NCF Nation: Noor Davis

Were Pac-12 recruiting needs met?

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
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Every team had needs going into 2012 national signing day. Last week, Ted Miller looked at the needs of each team in the North Division and South Division. Here’s a look at whether those needs were met.

Arizona: Either Javelle Allen or Josh Kern -- both Texans -- could be the long-term answer at quarterback. Noticeably missing is the lack of an impact linebacker. But there is some good depth to the offensive line.

Arizona State: Nice pickup with running back D.J. Foster. Richard Smith and Josiah Blandin boost the wide receiving corps. Nine JC signees? We’ll see.

Cal: QB Zach Kline (No. 2 QB) is the jewel of the class, and receiver Darius Powe could be an immediate impact player. Cal wins the award for bipolar recruiting season, but this is still a solid class.

Colorado: If Yuri Wright can keep his thumbs in check, he’s a huge addition. He and Kenny Crawley boost a secondary sorely in need of playmakers.

Oregon: Arik Armstead headlines a diverse class that, as expected, is heavy on speed and addresses depth across the board. Next to duct tape, few things are quick fixes than a juco kicker.

Oregon State: No. 1 offensive guard Isaac Seumalo and tackle Garrett Weinreich fill immediate needs on the line. A lot of unproven commits on a defense that still needs help.

Stanford: Business should be booming in the Stanford cafeteria with seven new offensive linemen. And they get to grow with and block for Barry Sanders. Noor Davis and Alex Carter are elite defensive playmakers.

UCLA: Four ESPNU 150 players, headlined by athlete Devin Fuller. Who said Jim Mora wasn't cut out for college? Keeping Ellis McCarthy in Southern California -- and out of red and gold -- is big time.

USC: Don't cry for this tiny class. It features seven ESPNU 150 players and adds speed on defense with Jabari Ruffin, size on the offensive line with Max Turek and Jordan Simmons and athleticism with wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Another great haul for Troy.

Utah: A quarterback of the future is needed, and Travis Wilson (No. 39 QB) and Chase Hansen (No. 43 QB) should have a heck of a competition in the coming years. Lots of help and depth added to the offensive line.

Washington: A shaky recruiting season was saved at the last minute by the commitment of Shaq Thompson and the ability to hold quarterback Cyler Miles. Brandon Beaver helps a secondary that was one of the worst in the conference.

Washington State: Running back Robert Lewis and receiver Alex Jackson could prove to be money in the Mike Leach offensive overhaul. A few juco transfers should be stopgaps until depth develops and Leach's plan comes together.

Q&A: Stanford's David Shaw, Part I

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
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Stanford head coach David Shaw has a lot to smile about after hauling in a top-15 recruiting class on Wednesday. With six ESPNU 150 players -- including three of the top offensive linemen in the country and athletic playmakers on both sides of the ball -- Shaw said his team fills much-needed holes and adds depth at other spots.

Here's part one of a Q&A with the second-year head coach.

What are your first impressions of this group?

David Shaw: This group has what we're looking for. We wanted to address the offensive line and make sure we had some more playmakers at the wide receiver position. We were going to take a running back if he was a difference-maker. That's what Barry (Sanders) is. Defensively, to be able to come in with the defensive line we've put together in this class, I think is a credit to our coaches and our coaching style and our scheme that these guys are excited to come play for us. Then to get a couple of the top defensive backs at the safety and corner position in the nation is really exciting.

So the offensive line was a target position this year? It didn't just work out that way. You guys were going after linemen all the way?

DS: No question. We hadn't gotten enough in the last couple of years. As well as we've played, we haven't been deep. Thankfully for our strength and conditioning program, our guys have stayed pretty healthy so we haven't had to play down to our younger guys. We needed depth, especially with two guys leaving early for the draft. We needed guys to come in and compete right away and I think we've brought some guys in that can do that.

Coach (Mike) Sanford tweeted after Andrus Peat announced: "Our staff reaction was priceless!" What does priceless mean and what was the reaction?

DS: It's something you don't feel in the NFL. You draft a guy and you know he's there and you draft him and you get excited. But to sit there waiting and not knowing for sure. Having a good feeling, but not knowing for sure that he was coming to us. Then the announcement was made and we saw the hat. Guys were jumping up and down and pumping fists and high fiving. It was pretty loud. I think it was heard pretty much around the building. Not too much longer, we had the same reaction when Kyle Murphy did his announcement. We jumped up and down and high fived and guys were yelling. It's been a special, special day for us because these guys are our type of guys. They aren't prima donnas that want to come in on a silver platter. The guys we've been recruiting, they want to come in and work and earn what we give them.

How exciting will it be to see these offensive linemen grow together?

DS: It's going to be exciting. Anytime you start with a player that does the things you can't teach -- size and athletic ability and flexibility and nastiness -- that's when it's really fun as a coach because now you are teaching the finer points of the game. The techniques and the calls. You're not trying to make up for something ability wise the player doesn't have. This group is really exciting. I think they are humble and they are hungry. The guys on our team are going to welcome them in as true competitors and teammates. It will be a fun group to work with.

You talked about having "that feeling," how confident were you leading up to the Barry Sanders announcement?

DS: Very. I think when Barry came to campus for the first time, I think it opened his eyes. I think he saw a place -- like so many guys on our team and committed to us -- the first time on campus it hit them that this is a place they are looking for. It hit them that there is a place out there that is first in academics but doesn't slight in the football category. That's what Barry saw. Barry Sanders is a famous individual. And to be able to sit down and have lunch with Andrew Luck, who is also a famous individual, for people to recognize him, but not bother him -- you're sitting in a place where there are a lot of people that are famous in their own rights in what they do and are really good at what they do. There is an environment that is very comforting to a guy like that who does have some fame and some notoriety to be around people that are just like him.

Noor Davis committed early and was so outspoken in support of the program to other recruits -- how much does it help when you have a guy who is going to sell the program for you and hasn't even signed his letter yet?

DS: I think every program in the nation always has one or two of those guys who commit early and is determined to help build the class. Noor has a lot nicknames around here for us. My favorite one is "The Senator." We're talking about a big kid who is imposing physically and extremely intelligent and very well-spoken, very thoughtful in every word that he says, but also very convincing. When you have a guy like that that can be talking to other recruits, he's an example of what we're looking for. Much like Andrew Luck before him and guys we have now that can talk to other recruits and give them an example of what a Stanford man is.

Video: Noor Davis picks Stanford

February, 1, 2012
2/01/12
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Noor Davis (Leesburg, FL/Leesburg), the 25th overall-rated recruit in the ESPNU 150, discusses his decision to commit to Stanford.
It's a beautiful thing to be able to recruit in the Golden State -- and even sweeter to be based there. But let's face it, almost every school in America wants to wet their beak and drink from California's recruiting fountain, one of the top four recruiting states in the union, where players of all positions are in abundance.

Interesting then, that cross-bay rivals Cal and Stanford both landed as two of the top five out-of-state recruiters, as described in a piece by ESPN The Magazine's LaRue Cook.

Cook and the folks at RecruitingNation teamed up to see which 10 programs land the most blue-chip recruits from outside of their home states.

Stanford checked in at No. 2 behind Auburn, and Cal is No. 5 behind Clemson and Alabama.
Cook on Stanford:

The Cardinal just can't compete with USC and UCLA for California's top talent, signing only two of the state's 73 ESPNU 150 recruits from 2007-11. But when Jim Harbaugh landed [Andrew] Luck, it proved that top prospects will travel to Palo Alto. After Harbaugh left for the 49ers, new head coach David Shaw convinced 2011's No. 2 ILB James Vaughters (Tucker, Ga.) to stick with Stanford, and the Cardinal currently have three out-of-state ESPNU 150 preps committed for 2012, including top-25 overall prospect OLB Noor Davis (Leesburg, Fla.).

Shaw has gone out of his way numerous times in his first year as head coach to talk about Stanford as one of the countries true national recruiters.
Cook on Cal:

When we calculated how many miles on average ESPNU 150 recruits traveled to attend their programs, Cal was second (1,179 miles) only to Stanford (1,466) in terms of distance. For that distinction, you can thank [Keenan] Allen, whose signature helped land his high school teammate, WR Maurice Harris, in 2011. (No. 6 S Avery Walls from McDonough, Ga., also added to the mileage.)

While this out-of-state trend is on hiatus in 2012, Jeff Tedford doesn't mind an off year that includes three in-state ESPNU 150 preps (S Shaq Thompson, QB Zach Kline, WR Darius Powe) and a possible top-10 class ranking.

Cal, of course, recently lost Tosh Lupoi to Washington. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact that has on the Bears in the coming classes. Though with a heralded class less than a week away from signing, the immediate impact seems minimal, and there don't appear to be any major defections.

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