- Tyre Brady rated a 4* prospect by 247Sports.
- 2014 TE Jeb Blazevich says he got a lot of 1-on-1 coaching from Urban Meyer when he camped -- & coach didn't go easy on him. Says LSU is recruiting him the hardest right now.
- Reid Fragel mentioned that DL John Simon and Michael Bennett were injured recently. Limited practice. No other info available.
- 2014 Hermitage (Va.) RB Derrick Green will visit Georgia tomorrow and then head to Auburn tomorrow night and stay until Sunday.
- WRs coach Zach Smith said Michael Thomas and Jake Stoneburner have missed practices lately with minor injuries. Didn't sound concerned. Should be back in practice soon.
- Father of uncommitted 4-star WR Marquez North says Ohio State sends his son more mail than anyone.
One of the more active players on the camp scene this summer was junior tight end Darryl Long (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South). It did not result in any offers, but it went a long way in getting Long’s name out to coaches.
Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio and Ohio State all hosted Long for a camp this summer. He also was at the Nike Football Training Camp in Columbus and participated in the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp in June.
The most recent stop came at the end of July for Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp.
The Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) roster is headlined by two ESPN 150 seniors, but the Rams’ 2014 class is a strong one, too. And star running back Ashton Jackson is one of Trotwood-Madison’s best players -- regardless of class.
The 5-foot-10, 182-pound junior had a breakout sophomore season, and he said he only got better this offseason.
“Catching the ball, I just had to work on focus because that’s the key,” Jackson said, “and my footwork, I practiced doing speed drills.”
Cincinnati, Illinois, Purdue and Toledo have offered Jackson. Following a visit to Champaign, Ill., the Illini are his early leader, along with Tennessee.
Ronyae' Quick was never afraid to challenge his son. Sometimes he even employed older kids to do the job.
James Quick, who recently said he'll take official visits to nearby Louisville as well as Ohio State and Oregon, never knew what it was like to play against kids that were the same age as him. His dad made sure of that. The younger Quick always played against older competition to force him to improve his skills.
It worked. Quick, who is also considering Cincinnati and Kentucky, is rated the No. 57 prospect and ninth-best receiver in the nation.
"It just gave me experience to play against players that were bigger and faster than me as a kid," said the 6-foot, 180-pound Quick. "It gave me the mentality that you've got to go hard every time you're on the field."
Quarterback Henderson Set to Excel at Lake Braddock (connection newspapers)
Former West Potomac coaches join Bruins’ staff.
Four on Top for Davidson (scout)
Shaquille Davidson’s sophomore season was cut short due to injury. Now, the 2014 Gaffney (S.C.) High wide receiver is 100 percent healthy and poised for a big junior season.
“Everything is going good,” said Shaquille Davidson. “I’m just happy to be back out there. I believe we are going to be just as good if not better than last year.”
Although he only played in six games last fall, several college football programs have already extended scholarship offers.
“I have offers from Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wake Forest, “he said. “Pittsburgh, Oregon, Nebraska, and Notre Dame are also recruiting me. I think Notre Dame will probably be the next to offer.”
Four schools are at the top of his list.
“I don’t really have a leader, but Ohio State, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina are my top schools – in no order,” Davidson said.
With football season around the corner, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound playmaker is ready to take some trips this fall.
“I haven’t set anything up, but I’m hoping to make a lot of visits this season,” said Davidson. “I know I’m going to end up going to a couple of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Clemson games.”
As an upperclassman, Davidson expects his role to be different this fall.
“I feel like since Quinshad (Davis) is gone, that I’m going to have to step up and be more of a leader than I was last year,” he said. But I learned a lot from him because he was a real leader.”
Now that he is completely healthy, the Gaffney standout is focused on his upcoming season.
“Team-wise, we want to win the region and the state (championship),” Davidson said. Invidually, as long as we win that’s the main thing, but I do want to lead the state in receiving.”
Camps fire up Woodard (espn)
Five-star cornerback commit learned, gained confidence over summer
Eli Woodard (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern) didn't mince words. In fact, the 6-foot, 185-pound, five-star cornerback made it perfectly clear.
When the class of 2013 steps onto the field at Ohio State next September, fans can expect the secondary to be among the best. Not the best in 2016, but the best right away.
So there's no reason for Cam Burrows (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison), Darron Lee (New Albany, Ohio/New Albany) or Jayme Thompson (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) to feel anxious.
"With the talent we have coming in, I expect us to be one of the best ever at Ohio State," Woodard said. "There's too much talent here not to be the best.
"I have high expectations. We're looking to come in and do things right away at Ohio State. I don't think anyone feels any pressure. We know it's there. We just use it to work harder and get better."
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Quick hitters from the last two-a-day session for Ohio State during its training camp.
Adam Bellamy gone: Once a projected starter, Adam Bellamy now isn't even with the team.
The defensive lineman has been absent from workouts dating back more than a week, and position coach Mike Vrabel confirmed on Friday that the junior had left the program for personal reasons.
Vrabel didn't provide any additional details on the issue, but he did suggest a return was possible for a player who was listed as a bracketed starter at defensive end on the pre-camp Ohio State depth chart.
"Adam is working through some personal family matters right now," Vrabel said after practice. "When he gets that taken care of, we will welcome him back with open arms.
"We miss him in our room, and when Adam gets those things taken care of, he's going to be able to come back."
No timetable for a return was addressed, but Bellamy's presence would certainly add to the depth and experience of a unit that's expected to be among the best in the country this fall.
A 10-game starter in his career, he contributed 25 tackles with a sack for the Buckeyes up front a season ago.
Camp grind: Walking off the practice field on Friday morning, the Buckeyes still had one more workout to go to cap off the last two-a-day session of training camp.
Before the week started, the coaching staff had identified this week as the most pivotal and difficult the team would face. If it was a make-or-break moment for Ohio State, it appears to still be in one piece.
"I think the kids are surviving, and I think that’s an awesome thing," cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said. "I’ve coached for a long time, and I’ve never seen a training camp that is this tough, this hard, this physical, this demanding. It’s very exciting to watch how our kids respond. We have great kids.
"I don’t think you can break them, so I would hope that would mean that we’ve been made. I don’t think we’re done yet, we’re by no means a finished product, but our kids are working really hard."
Catching eyes: Zach Smith isn't ready to lock in his rotation yet.
The wide receivers coach wouldn't even commit to how many guys would be included in it when the season opens.
But based on his assessment of the personnel on Friday, there are at least two guys Smith will clearly be counting on as the Buckeyes work to improve a passing game that was anemic last season.
"Right now the guys that have had really solid fall camps are [Corey] 'Philly' Brown, he's done an unbelievable job, different player than he was in the spring," Smith said. " ... And then Devin Smith is a guy that's really come along.
"Really the group as a whole has taken the right steps. Are they there yet? No. But Practice 15, 16, they're about where they should be. We've got to get them right in the next week for the first game, but they're coming. I feel good about the guys we have and where we're going to be."
Bumps and bruises: There were already concerns about Joey O'Connor's knee heading into the training camp.
Surgery on it earlier this week has officially ended his season before it started.
The Buckeyes confirmed after practice that true freshman lineman had a knee operation on Monday that will keep him on the sideline all year and force him to redshirt.
By this time next month, Tyquan Lewis (Tarboro, N.C., Tarboro) could be a Buckeye.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound hybrid defensive end/linebacker indicated he is quite sure of where he wants to go and he received the blessing from his mother. Now, it’s just a matter of picking a date.
North Carolina, Ohio State and LSU – as they have been for some time – are the finalists and Lewis wants to take official visits to all three.
But he might have already given a commitment by the time he sees them.
"I know in mind where I want to go," Lewis said. "I thought about doing it today, but my [high school] coach said there's too much going on. [The decision] is coming soon."
Only one spot remains on Ohio State's 2016 nonconference schedule.
Half of them will ultimately belong to programs from Oklahoma.
The Tulsa World reported Thursday that an agreement between the Buckeyes and Tulsa had been reached for a game at Ohio Stadium, leaving only one date left to fill on the slate.
Jimmy Byrne (Cleveland/St. Ignatius) is going to wait until the end of his junior season before he commits, but Ohio State and Michigan are definitely on his radar.
In fact, the 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive tackle has the Buckeyes and Wolverines in his top three at this point and wants to make a decision before next summer.
Notre Dame is the third school. Michigan has yet to offer the 2014 recruit.
"I'm not saying another school can't jump in and impress me, but those three stick out," Byrne said. "I can hold on. I want to wait until after the season. I'm just trying to focus on right now and then go to a couple of spring games and be good to go from there.
"I wouldn't say one sticks out right now more than the other. I'm looking at academics as well. That's most important."
Mallard Creek will take on Butler in titanic opener (Charlotte Observer)
Before every game, Mallard Creek wide receiver Marquez North slips on headphones and listens to Kayne West rap “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.”
The song details a young man’s journey to learn that sudden money can’t buy happiness; and that with vast amounts of wealth – or talent – the expectations for you are higher than most.
“To whom much is given,” West says in the song, “much is tested.”
North, a senior with college scholarship offers from many of the nation’s top programs, identifies with the lyrics.
“I feel like this,” North said, his baritone barely at a whisper, “I like the (recruiting) attention, but I try to not get too high on it. I mean, once college ball starts, everything starts over anyway. Whatever you were in high school, it doesn’t mean so much.”
North, who turned 17 in April, is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. He has a 3.5 GPA. The Observer and (Raleigh) News & Observer rank him as the top recruit in North Carolina.
He has run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds, and used that speed in returning four kickoffs for touchdowns last season.
Sometimes, North made defenders miss and fall away awkwardly. And sometimes, he dipped and darted, ending up among a large clump of would-be tacklers. Just as quickly, North would burst from the pack for another big gain.
He was a running quarterback until enrolling at Mallard Creek last year. The switch to receiver was smooth, as he caught 39 passes for 1,022 yards and 19 touchdowns to earn all-state honors. He used his running skills last season to average 23 yards per rushing attempt.
“We see speed receivers. We see lengthy receivers. We see big receivers,” said West Charlotte coach Marcus Surratt. “But we very seldom see receivers with his combination of size and speed.”
That’s why North is ranked as high as No. 13 overall by national recruiting services, and why he’ll be a central figure in Friday night’s season-opening game at Memorial Stadium between Sweet 16 No. 1 Butler and North’s Mallard Creek Mavericks, who are ranked No. 2. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Besides his rare strength and speed, North has large hands that seem built to catch footballs with ease. Recruiting analysts like what they see.
“He’s the top receiver in the Southeast,” said Rivals.com recruiting expert Mike Farrell. “And that’s usually a kid who hails from Florida, Georgia, Alabama. He’s a top-three wide receiver in the country. He’s a rarity in this state. He’s a big kid with these big hands.
“He’s very difficult to check and he’s very well thought of nationally. He’s expected to be a star at the next level and move onto the NFL with that kind of talent, to be honest.”
‘A whole different animal’
North’s father, Ramondo, played for several NFL teams as a wide receiver and won a Super Bowl ring in 2003 with Tampa Bay. He also played in the Canadian Football League and NFL Europe. In high school, he might have been the fastest sprinter in North Carolina. He was a star receiver on West Charlotte’s first N.C. 4A football championship team in 1995. During his junior and senior seasons, Ramondo North was named most valuable player of the N.C. 4A track championships after he won six state titles, three each year.
Ramondo North was 6-foot and 175 pounds in high school. But he says his son is a better football player.
“Marquez is a whole different animal,” he says.
“I knew he was fast,” said Ramondo North, who played collegiately at N.C. A&T. “He went to USA Track and Field and won the Junior Olympics’ 110 hurdles when he was 12. I was the smallest one in my family, but he was always big and tall.”
After spending his early years in Charlotte, Marquez and his family moved to Lumberton, to be near his mother’s family. On the Lumberton High junior varsity in ninth grade as a quarterback and receiver, North ran for more than 1,800 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. He started at quarterback as a sophomore on the varsity, running a Wing-T offense and ringing up 737 yards passing, 913 rushing and accounted for 22 touchdowns.
After his sophomore season, Marquez North said he received offers from Clemson and N.C. State.
“I was not really surprised,” his father said. “I’ve been around football too long. I know when somebody is good and when they are not. It’s not just because he’s my son. I know he’s good, so I don’t have to hype him up.
“You can put him anywhere on the field. You can put him at center, or nose guard, and he’ll shine. I’m not being arrogant about it. That’s the type player he is.”
Future becomes clear
The family returned to Charlotte before Marquez’s junior season. His father said they wanted Marquez to play with and against better players. Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri’s team has been nationally ranked the past few seasons and has produced high-profile recruits, including North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams and Florida offensive lineman D.J. Humphries.
The first time Palmieri saw North on the field, he knew the teenager would be better suited to receiver than quarterback. If he was worried about how North might take the news, he shouldn’t have been.
“He bought into it,” Palmieri said, “and the rest is history. We just told him that receiver is where he was going to play at the next level. You could see him run a route or catch a ball and the separation he would get. Man, it’s a bunch of different things, but it’s obvious that’s where he needed to play.”
Palmieri said he admires how North carries himself on the field and around campus, always respectful, always smiling and friendly.
“The teachers love him,” Palmieri said. “He’s a respectable kid. He has a plan of going to college and playing football and getting his degree and he sticks to it.”
North doesn’t want to talk about colleges too much. He plans to play in the Army All-American game in San Antonio early next year and maybe commit to a school in February.
He said he doesn’t have a short list, though. He has offers from Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest.
“Right now,” he said, “I just want one thing. I just want to have a good season, the best season we can have as a team. I want us to make it to states and I want to win it.”