Franklin’s Luke Kennard facing big decision 

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 10:51 AM

Luke Kennard

Luke Kennard’s season is over following Duke’s 88-81 loss to South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA tournament Sunday. Now the question is whether his Blue Devils career is over.

The Franklin High School graduate averaged 19.5 points during his sophomore season at Duke and is listed as the No. 20 prospect for the NBA Draft in June.

>>RELATED: 5 things to know about Franklin’s Luke Kennard

University of Louisville and former NBA coach Rick Pitino weighed in on Kennard’s future a couple of weeks ago after Duke eliminated the Cardinals from the ACC tournament.

>>RELATED: Kennard elevating game with Blue Devils

“Sometimes I look at rankings, and I can tell you from spending eight years in the pros that what you see on this .net or this .net is not what the general managers are thinking in the pros of who to draft,” Pitino said.

>>RELATED: Franklin ‘couldn’t ask for better ambassador’ than Kennard

“That’s just saying who the best players are, in their opinion. I’ve always felt (Kennard) was, from an offensive standpoint, one, two or three best players in the country because he really knows how to play the game of basketball. He really head fakes well. He passes well, and has great feel for the game, and he’s a great foul shooter as well.”

Kennard, the ACC Tournament MVP, also averaged 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 43.8 percent from 3-point range and 85.6 percent from the free throw line.

He was two-time Ohio Mr. Basketball at Franklin.

Miami recruiting: Previewing the Hurricanes’ big official visit weekend

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

Miami is on its way to one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, and David Wilson and the DieHards.com team are in the eye of the storm to help you track the Hurricanes. Read  daily notebooks here at 10 a.m. ET Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.

Miami prepares for major official visit weekend

The past season felt like a turning point for Miami under Mark Richt. The No. 11 Hurricanes reached the ACC Championship Game for the first time in school history during only the coach’s second season at the helm. They secured Top 25 wins against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, and finished the regular season unbeaten at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami finished the regular season with only 1 loss and did so as one of the coolest teams in the country thanks to the sensation that was the turnover chain.

The Hurricanes’ best chance to keep their momentum rolling will descend on Coral Gables, Fla., this weekend. At least 19 committed members of Miami’s Class of 2018 will be on campus this weekend for the Hurricanes’ biggest slate of official visits this winter. There’s almost no chance Miami loses any of these 19 to a de-commitment. This is a group that — along with a handful of others who aren’t visiting this weekend — should be able to form the Hurricanes’ core for most of the next four years.

No matter what happens between now and February, Richt’s second shot at building a strong Miami recruiting class has been a rousing success. The Hurricanes enter the weekend with the No. 3 class in the country, the top-ranked class in the ACC and a group of prospects already ranked nearly 30 points higher than last year’s. Even if Miami loses 4-star cornerback Josh Jobe this weekend, the Hurricanes recruiting class will still be worth 271.03 points, good for No. 4 nationally and about 25 points better than a year ago.

Let’s quickly run through everyone who is expected to be on campus this weekend and what Miami can get out of their attendance:

Al Blades Jr. could be convinced to sign early during his official visit. (Student Sports/courtesy)
  • Lorenzo Lingard, University (Orange City, Fla.): The 5-star running back is one of the leaders of this class and will enroll early. He can help get some of the last few commits to sign early.
  • Al Blades Jr., St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): The 4-star cornerback doesn’t plan to sign early. The Hurricanes hope they can change that this weekend and prevent the son of former Miami safety Al Blades from taking official visits to Tennessee and Michigan.
  • Mark Pope, Miami Southridge: The 4-star wide receiver is another one of the leaders of this class and plans to enroll early. Like Lingard, Pope can further establish himself as a leader and get an idea of the role he should play for the Hurricanes as a freshman.
  • Brevin Jordan, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.): Unlike most of the Florida-heavy class, the 4-star tight end only visited Miami once this fall. This will be a good chance for him to connect with the rest of the group in person and establish himself as a leader. The Hurricanes also want to lock him in to signing Wednesday even though he won’t early enroll.
  • Gurvan Hall, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.): The 4-star safety flirted briefly with other programs, but seems to be totally locked in with Miami now. He’ll sign Wednesday and then early enroll, which should put him on track for early playing time.
  • Cam’Ron Davis, Miami Carol City Senior (Miami Gardens, Fla.): The 4-star running back isn’t enrolling early and it’s not clear yet if he’ll sign next week. The Hurricanes will try to make sure he officially shuts things down Wednesday.
  • Brian Hightower, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): The 4-star wide receiver also didn’t get to campus much this season because of IMG’s national schedule. He’ll get a chance to spend some time with his soon-to-be teammates before he signs early and early enrolls with a chance for immediate playing time.
  • Delone Scaife, Miami Southridge: The 4-star offensive guard is locked in with the Hurricanes. He’ll sign Wednesday and early enroll. Once he gets to campus, he’ll start competing for the left guard job.
  • Gilbert Frierson, Coral Gables (Fla.) Senior: Even after he visited Georgia and Kentucky, the 4-star cornerback doesn’t seem likely to flip before he signs next week. Miami just needs to make sure Frierson is 100 percent sold before he early enrolls.
  • Will Mallory, Providence (Jacksonville): The 4-star tight end will sign Wednesday even though he can’t early enroll. He’ll also get a chance to spend some time with some future teammates he hasn’t seen too often this fall.
  • Cleveland Reed, Fort Meade (Fla.) Middle-Senior: The 4-star offensive guard currently doesn’t plan to sign early, and wants to visit North Carolina and Oklahoma. Getting Reed to shut things down next week will be a top priority for the Hurricanes.
  • D.J. Ivey, South Dade (Homestead, Fla.): The 4-star cornerback plans to sign Wednesday, then early enroll.
  • Daquris Wiggins, Miami Southridge: The 3-star wide receiver is another under-the-radar prospect signing Wednesday and early enrolling. The Hurricanes can get to work with an intriguing developmental pass catcher.
  • Gregory Rousseau, Champagnat Catholic (Hialeah, Fla.): The 3-star weakside defensive end is in the same mold as Wiggins. He will sign next week, then early enroll. Miami can lay out its vision for the 6-foot-7 former free safety.
  • John Campbell, Dr. Phillips (Orlando): The 3-star offensive tackle will sign next week, then early enroll. The Hurricanes need some long-term help at tackle and will lay out a plan for Campbell’s development.
  • Patrick Joyner, South Dade (Homestead): The 3-star weakside defensive end has already been convinced to shut things down. Joyner will sign alongside Ivey on Wednesday, even though he won’t early enroll.
  • Realus George, Pace Academy (Atlanta): The 3-star fullback will shut things down Wednesday by signing, even though he can’t early enroll. This weekend will mark only his second visit to Miami.
  • Bubba Baxa, Pasadena (Texas) Memorial: The 3-star kicker plans to sign Wednesday, even though he’s not early enrolling. Baxa only visited the Hurricanes once during the fall.
  • Clay James, Cocoa (Fla.): The unranked long snapper is committed to Miami as a preferred walk-on, so he can’t officially sign next week. The Hurricanes will get to detail James’ path to a scholarship in person.
Josh Jobe is taking an official visit to Alabama rather than Miami this weekend. (Student Sports/courtesy)

This leaves only three currently committed members of the class who aren’t planning to be on campus this weekend. One is 4-star dual-threat quarterback Jarren Williams, who took his official visit last month and will sign with Miami on Wednesday. Another is 4-star defensive tackle Nesta Silvera, who will wait until January — possibly the weekend right before National Signing Day — to visit with 5-star cornerback Tyson Campbell and 4-star weakside defensive end Andrew Chatfield. The last is Jobe.

Which brings us to the elephant in the room. Instead of spending the weekend in South Florida, the 4-star cornerback is off to Tuscaloosa, Ala. At this point it would be a surprise if the defensive back didn’t leave as an Alabama commit. He spent this fall playing for Cheshire (Conn.) Academy rather than Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School and even though the Hurricanes were able to get a fair amount of face time with the athlete, the allure of the No. 4 Crimson Tide is tempting. Coach Nick Saban went for an in-home visit last week and hopes to get Jobe to sign with him next week, even though the corner won’t early enroll.

There’s only so much Miami can do from afar. The Hurricanes’ best hope now is Jobe will wait and Miami can host him for an official visit in January.

John Campbell is Miami’s lone offensive tackle committed in the Class of 2018. (Student Sports/courtesy)

T John Campbell wraps up high school career with state title

Dr. Phillips High School had an unusual motivational tactic to get through this fall and be sure to never get over the disappointment of coming up short in the 2016 Class 8A state championship game. Each Friday during the postseason, the Panthers donned their runner-up medals as they walked the halls of their Central Florida school.

“It means something,” Campbell told the Orlando Sentinel after Dr. Phillips won its semifinal game against Wekiva (Fla.) High School earlier this month.

The strategy worked out. The Panthers held off Atlantic Community High School of Delray Beach, Fla., on Saturday to win their first state title 17-7 in Orlando. As he did all season, Campbell manned the left tackle position for Dr. Phillips’ balanced offense.

The Panthers managed to win the state championship mostly thanks to their defense. Dr. Phillips managed fewer than 200 yards of total offense and didn’t score an offensive touchdown. Even the Panthers rushing attack, which totaled 124 yards, could only pick up 2.4 yards per carry.

The last game of Campbell’s career was an outlier. With the 6-5, 303-pound offensive lineman paving the way, Dr. Phillips piled up more than 2,000 rushing yards this season, an average of more than 150 yards per game. The passing offense wasn’t far behind as quarterback Besean McCray finished with just fewer than 2,000 passing yards.

Campbell’s most immediately evident skill is his punishing ability in the running game. Even at 6-5, he’s slightly undersized for a prototypical tackle, but that’s OK. He gets downfield well enough to open big holes for his running backs.

Like most of his future teammates in his recruiting class, Campbell will be on campus this weekend for his official visit and then will sign his national letter of intent on Wednesday. He’s on track to early enroll, which he tells 247Sports’ Christopher Stock will be important to his development.

“It’s very important because I basically have six months to prepare to get bigger, stronger and faster for the season before all of the other non-early enrollees come,” Campbell said. “When I get there, I’m not going to take the program lightly.”

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of DieHards’ daily Miami  recruiting notebook right here.

Ohio State football podcast: Buckeyes on verge of picking up 2 huge defensive end targets

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Get insight and reaction to Ohio State football on the Inside the Shoe podcast, brought to you by Land of 10. On the latest edition, Kyle Lamb discusses the growing expectation that the Buckeyes are about to land a pair of major defensive end targets after Thursday saw more than a dozen combined Crystal Ball predictions on 247Sports.

Land of 10’s Austin Ward also joins Kyle on the Friday show to discuss the Cotton Bowl matchup against USC, bowl season, J.T. Barrett deserving to play his final game and speculation about possible NFL departures after the season.

You can listen to the entire show in the embedded SoundCloud player below. You can subscribe to Inside the Shoe  on iTunes and  Google Play. It is available for direct  download here.

Every episode of Inside the Shoe can  be found here.

Topics discussed on Inside the Shoe on Friday include:

  • Some of the many exciting bowl matchups both in the Big Ten and nationally beginning this weekend.
  • The workmanlike nature of the Ohio State football team readying for the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 against USC.
  • J.T. Barrett’s final game with the Buckeyes and the silliness of a few people calling for Dwayne Haskins to start in place of Barrett in the Cotton Bowl.
  • Whether non-playoff bowl games should be an extension of the season or rather treated the same as exhibition games.
  • The likelihood of cornerback Denzel Ward leaving after the season given his appearance on several NFL scouting lists, which have him going as a high first-round pick.
  • Wondering about the future of several underclassmen, including Sam Hubbard, Jerome Baker, Dre’Mont Jones, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and Mike Weber Jr.

On the Monday edition, Kyle will preview college football’s early signing period that starts Wednesday, continue to preview the USC game and begin to look ahead to a big week for Ohio State basketball. The week includes a showdown with North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 23 in New Orleans.

If you enjoy the show, please rate, review and subscribe on iTunes.

 

Ohio State football podcast: Buckeyes on verge of picking up 2 huge defensive end targets

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Get insight and reaction to Ohio State football on the Inside the Shoe podcast, brought to you by Land of 10. On the latest edition, Kyle Lamb discusses the growing expectation that the Buckeyes are about to land a pair of major defensive end targets after Thursday saw more than a dozen combined Crystal Ball predictions on 247Sports.

Land of 10’s Austin Ward also joins Kyle on the Friday show to discuss the Cotton Bowl matchup against USC, bowl season, J.T. Barrett deserving to play his final game and speculation about possible NFL departures after the season.

You can listen to the entire show in the embedded SoundCloud player below. You can subscribe to Inside the Shoe  on iTunes and  Google Play. It is available for direct  download here.

Every episode of Inside the Shoe can  be found here.

Topics discussed on Inside the Shoe on Friday include:

  • Some of the many exciting bowl matchups both in the Big Ten and nationally beginning this weekend.
  • The workmanlike nature of the Ohio State football team readying for the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 against USC.
  • J.T. Barrett’s final game with the Buckeyes and the silliness of a few people calling for Dwayne Haskins to start in place of Barrett in the Cotton Bowl.
  • Whether non-playoff bowl games should be an extension of the season or rather treated the same as exhibition games.
  • The likelihood of cornerback Denzel Ward leaving after the season given his appearance on several NFL scouting lists, which have him going as a high first-round pick.
  • Wondering about the future of several underclassmen, including Sam Hubbard, Jerome Baker, Dre’Mont Jones, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and Mike Weber Jr.

On the Monday edition, Kyle will preview college football’s early signing period that starts Wednesday, continue to preview the USC game and begin to look ahead to a big week for Ohio State basketball. The week includes a showdown with North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 23 in New Orleans.

If you enjoy the show, please rate, review and subscribe on iTunes.

 

Arkansas has huge recruiting weekend ahead with DL Billy Ferrell visiting

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Welcome to SEC Country’s  daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook . In this edition, we discuss the weekend visitors, a top quarterback target and more.


Arkansas set to host in-state DL Billy Ferrell

Arkansas’ 2018 recruiting class will be boosted significantly if the Hogs can land the commitment of prized in-state prospect Billy Ferrell . To do that, it’s essential for the Razorbacks to throughly impress the Fordyce (Ark.) prospect during his official visit this weekend.

A 3-star defensive tackle according to the 247Sports composite rankings, Ferrell was offered by Arkansas’ new coaching staff on Dec. 7. He received an offer from Alabama that same day, and Wisconsin four days later.

Ferrell was set to officially visit UCLA this weekend. Those plans changed following an in-home visit with Arkansas coach Chad Morris and assistants Joe Craddock, Barry Lunney Jr. and Dustin Fry. Now, Ferrell is set to officially visit Fayetteville this weekend.

Adding Ferrell to the class would give Arkansas commitments from seven of the top nine 2018 in-state recruits.  Ferrell was not offered by Arkansas’ previous staff.

Here’s the full list of expected recruiting visitors this weekend:

  • DL Billy Ferrell, 3 stars, Fordyce (Ark.)
  • DB Myles Mason, 3 stars, Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) — Mississippi State commit
  • CB LaDarrius Bishop, 3 stars, Ashdown (Ark.)  — committed
  • ATH Sean Michael Flanagan, 3 stars, Charleston (Ark.) — committed
  • WR Mike Woods, 3 stars, Magnolia (Texas) — committed
  • DL Isaiah Nichols, 3 stars, Springdale (Ark.) — committed
  • OL Noah Gatlin, 3 stars, Jonesboro (Ark.) — committed
  • OL Luke Jones, 3 stars, Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) — committed

Baylor going all-in for Gerry Bohanon Jr.

Arkansas and Baylor appear to be in a dead heat to land 4-star Earle (Ark.) quarterback Gerry Bohanon Jr., who expects to sign on Wednesday.

Recent news out of Baylor that quarterback Zach Smith is expected to transfer likely helps the Bears’ chances with Bohanon. With Smith gone, they would have just one scholarship quarterback on the roster — freshman Charlie Brewer. Baylor also does not have a quarterback committed in its 2018 class as Bohanon clearly appears to be the top priority.

A source told SEC Country that Baylor had several members of its staff in Earle earlier this week in a final attempt to sway Bohanon. The visit from the Bears came shortly after Bohanon proclaimed his belief that Morris is the right coach to turn Arkansas’ program around.

“I feel like that’s the right man for the job,” Bohanon said Monday. “I feel like he’s going to really change the program around with the right guys.”

Bohanon’s decision should provide plenty of intrigue as the early signing period draws closer.

New staff making Tulsa a top priority

Morris promised that the new staff would visit every Arkansas high school. Apparently, the Hogs are looking to do much of the same in Tulsa.

The Hogs have visited Tulsa-area programs Booker T. Washington, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso and Union since Morris was hired last week. All five are known for producing SEC-caliber talent.

A report from the Tulsa World stated Broken Arrow coach David Alexander estimated Arkansas’ previous staff stopped by twice in five years. So Alexander, like other coaches in the area, was impressed when new recruiting coordinator Mark Smith stopped by just five days after Morris was hired.

“(Smith) said he will call me at the end of this week,” Alexander told the Tulsa World. “It’s all about building relationships and networking. After that relationship is built, he might call sometime and ask about my opinion of players on other teams. That’s how you get kids.”

Bob Stoops’ son receives preferred walk-on offer

Isaac Stoops — the son of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops — has reported a preferred walk-on offer from Arkansas.

Stoops is a 2-star athlete who could play either cornerback or wide receiver at the next level. He also reported preferred walk-on offers from Oklahoma, Kentucky, Nevada and Northwestern. His uncle Mark Stoops is the head coach at Kentucky. Army is his only FBS scholarship offer.

In 2017, Stoops had 45 catches for 916 yards while primarily playing wide receiver at Norman (Okla.) North High School. He also had 12 touchdowns and totaled 1,071 all-purpose yards. His twin brother Drake is a 3-star wide receiver recruit.


Miss a previous edition? Find every SEC Country daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook  right here.