Commenting will resume on the Recruiting blog next week.
I wrote a story that’s running in print on Sunday about the rejuvenation of junior college recruiting in the wake of some rather notable recent successes.
Lest we forget, Heisman Trophy winner Cameron Newton was actually honing his considerable skills in junior college (Blinn College, Brenham, TX) last year before turning major college football upside down this season at Auburn. It was a fellow junior college grad (NG Nick Fairley, Copiah-Lincoln), who helped put some bite back in the Tigers defense. And, of course, the year before it was Terrence Cody (Mississippi Gulf Coast) who was made such a big impact in the SEC.
Now it, seems, talented junior college players are all the rage. Big defensive linemen are particularly popular. Alabama has already snapped up DT Jesse Williams of Arizona Western Community College, Rivals’ No. 1-ranked JUCO player. The No. 2 guy, DE Cornelius “Tank” Carradine of Butler County Community College in Kansas, went to FSU on Wednesday. And Georgia is among several other teams in hot pursuit of Missisippi Gulf Coast nose guard John Jenkins (ranked No. 6 by Rivals).
I’m not going to give the whole story away but I figured I’d offer a little sneak preview here today. The actual story will probably post online sometime over the weekend and, of course, will be in the Sunday newspaper. But here some snippets from the report:
Rodney Garner, UGA recruiting coordinator:
“I don’t know that there’s a re-emergence [of junior college recruiting] necessarily. I think there’s just some schools that rely on JCs more than others. It’s a matter of philosophy really.”
Ole Miss typically signs several junior college transfers per recruiting class under coach Houston Nutt. Georgia, by contrast, has signed only one JUCO transfer – 2010 signee Jakar Hamilton from Georgia Military College – in the past four years.
The Bulldogs did sign four JC transfers in 2007, however. Three of those players – defensive linemen Corvey Irvin and Jarius Wynn and offensive lineman Vince Vance – became starters and went on to NFL careers.
“We use JCs to supplement at positions where we may be deficient,” Garner said. “But we haven’t delved into it heavily. If you do that, then it changes your whole recruiting cycle. It just depends on your needs in a given year.”
Steve Campbell, head coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College:
“Anytime you have that kind of impact at a major program, I’m sure it refocused people on junior college recruiting. The last two national champions have had star players out of junior college in Terrance Cody and Cam Newton.”
Campbell on the misconceptions of junior college football (he coached for Dye and Sherrill in the SEC):
“To me junior college is the most misunderstood division in football. The kids here are the same as I coached in the SEC. Some of them had academic issues, some of them are transfers from other schools and some of them just didn’t get enough notice in high school. But we had five academic All-Americans on this team. And this isn’t Division II or I-AA. We need SEC talent to be competitive.”
Miss. Gulf Coast CC DT John Jenkins on his recruitment:
“Georgia is definitely recruiting me the hardest. It’s great to be recognized as one of the top players in the country and having all these big schools wanting you to come in and be a starter like Terrance Cody did at Alabama. It’s a blessing, I know that, but it’s kind of overwhelming at the same time.”
Butler County CC AD Todd Carter:
“Every year after the football season is over you’re going to see Jim Tressel on Monday and Les Miles on Tuesday and Nick Saban on Wednesday come through here. At least that’s the way it with our program. We’ve always have top-notch kids; Zach Mettenberger and Tank Carradine are just the latest examples.”
Like I said, that’s just a taste. Much more in the print package.