia Tech in 2013—LSU and Alabama had to have thought that those games would be more competitive when they were scheduled. Same goes for the Tide's season-opening matchup against West Virginia in 2014.

And as for Miami, just take a look at some of the marquee programs they have scheduled for the next few seasons:

Scheduling Alabama in 2017 would bridge the current gap and ensure the Hurricanes have at least one power-conference opponent (or Notre Dame) scheduled in each of the next eight seasons.

Scheduling LSU in 2018, however, would be risky in addition to the previous agreement to play Rutgers that season. The Scarlet Knights are down right now, but they are a historically competitive program that should ostensibly benefit from their move to the Big Ten.

Still, this is Miami we are talking about—a program that does not, historically, like to back down from a challenge. 

Which leaves all of us, just like Bryan Fischer of NFL.com, hoping desperately to see one of these games happen:

Amen to that, brother.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football Recruiting: Position-by-Position Preview for the Class of 2015

USC's 2015 recruiting cycle is off to a strong start. Head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff have eight verbal commitments at six different positions, including two 247Sports composite 5-star prospects. 

All told, the Trojans top 247Sports' Pac-12 rankings and check in at No. 13 nationally. 

The current corps of commits provides USC a strong foundation for national signing day 2015. 

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USC Football Recruiting: Position-by-Position Preview for the Class of 2015

USC's 2015 recruiting cycle is off to a strong start. Head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff have eight verbal commitments at six different positions, including two 247Sports composite 5-star prospects...

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