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Monday, March 31, 2014
IMG Southeast Regional notebook

By Derek Tyson

BRADENTON, Fla. -- South Florida has always been known for producing top talent and elite seven-on-seven teams but it was two teams from Jacksonville (Fla.) that battled in the finals of the IMG 7v7 Southeast Regional Championships on Sunday.

The Pro Impact team, led by LSU commit and the No. 3-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300 Kevin Toliver II and defensive back Derwin James Jr., a Florida State commit, upset River City, which featured FSU quarterback commit De’Andre Johnson and South Carolina commit Sherrod Pittman, 23-14.

Patrick planning visits

Darrien Tyson
Michigan could be gaining for the commitment of Darrien McNair.
ESPN Junior 300 running back Jacques Patrick has had a busy spring and it will continue through next weekend. The talented back visited Florida and Miami this past week and has two visits planned this upcoming weekend.

"I’m going to Clemson and South Carolina next Friday and Saturday with my parents,” Patrick said. "I went to Miami on Tuesday and Florida on Wednesday. With Miami, I went up there for practice but it got rained out. It was actually a blessing because we got to see the background and how everything goes down. See how the kids operate with football and school.

"With Florida, we got watch their practice. I got to watch their new offense and the intensity of the practice. Intensity of the practice is way different than high school, it’s day and night.”

Patrick has a top 10 and said he would like to narrow things in the near future. He admitted Florida State is the only school, at this time, that is guaranteed to be in his top list of schools.

"I want to know by summertime,” he said. "If I’m not committed I want to know at least my top three, but whenever I feel the time is right so if I have to wait until signing day then that’s fine.”

Francois adds a team to his favorite schools

With pinpoint accuracy and some critical throws, Francois helped lead his team to the championship game of the tournament. Just a few short weeks ago Francois had a top four of Florida State, Auburn, Ohio State and Tennessee, but now the talented signal-caller has another school among his favorites.

“I put Florida back in it. Just because right now they are showing me the most attention,” Francois said. “They are showing me they want me more than the rest of my top five.”

Francois, who plans to visit Tennessee, Auburn, Florida State, Florida and Ohio State over the summer, is transferring from Olympia High School in Orlando to IMG Academy in Bradenton. The 6-foot-2 athlete said IMG head coach and Heisman Trophy winner, Chris Weinke, had a big influence on his decision to transfer.

"The way [Weinke] molded the quarterback last year, Michael O’Connor, into a better a quarterback,” Francois said. “I just feel like I can develop here and get ready for college -- with the dorms and being on my own away from my house. It will just get me ready for college.”

Deondre Francois with the long pass.

— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) March 30, 2014
Tennessee coming on strong for Lawson

A few short weeks ago ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Dwayne Lawson named a top four, in order, of Florida, Tennessee, UCF and Ohio State. That order still remains the same, but Lawson admitted Tennessee might be more of a threat to Florida than many think.

“I mean it’s pretty close,” Lawson said. “People think that Florida is this top school but it’s pretty close, it really is. They’ve been doing a great job and staying in contact. I love the coaches out there and hopefully I can get up there and visit.”

Lawson plans to wait until after his senior season to make his final decision.

Campbell prepping for visits

The No. 2-ranked player in the country, George Campbell, made several big plays throughout the tournament. The heavily recruited athlete will take two visits this upcoming weekend.

"I think next week I’m going to Florida State and Alabama,” Campbell said. "I talk to coach [Lawrence] Dawsey at FSU and coach [Nick] Saban and I just want to see what the schools have to offer me. Not just from the football standpoint but everything around it. I don’t want to see just the football part because it’s all good. I just want to see what the school has to offer me and get information about my major.”

The one-time Michigan commit remains open and will wait until the Under Armour All-America game to make his decision.

Kevin Toliver with a nice battle against George Campbell

— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) March 30, 2014
McNair showing interest in Michigan

Outside linebacker Darrien McNair has been committed to Mississippi State since December, but the 6-foot-3, 211-pound athlete said there are two schools that he is still heavily considering.

“My commitment is pretty solid right now,” McNair said. "I still like Florida a lot too because of their great academics. I’d say my commitment is at about 80 percent. After spring, if I get any more offers I’ll probably want to go see those schools.

"Out of all the schools that are recruiting me right now, I’d probably want to see the University of Michigan. It’s another school with great academics, I want to major in sports medicine and Florida and Michigan both have great programs. Michigan hasn’t offered me yet but the coach said they liked me a lot but they want to evaluate me more before they offer.”

McNair holds offers from Mississippi State, Florida and Kentucky.

Gibson talks visit

The No. 11-ranked player in the country, Torrance Gibson, visited several schools over his spring break and is close to narrowing his list from 20 schools down to a select few.

“I went to Oklahoma, LSU, Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee and Florida this past week,” Gibson said. "All of them were great schools -- all have spread attack offenses, all have great academics and all of those schools are great.”

Gibson keeps his recruitment close to the vest, but did admit three of the schools he visited made a positive impression on him.

"I’d say that Tennessee, LSU and Auburn made the biggest impression on me,” Gibson said. "With Tennessee, they have a good, young coaching staff. Coach Butch Jones is a great coach and this team is on the rise. He has all the young talent and a great coaching staff around him. That team is on the rise.

"Auburn has a great quarterback coach, a great head coach at that. Everything was great about Auburn. LSU has Cam Cameron, he’s a great quarterback coach. He coached in the league with the Miami Dolphins. He’s just a great coach. I wouldn’t say they are my leaders but they are up there.”

Gibson was planning to make a decision on signing day, but has decided to narrow his list on May 5 and will make a final decision after he takes all five official visits in the fall.

Torrance Gibson looks smooth.

— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) March 30, 2014